Logic And Faith
with Bill Nugent 
Sometimes people's hearts are open more to logic or science, rather than Scripture. God has gifted Bill in bringing both together in a way we can understand.
Check with him each month for a different message.
DEFENDING THE FAITH #221
 
The Jewish Talmud Gives
Unintended Proof Showing that
Jesus is the Messiah
by Bill Nugent
www.bnugent.org
 
The Talmud is a large book of ancient writings of the Jewish people. It has enormous authority in traditional Orthodox Judaism. It's an extensive collection of the teachings of the ancient Jewish Rabbis.
 
The Talmud consists of the Mishnah (the oral law) and the Gemara (commentary on the oral law). The Talmud is not an inspired writing like the Bible but it does contain important eyewitness accounts of things that occurred during the first century AD and the centuries before and after that time.
 
The Talmud does not affirm that Jesus is the Messiah - far from it - but it does give many  bits of information that unintentionally support the messianic claims of Jesus of Nazareth. You must realize that the Talmud was written centuries before sophisticated arguments were formulated against Christianity. (The word "Christ" means the same as "Messiah.")
 
For instance, the Old Testament in Zechariah 12:10 says "they shall look upon me whom they have pierced." Christians consider this to be a messianic prophecy that refers to Jesus. Today's traditional Jewish apologists will strenuously argue that this does not refer to the crucifixion of Jesus in which His hands and feet were pierced. Jewish apologists would argue that this verse is not a messianic prophecy. Most present day Jewish Bibles also give a different rendering of the wording of Zechariah 12:10 that renders its messianic ramifications less clear.
 
The Talmud, however, is very direct in affirming that the ancient rabbis considered Zechariah 12:10 to be a messianic prophecy. In the section of the Talmud called Sukkah 52a the verse in Zechariah 12:10 is paraphrased: "They will look upon me, the Messiah, who they have pierced." The ancient rabbis went so far as to actually insert the words "the Messiah" into the text! This ancient custom of inserting words into a Bible passage to explain - not replace - the passage is called a midrash.
 
The Talmud in Sukkah 52a does not directly state that Jesus is the Messiah but does show that the ancient Jewish rabbis believed that the Messiah would be pierced. In fact the Talmud goes to great lengths to affirm that the Old Testament prophecies of a suffering Messiah (Isaiah 53, etc.) are indeed messianic prophecies.
 
The Talmud in Sanhedrin 97b and 98b affirms that the prophetic passage in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah refers to the Messiah. Isaiah 53, predictively prophesies that the Messiah would die for the sins of the people. Jesus fulfilled this and over 300 other predictive prophecies contained in the Old Testament. No other figure in all of world history can make anything like this claim!
 
In the 8th century, BC, Isaiah wrote of the Messiah:"He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5 NASB). This is called substitutionary atonement. Jesus fulfilled the above words of Isaiah. After He paid the penalty for our sins, Christ was raised from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who call upon Him in faith and repentance.
 
The Talmud dealt honestly with the prophecies of the sufferings of the Messiah but also had to explain the prophecies of the glorification of the Messiah. Some of the ancient rabbis taught that there would be two Messiahs, one a suffering Messiah who would die and the other a glorious Messiah who would be king. They didn't see a first and second coming of one Messiah. Importantly however, the rabbis did see, as Christians do today, that the predictions of both the suffering Messiah and the glorious Messiah are messianic. This is powerful ammunition for Christian apologists.
 
When quoting a messianic prophecy to a Jewish apologist he will often say "If you knew the Hebrew you'd know that the passage in question is not messianic." The ancient talmudists did know the Hebrew and they affirmed that the prophecies of the suffering Messiah are messianic.
 
The Talmud also contains eyewitness accounts of some miraculous events that occurred in the first century. In the Talmud, in tractate Yoma 39b, four distinct unusual phenomena are recorded. These events occurred during the 40 years before the destruction of the second Temple. The second Temple was destroyed in the year 70 AD so we're talking about the years 30 AD to 70 AD.
 
The year 30 AD is the approximate time that Jesus the Messiah died for the sins of the people. When He died and rose again the Temple sacrificial system of animal sacrifices was superseded and became obsolete. God no longer honored the animal sacrifices.
 
Yoma 39b has to do with the Day of Atonement which is called Yom Kippur. In this tractate it is stated that the lot for the Lord's goat always came up in the left hand of the High Priest during those 40 years. That was a bad sign because of what the left hand means in Judaism. On Yom Kippur two goats were selected. One was to be sacrificed on the Lord's altar and one was to be the scapegoat. The lot for the Lord's goat always came up in the left hand during those 40 years!
 
Another phenomenon recorded in Yoma 39b has to do with the scarlet cord. On Yom Kippur they hung a scarlet cord. This cord, in the years before 30 AD, often miraculously turned white which was reminiscent of Isaiah 1:18 which says "though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." In the 40 years before 70 AD on Yom Kippur the cord always remained scarlet; it did not turn white.
 
Yoma 39b also records that the Temple doors opened by themselves during those 40 years. This also was a bad sign. The rabbis connected it with Zechariah 11:1 which is a Bible verse that implied that one day the Temple would be burned as indeed it was in 70 AD.
 
Yoma 39b also records the fact that the westernmost light of the menorah in the Temple would not stay lit. This was yet another bad sign. The westernmost light was the light used to light all of the other lights.
 
The several bad signs mentioned above are likely subtle ways in which God spoke to the Jewish people that the animal blood sacrifices offered in the temple were no longer acceptable. The sins of the people were not forgiven through animal sacrifices after Jesus died and rose again around 30 AD. The rabbis had rejected the Messiah who had truly fulfilled the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. There was no forgiveness by animal sacrifices.
 
Jesus, the Messiah, had died for their sins and fulfilled the sacrificial system. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. They must repent and turn to Messiah to receive forgiveness of sins. Many Jews did turn to Jesus and these formed the early church. In our own day many Jewish people who believe in Jesus as Messiah have formed Messianic Jewish synagogues.
 
There was a 40 year transition at the beginning of the Age of Law when the Jewish people spent 40 years in the wilderness under Moses. (Age of Law: circa 1500 BC - 30 AD; Church Age: 30 AD - present.) There was also a 40 year transition from 30 AD to 70 AD which was at the end of the Age of Law and at the beginning of the Church Age. God was warning His precious Jewish people during this time. God gave them signs that showed that the animal sacrifices were superseded and final atonement was made by Jesus the Messiah. The new Church Age had begun.
 
The Jewish Talmud contains much in the way of law, interpretation, argument, folklore, narrative and biography. It does contain some blasphemous sayings against the Christian faith. But like a lawyer arguing a case we can appeal to the witness of the opposition. When your opponent makes statements that support your case, those statements carry special weight. The Talmud makes many statements that have the unintended consequence of proving that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah of Israel. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.
 
Source for much material in above article is Jesus in the Talmud by Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries.
 
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)

1Believe that God loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2Believe that Jesus Christ came to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
3Repent of your sins and call on Jesus Christ to ask for forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
4Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
5Follow Jesus Christ as Lord and be baptized (John 14:15, Acts 2:38).

Prayer to receive salvation:

To receive the salvation which Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: 

"Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I'm a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask you to forgive me on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen." 

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart, then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA 

(C) 2021 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback and Kindle! 
Info and ordering link available at our website:
 www.bnugent.org
Back issues of Defending the Faith archived on our website. <>{

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DEFENDING THE FAITH #354

The Clash
Of Two Religions
Divides Our Nation

by Bill Nugent
www.bnugent.org


In all of my lifetime I've never seen America more divided than it is now. I believe the reason for this radical cultural and political division is because of the clash of two religions.

I remember a time when Republicans and Democrats disagreed mainly on economic issues. The Republicans said we need to support business and create employers if we want employment. The Democrats said we've got to work for higher wages for the working people and help them get good union jobs with union benefits. The disagreement was friendly and both parties were respectful of each other.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress were friends. They played golf together and were members of the same social clubs.

Republicans and Democrats operated within the same overarching Judeo-Christian worldview. Not that they were all devout Jews and Christians but they generally believed we should love God, obey the ten commandments, love your neighbor, speak truthfully, play fair in politics, disagree politely and fight for everyone's right to speak.

Sixty years ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans were either nominal Protestants or semi-devout Catholics. In 1961, America was not a fundamentalist Christian Nation by any means yet Christianity and church life was respected and honored. The 1960s brought radical social and religious change to America. We saw the beginning of the collapse of the liberal mainline Protestant churches.

There was a famous Time magazine cover in 1966 which claimed that God is dead. Young people on college campuses began to flout time honored biblical standards of sexual restraint. Nonbelievers began to openly proclaim their agnosticism and atheism.

The theologically liberal Protestant denominations such as the Evangelical Lutheran ChurchPresbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church began to lose members at an accelerating pace beginning in the sixties. The Roman Catholic ecumenical council, Vatican II brought radical changes to the Catholic Church. The number of priests and nuns began to fall steadily and catastrophically in the decades that followed. Many people left the Catholic church.

If you look at the membership of the mainline Protestant churches from the 1960s to now you'll see a precipitous drop in members and in number of churches in all of the above mentioned Protestant denominations. Statistics compiled by the Barna Group and the denominations' own membership figures document the steady decline.

The question remains: where did all those people go? Many of the people who left the nominal Christian denominations went into secularism. The Barna Group has compiled statistics showing a huge rise in the number of skeptics. There has been a radical secularization of American society and of Western civilization in general since the 1960s. A large number embraced secularism yet some joined the theologically conservative Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches

You can say that the religious center of America has collapsed. On the right, you have the fundamentalist denominations, the evangelicals, the Pentecostals and the Charismatic churches. On the left you have the secular religion of humanism. I would say that the secular viewpoint is by and large the dominant viewpoint of America especially among the 1% and other influential people, including leaders in education, the arts and media. Secularism is often called secular humanismphilosophical naturalismskepticism or atheistic materialism.

The nation of Israel has been similarly polarized between right and left. Reformed Judaism and Conservative Judaism have hollowed out and the majority of Israeli Jews are secular. The Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews form a huge growing population on the right. The religious and cultural middle ground has collapsed. The same can be said of Europe. Europe is so secularized it's been called post-Christian. European Evangelicals are a small minority.

Theologically conservative people tend to be culturally and politically conservative. Theologically liberal people tend to be culturally and politically liberal. Everyone operates from their worldview which is defined by their religion whether it conserves biblical truth or liberally minimizes biblical truth, or as a secularist, outright denies biblical truth. Secularism, is a faith, it is a belief system, it is a religion with great influence among the opinion shapers of America.

The tenets of the new secular humanistic faith are:

1) There is no God, humans are the supreme beings.

2) We evolved from pond scum to fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals to apes to humans without the aid of a Creator God. 

3) We have no souls, no purpose and no accountability to a law-giving higher power because there is no higher power. 

4) People are born basically good and a well socialized person can be entrusted with great governmental power without being corrupt or cruel.

5) We have no life after death, no future and no destiny.

For reference see Humanist Manifesto I (1933), Humanist Manifesto II (1973), and Humanist Manifesto III (2003).

I realize that not all secular people will be so bold as to openly proclaim belief in the above listed tenets. Some still cling to some form of liberal Protestantism or liberal Catholicism but live as practical atheists.

The upshot of all this for the secularists is: live for yourself, indulge in every pleasure, kill your preborn child if you don't want the financial burden of a child, live out every sexual indulgence whether straight or gay, stupefy yourself with drugs and alcohol to dull the pain and despair. What do they do to get involved in society? They fight the right and work to impose the culture of death which is abortion, homosexuality and socialism. They want to give all money and power to the Federal government to bring in a secular, totalitarian government utopia.

Secularists believe that people are generally good and therefore, a benevolent dictator at the top of government can be entrusted with an immense amount of power and he will use the power for the good of humanity. It's the old Faustian bargain of giving all power to a dictator who promises to use the power to build a Marxist society.

The driving force behind the secularization of global society is evolution and rejection of God as creator. In a modern technological world, people tend to worship science. Science gave us all our modern toys. People were taught in school that evolution is based on sound science. It is not.

The tenets of the Judeo-Christian worldview are:

1) God is the Supreme Being who created the universe and owns the universe.

2) We are created in the image of God and therefore human life is sacred.

3) Each person has a purpose in life to love and serve God.

4) Each person has a sin nature and is in need of redemption by the grace and mercy of God.

5) Each person has a conscious existence after death, either with God or separated from Him.

In many of my Defending the Faith articles I've countered the secular faith which I believe is a false faith and is essentially a false religion that is ruining many lives. Probably about a quarter of my articles have been directed against the origins myth of atheism which is Darwinian evolution. I've attacked the evolution hypothesis and have exposed the fact that evolution is not supported by science.

Regarding evolution, I've often pointed out the extreme complexity of living cells. A single-celled bacteria is more complex than a smartphone. It could not have been formed by chance. A cell screams for the need of a personal super-intelligent Creator God.

I've also delved into the fossil record and showed the lack of transitional fossils between fossils of the so-called progression of evolution from pond scum to fish to reptile to mammal to ape to human. Darwinian evolution is not supported by the fossils. The alleged "missing link" human fossils are all either fully ape or fully human. There are no ape-to-human transitional fossils.

I've also discussed genetics. Science shows that genetic mutations are harmful errors to the DNA. Mutations scramble or transfer nucleotide base pairs in the DNA. There are over 5,000 diseases caused by genetic mutations but only a few dozen alleged beneficial mutations being studied. Evolution is a pathetic myth that crumbles under objective scientific scrutiny.

There are a large number of liberal Protestants and nominal Catholics who have abandoned their prior liberal theological commitment have made the change to theologically conservative Christianity. They've examined their faith and they've also examined secularism and its claims. They've examined secularism's scientifically flawed evolution origins myth. They've taken another look at the Bible. They see the ancient wisdom of the Bible and they learn that Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 prophecies. They've also seen that miracles occur even today in answer to Christian prayer.

They also begin to learn that there is a spirit world, which is an invisible realm from which God operates. They've come to put their faith in Christ. They've come to the conviction that it's impossible to come to God by earning your way to God by doing good works. Good works are important but they don't earn salvation. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Salvation was bought for us by Jesus Christ when he died for our sins and took the penalty of our sins upon Himself so that we can receive forgiveness of sins. Once you have received the forgiveness of sins and the born again regeneration of your spirit, then you can do good works and serve God under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to him in repentance. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.

Steps to salvation:

Jesus said "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7)

1Believe that God loves you and sent the Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for Christ) to redeem you.
2Believe that Jesus Christ came to die for you, to take upon Himself the penalty of your sins (Isaiah 53:5-6, John 6:29, Romans 4:5, First Peter 3:18).
3Repent of your sins and call on Jesus Christ to ask for forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
4Receive Jesus as Savior and experience the new birth (John 1:12, Acts 2:38).
5Follow Jesus Christ as Lord and be baptized (John 14:15, Acts 2:38).

Prayer to receive salvation:

To receive the salvation which Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer: 

"Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I'm a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask you to forgive me on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen." 

If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart, then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!

Bill Nugent, Overcomer Ministries of Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA 

(C) 2021 William P. Nugent, permission granted to email or republish for Christian outreach.

Christian book, Lawful or Legalistic by Bill Nugent available in paperback and Kindle! 
Info and ordering link available at our website:
 www.bnugent.org
Back issues of Defending the Faith archived on our website. <>{

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