All the Same? – Part 4

In three previous blog posts, parts 1-3 of the same title here, I began a discussion of comparative religion. Is the God of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism the same? This is part 4 and the final part of that discussion. It is devoted to the comparison of Christianity and Judaism by means of parallel examination of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the Christian Canon of Scripture (Bible = Hebrew Bible + New Testament).

To begin, Christianity does find its roots in the historical, original Judaism which can be observed in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible = “the Law and the Prophets”). Perhaps it is better to say the God that the Tanakh reveals is the God that both ancient Judaism and Christianity claim, because they share the same corpus of holy writ in what is commonly called the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament). So, obviously it is the New Testament that divides Judaism from Christianity. That statement needs a good deal of “unpacking.”  Let us compare and contrast these two religions based on this holy book. One should be able to make up his own mind on the issue.  

As you know, I like a good short-cut. A line by line comparison certainly would reveal a difference which is undeniable; and, it would lead one to conclude that Judaism identifies a different deity than does Christianity based off of such things as views of humanity, sin, redemption, orthopraxy, orthodoxy, etc. However, shorten it all by considering that the main controversy between Judaism and Christianity centers on Jesus. Admittedly, if it were not for Jesus, there would be no Christianity, only Judaism. The strictly monotheistic Jew scoffs at Christianity’s “looser” monotheism, and Christianity holds that brand of monotheism because of Jesus’ claims of deity. It is all about Jesus.

Now consider that it was Jesus who said, “Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to destroy them but fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). In another place, he said to his contemporary Jewish religious figures, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; but it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39). Clearly from Jesus’ perspective, he does not disavow/profane the Tanakh. In fact, he alleges to be the One who fulfills the Law and the Prophets. What was there to fulfill and what would it prove? Jesus himself answers those logical questions. Jesus claims to be the one in whom the Scriptures say eternal life is found. The Law and the Prophets were pointing to him as the Messiah, in other words.  This is a bold declaration.  As C. S. Lewis writes in one of his works, Jesus is either who he claims to be, or he is a lunatic of the worst sort; but there is not room for any other possibility. For those skeptics who attempt to discredit the historicity of the doings and existence of the historical Jesus, I defer to a more thorough work – Lee Strobel’s, The Case for the Christ. 

So, how does one verify that Jesus was indeed the one to whom the Scriptures pointed? Examine the Scriptures. By examination of the prophecies which point to the Messiah, and since both religions accept the Hebrew Bible; one may judge for himself which faith has correctly identified Jesus as the Messiah or as a pretender… and which belief structure is not being fair to its own holy book.      


Hebrew Bible Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment Probability
Christ to be born in Bethlehem
(Micah 5:2)
And Herod asked where Christ had been born … they answered Bethlehem
(Matt 2:4-6)
2.8 x 105 or 1 in 280,000
Forerunner of Christ
(Malachi 3:1)
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ
(Mark 1:2-8)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey
(Zech 9:9)
Christ enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey
(Matt 21:4-11)
1 x 102 or 1 in 100
Christ to be betrayed by a friend
(Psalm 41:9)
Judas betrayed Jesus
(Luke 22:21)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
(Zech 11:12)
Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
(Matt 26:15)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
30 pieces of silver casted down and used to buy a potter’s field
(Zech 11:13)
30 pieces of silver used to buy a potter’s field
(Matt 27:3-10)
1 x 105 or 1 in 100,000
Although innocent, Christ kept silent when on trial
(Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus kept silent when questioned
(Mark 14:60-61)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ crucified
(Psalm 22:16)
Jesus was crucified
(John 19:17, 18)
1 x 104 or 1 in 10,000

*[these references taken from http://www.goodnewsdispatch.org/math.html. See also Gleason Archer’s, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p.385. For a more exhaustive list of prophecies and how Jesus fulfills them all, please visit http://www.askapastor.org/proph.html ]

Peter Stoner published Science Speaks in 1963 with Moody Press. He reports the probability of one man fulfilling only eight of the prophecies of the Old Testament for the Messiah to be 1 in 10 to the 17th power. Stoner further states that if the number were that of silver dollar pieces, there would be enough to cover the area of Texas 2 feet deep; and that, Jesus’ having fulfilled the prophecies would be like a blindfolded person being sent out into that mass of coins to find the only one specifically marked.  Yet, Jesus fulfilled many more than 8 Old Testament Prophecies. There are more than 300.

The main difference between Judaism and Christianity emerges at the identification of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. With the surmounting evidence that Jesus is indeed the one whom the Scriptures foretold, one can only conclude that Judaism is not being fair with its own holy book. And, since Jesus fulfilled the location and circumstance prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, then one must concede that the prophecies about his being Divine are accurate in him as well. It is either that or deny Jesus’ self-claims, which is the same as labeling him a liar.

Christianity finds its roots in ancient Judaism, but Judaism parts with the God identified in the Tanakh by denying Jesus as the Son of the Living God, the Messiah.    

………………………………..

Prophecies Respective to the Christ [from http://www.blueletterbible.org
As a Preexistent Redeemer
Job 19:25; Psa 136:24
       Fulfilled
       Luk 1:68; Gal 3:13
As the Son of God
Psa_2:7; Pro 30:4
Fulfilled
Luk_1:32; Luk_1:35
As the seed of the woman
Gen_3:15 
Fulfilled
Gal_4:4 
As the seed of Abraham
Gen_17:7; Gen_22:18
Fulfilled
Gal_3:16 
As the seed of Isaac
Gen_21:12 
Fulfilled
Heb_11:17-19 
As the seed of Judah
Gen 49:10
       Fulfilled
       Rev 5:5
As the seed of David
Psa_132:11; Jer_23:5 
Fulfilled
Act_13:23; Rom_1:3 
His coming at a set time
Gen_49:10; Dan_9:24; Dan_9:25 
Fulfilled
Luk_2:1; Gal 4:4
His being born a virgin
Isa_7:14
Fulfilled
Mat_1:22; Mat_1:23; Luk_2:7 
His being called Immanuel
Isa_7:14
Fulfilled
Mat_1:22; Mat_1:23 
His being born in Bethlehem of Judea
Mic_5:2
Fulfilled
Mat_2:1; Luk_2:4-6 
Great persons coming to adore him
Psa_72:10
Fulfilled
Mat_2:1-11 
The slaying of the children of Bethlehem
Jer_31:15 
Fulfilled
Mat_2:16-18 
His being called out of Egypt
Hos_11:1
Fulfilled
Mat_2:15
His being preceded by John the Baptist
Isa_40:3; Mal_3:1
Fulfilled
Mat_3:1; Mat_3:3; Luk_1:17 
His entering on his public ministry
Isa_61:1; Isa_61:2
Fulfilled
Luk_4:16-21; Luk_4:43
His ministry commencing in Galilee
Isa_9:1; Isa_9:2
Fulfilled
Mat_4:12-16; Mat_4:23
His entering publicly into Jerusalem
Zec_9:9;
Fulfilled
Mat_21:1-5
His coming into the temple
Hag_2:7; Hag_2:9; Mal_3:1
Fulfilled
Mat_21:12; Luk_2:27-32; Joh_2:13-16
 

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