English – Chinese
“She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name Him Jesus –‘God saves’ [Yeshua – YHWH saves] –because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 MSG).
It’s about time someone answered “Rabbi” Shraga Simmons’ article – Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus. The subtitle of his article is: “For 2,000 years Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as Messiah. Why?” And during those many centuries, Jews like Simmons have worked hard on their excuses, all of them bogus and foolish.
But let’s make something clear: Those who know Jesus Christ also reject what is commonly considered “the Christian idea of Jesus,” which is an altogether false depiction, though it rightly proclaims Him as Lord. I won’t be answering Simmons on behalf of any false Jesus of manmade religion, but according to the True Lord and Savior of all men, Who is resurrected and sitting at the right hand of God.
Simmons begins by declaring his intent: “Let’s understand why ? not in order to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position.” Is that so? How can you negate the foundation of what others believe without disparaging their religion? Didn’t God command the children of Israel to do more than disparage, but to destroy, false religion lest they succumb to it?
Exodus 34:12-14 BBE
(12) But take care, and do not make any agreement with the people of the land where you are going, for it will be a cause of sin to you.
(13) But their altars are to be overturned and their pillars broken and their images cut down:
(14) For you are to be worshippers of no other god: for the Lord is a God Who will not give His honor to another.
And that wasn’t limited to those outside of Israel, but also applied to those within:
“But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in My Name which I have not commanded him to speak or who shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:20 MKJV).
We are fully prepared, therefore, to disparage all religions with the intent of destroying them, Christian and Jewish, whose positions come against the true knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we consign those in false religion to death and Hell by withholding the truth that would free them.
Any religion based on lies needs to be disparaged and discarded altogether, if there will be life, peace, and goodwill towards all.
Only the truth of God matters, and He alone is right; all men are wrong in their opinions. We need to get the truth from His mouth, and when we do, no credence should be given to what men think on the contrary.
“Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
From the outset, we see that Simmons isn’t a purveyor of truth, but one who panders to lies. He would spare himself your offense, so instead offends the truth and waters down his criticism into wishy-washy meaninglessness.
People need to flee for their lives from religion and its face-saving lies. God would not have us mince words, but make things plain, without apology, cleanly dividing right from wrong and truth from error. Only then will you know where you stand, where you don’t stand, and where you should be standing.
This “rabbi” evidently isn’t a man of God, so what business does he have presuming to teach others about Him? Let him be ashamed for speaking what he thinks to know, but hasn’t heard or known from God. One who speaks on God’s behalf calls things the way He sees them, speaking as His mouth, not his own. This I will do by His grace granted me; otherwise I’m no better equipped than any other man to teach from God.
Why the Jews Reject Jesus as Messiah, According to Simmons
Simmons divides his paper into the four reasons he gives for why Jews don’t accept Jesus as Messiah:
“Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
2. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
3. Biblical verses ‘referring’ to Jesus are mistranslations.
4. Jewish belief is based on national revelation.”
Which Jews is Simmons speaking of who don’t “accept” Jesus as Messiah? I am a Jew who met the Lord at age 21, and I know the majority of Jews are the way I was before that time, not believing in God and being Jewish by background and cultural affiliation, rather than by religious conviction.
So let it be stated: Simmons is speaking on behalf of himself and certain religious Jews, many of whom don’t believe in Jesus simply because they were brought up not to believe Who He is, not because they have received their belief from God. They’ve been indoctrinated by men, as with many religious of all stripes who are spoon-fed what to believe without critical thought or, more importantly, understanding, faith, and conviction from God.
The belief that comes by indoctrination is ineffectual for salvation. Those born under the auspices of Catholicism, or Protestantism or Orthodox Judaism – it’s all essentially the same – believe they are right by affiliation, which isn’t being led or taught by God. “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his eyes” (Judges 17:6 MKJV). In the works of men, there is no faith, revelation, or leading from above to do what is right in God’s sight, which alone makes one free.
So please note, dear reader, that Simmons and those for whom he speaks make no claims of spiritual authority from God, because they have none. Their only credentials are being Jewish and religious, presuming that a physical connection to the patriarchs of Israel and claiming to uphold the Tanakh (writings of the Old Testament) are enough. This isn’t sufficient with God, as the Tanakh unequivocally declares. There needs to be true righteousness, irrespective of race or heritage:
“Son of man, when a land sins against Me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out My hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 14:13-14 ESV).
John the Immerser, a prophet of the priestly tribe of Levi, spoke to religious Jews such as Simmons as follows:
Matthew 3:7-11 MKJV
(7) But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, “O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
(8) Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance;
(9) and do not think to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
(10) And now also, the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
(11) I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. But He Who comes after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
And Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) said to them:
John 5:39-47 ESV
(39) “You search the Scriptures [Tanakh] because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me,
(40) yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.
(41) I do not receive glory from people.
(42) But I know that you do not have the love of God within you.
(43) I have come in my Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.
(44) How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from God alone?
(45) Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.
(46) If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me.
(47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Simmons doesn’t believe Moses and the prophets, though he touts them as guides. In truth, he and his cohorts have been fed a pack of lies by their religious fathers, who’ve interpreted the prophets according to their own carnal thoughts and ideas. But now the God of Israel says, “Let there be light.”
By their admission, these Jews haven’t had a prophet since Malachi, when, according to their own words, “the prophetic spirit ceased in Israel.” If the Spirit of God, Who inspired the prophets, is no longer among them (and He isn’t), they can’t possibly understand what the prophets spoke. This we will show more and more, beginning with the first objection.
Does Jesus Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies?
(And what are the cited prophecies saying?)
“1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)”
For Shraga to say that Jesus didn’t fulfill the Messianic prophecies is appallingly ignorant and arrogant. Where else will he find a Messiah Who is born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), comes 483 years after the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-26), enters Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt (Zechariah 9:9), enters the Temple with authority (Haggai 2:7-9 and Malachi 3:1), is sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12), is struck on the cheek (Micah 5:1), spat on, mocked, and beaten (Isaiah 52:14), crucified (Psalm 22:14-16), and given vinegar in His thirst (Psalm 69:21)?
Simmons never will find another True Messiah, and he won’t see the truth of Messiah’s coming until he repents and says, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.”
What exactly do the Scriptures Simmons cites (while conveniently ignoring the many pointing to Christ) say? (His Scriptures are in dark blue.)
Isaiah 2:1-4 MKJV
(1) The Word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
(2) And it shall be, in the last days the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it.
(3) And many people shall go and say, “Come, and let us go to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go out the Law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
(4) And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
No mention of the Messiah here, except the LORD or YHWH, God of Israel, Who isthe Messiah, as Isaiah also writes:
“I, I am the LORD, and besides Me there is no Savior” (Isaiah 43:11 ESV).
God is the One Who saves His people and the rest of mankind. So the question becomes, “Is Jesus YHWH, the God of Israel of Whom Isaiah spoke?” And the answer is, “Yes,” according to the testimony of multiple faithful witnesses who saw Him after He raised Himself from the dead, and heard His words:
Matthew 28:17-20 ESV
(17) And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted.
(18) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
(19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name [singular] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
(20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
God only has one Name because there is only one God. And how could Jesus promise to be with His disciples, even until the end, unless He was God?
Being God in Heaven, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah/Savior, has appeared to many since His resurrection, including the orthodox religious Jew, Saul of Tarsus, who in his zeal persecuted those who believed in Messiah:
Acts 9:1-18 MKJV
(1) And Saul, still breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
(2) and asked letters from him to Damascus to the synagogues; so that if he found any of the Way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
(3) But in going, it happened as he drew near to Damascus, even suddenly a light from the heaven shone around him.
(4) And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”
(5) And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus Whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
(6) And trembling and astonished, he said, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” And the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you shall be told what you must do.”
(7) And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, indeed hearing a
voice but seeing no one.
(8) And Saul was lifted up from the earth; his eyes were opened, but he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
(9) And he was three days not seeing, and did not eat or drink.
(10) And there was a certain disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!” And he said, “Behold me, Lord.”
(11) And the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the street which is called Straight and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus. For behold, he is praying,
(12) and has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight.”
(13) And Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many of this man, how many evil things he has done to Your saints at Jerusalem.
(14) And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your Name.”
(15) But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this one is a chosen vessel to Me, to bear My Name before nations and kings and the sons of Israel.
(16) For I will show him what great things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.”
(17) And Ananias went and entered into the house. And putting his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you in the way in which you came, has sent me to you that you might see and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
(18) And instantly scales as it were fell from his eyes, and he instantly saw again. And rising up, he was baptized.
Who but God can strike a man blind, restore his sight, and immerse him in God’s Spirit? That’s the purpose and role of Messiah, the Anointed One (Christ), Who serves as Mediator between God and man.
How could peace be brought to mankind except by an inner change, as with Saul, one person at a time, as God reveals Himself and changes the heart? What else do these religious Jews expect God to do through Messiah, which no prophet or man of God could do, which even God Himself hadn’t done before?
And herein lays the crucial oversight of these Messianic “experts” who utterly miss the key element of Messiah’s ministry, which is atoning for the sins of the people with finality:
Daniel 9:24-26 MKJV
(24) Seventy weeks are decreed as to your people and as to your holy city, to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins, and to make atonement for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
(25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going out of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem, to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction.
(26) And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself….
“Not for Himself” because Messiah’s sacrifice was for the Jews and the people of the world. How is it the Jews don’t recognize their corruption and their need of salvation in order for all the promises of God to be fulfilled, bringing Heaven on earth? The answer is simple – they are blinded by their corruption.
What did Moses, the man of God, have to say about his people, the Jews, and about the condition of their heart?
“For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will happen to you in the latter days; because you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:29 HNV).
Are the Jews today devoted to Moses and the Word of God that came through him, or are they worshipping a twisted image of Moses, following the ways of their fathers who revolted against Moses and Aaron, as prophesied they would?
When the heart is circumcised by God through Jesus Christ, however, men won’t rebel and corrupt themselves anymore:
Jeremiah 31:31-36 MKJV
(31) Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah,
(32) not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says the LORD;
(33) but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
(34) And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD”; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.
(35) So says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day and the laws of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, Who divides the sea when its waves roar; the LORD of Hosts is His Name;
(36) if those ordinances depart from Me, says The LORD, the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.
This is the mission of Messiah, and Who but God can accomplish these things? So when we see all Israel turned back to Him, upholding His Law and worshipping Him in spirit and in truth, it is on account of having received God in Messiah, the atoning sacrifice prophesied by Zechariah:
“And I will pour on the house of David, and on the people of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be bitter over Him, as the bitterness over the firstborn. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the people of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 12:10-13:1 MKJV).
How can the Jews say they will receive Messiah with open arms, when the prophet says they will lament over the One they pierced? Instead of celebrating Messiah when He appears, the Jews will have sorrow upon realizing the heinous thing they did to Him when He appeared. Add that to all the fulfilled prophecies, and there is no leg to stand on justifying their rejection of Yeshua.
Question to consider: Why are the Jews counting on Messiah to save them and bring world peace if they already worship Almighty God, Who alone is Lord and Savior, reigning over all? Who then needs a Messiah, unless God is He?
“For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22 JPS).
But if the LORD God is the Messiah, then all things are explained, because only God can save Israel, and all men ought to seek after Him with their whole hearts. However, does Israel recognize Him when He comes?
“So the crowd answered Him, ‘We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. [Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 7:13-14, Psalm 110:4] How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?’” (John 12:34 ESV)
The Son of Man is no other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.
It was never a surprise to God that His people would reject Him as Messiah. Indeed, it is one of the many proofs of Christ’s authenticity, because He foretold this would happen, as ordained of old:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, this One has become the head of the corner; this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? [Psalm 118:22-23] Therefore I say to you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing out its fruits” (Matthew 21:42-43 MKJV).
Instead of being a valid argument against His Messiahship, Jesus’ death and resurrection turns out to be the foundation of His ongoing ministry and Israel’s only hope of reconciliation with God.
The next verses Simmons provides from Isaiah concur with what we have seen so far:
Isaiah 32:15-18 MKJV
(15) Until the Spirit [of Christ/Messiah] is poured on us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is thought to be a forest.
(16) Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
(17) And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the service of righteousness shall be quietness and hope forever.
(18) And My people shall dwell in a peaceable home, and in secure dwellings and quiet resting places.
Isaiah 60:15-18 MKJV
(15) Instead of being forsaken and hated, so that no one passes through, I will make you for everlasting majesty, a joy of many generations.
(16) You will also suck the milk of nations, and suck the breast of kings; and you will know that I the LORD am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob [God the Messiah!].
(17) For bronze I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver; and for wood I will bring bronze, and for stones, iron. I will also make your overseers to be peace, and your rulers to be righteousness.
(18) Violence will no more be heard in your land, wasting nor ruin within your borders; but you will call your walls “Salvation,” and your gates “Praise.”
The same goes for the verses listed from other prophets (including Jeremiah 31:33-34, which are covered above):
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:9 KJV).
“I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. And in that day I will answer, declares the LORD, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel” (Hosea 2:20-22 ESV).
“Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:23 ESV).
Messiah is with us as His Name, Immanuel, indicates – “God is with us” (Isaiah 7:14), and He is the Savior of all nations. Does not the whole world know?
Micah 4:1-4 ESV
(1) It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,
(2) and many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
(3) He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore;
(4) but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
Note once again it is God Who judges and teaches the people, for He is Messiah.
“And the LORD will be King over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and His Name one” (Zechariah 14:9 ESV).
Is that ever a proof text of Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach! The Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the King of kings, is one Name because He is one and the same God in different manifestations, just as Isaiah declared of Him:
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulder; and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. There is no end of the increase of His government and peace on the throne of David and on His Kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:6-7 MKJV).
The other verses Simmons quotes, from Amos, aren’t referring to the Messiah:
Amos 9:13-15 MKJV
(13) Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that the plowman and the reaper shall draw near, the treader of grapes, and he who draws along the seed. And the mountains will drip must, and all the hills will be dissolved.
(14) And I will turn back the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the cities which are desolate, and they shall live in them. And they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine. They shall also make gardens and eat their fruit.
(15) And I will plant them on their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, says the LORD your God.
That’s a prophecy of the miraculous return of the Jews to the land of Israel, where God has now brought them to stay, despite the threats of their enemies, because He has determined it. But do note, they have yet to come to their Messiah, and nowhere does it say the Messiah has to appear to Israel physically at the time of the miraculous rebirth of their nation.
When God has ushered the Jews into His everlasting Kingdom, which is not of this world, it will be through Yeshua HaMashiach. Simmons counts Jesus as dead, but we know Him as risen from the dead and Lord of all.
The Third Temple
Continuing on his first point of Jesus not fulfilling Messianic prophecies, Simmons lists specific accomplishments he says are prophesied:
“Specifically, the Bible says he will:
A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).”
Ezekiel 37:26-28 LITV
(26) And I will cut a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant it shall be with them, And I will place them and multiply them, and I will put My sanctuary in their midst forever.
(27) And My tabernacle shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
(28) And when My sanctuary shall be in their midst forever, the nations shall know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel.
Who says anything about a physical building? Does God, Who fills the universe, reside in a manmade temple?
“Thus says the LORD, Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: what manner of house will you build to Me? And what place shall be My rest? For all these things has My hand made, and so all these things came to be, says the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My Word” (Isaiah 66:1-2 HNV).
It’s man made in God’s image to whom He looks and comes to inhabit through Messiah. How much use is it for God to occupy a building, when He must occupy the person in order to effect salvation? He is the Holy Temple from above, and those joined to Him become part of His Body, bringing salvation to all men. When God comes in His Spirit through His Temple, His people, there’s no restriction on His work. What can a physical temple do for mankind?
A Samaritan woman said to Jesus:
“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and You say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” (John 4:20 MKJV).
And Jesus answered:
John 4:21-26 MKJV
(21) Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither worship the Father in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem.
(22) You worship what you do not know, we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.
(23) But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him.
(24) God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”
(25) The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming, Who is called Christ. When He has come, He will tell us all things.”
(26) Jesus said to her, “I AM, the One speaking to you.”
Thus is God’s Word through Moses fulfilled in Messiah:
“And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6 MKJV).
As Ezekiel goes on to describe the Third Temple, it becomes obvious it’s not a physical building, but a spiritual one:
Ezekiel 47:1-9 ESV
(1) Then he brought me back to the door of the Temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the Temple toward the east (for the Temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the Temple, south of the altar.
(2) Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.
(3) Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep.
(4) Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep.
(5) Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through.
(6) And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river.
(7) As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other.
(8) And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.
(9) And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.”
This is speaking of the restoration of all things, using the metaphor of a river of life coming from God’s Temple. Of this prophecy, the Messiah, God’s Third and Final Temple, spoke:
“He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38 MKJV).
The Son of Man being the Temple of God:
John 2:18-22 MKJV
(18) Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show us, since You do these things?”
(19) Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
(20) Then the Jews said, “This Temple was forty-six years building, and will You rear it up in three days?”
(21) But He spoke of the Temple of His body.
(22) Therefore when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Which Temple includes those who abide in Him:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4 MKJV).
“For having been drawn to Him, a Living Stone, indeed rejected by men, but elect, precious with God; you also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore also it is contained in the Scripture: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief Corner Stone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him shall never be ashamed.’ [Isaiah 28:16]” (1 Peter 2:4-6 MKJV)
The second Temple fulfilled the things spoken by God through Haggai, leaving no room or necessity for a third physical Temple:
Haggai 2:3-9 ESV
(3) Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes?
(4) Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts,
(5) according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not.
(6) For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land.
(7) And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts.
(8) The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, declares the LORD of hosts.
(9) The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.
How was the second Temple greater than the first, since it appeared as lesser in their eyes? It was greater because the Messiah appeared in it and fulfilled its function to which the annual sacrifices pointed; the Substance arrived, doing away with the shadow:
Malachi 3:1-3 MKJV
(1) Behold, I will send My messenger, and He will clear the way before Me. And the LORD, Whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the Angel of the Covenant, in Whom you delight. Behold, He comes, says the LORD of hosts.
(2) But who can endure the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.
(3) And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. And He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may be offerers of a food offering in righteousness to the LORD.
Who but the Lord our God is the fire that refines man?
“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24 ESV).
The ongoing sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood never brought men into perfection of heart (the new covenant promised through Jeremiah), but the sacrifice of Christ did effect this change, after He ascended and returned by His Spirit to baptize men in fire. John the Immerser prophesied of it:
“I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. But He Who comes after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11 MKJV).
Gathering the Jews
“B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).”
“Fear not; for I am with you. I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give up’; and to the south, ‘Do not keep back; bring My sons from far and My daughters from the ends of the earth’” (Isaiah 43:5-6 MKJV).
Where does it say a man will accomplish this? I hear God speaking of what He will do, and indeed, He has brought the Jews back into the land of Israel. And He is the same One Who came in the flesh as Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who will yet save Israel.
“C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.’ (Isaiah 2:4)”
Simmons and his co-religionists make a very foolish point here. They say, “We’ll know who the messiah is after he brings world peace.” But God says “When you believe Me and My coming as Messiah, then you will have peace.”
Man says, “Seeing is believing,” but God says, “Believing is seeing,” which belief comes by faith in Him, a gift from above. By the faith of Christ, we see the invisible things of God.
Religious Jews trust in their carnal sight, according to their own righteousness that fuels their willpower. That’s why they depict God sending a religious Jewish man like themselves, and then, by a wave of the wand, everyone magically becomes peaceful. If their religion is so powerful, why haven’t they performed this magic already?
When the Jews recognize and confess their need of Messiah to deliver them from their sins and to circumcise their hearts, then they will forsake their superstitious religion and misplaced confidence for faith in the Living God.
These same Jews will condemn me for worshipping a Jewish man (as they see it), while they have their hopes in themselves and an imaginary Jewish man who will bring world peace. Who is in contradiction and hypocrisy here, living in delusion about human nature and ignorant of the Word of God?
Haven’t the Jews yet learned that peace comes from within, not from without? How effective have their peace efforts and treaties with the Muslims been? How can they have peace with external enemies when they don’t have peace and unity among themselves?
The fact that there presently isn’t world peace proves nothing about the validity of Jesus/Yeshua as Messiah. Here’s what He said about bringing peace:
Matthew 10:34-39 MKJV
(34) “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword.
(35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
(36) And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.
(37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
(38) And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.
(39) He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.”
Jesus the Messiah has brought internal peace to multitudes over the centuries of those who believe on Him. And His work isn’t done, not by any means.
“Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Isaiah 45:22-23 MKJV).
When my time came, the Messiah turned me from my sins. This took place over thirty five years ago, a miracle sustained ever since by His will. I, who had nothing to do with God, now bow my knee before Him and confess Him as LORD.
Humanity United in the Knowledge of God
“D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: ‘God will be King over all the world ? on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One’ (Zechariah 14:9).”
And that’s exactly what Jesus Christ has been doing ever since His coming. How did the heathen nations learn about the Law of God, the Ten Commandments, and doing right by God and man? I’m not talking about the pagan beliefs and practices spread by corrupt institutions such as the Catholic Church, but the truth spread by people scattered throughout this age who have brought God’s blessing and goodness, specifically in the Name of Jesus Christ, to many. What honest person can deny that mankind has been blessed by those with faith in Christ, notwithstanding the falsehood of those taking upon themselves His Name in vain?
Nevertheless, as leaven is hidden in the dough it raises, so are the godly, and their influence of faith, hidden from the eyes of man.
“If Yeshua is the Messiah, why is He taking so long to right the wrong and save the world?” Jews may ask. Let them ask themselves why God took so long from Abraham’s day to the building of the Temple, or why God takes so long to fulfill His promises to Abraham, or why He permitted the Jews to be scattered for so long. If they will use a measure of time to judge God’s actions, let them use that same measure consistently and not discredit Yeshua HaMashiach because God has His schedule according to His wisdom and not man’s.
Remember and know this: God doesn’t come to save only one generation of people through Messiah, but comes to put away the Destroyer and save all of mankind for all time:
“I shall see Him, but not now. I shall behold Him, but not near. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall strike the corners of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult” (Numbers 24:17 MKJV).
“And He said, ‘It is but a little thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to bring back the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You for a light to the nations, to be My salvation to the end of the earth’” (Isaiah 49:6 MKJV).
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall rise on the earth at the last; and even after they corrupt my skin, yet this: In my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not a stranger’s; though my heart be exhausted in my bosom” (Job 19:25-27 MKJV).
“Your dead ones shall live, together with My dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust; for your dew is as the dew of lights, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Isaiah 26:19 MKJV).
False Messiahs vs. the True
“If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah.”
Simmons has no mandate for his conditions, based as they are on ignorant and erroneous interpretations of the Scriptures. His rejection of Jesus Christ isn’t validated by anything other than the darkened notions and traditions of his fathers, who created the bias out of which he’s made a career.
“Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible’s description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.”
What Simmons doesn’t mention is that Jesus Christ fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies (see links provided at end of article), whereas Bar Cochba and Shabbatai Tzvi fulfilled not one. Furthermore, these false messiahs were embraced by many of Simmons’ spiritual forefathers, only to be declared frauds and discarded after they and their movements fell flat.
How can one compare them to Jesus Christ, Who conquered death, rose from the grave, and was seen by more than five hundred Jewish witnesses? How can anyone be compared to Yeshua HaMashiach, Whose Name demarks time and Whom the whole world knows as Lord and Savior, even in its unbelief?
Jesus Christ wasn’t received by Simmons’ Jewish forefathers, who rejected Him en masse during His lifetime on earth and thought to rid themselves of Him by arranging His execution. They embraced the false messiahs, but refused and murdered the True. How credible a judge, therefore, is Shraga, their son? Consider, all you Jews.
Bar Cochba represents the kind of messiah carnal and worldly-minded Jews have been looking for since before the time of Christ – a physical liberator. Bar Cochba’s rebellion of 132 AD was brutally extinguished by the Romans, the final nail in the coffin of the Jewish occupation of Jerusalem and the Jews’ efforts to reestablish sovereignty over the land. They were killed or sent into exile with their brethren who preceded them in being chastised by God. All of this was foretold by many Jewish prophets, as recorded in the Tanakh, and by Jesus Christ, their Messiah:
Luke 21:5-6, 20-24 MKJV
(5) And as some spoke of the Temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts, He said,
(6) “As to these things which you see, days will come in which there shall not be left a stone on a stone, which shall not be thrown down….
(20) And when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that its destruction has come.
(21) And let those in Judea flee to the mountains. And those in its midst, let them go out. And those in the open spaces, let them not go into her.
(22) For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
(23) But woe to those who are with child, and to those suckling in those days! For there shall be great distress in the land and wrath on this people.
(24) And they shall fall by the sword’s edge. And shall be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the nations until the times of the nations is fulfilled.”
Shabbatai Tzvi, on the other hand, was a spiritual charlatan who used the hard conditions of Jewry throughout the European/Asian continent, and their longing for the national homeland, to present himself as their mystical, promised deliverer. Instead of using physical arms, he used the smoke and mirrors of misapplied Scriptures combined with the religious superstitions of carnal extra-Biblical Judaism to present himself as Messiah. He was finally exposed when brought into custody by the Ottoman Sultan and given the choice of proving his messiahship by deadly tests or converting to Islam. The next day Tzvi put on the turban and lived the rest of his life as a Muslim.
Compare these to Jesus Christ, Who raised no weapon and made no claim He didn’t fulfill at the cost of His life. That’s why men of all nations bow down to Him as Lord. Jesus Christ proclaimed Who He was, and that He would die at the hands of His own people, the Jews, because they rejected God. He willingly laid down His life as they demanded it of Him, and then raised Himself from the dead after being in the grave the precise time He prophesied – the three days and nights corresponding to Jonah’s time in the belly of the whale.
Though Jesus Christ was rejected by Simmons’ fathers, He was received by a small number of Jews who believed and testified of Him, bringing the Good News of His salvation to Israel and the Gentiles. It was always a remnant of Jews who had true faith throughout Israel’s history, leading up to Messiah’s day, and they were regularly persecuted by the rest of the nation.
Simmons doesn’t speak for all Jews in his unbelief regarding God and the Messiah, only those who subscribe to his religious beliefs. He presumes to represent the rest by dint of force and empty assertions. Why should you allow him to speak for you when it’s proven he doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Should you believe Simmons and those who spill the blood of God’s prophets, or should you believe the prophets who gave their lives for the testimony of God?
“Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.”
Here we have a self-appointed spokesperson of God criticizing what self-appointed preachers of Christ teach, a true recipe for confusion. The nominal Christian teaching of a second coming is false and just as unbelieving as Simmons’ denial of Messiah coming in the flesh. Jesus Christ is here with us now, as promised: “And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20 MKJV).
Jesus Christ has fulfilled the Scriptures and God’s promise of deliverance through Messiah. When any person receives Him by faith from above, that person experiences His coming.
Hebrews 7:17-25 MKJV
(17) For [God] testifies, “You [Messiah/Christ] are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” [Psalm 110:4]
(18) For truly there is a putting away of the commandment which went before, because of the weakness and unprofitableness of it.
(19) For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw near to God.
(20) And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath
(21) (for those priests were made without an oath, but this one was made with an oath by Him Who said to Him, “The Lord swore and will not repent, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”),
(22) by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant.
(23) And they truly were many priests, because they were not allowed to continue because of death;
(24) but He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
(25) Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.
Haven’t the Jews themselves said, “Saving one person is as if saving the whole world”? Each person represents the world, and God’s work of salvation through Jesus Christ will continue until every soul is saved, including Israel and all the ends of the earth:
Isaiah 45:21-24 HNV
(21) Declare you, and bring it forth; yes, let them take counsel together. Who has shown this from ancient time? Who has declared it of old? Haven’t I, the LORD? And there is no God else besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is no one besides Me.
(22) Look to Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.
(23) By Myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
(24) Only in the LORD, it is said of Me, is righteousness and strength; even to Him [Christ the Messiah] shall men come; and all those who were incensed against Him shall be disappointed.
Disappointment is here for Simmons and company.
Messiah, Greater than a Prophet
Moving on, Simmons writes:
“2) Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah
A. Messiah as Prophet
The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum – Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides – Yad Teshuva 9:2)”
“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (Isaiah 11:2 MKJV).
How does this indicate the Messiah will be lesser than Moses? The prophet Isaiah goes on to say of the Messiah:
Isaiah 11:3-10 MKJV
(3) And He is made to breathe in the fear of the LORD. And He shall not judge according to the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears.
(4) But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with uprightness for the meek of the earth. And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
(5) And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His heart.
(6) Also the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the cub lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
(7) And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
(8) And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
(9) They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
(10) And in that day there shall be the Root of Jesse standing for a banner of the people; to Him the nations shall seek; and His resting place shall be glorious.
Did Moses judge the nations, change the nature of man, and bring peace to all the earth? How foolish and contrary to the very Scriptures Simmons quotes is his bold and silly assertion! If that isn’t blind arrogance worshipping the flesh, what is?
As for the head nod to Maimonides, what does this man know? We’re supposed to accept Simmons’ word that what Maimonides said is true, without even hearing what he said? And as you’ll see when you read on, Maimonides is Simmons’ authoritative source for several gross falsehoods.
“Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets ? Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.”
Where did Shraga and his fellows get this silly notion? Certainly not from God or His recorded sayings. Nowhere in the Bible does God ever describe Himself as being restrained from raising servants to speak His Words – whomever He wills, whenever He wills, and wherever He wills.
Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were prophets after Israel was exiled, so there goes any possible credence for this inane proposition or its sponsors. Even before these prophets, Jeremiah prophesied in the land of Israel when most of the Jews were exiled. What a bunch of malarkey Simmons and his madcap fellows have made up!
In a scramble to justify their rejection and persecution of the Messiah, these Jews make readily disproven and ridiculous claims to explain away God’s appearing and speaking to them through Jesus Christ. God’s tongue hasn’t been silenced or His will thwarted to communicate as He pleases, when and where He chooses. He is speaking at this moment to Jews throughout the world as they read these words.
“Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet.”
Jesus was much more than a prophet – He was God in the flesh, the Messiah/Savior of Israel and the whole world. As for there being no prophets after Malachi, let Simmons’ and his fellow Jews answer this:
Matthew 21:23-27 MKJV
(23) And when He had come into the Temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority do You do these things? And who gave You this authority?”
(24) And Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you one thing; which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
(25) The baptism of John, where was it from? From Heaven or from men?” And they reasoned within themselves, saying, “If we shall say, ‘From Heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
(26) But if we shall say, ‘From men,’ we fear the people; for all consider John as a prophet.”
(27) And they answered Jesus and said, “We cannot tell.” And He said to them, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Did the Jewish people and Simmons’ religious forefathers from the first century believe a prophet couldn’t appear in Israel in their day? Not according to the record:
“And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowd said, ‘This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth of Galilee’” (Matthew 21:10-11 MKJV).
John 1:19-24 MKJV
(19) And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
(20) And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
(21) And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he says, “I am not.” “Are you that prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
(22) Then they said to him, “Who are you so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say of yourself?”
(23) He said, “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” [Isaiah 40:3]
(24) And they who were sent were from the Pharisees.
These representatives of dead religion would have you believe that God is no longer speaking because they don’t hear from Him. Why listen to their cockamamie ideas about the One they don’t know and refuse to hear from, much less be corrected by?
The Son of David
“B. Descendent of David
Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)”
Jeremiah 23:5-6 ESV
(5) Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
(6) In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the Name by which He will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”
Jeremiah 33:14-16 ESV
(14) Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
(15) In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
(16) In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the Name by which it will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”
Note that in these two sets of verses, the Name of the Messiah (Jer. 23:6), “The LORD is our righteousness,” is the same Name by which His people will be called (Jer. 33:16). Being the Mediator of a new covenant God has made with Israel, the Messiah confers God’s righteousness on those brought into His faith and Name, as we’ve already heard from Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 31:31-34 MKJV
(31) Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah,
(32) not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says the LORD;
(33) but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says the LORD, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
(34) And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD”; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.
When God and His Law rule in our hearts, truly that is the Kingdom of God come to earth, the “age of perfection.” The Messiah makes saviors of those who believe in Him:
“And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the Kingdom shall be the LORD’S” (Obadiah 1:21 KJV).
“The Messiah must be descended on his father’s side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father ? and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father’s side from King David.(1)”
The Scriptures Simmons cites say nothing about the Messiah coming from David on his father’s side. As for Jesus not having a father, that statement summarizes the unbelief and intransigent stupidity of Simmons’ perverted form of God-denying Judaism. Because Miriam didn’t “know” a man doesn’t mean there wasn’t a father. Jesus’ Father was God, Who implanted His Seed in Miriam, not by sexual intercourse (as in Greek myths), but through the spiritual intervention of His creative power.
Jesus answered Simmons’ line of thinking as follows:
Matthew 22:41-46 MKJV
(41) While the Pharisees were gathered, Jesus asked them,
(42) saying, “What do you think of Christ? Whose son is He?” They say to Him, “David’s.”
(43) He said to them, “How then does David by the Spirit call Him Lord, saying,
(44) ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit on My right until I make Your enemies Your footstool for Your feet’?
(45) If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his son?”
(46) And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day to question Him anymore.
Only the Son of God, Who is holy and without sin, could serve as the Passover Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the people. While Jesus was a physical son of David through His mother, it was His spiritual pedigree through His Father that made him a man after God’s own heart. And unlike David, Christ knew no sin, which enabled Him to be the unblemished offering sufficient for our redemption. That’s what Isaiah foretold of Him:
Isaiah 53:9-12 HNV
(9) They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death; although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.
(10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when You shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see seed, He shall prolong days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
(11) He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of Himself shall My Righteous Servant justify many; and He shall bear their iniquities.
(12) Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He poured out His soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus was condemned to die with two outlaws (transgressors), who were crucified on either side of Him, and was then buried in the tomb of a rich man (more examples of prophecies fulfilled). Unlike David, who did violence by murdering Uriah after committing adultery with his wife, Jesus committed no sin. Unlike David, who died and was buried and hasn’t been resurrected, Jesus Christ rose from the dead to bring us the knowledge of God through Himself, making intercession for the people of God according to His will. The Messiah is no ordinary man or son of one, because He isn’t fallen as are all others.
Luke 1:34-35 MKJV
(34) Then Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I do not know a man?”
(35) And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore also that Holy One which will be born of you shall be called Son of God.”
God Comes as a Man
“According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god(2), nor will he possess supernatural qualities.”
And what sources are those? The footnote cites a source we’ve already repudiated:
“(2) Maimonides devotes much of the ‘Guide for the Perplexed’ to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: ‘God is not a mortal’ (Numbers 23:19)”
Because God isn’t a man doesn’t mean He can’t become a man to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. Any Jew who says otherwise denies his God-given Record Book wherein the LORD appears as a man:
Genesis 18:1-3, 9-16 ESV
(1) And the LORD appeared to [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.
(2) He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth
(3) and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in Your sight, do not pass by Your servant….”
(9) They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.”
(10) The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.
(11) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.
(12) So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”
(13) The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’
(14) Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
(15) But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
(16) Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way.
Genesis 32:24-32 ESV
(24) And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.
(25) When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.
(26) Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
(27) And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”
(28) Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
(29) Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.
(30) So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”
[(31) The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
(32) Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh.
When God appeared in human form to Abraham and his children, He still remained the Father of spirits ruling Heaven and earth, “His unity and His divinity” entirely undiminished, just as in the days of Christ.
Maimonides, Simmons’ authoritative source, obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about regarding God. It’s the blind leading the blind, with both ending up in the ditch. Alongside them is Muhammad, who also denies the Word made flesh.
His Virgin Birth
Simmons’ next point:
“3) Mistranslated Verses ‘Referring’ to Jesus
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text ? which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.”
If that’s so, why are Hebrew Bibles translated into English and used by Jews in synagogues? Is accurate translation impossible, especially if God provides? Whether accurate or not, understanding of God’s Word, His intent and meaning, comes only through knowing Him, being illuminated by the Author of the Bible and Spirit of God.
Despite his assured delivery, Simmons’ knowledge of Hebrew without the Messiah hasn’t kept him from fumbling in the dark, whereas my lack of fluency in Hebrew with knowledge of the Messiah hasn’t kept me from clearly understanding the Scriptures. It all comes down to knowing the Author and speaking His language, which is what salvation is all about.
“A. Virgin Birth
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an ‘alma’ as giving birth. The word ‘alma’ has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as ‘virgin.’”
“Alma” means “a lass (as veiled or private): – damsel, maid, virgin.” So we need to understand the use of this word in context, as it obviously can be translated as “virgin,” and the other given nouns all imply virginity. We address this in The 76 Jewish Questions:
“Please don’t give me the time-worn excuse for not accepting the word ‘virgin’ there, and tell me what was meant was a ‘maiden.’ My dictionary tells me a maiden is a virgin. If you’re suggesting that a woman who has already ‘known a man’ is referred to here (which is really quite stupid), of what significance or sign is there in that? God offers Ahaz a sign, something He alone can do, and was annoyed with Ahaz that he wouldn’t come up with something worthy of Him. So it’s not simply a woman giving birth, a common everyday event. My, how people twist things to make them support diabolical denials of God’s words, works, and authority! How stupid of them!
A virgin giving birth – now that’s a sign from God. He said He would do it, and He did. Is anything too hard for Him? He also gave many other prophecies regarding His coming, which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.”
Not only that, but seventy Jewish scholars in 200 BC, translating the Bible into Greek, rendered the word “alma” in Isaiah 7 as “virgin.” Only later did any Jewish scholars change their mind, after the prophecy was fulfilled in Christ and they wished to maintain their stubborn, irrational denial of Him.
“This accords Jesus’ birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.”
We’ve refuted this lie, showing how the virgin birth of the Messiah was prophesied and fulfilled, a true miracle and not a bogus myth or scam. As for the pagan mythology, it’s based on actual events mentioned in Genesis that are misunderstood and sensationalized:
Genesis 6:1-4 KJV
(1) And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
(2) That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
(3) And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
(4) There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Jesus Christ – the Servant of God, and God Himself
“B. Suffering Servant
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the ‘suffering servant.’
In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (‘Israel’) are regarded as one unit. Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the ‘Servant of God’ (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel.
When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being ‘bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter’ at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44).”
Simmons repeatedly and arrogantly expects you to simply take his and his “experts’” word for much of what he declares. Not a single substantive fact is documented here, whether about the specifics of the language used by Isaiah, or how Simmons interprets it to mean what he says it means. His presentation is all conjecture, neatly concluded and wrapped up as the truth… and mostly wrong.
The nation of Israel is most often (589 times) referred to in the Old Testament in the plural as “the children of Israel.” As for the 65 times God speaks of “My servant,” in the great majority of cases, He’s speaking of an individual, and only in a small minority, of Israel (Jacob) as the collective heirs of faith. Since God has more than one servant, it is simply wrong to conclude the nation of Israel is being referred to every time “His servant” is mentioned.
And where the nation of Israel is being spoken of, as in Isaiah 43:10 (wrongly cited by Simmons as verse 8) – “You are My witnesses, says the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me no God was formed, nor shall there be after Me” (Isaiah 43:10 MKJV) – it’s clear this prophetic role for Israel has yet to be fulfilled. Isaiah goes on to say:
“But you have not called on Me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of Me, O Israel. You have not brought Me the lamb of your burnt offerings; nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not caused you to serve with an offering, nor wearied you with incense. You have bought Me no sweet cane with silver, nor have you filled Me with the fat of your sacrifices; but you have burdened Me with your sins; you have wearied Me with your iniquities” (Isaiah 43:22-24 MKJV).
“Your first father has sinned, and your teachers have sinned against Me. And I will defile rulers of the sanctuary, and will give Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches” (Isaiah 43:27-28 MKJV).
It’s clear that Israel, to whom God was speaking, hasn’t known Him. “Rabbi” Simmons continues to fulfill the cause for God’s rebukes.
“Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1 ESV)
The Jews have yet to repent and receive their God and Savior. Isaiah 49 introduces Him to us as the Messiah, telling us more of what He will do:
Isaiah 49:1-11 MKJV
(1) Listen, O coastlands, to Me; and listen, lend your ear, peoples from afar; the LORD has called Me from the womb; He has made mention of My Name from My mother’s bowels.
(2) And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me, and made Me a polished shaft. He has hidden Me in His quiver,
(3) and said to Me, You are My servant, O Israel, in Whom I will be glorified.
(4) Then I said, I have labored in vain; I have spent My strength for nothing, and in vain; yet surely My judgment is with the LORD, and My work with My God.
(5) And now, says the LORD, Who formed Me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel is not gathered [isn’t that what happened at Christ’s coming?], yet I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength.
(6) And He said, It is but a little thing that You should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to bring back the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You for a light to the nations, to be My salvation to the end of the earth. [This has also happened through Jesus Christ/Yeshua HaMashiach.]
(7) So says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, to Him Whom man despises, to Him Whom the nation hates [didn’t the Jews cast away their Redeemer, Jesus Christ?], the servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, rulers also shall worship, because of the LORD Who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose You.
(8) So says the LORD, in a favorable time I replied to You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You; and I will preserve You, and give You for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause them to inherit the wasted inheritances;
(9) that You may say to the prisoners, Go out! To those who are in darkness, Show yourselves! They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.
(10) They shall not hunger or thirst; nor shall the heat or sun strike them; for He Who has mercy on them shall lead them; even by the springs of water He shall guide them.
(11) And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be set on high. [The earth and its inhabitants liberated and established through the Messiah, God’s Servant!]
How could those who don’t believe God, being in need of salvation themselves, be the suffering Servant Who saves the world, unless they repent and become joined to the One Who is Savior, as with His disciples?
Isaiah 52:10-15 ESV
(10) The LORD has bared His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
(11) Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
(12) For you shall not go out in haste, and you shall not go in flight, for the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
(13) Behold, My Servant shall act wisely; He shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
(14) As many were astonished at You– His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind–
(15) so shall He sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of Him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.
The Servant spoken of in Isaiah 49, 52, and 53 is the incarnation of God, because only God can shut the mouths of kings, sprinkle the people (make atonement for their sins), and open their understanding.
“Therefore I will divide to Him with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12 MKJV).
As the Jewish religious leaders said of Jesus, not recognizing of Whom they spoke: “Why does this one speak such blasphemies? Who can forgive sins except God only?” (Mark 2:7 MKJV)
Yet Jesus proved before their eyes that He can forgive sins.
Matthew 9:5-8 MKJV
(5) “For which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk!’?
(6) But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed and go to your house.”
(7) And he arose and departed to his house.
(8) But when the crowds saw, they marveled and glorified God, Who had given such authority to men.
This glorious authority is the ministry of God through Messiah, enduring and culminating in our day, when God calls upon the Jews to repent and to forgive those who have sinned against them, in order that they might be forgiven their sins against God, His Messiah, and man. Thus will all be healed. What a marvelous day!
How could Isaiah be talking about anyone other than Messiah, when also including himself, a holy prophet of Israel and servant of God, among those atoned for by the Servant of God?
“But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6 ESV).
What people are their own saviors? If they could save themselves, why would they need God, our Savior, the Messiah?
It’s the Messiah, our God and Savior, not the people He has come to save, Who is the subject of Isaiah 53:
Isaiah 53:1-12 MKJV
(1) Who has believed our report? And to Whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
(2) For He comes up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; He has no form or majesty that we should see Him, nor an appearance that we should desire Him.
(3) He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not.
(4) Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
(5) But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed.
(6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
(7) He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
(8) He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was stricken.
(9) And He put His grave with the wicked, and with a rich one in His death; although He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
(10) Yet it pleased the LORD to crush Him; to grieve Him; that He should put forth His soul as a guilt-offering. He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
(11) He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul. He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; and He shall bear their iniquities.
(12) Therefore I will divide to Him with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death; and He was counted among the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for transgressors.
As explained in The 76 Jewish Questions:
“How can this Scripture, written to the nation of Israel that has gone astray, be promising redemption by the hands of those who are lost and in need of salvation? The Scriptures are clear this is not the case. Is “Servant” plural or singular? The answer is given in that the One spoken of here, Who heals Israel with His stripes, is the Man (singular) of sorrows. It is speaking of an individual, not a nation.
God, through the prophet Isaiah, also tells us that this is something only He could do. He looked for a man to intercede for Him, but there was none. If all are guilty, how could any, or all, of the sinful nation provide a suitable and righteous sacrifice? Hear what God says to Israel:
‘And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was no one to uphold; therefore My own arm has saved for Me; and My fury upheld Me’ (Isaiah 63:5).
‘And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness sustained Him’ (Isaiah 59:16).
There is no question about the identity of the One Who brought salvation to Israel. Some may say we don’t see the nation of Israel believing as of yet. That, too, was known and declared:
‘And now, says the LORD Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, Though Israel is not gathered, yet I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength’ (Isaiah 49:5).”
When the Messiah turns Israel from their sins to God, then they will also serve to turn others from their sins, once and for all. It will be as Shaul, a.k.a. Paul the apostle, said:
“For if their casting away is the reconciling of the world, what is their reception except life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15 MKJV)
The Suffering of the Jews
“Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews.”
The Jewish people will be redeemed after they confess and forsake their sins, recognizing that all the things they suffered at the hands of the nations, they brought on themselves for disobeying God, even as Moses and the prophets foretold (otherwise, God is unjust, and He isn’t):
Leviticus 26:38-45 ESV
(38) And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
(39) And those of you who are left shall rot away in your enemies’ lands because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.
(40) But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers in their treachery that they committed against Me, and also in walking contrary to Me,
(41) so that I walked contrary to them and brought them into the land of their enemies–if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity,
(42) then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
(43) But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned My rules and their soul abhorred My statutes.
(44) Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break My covenant with them, for I am the LORD their God.
(45) But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.
To blame the Gentiles for their woes is for Israel to blame God Who sent the judgment according to their rebellion and mistreatment of Him. The Jewish people won’t be redeemed until they particularly confess their sins of persecuting the servants of God and God Himself, the Messiah.
Zechariah 12:10, 13:1 MKJV
(10) And I will pour on the house of David, and on the people of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be bitter over Him, as the bitterness over the firstborn….
(1) In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the people of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
God Never Started a Religion
Simmons’ final point:
“4) Jewish Belief is Based Solely on National Revelation
Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is God’s true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, they do not prove he is a genuine prophet. All the miracles show ? assuming they are genuine ? is that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy.
Judaism, unique among all of the world’s major religions, does not rely on ‘claims of miracles’ as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of ‘miracles’ to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4).
Of the thousands of religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation ? i.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He’ll tell everyone, not just one person.
Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):
The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyone’s belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.
What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others… as it says, ‘Face to face, God spoke with you…’ The Torah also states: ‘God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us ? who are all here alive today.’ (Deut. 5:3)
Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago.”
This argument is based on the altogether false premise that faith in God is a religion rather than a matter of personal revelation. Nowhere in the Bible do you see God creating a religion, though everywhere you see Him revealing Himself and His will to His people.
Abraham, the father of those who have been given Godly faith, didn’t start a formal worship practice and liturgy such as Simmons’, but walked according to the revelation he received from God, as do all his spiritual children to this day.
Genesis 18:17-19 ESV
(17) The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
(18) seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
(19) For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has promised him.”
Moses, by faith and revelation from God, did as personally commanded in delivering the Law and ordinances of the Levitical priesthood to Israel. The ordinances served as a shadow that heralded the coming of God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who fulfills the Passover sacrifice and brings us into the Tabernacle of God.
We now keep the Feasts in Messiah, possessing them as a reality within by a new nature, which is why God removed the physical Temple and its priesthood that performed the ordinances of the Feasts, they being no longer necessary. These observances were never meant to be worshipped or performed in a distorted and truncated form as “authentic” and “holy” religion, but to point us to the coming of the Lord as Messiah.
Access to the Holy of Holies in Heaven, by the faith of Messiah, has replaced the earthly construct of the things that served as prophetic signs and allegories in times past, as God intended, not only for Israel, but for all nations:
“For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7 ESV).
“Yet the number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the Living God’” (Hosea 1:10 MKJV).
The Jews, having lost the Temple and priesthood with its ordinances, have disrespected the Torah they presume to worship by replacing it with the so-called “oral Torah” and Talmud, which are concoctions of men, not the Word of God. They cling to an empty shell, even as they have defined it by their own imaginations, because they discarded the Substance of Life within from God Who gave them everything. When He came in the flesh, they murdered Him because He threatened their power structure and self-importance.
Now they call their denial of Messiah and bastardization of God’s Word the “original religion,” claiming it comes from His speaking to them on Sinai, an audacious mischaracterization if ever there was one.
Did God command them to wear skullcaps?
Did He command them to wear tefillin?
Did He command them to make rote prayers and to daven?
Did He command them to carry the Torah scroll around the camp and to kiss it?
Did He forbid eating meat and dairy together?
Did He speak to His people in a foreign language, as so many synagogues outside of Israel do, conducting services with canned prayers in Hebrew, a language the congregants don’t understand?
No, these religious Jews do as they please, casting aside Moses’ warning as they did the LORD their God:
“You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2 ESV).
The religion Simmons practices is a contrivance of men, an evilly imaginative activity of the self-important who seek to substitute blemished sacrifice for faith and obedience to God while gaining men’s praise. It has nothing whatsoever to do with God speaking to Israel on Mount Sinai. On the contrary, it’s unholy pretentiousness that God never asked for and is readily discarded when His people turn to Him to worship in spirit and in truth.
We admit that religion based on the Bible’s teaching of morals has some advantage over total lawlessness, but without faith, all religion utterly fails to bring one into compliance with God and His blessings. Indeed, religion brings about the opposite because it opposes God by giving Him lip-service without obedience of the heart. The Bible and history well document the catastrophic consequences of men practicing their righteousness in God’s Name.
Jesus warned His disciples of what they would suffer at the hands of the religious:
“They shall put you out of the synagogue. But an hour is coming that everyone who kills you will think that he bears God service” (John 16:2 MKJV).
A country has laws, some of which are necessary and good, but that doesn’t make its citizens law-abiding. Israel was originally given the Law of God at Sinai, but not all had faith to fulfill the Law. That’s why most of those who heard the voice of God at the mountain perished in the wilderness. What they heard wasn’t mixed with faith. They didn’t believe God, and they repeatedly provoked Him to anger.
Within a year of hearing God’s voice on Sinai, He told them they wouldn’t enter the Promised Land, but rather their carcasses would fall in the wilderness on account of their disobedience:
Numbers 14:11-37 MKJV
(11) And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people provoke Me? And how long will it be before they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shown among them?
(12) I will strike them with the pestilence and will disinherit them, and will make of you a greater nation and mightier than they.”
(13) And Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear, for You have brought up this people in Your might from among them.
(14) And they will say to the inhabitant of this land, They have heard that You, the LORD, are among this people, Who is seen eye to eye. You are the LORD, and Your cloud stands over them, and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night.
(15) And will You kill this people as one man? Then the nations who have heard Your fame will speak, saying,
(16) Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which He swore to them, therefore He has slain them in the wilderness.
(17) And now, I beseech You, let the power of my Lord be great, according as You have spoken, saying,
(18) The LORD is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation.
(19) I beseech You, pardon the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your mercy, and as You have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.”
(20) And the LORD said, “I have pardoned according to your word.
(21) But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
(22) Because all those men who have seen My glory and My miracles which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted Me now these ten times, and have not listened to My voice,
(23) surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked Me see it.
(24) But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and has followed Me fully, I will bring him into the land into which he went. And his seed shall possess it.”
(25) Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites lived in the valley. “Tomorrow turn and go into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”
(26) And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
(27) “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmurs against Me? I have heard the murmurings of the sons of Israel which they murmur against Me.
(28) Say to them, As I live, says the LORD, as you have spoken in My ears, so I will do to you.
(29) Your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against Me,
(30) you shall certainly not come into the land which I swore to make you live in, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
(31) But your little ones, which you said should be a prey, I will bring them in and they shall know the land which you have despised.
(32) But as for you, your bodies shall fall in this wilderness.
(33) And your sons shall feed in the wilderness forty years and bear your fornications, until your dead bodies have wasted in the wilderness.
(34) According to the number of the days in which you searched the land, forty days, each day for a year you shall bear your iniquities, forty years; and you shall know My alienation.
(35) I the LORD have spoken; I will surely do it to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. They shall be destroyed in this wilderness, and there they shall die.”
(36) And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report upon the land,
(37) even those men that brought up the evil report upon the land died by the plague before the LORD.
So why did God speak to the children of Israel at Sinai? It had nothing to do with starting a religion. God spoke in order for the people to know they would be held accountable for the fact that He was speaking to them through Moses:
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever’” (Exodus 19:9 ESV).
Here’s what happened to the Jews, and here’s where they’re at as a people to this day: The nation of Israel utterly failed to listen and believe God (and His prophets up till and including the Messiah), so they stayed in dead religion (while many abandoned belief in God altogether).
Man’s religion is an abomination to God. The Jews took on the customs and ways of those God destroyed, who polluted the land before them, and as with their predecessors, the Jews were also removed by God, but not forever. He has kept them as a sign of His sovereignty and mercy, and according to the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Simmons and his fellows follow an unholy mixture, hypocritically kissing the Scriptures in their synagogues as they defile God’s Words by their ways and doings.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (Isaiah 29:13-14 KJV).
Has that not all happened? Those whose eyes are open to see do indeed marvel.
Religion is a substitute for obedience to God, and as such, a magnet for His wrath.
God has something entirely different in mind for the Jews than that which their religious leaders are trying to sell them:
“But the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned, from which some, having swerved, have turned aside to foolish talking, desiring to be teachers of the Law, neither understanding what they say nor that which they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:5-7 MKJV).
The Example of the Bronze Serpent
Here’s an example of how the Israelites didn’t believe God or His servant Moses, though He took care of them and bore patiently as they stuck to their self-serving religious ways that caused them to pollute and destroy what He had given them:
Numbers 21:5-9 ESV
(5) And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”
(6) Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.
(7) And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
(8) And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”
(9) So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
We read of what a righteous king of Judah, Hezekiah, did with the bronze serpent seven hundred years later:
“And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done. He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan)” (2 Kings 18:3-4 ESV).
Who will fault God for His judgments on Israel? Wasn’t He patient? Several hundred years later, the true meaning of the serpent on the pole was explained by Messiah:
John 3:14-21 MKJV
(14) “But even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
(15) so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(16) For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
(17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.
(18) He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God.
(19) And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.
(20) For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
(21) But he who practices truth comes to the Light so that his works may be revealed, that they exist, having been worked in God.”
The Jews, in their idolatry, have continued to ignore, pervert, and denigrate God’s Words in order to substitute their own words and a form of godliness He despises. Woe to the religious! How foolish and arrogant their thinking and ways!
If the Jews who heard the voice of God fell, how can the Jews who haven’t heard His voice, yet follow those who fell, not be fallen as well? Without hearing God oneself and obeying Him by His grace, all are perfectly without hope. Religion will never save anyone, because it depends on man’s righteousness and power to lift himself off the ground by his shoelaces.
Only a power outside of ourselves can save us, hence our need for Messiah, Who came as the Perfect Lamb of God and fulfilled the Passover. We are saved by His blood because the life in His blood cleanses us from all sin and frees the mind from lies and religious nonsense in order to know Him as He is. Only then can we understand and live by God’s ordained commandments and ways.
The faith of Christ is the continuation and culmination of a relationship with God that began with Abraham. As Jesus said to the Jews:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56 KJV).
The Jews who believed in Christ when He appeared, as had their father Abraham, were persecuted by the Jews who didn’t believe. Isn’t it time for Jewry to recognize and confess themselves as the original persecutors of the people of God, their own brothers, and that they have reaped many times over what they’ve sown, according to His Law?
Luke 23:26-31 MKJV
(26) And as they led Him away, they laid hold on one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country. And they laid the cross on him, that he might carry it after Jesus.
(27) And a great multitude of people were following Him, and of women who also were bewailing and lamenting Him.
(28) But turning to them, Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
(29) For behold, the days are coming in which they shall say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts which did not suckle.’
(30) And they shall begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ And to the hills, ‘Cover us!’
(31) For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”
Now that we’ve established God never started a religion, new or old, let’s deal more completely with the matter of how God establishes faith in those who believe. While miracles aren’t the basis for faith, they are given by God to build faith, contrary to what Simmons says, who leaves his listeners with no way to tell whether the one who works miracles is from God or not. That’s because he has no way of knowing himself.
It is plainly wrong to say, as Simmons cites Maimonides once again, that God didn’t grant the miracles Moses performed to prove He had sent Moses. Listen to what Moses himself reported:
Exodus 4:1-9 ESV
(1) Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’”
(2) The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”
(3) And He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.
(4) But the LORD said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”–so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand–
(5) “that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
(6) Again, the LORD said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow.
(7) Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.
(8) “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign.
(9) If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
How can one believe anything Maimonides, Simmons, or their religious companions say about God, when they so blatantly contradict the source of their presumed authority? Plainly, one can’t.
True Judaism is circumcision of the heart. It doesn’t come by witnessing external miracles, but is the result of an internal miracle. Hearing the voice of God 3,300 years ago didn’t change the hearts of those who heard back then, much less the hearts of those who read about it now. It’s the personal and present witness of God by an inner revelation, a.k.a. faith, that makes one a Jew in spirit.
Only God can give this faith, which is what every Jew who believed God received from Him from the beginning, starting with Abraham and Sarah and followed by Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Immerser, and Saul of Tarsus.
And the children of faith will recognize one another and the testimony of God because they share in the same Spirit. There is only one God, one faith, one baptism into one Messiah and His Body, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
John 11:47-52 ESV
(47) So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.
(48) If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
(49) But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all.
(50) Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”
(51) He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
(52) and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
But listen to this, people: Sinai wasn’t the only time the Jewish people heard the voice of God. Here is another occurrence, which included the nations to whom God opened up salvation by faith in His Person – the Messiah:
John 12:9-33 MKJV
(9) Then a great crowd of the Jews learned that He was there. And they did not come for Jesus’ sake only, but also that they might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.
(10) But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus to death also,
(11) because many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus because of him.
(12) On the next day, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, a great crowd who had come to the Feast
(13) took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him. And they cried, “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel Who comes in the Name of the Lord!”
(14) And finding an ass colt, Jesus sat on it; as it is written,
(15) “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King comes sitting on the foal of an ass.”
(16) But His disciples did not know these things at the first. But when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him.
(17) Then the crowd witnessed, those who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead.
(18) Because of this the crowd also met Him, because they heard that He had done this miracle.
(19) Then the Pharisees said among themselves, “Do you see how you gain nothing? Behold, the world has gone after Him.”
(20) And there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the Feast.
(21) Then these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”
(22) Philip came and told Andrew. And again Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
(23) And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.
(24) Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.
(25) He who loves his life shall lose it. And he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
(26) If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also My servant shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
(27) And My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this cause I came to this hour.
(28) Father, glorify Your Name!” Then there came a voice from the heaven saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
(29) Then the crowd who stood by and heard said that it thundered. Others said, “An angel spoke to Him.”
(30) Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sakes.
(31) Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
(32) And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.”
(33) But He said this, signifying what kind of death He was about to die.
After His death, Messiah fulfilled His Word by raising Himself after three nights and three days in the grave and proved it by appearing to His apostles and more than five hundred others in His resurrected body. How’s that for another Jewish group experience? The Word of God by Moses says that every word should be established by two or three witnesses… here we have five hundred plus!
And many more met with Him after His ascension and return at Shavuot (Pentecost), as with Saul of Tarsus, continuing to the present day. We have also met Messiah and experienced the Feasts of God in Him, declaring Him Lord of all. God has provided ample testimony of the resurrection and power of His Son, Jesus Christ, by Whom we live and speak.
Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus
So what’s the real reason Jews don’t believe in Jesus?
(Simmons and those he represents have no right to speak for every Jew, and it’s been made amply clear they don’t speak for God. They can only speak for themselves, and this they have eloquently done by presenting their unbelief and error as truth. Consider the chutzpah of telling any people, carte blanche, what they do or don’t believe!)
The real reason the Jews as a whole don’t believe in Jesus Christ is because God hasn’t given it to them… yet.
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you should be wise within yourselves; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the nations has comes in” (Romans 11:25 MKJV).
God has blinded the Jews. The Jews don’t believe in Jesus because it hasn’t been their time. As a result of their unbelief, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, was preached to the Gentile nations, bringing those ordained for salvation in this present evil age into the knowledge of the God of Israel.
The faith of Christ has been withheld from the Jews, without which fulfilling the Law or pleasing God is impossible. No man can see God or enter His Kingdom without the active faith of Christ, Who is the righteousness of God in human form.
God has kept the Jews in unbelief until the appointed time, which is now. As it is written:
“And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob’” (Romans 11:26 MKJV).
God has raised the nation of Israel from the ashes of the Holocaust. This is the gathering of the bones and assembling of the body according to Ezekiel’s prophecy:
“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a noise. And behold, a shaking! And the bones came near, a bone to its bone. And I watched. And behold! The sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above. But there was no breath [life, spirit] in them.”
Now God will raise Israel from their spiritual slumber of death to fulfill the rest of Ezekiel’s words:
Ezekiel 37:9-14 MKJV
(9) And He said to me, “Prophesy to the Spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the Spirit, ‘So says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe on these dead ones so that they may live.’”
(10) So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the Spirit came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
(11) And He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried and our hope is lost; we are cut off by ourselves.’
(12) Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘So says the Lord GOD: Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, and will bring you into the land of Israel.
(13) And you shall know that I am the LORD when I have opened your graves, O My people, and have brought you up out of your graves.
(14) And I shall put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. And you shall know that I the LORD have spoken and have done it, says the LORD.’”
God hasn’t raised the nation of Israel in order for the Jews to destroy themselves or be destroyed, as their enemies would have it, but to save them and the world.
“For if their casting away is the reconciling of the world, what is their reception except life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15 MKJV)
Read more in our section – Israel and the Jew.
To the God of Israel be the glory; so it is and will be! Amen!
Particular Links to Read…
From our site:
The Key for Israel and the Jew
Raising the Flag and Nation of Israel
Behold, Israel and the Jew!
Israel, the Explanation for the Horrendous Contradictions You Suffer
Israel, Is Your God Unjust?
Jews, Why I Am for You
Your God Stands for You, Israel
A Word to the Enemies of Israel
The Son of Man and His Mission in the Israel of God
Prophecies Fulfilled by Yeshua/Jesus Christ, the Messiah (from The Refiner’s Fire):
Note – We aren’t recommending The Refiner’s Fire as a site that teaches the ways of God and His Christ, only the appropriate and factual material presented in this case. The author has done an admirable job of compiling various prophecies in the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus Christ’s appearing and ministry as Messiah.
An SDA presents us with vicious slander of Israel. With honesty and mediocre intelligence, it will be obvious that the propaganda unleashed on Israel by the world at large is nothing short of wicked deception. The malignancy prevalent today is a mystery - it makes no sense, but it is very real. By God’s grace, we will stand to oppose and expose the libel of Jews in Israel for what it is - Satan’s strategy and machinations to destroy those whom God has chosen for Himself.
One need not discover the campsite of ancient Israel in the wilderness of Sinai to prove the veracity of the Scriptures. All one needs for proof is right here today, in the nation of Israel and the person of the Jew. There is no more vivid or certain evidence for the truth of the Biblical record. No people have foretold, through their own prophets, their own demise and resurrection from the dead. This is not the work of mortal man, which was confirmed by the King of the Jews, Who laid down and raised His own body from the dead.
We received this question: Please could you explain something to me, if possible? What/who is ... a Gentile a Christian a Jew a Hebrew a Spiritual Israelite a Child of God?