Deep Questions Asked by Every Seeker

 I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew!

You do not give up your Jewish identity to receive Jesus. On the contrary, you gain a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through your walk with the Jewish Messiah.

 A person is either Jewish or Christian. I’m Jewish. 

No, you are either Jewish, Gentile, or of the Messiah. Non-Jewish (Gentile) followers of Messiah Jesus are called Christians; many Jewish believers in the Messiah prefer to be called Messianic Jews.

Doesn’t belief in Jesus mean that you’re no longer Jewish?

This question really isn’t the issue. The question “How can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?” is better answered with another question: “Who is Jesus?”

If Jesus, as claimed, is Israel’s promised Messiah, then according to the Scriptures, in order to be a truly observant Jew one must acknowledge and believe in Jesus as the Messiah.

One is either Jewish or Gentile by birth—nothing can change that. According to the Bible, a Jew is a person who is descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Jesus and His earliest followers were Jewish. They never renounced their Jewish heritage. Nor were they expected to do so. Believing in and trusting the Jewish Messiah can add to one’s appreciation of Judaism.

 If Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, why don’t more Jews believe in Him?

Judaism today is divided into various groups: Reformed, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox, and Hasidic. Each group accepts certain truths from the Talmud and certain truths from the Bible. The distinctive quality of Messianic Judaism is that it is biblically Jewish—it holds to the absolute authority of the Scriptures. This is important because to all other Jewish groups the Bible is not the final authority. Therefore, the Messiahship of Jesus is not an issue that is approached with an open mind, since the interpretations of today’s rabbis depend totally on the opinions and traditions of their forefathers who rejected Jesus.

Those Jews who have studied the question of the Messianic claims of Jesus with a truly open mind have come to surprising conclusions, and many rabbis and Jewish leaders have indeed accepted Jesus as their Messiah. Some Jewish people have rejected Jesus because they fail to understand His dual role. They have looked for a king, a political leader who would free them from their oppressors and provide peace and prosperity. Jesus will accomplish this in the future, when He returns to re-establish the throne of David.

The Hebrew Scriptures indicate that the Jewish people would not recognize their Messiah when He first appeared to die as an atonement for sin (see Is. 53:1-3).

We Jews believe in one God, not three. 

Followers of Jesus also believe in one God, not three. Most Jews recite the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one!” However, the translation of the New Jewish Version, recognized as the most accurate English translation produced by Jewish scholars, states: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” The point of the Shema is to demand absolute faith in the Lord alone, with no gods

before Him. The Hebrew word echad translated “alone” here, means “one” in the sense of “that one alone.” 

In the twelfth century, Moses Maimonides, writing to counter Christian and Muslim beliefs, compiled his thirteen articles of faith, recited by observant Jews daily. One of the articles states that Jews must believe that God is yachid— “absolute unity.” But this is unscriptural, since the Hebrew Bible gives clear indications of God’s composite unity. 

Genesis 19:24 states that “…the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens.” In other words, the Lord, who had been on the earth talking to Abraham (read Genesis 18:1-33 very carefully), rained down fire and brimstone from the Lord out of the heavens. 

The Spirit of God came upon many people in the Scriptures. For instance, Isaiah 61:1 states, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me….” 

And, finally, who is God’s Son in Proverbs 30:4? 

Who has gone up to Heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of His hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in His cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and the name of His Son? Tell me if you know! 

Isaiah 42:1 speaks of God’s Servant (that is, the Messiah) upon whom God places His Spirit so that “He will bring justice to the nations.” Here in one passage is a reference to the Lord (the Father), the Messiah (the Son), and the Spirit. 

Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him and He will bring justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1).

Jewish people don’t need a middleman.

Judaism historically has required a priesthood, the Levites, to minister between the Israelites and their holy God. Leviticus 1:15 directed that only a priest (one of Aaron’s sons) could sprinkle the blood of atonement in the Tent of Meeting for the forgiveness of sin. 

Followers of Jesus now have direct access to God through the mediatorial role performed by Jesus. We now approach the Lord directly and go right into His holy presence. No Jew in Bible days, aside from the High Priest (and only once a year, even for him), could ever do this. 

Jewish people do not believe in human sacrifice. 

Followers of Jesus do not believe in this either. We as human beings have no right to sacrifice another human being for our sins. Only God has the absolute right to give life and take it away. Because the penalty for sin is death, God in His great mercy provided His own sacrifice to pay for the sins of the world (see Ezek. 18:4). His own Son willingly suffered the death penalty for us. 

It is the absolutely clear teaching of Isaiah 53 that God would place the punishment due to His people upon an innocent and righteous sufferer who would die for Israel’s sins. This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah. 

Judaism does not believe in original sin.

Depending on one’s definition of original sin, one may say that Judaism does or does not believe in this teaching. Psalm 51:5 states, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” This clearly teaches the inherent sinfulness of humanity. And, according to some Jewish traditions, all human souls were in Adam when he sinned. Thus, when Adam sinned, the entire human race fell with him.

There can be no question, however, that the Hebrew Bible teaches the universality of sin. Genesis 8:21 says that “…every inclination [Hebrew yetzer] of [humanity’s] heart is evil from childhood.” And Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” Proverbs 20:9 asks, “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’?” And Isaiah 53:6 states that “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” The sinfulness of humanity is clearly taught throughout the entire Hebrew Bible.

Religions are all alike. They all have some good points and can help people to lead worthwhile lives. 

Faith in the Messiah is not a religion; it is God’s declared way for humankind to be reconciled to Him. While there are many good points to commend in some religions, this does not mean that God is satisfied with everything in “religion.”

What is important is not what people decide about God, but rather what God decides about us. We must approach God according to His standards. It is not up to us to devise our own way of approaching Him. Since He has given us a way to have our sins forgiven, it is our privilege to accept His grace.

 Why did God allow six million Jews to die in the Holocaust?

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us… (Deuteronomy 29:29).

God has chosen to keep some of the reasons for the Holocaust a mystery. But some reasons have been revealed.

God tells us that if we obeyed the law, we would be a nation of priests and blessed above all people on the face of the earth. However, if we violated the law, we would lose our homeland and be scattered to the four corners of the earth. And wherever we would go, we would be persecuted (see Deut. 28). 

It was as if God’s law were a picket fence of protection around us. However, once we went out of the gate of protection, we would be destroyed.

In addition to this warning in His Word, God always sent prophets calling for repentance in the hope that judgment could be averted. Sometimes we repented, as the Ninevites did when warned by Jonah, and sometimes we ignored God’s message, as in Jerusalem when Jeremiah warned of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion. Before the Holocaust of Hitler, God warned us through fiery Zionists like Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky. In 1939, Jabotinsky said, “I see a horrible vision. Time is growing short for you to be spared.”

Even with the warnings, why a God of love allowed the Holocaust is a secret we will not fully understand until we get to Heaven.

What happens to Jews who do not believe in Jesus? 

The only way to be granted forgiveness of sin is belief in Jesus. Jesus said, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Mark 12:29). This is called the Shema and is chanted by God-fearing Jews.

Jeremiah says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

Some believe that many Jews, sincerely seeking God, died with the Shema on their lips and had revelations of Jesus in concentration camps and during other times of trial and tribulation.

Only God knows those who are seeking Him with all their heart. We cannot know what is in any heart but our own. Who do you say Jesus is?

 How can a virgin have a child?

Is anything impossible for God? Sarah gave birth to Isaac when she was past ninety. Besides, which is more difficult: for a virgin to conceive, or for God to create a human being from dust?

Actually, Messianic prophecy indicates that while Messiah was to be a real man, He was also to be greater than any man, one of His titles even being “Mighty God” (see Is. 9:6; 9:5 in some versions). The virgin birth explains how this could be possible: Messiah would be born by human and divine means.

The Hebrew word in Isaiah 7:14 can today be translated “virgin” or “a young, unmarried woman.” Interestingly enough, when Jewish scholars translated Isaiah 7:14 into Greek (Septuagint) about two hundred years before Jesus, they translated the Hebrew word almah with the Greek word parthenos which means “virgin.” It is this Jewish translation which Matthew quoted in Matthew 1:23.

It is clear that the Messiah, who was to be a special and supernatural person, had a special and supernatural birth.

Christians have always hated and persecuted the Jewish people.

Not everyone who calls himself a Christian is a Christian. Jesus, who commanded His followers to love all people, said:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them… (Matthew 7:15-16).

If a person does not bear the Christian “fruit” of love, compassion, and mercy, then he has no right to call himself

Do Jewish people need to repent?

The Hebrew word for “repent” is shuv (pronounced shoov), and it literally means, “turn, turn back.” Many times God spoke through His prophets to Israel saying: “Return to Me and I will return to you” (see Zech. 1:3-4; Joel 2:12-14). In other words, if Israel would repent then God would relent.

But do Jews need to “turn back” today? The answer is emphatically “Yes!” since:

All Jews are members of the human race. 

All human beings sin. 

Whoever sins “turns away” from God.

Whoever has “turned away” needs to “turn back.” 

Have you sinned in thought, word, or deed? Have you stolen something, or committed a lustful act, or hated someone in your heart, or been ungrateful, or abused your body, or told a lie, or been filled with pride? Is there any way at all, large or small, that you have turned away from God? Then whoever you are, Jew or Gentile, you need to repent (“turn back”).

Doesn’t Isaiah 53 refer to the Jewish people as a whole?

The earliest Jewish interpretations of chapter 53, which really begins with Isaiah 52:13, said that it spoke of the Messiah. It is clear for many reasons that it cannot refer to the Jewish people as a whole, or even to a righteous remnant within the nation. This passage also cannot refer to the “Messianic Age” because verse three would then have the people reject a Utopia: “He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows…” (Is. 53:3). Furthermore, Israel has never been a silent sufferer: “…so He did not open His mouth” (Is. 53:7). And, who is “my people” if “he” refers to Israel? “…For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken” (Is. 53:8).

The prophet Hosea describes Israel as a harlot; Israel, unlike the Messiah described in the passage, is not without sin: “…nor was any deceit in His mouth” (Is. 53:9).

Furthermore, according to the Torah, the Jewish people would only suffer if they were unrighteous. Nowhere is it ever taught that Israel would suffer for the sins of the world. Only Jesus has ever fulfilled this prophecy.

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