2

It seems that Christian apologetics very much rests on the historical veracity of the resurrection. That is, if we can verify the resurrection, than we have an objective rationale to believe in the Christian faith.

Let's assume for a moment that William Craig is correct that there is good evidence for the resurrection. Even so, does this conclude that Jesus was in fact who he said he was, i.e. the son of God?

Deuteronomy 13:1-4 reads as follows:

"If there appears among you a prophet or a dream-diviner and he gives you a sign or a portent, saying, “Let us follow and worship another god”—whom you have not known—even if the sign or portent that he named to you comes true, do not heed the words of that prophet or that dream-diviner. For the LORD your God is testing you to see whether you really love the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. Follow none but the LORD your God, and revere none but Him; observe His commandments alone, and heed only His orders; worship none but Him, and hold fast to Him."

And the resurrection served as a sign:

"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:38-40)

As far as a Pharisee Jew is concerned, Jesus is certainly a god "whom you have not known"; Jesus and the Trinity were completely unknown to the Jews. Thus his sign should be disregarded.

Now you might be tempted to respond that Jesus is indeed that same God that they knew, but he just didn't come out of the closet as Jesus until later. The question would then be: how are we to know that Jesus is, in fact the same god? For that Christian apologetics has turned to the resurrection as evidence.

But the verse clearly states: " even if the sign or portent that he named to you comes true, do not heed the words" thus excluding supernatural signs as evidence! (In fact, in Exodus 7:11 even Pharoah's sorcerers were capable of performing supernatural feats.)

So we are back to square one; first we need evidence that Jesus was indeed the son of God. Then and only then, does the historicity of the resurrection have any relevance to affirming Jesus. Without prior evidence, it seems justifiable to write Jesus off as a false prophet.

Now many are quick to point out that Jesus claimed to be that very same god of the OT and even admonished Israel for not revering the god of the OT. Nonetheless, this doesn't prove that he is that very same god. Where are we to look for that verification? The resurrection? But that may just be another "sign" or "portent".

It seems that the only acceptable form of validation must come from the Old Testament itself i.e fulfilled messianic prophecies. That is, the historicity of a supernatural feat has no place in the debate between Christians and Jews.

Please note what I'm NOT saying:

  1. Christianity therefore must be false
  2. Deuteronomy 13 by definition must exclude Jesus
  3. The purpose of the resurrection was to serve as a "proof"

What I AM saying:

The Resurrection in and of itself can be evaded on supernaturalistic grounds.

New contributor
Big Mouth is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • 1
    Just out of interest, what proof do you have that the son of the widow in Zarephath, the Shunammite, was actually raised from the dead ? II Kings 4. – Nigel J Sep 10 at 11:57
  • @NigelJ I do not have proof of that event, but I do not see why this is relevant to the question. I'm not suggesting that Jesus wasn't raised from the dead. Im simply question why this event, even if verified, is as consequential as Christian theologians make it out to be. – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 13:17
  • 1
    @OrangeDog That seems like special pleading; it requires a very specific and not guaranteed definition of "sign" or "portent". A skeptic can just give the more obvious definition - a miracle, any miracle - is not a proof of divine inspiration. This seems like a very weak link in the resurrection proof that's commonly offered. – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 14:11
  • 2
    This is a mere rationalization. In Exodus 7:11, the Bible explicitly shows Pharoah's sorcerers performing a supernatural feat; turning a staff into a snake. So there is no reason to think there is a difference between an actual supernatural feat and a prediction. Additionally, if one can predict a future event accurately that is called prophecy; a prophetic vision is certainly a supernatural event! weather it is graphic and fanciful or not is irrelevant. – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 15:24
  • 1
    @BigMouth Reasonable people consider the whole picture. Similarly, just like the original audience of Jesus, when evaluating whether Jesus's claim as God is credible or not, we will need to look from different angles. I think when you say resurrection is "irrelevant", it is too strong, leading to tunnel vision. Christians evaluate resurrection along with many other factors in making the decision to trust what Jesus says: his miracles, his interpretation of the Scriptures, apostle's martyrdom, testimony of the Holy Spirit, miracles post resurrection, etc. – GratefulDisciple Sep 10 at 18:20
9

For mainstream Christian denominations (including Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, mainline Protestants, and Evangelicals), Resurrection is NOT the key to Jesus's identity. Rather, the resurrection shows the VICTORY of Jesus over the power of death due to His obedience to God the Father. If you read the four Gospels, the speeches in the book of Acts, and the letters of Paul, the identity of Jesus as the promised Messiah was determined based on the PROPHECIES in the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament by Christians now). There are overwhelming details in the prophecies that matched the details of Jesus's birth, ministry, suffering, and the manner of his death on the cross. See my answer to another question for a list of key Bible verses that Christians deem to point to Jesus.

Your charge that Jesus taught His disciples to worship another god is not true because Jesus worshiped the same God that Abraham and Moses worshiped. The writings in the New Testament consistently show that when the 12 apostles spread the good news (that God the Father has finally sent the messiah as He promised) and established churches throughout the Roman Empire, they exhorted the church members to worship the same God the Father as well (Example, see Romans 12-13:10 where Paul instructed the church in Rome to live in the manner pleasing to God the Father; Jesus was barely mentioned and out of focus).

Of course Christians also worship Jesus as Lord, because Christians believe that the essence of Jesus is the same as the essence of God the Father. But yes, the Pharisees in Jesus's generation didn't believe that it was God the Father who sent Jesus, so understandably this led to the charge that Jesus was a false prophet and more seriously that Jesus blasphemed God by claiming that He shared God the Father's essence. Even the famous missionary Paul (a Pharisee who studied under the famous Rabbi Gamaliel) also hunted down Christians before his conversion (possibly so the land was not polluted with their "sins" which could have led to the anger of God the Father). After Paul became Christian, the religious authorities in Jerusalem wanted to kill him too, just as they killed Jesus for blasphemy; see Acts 21:26-22:23.

I agree with you that the Resurrection on its own is not enough to determine Jesus's identity. So if you notice, in the Gospels Jesus explained, especially after his resurrection, how the prophecies pointed to Him (see for example Luke 24:13-53). Notice also how verse 53 says that not only Jesus's disciples worshiped God the Father for sending Jesus, they worshiped IN THE TEMPLE, where every Jew throughout the Roman Empire believed to have the presence of the God of Abraham, Jacob, David, etc. It is clear then, from the very beginning, how the earliest disciples never wavered from associating the God of Jesus with the God of their ancestors. The resurrection (along with the miracles which Jesus performed prior to his death) was simply to AUTHENTICATE that Jesus was who He said He was. If we believe the Gospels to be roughly historically accurate (i.e. not Legend), then we are left with the famous trilemma when considering Jesus's claim of who He is.

ADDENDUM

After further reading such as here, I can see how my answer above will not be sufficient for you, because Judaism's own presuppositions judge a priori (using Deut 13:1-5) how:

  1. Christian's God the Father is considered a different God than Judaism's God, although both Paul and Jesus emphatically credit the God of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Isaiah with all the miracles and the sending of the Messiah.

  2. "God is not allowed" to update the Torah, so therefore Christian teaching of how Mosaic law has been superseded by the New Covenant is considered heretical outright, although according to Christians the laws that Christians are supposed to keep with the help of the New Heart (given by God) are purer and more universal.

  3. Even if Jesus performed greater miracles than Elijah and Elisha to show that the power came from God the Father, Judaism will reject it as irrelevant, and uses Deut 13:1-5 to regard the miracles as lies and as coming from the devil, just as how the Pharisees claimed Jesus's power came from the devil, as in when Jesus healed a demon-possessed man.

As a result of the a priori rules above, it becomes a lot more complicated to make Christian teaching acceptable to adherents of Judaism. But I did find a blogger who in fact responded to a similar charge (that resurrection is irrelevant). I hope his answer helps!

On further reflection, I believe the root cause between the diverging interpretations of Deut 13:1-5 is simply a different hermeneutics when reading the Scriptures, especially because in Judaism there is Oral Torah and other authorities which significantly changes one's reading of the same passage. Yes, within Christian mainstream there are internal differences on how to interpret certain passages of Scriptures (also due to differences in hermeneutics), but they are VERY minor when compared to how Judaism reads the Hebrew Bible. Case in point: how very different Jewish interpretation of the prophetic verses commonly used by Christians to show as predicting Jesus. Another Jewish interpretation of the prophetic verses can be found here. (Both links are taken from the posts of JPH who initiated the "resurrection is irrelevant" discussion on the aforementioned blogger's site).

At this point I'm just satisfied to agree to disagree. God bless you!

  • @GratefuDisciple This is the one answer here that seems to take me at my points, I would upvote it if I could. A few comments: "Your charge that Jesus taught His disciples to worship another god is not true" I specifically preempted this: "Now you might be tempted to respond that Jesus is indeed that same God that they knew, but he just didn't come out of the closet as Jesus until later. The question is how are we to know that Jesus is, in fact, the same god?" I'm not charging that he can't be the same god, just that I have no evidence (from the resurrection at least) that he is. – Big Mouth Sep 11 at 14:44
  • You write: "I agree with you that the Resurrection on its own is not enough to determine Jesus's identity. So if you notice, in the Gospels Jesus explained, especially after his resurrection, how the prophecies pointed to Him" Bingo. This is my whole point. When WLC is debating a naturalist, the verification of the resurrection is a clear and concise checkmate, there is simply no wiggle room for supernaturalism. But when going down the prophecy route (when speaking with a Jew), it becomes a lot less black and white; many interpretations are subjective, etc.. – Big Mouth Sep 11 at 14:48
  • @Big Mouth You wrote: The question is how are we to know that Jesus is, in fact, the same god? I propose the following way (other ways are possible), taking the next step only after we're satisfied with the previous step: 1) Jesus's God is Israel's God, 2) Israel's God said Jesus is His Son, most notably in Transfiguration reported in Luke 9:28-36, 3) Israel's God resurrected Jesus as authentication (the only power who can do this), 4) Jesus ascended to heaven – GratefulDisciple Sep 11 at 16:39
  • 1
    As a Jew, I have no way of knowing #2 without granting the NT authority. As to #3, I don't concede that point. How do you know this? why is it an exception and by what standard? I think logically I'd have the right to stick to a general understanding of "sign" and "portent" but I digress... – Big Mouth Sep 11 at 16:45
  • @Big Mouth The reason I gave up is that I can predict how that way doesn't satisfy you since Orthodox Judaism's interpretation of Deut 13:1-5 is such that they "bind God's hand" from doing steps 2 and 3, claiming that the true God wouldn't contradict his own commandments in Deut 13:1-5. But if we start with God's freedom and by the relativity of the Mosaic covenant (as separate from Abrahamic and New covenant, for example), then what's preventing Israel's God from doing this? – GratefulDisciple Sep 11 at 16:47
7

Its hard to understand why you should think for a minute that Jesus taught anyone to follow any other god than the God of the Jewish Tanakh (ie the Old Testament). If you can add to your question to show how Jesus's teaching differs from the Tanakh then that would be helpful. As far as the Christian is concerned nothing Jesus taught contradicts the Tanakh, when the Tanakh is rightly understood: if you think it does then please tell us how.

Having said that, the Apostle Paul tells us that what the prophets of the Old Testament promised was that one day would be proclaimed "the gospel" (Romans 1:1,2). Now the gospel is a message. So what was promised was a new message from God. This is confirmed by the prophet Jeremiah:

Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt .... for I will forgive their iniquities, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The Apostle Paul further states that this gospel is concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:3,4).

According to the Apostle the resurrection declares Jesus is the Son of God.

The resurrection by itself shows that Jesus is from God, and that everything he said during his life was true, otherwise God would not have given a plain demonstration of his approval of Jesus by raising him from the dead. What the resurrection, by itself, cannot do is demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth is that promised Messiah of the Old Testament. In order to demonstrate that the resurrection must fulfil the prophesies of it in the Old Testament.

This is my point, the Gospel is not "just" that Jesus is the Son of God: it is that he is the promised Messiah of the Old Testament; and the resurrection, like many other events in the ministry of Jesus, is prophesied in the OT and fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus.

When Paul preached to the Greeks in the midst of the Areopagus at Athens he felt no need to prove his beliefs by any reference to the Old Testament. And he finished his message saying:

The times of this ignorance God overlooked/winked at: but now he commands all men everywhere to repent: because he has set a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he has ordained. And of this he has given assurance (some versions say "proof") unto all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:30,31)

The Old Testament, then, is not necessary to prove the resurrection, Paul made no use of it in his sermon. But the resurrection must not contradict the OT, as Isaiah says:

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20).

It is not correct to claim that "In and of itself, the resurrection proves nothing. You must bring independent proof from outside the New Testament so as no to be guilty of circular logic." Paul brought no evidence from the OT. If it is circular logic to restrict to the NT alone then why isn't it circular logic to restrict to NT and OT alone? The NT has sufficient evidence within itself to prove it is the Word of God. But as Isaiah 8:20 shows what is needed is to show that the resurrection, and the NT and the OT all agree together, that the NT does not contradict the OT.

We do not have the NT as a solitary witness for the messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth, we have the OT also as an independent witness, that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses everything might be established (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16). And in that the Jews in the main reject Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, the witness of the Tanakh is strengthened because there has obviously been no collusion between Christians and Jews in the making or preservation of the OT, seeing the two peoples oppose each other in this matter. The OT and the NT are thus two witnesses which are entirely independent.

Of course, the resurrection is no proof to those who do not want to believe: nothing is. Jesus ended one of his parables with a man claiming:

"'But if someone goes to them from the dead then they will repent.' But he said to him 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded even if someone should rise from the dead'" (Luke 16:30,31).

Jesus brings us to the same God, because he, his death, and his resurrection fulfil the prophesies of the Tanakh:-

The resurrection is found in many places in the Tanakh such as here:

After two days will he revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD... (Hosea 6:2,3).

Just as it was through suffering, the loss of a rib, that Adam gained a bride, so through suffering the Messiah would gain his Bride.. all those who would believe on him. And as Adam was raised out of his sleep to enjoy Eve, so Christ was raised out of death to delight in his Bride. And Eve was made because it was not good that man should be alone (Gen 2:18) because man was made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), from which we conclude that there is more than one person in the Godhead.

And just as Esther saved her people, the Jews, by her willingness to die, saying if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16), so Christ saves his people by actually dying. As she suffered having requested that the Jews of Shushan neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day and promising I also and my maidens will fast likewise (Esther 4:16) and afterwards went into the secret place to intercede for her people, so Christ also suffered and was in the grave three days and three nights before his ascension to intercede in Heaven for his people. And just as Esther was related both the to the Jews and the King (by marriage), so Christ is related both to us, being made a man, and to the Father, being of the same nature, God made flesh. And just as Esther had neither mother nor father, so Christ had neither father nor mother, his human nature having no human father, and his divine nature having no divine mother.

In the book of Samuel we have another picture of the resurrection. David is in a lot of trouble, his men are threatening to kill him, after he and his men return to Ziklag on the third day (1 Samuel 30:1). But David is delivered in an unexpected way: a stranger whose name we even do not know, a suffering servant, who was despised and rejected, is brought back from the edge of death, when they gave him something to eat and drink his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights (1 Samuel 30:12,13). (The word "spirit came again" (KJV) probably means his "breathing returned to normal", his breathing had been very shallow, he was very close to death.) It was through this man, and through what this man said, that deliverance came. The same with Jesus of Nazareth: even though he might have seemed to be a nobody and a stranger to the Jews, yet it is through his resurrection, and the Gospel message that he gives, that deliverance comes to those who believe in him.

When Adam and Eve sinned God promised them a Saviour, Genesis 3:15, who would bruise Satan's head but be bruised in the heel himself in the process. It was by faith in this promise of God that those before the time of Abraham were able to be saved, and call upon the name of the LORD (Gen 4:26).

Abraham was promised that this Saviour would be one of his descendants. And Abraham believed God's promises and this was what made Abraham righteous before God. And, as a token of the covenant He made with Abraham, God gave him the sign of circumcision to him and his descendants. God was pleased with Abraham because of Abraham's faith which he had before he was circumcised: Abraham believed God and He accounted it to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6). Circumcision, then, should act as a reminder of how Abraham pleased God.

David was promised one of his descendants would sit on his throne forever:

And when thy days be fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, which shall proceed out of your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13).

This King would be from David's own body. He would live forever. No one today, in fact no one since the destruction of the Jewish public records in Jerusalem by the Romans (in either the first of second century), can actually prove they are a descendant of David.

David prophesied: The stone the builders rejected has become the head of the corner (Psalm 118:12) i.e. the builders are the Jewish religious authorities: the one rejected by them would be the Messiah.

Isaiah tells us that a virgin will conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called Immanuel which means 'God with us' (Isaiah 7:14).

Isaiah also tells us a child will be born And his name will be called... Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).

Isaiah also prophesies:

He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned ereryone to his own way; And the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent so he opened not his mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgement, and who will declare his generation (offspring)? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

And they made his grave with the wicked - but with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days [ie he shall be resurrected after his suffering], and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul [ie he shall see the souls saved as a consequence of his death, because he will be resurrected] and be satisfied.

By his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.

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 unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:3-12)

Isaiah also tells us what God said to his Messiah:

It is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give you to be a light to the Gentiles; that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:6).

And David prophesies, speaking of the Messiah's death:

They have pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16).

This reading is the reading of Psalm 22:16 in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Hebrew of the Masoretic Text translates as "Like a lion are my hands and my feet", which makes very little sense. Either the text was changed to "they have pierced" before the time of Christ or the Masoretic Jews changed it to "like a lion" sometime between 100 BCE and 1000 CE. The Christian view makes most sense, the Jews changed it because they didn't like "they have pierced my hands and my feet" because it points to Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah.

Daniel tells us that after the Messiah has come the city [of Jerusalem] and the Temple will be destroyed, and this shall be until the consummation [until the day of judgement] (Daniel 9:26-27). In other words the Temple will never be rebuilt: the sacrificial system of the Tanakh is no longer needed because the True Sacrifice, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. As you know the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE. So we need to find the Jewish Messiah before 70 CE.

Daniel tells us the Son of Man shall come in the days of the Empire of iron, the Roman Empire (Daniel 7:13,14).

In fact, Daniel tells us that 490 years after a decree to rebuild Jerusalem shall six very important things happen (Daniel 9:24). The decree of Artaxerxes (in Ezra 7) was given in 458 BCE. And 490 years after 458 BC is 33 C.E. when Christ was crucified; (there was no year zero).

In 1942 Parker and Dubberstein published their book "Babylonian Chronology, 626 B.C. to A.D. 45" which has become the standard work on chronology for the period. In that work the dates for every new moon were recorded using Julian Calendar dating. The date for the departure of Ezra on the first of Nissan 458 B.C. is recorded in their book as 8th April 458 B.C. Recently, Rodger C. Young (rcyoung.org) and Pastor Steve Rudd (www.bible.ca) have made the valuable discovery, that changing this date to the astronomically accurate Gregorian Calendar produces 3rd April 458 B.C. which is 490 years to the resurrection 3rd April 33 CE (Gregorian) to the exact day. If this is the intended interpretation then Daniel 9:24 is not directly pointing to the crucifixion: rather, it is pointing to the resurrection, as the sign demonstrating the efficacy of the crucifixion.

Finally, after three days and three nights Jonah was spewed out of the great fish/whale. He then went to Ninevah to tell them that in 40 days they were going to be destroyed. It is not correct to say he told them to repent. They asked him how he smelt so bad of fish, and maybe why he looked so strange, having been in a fish's belly for three days. He told them what had happened to him and why he had been in the fish... because of his rebellion against his God. We know the Ninevites learned these things about Jonah because Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites (Luke 11:30), meaning a sign of death and resurrection.

The Ninevites said: we are in big trouble. Yet Jonah found mercy at the last hour by his repentance. It won't do us any harm to repent either. Who knows? Maybe God will have mercy upon us too, even though God has not promised mercy upon our repentance. So they repented, and God relented. For the Jews, it is the eleventh hour: but God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, offers forgiveness upon your faith in Jesus Christ and repentance back to God.

Jesus of Nazareth fulfils Daniel 9:26: he came before the destruction of the Temple. He fulfils Isaiah 49:6 because he is worshipped throughout the world as the Messiah. And he fulfils 2 Samuel 7:13,14 both through his mother (Luke's Gospel) and through his adopted father (Matthew's Gospel).

Both Luke and Matthew must have examined the public records in Jerusalem showing the ancestry of Jesus: the only thing Jesus's enemies, the Jewish religious authorities, had to do to show Jesus was not the promised Messiah was to demonstrate from those records that he was not a descendant of David. In that they never made that claim, and we instead only hear a deafening silence from them in this matter, then a very likely scenario is that they did indeed examine those public records and found precisely the same evidence as that found by Matthew and Luke.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of the Tanakh, he rose from the dead the third day as the Tanakh prophesied.

  • I don't believe this answers my question. Why is it hard to believe he is not the same God? Because he is a God I have never known - the most simple and obvious reading of the verse. I specifically preempted this in my original post. But the main point remains: Why do theologians like WLC think the resurrection is so consequential (as a "proof")? Although there may be no good naturalistic explanations, there are good supernaturalistic explanations – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 13:25
  • But why is he not the God of the Tanakh? What evidence do you have that he is presenting a different god to the God of the Tanakh? So far I can see no actual evidence. And can you give a supernatural explanation which does not require Jesus to be at least from God? – Andrew Shanks Sep 10 at 13:58
  • 1) I do not need proof that he isn't the God of the Tanakh (Although we can go down that road as well). The burden of proof is on the one wishing to change the status quo. 2) Yes, I another explanation; he is a false prophet. All the resurrection would prove is that a man was capable of a supernatural feat. That does not prove we should follow him, this is the core of my question: Why do Christians think proving the resurrection proves their faith? – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 14:01
  • The Tanakh says the Messiah will rise from the dead. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. Jesus rose from the dead. No one else rose from the dead who claimed to be the Messiah. Therefore Jesus is the Messiah. In addition, if Jesus is not the Messiah then no one is the Messiah. – Andrew Shanks Sep 10 at 14:15
  • You are now resorting to the OT to demonstrate Jesus's authenticity. The debate of Jesus as the Messiah, the presence of Jesus and the Trinity in the OT are all worthy and important conversations. But this exactly proves my point: In and of itself, the resurrection proves nothing. You must bring independent proof from outside the New Testament so as no to be guilty of circular logic. – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 14:54
1

The form of your logic seems to be as follows

Premise

Scripture teaches believers should not follow other gods, gods whom they have not known.

Deuteronomy 13:1“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4“You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.

Premise

Jesus is a God who is not recognised by Jews according to the description of God given in the Old Testament. In other words, he is a god whom they have not known.

Conclusion

Jesus is not God, even if you use resurrection as a criteria, because miracles are not the criteria, as pointed out by Deuteronomy 13.

The problem with the logic is that the teaching in Deuteronomy 13:1-4 is not about unknown gods, but about how to identify false prophets. The criteria is not that their predictions should come true, but that they should do not lead worshipers astray. Your second premise, that Jesus was not recognisable as God, based on the Old Testament description that the Jews believed had authority, has no relevance to the first.

The Resurrection falls in a category known as a great work of God. Abraham was saved from Pharaoh not because of his own efforts at survival, but because of a great work of God in giving Pharaoh a dream. When Abraham was saved on several occasions by similar great works of God, Abraham learnt two important lessons, lessons that Israelites who experienced similar great rescues did not learn. Abraham intuited that God required him to trust Him to be saved from danger. Second, these rescues were connected to the promise that the world would be blessed through him and his descendants. They were situations in which the great works of God would be displayed, so that those witnessing them would be motivated to serve God, like Abraham served God.

So when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as an offering, Abraham thought that the event was just another opportunity to display God's great work, believing that God would raise his son back from the dead.

Hebrews 11:19He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

You see similar parallels in the great works God empowered Moses and Christ with.

Exodus 4:1Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” 2The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” 3Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched 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.”

John 9:1As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

So when you ask for baptism in the name of Christ, you are asking for God to give you Holy Spirit experiences that reveal the protection of God. When you receive these experiences, you are supposed to have a stronger faith, a different spirit.

Numbers 14:22“Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it 24But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.

Then, learning obedience from suffering, like Abraham and Christ, you are supposed to voluntarily expose yourself to dangerous situations, pick up crosses, so that God's great works can be displayed in your life, even as Christ picked up crosses daily in confronting the Pharisees, and finally in the eponymous act of the crucifixion.

Hebrews 5:8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

In other words, the world is blessed when people are motivated to follow God, when they see His great works of saving you, when you live selflessly.

John 15:13Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

All Scriptural references from the NASB.

New contributor
Seeker is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
1

To establish the identity of Jesus as prophet, priest, king, messiah and God, three witnesses were required: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

All three witnesses affirmed Jesus' identity at the time he was baptized, in Matthew 3:

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

John the Baptist served as the witness of the Word. He was the Elijah who was to come prophesied by Malachi. Likewise, Jesus was the Prophet spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:

15 The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.

Note the similarity of the words spoken by Moses and those spoken by God from heaven at the baptism: Listen to him!

Of course the Holy Spirit that landed on Jesus enabled him to drive out evil spirits and promote holiness among the people. The healing ministry was substantially the continuation of the Holy Spirit's witness to Jesus' identity.

Finally, we get to the father. The beginning of the Father's witness in Matthew is at the baptism, and the conclusion is the resurrection. The resurrection is the Father's witness to the Son's identity.

So the resurrection alone is necessary but not sufficient to establish Jesus' identity.

In walking with two disciples on the way to Emmaus after his resurrection, Jesus emphasized the witness of the Scriptures in establishing his identity. However, the only way for the Scriptures to point to Jesus is for his actions to be consistent with those Scriptures. The most prominent action that set him apart from all other prophets was rising from the dead. Without the resurrection, you cannot connect Jesus to the Word.

To sum up, it is important to realize from the two Moses quotes (the OP's and the one in this answer) that Moses explained how to recognize a false prophet for a reason: he did not want the people to miss the true prophet who was to come. Thus at the transfiguration, Moses was present. He could spot a false prophet and a true prophet, and he certified that Jesus was a true prophet.

0

I’m stumbling on this question because, while worshipping Jesus would indeed come across to a Jew in His day as “worshipping another god,” Jesus talked at length about the importance of following, revering, and fearing the Jewish God, and constantly quotes and defends the Tannach (sp?) (aka The Old Testament). His words together really don’t add up to telling people to worship another god. At most, you could make a case for him encouraging people to split their attention between Jesus and God. But while Jesus’ teachings are radical, there’s definitely no “stop worshipping YHWH” anywhere in His messages. In fact, a lot of Jesus’ teaching is that the Pharisees need to do a BETTER job of following their God, that’s part of why they were so monumentally ticked off at Jesus. Please clarify.

New contributor
Morgan Hart - LoveGod.Blog is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • Great question. I think it is perfectly justified to consider Jesus "a god you have not known". God as incarnate flesh and the trinity were radically different than the Jewish god they had known. They simply did not know this god. Jesus may have praised the god of the OT and claimed to be that very same God, but a Jew has no way to verify this claim by examining the resurrection, his praise of the god of the OT not withstanding. – Big Mouth Sep 10 at 15:49
0

Now, Jesus was, according to the Scriptures, a prophet, for as He said,

"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49).

Now, by the Old Testament Law, God gave the Jews a test to see if a prophet was from Him, saying

When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deut. 18:22).

Now, how was it that the Jews were to test if Jesus was telling the truth about His claims of being the Son of God? If what He predicted came to pass. What did He predict, among other things?

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Here, the Scripture explains explicitly: He predicted His ressurection, and it came to pass, fulfilling the test of Deut. 18:22 and proving His statement in John 12:49. Now, you may ask, how do we know that He did not speak for a foreign god, or that He was a foreign god? The Scriptures first say about other gods,

Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Isaiah 44:8)

and

Behold, you are [nothing], and your work amounts to nothing. (Isaiah 41:24a)

Thus, God says there are not other gods who exist, and they cannot work anything. There is no room for a pantheon in Scripture. Thus, Jesus, if He was resurrected, must have been resurrected by God.

Now, you may say, what about demons? Well, if Jesus spoke for demons, or was a demon, then He would have been a false prophet. If that was the case, then what He predicted would not have come true, for God guarantees this in the aforementioned quote from Deuteronomy. But, what He predicted did come true. This is a contradiction, and thus Jesus did not speak for demons/was not one, and in general was no false prophet.

Thus, the Resurrection proves that Jesus was a prophet of God, because it allowed everyone to see that what He predicted came true, and thus His claim of speaking for God was true. Thus, because He claimed to be the divine Son of Man (and therefore claimed to be the Jewish God [but not the Father]), He was the Jewish God.

Now, you may finally say, this contradicts what the Jews think and thought about God! But, this isn't a problem: God throughout history has revealed more and more information about Himself, His will for humanity, and the future through His prophets. Jesus revealed the true nature of God: a Trinity.

Thus, we can agree with Paul in confidence, who says of the Resurrection

"His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 1:2b-4)

New contributor
Tesseract is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • Deuteronomy 18 says that if his sign fails he is certainly a false prophet: "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken" Deuteronomy 13 raises the bar even higher: "even if the sign or portent that he named to you comes true, do not heed the words" So how do we know if the successful prophet is legit or not? God says: "gives you a sign or a portent, saying, Let us follow and worship another god whom you have not known" Jesus was a god we have not known. – Big Mouth Sep 11 at 16:10
0

There is a very simple answer to your question. Jesus was condemned to death. Why?

At the Sanhedrin trial (and elsewhere), Jesus claimed divinity when he answered the charge of being God's Blessed Son. The chief priest tore his clothes in anger and said "what more do we need to hear?" This can be found in Mark 14:61-62, Luke 22:67-70, John 8:48-59 (specifically verse 58), etc etc. Fun side fact - the chief priest rending his clothes was a violation of Leviticus 21:10.

Jesus claimed equality with God, divinity, in being God's son, the Messiah. He expands on this pretty clearly directly to the Sanhedrin, when He states that He will be seated at the Right Hand of Power in Heaven. There is no ambiguity here.

Now, if this is a false claim, under the Law (Lev 24:12-16), Jesus certainly should face death.

However, if Jesus was in fact raised from the dead, then His claim(s) must have been true. God would be of two opposing minds to command a blasphemer to death and then raise him from the dead. God would literally be working against Himself and contradicting Himself. The Resurrection is a sign of justification. Therefore, Jesus's claims to divinity that landed him the death penalty at the hands of men were true. This assumes that you accept that there is not any other power than God capable of raising the dead, or giving life.

If you want to tackle the question as to whether or not any other power than God's power can raise someone from the dead, I would logically break it down this way applied specifically to the scenario at hand:

  • A blasphemer meets his death as commanded by God in Leviticus 24:13-16.
  • Some other power than God returns this blasphemer to life.
  • This other power is greater than God because it can thwart God's Law, purpose and decrees.

So, in order for a condemned, guilty person to be brought back to life by someone other than God, we must erode God's omnipotence and remove all attributes that would belong to a Maximally Great Being, which would thus rob Him of the essential attributes of God in such a scenario. I think we can all agree that none of us want to assert any of this to be true.

So, while the Resurrection was not exclusively meant as a "proof", there can be many facts inferred from it. I assert that Jesus's claims to divinity are true because of the Resurrection, given the circumstances of His death. Were He unjust, God would not have raised Him from the dead. Isaiah 53:5-6, Isaiah 53:9-12:

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by 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.

And they made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

The last verse is striking. How can God divide "a portion with the great" to the dead? "He poured out his soul unto death". Even Isaiah 53 demands Resurrection as God's divine purpose.

New contributor
user124851454 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
0

So we are back to square one; first we need evidence that Jesus was indeed the son of God. Then and only then, does the historicity of the resurrection have any relevance to affirming Jesus. Without prior evidence, it seems justifiable to write Jesus off as a false prophet.

I think you're getting this backwards. Let me start with the resurrection and work back to why Jesus was the Son of God. I think it will clear things up for you.

The resurrection is a massive stumbling block. Psalms 118:22 says

The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.

I believe they're not just referring to Jesus there. 118:23 says

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.

The problem with the resurrection is its premise is absurd. Nobody comes back from the dead. This law is inviolable. If someone claims they will come back from the dead, you generally wouldn't believe them because we have no verifiable instances of it. Yet Jesus made the bold claim he would bodily rise from the dead. If you're looking to make up a religion, this is the worst possible way to start. Jesus could have merely said he would rise spiritually and created a false religion easily enough.

The real question here isn't "Is Jesus the Son of God?", but "How do you make a demonstrably false premise into a successful religion?" In all seriousness, the resurrection is the lynch pin of Christianity. It should be easy to take it out, which takes all of Christendom with it. Nobody has done it yet. Here we have three giant thinkers who took that challenge on: C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and Lee Strobel. Three determined atheists, yet all three became not just believers, but defenders of that belief. Why?

The resurrection only really works as a basis for a religion if it's true. If you don't scrutinize it too hard, or just ignore the evidence, you can just give it a cursory dismissal, but people who have made a deliberate study of it continually come to the conclusion it's true. I could expound here, but let's (for argument's sake) say it's true.

Why come at it from this angle? Because if it's true, the next question is "Who has the power to raise the dead back to life?" We see that from the God of the Old Testament

  • The Widow of Zarephath's son 1 Kings 17:17-22
  • The Shunnamite's Son 2 Kings 4:32-37
  • Unnamed man who touched Elisha's bones 2 Kings 13:20-21
  • Ezekiel's Valley of Dry Bones Ezekiel 37 (it's more an allegory, but God literally rebuilds the bodies of the dead in this vision)
  • Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac, believing that Isaac would be resurrected Hebrews 11:19 (NT, but written by Jews so likely steeped in Jewish tradition)

As far as the power to resurrect, we have the God of the Old Testament and... uhm... nobody else.

This brings me to the real kicker here: if Jesus did rise from the dead, and he is not God, who exactly is he, and how did he get this power that nobody else has?

Which brings me to your other point

In fact, in Exodus 7:11 even Pharoah's sorcerers were capable of performing supernatural feats.

I think you missed the point of that account. Initially, Pharoah has his magicians doing the same tricks, implying Moses is no better than the other sorcerers. But as the plagues go on, you'll note they stopped being able to copy God, until finally, we have the death of the firstborn, a devastating blow nobody could match. Yet all of them pale in comparison to resurrection. This was a miracle that nobody could ignore, but more importantly, nobody could match. In other words, it was a miracle only the God of the Old Testament could do. We don't need to prove Jesus was God first. Only God could have done this.

  • Thanks for your response. I don't think you're really addressing my question. I agree that the resurrection may have happened. But God was very clear; "even if the sign or portent that he named to you comes true" (13:3) and the resurrection served to be just that: "... teacher we wish to see a sign from you...just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, aso will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:38-40). Why is the resurrection any different? By what standard? – Big Mouth Sep 11 at 9:14

Your Answer

Big Mouth is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.