Is the New Testament reliable?

As Messianics, we sit perched between the religions of Judaism and Christianity.

We love Judaism because we know it to be the religion of Israel, God’s people, which produced the patriarchs, the Torah, the prophets, the apostles, and Messiah himself. Israel has been used by God to bring light to the world. In a sentence, Israel = God’s vehicle for all things righteous. If it weren’t for Israel, the gentile world’s religion would be little more than foolhardy men bowing to sexually-exaggerated figurines. I love Judaism, even with the painful acts of a few who shame it.

At the same time, we love Christianity. Yes, even with all its warts. It embraced Messiah when the leadership of Judaism has largely rejected him. That counts for something. Even with its ugly parts, its misrepresentation of Messiah, its past persecution of Jews, and all the violence and wars it has produced in the name of Christ, the Church has nonetheless produced men of God that led otherwise-lost gentiles to Messiah and the God of Israel. People that love God and love Israel and live righteous lives. That doesn’t get talked about much in anti-Christian circles.

Sitting between Christianity and Judaism produces for us much anguish. We are constantly pulled in either direction to be authentic: either real Jews, whom we are told cannot hold Yeshua as Messiah, or real Christians, throwing off that Jewish nonsense, after all, we are not under the law, and are free in Christ Jesus.

Christian draw

I was sitting around a table playing cards with some Christian friends awhile back. I was asked, “You don’t really believe in that Jewish stuff, right? Messy-uhnic you call it?”

I’ve been told “you’re preaching another Jesus!” and “Jesus fulfilled the law. Jesus freed us from that. Why are you living under it?” Or my favorite, “You believe in Jesus and you still follow those traditions?” (cue sad trombone)

The allure of Christianity is strong. Even more so around the holidays of Christmas and Easter. Can’t we be part of the larger Church? Can’t we fit in for once? With a family of mixed Christians and Messianics, Jews and gentiles, this draw is even stronger still.

Judaism’s draw

The flip side is the draw towards Judaism.

The pull is strong: I can be more authentic, more real, as a Jew if I follow standard Judaism. Maybe I’ll just keep my hope in Messiah to myself, and I’ll fit in better with greater Judaism.

It doesn’t help that some Messianic groups have an inferiority complex, one that doesn’t see this Messianic movement as legitimate until the greater Jewish world gives us the A-OK. (Hint: barring extraordinary supernatural events, it’ll never happen.)

And when one inundates himself in the rabbis of Judaism, in the Talmud, the siddur, in the Zohar, in the people and Scriptures of Israel, and he lives a righteous life as Judaism would see it, he might sympathize with the arguments of Judaism against Christianity. After all, Christianity has historically misrepresented Messiah.

And with the arguments against Christianity comes arguments against Christ, whom we know in more authentic view as Yeshua the Messiah of Israel.

A critical view of the New Testament

One such argument against Messiah-faith is that the New Testament is not reliable, and is merely the result of hundreds of redactions built atop the exaggerated imaginations of Jesus’ followers centuries later.

It’s hard to believe, but some Messianics sympathize with this view, or at least part of it.

For example, a few years ago, a prominent Messianic teacher claimed the New Testament book of Hebrews contained factual errors regarding the Tabernacle, and thus was not inspired by God, and ought not be considered part of the canon.

And before that, there was talk among several Messianic leaders regarding Paul’s letters to the gentiles, which comprise a significant slice of the New Testament. Maybe they’re not Scripture, they said, since they seemingly contain rants against God’s Law. Maybe they’re not inspired by God. Maybe they’re just the ramblings of an ex-Jew who hated his former religion. Maybe they shouldn’t be in the canon, some argued.

I’ve even heard some question the gospels and Acts, as they contain different retellings of the stories of Messiah:

  • In Acts, Yehuda of Kerioth (“Judas Iscariot”) is killed by falling headlong in a field, but in Matthew, Judas hangs himself.

  • In another instance, Paul describes himself as escaping the commander of the army of Aretas in Damascus, but Acts records Paul escaping a mob of angry Jews.

  • And more famously, the genealogy of Messiah as recorded in in Matthew 1 is different than the genealogy of Messiah as recorded in Luke 3.

These points, and others, are regularly raised by counter-missionaries in an effort to discredit the New Testament and disprove the messiahship of Yeshua.

Some Jewish followers of Messiah sympathize: maybe the original Hebrew texts of the New Testament don’t contain these corruptions. Maybe some of the early Church Fathers, many of whom were anti-Semitic, edited the New Testament to be damning to the Jews, they say. Maybe the New Testament should be viewed more as we view the Talmud: extra-biblical writings that contain some truth, but are not Scripture like the Tenakh (that is, what Christians call the Old Testament).

Setting the record straight

It should first be noted that many difficulties in the New Testament can be harmonized with explanation.

For example, it is possible to be hanged from a cliff and still fall headlong into a field through botched hanging. And the commander in Damascus may have tried to capture Paul because the angry mob demanded it. And some of the inconsistencies between genealogies can be explained through telescoping, a practice that the Tenakh itself uses.

However, rather than harmonizing through speculative explanation, I want to highlight empirical faults in the arguments against the New Testament, and from that, you can draw your own conclusions.

Interpretation double standards

When counter-missionaries bring up inconsistencies in the New Testament, invariably they are confounded when I show them that the same textual difficulties exist in the Tenakh. For example,

  • In one book of the prophets, a genealogy of priests is given which differs from genealogies given earlier in the Tenakh, paralleling the Luke/Matthew genealogical difference.

  • In another instance, Samuel records Satan tempting David, while Chronicles records it was God who tempted David.

  • And in another humorous instance, one of apparent scribal exaggeration, the Masoretic text (MT), upon which modern Jewish bibles are based, records the Philistine warrior Goliath at about 6 cubits (9 feet) tall – a giant by any measure! But the Septuagint puts Goliath at 5 cubits, about 7.5 feet tall. Yet more surprisingly, the Dead Sea Scrolls, which predate the MT by several centuries, put Goliath at a mere 4 cubits – a mere 6.5 feet tall – not such a giant after all! And even the first century Jewish historian Josephus attests to Goliath not being much of a (ahem) goliath.

  • The stories of Noah and Job are suspiciously similar to ancient Mesopotamian tales that predate the Torah.

These are just a few from a sea of many inconsistencies and difficulties in the Tenakh. For every difficulty in the New Testament, I can give 10 in the Tenakh.

One may argue, “But Judah, these inconsistencies can be explained…” and I will respond, “Yes, and the same for the New Testament!”

Church father double standards

Some Messianics raise concerns that anti-Jewish Church fathers edited and compiled the canon, inserting their own theologies into the text.

However, these same people will often quote early Church Fathers to support their critical view of the New Testament. For example, they might say, “The early Church Father Eusebius records that the early Nazarenes used only the Tenakh and the original Hebrew text of Matthew as their Scripture.”

Notice the double-standard: “I believe the Church Fathers when they say X. And I have a critical view of the New Testament because the Church Fathers likely edited it.”

Quick to believe Church Fathers when it proves my point, quick to dismiss the Church Fathers when it disproves my point. That’s a double standard.

Yes, it is likely the Nazarenes had a canon different than other believers in Messiah, but this argument fails in two areas: it doesn’t account for the varying beliefs in the Nazarene, Ebionite, and other early “Christian” movements; these groups disagreed with other groups and even within themselves as to what was considered canon. And secondly, it most certainly does not mean that Nazarenes rejected Acts, Luke, Paul’s epistles, or other apostolic writings. It is possible, even probable, they were unaware of some of these writings.

After all, information did not flow freely then as it does now, this was in the very early days of God picking for himself a people from the nations.

Self-defeating arguments

Counter-missionaries, and indeed some of Messiah’s followers who sympathize with them, use arguments like this one:

“The New Testament records Jesus doing X. And yet Christians don’t do this today – big problem! Now I’ll go on to discredit the New Testament...”

2 concrete examples that come to mind are:

  • “Jesus told his disciples to keep the Law and the Prophets, which is what Jews are doing. But you Christians have turned him into a god, and invented your own anti-Jewish bible.”

  • “Jesus said that, to be saved, you have to keep the commandments. That’s what Jews are already doing. But you Christians have this nonsense about believing in Jesus to be saved, coming from your Greek-translated, highly-redacted New Testament!”

Notice the self-defeating arguments here: “Jesus said X [as recorded in the New Testament], and Christians aren’t doing this because they have a corrupted/inauthentic/redacted New Testament.”

To all of Messiah’s followers, I will say this: if the New Testament is not a basic, reliable text of Messiah’s words and deeds, then how is it that you belong to Messiah? You found Messiah through these texts, and now you seek to discredit this text? How soon before you forget about those missing original Hebrew texts, and just discard the New Testament altogether?

This is the road to abandoning hope in Messiah. Counter-missionaries know this, and is why they are repeating this lie that the New Testament is an inauthentic and unreliable document.

Dispelling Myths

Here are some faulty assertions made by those with a critical view of the New Testament:

  • It was composed centuries after the actual events.
  • No one who witnessed the events actually wrote a New Testament book.
  • It was highly redacted by Church Fathers.
  • Paul was an agent of Rome, and corrupter of the original teachings of the rabbi Jesus.
  • The New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and all we have today is corrupted Greek and Syriac manuscripts.

I will to address these concerns below.


While what became the modern canon formed later on, many of the books of the New Testament were actually written in the first century, immediately following the Messianic events that transpired.

For example, some Biblical scholars put the gospel of Luke at around 40 AD, only 4-8 years after Messiah’s death. One bit of evidence in support of this view is how Luke’s gospel is addressed to “Most Excellent Theophilus”:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

-Luke 1

Some scholars suggest the “most excellent Theophilus” mentioned here may refer to Theophilus ben Ananus, the High Priest of Israel between 37 and 41 AD. Even among scholars who hold a later dating of Luke put his gospel well within the 1st century.

The other gospels are also 1st century material: Matthew around the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, Mark between 70-90 AD, and John between 90-100 AD. Mark has the unique trait of being found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, with a fragment of Mark 6 having been found at the Qumran caves.

As for Paul’s writings in the New Testament, scholars believe he lived between 5-67 AD, making him a contemporary of and witness to Yeshua as Messiah and all the events recorded in Acts and the gospels.


Are there redactions to the New Testament? Yes, certainly.

For example, the famous Lord’s Prayer reads differently in earlier manuscripts, with the additional stanza,

“…for thine is the kingdom and the glory and the power, forever and ever, amein.”

… not appearing in Luke’s gospel, nor does it appear in earlier manuscripts of Matthew. (There is a way to harmonize this, such as it being included as doxology for congregational worship, but we digress…)

But while the New Testament certainly contains redactions, one must also concede that there are redactions in the Tenakh as well.

For example, while many religious Jews favor the conservative view that Moses wrote the entire Torah, this has virtually zero academic support. Even the most conservative Biblical scholars believe only in basic Mosaic authorship, allowing for later edits by Joshua, Ezra, and others. After all, do we really believe Moses would have written the self-contradicting statement, “Moses was the most humble man on earth”? And he certainly didn’t write about his own death and the events that transpired afterwards!

It should be noted that many scholars favor a very liberal, secular view of the Torah, the JEDPR (Jahwist, Elohist, Deteronomist, Priestly, Redactor/Harmonizer) view, which suggests the Torah is little more than a collection of independent fables of ancient Israel, with centuries of redactions and harmonizing edits years later, before the Torah reached its final form 400CE. (I do not hold this view! But Jews and Christians should be aware of it, lest it catch you surprised on the History Channel. ;-))

But the Torah is only the tip of the iceberg. The modern Jewish bible contains edits, concatenations, and truncations in Daniel, Esther, several of the prophets, and even the historical books. And those are just the ones we know about.

Paul – corrupter of Christianity?

One founding father of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, once wrote,

Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.

-Thomas Jefferson

Despite this theory falling out of fashion in modern times, still many Jews today look at Paul as a corrupter of Jesus’ real teachings. Paul, they say, started a new anti-law, anti-Judaism religion, whereas Jesus was interested in being a good rabbi of Judaism and nothing more, and certainly not the messiah.

Some Messianics sympathize with this, but for different reasons. They see ugly statements about the “works of the law” coming from Paul’s letters, and some then suggest, maybe Paul wasn’t really inspired, and shouldn’t be included in the canon.

Our response to this is, where is the proof that Paul is this ugly corrupter of Messiah’s teachings? A handful of statements from Galatians that seem to contradict Messiah can be, and have, sufficiently explained through proper understanding of the gentile culture and era to which it was addressed.

Extraordinary accusations require extraordinary proof – and the only thing offered are self-defeating arguments that use the New Testament to disprove the New Testament.

Waiting for the Hebrew New Testament

Some Messianics have a critical view of the New Testament because, they say, we only have corrupted Greek manuscripts, and that the original Hebrew is lost. They discard our current manuscripts as redacted Greek, holding out hope for the sexy Hebrew/Aramaic originals to make their appearance.

These are extraordinary charges. My question is, where are the Hebrew texts? And where is evidence that there were originally Hebrew texts to begin with?

The best evidence we have is a quote from a Church father that suggests Matthew was originally written in Hebrew.

All other evidence reports are more speculation than evidence.

So while certainly Matthew and perhaps a few other books may have been Hebrew originally, there is zero academic support for the idea that all the New Testament was written in Hebrew. It is quite plausible that Luke, the epistles, and others were written in Greek. A vast majority of scholars agree.

And even for the parts that were originally Hebrew, I ask, what makes you think the Greek manuscripts are so terrible so as to discard them? I suggest that this bias against Greek texts likely stems from the “all things Greek are evil” fundamentalist mindset that some Messianics seem to have, probably borrowed from a Judaic backlash against Hellenism. We must mature out of that.


  • If we are to believe that redactions make a text completely unreliable, then we must not only throw out the New Testament, but also the Torah and numerous books in the Tenakh. 

  • Many biblical difficulties can be explained; they just aren’t black and white simplistic like we want them to be.

  • There are more difficulties in the Tenakh than the New Testament.

  • Counter-missionary arguments against the New Testament are often uneducated and contain a double-standard. If we apply the same critical view to the Tenakh as they apply to the New Testament, we’d all be atheists.

  • You can’t have your cake & eat it too. Having a critical view of the New Testament, then quoting the New Testament to support your critical view, is self-defeating. Ditto for quoting early Church fathers.

  • The New Testament is largely a first-century work by men who knew, or knew of, Yeshua, in his generation and the next.

  • As far as we know, the New Testament was written largely in Greek.

  • Theologically, Paul and Yeshua were buddies. :-)

A final word

Some years ago, I personally struggled with the idea that anti-Jewish Church fathers compiled what became the New Testament. It really shook my faith to the point I actually considered agnosticism: the belief that we cannot really know whether there is a God.

Perhaps to stop me in my tracks, God gave me peace in this area. Through prayer I heard, “What is here today is by My hand.”

At first, I wanted to ask what that means, exactly. “Even the edits, oh Lord?” would have been a near-comical reply, but it’s what I wanted to ask.

But a peace settled in. Through all the redactions, the compilers of the canon, even with some of them having less-than-good intentions, the harmonizers… it doesn’t matter. God totally used them, like tools. And what we have today is here by His hand.

I know that’s not scientific proof. And I know it’s not intellectually stimulating. But it’s enough for me.


  1. Wow! How long did it take you to write it?


    God bless Judah.

  2. Many good points. Especially comparing textual critical problems between the NT and the Tanach. Textual critical problems for the Tanach are far more gargantuan than those for the NT.

    One other point that I think bears mentioning...

    Many of the "Nazarene" variety who say the early Jewish believers only used the Tanach and Matthew fail to realize that the development of the canon for both the Tanach and the NT were simultaneous events. It is not as though the Tanach was settled centuries before the NT. That goes for the Jewish community as well as the Christian community.

    So if we want to discredit the NT based on the fact that it took so long for the canon to close, then the Tanach is guilty of an even greater crime.

    So if people have a problem with John's Gospel, Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude, or Revelation, then to be consistent they must treat Esther, Ecclesiastes, Job, and Ezekiel with the same, if not greater, suspicion.

  3. @Dan, about a week in the making. Gotta throw a haymaker blog post once in awhile. ;-)

    @judeoxian, great point.

  4. Judah,

    The only problem with what you're written is that it assumes too many things incorrectly.

    1. You assume that the historical man, a Jewish Rabbi named Yehoshua` (Yeshua` in Aramaic) is the same person as the one created by the anti-Judaistic religion of Christianity which has come to replace and oppose Judaism, the original faith of Israel--or you at least think they are connected.
    Now I know you're thinking "this old argument again?" but that means you're not understanding it or perhaps you just do not disagree. Clearly the Jesus of Christianity is the one by whom Christians claim to replace Judaism.

    a. The Jesus of Christianity never existed, but he is the same prototype character as all the other "man-gods" of just about every brand of paganism. He is made up in the minds of Jew haters and he opposes Judaism, both the Torah and Oral Tradition and despises observant Jews.

    b. Jews for Jesus and just about every other Messianic missionary organizations promote a Jesus or Yeshua who does not in any way act as an observant Jew, as the actual person Yehoshua`/Yeshua` did. This had ought to be opposed, and shooting down the Christian Jesus and calling him Yesh"u is good. He is an invention of Christianity and exists in the minds of Christians and has fueled them to kill and destroy the unique nation of the Creator: Israel.

    c. Not only is that work against Israel and those doctrines of supremacy over Israel against Israel--it is against Rabi Yehoshua`. It is Edom coming against Ya`aqov. And for Jews to be deceived into it is spiritual death.

    2. Another huge false presumption is that adherence to the Torah and faith in the One and Only Creator is incomplete. Who could agree with such a thing!?
    This is a result of false Christian doctrine which teaches that everyone has to "believe" in Jesus in order to be "saved".

    a. "Saved" doesn't even mean, in its rightful context, having a place in `olam haba (eternal life); it means being saved from a life of sin. Opposite to a life of sin is a life of Torah observant--that is a life of truth and life. If a Jesus or "Yeshua" figure causes someone to put off Torah observance completely or partially--you can rest assured this demon in their mind is not the Messiah of Israel. Instead, it is a false idol raised high to give them a warrant to stop (or never start) wearing tefillin, kindle any kind of fire on Shabath, etc, etc.

    b. In fact, emunah is completely incorrectly translated "faith". It does not have anything to do with the western concept of having a mental certainty about something in your mind. Slightly better translation is "faithfulness", that someone bases action on something, not that someone merely holds a mental thought in their mind.

    c. The message of Rabi Yehoshua` was that of teshuvah, repentful turning back, to the Torah. This means his teachings and actions are there for us to return to the Torah. Its pointless to hold a belief "in him" (how vague is that??) if it doesn't make you start doing teshuvah, start learning and doing Torah, and start returning to the Land of Israel.


  5. ...continued

    3. Who are the only people who have "entered into the Kingdom of Heaven" in our day? Observant Jews who live in Israel. Observing the Torah while living in the Land is the start of the Kingdom of Heaven--all that needs to happen is the rest of Israel to join in.

    a. Who is responsible for the miracles of the early wars of the modern Jewish State of Israel, keeping safe the out-of-the-Holocaust Jewish soldiers from another massacre? HaShem by way of his Malakh/Messenger, the same who is the "Malakh HaShem" of Shemoth/Ex. 23 who Hhaza"l tells us is Metatron, who is Yeshua` Sar HaPanim. This should cause one to ask:
    -Who really has Yeshua` on their side?
    -What does it really mean to have emunah in the Malakh HaShem (who is Yeshua`/Metatron; for the protection/salvation of Israel from enemy hands)?
    -If Rabi Yehoshua` called for teshuvah for all Israel unto the Torah, what does this mean for those who are supposed to 'follow' him (does it mean "believing" he exists, or does it mean obeying the Torah)?

  6. What of The NEW Covenant, and The New Covenant "Jew"(Brethren of The Messiah)?
    Jer 31:31-37 "Behold, the days come, says YHWH, 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 TIME THAT I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO BRING THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT FOR THEY BROKE THAT COVENANT, although I was an husband unto them, says YHWH: (Thankfully no longer natural "fathers" but YHWH, "Our Father" in "the NEWness of The Spirit not the letter")

    But this shall be the NEW covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says YHWH, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts(not in stone, but in their heart consciousness); and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be MY people. ("Come Out of her, MY people"! Come out of this world and it's systems of religion)

    And every man shall no longer teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, "Know YHWH", for they shall all know ME, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says YHWH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

    Thus says YHWH, which gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; YHWH of hosts is HIS name:

    If those ordinances depart from before ME, says YHWH, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before ME for ever.

    Thus says YHWH; If Heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says YHWH."

    The NEW Covenant established The Truth that, "he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, whose circumcision is that of the flesh, he is a Jew who is one inwardly, whose circumcision is of the heart" as he was immersed in, of, by and through The Holy, Set Apart Spirit that is of The ONE and Only True G-D, Father(Creator) of ALL. And all gentile NEW Covenant Believers are "grafted into The Good olive tree", they are of The NEW Covenant Jews.......

    And The NEW Covenant Israel?

    "A Holy nation".......

    Heavenly and Spiritual, not earthly or of the wicked worldly nations!

    "A nation of kings and priests" indeed and Truth, and all New Covenant Believers are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" whose "citizenship (Life) is in Heaven".......

    They are not of this wicked, evil world and it's systems of religion because they have taken heed unto The Call of The Only True G-D, Father (Creator) of ALL to "Come out of her, MY people".......


  7. The NEW Covenant Believers, those who follow The Messiah, have taken heed unto The Call to "Come Out" of this wicked world and they have have "set their affections on things above, Heavenly things"....... No longer are they of those "whose god is their bellies, and whose glory is in their shame, because they mind earthly things". They are no longer of those who "love this world and their own life in, and of it".......

    Sadly, there are multitudes who profess a belief in The Messiah with their mouth only for they are "friends of this world" because they "love this world and it's things" ;-( And so it is that they "love their own life in and of the world" ;-( Such is not The Will of "Our Father" .......

    And those who do not seek and desire to do The Will of "Our Father" and "Come Out" of this world(babylon) will hear those woe filled words, "Depart from Me all you workers of iniquity" because "the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one" indeed and Truth.......

    Thankfully The NEW Covenant Believers, The Brethren of The Messiah, have their "citizenship(Life) in Heaven" for they are "A Holy nation" of "kings and priests", all of whom are thankful that, that which was "decaying and waxing old" DID "vanish away" with the destruction of the natural, earthly kingdom centered in jerusalem. The old covenant did indeed vanish away, The NEW Covenant WAS, IS and always WILL BE!

    At the time the old covenant vanished away "THY Kingdom" DID "Come" and IS, for The Messiah delivered up The Kingdom unto His G-D and Father(Creator), and The Kingdom of The Only True G-D in Heaven WAS, IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE.......

    No longer old, natural, earthly and temporal, The Kingdom of The Only True G-D WAS, IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE NEW, Spiritual, Heavenly and Eternal.......

    And so it is that yesterday, today, and if there be a tomorrow, that "the chosen ones", "the elect", The NEW Covenant Believer, the Spiritual Jew, "The Brethren of The Messiah", continue to "fight the good fight of Faith" as they but seek and desire that which is NEW, Spiritual, Heavenly and Eternal.......

    So it is they "forsake all" and "suffer the loss of all things".......

    Father Help! and HE does.......

    So The Brethren of The Messiah rejoice!

    Giving All Thanks, Praise and Glory Unto The ONE and Only True Living G-D, Father (Creator) of ALL.......

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(lies) that is of this wicked world and it's systems of religion, for "the WHOLE(not just a portion) world is under the control of the evil one" indeed and Truth....... francis

  8. Hey Aaron,

    I don't mean for this to be a slam on either Christianity or Judaism. I simply want to uphold the truth contained in the New Testament, truths that attest to the messiahship of Yeshua.

    Couple notes:

    -I admit that Christianity has misrepresented Messiah. I tried to make that explicit in the post.

    -There exists Messianic organizations that preach Yeshua as a Torah-observant Jew, rabbi, master, and Messiah.

    -I didn't comment on salvation issues, only upheld the New Testament.

    -I agree that people who are calling themselves disciples of Jesus yet routinely and freely break the Torah are in error.

    -I agree that God is on Israel's side. God is for Israel. I tried to make that explicit in the post.

  9. Francis,

    You write a lot about the Kingdom of Heaven and the New Covenant. Perhaps that was in response to Aaron's post? I'm not sure how it relates to the reliability of the New Testament.

    p.s. you use an over-abundance of CAPS, quotation marks, and ellipses, and it makes your comments and your blog hard to read. FYI!


  10. Judah, Francis submitted the same (or very similar) comment to my blog a while back. I don't think it's intended as a response to anyone's comment in particular...

  11. Judah,

    This blog is a good start to the conversations we will be having in the soon-to-come 2010s. I appreciate that you are trying to bring some reason to this debate. If we are going to pick apart the Apostolic Scriptures, why start there?

    Why only listen to Tovia Singer? Go all the way and listen to Richard Dawkins!

  12. Thanks, JK. I'm not a bible scholar as you know, so hopefully this wasn't too botched and didn't contain inaccuracies galore. :-)

  13. Honest, intelligent and straight to the point.

    Nice one!

  14. Judah,

    To correlate to each of your points respectively:

    -Christianity hasn't misrepresented Rabi Yehoshua`, they invented his polar opposite.

    -Right, there are, but they still generally hold several Christian false doctrines. Don't know of any major Messianic organization that rids itself of these.

    -I mentioned salvation issues as part of my point about Christian editing and changing of Jewish texts and beliefs, my whole argument was centered around that.

    [If one were to understand what I wrote they would see what I'm saying in essence is: the Christians edited texts and formed new anti-Jewish doctrines. Things Christians and Messianics consider being foundational are likely way off or have been perverted.]

    -I know you agree, but again you're apparently not understanding what I'm saying if that's all you're taking from it.

    -I didn't talk about God being on anyone's side.

    To clarify, the aim of my whole statement was, as I said in the beginning: parts of your post assume too many things to be true. Jesus is not Rabi Yehoshua`. Messianics do not keep Torah, bederekh klal/usually (some are in a process, and this is fine, but the only reason they do not excell is because of ignorance and old Christian doctrines which are all too common in the Jewish world).
    What I'm also alluding to throughout my posts is that "believing" in Rabi Yehoshua` doesn't have anything to do with the religion of Edom, Christianity, but everything to do with Judaism. However, NO MESSIANICS BELIEVE THIS. That is my point. The "somewhere in between Christianity and Judaism" stuff is trash. The Messianic stance and placement is only good for people in transition into Judaism. The quicker one goes through it and becomes the final product, the better.

  15. I know my last statement has surely caused much shock, but you yourselves say it all the time. "Yes, Yeshua was a Rabbi", "he was an observant Jew", and maybe even if you've done your research will even admit "he was a Pharisee" (but if you knew the answer to the first question you'd surely have to know the answer to this--if you knew a bit about Judaism).

    However, to say that followers of his would have to be tassel wearing, tefillin wrapping, 39-melkhoth-abstaining (on Shabath) Jews following the Jewish custom that both David and Daniel were recorded to have kept - that would just be travesty!! You mean, I have to say a brakha over every single food I eat, and after I eat a meal I have to recite more prayers!? You mean, I would have to get up in the morning and recite the Kriyath Shma` (verses of the Shema, severel verses from Dt. and Num.)!? You mean, I have to pray the `Amida 3 times daily? You mean I have to distinguish myself visibly from gentiles!? You mean I have to do all these things in order to be a correct and completed follower of Rabi Yehoshua`!? The answer is YES, the reason he came was to make people do these and all the other commands. People who uphold those commands uphold his teachings which are the essence of who he is, and people who don't but still name him are those who give him a bad name!

  16. *Mistake, the custom both David and Daniel were recorded to have followed was meant to be specified as praying 3 times daily.

  17. Judah,

    You did a good job on your blog, as you brought up some points that people will need to think through. There are things that can certainly be added to and refined here and there, but few in the Messianic world are willing to even mention some of these things--like post-Mosaic editing occurring to the Pentateuch.

    We have to remember where we have been. David Stern's JNT Commentary does not have introductions to any of the books, a major omission that every other one-volume commentary I have does not overlook. Why he did this I don't know, as it would have only added another 30-50 total pages (2-5 per text). Tim Hegg has a good Romans commentary, but only has a 2 page introduction. Why? A 20 page introduction would have been sufficient.

    Other than that, there are many assumptions going on, but not enough engagement. Every scholar who has written a commentary on Matthew knows about Eusebius' quote of Papias--and it certainly hasn't been hidden from anyone! It might be difficult for some of today's Messianics to hear what they say about it, as it probably deals more with second hand notes in Hebrew or Aramaic, used as one of Matthew's sources, as opposed to a complete Gospel.

    Eventually, we have to deal with the text in its final, canonical form. Even the JEDP people recognize this.

  18. I want to parrot back one thing I've heard you say:

    You are telling me what Yeshua came to do.

    You also say the New Testament is highly edited, and things Messianics consider foundational are actually way off due to Christian redactions of the text.

    Am I understanding you right?

  19. Brilliant post and I'm glad you didn't become agnostic!

    “What is here today is by My hand.” Is enough for me also.

    ps can't wait to find an excuse to use the sad trombone!

  20. Judah - I thought this was an excellent and fair post. I'm not a scholar either - but I read them :-). The post was right on target. I don't know what else to say. God Bless.

  21. Stuart and Todd,

    It's really uplifting to hear you guys say that. Thanks, guys.

  22. Excellent post, thanks

  23. Note taken: (To work out some of your calculations) you give the Hebrew Testament the latest possible date and the Greek Testament the earliest possible date.

  24. I believe a Hebrew New Testament will be discovered in our lifetime.

  25. Hey, if we ever find a Hebrew New Testament, I'll eat my words.

    Until then, the most I can say is, "As far as we know, most of the New Testament was written in Greek."

  26. Robin @ HeartofWisdom:

    I am just curious on what historical basis you can make the claim that a complete Matthew-Revelation Hebrew NT will be discovered. (You've not the only one who has had this "dream.") Here are some of the basic factors that you have to take into consideration:

    1. Date
    2. Author
    3. Author's location
    4. Audience and audience's location

    When considering these factors, for example, do you really and honestly think that the Apostle Paul wrote in Hebrew to retired Roman soldiers of the colony at Philippi? What about all of the Jews of the Diaspora who did not speak Hebrew?

    I have heard the claims of a Hebrew NT for over 15 years in the Messianic movement, and to put it bluntly: I'll believe it when I can touch the complete text with my two hands.

    While there is certainly the possibility of written Semitic sources or notes used for the Gospels (like Q), and a Semitic style of Greek composition consistent with the Septuagint in the Apostolic Scriptures being employed--claiming that Matthew-Revelation was originally written in Hebrew finds no support when the basic issues of composition and audience are considered.

  27. "knowing" the words recorded on paper, yet never experienced, is but "knowledge falsely so-called.......

    Memorization has it's proponents mesmirized ;-(

    Faith was strong when those who embraced simplicity could neither read nor write.......