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It's All About the Messiah

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown
The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2021 4:20 pm

It's All About the Messiah

Line of Fire / Dr. Michael Brown

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November 2, 2021 4:20 pm

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The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. It is Election Day in certain states in America. The biggest stakes right now, Virginia, the gubernatorial race, the biggest focus there. But we won't talk about that today. We'll talk about that, God willing, tomorrow when we get the results and it can reflect on the meaning of this for Virginia and for the nation. Today we focus on Scripture, on Messianic prophecy. Welcome to the broadcast.

This is Michael Brown. Here's a number to call. If you have any question at all of any aspect of Messianic prophecy, 866-34-TRUTH. That's 866-348-7884. Anything having to do with New Testament interpretation of the Messianic prophecies, texts within the Hebrew Bible, questions you've had, objections you've heard from rabbis. We'll take your calls. 866-34-TRUTH.

Then at the bottom of the hour, we'll be joined by J. Warner Wallace to talk about his new book, Person of Interest. So as a Jewish believer in Jesus, early on, I found out about the Messianic prophecies. I came to faith before I knew about them. In other words, I wasn't one where someone sat me down with the Hebrew Bible or an Old Testament in the Christian translation and showed me prophecies about Jesus and fulfillment. And I was convinced by that, and that's what led me to seek God.

In my case, God convicted me of sin, of leading a rebellious, drug-filled life, and then saved me. And then as a believer, I began to learn about the Messianic prophecies, but no sooner did I learn about them than I was challenged by the rabbis. In fact, I can honestly say, because the rabbis that I dealt with were much more versed in these prophecies than I was at the beginning, that I read the refutations of the prophecies before I read the prophecies in some cases.

You know what I'm saying? And then I'd have these little tracts that someone gave me from a Jewish outreach organization or some Christian outreach to the Jews. And I'd read the tracts and, OK, and here's how to present Messianic prophecy, and I'd show it to a rabbi and say, oh, the Hebrew is wrong here, and this is wrong there, and that's being misinterpreted. So I determined I have to follow the truth, whatever direction it goes. I've got to follow the truth of Scripture. I had no question at that time that the Old Testament was the word of God.

I didn't doubt that. I believed in the calling of the Jewish people by God. And therefore I said, OK, I have to go wherever the truth leads. And the more I studied, the more I prayed, the more I dug in, the more I learned the original languages, the more my mind was strengthened to agree with my heart. In other words, I knew that Jesus died for my sins. I knew that he rose from the dead. I knew it in my heart. It was real in my life.

Yeshua had radically and dramatically changed me. But what if there is some other explanation? What if I had some type of false spiritual experience?

What if some of it was emotionalism? Now, I didn't think that was true for a second, but I had lots of questions in my mind, and it's God's desire that we love him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. It's not God's desire that we just love him in an intellectual way. I can make an intellectual case for the existence of God. I can use an ontological argument or a cosmological argument, and therefore God must be real and therefore he is real.

I should fear him. That only goes so far. That's not going to bring you into a saving knowledge of the truth. That's not going to bring you into an encounter with God and his love. That's not going to bring you into a revelation of the cross.

On the other hand, it's not just a matter of feelings. I feel them in my heart, and he touched me, and sometimes the hair in my arms stands on end, and it must be the Holy Spirit. Well, it's wonderful if the Holy Spirit touches you, and it's wonderful if you have different experiences, but it goes beyond that. We love God with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul, all of our strength. And we have to renew our minds to the truth, but that doesn't mean shut off our critical thinking.

It means renew our mind to think rightly, renew our mind to think biblically, renew our mind to think truthfully. So if all I had was the Hebrew Bible, I could make my case for Jesus being the Messiah. I could make a decisive case. Of course, God has to open hearts and minds, but I believe I could make a decisive case for why Jesus, Yeshua, has to be our Messiah. And I could also make a case for the complex unity of God, that the God who is hidden also reveals himself. The God who is untouchable makes himself touchable in a manner of speaking.

But that's another subject. Let's take a look in Luke 24, beginning in verse 13. This is after the resurrection of Jesus.

Luke 24, 13. Now that same day, two of them, so two of the disciples, were going to a village called Emmaus about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked with them, but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, What are you discussing together as you walk along?

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them named Cleopas asked him, Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days? What things? Everybody in Jerusalem knows what's going on. Why we're downcast. What things? Yeshua asked.

Oh, you've got to love this. About Jesus of Nazareth, they replied. He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death. They crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.

And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning, but but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen the vision of angels who said he was alive.

And some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the woman had said. But they did not see Jesus. He said to them, How foolish you are and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken.

Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? Beginning with Moses and the prophets, he explained to them what was said and all the scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, Stay with us, for it is near the evening.

The day is almost over. So we went in to stay with them. And he was at the table with them. He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened.

What a remarkable account this is. And they recognized him and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, Why not our hearts burning with us within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven and those with them assembled together and saying, It is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon. Then the two told what had happened on the way and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke bread. So let's stop there and think for a moment. Jesus is saying to these Jewish disciples, You're really slow.

You're not getting this. Here it is written in the word. Here it is laid out in the word. What a marvelous conversation it would have been to sit in on as he opened up the scriptures, beginning with Moses and the prophets and goes through the Hebrew Bible and shows how it predicted his coming and it predicted his death and it predicted his resurrection. And obviously God and the disciples that were there know the details of what he shared and how he shared it. Now we go back to Luke 24 later in the chapter and we see that Jesus now is meeting with his eleven disciples. Let's go to Luke chapter 24 and we'll begin around verse 43. Luke 24, 43.

And it says this. He took an eight in their presence and said to them, This is what I told you. So verse 44 is where we really wanted to start. This is what I told you while I was still with you because he kept saying the scriptures had to be fulfilled. The scriptures had to be fulfilled and he would say he had to be crucified. He would rise and be on the third day and he kept pointing to that.

Everything must be fulfilled. That is written about me and the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms. This reflects the threefold division of Hebrew scripture that we have in the Hebrew Bible to this day called Tanakh. Torah, Nivi'im, Ketuvim. Torah, the law of Moses, Nivi'im, the prophets, which in the Hebrew Bible is Joshua, Judges 1 and 2, Samuel 1 and 2, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 minor prophets. And everything else is in the last section, Ketuvim, which means the writings, which is probably summarized here as Psalms being the largest body of literature in the last section of the Hebrew Bible. We have it organized in a different ancient Jewish form with the Torah, then the historical books, then poetry, wisdom, then prophets.

But look at this. Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me and the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures. He told them this is what is written. In other words, this is found in the Hebrew Bible. The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and repents for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.

And you are witnesses of these things. I'm going to send you what my father's promised, but stay in the city until you've been clothed with power from on high. Let me take you to one more passage of scripture in John chapter one. So we'll go to John chapter one. And here you've got Philip, Nathanael, they're talking verse forty fourth, Philip, like Andrew and Peter was from the town of Bethsaida.

Philip found Nathanael and told him, we have found the one Moses wrote about in the law and about whom the prophets also wrote Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. So this is the consistent testimony. We'll look at one more passage in Acts, the third chapter.

So one more passage we'll go to. This is the consistent testimony that God, through Moses, the prophets, through the writings of the Old Testament, that God prophesied the death and resurrection of the Messiah. I know we'd even argue the time frame in which we come before the second temple was destroyed. So look at Peter's message here in Acts chapter three to his Jewish audience in Jerusalem after the Messiah has ascended to heaven. Verse twenty four. Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. Now, he's already quoted from Moses in Deuteronomy about the prophet God would raise up and you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, through your offspring, all peoples on earth will be blessed. When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways. Notice he says the prophets, beginning with Samuel, have spoken of these days. And he's already quoted how Moses spoke of the coming of the Messiah. This is the consistent testimony of the entire New Testament that the Hebrew Bible, known by Christians later as the Old Testament, prophesied the coming of Jesus to die for our sins and to rise from the dead.

So it is written, so it took place. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get into the line of fire now by calling 866-34TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks, friends, for joining us on the line of fire.

866-34TRUTH. Again, Bottom of the Hour will be joined by J. Warner Wallace. We'll talk about his new book, Person of Interest. Oh, oh, important announcement.

You ready? This Friday, God willing, Dr. Mark Stengler will be joining us again to answer your health-related questions. It can be just a random medical question you have, and he'll do his best to give you advice over the phone. It can be specifically related to COVID, vaccine issues, health and safety issues.

It can be you've got a family member struggling with something and doctors haven't been able to help or you're interested in this naturopathic approach. Any question, he loves taking questions live and giving his advice over the air, and there's going to be a very special announcement that day as well. That'll bless all of you, so be sure to tune in. Tell a friend if you missed the show live. I'm sure you'll enjoy listening to it after, and there's going to be a special discount announcement that's going to hold through the weekend.

So even if you listen on podcast, hopefully you will catch everything on time. 866-342-DONT-CALL-NOW with medical questions because I can't help you with medical questions. Now, if you had a question about the Bible and medicine or about the Bible and healing, yes, I've got some expertise there in terms of understanding Scripture. But I always feel bad. Every so often, I'll see that someone will post on one of our social media accounts, Dr. Brown, I've had this condition for X number of years, I've been on this medication, it doesn't seem to help.

What would you recommend? Sometimes we'll get these from what would seem to be perhaps someone living in relative poverty overseas and maybe not able to get the best medical care. And all I can say is I wish I could help. I could pray for you, but that's about it.

But Friday is going to be a really fun broadcast, so be sure to tune in. So one thing that I discovered in studying Messianic prophecy is that there are different levels of Messianic prophecy. There are some that would be very overt, very clear, very definite, speaking of a future Messianic king who will rule and reign on the earth. So a passage like Isaiah 11, yes, it does have an ancient historical context that Judah, having been decimated by Assyria and being just like a stump, that out of that, out of the stump of Jesse would come forth the Messiah. So there's a historical context, but it's clearly speaking of a future time that has not yet happened under the rule and reign of the Messiah. That's why Jews and Christians alike agree that Isaiah 11 is a Messianic prophecy. Or Isaiah 2, 1 through 4, even though it doesn't mention Messiah there, because it speaks of this time of universal peace and knowledge of God on the earth that is recognized by Jews and Christians alike as a Messianic prophecy.

There are some that are that direct and that overt. There are others that you may have to dig a little bit more to determine that it's actually Messianic. For example, we know that David was a priestly king, that David performed certain priestly functions that other kings after him could not perform. That a word was given to him slash the Messiah in Psalm 110 that he would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Of course, Melchizedek himself being a priest and a king of Shalem in Genesis the 14th chapter. So we have those references and then we see clearly that there are priestly aspects of the Messiah's work, which have to do with making atonement for sin, which have to do with suffering on behalf of the people. And we see the Messiah depicted as a priestly king in Zechariah the 6th chapter, quite explicitly in fact. And from there we understand that there is a stream of prophecy that has to do not just with the Messiah's ruling and reigning, but the Messiah serving as a priestly king, making atonement for our sins, suffering on our behalf, taking our place as the great intercessor. And that's when we open up scriptures in Isaiah 42, 49, 50, and 52, 13 to 53, 12, which point to this Messiah being the light of the world, the light of the nations, the one to set the captors free beginning with the Jewish captives, but one who will be rejected, one who will be beaten, one who will be killed, one who will rise. So as we dig deeper, we see that these are messianic prophecies as well.

Then there are others that would be by way of application and illusion. In other words, we see that the death of the high priest would release the unintentional manslayer from the city of refuge. He would then have to spend the rest of his life there.

He'd go back to family and ancestral lands in Numbers 35. So this is not a prophecy about the death of the Messiah, but there's a principle that's learned from it in terms of the atoning power of the death of the high priest and the Messiah is our great high priest as our priestly Messiah. So you have truths like that. There are other things that have to do with what the Messiah will do and when these things will take place. So Daniel 9 24 to 27 lists a number of things that must take place before the second temple is destroyed.

And none of those fully came to pass during the days of the Maccabees and their revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes. They did not come to pass at that juncture, but they did come to pass before the second temple was destroyed. The Messiah died for our sins and purchased our everlasting redemption and made lasting atonement.

Those things came to pass. So there are there are various levels at which we look at things or, for example, parallels, typology as it happened to Moses. So it happens to the Messiah. So just as there is the attempt to kill Moses as a baby boy, there's the attempt to kill the Messiah as a baby boy. Both of them will be deliverers as it happened to David. So it happens to the Messiah, for example, betrayed by a close friend who wants to destroy him as it happens to Israel. So what happens to the Messiah? Just as Israel went into Egypt in infancy and God calls his child, his son, Israel, out of Egypt, so also Messiah in his infancy goes into Egypt and Messiah calls and God calls his Messiah, his son, out of Egypt. So there are parallels that are there.

There is typology as it happened in one case, so it happens in another. There are also messianic prophecies that are messianic because they were promises given to the house of David that never reached their fulfillment in the lives of any Davidic king. So some have argued that Isaiah 9 was originally addressed to Hezekiah, speaking of his might and God's power upon him and how he would rule in righteousness.

There's even a Talmudic statement that God would have made him the Messiah. But in any case, what was spoken there as you read it, Isaiah 9, 6 and 7 in English, 5 and 6 in Hebrew, but the identical verses just numbered differently, you see that what was written there never came to pass regarding Hezekiah. So it was a promise given that is yet to be fulfilled in the messianic king. So there are many prophecies like that. The same with Isaiah 7, 14, I would argue, that it was spoken in a specific context about a birth at that time.

We can argue strongly was a birth to someone in the house of David, so a birth to the king and one of his harem girls or wives, etc. And yet, everything spoken there does not find its fulfillment. It ties in then with the prophecy in Isaiah 9, which ties in with the prophecy in Isaiah 11. So Matthew reading it realizes, well, there's more.

This is the essence of fulfillment, bringing it to its full meaning. Or, for example, Psalm 22. Is Psalm 22 a prophecy?

No, it doesn't say it's a prophecy. It's a psalm of anguish. The psalmist cries out in pain and David cries out in the midst of his suffering, to God, why have you forsaken me? And he goes through the terrible things he's experiencing and then God delivers him from the jaws of death. And his deliverance is so great that it's told to the ends of the earth and people come to worship the God of Israel because of this great deliverance. And yet there's nothing in David's life that goes as far as what was written in Psalm 22. Nor was any deliverance he experienced so great that it was told to the ends of the earth and people came to the knowledge of God through it. But the Messiah, the ideal righteous sufferer, the perfect righteous sufferer, brings it to its full meaning. And now he takes on his own lips Psalm 22 and he now lives this out to the full. And he is literally delivered from death.

I mean, he actually dies and is delivered from the jaws of death itself or themselves. So this is how messianic prophecy is multilayered. And then there are certain things, plays on words like in Matthew 2, referencing the words of the prophets that the Messiah would be a Nazarene, someone from Nazareth.

You say, where is that written? Well, it's prophets, plural. So there are different themes that weave together here and most likely play on words that the Messiah will be a netzer, which is just the stump, the branch that comes out in Isaiah 11.

And netzer rhyming with Nazarene or someone from Nazareth, play on words. So it's rich and multifaceted. If you just look at it, that each one is just direct future prophecy. This will happen about the Messiah. This is such it's not like that.

It's not how the Hebrew Bible was written. When rightly understood, there is a rich tapestry, all of which points to Jesus being the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world. OK, condensed things I've studied for many, many decades and written hundreds and thousands of pages on ultimately try to make it simple, useful, I hope edifying as well. We'll get Jay one of Wallace's perspective when we come back. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown, your voice of moral, cultural and spiritual revolution. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. He is known as the cold case detective. He has emerged as one of the most fascinating, important voices in Christian apologetics. Today became famous first as a cold case homicide detective, his newest book, Person of Interest, and what gets my attention with this book is the subtitle Why Jesus Still Matters in a World That Rejects the Bible.

You haven't figured out who I'm speaking about yet. It is Jay Warner Wallace. And without further ado, Jim, it is great to have you back on the broadcast with us. Thanks for joining us. Well, you know, Dr. Brown, your work really was such a pivotal importance to me. I wrote a chapter about prophecy. There's no way I would have been able to even tackle that topic if I hadn't already purchased your book.

So your books are sitting in my library. I appreciate you. Awesome. Yeah.

Answering Jewish objections to Jesus. I'm so glad. And I did see the note that you referenced with appreciation.

So thanks so much. Hey, before we dive into your book, there's a fascinating story you told me. We were chatting before an apologetics conference. And you told me about your son getting involved in law enforcement and he's driving around the community, but not really seeing a lot of issues or action or problems. So you got in the vehicle with him and drove around the same community and pointed out all kinds of things he didn't see. That's an acquired skill that you have, correct? Yeah. And it's so funny because you don't want your kids to know, I mean, there's a balance, right, between do I want my kids to know where all the dangers are and when I'm watching crimes occurring. Yeah, I guess you do.

At some point, though, you also want to protect your kids from things. And so I was in this position where my son was pretty young and was starting to do the job and wasn't really sure what to be looking for. So I just got in my personal car and we drove around it. We sat in a parking lot of a huge store and I showed him, I said, now watch these two guys right here. Look what they're doing. And they walked in the store. They basically boosted stuff. They shoplifted stuff out under their coats. And then they got to their cars and they brought them back in and exchanged them for cash because that store would take, you know, like if you bought, oh, I got this as a gift, they would take it back and give you cash. Or they'd give you a certificate that you could use for something else or whatever.

So they were doing this where they were returning stolen goods. And I just want him to see what that looks like, right? So I mean, you know, first you have to sit for a while. And we were in a plane car, which would be harder to do if you were in a marked unit, right? Because they'd be seeing you sitting there.

But you can find a way sometimes to do that. And I just want him to see what those things look like in real time. Because you might just drive by that and see somebody, you know, coming out with a big coat, you know, and maybe they're not even, they're coming out of the store but they're not carrying any bags. What's the deal with that, right?

I mean, they went in there for something and they got this big coat on. So a lot of those things you just take for granted. And I wanted him to kind of see those maybe for the first time with new eyes. The problem, of course, is once you've seen it, it's hard to unsee it even when you're off duty, right? So that's why I didn't necessarily want to introduce him to that kind of level of suspicion that you end up carrying with you the rest of your life, you know.

All right. So then you came to fame nationally in Dateline and things like that because there were cases that had been cold, unsolved for many, many years. You went back and reviewed the evidence and then were able to find the guilty party homicides, etc. So you then take that knowledge and begin to apply it to apologetics. So examining the gospels, the accounts of the gospels or evidence for a creator. How did you do it in this particular book?

What sets person of interest apart from your previous work? Well, look, I've talked about this with a couple of friends who wonder, you know, you really cannot make a case for Jesus of Nazareth without the information from the New Testament. There's just no way to do that.

I get that. But interestingly, there's a lot of evidence outside of the New Testament, which is dependent on the New Testament, that could give us insight, even if every New Testament was destroyed. So, for example, I work a lot of these nobody murders where you have somebody who kills his wife and then he gets rid of the body and he pretends like she ran off and he reports her as a missing person. And we just had one of these rest tragically national headlines. And then, you know, unless you find the body, you don't even have good reason. Like, why should you even believe she's dead? I've had a couple of these where the body has never recovered. So then we have to make a case to the jury.

What number one is it's not a missing. It's a murder. Number two, he is the guy who did it. Now, how do you do that when you have no evidence from the crime scene? Because in those days, nobody would even take a picture. It was reported as a missing person. So no one took a picture of the crime scene. They never recovered a body, a single piece of physical evidence.

Now what do we do? Well, I always tell people, if on the day she vanished, it was actually a murder. Well, that's an explosive event. And all bombs are preceded by fuses that burn toward the detonation.

And as those bombs explode, there is shrapnel all over the blast radius. So we make those cases. We investigate those cases by simply demonstrating what happened in the fuse and what happens in the fallout. And then we can tell you if a felony occurred on the day she went missing.

So we did the same thing with person of interest. I just said, look, if you just for whatever reason imagine this world at which they successfully destroyed every New Testament. So now some future dystopian planet where no New Testament exists.

Well, it turns out if you're on planet Earth, you would have enough information from the fuse and fallout of history to know why we call the first century, for example, the first century. Like what is it about Jesus of Nazareth that was so spectacular? What did people believe about him?

And could someone who is just a regular human being, who is a small insignificant Jewish sage in the first century in this corner of the Roman Empire, could he really have this kind of impact if he wasn't something other than human? And that's what we're trying to do in person of interest, is to take a look at my book, Cold Case Christianity, examines what's in the New Testament. This book examines everything that's outside the New Testament.

Got it, got it. And the approach, of course, is fascinating, friends. The new book by J. Warner Wallace, Person of Interest, it's only been out about five weeks. It already has hundreds of raving positive reviews on Amazon.

So you do want to check it out. You know, this reminds me of a story of a famous ultra-orthodox Jewish rabbi early in the 20th century who was known for his piety and his self-sacrifice and his graciousness. And there was some court case where his testimony was being used. And someone told the judge, somebody stole from him, and he went running down the street saying, you forgot to take this. And the judge says, does anybody believe that? They go, no, but who else would they tell stories about like that?

If this guy was not known for being exceptional, you wouldn't even have these exaggerated stories. That's right. Oh, that's a great point. Yeah, as a matter of fact, it's because he was who he was that legends emerged, right? And that's what I thought as a non-believer. I was 35 before I became a believer. And my thinking on it was, well, okay, if Jesus is something, if he's God like they say he is, wouldn't the splash be bigger? I mean, you tell me the only record of this, the only people talking about it are the four gospel authors? Give me a break. There'd be more, wouldn't there? Well, it's because for the most part, my education growing up did not include the impact of Jesus on civilization.

It should have, but it didn't. And so I was purely ignorant of the kind of impact. I mean, I think it's just to me was remarkable and hard to deny and then hard to reconcile if he's just another guy in the line of history. Yeah, exactly.

So why the movement? You know, it's one thing if we try to argue just internally in Christian documents, why would these followers of Jesus die for a lie? Or could they have been so confused with hallucinations that they thought he rose and didn't and was still going to die for that? But the repercussions, the ripple effect of his life and death and resurrection go far beyond that. And that's the question. What caused this?

What made this happen? So again, just to look, all we can do is touch on some of the contents of the book. You start with the fuse and the fall of Jesus without the New Testament, then the question Jesus, the average ancient, the cultural fuse. But chapter three, Jesus, the copycat savior, question mark, the spiritual fuse.

What do you cover there? Yeah, I mean, how many times have we heard that, you know, Jesus is not just another mythology, not even a real historical character, just somebody who was made up in a long line of dying and rising saviors that all have similar attributes. And people will try to say, well, yeah, he's exactly like this deity.

He's exactly like that. Of course, none of that is really true. There are some broad overarching similarities between ancient mythologies that precede Jesus and the person named Jesus of Nazareth in history. Now, the question then becomes, well, why would there be some similarities?

Well, it turns out that I tried to read through all the ancient mythologies. You can look, and I find like maybe 15, you can probably find a few more or a few less of the overarching similarities between these mythologies. They are very broad.

They're not specific. So you could say that, yes, many of them, for example, enter into the world in a supernatural way. But the specifics of how they enter into the world is very different.

One of them will pop out of the side of a mountain, leaving a cave like Mithras. Another is born out of the thigh of another god. Jesus, for example, of course, is part of a virgin.

Now, why would they all be born in some—well, think about it. If you're thinking hard about deity, even as an ancient or as a modern, you're going to assume certain attributes of deity. Like, for example, if God is supernatural, would you be surprised to think that he might enter into the world in a supernatural way? That, to me, does not seem like an unusual thought to have if you're thinking about God to begin with. And this is what I think the ancients did.

C.S. Lewis says it this way, that really the myths are the ancient stories about God from the minds of humans, whereas the story of Jesus is God's myth. Not meaning to say a falsehood, but a story about deity that is grounded in what we call real things. So it turns out that if God was trying to actually meet the expectations of ancients who are thinking about God because they are created in the image of God, this is what Paul is talking about in Acts 17, right? You people are very religious because I see a bunch of things are being worshipped here.

Let me tell you who the real God is. Well, that's what's happening with the appearance of Jesus. It turns out of all those 15 attributes, no mythology has more than maybe 10, and somehow as few as six of these attributes. But there is a person who arrives in history who possesses all 15 of the expectations of ancients, and that is Jesus of Nazareth.

He's the only one who possesses all 15 attributes. And if you think about that for a second, do you really think that Jewish authors in the first century, like say Matthew, is going to craft together what he hopes Jews will accept as their Messiah, a mythology that is grounded and built on the piecemeal kind of puzzling of ancient pagan mythologies, really? I think that's a pretty big stretch to imagine he would do that. And I think the reality of it is that God is simply appearing and meeting the expectations of those of us who think deeply about God, and that's what Jesus does. And you know it's so interesting, we've got a break coming up and then we'll come right back, but the idea of constructing a myth about the virgin birth, it's not the most flattering myth, because all that's going to happen, as this is being taught in your lifetime, is everyone's going to think you're just illegitimate. You know, honey, no, I wasn't with anybody. I conceived virginally while you were at war. That's just what happened. Right, sure.

That's why he's accused of sexual immorality, and that's why, interestingly enough, when you study world religion or founders of different cults, they might even claim that they were God themselves, but they wouldn't construct this virgin birth myth because it opens up the door to accusations of immorality. In any case, just scratching the surface, the new book, J. Warner Wallace, Person of Interest. We'll be right back. Thanks for joining us, friends. It's my joy to have J. Warner Wallace on talking about his new book, Person of Interest, which shows, demonstrates, argues, makes a strong case for why Jesus is still absolutely relevant to every human being on the planet, even if we didn't have the New Testament.

History would tell us that is the case. Jim, quick question before we go back into some of the contents of the book. I'm sure you've been blessed and thrilled to see the impact your books have had. I'm sure you get lots of testimonies from readers who've come to faith or been strengthened in the faith through your material.

Obviously, it's to God's glory. But what is it that seems to really help people about your material? If you were saying, OK, this one helps here. You mentioned my work in Jewish apologetics has helped people. What do you tend to hear the most as as to why your books are so helpful to others? Well, maybe I heard some of this, too. I think they're accessible and that that's a big deal.

Right. I'm not a I don't have a doctorate degree in philosophy or ancient history or any of those languages or manuscript evidence. What I try to do is, you know, I bring in experts for jury trials and we spend weeks in front of juries presenting evidence. And we often present the testimony of experts related to that evidence. But at the end, that 10 week trial has to be summarized in a three hour closing argument and then a rebuttal. And so we have to figure out a way to take all of that data and eventually present it in a way that's persuasive. And it has to summarize. I can't spend 10 weeks doing the 10 weeks.

I've already done the 10 weeks. So I figure I'll summarize it three hours. And so in the end, I think what we're trying to do is to stand on the shoulders of giants and translate and translate difficult concepts in a way. And people, for the most part, may not be familiar with the work of textual criticism or with the work of historians, but for the most part, they've been watching detective shows and they have a sense about how to put a case together. And if I can just show them how this is a parallel, that this is a very similar, when we reconstruct an event from the past, even if it's just 40 years ago in a murder, we often have similar challenges you might have to reconstructing the past about any ancient figure or an historical figure. So it's kind of a similar parallel.

So I think what we try to do is to make it, we try to throw the ball in a way that people can catch it. Yeah, and done so very well with appreciation for many of us. So again, the new book, Person of Interest, and my favorite part, the subtitle, Why Jesus Still Matters in a World That Rejects the Bible. That's the reality of where we live today in so much of America, being post-Christian and young people, not having the same background.

We can't make the same assumptions. So before you came on the first half hour of my broadcast today, I gave an overview of Messianic prophecy. So that would be chapter 4, Jesus, the Mistaken Messiah, and then chapter 5, In the Fullness of Time Jesus Arrives. But let's look at chapter 6, Jesus, the Unfounded Fiction, the Dissemination Fallout.

What do you cover there? Yeah, I think that there's aspects of culture that as an atheist were important to me. I always thought that literature and art and music and education and science were these areas that were of importance to me as a non-believer. But that first one, literature, is so dominated by Jesus.

No historical character has been written about more than Jesus of Nazareth, and it's not even close to the second place finisher. Not only that, we've got all kinds of conversations that are recorded on ancient documents in the first 300 years of the Christian history. Now, I picked those 300 years because if you think about it, I used to always think, well, look, by the time Rome takes over anything, doesn't power corrupt?

A government can corrupt certain principles, it can change the story. So let's just go before any of that occurred, before the Edict of Milan or the Edict of Thessalonica. Let's look at those documents that are written by what we call the Antonisian Fathers and by all of the non-Christians. Either they be Greek or Roman or Persian or Egyptian or Jewish who wrote about Jesus, their voices, or they said something about Jesus and their voices got recorded on ancient manuscripts.

It turns out that there are more non-Christian voices recorded in antiquity about saying something about Jesus than there actually are Christian voices saying something about Jesus, especially if you include, for example, all the non-canonical authors, the Gnostics, the people who were not Christians and were identified at the time by the Church Fathers as non-Christians, who had something to say as they kind of tried to co-opt the story of Jesus for their own purposes. Well, it turns out that you can reconstruct the truth about Jesus from the lies. This is often true, right, because I compare the book to the stories that have been written about Elvis.

I mean, only about 40 years that the legends related to Elvis have been written over and over and over again, all kinds of rabbit trails, but all of them assume the true narrative of the boy who grew up and became one of the most successful recording artists of all time. So they stand on those truths as they grab a trail off into, so they might say, well, yeah, he spent this night in Memphis. Well, we can actually find records of him spending the night in Memphis, and they'll say, and he was sleeping with this rock star. Well, that part is the lie. But it turns out, in order to tell the lie, you had to say something that was true.

He did spend that night in Memphis. So the same kind of thing happens with Jesus. They will tell many lies, the ancients, because they have one reason or another to defame or to twist Jesus into their own purpose, but they have to stand on truth claims in order to tell the lies. And from those lies, you can reconstruct the truth related to Jesus, what they say in common about Jesus before they take on their own particular lie.

And that's what we try to do in that chapter. And even the idea of people talk about, well, lost books of the Bible or there is an original Christianity that's been hidden from us. And look, you have to look at these other gospels and these other accounts.

And again, we can give strong historical reasons why we reject these other books, such as the Gnostic gospels. But the question is, why was everybody talking about this guy? What was so amazing and exceptional?

And how is it? Look, if when Jesus was accused of driving out demons and healing the sick by the power of Satan, I was asked the question, why was he accused of doing that? And the answer is because he was doing he was actually healing the sick and driving out demons.

That's why they had a concoct an explanation. If Elvis just grew up as some unknown kid and died, some unknown guy somewhere, you wouldn't have all the legends. And of course, the Elvis legends are a trillionth of the Jesus legends. That's right.

And so just one more. Look at it this way. At the same time that Elvis was out there in Memphis and in Nashville and having his career, there were lots of other struggling singers, some of whom got recorded. Yet there have been hundreds of books written about Elvis and one or two or none of some of these other contemporaries.

Well, why is that? Because Elvis was something different. He stood out in a way and achieved something that the others didn't.

Well, in a similar way. I may have a list in the last chapter of the book just talking about how many other people in history claimed to be the Jewish Messiah. And there are a number all the way through the 12th century. And if you look at them, you don't know, no one even knows those names.

If I put that list up, who are those people? Well, because they didn't have the kind of impact that this man who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah did. And I think if people even realize that most of the things they love are deeply indebted to the worldview inaugurated by Jesus of Nazareth, they might look at him differently. And that's what we're trying to do with a book like this is to show just how remarkable and beautiful Jesus really is.

And that's why he had that kind of impact on the arts and literature and music and science and education. And even other world religions that are not Christian hat tip Jesus in some way because they must. And I'm assuming, I just want to get this said anyway, that you would say absolutely you wrote this book not just to strengthen the faith of Christians, but to help those that are outside the faith. In other words, it's accessible to them. You've got a relative that is an atheist or someone that thinks, ah, New Testament. It's just another religious book. This book is written in such a way it's not full of Christianese.

It's going to be accessible for them, correct? Yes, because I'm still writing a lot of it from my own perspective as an atheist. For example, I don't even use the B, C and A, D designations until the last chapter, because for most of the time I was actually doing this investigation as a 35-year-old detective. I was not a believer, so I never would have been more than happy with the BCE and the CE designations of history. That's how I saw history. It might be a common era, but before Jesus, that to me seemed irrelevant. What's most important is that we are into a new era. What causes the new era to begin? Why are we calling this the first century, when of course it wasn't the first century in which humans lived and recorded history, but we still call it that for a reason.

And why do we do that? Because everything starts anew. And by the way, literature and music and science and education explode after Jesus.

There is something new happening in history in the first century, because God enters into his creation and everything changes. Yeah, and again, some of this covered in Jesus the Drury deity, the Imagination Fallout chapter, Jesus the Illiterate question mark, the Education Fallout, Jesus the Science Denier question mark, the Exploration Fallout. So I'm just, friends, I know you say, well, we want to get into this.

We have limited time. So get the book, J. Warner Wallace, Person of Interest, Why Jesus Still Matters in a World That Rejects the Bible. Hey, Jim, keep doing the great work. You're helping a lot of people. Well, I'm standing on your shoulders, brother, so I appreciate you. Thanks so much. Well, that's that's very kind. God bless, man. Great talking to you. All right.

Yeah. You know what I love, too, with all the interviews that he's doing, the enthusiasm. I always appreciate that with authors that they they love the content of the work they're doing. Hey, great talking with you. And yeah, I was I was blessed when when we interacted about having him on the show, that he pointed out that that he felt the work that we had done in Jewish apologetics was the best he had seen. And with Messianic prophecy, so glad to make our contribution. And we each have our unique journeys, Jim, as a detective.

Right. Atheist detective, cold case homicide detective. There's no same investigative skills to lead them to the truth of the gospel. Me as a Jewish believer, confronted by the rabbis and challenged. And as we studied and learned and dug in, our faith became, in his case, real for the first time in mine. And even deeper, our friends, we're going to be catching up with a lot of stuff happening in the world around us and the next broadcast. And don't forget Friday, a special broadcast with a special announcement. My guest, Dr. Mark Stanley. Another program powered by the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-28 16:05:43 / 2023-07-28 16:25:33 / 20

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