What does the Bible Really say about Christianity
Most counter-missionary articles will tell you what the Bible does NOT say about Christianity. The typical counter-missionary essay will study a passage from the Bible that missionaries quote as if it were a prophecy about Jesus, and demonstrate why in fact the passage has nothing to do with Jesus.
But does the Bible say nothing about Christianity? The Jewish prophets gave the Jewish people an understanding of the future that will befall them. The fact is that Christianity and the Church played a large role in the history of Israel. We would expect that this world religion would deserve some mention in the writings of the prophets.
Before we begin our search let us clarify to ourselves what it is that we are searching for. The audience of the Jewish prophets is obviously the Jewish people (Psalm 147:19). We must look at Christianity through the eyes of the Jewish people if we want to find what the prophets of Judaism said about it. From the historical standpoint of the Jew, what would be the prominent features of Christianity and the Church? It will be these aspects of Christianity that we could expect the prophets of Israel to talk about.
From the Jewish perspective, the most prominent aspect of Christianity would be the doctrine of the trinity. Israel’s calling in this world is to proclaim the absolute sovereignty of God, and the Church philosophy that attributes divinity to a human while at the same time paying lip-service to the monotheistic ideal constitutes the greatest opposition to Israel’s core calling.
Another marked facet of Christianity from the standpoint of the Jew would be the teaching of replacement theology. The covenant that the Jewish people share with God assures them that God’s purpose in the world will be achieved through Israel. All of mankind will enjoy God’s favor when Israel merits the blessings that were promised to their fathers, and only when Israel enters into the blessed promises that gave them hope through this long exile.
The Church teaching, that asserts that those who put their faith in the savior of Christianity become inheritors of Israel’s promise, represents the antithesis of Israel’s hope and vision. The fact that some Christian denominations have belatedly acknowledged that the natural Israel is “also” an inheritor of God’s promise, does little to mitigate the error of replacement theology. The fact remains that all Christians believe that the promises of God are NOT reserved for the children of Jacob who hoped for the God that is known to Israel, but rather they are reserved for those who put their trust in a man that Israel never knew as a deity.
Finally, we would expect the prophets to speak about the terrible persecutions that the Church perpetrated against the Jewish people.
To summarize; we expect the prophets to speak of a false teaching about the nature of God, we expect the prophets to speak of a national entity that claims the promises of Israel for herself, and we expect the prophets to speak of the same national entity persecuting the Jewish people.
The book of Daniel provides us with an all-encompassing understanding of world history. In the 7th chapter of the book, Daniel tells us of a vision acompanied by the explanation of this vision supplied by an angel. Daniel saw four beasts rising out of the sea. Each of these beasts is representative of a world empire. The first beast is understood to represent Babylon, the second, Persia, and the third beast symbolizes Greece.
When it comes to the fourth beast, Daniel’s vision becomes more detailed. Daniel describes the beast as possessing ten horns. But an eleventh horn rises from the head of the beast and three of the former horns are uprooted before it. Daniel describes the eleventh horn as possessing eyes like that of a man and a mouth that speaks haughty words (7:8). Ultimately, the fourth beast is destroyed because of the haughty words spoken by the eleventh horn (7:11).
The angel who explains the vision provided further illumination about this eleventh horn. The angel tells us that this horn will do battle against the nation of holy exalted ones, and will be successful up until a certain point in time (7:21,25). We are also given further insight into the “haughty words” of this eleventh horn. The angel tells us that this eleventh horn will direct its words against the “Uppermost” – a reference to God (7:25). In that same verse we learn that the eleventh horn will plan to bring about a change concerning the appointed times and the law (- see Hebrews 7:12).
In the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel we find more information about a national entity that speaks against God. We are told that “the king” will exalt himself above every god, he will utter fantastic words against the God of gods and he will succeed until a certain time (11:36).
It is clear from these two prophecies in Daniel that this national entity who speaks haughtily against God, will flourish until the Messianic age is about to begin. The destruction of this national entity is intimately tied in with the ushering in of the Messianic age (7:11,26, 11:45).
In the books of the other prophets we find that the destruction of one particular nation, namely; “Edom” (otherwise known as “Se’ir” or “Esau”), is an essential part of ushering in the age of the kingdom of God (Isaiah 34:5-8, 63:1-4, Obadiah 1:21). It is understood that “Edom” is not simply a reference to the small province that existed to the south of Israel in ancient times. It is obvious from these prophecies that “Edom” is a nation that plays a major role in world history and will prosper right up until the Messianic age. Furthermore, the destruction of Edom described by these prophets parallels the destruction of the fourth beast described by Daniel, and that fourth beast is a world empire.
We turn now to Ezekiel to help us tie up the loose ends. In the 35th chapter of Ezekiel we learn how “Edom” will be destroyed before the kingdom comes to Israel. Ezekiel goes a bit further than the other prophets. Ezekiel tells us WHY Edom must be destroyed. Ezekiel mentions the haughty words against God that were prominent in Daniel’s vision (35:13), but Ezekiel also speaks of another sin of Edom. Ezekiel tells that God incriminates Edom with the words: “Because you have said: the two nations and the two lands shall belong to me and we shall inherit it…” (35:10). The sin of Edom is that they attempted to usurp the nationhood and the land of Israel. Edom wanted to swallow Israel and Judah and still be Edom (the “two nations” mentioned by the prophet refer to Israel and Judah, alternately they could be a reference to Israel and Edom).
This concept is alluded to in the book of Daniel as well. Daniel described the eleventh horn as “possessing eyes like that of a man”. In that same chapter in the book of Daniel, the kingdom of Israel is referred to by the term “as a man” (7:13) in contrast to the Gentile empires which are represented by beasts. But this eleventh horn, despite being part of a beast (a Gentile empire) attempts to imitate man; a Gentile national entity attempting to usurp Israel’s position.
Indeed, the prophets of Israel foresaw the advent of Christianity. “Edom” and the fourth beast’s eleventh horn correspond to Christendom and the Church. The prophets warned us about the false teaching concerning the nature of God (Daniel 7:8,11,25, 11:36, Ezekiel 35:13). The prophets predicted the Church persecution of Israel (Daniel 7:21,25, Ezekiel 35:5, Amos 1:11, Obadiah 1:10). And the Bible anticipates the doctrine of replacement theology propounded by the Church (Ezekiel 35:10, Daniel 7:8).
The prophets promised that the mask of confusion will ultimately be removed from upon the face of the nations (Isaiah 25:7). On that day the kingdom will belong to God alone (Obadiah 1:21) and all of mankind will together serve God as one (Zephaniah 3:9). May it happen speedily in our days.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal