Response to Line of Fire 8
On the May 20 2011 edition of the “Line of Fire” radio show – http://lineoffireradio.askdrbrown.org/ , Dr. Brown addressed a presentation I made on the subject of the “second coming”.
The thrust of my presentation was that the concept of a “second coming” appears nowhere in the Jewish Scriptures. Furthermore, the disciples of Jesus are reported to have been shocked by his death. If the teaching of the “second coming” can be found in the Jewish Scriptures, the disciples should have been shocked if he didn’t die. The fact that the disciples were surprised at Jesus’ death proves that the “second coming” doctrine is but an invention of people desperately trying to hang on to their belief in a prophet after his prophecy has failed.
Dr. Brown responded with the argument that by contrasting Zechariah 9:9 with Daniel 7:13, we can see the concept of a “second coming” in the Jewish Scriptures. According to Dr. Brown, Zechariah is talking of the first coming while Daniel is talking about the second coming. Dr. Brown also points to Isaiah 53 which he sees as a prophecy that is fulfilled in Jesus’ rejection, suffering and death.
Dr. Brown then presents his explanation as to why the disciples were shocked by Jesus’ death. Dr. Brown points out that the Christian Scriptures teach that Jesus clearly told his disciples about his impending death – but that they were “supernaturally blinded”. The concept was right in front of them, both in the Jewish Scriptures and in the teachings of their beloved master – but they couldn’t see it. Dr. Brown quotes Deuteronomy 29:3 to support this theory of “supernatural blindness”.
Dr. Brown then goes on to say that all traditional Jews who don’t believe in Jesus are also “supernaturally blinded”. He encourages his audience to pray for the Jewish people.
This response of Dr. Brown reveals the weakness of his entire position.
I am not referring to the weakness of his Scriptural quotations. In order to get Zechariah 9:9 to talk of the “first coming” Dr. Brown is forced to put a 2000 year (-and counting) gap between verse 9 and verse 10 without any textual justification. In order to get Daniel 7:13 to be talking of the Messiah Dr. Brown is forced to ignore the explanation of this vision that is provided by the Scripture itself (- see https://yourphariseefriend.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/daniel-713/ . As for Dr. Brown’s reference to Isaiah 53, please see the posts under the title “Isaiah 53”.
I am also not talking about another obvious weakness in his position. If it is as Dr. Brown admits, that the disciples of Jesus had no clue that Jesus was to suffer and die, so in what way were they Christians? If one were to claim that he or she “believes in Jesus” – but doesn’t believe that Jesus’s suffered and died, would any denomination of Christianity accept this belief as “Christianity”? If Jesus’s disciples knew nothing about the suffering of the Messiah – so what DID Jesus teach them?
Furthermore, if the disciples were “supernaturally blinded” to such a critical teaching of Christianity, how can we be sure that there were no other critical points that they just “didn’t get”?
When I speak of the weakness of Dr. Brown’s position, I am referring to the theory that those who do not “see Jesus” are “supernaturally blinded”.
If we are dealing with “supernatural blindness” then how does Dr. Brown know that he is not “supernaturally blinded”? How does someone overcome this supernatural blindness if not through an honest search for truth, in humility towards God, and with respect for His word? If people who don’t “see Jesus” are “supernaturally blinded” – then why is it that many people who have “seen Jesus” – abandon their belief in Jesus after an honest study of the Scriptures? I am not referring to nominal Christians. I am referring to people who risked their lives for Jesus, people who walked with him for years upon years. These people realized that their faith in Jesus was misplaced simply through studying the issues.
The underlying premise of a discussion between people who disagree with each other is that we are all capable of identifying the truth. It is my firm belief that every human being who walks this planet possesses an ability to determine between truth and falsehood. Each of us possesses a breath of God in our nostrils (Genesis 2:7, Proverbs 20:27, Job 32:8) which takes pleasure in truth and despises falsehood.
Yes, we are all biased, and our biases often prevent us from seeing the truth – and this is what is spoken of in Deuteronomy 29:3. The passage is referring to a natural tendency towards rebelliousness which prevented the Jewish people from absorbing the full spiritual impact of the lessons that God had taught them.
But a bias is not a “supernatural blindness”. There is a limit to what a bias can prevent you from seeing. You will not walk into a brick wall because your bias prevented you from seeing it. The entire basis of this discussion is that we are both (Dr. Brown and myself) predisposed to our respective positions, but that through an honest and thorough discussion, the truth will be brought to light – with such clarity – that our respective biases will not prevent us from seeing the truth. All that this blog is – is my struggle to bring more and more clarity to this discussion.
When Dr. Brown throws in the “blindness” card, he has admitted that he sees no way of bringing more clarity to his position. He is asserting that all the evidence that an honest human being needs to come to a decision is already on the table. It is only supernatural blindness that prevents us from seeing the “truth” of his position.
I address the following question to any believer in Jesus that may be reading these words. Are you satisfied with this argument? Are you comfortable with the belief that the tens of thousands of Jews who died with the love of God in their hearts were “supernaturally blinded”? Does the belief that your fellow human beings are “supernaturally blinded” sit well with your sense of honesty? Do you really believe that an honest and open discussion will not lead to the truth?
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal