Response to The Line of Fire 10
On the July 7 2011 segment of Dr. Brown’s radio show: “The Line of Fire” he addressed several video clips by Rabbi Eli Cohen ( http://www.lineoffireradio.com/2011/07/07/dr-brown-answers-the-rabbis-part-3-and-an-interview-with-david-bruckner-of-jews-for-jesus/#comments ). In this article we will address some of the arguments that Dr. Brown raises in his presentation. In no way is this to be considered a comprehensive refutation of all of Dr. Brown’s statements.
Before I set out to point out the flaws in his arguments, I would like to commend Dr. Brown for the tone of his presentation. He makes it clear that he respects Rabbi Cohen as a person and that his presentation is not a personal attack against Rabbi Cohen. By bringing a conciliatory tone to the table the discussion can focus on the real issues.
- Dr. Brown makes the claim that 2 Chronicles chapter 7 teaches that once the Temple was destroyed, Israel is without national atonement.
The passage in Chronicles presents no such teaching. The passage does say that with Israel’s sins the Temple will be destroyed, but the Scripture says nothing about Israel not being able to atone for sin. The wording that the prophet uses in verses 21 and 22 of this chapter directly parallel Deuteronomy chapter 29:23-25. The passage in Deuteronomy leads to God’s directive as to how we can go about getting the Temple back. The answer is repentance. Although we do not have a temple, the Scriptures clearly teach that there is a path for the nation to be reconciled with God and that path is turning back to the Law of Moses through sincere repentance.
2. Dr. Brown addresses Rabbi Cohen’s arguments concerning the Christian interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27. By accepting the Christian teaching that assumes that there is no atonement without blood, Dr. Brown has missed the main thrust of Daniel’s prophecy. The background of Daniel’s prophecy is that he feared that the restoration that Jeremiah prophesied was not coming to pass. Jeremiah had predicted that Israel’s exile was to last 70 years and Daniel was under the impression that this prophecy was not being fulfilled. The answer to Daniel’s prophecy is that what he had expected to be accomplished with the 70 years of Jeremiah will not be fully accomplished until a later time. When the angel speaks to Daniel about the expiation of sin, he is not talking about blood offerings because that was not the subject of Daniel’s prayer. The angel was talking about Israel’s suffering. The purpose of Israel’s suffering is for the expiation of sin, and the angel was explaining to Daniel that it was not going to be accomplished in the 70 years of the Babylonian exile.
3. Rabbi Cohen points out that the Christian interpretation which assumes that Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus is simply untenable. All of the glorious predictions about ushering in eternal righteousness and anointing the holy of holies have not come to pass. The point Rabbi Cohen is trying to make is that the culmination of this prophecy is yet to occur.
Dr. Brown responds to this point with the argument that the prophecy comes with a time limit. It must be fulfilled before the destruction of the Second Temple. Dr. Brown argues that according to Rabbi Cohen’s argument, Daniel would have to be a false prophet.
Dr. Brown recognizes that the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy is yet to come. Dr. Brown contends that a “foretaste” of the fullness of the prophecy took place during the time of the Second Temple, while its final culmination is to occur with the return of Jesus.
The problem with Dr. Brown’s interpretation is that the prophet says nothing about a “foretaste” or that the prophecy will be fulfilled in two stages.
When we read the prophecy in context, with the clear understanding that the focus of the prophecy is suffering of Israel and what it is supposed to accomplish, we can readily understand this Scriptural passage.
Daniel assumed that through Israel’s suffering in the 70 years of the Babylonian exile, the glorious Messianic era would be ushered in. The angel informed him that this was not to be. The angel told Daniel that there was a period of 490 years was decreed over Israel which will culminate in the destruction of the Temple. By noting the parallel verses in chapter 11 (verses 31-35) we learn that the destruction of the Temple will be accompanied by a new exile and that Israel will still undergo yet another refining process. It is only with this second exile that Israel will accomplish what Daniel expected her to accomplish in the first exile. The process that will usher in eternal righteousness, anoint the holy of holies and put a permanent end to sin is to begin at the end of the 490 years.
4. Towards the end of his presentation Dr. Brown makes the claim that by establishing the largest religion in the world, Jesus has thereby fulfilled a Messianic prophecy. I wonder which prophecy he is referring to. As far as I can tell, there is no such prophecy in the Hebrew Bible.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal