“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” [Exodus 20:2-3]
There are two common prejudices among those who oppose Jesus’ followers: The first one is that we have taken a man and turned him into a god. (We have devoted a different video to this). The second one is that Jesus bewitched
, incited and turned the people of Israel away from the God of Israel and to idol worship.
THE BLOOPER OF JOSHUA BEN PERACHIAHThis claim is based on a fable in the rabbinic Talmud, according to which, Jesus was allegedly a disciple of Rabbi Joshua Ben Perachiah, had an altercation with him and, for revenge, decided to learn the Satanic Witchcraft Arts in Egypt for the purpose of leading the people of Israel to sin.
The problem is that this bizarre rabbinic legend has just as much evidence and historical credibility as the claim that Santa Claus hands out gifts by sliding down chimneys on Christmas Eve.
First of all, the claim has no support outside of Talmudic writings and secondly, this fable was written many hundreds of years AFTER Jesus’ time for the obvious aim of attempting to abolish Jesus and to rationalize His supernatural abilities.
But here is the most embarrassing part of the claim, where it fails due to its lack of chronological reliability: When claiming that Jesus was a disciple of Rabbi Joshua Ben Perachiah. Joshua Ben Perachiah lived in the second century BC, hundreds of years before Jesus was even born.
It is as if I told you that Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl, who lived in the 19th century, was the disciple of Rabbi Joseph Karo, who lived in the 16th century.
In short: Embarrassing.
THE SAGES AGREED THAT YESHUA PERFORMED MIRACLESHowever, the really interesting part is that Jewish Sages don’t even attempt to deny the supernatural miracles that were performed by Jesus and by His disciples.
An example of this can be found in the Talmud, Tractate Abodah Zarah, page 17, where a conversation takes place in which Rabbi Eliezer tells Rabbi Akiva about a disciple of Jesus, a Messianic Jew named Jacob, who was renowned for his ability to heal people in Jesus’ name. Later on, page 27 tells of the son of Rabbi Ishmael’s sister who was bitten by a snake. That same disciple of Jesus, Jacob, offered to heal Rabbi Ishmael’s nephew in Jesus’ name. However, even though he acknowledged his ability to heal people in Jesus’ name, the Rabbi refused and said he prefers that his sister’s son DIE instead!
Even rabbis today don’t try to deny the fact that Jesus had supernatural powers but they try to undermine the authority by which Jesus performed His miracles, based on that fable.
For example, see what Rabbi Daniel Asor said: “Jesus was indeed a false prophet, for he acted only through sorcery… He is the embodiment of Satanism.” [Rabbi Daniel Asor]
WHAT YESHUA’S MIRACLES TELL US“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.” [Luke 7:22]
The miracles that Jesus and His disciples performed for all to see, attested to a wide range of things over which Jesus had authority. He had authority over the forces of nature, over diseases, over demons, over creation and even over death.
Unlike false prophets, who performed wonders in the name of idols, Jesus always acted in the name of the God of Israel alone. Every miracle performed by Him was in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It would seem, based on the Book of Isaiah chapter 35, that expectations were increasing among the Jews of the third century BC that when the Messiah comes, he alone will be able to perform what is known, “The Four Miracles of the Messiah”:
- Healing a leper,
- Healing a man born blind,
- Casting out a mute demon
- Raising a man who has been considered dead for at least four days.
This is based on Scroll 4Q521 (or: The 4QMessianic Apocalypse). Furthermore, Tractate Nedarim in the Babylonian Talmud verifies this insight.
Ever since the Torah’s completion and until the time of Jesus, not a single Jewish leper was healed. This, as aforesaid, is because God has saved the right to cure a Jewish leper for the Messiah alone. Lepers lived outside of the cities. They were not allowed to come in contact with other people lest they infect them with leprosy as well. Therefore, the priests and Jewish leaders knew exactly who had leprosy. Not only was Jesus seen healing dozens of people in Israel from leprosy, but He even said to one of them:
“Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” [Matthew 8:4]
Jesus knew that the priests would know that leper. And once they see he has been cleansed and healed, they would know that the Messiah is truly among them. The problem is that, as recorded in the Talmud itself, the priests at the time were evil and corrupt. The kind of people who were only interested in power and control (however, we deal with this issue a separate video).
If Jesus indeed used satanic witchcraft to heal, He wouldn’t have been able to heal that leper. God would not have allowed Him to do that which is reserved for the Messiah alone. But more importantly, Jesus performed all of the miracles in the name of the God of Israel. Jesus never claimed to heal by the power of Satan. On the contrary, He claimed to heal by the power of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, thereby directing both Jews and Gentiles towards God. Nevertheless, the religious leaders accused Him of being a satanic sorcerer:
“It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons…” [Matthew 12:24]
Jesus pointed out the fallacy in their claim by answering them wisely:
“Knowing their thoughts, He said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” [Matthew 12:25-26]
Not only would God probably not allow Jesus to perform miracles in His name, but also the very rabbinical claim against Jesus is an internal contradiction in itself. Why? Because at least three of the miracles performed by Jesus involved water: Walking on water, turning water into wine and healing a blind man. In the Talmud, Jewish sages teach that sorcery is undone when brought into contact with water. (Sanhedrin 47b / Berachot 9b).
This means that the rabbinic Talmud shot itself in the foot. Without even noticing, the Sages admitted that Jesus couldn’t have possibly been a sorcerer.
Furthermore, take a look at the results of Jesus’s miracles: If Jesus tried to perform sorcery in Satan’s name and turn people away from YAHWEH and to idol worship, then He performed poorly and did a miserable job, as He only brought people closer to the God of Israel.
The miracles that Jesus performed in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob only made both Jews and Gentiles abandon their idols and believe in the God of Israel!
Jesus performed those miracles because He was the Messiah. And to this day, people around the world
are supernaturally healed in the name of Jesus – our own Jewish Messiah, whom we have rejected.
See what Daniel Zion, the Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria during World War II who came to believe in Jesus, said:
“If you Rabbis would pray to God with your whole heart and read the New Testament thoughtfully, approaching this book and the Messiah with reverence, I am convinced that God would open your eyes. Jesus did nothing but good, He called Israel to repentance and to the Kingdom of God. He did many signs and wonders, as no prophet before Him. He wished to unite people; that they should love each other and also their enemies. Thus He wished to build a bridge between Israel and the nations; [that] there should be peace between them and the prophecies of Isaiah and all the prophets be fulfilled, That the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be King over all the earth.”
[Rabbi Daniel Zion]
Why were the Christians then expelled from the synagogues as apostates in about 85 A.D.?
First of all, it is important to point out that Judaism in the 1st century of the Christian era was not entirely homogeneous. There was a variety of groups or parties: most obviously the Pharisees, the theological teachers; the Sadducees, the ruling and priestly class in Jerusalem; the Zealots who sought political liberation from Roman domination; the Essenes, in all probability the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran; and then the Christians or the Nazarenes, as they were sometimes called. Each of these parties had its own particular emphases and teachings. In the beginning, it is extremely likely that mainstream Judaism did not see in the Christian movement any great threat.
However, as the divinity of Christ came to more articulate and explicit expression, first in the letters of St. Paul, the realization gradually emerged that they were expanding the traditional Jewish monotheism so as to encompass the person of Jesus. The Jewish Synod of Jamnia, probably in the mid-80s of the 1st century, was responsible for excommunicating the Christians/Nazarenes from mainstream Judaism for two reasons: first, this expansion of monotheism, and second, the repudiation of Torah dietary laws and circumcision that came with the embrace of the Gentiles. Many Jewish Christians in the late 1st century found themselves aposunagogos, literally, “cast out from the synagogue.” We see hints of this both in the gospel of St. Matthew and in the gospel of St. John. It is better to see the separation of the ways between Christianity and Judaism as a process over time rather than something that took place exclusively at one point in time.
Peter Schäfer examines how the rabbis of the Talmud read, understood, and used the New Testament Jesus narrative to assert, ultimately, Judaism’s superiority over Christianity.
The Talmudic stories make fun of Jesus’ birth from a virgin, fervently contest his claim to be the Messiah and Son of God, and maintain that he was rightfully executed as a blasphemer and idolater. They subvert the Christian idea of Jesus’ resurrection and insist he got the punishment he deserved in hell — and that a similar fate awaits his followers.
Schäfer contends that these stories betray a remarkable familiarity with the Gospels — especially Matthew and John — and represent a deliberate and sophisticated anti-Christian polemic that parodies the New Testament narratives. He carefully distinguishes between Babylonian and Palestinian sources, arguing that the rabbis’ proud and self-confident countermessage to that of the evangelists was possible only in the unique historical setting of Persian Babylonia, in a Jewish community that lived in relative freedom. The same could not be said of Roman and Byzantine Palestine, where the Christians aggressively consolidated their political power and the Jews therefore suffered.
(Dear rabbis, we urge you to reconsider Jesus’ status. Just like Rabbi Daniel Zion, it may cost you your pride, your authority or your livelihood. But following the truth of God and His Messiah is worth more than any worldly treasure.
One for Israel Ministry)