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Mormons: “if Joseph Smith is a false prophet, so is Jesus!”

March 17, 2015

Jesus_Moroni_JosephThere’s an old joke that goes like this: Why did G-d make Mormons? So that Christians know how Jews feel! In my recent post, I reviewed some examples of failed prophecies supposedly uttered by Jesus within the books that make up the New Testament. Of course, “mainstream” Christianity is not the only religion with prophecies about the future. Other “christianities”, such as Mormonism, have had their own prophets too. Like the Trinitarian Christianity from which it splintered in the early 1800s, Mormonism has a rather embarrassing problem – failure of their founder’s prophecies to come to pass. Traditional Christians have battled the Latter Day Saints Church for converts since its founding, calling it a “false religion”. They do not fail to point out to Mormons that their prophet Joseph Smith was a false prophet, claiming that not only is the religion he started in contradiction to what is revealed in both the Hebrew Bible (the “Old Testament”) as well as the New Testament, the prophecies he made failed to come to pass as well. Therefore, they claim, Joseph Smith couldn’t have been from G-d, since no false prophet could be. Which is why I thought it quite amusing to see Mormons use the exact same “what does this word really mean” defense as the mainstream Christians to defend its prophet Joseph Smith from outside accusations of him being a false prophet. Mormons point out that the “anti-Mormon” Christians are guilty of a double standard, since Jesus made very similar prophecies that his non-Christians critics (“who improperly interpret”) claim have also failed to come to pass, even though he was using the same terminologies as Joseph Smith, and yet one is still called as “true” and another as “false”!

Let’s take a look:

Question: Was Joseph Smith’s prophecy that the Independence, Missouri temple “shall be reared in this generation” a failed prophecy?
Jesus Christ used the very same terminology in Matthew 24:34: “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled”

There is a double standard of interpretation that critics use against Joseph Smith, since Jesus Christ used the very same terminology. Matthew 24:34 quotes Christ as saying, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” Luke 21:32 repeats this prophecy. The term “these things” refers to wars, famines, the sun being darkened, and even the “stars falling from heaven.” Some of “these things” occurred during Christ’s time period. Some have continued since then. Some have escalated into our time. Some have not occurred yet.

So we must ask, since Joseph Smith is charged with false prophecy concerning “this generation,” did Jesus Christ utter a false prophecy? Absolutely not! So, if Joseph Smith uttered a false prophecy about “this generation,” then so did Christ. It has been many centuries longer from the time of Christ until now, than it has been from the 1830’s till today.

The word “generation” has different meanings. According to scripture, the word “generation” can have reference to a time frame, a people, or even a dispensation. Without specific wording which would indicate exactly what the word “generation” means, it is dishonest to accuse one (Joseph Smith) of false prophecy, while accepting another (Jesus Christ) when both use it in a general form.

Joseph Smith’s revelation in D&C 84 may appear on the surface to be a failed prophecy, but a more informed reading reveals that it may not have been a prophecy, and if it is, its fulfillment is still in the future….

If the revelation is meant as a prophecy, the timeline for its fulfillment depends on what Joseph meant by “generation”

Typically we consider this to mean the lifespan of those living at the time of the revelation. However, in scriptural language “generation” can indicate a longer period of time.

During his ministry in Jerusalem, Jesus revealed the signs of his second coming, and prophesied that “this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). All those who heard his prophecy died nearly 2,000 years ago, so evidently Jesus meant “generation” to mean “age” or some other long period of time. It’s possible that Joseph meant the same thing in his revelation about the Independence temple, and therefore the time period for its fulfillment is still open….

When the scriptures use words such as “this generation,” “a little season,” “nigh,” “soon to come,” “quickly,” and “in due time,” it can mean several years, or even centuries….. Note the double standard of interpretation critics use against Joseph Smith, for Jesus Christ used the very same terminology.

(From article on FairMormon.org)

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51 Comments leave one →
  1. remi4321 permalink
    March 17, 2015 1:28 pm

    What generation is “this generation”. Can it refer to “that generation” that will see stars falling and the time of Jacob’s trouble or did Jesus meant “this generation at the time of Jesus” AKA the Disciples. Can it mean either in the original Greek? And if yes, what kind of prophecy is that that can mean anything we want? Are we just so prone, as human being, to find excuses when things don’t make sense? When it comes to religion, I feel that all logic fails and we find excuses to “cover up” or excuse the writer of the holy book. Whether Muslims, JW, Mormons or xtian. Everybody finds excuses to judge other and do wrong in the name of their gods instead of looking at themselves, from right wing xtians to ISIS. I don’t want to fool myself or find excuses any more. I feel we are all part of that big experiment, even if it does not make sense, we tend to follow the majority.
    http://mgto.org/inclass-experiments-deception-asch-conformity-group/

  2. March 17, 2015 1:40 pm

    “And if yes, what kind of prophecy is that that can mean anything we want?”

    That’s the key, Remi, to a “successful” prophecy “fulfillment” – make is the original prophetic words have as ambiguous as possible meaning (like the modern “psychics” do), and keep pushing the “very soon” date forward, or keep stretching the meaning of “generation”, from 40 years, to 100 years, to whatever, or just give the word a whole other meaning. The problem is that it becomes obvious, as I pointed out in the post I linked above, that the authors of the NT and the early Christians all understood Jesus as coming back soon, within their own lifetimes. Once that idea failed, they had to come up with some explanations to rationalize the failure away and keep the hope alive. This pattern has repeated itself over and over in various religions and cults.

  3. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 17, 2015 2:10 pm

    Remi, covering our bases with Emunah is what all religion is about, no offense to Gene, but Judaism has the same issue. If a religion cannot logically explain things the way it would anything else, it always falls back on faith. In fact, I had this exact conversation with Gene and Yehuda regarding the Exodus. It is a claimed historical event that is believed in chiefly by faith, it’s not really verified archaeologically or empirically, but Jews will say, “it’s enough that they have faith that it’s true.”

    I agree with you in asking why anyone should believe in things when we can silly putty our standards about how we know it’s veracity. I told Gene that I don’t find the Exodus claim historically credible, but that the Torah’s message and wisdom shows itself valuable in later (more verifiable) history regardless, so it’s not as devastating, but it’s still not a good thing. No claims should be accepted without good reason to believe in the truth of it.

  4. remi4321 permalink
    March 17, 2015 2:13 pm

    I must agree, and if some will see him returning, then I must wonder “Where is John hiding?” He must be a really old fellow!

  5. remi4321 permalink
    March 17, 2015 2:14 pm

    Hi CR, there is a difference though. You may not prove the exodus, but you can prove that Jesus did not come back in the first century….

  6. March 17, 2015 2:36 pm

    “You may not prove the exodus, but you can prove that Jesus did not come back in the first century….”

    Remi, that’s an EXCELLENT point.

  7. March 17, 2015 3:00 pm

    Something interesting from PBS website:

    Tell us more about the Merneptah inscription. Why is it so famous?

    It’s the earliest reference we have to the Israelites. The victory stele of Pharaoh Merneptah, the son of Ramesses II, mentions a list of peoples and city-states in Canaan, and among them are the Israelites. And it’s interesting that the other entities, the other ethnic groups, are described as nascent states, but the Israelites are described as “a people.” They have not yet reached a level of state organization.

    So the Egyptians, a little before 1200 B.C.E., know of a group of people somewhere in the central highlands—a loosely affiliated tribal confederation, if you will—called “Israelites.” These are our Israelites. So this is a priceless inscription.

    Does archeology back up the information in the Merneptah inscription? Is there evidence of the Israelites in the central highlands of Canaan at this time?

    We know today, from archeological investigation, that there were more than 300 early villages of the 13th and 12th century in the area. I call these “proto-Israelite” villages.

    Forty years ago it would have been impossible to identify the earliest Israelites archeologically. We just didn’t have the evidence. And then, in a series of regional surveys, Israeli archeologists in the 1970s began to find small hilltop villages in the central hill country north and south of Jerusalem and in lower Galilee. Now we have almost 300 of them.

    Notice the last paragraph. The archeologists may not know everything there’s to know, yet. We can discover the past, it’s the future that’s much harder to predict.

  8. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 17, 2015 6:05 pm

    Yes, there is evidence of ISRAEL in Canaan, an Area where Egyptians had a presence in warfare. To me it seems more likely to me that Israel as a people was always in Canaan, and that Egypt was an occupying force, and this is where the Exodus story developed.

  9. remi4321 permalink
    March 17, 2015 6:12 pm

    Hi CR, then if Israel was from Canaan and never came from Egypt, then there is no god. It is only a story that people invented. That boils down to that, is there really a God? If the exodus took place, there is a G-d. If not, then we all live a lie and pray to the wind (not the ruach). This is a hard question that we have to evaluate. If the New Testament in not inspired, G-d is still true, but if we go a step further, then everything is a lie. Like Paul said “lets eat and drink for tomorrow we will die”.

  10. March 17, 2015 6:19 pm

    Well, they were in Cannan, but then they left for Egypt at some point, according to the Torab. Egyptians clearly knew of them, according to the stele evidence above. That’s a good start.

  11. March 17, 2015 6:53 pm

    G-d speaks in prophets all the time about saving Israel out of Egypt. If that story is false then G-d didn’t speak to the prophets either and they all lied. It doesn’t matter how nice their other teachings were. It becomes apparent why some want to discount the Israelites’ exit from Egypt, citing lack of archaeological evidence. However, the evidence of Israelites, as I noted above, has been coming to light, things that were not discovered previously but only recently could be shown as archaeological fact. Before that, many used to argue that Israelites never existed that far back. Some still believe that. People argued that King David never existed since there was no archaeological evidence. Then, Aramean king’s Tel Dan stele inscription was discovered speaking of “House of David”. Some today claim that modern Jews as an invention too, that they are Gentile converts and Khazars. Genetic evidence shows otherwise. So, one day evidence of Egyptian slavery may be unearthed. But so far, the Biblical track record, Israel’s track record on truth, is quite good.

  12. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 17, 2015 8:14 pm

    Hi CR, then if Israel was from Canaan and never came from Egypt, then there is no god. It is only a story that people invented.

    That doesn’t follow at all Remi. After all, Abraham reasoned that G-d existed before Har Sinai, and the Jewish people have lived the bible’s truths out in kno. The reasons I don’t believe in the Exodus (as written) is that the Egyptian historical record is quite well preserved. If a plague like that of the firstborn occurred, it would have been recorded, (by Egyptians, or by some surrounding kingdoms.) To have no mention of this event is the equivalent of nobody recording the Shoah as a historical event. It would be unthinkable, and impossible, not to have mention of that plague happening somewhere. If all the firstborn died, if the Nile turned to actual blood? I mean, only the Torah records this? The Ethiopians didn’t?

    Second, Scripture doesn’t tell us very simple (one would think essential) details, (ie what was Pharoah’s name, the name of his successor, etc. What date on their calander) Again it would be like hearing about Shoah and not having a clue who hitler is., or the years of WW2.

    The text doesn’t tell us the most basic of details of this event, but it claims this huge event iter ally occurred.

    We’ve found evidence of Troy, Jesus has non Christian references (as convoluted as they are) why not this meager evidence for Torah, it just seems odd.

  13. March 17, 2015 8:25 pm

    CR, as I already noted in my past comments to you, Egyptians never recorded defeats in wars, which is what happened to them when Israel left and they sent an army after them (according to Torah). Egyptians even erased all records and defaced statues of their own pharohs, as happened with Akhenaten, who was lost to history until finally discovered by archaeologists who stumbled on records missed by Egyptians. So, Egyptians were good at keeping records that made them look good and good at erasing (or not recording at all) anything they deemed unworthy of record. That’s a fact of history.

  14. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 17, 2015 10:54 pm

    But Gene, here is the very very crucial point. WE KNOW ABOUT THESE PEOPLE THE EGYPTIANS TRIED TO ERASE. We know a ton about Akenaten, Hatepsut, etc. Also, Egypt’s enemies recorded their defeats. If there were an event of the level described in the Torah, they couldn’t have covered it up. That’s the ENTIRE point.

  15. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 17, 2015 11:09 pm

    If ancient Egypt had a hypothetical population of 6 million, (including approximately 3 million Jewish slaves,) when you consider that the 3 million slaves left, and then say 600,000 of pharoah’s chariots followed) that’s just over 3.5 million people leaving the country.

    Add to that the fact that Egypt’s first born are all dead. Judging by numbers alone, to cover this event up is not remotely possible. They couldn’t erase the existence of one man, (Akhenaten) but they can cover up a series of national scale traumas? That’s illogical in the extreme my friend.

  16. March 17, 2015 11:45 pm

    “That’s illogical in the extreme my friend.”

    Exodus was no ordinary historical event, CR. It was quite illogical. But then again, the very existence of Israel and the Jewish people is “illogical”. It’s illogical that Jews have survived as a distinct people for all the thousands of years while outside of their own land, under near constant hatred and persecution and extreme assimilationist pressures of exile. Lots of things are illogical about the history and the very existence of the Jewish people and the imprint they’ve made on the world. Hatred of Jews is illogical. Holocaust is illogical (and some today, not even a century later, also claim that it never happened, despite the evidence). That a country of Israel sprung into existence is illogical. It’s illogical that a country of 6 million people occupies so much of world’s attention today and so much hatred is directed at it.

  17. March 18, 2015 12:00 am

    “If there were an event of the level described in the Torah, they couldn’t have covered it up.”

    CR, you are arguing from silence. Surviving Egyptian ancient historical records are very sparse and we know that they selectively recorded what they wanted and omitted anything that marred their prestige. There are also huge gaps in Egyptian record, sometimes spanning a hundred years or more (when Egypt was attacked by Babylon). You are also assuming that some surrounding people should have recorded something about the Exodus and that the records would have been found. That’s a tall assumption. Even Israelites didn’t record what happened in other countries unless they somehow interacted directly with them, usually through war or trade.

    “Couldn’t” doesn’t work until evidence is found. I’ve quoted a PBS article for you which says that all the way until the 1970’s archaeologists didn’t have ANY evidence of any of the earliest Israelite settlements in Canaan. None. And then they found 300 very ancient villages! Up until then, it was easy to dismiss much of Israelite history as a much later creation.

  18. March 18, 2015 12:25 am

    CR, there’s a great article on the Bible and evidence from archaeology: http://ohr.edu/2053

    It goes into some interesting detail about what the Torah reveals about life in ancient Egypt and how it coincides with what we know it was actually like during that period. The author makes the case that it’s very unlikely that Jews writing about their Egyptian sojourn at much later date (hundreds of years later as some claim), long after the claimed fact, would have known such details.

  19. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 2:34 am

    You are saying, “WE KNOW THEY COVERED THINGS UP” The fact that you can even say that we know things that they covered up illustrates my point entirely Gene. Even when the Egyptians wanted to cover things they didn’t like up, they sucked at it. Other sources provide evidence that they covered up. They couldn’t cover up Akenaten, but you believe they covered up an event that supposedly affected 2 entire nations? It’s not an argument from silence with an event of that claimed scale Gene. The bible claims the Nile turned to blood. The Nile runs through 11 nations, yet we have no mention of the Plague. Over half of Egypt’s pioulation leaves and there isn’t evidence? 3 million people camp for 4 decades in the Sinai peninsula and there are no bones, pottery, animal bones, etc.?

    The purported scale of the event makes it ridiculous that there isn’t more verifiable evidence. What about details like Pharoah’s name? Surely after 400 years in slavery you would mention the name of the man responsible? You curse Haman every year BY NAME, why not Pharoah?

    Also, it’s not surprising that Jews have survived, miraculous but not surprising. Jews are very resilient, invest in their future, and vastly contribute to society. Jews were still in Israel in 200 CE (when the Mishna was being codified,) the temple was almost rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Julian in the 300s, Jews prospered in Muslim countries in the Middle Ages, etc.

  20. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 3:25 am

    http://www.reformjudaism.org/exodus-not-fiction Here is an article for you Gene.

  21. March 18, 2015 9:10 am

    CR, your link above – Friedman has wild some theories of his own of what actually happened, but at least he accepts the Exodus as true. I like this statement of his:

    Those archaeologists’ claims that the Exodus never happened are not based on evidence, but largely on its absence. They assert that we’ve combed the Sinai and not found any evidence of the mass of millions of people whom the Bible says were there for 40 years. That assertion is just not true. There have not been many major excavations in the Sinai, and we most certainly have not combed it. Moreover, uncovering objects buried 3,200 years ago is a daunting endeavor. An Israeli colleague laughingly told me that a vehicle that had been lost in the 1973 Yom Kippur War was recently uncovered under 16 meters—that’s 52 feet—of sand. Fifty-two feet in 40 years!

    In the end, skeptics demand to see some very specific literary evidence outside of the Bible confirming the Exodus story. They don’t believe that the Torah, which, as the article you linked says is the earliest example of writing down of history as history, is an authoritative source of information. To accept Torah as true would rattle their own belief systems, which are just as strong as those of religious people, if not stronger. Unless some non-Israelite non-Egyptian writer has bothered to record the defeat of Egypt at the hands of their former slaves AND assuming that we could find that writing well preserved (a tall order 3,200 thousand years since an event), they will reject Israel’s story based not on evidence, but on what they expect (ney, demand) to find as evidence.

  22. remi4321 permalink
    March 18, 2015 9:56 am

    Hi CR, seriously, if the whole exodus is a lie, then throw your bible. You may believe in G-d, but if he did not bring the people out of Egypt, then it is most certainly not the G-d of the Tanakh or the Bible. If it is true, then he is an unknowable god.

  23. March 18, 2015 10:09 am

    Remi, I think what CR is driving at is that even Jews require “faith”, since not everything they believe has been yet confirmed by hard physical evidence. Sure, lots of things were confirmed that were previously doubted and even mocked by skeptics, but not everything. Which means that those things yet to be absolutely confirmed can only believed if we trust the Bible as source or by looking at literary evidence within the Bible (that it knows things only those who were once in Egypt would know) . Well, I don’t disagree that some measure of faith is required – I wasn’t there to witness any of it. Which means that I do have to believe someone, either Torah or the skeptical archeologists and historians.

  24. remi4321 permalink
    March 18, 2015 10:14 am

    Yes of course, but if you arrive to the conclusion that it is plain not true, then you have to throw your bible. It is either true or not, you cannot say that the exodus is a plain lie, but the G-d of the Tanakh still real…

  25. March 18, 2015 10:30 am

    “It is either true or not, you cannot say that the exodus is a plain lie, but the G-d of the Tanakh still real…”

    That I agree with you, Remi. Either one has faith in the archaeologists and secular skeptical historians, that they have already uncovered everything there was to uncover and found nothing to support Israel’s presence in Egypt an the Exodus (even though Friedman in CR’s link above says that “there have not been many major excavations in the Sinai, and we most certainly have not combed it.“) or one believes in the G-d of Israel as the G-d of history. Ether the Torah is mostly a work of fiction and G-d cannot be trusted, or the G-d of the Hebrew Bible is real and the arguably the most important event in the history of the world was real and, though very ancient, has at least circumstantial and literary evidence. It’s hard to have it both ways.

  26. remi4321 permalink
    March 18, 2015 10:36 am

    I can at least see the persecution of the Jewish people and it’s preservation as a partial proof that the exodus was true. I mean, if there is no god, then most likely the Jews would have be annihilated 10 times. And of course the Egyptian were the first anti-Semites, so it goes well with the rest of history.

  27. March 18, 2015 10:55 am

    To reject historicity of Exodus one would be required to reject every biblical prophet of the Bible as liars, since they ALL spoke of the Exodus as fact:

    Jeremiah 34:13 “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

    Isaiah 63:11-12″ Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people– where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses’ right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown,”

    Ezekiel 20:9 “But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites.”

    Amos 2:10 “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to give you the land of the Amorites.”

    I don’t think that one could really have it both ways and still trust the G-d of Israel.

  28. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 11:14 am

    Guys, if you recall, I did point out that Israel’s later history (that is empirically verifiable) lends credence to biblical concepts, my point was that making the Exodus event the trump card, (as in Yehuda ha Levi’s Kuzari) is unwise, because as Gene said, “very ancient, has at least “circumstantial”and literary evidence.”

    The Torah cannot testify to its own authenticity, any more than the Christian Bible, or the Quran can do the same, because we know that “just because something (be it peoples or books) make a claim, it doesn’t make it true.” I’m not trying to bash your Judaism, or to lead you away, I’m asking you to use the same standards that were applied to the Christian text and claims on these your current sources. If we are honest, it’s entirely possible that the Exodus occurred, I don’t deny that, but setting up Kuzari like arguments is poor foundation because the evidence is circumstantial. There is nothing wrong with having faith In the Exodus, particularly as the stories truths still ring true today. My point is that you not forget that you too have a faith claim primarily. It is true that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it is difficult to believe that the evidence is so pithy, when the event was so huge. We have Dinosaur Bones, why not more concrete archeological evidence for the most central event in human history? It’s a fair question”.

  29. March 18, 2015 11:31 am

    “My point is that you not forget that you too have a faith claim primarily.”

    Not “faith claim primarily” – Mormon religion is “faith claim primarily”, because they are not supported by anything we know of history, migrations of populations, archeology or genetics and are just plain ludicrous (and yet they have their own scientists and historians to prove Mormonism). And as I said to you before, even if the events of Christianity all happened as described, their historicity or lack thereof is not why I reject Christianity’s claims – I reject the claims because they contradict the earlier claims of the religion on which Christianity claims to be faithfully based, that is Judaism. They cannot have it both ways either.

  30. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 7:09 pm

    Why do you bring up Christianity with me Gene?i don’t accept it, that’s the point. It’s interesting that you have to posit that everyone has scientists and historians, (including the Mormons) so that makes such knowledge all relative somehow. That’s ridiculous. Also, the Torah is making a claim about real claimed historical events. If you believe it occurred based on “circumstantial and textual evidence,” to use your own words, it makes your claim a unique one that relies mostly on faith. Nothing wrong with that, just be honest about it.

    Genetics does not prove the Exodus, it proves that Levites were a special group with special genes.

  31. remi4321 permalink
    March 18, 2015 7:13 pm

    And I thought you are an Eastern Orthodox?

  32. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 7:53 pm

    I don’t accept Christianity anymore. Even if you could prove every single christian doctrine, (both the jewish and Christian Bible’s ) note that obedience to the commandments was the berometer for determining the truth vis bible truths, not miracles, numbers of followers, claims to divinity, etc.

    I have strong respect for Eastern Orthodox Christianity, I wasn’t raised with it, I didn’t formally convert to it, but their approach to Christianity was more in line with older Christian traditions, and it didn’t have Augustine’s errors.

    Once a person leaves Christianity, it’s understandable that such a person is much more cautious about claims made by the Bible. If the world is so easily deceived, it would be nice to know that there is more to a claim than (the Bible and the people say the Bible is true.)

    The reason you can justly doubt Christianity’s legitimacy is because you can Cross examine its claims in light of Torah. The question then becomes, once it’s gone, how does someone cross examine the Torah? We have a situation where people are making claims about the world, and saying, “this event happened. I am legitimately asking, what constitutes good reasons to accept this claim?” It’s not meant to be offensive, it’s meant to be sure. If the world can be fooled by Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. I would hope that the Torah can do a better more objective Job at showing us that it’s claims are true. Does that make sense?

  33. March 18, 2015 8:23 pm

    CR, personally, I totally get being sceptical and needing solid proof. I was an atheist once. I recognized that G-d existed and was blown away by the realization (before Christianity even came into the picture and took me on its own path), not because I saw G-d or because someone proved His existence to me, but when I was reading a “secular” biology book with a “simplified” diagram of animal cell. It then dawned on me that this amazing machine had to have had a Maker who was behind the scenes, but who was very real. I still recall how I felt. Sometimes only little proofs are enough to make us understand that there is a G-d who is intelligent and who cares about His creation. I didn’t need tomes of more proofs after that stark realization, even though I found a lot more later on.

  34. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 9:52 pm

    You see then Gene how the statement “If Sinai didn’t happen then the bible is les and G-d isn’t real,” as Remi said is superfluous? You alone reasoned that Hashem existed, like Abraham himself in his father’s idol shop, independent of anyone’s say so, because you believe there is a design to creation. You didn’t need this colossal national revelation claim as a precondition to know about hashem. That’s my point. When the Kuzari is your big win argument, even when it has scant evidence, it presents similar issues to Christianity. Those huge claims are faith claims, a reasoned hypothesis from studying design in creation is more grounded because you can approach it without presumption.

  35. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 10:06 pm

    It’s like I’ve said Gene, the Exodus itself needn’t be “true” in a single event sense because Israel’s history is an Exodus history. The truth of exile, national birth, and redemption is a living Jewish reality present throughout your history, it needn’t be confined to a single point in time. A prophet writing in Bavel, or in Persia, or during the Maccabean revolt could speak of Exodus truth experientially, for himself directly. The kuzari by contrast lends Judaism to this singular event, this singular point in time, etc.

  36. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 10:17 pm

    It goes hand in hand with this teaching, “If the Torah had not been delivered through Moses, it would have come through Ezra.” Torah ideas can stand independent of a single event.

  37. March 18, 2015 10:20 pm

    You are the one who keeps bringing up Christianity. I’ve told you many times already that I didn’t reject Christianity for lack of historical evidence, but because I found it to be in contradiction to Torah, prophets, and Judaism on which it claims to be founded. So, you don’t need to keep bringing up a point that I am somehow using a different yardstick for Christianity than for Judaism. It just doesn’t apply to me.

  38. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 10:32 pm

    I know it isn’t your yardstick for your own claim. The point is, many of your articles employ historical criticism of Christianity/christian origins as a means to show its falsehood and inconsistency alongside Torah. If you do not cast that same light on Torah itself, you are being internally inconsistent. That’s my main point. I don’t think that Torah is limited to one event.

  39. March 18, 2015 10:32 pm

    I disagree with your view that the literal Exodus from Egypt is somehow unnecessary or can be seen as an allegory for other exiles. There is no Judaism without that event literally occurring as described. As I already pointed out, archaeology often plays catch-up with the Bible, arguing that something in the Bible is not true because it is yet to find proofs. Until that is something is found and previous assumptions of the skeptics and doubters are shown to be false, as has happened over and over. But again, I repeat, historicity is NOT why I rejected Christianity.

  40. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 18, 2015 10:45 pm

    Gene, speaking as a historian, historicity has to play some minor role in questions about historical events. Your statement that says, archaeology often plays catch up is just as much a silent argument as anything else. We can’t say it didn’t happen, but we can’t say it did. We can say, in light of later history that such an event is not implausible, but that’s not the concrete case that Judaism makes of its arguments like the Kuzari.

  41. remi4321 permalink
    March 19, 2015 9:53 am

    In my opinion, it is clear, there is no Real Judaism if the Exodus was not true. If the exodus is not true, then the G-d of the bible is not true. If the disciples are not true, Jesus is not true and if Mohamed is not true, allah is not true. If Mohamed or the disciples, and even Jesus is true, it does not mean that that religion is true. If the Exodus is false, the G-d of Judaism cannot be true, the god of xtianinty cannot be true, and the allah cannot be true. But if the Exodus was true, then the G-d of Judaism must be true.

  42. March 19, 2015 10:08 am

    “If the exodus is not true, then the G-d of the bible is not true. ”

    And that’s why the historicity of the Exodus event, just about above anything else, has been the prime target of skeptics and atheists as well as religious liberals, both Christian and Jewish, who squirm at the G-d of the Bible, the Torah commandments and all the implications.

  43. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 19, 2015 10:44 am

    Gene, insinuating that a question is chiefly a tactic at discrediting your view, or is based only on someone’s approach to politics or orientation detracts from the relevant question. It’s effectively no different from a Christian saying that Jews are just blind to Jesus! It’s an honest question, why are you threatened by it?

    Can you demonstrate that this event happened? Can you tell me Pharoah’s name and when he ruled Egypt? That’s the most basic information to say nothing of any miracles. Just ruminate on that for a second. Scripture says this amazing event took place and it doesn’t even bother to tell us Pharoah’s name, or when his reign took place. EVEN THE NON TESTAMENT TELLS YOU WHOSE REIGN JESUS WAS BORN UNDER. Considering that Egyptians kept great records, this tidbit would have helped to dispell doubt IMMENSLEY. It’s sooo basic. Imagine you knew all about the Shoah, but nobody ever recorded hitler’s name as the evil man responsible. It would be unthinkable.

    I’ve told you on what grounds I think plausibility for Sinai can be established, but both you and Remi seem to think that only this one event makes G-d mean anything. It’s almost reverse replacement theology.

  44. March 19, 2015 10:47 am

    “The David of the Bible, David the king, is not a historical figure.” (Niels Peter Lemche, biblical scholar at the University of Copenhagen)

    “the king of Israel, and I killed […]yahu son of [… the ki]/ng of
    ‘. the House of David. And I made [their towns into ruins and turned]” (from 900 BCE Hazael of Aram-Damascus’ Tel Dan Stele, discovered in 1994 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel, the first time the name of King David had been found outside of the Bible.)

  45. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 19, 2015 11:36 am

    Gene, enough distractions. I haven’t commented at all on David’s historicity, I’m asking about the Exodus and Sinai, your central claims. The reason I stick on this issue, (and please forgive me this will sound very unkind, ) is that you have spent this entire blog showing me that the proverbial fruit (christianity ) is poison by various means, but in the same breath, you say the tree is good. I’m asking you to have the integrity to demonstrate your truth claim in a string way. Show the pudding where the Christians show none.

  46. March 19, 2015 11:50 am

    “I haven’t commented at all on David’s historicity”

    But you should’ve. Skeptics, theologians, historians and archeologists among them, have been long discounting David’s very existence, for the same reason they discounted the Exodus – lack of archaeological evidence. No mention of King David outside of the Bible was unearthed all the way until 1994. That’s quite late for such an important figure! Even in 1994, what was found was very little. Why is that the case, if King David was so important and led a large kingdom? Shouldn’t he be mentioned by all his enemies too (as you expect of Exodus)? You see, the problem is that when one goes that far back in history, it’s apparently very difficult to find things that are this explicit, things that don’t require much interpreting. Not impossible, but very difficult. Far more digging is apparently required. Perhaps you’ve been expecting too much of archeology?

    But, when one turns to the first century CE, the times of Jesus, things get quite a bit easier. We have extensive records from all sorts of sources. Whole books about all sorts of things were being penned and copied. History records abound. This is why your equating lack of written or other evidence confirming Exodus with lack of extensive evidence for events of Jesus’ life outside of NT is using a very unequal yardstick.

    But, again, I want to remind you is that my blog is not about disproving historicity of Christianity. It’s about disproving Christianity’s legitimacy as the continuation of Judaism. You will find no claims of “lack of evidence” for Jesus’ existence on this blog. Instead, you will find me analyzing Christian theological claims in light of Judaism. Will you soon try to ask me why I don’t question G-d’s own existence for the lack of explicit historical evidence? I think that would be the next logical step.

  47. remi4321 permalink
    March 19, 2015 11:59 am

    Hi CR, I think that the purpose of Gene’s blog is not to prove Judaism. I don’t think you can prove out of any doubts the Exodus, and I don’t think that is Gene’s blog purpose either. I think that the reason of the blog is mostly to show Messianic Jews the lies of the Messianic movement. Now, for those in the situation that they don’t believe in Jesus anymore, they will have to decide themselves if they still believe in the Tanakh. But that, as per what I read so far, is simply not the purpose of this blog. I don’t think that you can prove or disprove easily that event.

  48. Concerned Reader permalink
    March 19, 2015 12:32 pm

    The Exodus needing evidence is different than David, Solomon, or any one individual, because it is an event of a scale involving multiple nations, not individuals. Not finding info about 12 guys is one thing, 3 million guys is a whole different level. I expect more evidence due to the sheer scale of the purported event. That shouldn’t be underestimated. BTW David’s house is mentioned by his family’s enemy namely the Pharoah Mernepah.

  49. March 19, 2015 12:38 pm

    ” BTW David’s house is mentioned by his family’s enemy namely the Pharoah Mernepah.”

    I think you mean “Israel” – neither David nor his house were mentioned on Merneptah Stele. Interestingly, here’s what that inscription says:

    Israel is devastated, it does not have more seed

    A slight exaggeration…. which tells you how reliable some of these records are.

  50. March 19, 2015 12:57 pm

    ” I’m asking you to have the integrity to demonstrate your truth claim in a string way. Show the pudding where the Christians show none.”

    CR, what do you want me to do? Admit that I cannot prove with 100% certainty that Exodus happened or happened exactly as the Bible describes because archeologists are yet to find something conclusive? OK, I admit, I cannot prove it to you.

    Do I expect that one day convincing evidence of Exodus as described in the Bible will be found? Yes, just like the existence of king David was once denied by so many scholars, until the proof was finally found, as late as 1994. This and so many other things reassure me that the G-d of Israel can be relied upon to tell me the truth. Now, let’s get back to the purpose of this blog – to evaluate claims of Christianity in light of the Hebrew Bible and Judaism.

  51. The Real Messianic permalink
    April 8, 2016 3:29 pm

    He Gene, all the claims that Christians make are also made by the Mormons… Look at those comments. You have both to ask the Holy Spirit, we have to accept by faith and can’t see the darn thing as inspired before you pray and accept it. You won’t see the prophecies before you accept it as true… So I wonder why not all Christians become Mormons!

    https://therealmessianic.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/should-christians-accept-the-book-of-mormon/

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