The Gospel and the Jewish Scriptures

Christians can show you a summary of the Christian Gospel (quite different to the gospel of Jesus) in Paul’s letter 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4. Paul is so clear what it means and how the Jewish Scriptures clearly speak of the death of Christ for our sins, how Jesus was buried and raised from the grave on the 3rd day all “in accordance with the Jewish Scriptures” – that few stop to wonder which passages in the OT say these things about the promised Messiah. Many Christians will be bewildered to find that there are no such passages anywhere in the Bible that prophesy any of these things about the Christ. Respected evangelical Bible study guides like the NIV Study Bible are not certain which passages Paul had in mind, commenting that Paul “probably” had in mind Isaiah 53, “but he may [may?!] have have been thinking of the OT sacrificial system” (p. 1796).

When Paul claims that the Christ would be ‘raised on the 3rd day all in accordance with the Jewish Scriptures‘ the NIV Study Bible weakly suggests that he might have had Psalm 16: 8-11 “in mind” but it says absolutely nothing about the messiah, his death for sins, nor his rising from the dead on the 3rd day!

Nowhere in the ‘OT sacrificial system’ is there any provision for human sacrifice to atone for sins. In fact God repeatedly condemns human sacrifices as ‘abominations’. So the NIV Study Bible cannot be correct at that point. This fact also rules out the popular Christian spin on Isaiah 53 as God explicitly rejects human sacrifices. Besides, the passage does not mention a Messiah, nor his rising from the dead on the 3rd day.  

So all in all Paul’s own gospel would appear to based on a fabrication. And why should anyone believe in that?

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Categories: Bible, Christianity

7 replies

  1. Sam I know you are attempting to blitz this post with your links.

    But by now you will know that the purpose of this blog is discussion not spamming links. So why not have a conversation instead?

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  2. Paulus himself affirms there are other Gospels contradicting his.
    He has to defend his ideas in drastic ways (even if an angel from heaven(!) speaks against it, one has to affirm it). ??? Really? Does someone with divine backup speak like this?

    He had major differences with the Jerusalem Church.
    Very dubious indeed. His ideas became widely accepted and evolved when Gentile Christianity became the majority.
    Jewish Christians who referred to the Jerusalem Church rejected his Gospel.

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  3. Besides, the passage does not mention a Messiah, nor his rising from the dead on the 3rd day.

    The main Scriptural passages that modern Jews (and since Rabbinic Judaism, since the destruction of the temple in 70 AD) also do not mention a “Messiah”.

    For example, Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 11:1-10; Isaiah 42; Ezekiel chapters 40-48; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Micah chapter 4; Zephaniah 3:9; Zechariah 14:9; etc. –

    How do you explain that?

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  4. I think Mr Williams’ comments here reflect a misunderstanding. Christ was proclaimed to be the fulfilment of scripture after his life, death and resurrection. In other words it is not something anyone could have known until after the fact, so to speak. Paul and the early church clearly believed that Christ had died and been raised from the dead- now they needed to go back to scripture to see where this had been prefigured. The well known story of Jesus on the Road to Emmaus makes this point very clearly. Christ is found in the scriptures (OT) and in the sharing of the bread but only after his life death and resurrection.

    One of the implications of this (which is a very traditional way of looking at it: read John Behr, for instance) is that even the OT writers themselves would not have known what they were pointing ahead to. This is one of the reasons why the historical critical method is so flawed in relation to ancient texts.

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  5. Isaac and Ken thanks for your comments.

    Paul’s gospel differed radically from other Jewish Christian gospels also being preached at that time (see Galatians 1:6 and 2 Corinthians 11). He was a highly divisive and controversial figure in the early church (Galatians 2:11-14, if only we had Peter’s view of that meeting!) .

    Paul has a distinctive understanding of salvation, but his views do not harmonise with the teaching of Jesus himself. It is questionable if Jesus and Paul even represent the same religion.

    Paul’s gospel claims,

    ‘that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures’

    Yet Isaac you want us to believe that despite this strong scriptural warrant,

    “it is not something anyone could have known until after the fact“.

    That does not seem to be what Paul is claiming here.

    The New Living Translation clarifies this point,

    I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.

    The NIV Study Bible which I’m sure Ken approves of weakly suggests that Paul might have had Psalm 16: 8-11 “in mind” but the passage says nothing about a messiah, his death for sins, nor his rising from the dead on the 3rd day.

    Very significantly nowhere in the ‘OT sacrificial system’ is there any provision for human sacrifice to atone for sins. God repeatedly condemns human sacrifices as ‘abominations’. So the NIV Study Bible cannot be correct to suggest this possibility. This fact also rules out the popular Christian spin on Isaiah 53 as God explicitly rejects human sacrifices. Besides, the passage does not mention a Messiah, nor his rising from the dead on the 3rd day.

    These are some of the problems with Paul’s gospel.

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