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Absence of Proof is not Proof

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A common argument I often hear from those who try to prove to me that Jesus rose from the dead, is that because the tomb where Jesus was supposedly buried was empty the only logical conclusion was that he must have risen. The difficulty with this argument is that these Christians try to prove something by an absence of proof. Not only is this illogical but the same argument can be used to ‘prove’ virtually anything. A silly example might be that because we don’t see evidence of aliens on earth today, they were once here but must have left long ago. With the God of Israel, it is not lack of evidence that proved he was God but the open fulfillment of prophecy that we can still see today, right now, this very minute as you look at your watch. The Bible tells us in Leviticus 26:33 “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.” Approximately 2,000 Years ago, the Jewish nation was exiled from the land of Israel by the sword of the Romans and scattered across the ends of the earth just as the Bible foretold 1,400 years earlier. Our holy city of Jerusalem was laid waste and the land of Israel was in ruins. As far as being conquered, the Jewish nation is certainly not unique. All throughout history, native people were conquered by others, hundreds possibly thousands of times throughout the ages. While most other cultures die out and assimilate into the nations they are scattered to however, the Jewish people has been the only nation in history to defy those odds and return to the land of their origin. The reason we survived as an independent people comes straight from Leviticus 26:44 “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God.” It was God’s personal promise that we would not be assimilated like everyone else. It was only God’s faithful word to keep the covenant he made with our ancestors that allowed us to survive and defy the impossible odds against us. For 2,000 years through pogroms, inquisitions, crusades and holocausts the Jewish nation survived “never to be destroyed completely” just as promised in Leviticus. The Jewish people are living proof of these prophecies. The Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 66:8 says something that should send shivers down your spine, he says “Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” This prophecy was fulfilled on May 14th 1948 when the nation of Israel was reborn in an instant just as Isaiah had prophesized nearly 3,000 years ago. The Prophet Amos in Chapter 9:14 says “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God”. The return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel was a fulfillment of prophecy that everyone in the world currently sees and the Bible openly predicted. There is no one alive today that can honestly claim the Jewish nation does not live in the land that God promised to us. In the 1500’s, the founder of Protestantism Martin Luther said that the Jews were so blinded as to be rejected and despised by God that they never had any hope of returning to the land of Israel. Apparently, Martin Luther was unfamiliar with his own Bible because time and again it openly rejects his statements. The Jewish nation living in Israel is a physical sign that everyone can see, this is not absence of proof like an empty tomb, but a visible manifestation of Gods promise to the Jewish people. It is not the absence of Israel, but its physical presence which is the sign. An absence of proof is no proof at all. The reason that we know dinosaurs existed is because their fossilized bones are evidence of their once great existence. We have physical proof that ancient civilizations once existed because of the remains of the cities and artifacts they left behind. The ancient land of Israel and the remnants of our past culture bear witness that we have now returned to the land. In 1867, Mark Twain visited Israel and published his impressions in his book “The Innocents Abroad”.  He described Israel as a desolate country devoid of both vegetation and human population: He said, “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” However upon the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, God promised in Isaiah 35:1 “The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the crocus flower. They will burst into bloom, and rejoice with joy and singing”. He continues to repeat this theme in Chapter 51:3 “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” In fact, the borders of Israel are commonly referred to as the Green Line which separates the dry desert lands of the Arab nations with the blossoming land of the Jewish people in Israel. For 2,000 years the land lay barren awaiting the return of the Jewish nation just as Mark Twain had witnessed in 1867, however less than 100 years later the same desolate land bloomed into a productive nation as God promised thousands of years earlier. This is tangible proof. In Deuteronomy 28:7 it says “The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” In 1948 when the United Nations recognized Israel’s independence, the nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen attacked Israel. Did you count how many nations that was? Seven. This is not speculation but historical, verifiable fact. The end result of the war was exactly as God promised; the attacking nations all fell before Israel. They attacked her as a unified coalition but retreated to their respective nations utterly defeated and humiliated. Time and again, the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible have been fulfilled and continue to be fulfilled just as the Bible states.  How can some in the Christian community ignore these prophecies when the fulfillment is right before their eyes? Most Christians today have recognized that their ancestors were wrong about Israel and the Jewish people and that we are not “rejected” as they once believed. Most Christians today have recognized the importance of Israel in the world and know that God is not yet finished with the Jewish people. Had Martin Luther learned the proper way to translate and read the Jewish scriptures from the Jewish people instead of his own foolish interpretations he would have never come to such contradictory conclusions about us. It is only because he chose a different path, a non-biblical interpretation that caused him to openly ignore the incontrovertible evidence that Israel will once again exist as a nation. Just as Martin Luther, the founder of Protestant Christianity misinterpreted the Bible to suit his own hate-filled and anti-Semitic ideology; Christianity today misinterprets the Hebrew Scriptures and prophecies in order to prove the existence of a dying and resurrected Jewish Messiah which has no basis in Jewish scripture. Nowhere in Jewish teaching does it say that the Messiah will be a son of God or a God. Nowhere in Jewish scripture does it say that the Messiah will be born of a virgin. Nowhere in Jewish scripture does it say that the Messiah is to die for the sins of the world, and nowhere in Jewish scripture are Moses’ laws nullified or “completed”. It is only by mistranslating and twisting the Jewish scriptures that others, outside the Jewish faith come to the conclusion that Jesus fulfilled prophecies that were already fulfilled by others, without exception. There are 13 basic principles of the Jewish faith that were given by Moses to the Jewish people and passed through all generations as part of the oral tradition. It is these guiding principles that we as Jews use as a measuring stick to determine the authenticity of what is considered canonical or not. Anything that contradicts these 13 principles of the Jewish faith is automatically dismissed and not integrated into the belief system of the Jewish people. This was God’s way of ensuring that we remain true to the faith that he gave us. At the height of Christianity’s intense effort to convert Jews, the great master of Jewish teaching Maimonides, codified the 13 principles of Jewish faith so that the Jewish nation, no matter where they found themselves would have the basic knowledge to accept or reject new beliefs that were presented to them. The 13 Principles of Jewish faith are: 1\. I believe with perfect faith that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things. He alone has made, does make, and will make all things. 2\. I believe with perfect faith that God is one. There is no unity that is in any way like His. He alone is our God He was, He is, and He will be. 3\. I believe with perfect faith that God does not have a body. Physical concepts do not apply to Him. There is nothing whatsoever that resembles Him at all. 4\. I believe with perfect faith that God is first and last. 5\. I believe with perfect faith that it is only proper to pray to God. One may not pray to anyone or anything else. 6\. I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the Jewish prophets are true. 7\. I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after Him. 8\. I believe with perfect faith that the entire Torah that we now have is that which was given to Moses. 9\. I believe with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another given by God. 10\. I believe with perfect faith that God knows all of man's deeds and thoughts. 11\. I believe with perfect faith that God rewards those who keep His commandments, and punishes those who transgress Him. 12\. I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. How long it takes, I will await His coming every day. 13\. I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when God wills it to happen. These principles are the foundation of Judaism and if one does not believe in even one of these principles, he forfeits his place among the nation of Israel. It is now plain to see why belief in Jesus as a God or as a son of God does not fit within the belief system of the Jewish nation and therefore impossible that the early Jewish followers of Jesus ever saw him as such. It is plain to see why Jesus was not, and could never be the Messiah that God promised to the Jewish people.