As we consider Team 2 (Christianity) in light of the five points of interest to me, it bears noting that Christianity has a built-in advantage over Team 1. Wherever Team 1 scores big, so does Team 2. This is because Team 2 has totally adopted the same things that allowed Team 1 to score big. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
Wherever Team 1 falls short on my scale, Team 2 wisely does the opposite that caused Team 1 to fail on any particular point. Thus, Team 2 has benefited from seeing the wisdom as well as the mistakes of their forebearers. This is the right term, I believe, because Christianity claims (the only) direct descent from real Mosaic Judaism. Which is totally Torah-centric. Which is totally opposed to Talmudic Judaism.
The claim by Team 2 of being the New Israel is at the heart of the modern (Talmudic) Jewish charge of ‘anti-semitism’ directed against Christianity. Or at least, against Catholics. The real root of the anger is the Catholic claim to have superseded Judaism, in any form. But that’s what happens when you abandon your property. Squatter’s rights.
We need to note one other thing as well before we get down to work. First, a word about the term Judaizer. This is the opposite charge of anti-semitism, hurled by Team 1 at anyone who has the temerity to criticize any modern (Talmudic) Jew. The charge of ‘Judaizer’ is often hurled back from Team 2 in the direction of Team 1.
How could a Jew not be a Judaizer? It seems to be an oxymoron. But let’s look closely at the real definition of a Jew. A Jew today is someone who acts like a Jew. A Jew of the first century. That is to say, a Jew who rejects Jesus as a Jew, and as the Messiah, to boot. Think of Max Boot.
That definition would have to include a lot of people today who act Jewish, even though they labor under the illusion that they are Christian. When, in fact, they are actually Judaizers. That is, they have reverted back to ancient-modern Talmudic Jewish practices. Which, in reality, means modernity began a long time ago. It began with the Pharisees, at the time of Moses. Read She Shall Crush Thy Head, at least the part on the beginning of the Oral Tradition (OT) of the Pharisees. The counterfeit Old Testament.
When I say that the term Judaizer is the opposite charge against anti-semitism, here’s what I mean: there are a lot more Jews than anyone thinks. Based, of course, on my definition that a Jew is someone who acts like a modern Jew. That is to say, a Talmudic Jew, and not a Mosaic Jew, known today as a Karaite.
How, pray tell, does a modern Jew act? Beyond the obvious rejection of the messianic image of Jesus, there are a million smaller offenses they commit against Torah and Church. They change the Sabbath Day (Seventh Day Adventists), they change the Scriptures (Lutherans), they change the priesthood (Anglicans), they change tradition (Baptists), they change the Paschal offering (Methodists), and I could go on and on. But I won’t.
You can say that not each of these things is specific only to the groupings I named, and you’d be right. In fact, you can actually level these charges, almost all of them, against each and every Protestant grouping. There’s the point. Protestants are inherently Judaizers. They revert to ancient-yet-modern Jewish form on almost every doctrinal point when compared to the Christianity of the first century. More to the point, they revert to Modern Talmudic Judaism on almost every doctrinal point espoused by Moses. Hey, wanna attend this year’s Ecumenical Seder Meal? To celebrate Judeo-Christian fellowship? They’re serving ham steaks. Delicious!
Let me clarify it for you. Can you name a Christian sect that still says, doctrinally-speaking, those who willfully and un-repentantly fail to observe the Third Commandment (Keep holy the Lord’s Day) will go to Hell? And that to avoid this fate, they must confess this sin to the Priest? Remember, I said ‘doctrinally’. What Christian sect actually has any observable doctrine left? Let alone a priesthood. Which is to say, most Christians today (even Catholics, for God’s sake) are practicing (or would that be, non-practicing?) Jews. Again, what kind of Jew are we talking about?
Just as most modern Talmudic Jews no longer strictly observe the Third Commandment (or any of the other nine) delivered by Moses, neither do most Christian denominations. Which is to say, they are Judaizers. They have reverted to the original rejection of Moses. Yet, the true Team 2 has gained most of its advantages in her life by wholly embracing Moses and his historical document, the Torah (and the rest of the Old Testament.)
Here’s the root to understanding this oxymoronic thought. If you see the Old Testament as a document of ‘promise’, then you will, of necessity, have to look at the New Testament (and not the Talmud) as the document of fulfillment. That is, the OT is a book chock full of real people, places and events, who all have some symbolic meaning for those who would come after them. The NT is the book that, like the OT, is also brimming with more real people, places and events, but there they are the human fulfillment of those previously symbolized in the OT. Symbol prefigures substance. And substance is what ultimately counts.
Moses and Joshua and David are the fore-types of Jesus. The Eucharist is the realization of the Manna in the desert. Jesus’ mother Mary is the flesh and blood meaning of the Ark of the Covenant. The Apostles are the new Twelve Tribes. And so on and so on. In other words, the first document is worthless apart from the second, and the second is unbelievable apart from the first.
If I show you a picture of a brick of gold, and set it next to an actual brick of gold, which would you prefer? One symbolizes the other. The other gives substance to the first. Which one is the actual thing desired? If you’re having a hard time choosing, you’re obviously modern. Or even post-modern. You’d prefer Warhol’s painting of the can of Campbell’s Soup to the actual bowl of it. If you can’t understand this proposition, if you don’t see the relationship between symbol and substance, you are in a world of hurt. You’re never going to get anything worthwhile in life. Or in death.
Is not this inability to discern the difference between promise and fulfillment the same as saying that the bread and wine offered in the Catholic Mass is not transformed into bread and wine?
That’s what Protestants have said, in effect, for nearly 500 years. Just like the stiff-necked Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years who were fed daily with the magical bread from Heaven who denied its divine origin (and effects). The Pharisees were the first Talmudic Jews, even before Moses died. They were the first Protestants. Protestants are simply the Judaizing Pharisees of today. Or Sadducees. Take your pick.
I’ve said all of this in order to clarify what I will say below, as I now consider the true Team 2, especially as it relates to the fortunes and failings of Team 1. In other words, Team 1’s failings came from a failure to wholeheartedly embrace Moses and the Torah. The failings of Team 2, when they occurred, came from this very same fault, and again resulted in the cleaving of the flock. For just as Judaism was split between Torah and Talmud, Team 2 will be split between the those who embrace Moses (a.k.a. doctrine) and those who won’t (and don’t).
Team 2 At Bat
Let’s look at Team 2!
1. Got a historical document? Absolutely they do. They have everything that Team 1 has, and that is a lot. But not only do they have one historical document, they have a second one. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Not only are both brimming with historically verifiable people, places and events, they fully complement each other. They provide the hidden meaning to each other. Promise and fulfillment. Symbol and substance.
For example, just as the OT Book of Genesis gives us the genealogy of Adam to Abraham, the NT Gospel of Luke gives us the complete listing of the house of David, all the way from Adam to Jesus. Seventy-seven generations. And then, just to make the claim clearer, Luke places this in the context of seven rulers (as they relate to the birth of John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, who was exactly six months older than Him), whose reigns coincide, so that there can be no mistaking of the historical claims and chronology of the NT.
A factual and datable claim has been made by Team 2, in spades. The markers have been laid down. Who else has the guts to do this kind of specificity? Compare this to Carl Sagan, and his Billion-Years chronology, where we start as a blob of slime and end up with an anonymous hominid. With no witnesses, of course. Sure, Carl.
Still unconvinced by the audacity of Team 2? Then please allow me to shove this down your throat. Check out the chronology of the birth of Christ in The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ as it was related in the Roman Martyrology. It sets the date of Christmas in relation to the dating’s of Noah, Abraham, The Pharaohs, the Persians, the Greek Olympiads and the foundation date of Imperial Rome. What is it that the Weiner-Dog historians say in response? All they can ever say is No! It can’t be so!
Why can’t it be? Well, they can’t exactly say. Exactly, that is. But Team 2 has no doubts, and they tell you up front what their claims are. Now that is history. All the rest is Weiner-Dog doubts. But as I say, believe your beliefs, and doubt your doubts. And don’t confuse the two.
On top of all of this is the historical record from the time of Caesar onward, as all the secular historical records of nearly every country record the effects of their intersection with the people who brought them the story of the Galilean from Nazareth. Show me another person in history, any history, that has had such a world-wide effect on every nation. Those idiots who still claim that Jesus was not a real historical person have a lot of explaining to do. Even more so, they must explain why this supposedly mythological person has had such a worldwide effect on all of mankind such that He has become the benchmark by which all others are judged. Historically, chronologically, ethically and morally. Bottom line is that Team 2 scores. Big time. Off the charts!
2. Got any accurate predictions or prophecy, any big miracles? Only the biggest two you could imagine, both in prophesy and occurrence. First, that the infinite God could contain Himself within the confines of a single human being. A truly and fully human. Proof? He died, didn’t He? But then He could release Himself from these same human confines by rising from the dead. And promising us that He can do the same for us. And between these two events, there were a million other astounding events that miraculously occurred.
One of the biggest of these many other examples was that the Apostles continued to stick to their story. Despite the fact that it sequentially got each of them executed. You’d think that after the first three or four of them were axed the rest would repudiate their original story about this God-Man Jesus. Yet none of them did. If this was a scam, or a mass delusion, even a fool would have figured out the need to shut up. Not these guys. They kept talking. And they all died for it. What was it they died for? A delusion? Really?
Cue the howlers. Unleash the fearsome Academic Weiner-Dogs. Listen as they endlessly bark that none of these things could have occurred naturally (which is true). Unfortunately, they can’t see beyond the natural. In fact, when it comes to sodomy, they can’t even see the natural. Anyway, here’s all the proof you need for the authenticity of all these miracles. This proof lies in their audacious size, and the reaction they provoked. Feeding thousands with a few loaves, raising people from the dead (all are multiple occurrences), walking on (un-frozen) water, walking through closed doors and sealed tombs. The proof? Let me give you the simplest yet surest example.
To me, the biggest miracle in the OT, in terms of sheer size and duration, was the feeding of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years. That’s huge, as I’ve already discussed in my book. Check out the numbers. Absolutely unbelievable.
What miracle(s) correspond to this in the NT? I would say it is the multiple times that Jesus is reputed to have fed the multitudes in the countryside. He fed 5,000 men (and their families too, one would assume) in the first report, which is included in all four gospels (Mark 6, for example). Remember, here’s another example of men telling stories that would get them killed, so we have to assume that the story was true. Because if it wasn’t true, everyone would have known it, because there wouldn’t have been these 5,000-plus people telling everyone as well. In other words, this was hot news, and not because it was written down years later in the gospels. These people repeating these stories died for telling the stories now, not later, let alone much later (like a 100 years on).
No, this stuff really happened, and the hostility of the Talmudic High Priests and Pharisees is the only proof we need. All throughout the NT there is this theme (that persists to this day) that the Pharisees and the Priests were really agitated at Jesus because of His miracles. They were afraid to move in for the kill for three long years because they feared the reaction of the common people. Now tell me this, if Jesus hadn’t fed the people, why would the Pharisees care if these dozen followers of Jesus kept telling people that He had miraculously fed 5,000-plus people, multiple times? After all, there wouldn’t be anyone else among the common people backing their story up. In fact, if this is what had really happened, as the Wiener-Dogs insist, then the Pharisees (and the common folk, both) would have been howling with laughter! They would have been begging the Romans not to kill Him, because He made them both look so good by comparison, because He and His followers would have been demonstrably insane. Why kill a good show?
In the same vein, look at the miracles relating how Jesus raised the dead. These miracles were the opposite of the OT miracle of striking dead the first born of Egypt (which surely would have included millions of Egyptians). In this comparison, Jesus does the opposite by raising people from the dead. Not once or twice, but again and again and again. Lazarus, the widow’s son, the ruler’s daughter, etc. Again, we’re struck with the obvious. Why did people continue to follow Him, and with increasing crowds, if He didn’t do what the gospels report? Who would believe such a crock if there was no evidence to back it up? Who else has ever been reported to have done this, with any credibility? And to have done it time and again, right in front of everyone? Why would the authorities get worked up over these reports if they didn’t have some truth to it? Why weren’t they just howling with laughter at these obviously insane people who claimed to have seen the dead raised to life? Who else would have been saying it? C’mon, tell me. Quit barking and tell me!
It’s because the crowds believed it, and they believed it because they saw it. Let’s face it, if you had simply heard that someone was raised from the dead, would you believe it? No. But if you saw it happen, you would. Your belief in it would even embolden you to be willing to risk your own life to tell of it to others. Why? Because you would have gained the hope of being raised from the dead by this same Jesus fellow. And that, I contend, is exactly what happened, and what panicked the Pharisees, and which then led to the willing deaths of thousands of these martyr-believers early on in the Church. They believed it because they saw it. No other explanation suffices. None.
That begs an answer to the question if you can do this sort of miracle-thing half-way. Either you were dead (in the tomb three days, like Lazarus) or you weren’t. You either fully came back to life or you didn’t. No halfway stuff here. There weren’t any ICU’s and respirators back then. Remember, Jesus didn’t have the opportunity to set these things up (no advanced communications or transportation that would be needed to co-ordinate things).
Instead, people came to Him, saying ‘So-and-so is dead, can you help’? And He’d say, ‘Sure, let’s walk the ten miles to your place and have a look’. When they get there, there’s a crowd of mourners (as the person has been dead for quite a while, maybe even wrapped for burial), and Jesus says ‘Quit crying, he’s only sleeping’. He says this before seeing the dead person. The crowd heckles Him, as He’s obviously an idiot. They’ve known Lazarus has been dead for three days. Then He commands Lazarus and the others to rise, and they do. The crowd goes nuts. Word spreads. And the fame grows, and travels rapidly, even unto the ears of the authorities. Not good! At least, not as far as the Pharisees were concerned.
I could go on and on (as I have in my book) about how all of these miracles (and myriads more) can be believed simply by the reactions it triggered in the enemies of Jesus. Like I’ve said before, if these miracles had not occurred, then no one would be following Him (except to laugh at Him). The authorities would have absolutely zero reason to be concerned about Him, and His surging popularity amongst the people because He would have had no followers if these things had not occurred. There would be no Church today. Simple human nature tells us they had to be true. If the miracles weren’t true, He’d have had no friends. And without friends, He’d have had no enemies. He would have been forgotten in an instant, like all the other kooks of the past.
Score card: Again, Team 2 is off the chart. Don’t believe me? Ask Pilate. And Caiaphas.
3. Does it promise me any worthwhile reward? Any mercy? Yes, and yes. See point three for Team 1. Take that and then remove the restriction that it would only be for the Jews. No wonder the Church has grown to become the largest Operating System on earth today. Numbers aren’t everything. But mercy is. And the availability of it to everyone (versus only the Jews) means Team 2 has now taken the lead. Big time.
4. Does it have an unbroken line of kingly or priestly succession, even unto today? Undoubtedly. Just like the Jewish line of Kings and High Priests, there were tons of bad ones. But that never led Jesus to deny the authenticity and legitimacy of the thrones of Church and State, nor the current occupants of them. He submitted to both. Can we do any less? How then are we to take up our cross and follow Him, if we deny these bad leaders their power to torment us? How will we have earned any reward, in any small way, if we have endured no suffering? Score card: nobody else comes near. Because of the price, of course.
5. Does it have a believable and desirable Messiah (and destination)? Yes and Yes, again. Just look at point 5 above for Team 1 again. Ask yourself if, being a finite being, that if you are somehow able to stand in the presence of the Infinite, the Omniscient, the Omnipotent Creator, and to see His work through His eyes, without being incinerated, this offer is somehow less than acceptable? What further words can even begin to express this concept? It is simply ineffable.
The totality of it becomes beyond comprehension when you bother to remember the sinful being that you are. How can any of this have been deserved, let alone fully earned? Without being willing to suffer on His behalf, that is. Which sufferings are still infinitesimal in relationship to the offer. Then I have to ask you, brother, why are you always bitching about how terrible things are? How can any other offer and any other Messiah offer us more? What is there, apart from Godhood itself, that could be offered? That’s what Lucifer wanted, right?
From a scoring perspective, what can I say? What else could be offered? How could anything more than this be accepted? How could we mortals do it? How could we receive it? Let alone bear it? Seriously. How could it be done?
This concludes Team 2. They have gone off the charts. They have surpassed Team 1, and done it by assuming all of Team 1’s truth. And fulfilling all promises in Team 1’s Book. The bar has been raised. Raised beyond belief. Even before Jesus Team 1’s promise was beyond belief. At least for the Jews.
Well, then, is it possible that, as Team 2 has surpassed Team 1, that Team 3 can raise the bar again? Let’s see if there’s a true third act to this play. On to Team 3. Islam!