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  • Caleb Chamberlain

A Christian Response to J.Breezy Concerning the Historical Messiah

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

Recently, a YouTuber who goes by the name of J.Breezy (who happens to be a Facebook friend of mine) removed all of his videos from YouTube concerning Jesus and Christianity, not long after coming out against the Apostle Paul, saying:


I'm not certain I'll be teaching Biblical theology all that much moving forward. I can no longer accept the responsibility for so many people's belief systems and how it impacts their lives.


I can respect removing content that may sway people theologically. It is a hard decision to make, to remove access to your content from your followers when you feel you no longer line up with a position.


However, not long after that post, he went on to post a list of arguments against the historical Messiah, stating:


Why have I decided to re-examine and question the authenticity of a historical Messiah?


As you know, last year I began working on writing a series titled “The Messiah Complex” in which I made it my goal to make the best case I can for the New Testament’s Messiah concept if he were too exist in the Old Testament (Tanakh). In the process of doing so I studied both sides of hundreds of arguments and found that there are, in my opinion, theological, doctrinal and historical flaws with the New Testament’s “Christ.” Here are the “wave tops” to give you a general idea of a few of the perceived issues that I’ve found.


To this end, I felt the need to respond, and so I went on to post my responses on my own profile, but after addressing several past posts, and at the encouragement of friends, I am finally creating this blog for ease-of-access.


Before I begin, please know that this is coming from a place of hope for restoration. My hope is to restore any who have been persuaded by these arguments (including J.Breezy) back to Faith in Messiah. Please know that this is not a personal attack against him or any who believe this way. Rather, I am responding to the arguments. My goal is to dispel bad reasoning, bad history, and bad conclusions about our Lord, and ultimately restore the lost to the Faith in love and gentleness.


I will indicate J.Breezy's responses with JB, and my responses with CC, and I will group my responses to his points by separating the arguments out with a divider from the following points. With that said, let’s begin.

 

JB: From The Torah & Prophets (Old Testament)

-Human sacrifice is “abominable” - Deuteronomy 12:29-31


CC: I most certainly agree with that passage in Deuteronomy, however this fails to account for several key aspects of the passage, the sacrifice of Christ, and several notable mentions in the OT.


1) What does Deuteronomy 12 actually forbid? Let’s read the passage.


30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.


31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.


The primary components of the commandment are this: Do not enquire after their gods, asking “How did the nations serve them?” and “They practice abominable things. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.


So this commandment actually isn’t something that can be used against the sacrifice of Christ, because this wasn’t any human act of worship to any god, which leads me to my next point.


2) Jesus wasn’t sacrificed by humans to God. Christ offered HIMSELF as a sacrifice. This was Jesus laying his own life down to take on the punishment that we rightly deserve.


3) And last, we have at least two examples in the OT, one uniquely commanded act of human sacrifice and one very intriguing instance where YHWH did set a precedent for it in Numbers. So first, and you can argue around it if you want to, but there is no textual evidence or otherwise to suggest that YHWH did not command Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This unique occurrence should be the lens through which we can, at the very least, see the future fulfillment of Christ as the "lamb provided for the offering", having come from God and not from man. And then, you have a very interesting commandment within Torah in the High Priest and accidental murderer (Num 35, also echoed in Joshua 20). The High Priest had to die (an atonement) before the accidental murderer could be declared safe to return home.


Consider this commentary on the passage from The Times of Israel:


As such, the banishment is not a punishment but only an inescapable measure employed to remove the perpetrator from society until his sin has been expiated, as said, through the death of the high priest. But still the question remains, why? Why does the death of the high priest atone specifically, and exclusively, for unintentional murder?


The conclusion of the narrative provides some direction:


So ye shall not pollute (hanaf) the land wherein ye are; for blood, it polluteth (hanaf) the land; and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. And thou shalt not defile the land which ye inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the children of Israel. (Numbers 35:33-34)


As such, the punishments for murder – intentional or unintentional – are meted out to achieve atonement. This atonement is necessary not only for man, but for the land that becomes “polluted” (hanaf) through the spilling of innocent blood. Interestingly, the term hanaf has much deeper connotations than the standard translation, “pollute”, conveys. Rabbi Hirsch (Numbers 35:33) explains that the word denotes hypocrisy:


If you tolerate intentional murder and careless manslaughter, then you make the land … into a hypocrite. It deceives the expectation which otherwise you are justified in entertaining from it, it keeps back the blessing that should flow out from it. … a human society … which does not take up the cudgels for innocent human blood spilt, … breaks the condition upon which the soil of its land belongs to it, deceives the expectations in which the earth offers its forces, becomes a “hypocrite” to its land and makes its land into a “hypocrite” towards it."


 

JB: “Christ” wasn’t put to death according to Torah.


CC: What do you mean by this? That he wasn’t sacrificed in the way that a lamb was supposed to be sacrificed? Or that the “Christ” wasn’t supposed to be sacrificed at all? I’ll take it as the former, but please be more clear with your arguments, and correct me if I have gone in a direction that doesn’t address your point.


I will actually provide links to several videos by Mike Winger, who tackles "Finding Jesus in the Old Testament Sacrifices".


This is a great playlist on finding Jesus in the Old Testament.


But I think to respond directly to the above, the specific one on finding Jesus in the Levitical Sacrifices is here.


Also, if you find issue with the whole "stake, not cross" thing, there's this.

 

JB: Is. 45:5 - “I am YHWH, there is no other.” 1st Commandment “No other gods.”


CC: I am going to assume this is a hit against Jesus as God, and more specifically against the Trinity. If so, and if this is your argument, this surely is a misunderstanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity does not state that there are three Gods. The doctrine of the Trinity states that there is ONE God, though three persons in the Godhead. There are many analogies, though most have a habit of bordering on or falling into heresy, and many misrepresentations of the doctrine, such as modalism, which says that there is one God that becomes either the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, clearly ignoring the differentiation between the three throughout the NT.


Consider this illustration.









Here is a video by William Lane Craig on the rationality of the Trinity.


Also, watch this brief clip about Misconceived Contradictions of the Trinity by Braxton Hunter of Trinity Radio (I think he is a must-follow if you're into Christian Apologetics).


Also, this is a series that I found very beneficial, though there is at least one point that I found incorrect, in a mention of Acts 7:59 (specifically from the KJV). If you watch this series, then you'll see it. "God" is not found in the earliest texts, hence why "God" is missing from the same verse in other translations, like the ESV. That being said, I think the verse does indicate that praying to Jesus to receive Stephen’s spirit is something that is only attributed to God elsewhere, so I don't find it to be that far of a stretch, and so I can still recommend the series in good conscience.

 

JB: Torah teaches justice for all / Messiah teaches to “turn the other cheek”


CC: This claim just falls flat, and funny enough it is even an OT concept.


Lamentations 3:30 ...let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.


Job 16:10 Men have gaped at me with their mouth; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me.


Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.


Let us not forget that this was Jesus dismantling the false teaching AND misapplication of the commandment. The Torah command was put in place to remove one from taking matters into their own hands (vengeance), rather putting the matter into the hands of the judges, where it could be handled rightly and justly.


As Christianity.com says, "The law was to prevent arbitrary vigilante justice that could quickly escalate into a never-ending cycle of retaliation." https://www.christianity.com/.../what-does-an-eye-for-an...

 

JB: “Christ” Repeatedly teaches against Torah in Matthew 5


and


JB: Torah teaches to seek Justice (everywhere), “Christ” says not to?


CC: Show us instead of claim it, though I find it highly suspect that this is a criticism of Jesus, as you rightly know Matt. Chapter 5, verses 17 and 18 are clear indications that the Christ is pro-Torah. Still, if you are going to claim it, then show how it is contrary. But, and this is if you do not provide evidence for your claims, we should rightly reject your claims out of hand.

 

JB: Prophecies are mistranslated, misrepresented and already fulfilled


and


JB: “Cyclical prophecy” is a Christian invention not Hebrew. Once a prophecy is fulfilled it is complete and does not happen again and again as a pattern in Hebrew literature as many believe.


CC: You can read a little about fulfillment “horizons” here.


You can also read about prophecy fulfillment from Reasons.org.


If you want more in-depth work on Biblical Prophecy though, I highly recommend Mike Winger’s video collections here:



and



 

JB: Christian translators have “translator’s bias” and so choose words carefully over others to build “Christ’s image” into the text.


CC: Appeal to Bias Fallacy is a form of Ad Hominem. Show how they’re wrong; don’t simply assert it, and certainly do not hypocritically call into question their character. If you do not like your character being called into question, then do not do it to others.

 

JB: The Pre-existent Literature

-The Dionysian Cults (Dionysus) far pre-existed the “Christ” figure

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dionysus


-The half human man, half god deity who was called “The True Vine” and the demigod of “wine” who was worshiped for thousands of years under multiple names before “Christ” was mentioned as the newest expression during the Jewish Hellenization period. (definition below)


-Born of human mother (Semele) & also born of God the Father, “Zeus”


-Dionysus turned water into wine way before “Christ” did


-Was surrounded by his “brides” whom he slept with (became one?)


-The Bacchae by Euripides 410 BC has multiple stories from Acts


-Paul and Jesus on Damascus road = Pentheus and Dionysus


-Earthquake to free prisoners who don't leave, but stays and converts the authorities as Paul does in Acts.


-Homer / New Testament Mimesis criticisms show too many sequential commonalities. THIS IS BIG. Example https://youtu.be/0OoK322JeZQ


-The NT philosophy as a combination of concepts from Plato & Socrates (links below)


-The “logos” (The Word) concept pre-existed NT writings


CC: These “evidences” against Christ are just fallacious. The list of correlates between Christ and Dionysus pales in comparison to the list of differences, and it’s even less clear that these “evidences” should even be considered correlations.


For instance, regarding the birth (some claim it a resurrection) of Dionysus, according to Diodorus Siculus, Demeter collected his dismembered and boiled body, and he "experienced a new birth".


And though the writers of myths have handed down the account of a third birth as well, at which, as they say, the Sons of Gaia4 tore to pieces the god, who was a son of Zeus and Demeter, and boiled him, but his members were brought together again by Demeter and he experienced a new birth as if for the first time, such accounts as this they trace back to certain causes found in nature.


According to the Brittanica:


Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, a daughter of Cadmus (king of Thebes). Out of jealousy, Hera, the wife of Zeus, persuaded the pregnant Semele to prove her lover’s divinity by requesting that he appear in his real person. Zeus complied, but his power was too great for the mortal Semele, who was blasted with thunderbolts. However, Zeus saved his son by sewing him up in his thigh and keeping him there until he reached maturity, so that he was twice born. Dionysus was then conveyed by the god Hermes to be brought up by the bacchantes (maenads, or thyiads) of Nysa, a purely imaginary spot.




According to this link, there are a few different legends altogether which can hardly be called a "resurrection".



On the heels of that one, Athena is the one who rescues the heart of Dionysus, which Zeus eats, and "gives birth to a new Dionysus".



The birth/resurrection stories are many, and the correlations are spurious at best.


For the tale of "water into wine", the only thing I can really find is that it comes from a story of Dionysus written in The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon, a second century CE work.


Another is from a second century CE geographer, Pausanias, who said this in his Description of Greece.


[6.26.2] On the morrow they are allowed to examine the seals, and on going into the building they find the pots filled with wine. I did not myself arrive at the time of the festival, but the most respected Elean citizens, and with them strangers also, swore that what I have said is the truth. The Andrians too assert that every other year at their feast of Dionysus wine flows of its own accord from the sanctuary. If the Greeks are to be believed in these matters, one might with equal reason accept what the Ethiopians above Syene say about the table of the sun.


I think by this point, it should be obvious that any such accusation is ultimately and provably baseless. These “Zeitgeist” claims have been debunked over and over again. Always remember: correlation does not necessitate causation.


Start here and unlearn the lies.






Also, do some research into scholarly work concerning (insert proposed pre-Christ figure) or on any of the commonly touted figures’ history, and then come back with facts. From there, we can have a more informed discussion.

 

JB: New Testament Lacking Unbiased Historical Support


-Josephus / Tacitus / Philo = all Roman Flavian “Jewish” writers


-Watch “The Caesar's Messiah” for more information https://youtu.be/zmEScIUcvz0


CC: Listen (or preferably read) anything by Mike Licona, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, to name but a few, regarding historical support for the NT. There is also a point of contention that I must make. Think of the claim you just made, that there is a lack of "unbiased historical support". I want to make a few quick points concerning this.


1) You mentioned Ehrman somewhere near the end of your post. Yes he is a skeptic, and though he does hold to some sense of a Legendary Development, he does say that this very Jesus is a fact of history.


NOTE: I recommend that you watch some discussions and debates between him and some of the top proponents of Christianity like Mike Licona or William Lane Craig. His Legendary Development really doesn't account for all of the available data. He is a good historian, but a bad logician and philosopher.


2) Regarding the "unbiased historical support". What does "unbiased historical support" even mean? That the Jews witnessed it, and then turned to the truth? Or the romans? I mean, we do have that in at least the form of Paul. He is a perfect example of this. However, who is to say that there wasn't more support for it, but we just haven't found it or that evidence wasn’t lost to time? (I cover this a little more in the next point.) But we do have enough evidence to suggest that this was, in fact, an early event. Really, what is argued for is an argument from silence. "We don't see (more of) this kind of evidence, therefore it didn't happen." It is fallacious reasoning. NOTE: not all arguments from silence are fallacious. Sometimes silence can be an evidence, however in this regard, it is not so much an evidence because we do have enough evidence in not only the (biased) corroborating, independent sources with the Gospels, Paul, and James, but there is actually plenty of non-Christian sources reporting on these events, and fairly early on.


Consider this graphic by Cold Case Christianity's, J. Warner Wallace.

This video by TheFuelProject walks through these.


You can also listen to either of these playlists.




This short video of Gary Habermas is a quick list of historical facts and arguments for the Resurrection.



3) The problem with the statement “unbiased historical support” is that it seems to assume that because one “has a bias” that there must be some attempt to deceive. It is an unwarranted assumption. Given this fact, we do not see counter-arguments against this. This “argument from silence” can be an additional evidence for the truthfulness of the disciples. Given the available data, the record seems to indicate that the disciples were being truthful in their claims of a risen Christ.

 

JB: Secular history supports the “Messianic Revolts” that occurred through into the mid 2nd century that were completely disconnected from early Christianity.


CC: I fail to see the point here. The fact that there were several failed “Messianic Revolts” is actually a powerful testimony to Christianity’s solid foundation. That Christianity survived the first century where other “Messianic Revolts” failed shortly before and thereafter is a good indication that Christianity was based on something more factual.


As Gamaliel said, “...but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” Go read Acts 5.

 

JB: Faulty Evidence of Events


-There is no written account of ANY of the events by any common scribes within decades of the events in a highly literate city inhabited and surrounded by millions of people. No eyewitnesses to the earthquake, darkening, etc.


CC: So what? Considering that we have any writings from antiquity at all is amazing, and the evidence for the NT alone goes far beyond anything of antiquity. Let’s not forget that paper and ink were precious commodities in the ancient world. But concerning the earthquakes, darkening, etc. if you ask Mike Licona, he calls these portents (though I personally have trouble with this one). Lydia McGrew has some very good content on YT about the Gospel reliability, and she even takes Dr Licona to task on some of these “portents”.


 

JB: Earliest written copy of “The Gospel of Mark” is from sometime between AD150 - 250. That’s nearly 120 years after a “Son of God” would have lived.


CC: If you’re assuming Legendary Development at all, it is a very poor argument given the evidence that we do have. Look up scholarly work on the creed found in 1 Cor 15:3-5 (I briefly address the patheos link below). Here is a quick overview of the discussion.



Also, give this a watch. It is a fantastic interview on the New Testament reliability, in which Dr. Peter Gurry says, “Earlier manuscripts are not always better.”


 

JB: Herodian script (Roman font) was found being used in Dead Sea scrolls. Yes. Roman fingerprints in some of the Dead Sea scrolls.


and


JB: The Typology Insertion


-The insertion and introduction of “typology” as a way of interpreting scripture did not exist until the first century. The NT was built on pure typological storytelling perspectives in Greek. A known greek method of storytelling written in its own language. -This is not Hebrew thinking but Greco-Roman thinking.


-Abraham wasn’t “pointing to Christ” when he almost sacrificed Isaac, etc. Neither was Moses “pointing to Christ” when he fasted 40 days. Simply, these elements of the Patriarchs were incorporated into the development of the New Testament character as it was being formed through the second century to bring credibility to the character among the conservative and progressively Hellenistic Jewish people of that time.


CC: I see these as unnecessary nitpicking, to be quite honest. Given the historicity of the actual Jesus (again, Mike Licona, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig are all great resources who will provide plenty of reasoning and evidence for the risen Christ) that the OT “types” points to Christ is without issue. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then Christianity is true. Period. Don’t forget the historicity of Christ.

 

JB: *Bonus - Pauline literature describes a very different "Christ" than the later gospels, and yet its likely that the Pauline description of "Christ" was written well before the Gospels were. In a plot twist, I'm finding that it's more likely that the Gospels were based on Paul's writings, not the other way around, and that the "Christ" that Paul was describing performed no miracles. Here's an example of the type of information Paul left out about "Christ."


"No parables of the sheep and the goats, or the prodigal son, or the rich man and Lazarus, or the lost sheep, or the good Samaritan. In fact, NO JESUS as TEACHER at all.

No driving out evil spirits, or healing the invalid at Bethesda, or cleansing the lepers, or raising Lazarus, or other healing miracles. As far as Paul tells us, JESUS performed NO MIRACLES at all.


No virgin birth, no Sermon on the Mount, no feeding the 5000, no public ministry, no cleansing the temple, no final words, and no Great Commission. Paul doesn’t even place JESUS within HISTORY—there’s NOTHING to connect Jesus with historical figures like Caesar Augustus, King Herod, or Pontius Pilate."


CC: I provided evidence further above about the historical Jesus, but let me add a few things about Paul. Just because Paul doesn’t comment on these things does not mean that they didn’t happen. What are Paul’s letters for? Addressing specific issues. Given the possibility that at least one if not more of the Gospels were written before Paul’s death, Paul does seem to be aware of a written account given 1 Cor 15:4 “…in accordance with the Scriptures” (again, look up scholarly work on 1 Cor 15:3-5).


Concerning connection with Pontius Pilate, that is just false. Josephus links Jesus with Pontius Pilate quite clearly in his Antiquities 18.3.3. Now, there is contention with some of the content, however the bulk of the data does appear genuine, linking Christ with Pilate.


We also have mention of Herod Agrippa II according to Josephus:


Josephus records the words of Herod Agrippa II stating that the people of Africa gave “their annual produce, which feeds the populace of Rome for eight months of the year” (Judean War 2.383)


Also, given your other post, I’m commenting this short video of Dr. Mike Licona’s on the physical resurrection of Christ.


 

CC: Contents from this link were in the above response, however I wanted to review this article as a whole because of its logical problems. The entire article is predicated upon an Argument from Ignorance.


Argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance) the fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true. This error in reasoning is often expressed with influential rhetoric.


Or, “There is no record of Paul knowing fact (x) about Jesus, therefore Paul didn’t know fact (x) about Jesus.”


This line of argumentation is, to be honest, garbage. Again, Paul’s letters are for addressing specific issues, not for repeating lines of already available content from the Apostles (whether verbal or written, doesn't matter). Again, have we forgotten that paper and ink were precious commodities in the ancient world?

 

JB: In other news, I’m currently reading “Creating Christ'' by James Valiant and Warren Fahy and so far it’s remarkably fascinating and hard to put down. https://www.creatingchrist.com. I recommend this book tremendously as an important reader, as well as the "Caesar's Messiah" documentary on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmEScIUcvz0


Additionally, I’ve been recently going back through many of the Dead Sea scrolls documents and fragments looking for true evidence of a Messianic prophecy and not finding much. I’ve been given a few items to read (from "leaders") such as some Targums and other apocryphal texts but sadly, (despite the claims by "leaders") they were written after the first century and therefore cannot contain prophetic proof for the historical “Christ” figure.


CC: I only know of a few Targums, and while I’ve never looked into their dating, what I do know of them is that they were Jewish writings and not Christian in origin, and so they do give us insight into early Jewish thought, possibly close-ish to the time of Christ. I don’t think we can dismiss them so easily, however they are not necessary at all for a solid case for Christ to be made. They merely give us insight into the mind of some Jewish readers of the Old Testament.

 

Please read this, and then maybe read it again. And again, please view this as a response to the arguments presented and not as a personal attack.


I pray the Lord will give you clarity and wisdom and strength to overcome your dragons.


Sincerely,

Caleb Chamberlain, a follower of our Lord, The Ultimate Dragon Slayer, Jesus the Christ

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