Are there proof texts that Jesus is the Messiah? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
One statement early on in this from Campbell that is right is that new religions were looked at in the ancient world with skepticism. However, he says religions associated with an old religion like Judaism, would have credibility. He gives no evidence of this claim. It certainly wouldn’t help when it was seen by the Jews themselves that Christianity was outside of them and that they opposed it.
He also says Paul and the Gospel writers should have been taken known Messianic prophecies. Which ones are these? He doesn’t say. I’m not saying there weren’t any, but Campbell has made the claim and he has not backed it.
I will be speaking on passages that I am highly familiar with. For others, I will defer to others. Isaiah 53 is an obvious starting place. Michael Brown (Someone who is the leading defender in Jewish apologetics and who Campbell does not interact with once) has spoken on this here. I also recommend the work of my friend Eric Chabot.
I find Campbell’s claims on Psalm 22 to be strange since the text I understand is difficult to translate and verse 16 is normally read to talk about hands and feet being pierced. He talks about the lions approaching David’s hands and feet except this is not what lions do. This is what is done when someone is crucified. Again, I refer again to Brown and Chabot.
He also says something about the Messianic Age not having come in 2,000 years. This is assuming a certain ideal of a Messianic Age, likely a dispensationalist one. I contend that the Messianic age has been here for around 2,000 years. Jesus is king right now.
He also says God’s system was a true prophet would be recognized by the leading sages of the generation, which would explain why so many prophets were killed. Campbell says that this is what was set up to be the case in Deuteronomy 17. Well, let’s see what it has to say.
Well, the first section is about claims that someone is enticing Israel to worship false gods and that is to be investigated. Nothing there about how to tell if a prophet is true or that the leading sages of the age will be able to tell if a prophet is true. What’s next?
Next is about legal courts. The idea is that if a case is too difficult for the court, go to the priest and the priest will inquire of God. Everyone must then listen to the ruling of the priest. Nothing in there about prophecy.
Finally, the last section in the chapter is about the king. These are good rules for the king to have, but there’s no reason to think the king was one of the leading sages of the day. I am puzzled then as to where in Deuteronomy 17 this passage is.
Next time we come to this book, we will be talking about the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) and the infancy of Jesus.
(And I do affirm the virgin birth)