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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Mark Eastman :: The Search for the Messiah

Mark Eastman :: Prologue

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Mark Eastman, M.D. and Chuck Smith

Introductory Statements

In the days of the Second Temple there was a custom to fasten a red-colored strip of wool to the head of a goat which was to be sent away on the Day of Atonement. When this red ribbon became white, it was a sign that God had forgiven Israel's sins.

There is a statement in the Talmud that about "forty years before the Second Temple was destroyed…the red wool did not become white!"[1] The same passage informs us that the gates of the Temple swung open on their own accord! The ancient rabbis believed that these events were indicators that the sins of Israel were no longer being forgiven and the Temple would soon be destroyed![2]

What was the reason for these strange events?

Why was this sign that God gave to the Israelites removed?

Was the Levitical system of atoning for sins through animal sacrifice no longer recognized by God?

Find the answers as we Search for Messiah!

"You must make your choice. Either this man was and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved." - Paul the Apostle (Romans 10:1)

[1] Babylonian Talmud, Yoma chapter 39b.
[2] Adapted from The Mesianic Hope, Arthur Kac, pg. 227.





Dedication

To my loving wife Anna. For her patience and love during fifteen years marriage. To my children Jennifer, Matthew and Kristina, may you walk in the ways of the Lord all the days of your life. To my parents Richard and Pat. I love you. (John 3:16, Luke 12:51-53)

Mark Eastman





Foreword

On rare occasions, a book comes along that will truly change the lives of almost everyone that it touches.

This is such a book.

In the Bible there is a presentation that was given on a dozen occasions, by seven different people, which invariably produced unusually effective results, and yet it is rarely given today. It was presenting Jesus as the Messiah entirely from the Old Testament.

One of the tragedies of the early church was its diversion down a path of anti-Jewishness. It was tragic for the Jewish people, of course, and it was tragic for the church as well. It blinded the church from much of our Jewish heritage, and denied us numerous scriptural insights which are hidden in the Tanakh (Old Testament).

This book explores many of the treasures which lie hidden in the early Rabbinic literature as well as the Tanakh itself, and unveils a trove of treasures and insights as a result. These are treasures for the Jew and the Gentile alike. This book is a gateway of discovery for the pilgrim who is serious about his "Search for Messiah."

The Bible consists of sixty-six books, penned by forty authors over a thousand years. Yet Mark Eastman and Chuck Smith's provocative work dramatically demonstrates that the scriptures evidence an integrity of design and supernatural engineering in its every detail. The skeptic will be challenged; the traditionalist will be awakened; and the Christian deeply enriched. Prepare yourself for a grand adventure, indeed!

Chuck Missler, Coeur d' Alene, Idaho





Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Pastor Chuck Smith and Chuck Missler for their tremendous personal examples, their outstanding teaching and for instilling in me an excitement for apologetics and the Word of God. Thanks to Angie Nash and Julie Corrigan for typing the manuscript and to Bob Sneidar for your help and expertise. Special thanks to Joe Martin, Lucky Jonker, David Hocking, Scott Richards, Hank Hanegraaff, Nick and Joan La Bruno, Chris Melisko, Luis Santos for reviewing the manuscript. Thanks to Steve Babkow and Bob Rico for your suggestions and to my wife for your support during the preparation of this book.

Finally, thanks to Dr. Ted O'Donnell for the challenge and to the Lord for what he has done and for revealing it to me.

Mark Eastman, M.D.





Prologue

"Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."(Luke 12:51-53)
-Jesus of Nazareth

There is no doubt about it. Jesus of Nazareth has created more division than an any individual that ever walked the face of the earth. On the one hand, worshipped by billions as the Messiah and God in human flesh for nearly two thousand years. On the other, cursed and rejected by the majority of the first century religious leaders in Israel. As he declared, he has certainly created enormous division within households and even the nations of the world.

As a college student I was told many things about Jesus. I was told that he was a legend, a lunatic or a deceiver. Many of you have been told this or have come to these conclusions as well.

However, there is another possibility as well-that is, that he is the Messiah!

Several years after graduating from medical school I was challenged to examine the claims of Jesus Christ. I had comfortably explained him away as a legend. However, when I began to examine his claims in the light of prophecy, first century Messianic expectations and the secular record of history, I was astonished at what I found. The historical evidence for Jesus from secular and Rabbinical sources annihilates the idea that he never existed. Therefore, an examination of his claims seemed in order.

Shortly after beginning my research it became crystal clear why Jesus said he would create division. Not only did he declare that he was the Messiah, he also claimed equality with God and stated that he was the only way to salvation. It is claims such as these that create the great division. They are so radical, so unprecedented, that they cause us to take sides. Like many people, I was offended by such claims. However, I realized that there are only three options for this carpenter from Nazareth. He is either a devil (liar), a mad man or he is what he declared-Lord and God and, according to him, the only way to salvation!

The claims of Jesus force us into one of two camps. We either believe his claims or we don't. There is no neutral position. Jesus even said so:

"He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad." Matthew 12:30

It occurred to me that if Jesus is whom he claimed to be, then making statements such as, "Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division", makes sense. This is because if Jesus is not the Messiah, then making such claims would be poor way to gain a following. On the other hand, if he is the Messiah, then it would make sense to warn his disciples about the division that his claims would cause and the effect that it would have on their lives. No rational man would use such tactics to get elected prime minister, president or Messiah.

The purpose of this book is to examine the claims of Jesus in the light of ancient Rabbinical expectations, Bible prophecy and new discoveries from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

If you are an observant Jew, an atheist an agnostic, you were probably given this book by a friend or loved one. My plea, my challenge is that you put aside your preconceived biases and read this material with an open mind. Don't be like the man who says, "Don't confuse me with facts I've made up my mind."

My hope is that the evidence presented here will inspire the believer and stir the skeptic to further study.

Mark Eastman

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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