Note: The following is addressed to Jews who consider themselves Hebrew Christians (or Messianic Jews).
As Hebrew-Christians, individuals seeking to know and do the will of the Almighty, you are confronted with a significant question: is the New Testament really the Word of G-d? Your leaders have assured you that the answer is "yes;" perhaps you have even had some emotional experiences which seem to validate your leaders' assurances. As you know, though, true faith is based neither upon trust in men (Ps, 146:3), nor even upon occurrences of the supernatural (Deut. 13). And so, the question remains, your eternal salvation contingent upon the answer.
Following is a short Biblical study, offered in an attempt to help you find the answer. We ask that youcomplete this study in a spirit of earnestness and prayer, asking G-d to reveal to you His truth in the quietness of your own heart. As you do so, remember that you are a member of a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex.19:6), described in the Scriptures as the "apple of G-d's eye" (Zech.2:8) and participants in an "everlasting covenant" (Gen. 17:7). As such, rest assured that G-d will indeed heed your request as you sincerely seek to discover His truth.
ITEM 1: Stephen's capsule summary of Jewish History, ostensibly written under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:55, 6:10), and an early expression of that anti-Jewish tendency which would later come to characterize the Christian Scriptures (see, e.g., 1 Thes. 2:15, Jn. 8:39-47, Matt. 23:34- 35).
*Acts 7:4--Stephen tells us that Abraham departed from Haran "after his father died." Had he studied the Book of Genesis (11:26,32; 12:4), he would have realized his error: Abraham departed from Haran at age 75, at a time when his father Terah was 145; since Terah lived for 205 years, he still had another 60 years of life remaining.
*Acts 7:14--Stephen related that 75 of Joseph's relatives were called by him to come to Egypt. Moses saw it differently: see Deut. 10:22, Gen 46:27, Ex. 1:5 (And all the persons who came from the loins of Jacob were 70 in number").
*Acts 7:16--Stephen informs us that Jacob was buried in Shechem, and that the tomb was purchased by Abraham from Emmor .
Genesis, again tells a different story. At the death of Sarah his wife, Abraham purchases the Cave of Machpelah, which is in Hebron, as a burial place. The cave is purchased from Ephron the Hittite, contrary to what Steven says in Acts. (Gen.23) It is here that Jacob is buried, as outlined in Genesis 50:13. It was Jacob who purchased a parcel of land in Shechem from Hamor, but it was purchased as a place to pitch his tent and as a place to erect an altar.
ITEM 2: Did Judas take the silver pieces from the priests and acquire a field with them(Acts 1:18), or did he return the silver pieces and then hang himself (Matt.27:5)?
ITEM 3: Where in Jeremiah's prophecies does he speak of 30 pieces of silver, as Matthew claims (27:9)? Was not Matthew in fact confusing Jeremiah with Zechariah (see Zech. 11:12-13)?
ITEM 4: Jesus himself seems to have been confused by Zechariah. In Matt. 23:25, he informs us that Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, was murdered between the Temple and the altar. Our Scriptures, however, tell a different story: it was Zechariah, the son of Jehoida, who was slain by the altar (2 Chron. 24:20-21), this in the days of the Judean king Joash. There is no indication that the prophet Zechariah, son of Berechiah (Zech. 1:1), was similarly slain.
ITEM 5: Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder (Matt. 26:17-20, Mk. 14:12,Lk.22:7) or--rather--the day of preparation for the Passover (Jn. 19:14)?
ITEM 6: Was John the Baptist Elijah, as Jesus claimed (Matt. 11:14)? if so, why did John himself deny it (Jn. 1:21)? Would "Elijah" have been so unsure of Jesus' messianic identity (lk. 7:19-20)? And where in our Scriptures is it written that Elijah would be mistreated, as Jesus claimed (Mk. 9:13)? Don't our Scriptures indicate, to the contrary, that Elijah will be successful in his mission of restoring harmony among the people (Mal.4:5-6)?
ITEM 7: Was Abiathar the High Priest when David ate the consecrated bread, as Jesus claimed in justifying his followers' violation of the Sabbath (Mk. 2:25-26)? Why do our Scriptures say that the high priest at the time was Ahimelech (1 Sam. 21:1), the father of Abiathar (1 Sam. 22:20)?
ITEM 8: Regarding Jesus' step-father, was he Joseph son of Jacob son of Mattan son of Eliezer (Matt. 1:15-16) or Joseph son of Eli son of Mattat son of Levi (Lk. 3:23-24)? And how can both sets of genealogical tables validly include Shealtiel and Zerubabbel (Matt. 1:12, Lk. 3:27), given that both of these men are descendants of Jeconiah (1 Chron. 3:16-19), of whom G-d has said, "no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David or ruling any more in Judah" (Jer. 22-30)?
ITEM 9: Given the new Testament statement that "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless" (1 Cor. 15:17), see if you can possibly reconcile the conflicting accounts of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances. To cite just one example, did Jesus, upon arising and reveal himself (a) in Galilee to the eleven remaining disciples (Judas, of course, being absent)--Matt. 26:16,Mk 16:7,14; (b)in Jerusalem to the eleven--Lk.24:33,36; (c) in Jerusalem to the ten, Thomas being absent--Jn.20;10,19,24; or (d) to Peter and then to the twelve--1 Cor.15:5? (Paul's version, choice (d), obviously presents a problem: who were the twelve, since Judas was already dead (Matt. 27:5) and his successor had not yet been chosen (Acts 1:26)?
My friends, there are Jews who are finding healing, wholeness, joy, community and a vibrant relationship with G-d through a dynamic attachment to our Bible-based Jewish heritage. We beg of you: Don't throw away that heritage until you've at least tasted it. Discover anew why it is that so many generations of the forefathers have so steadfastly clung to that heritage, even at the cost of their lives. THERE IS A WAY OUT. YOUR LIFE CAN BE BETTER THAN IT IS NOW.