Instigator / Pro
14
1485
rating
91
debates
46.15%
won
Topic
#4048

Jesus Was a False Prophet

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
6
6
Better sources
4
4
Better legibility
2
2
Better conduct
2
2

After 2 votes and with the same amount of points on both sides...

It's a tie!
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
4
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Con
14
1500
rating
4
debates
25.0%
won
Description

Pro has the burden of proof. He must prove that Jesus is a false prophet either using historical or biblical criteria. Pro will win the debate if he manages to create an argument against the biblical rendition of Jesus that is good enough to lack a plausible explanation.

Con does not have the burden of proof. He muet prove that it is possible for Jesus to be the Messiah and/or Son of God. Con wins the debate if he can successfully refute Pro's arguments against Jesus being the Messiah.

Round 1
Pro
#1
I would like to take a moment to welcome WeaverofFate to DART and thank him for sending me this debate challenge. 

INTRODUCTION

The topic of this debate is whether or not Jesus was a false prophetIn order to proceed, we must define our terms:

  1. Jesus: The central figure of Christianity whom Christians believe to be God incarnate 
  2. False prophet: A prophet who claims to speak for God, but does not. 
The Torah gives a test to anyone who claims to be a prophet. If a prophet fails just one of these tests, then this person is a false prophet. Here are the relevant verses: 

Deuteronomy 18:21-22
Now if you say to yourself, "How will we know the word that the Lord did not speak?" If the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, and the thing does not occur and does not come about, that is the thing the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it wantonly; you shall not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5
Everything I command you that you shall be careful to do it. You shall neither add to it, nor subtract from it. If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them," you shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the Lord, your God, is testing you, to know whether you really love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord, your God, fear Him, keep His commandments, heed His voice, worship Him, and cleave to Him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death; because he spoke falsehood about the Lord, your God Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and Who redeemed you from the house of bondage, to lead you astray from the way in which the Lord, your God, commanded
you to go; so shall you clear away the evil from your midst.

There are several important points to glean from these passages: 

  1. Anyone who's prophecy failed to come true is a false prophet. 
  2. Sometimes a false prophet can perform miracles. Therefore performing miracles is not enough to establish whether or not you are a true prophet
  3. Anyone who claims to be a prophet, but tries to get you to worship a different god is a false prophet
  4. Anyone who claims to be a prophet then tries to nullify the Torah is a false prophet. 
Example 1: If a prophet performs an incredible miracle and then says that you no longer have to keep Shabbat, that person is a false prophet. 
Example 2: Every person who claimed to be a prophet that told us that God told them Trump would win re-election and serve a second term is a false prophet. 
Example 3: If a prophet tries to get you to worship Buddha, that person is a false prophet. 

In order to win this debate, I must prove that Jesus failed one of the three tests. 

STRIKE 1: CLAIMING TO BE GOD 

In the Gospels Jesus clearly claimed that he was God. In John 5:58, Jesus said "Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews understood exactly what he meant. Why is this problematic? In order to understand why, we must understand the very foundation of the Torah. In the Torah, God revealed himself to the entire Jewish people at Mt. Sinai. This is important because this defines idolatry. Idolatry is worshiping anything or anyone than the God the Jewish people experienced at Mt Sinai.

When Moshe recounts this event in Deuteronomy, this is what he says:

Deuteronomy 5:9-12
9But beware and watch yourself very well, lest you forget the things that your eyes saw, and lest these things depart from your heart, all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children and to your children's children,
10the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, "Assemble the people for Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.
11And you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire up to the midst of the heavens, with darkness, a cloud, and opaque darkness.
12The Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of the words, but saw no image, just a voice.
It is important that Moshe emphasized that we saw no image on that day because it emphasizes the fact that God has no image and no form. This verse is to warn us against idolatry. That is why the Jerusalem Talmud says "If a man claims to be God, he is a liar."

Cross-Examination Question to Con: If God wanted to declare that He will incarnate, why wasn't this announced to the Jewish people at Sinai? What is the purpose of Moshe emphasizing that no image was seen if God, in fact, had a form?

STRIKE 2: CHANGING THE TORAH

The Torah gives us a list of foods that are kosher and not kosher. Jesus changes this and nullifies the dietary restrictions.

Mark 7:18-20
18 He said to them, “So, are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters not the heart but the stomach and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles.
The nullification of these Torah mitzvots is emphasized even clearer in Acts 10:1-11:18. The NABRE comments:

  1. 7:19 (Thus he declared all foods clean): if this bold declaration goes back to Jesus, its force was not realized among Jewish Christians in the early church; cf. Acts 10:1–11:18.

This fact alone makes Jesus a false prophet.

STRIKE 3: FAILED PROPHECY


Matthew 16 
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

There are several points to note here: 

(1) Son of Man will return
(2) Repay everyone for what has been done
(3) Some will not die before this happens 

It should be obvious that all three parts of this prophecy failed. Some have taken this to mean that Jesus was prophecying about his transfiguration, which took place in the next chapter, but this cannot be as "he will repay everyone for what has been done" did not occur at the transfiguration. 

Matthew 24
32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he[g] is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Jesus foretells of his return within that generation. This too has failed. Many Christian apologists have been disturbed by these failures and have attempted to make rescue devices to save face. The NABRE admits:

"24:34 The difficulty raised by this verse cannot be satisfactorily removed by the supposition that this generation means the Jewish people throughout the course of their history, much less the entire human race. Perhaps for Matthew it means the generation to which he and his community belonged."  [1] 

The NET Bible, 2nd edition, notes: 

This is one of the hardest verses in the gospels to interpret. Various views exist for what generation means. (1) Some take it as meaning “race” and thus as an assurance that the Jewish race (nation) will not pass away. But it is very questionable that the Greek term γενεά (genea) can have this meaning. Two other options are possible. (2) Generation might mean “this type of generation” and refer to the generation of wicked humanity. Then the point is that humanity will not perish, because God will redeem it. Or (3) generation may refer to “the generation that sees the signs of the end” (v. 30), who will also see the end itself. In other words, once the movement to the return of Christ starts, all the events connected with it happen very quickly, in rapid succession. [2] 

This is what I call apologetic acrobatics.

Conclusion

The Torah gives a list of criteria that proves that a person is a false prophet. Let's recap:

STRIKE 1 - False gods
STRIKE 2 - Changing the Torah
STRIKE 3 - Failed prophecies

We all know what happens after 3 strikes: You're out.

Con
#2
In this debate, it is difficult for me to argue offensively. This is why the opponent has the burden of proof. He must prove that it is likely, beyond reasonable doubt, that Jesus was a false prophet. If I can prove that Jesus has the potential to be a true prophet, then I win the debate. Using this format, I will give multiple perspectives on Jesus.

Now, why would I do this, and how am I qualified to do this? I have been researching various religions for an extended period of time. Mostly, I have delved into Christian and Muslim apologetics. I have investigated this topic so thoroughly that I have even paid apologists to write various essays on a number of different topics concerning their religion. I took this debate due to seeing your arguments on your other debate of the same topic.

1. Christian Perspective

The first perspective, and the main frame I will be arguing in this debate is from the Christian perspective. Under this perspective, Jesus would need to be congruent with the Bible and not give false prophecies as listed in the Bible. I do not need to prove that the Bible in and of itself is true in its entirety. To win from this perspective, I simply need to prove that Jesus fits what would be considered a true prophet using Biblical standards.

2. Islamic Perspective

The second perspective I will be arguing from is the Islamic perspective. As you are aware, many Muslims claim that the Bible and Torah are corrupted books and cannot be used to base an accurate image of Jesus except when it is in congruence with the Quran (1). To win from this perspective, I would need to defend that Jesus could be a true prophet from the Islamic perspective. This does not mean that I need to prove the Quran to be true. I only need to show that Jesus being a prophet could be reasonably believed/defended.

Now that we have this out of the way, let us get to my primary arguments:

I - Argument from Daniel

First, to judge from the Bible, one must assume first that the Bible is a correct holy book. For example, my opponent used a Biblical passage to determine that Jesus was a false prophet. Particularly, he used the book in Deuteronomy to support his position. If we are to assume that this is a correct position to take, one must also assume other books in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, are correct. If they were not, then the metric to judge Jesus as a false prophet would be null in void since the Old Testament would be unreliable and thus unable to discern between a legitimate prophet and a false one. 

To look for proof of the legitimacy of Jesus, we need to look no further than the book of Daniel. Daniel predicted the return of a Messiah figure. Namely, I am pointing to Daniel, chapter 9. In this chapter, we get the “seventy sevens” prophecy. This prophecy is listed below:
“20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:

24 “Seventy ‘sevens’[c] are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish[d] transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.[e]

25 “Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One,[f] the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing.[g] The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. 27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’[h] In the middle of the ‘seven’[i] he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple[j] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.[k]”[l]” (2)

There are two possible interpretations to make for these passages of the Bible. The first interpretation is the literal one; the Messiah would come within the literal period of seventy weeks. This “ruler” would be put to death, have nothing, and the people of the ruler would destroy the city and the sanctuary. The issue is, if we take this at absolute face value, nothing significant to that prophecy happened in that time period he spoke of for the Israelites. This would mean that the prophecy was false, and thus, using the standards laid out by the Old Testament, make Daniel unreliable. This would make the authenticity of the Old Testament null in void and prone to error. Therefore, if we could not use this part of the Old Testament to accurately predict these events, then there is no reason to consider other parts of the Old Testament more or less reliable than the fallible chapter.

The other perspective to take regarding these verses is that they are referring to “prophetic time”, which is seen in other parts of the Old Testament. Here, days are often substituted into years. Using this methodology, who fits this prophecy? Well, Jesus, and rather perfectly.

“But who is this Messiah? One man fulfills all that is required in this passage. Jesus of Nazareth was born into the Jewish world and proclaimed his messiahship 483 years after the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem was issued. In the year 30 C. E., Jesus was executed by crucifixion. Daniel indicated that he would be cut off, not for himself, but rather for others. Isaiah 53 also prophesied the death of the Messiah, pointing out that he would die a substitutionary death on behalf of his people Israel. The teaching of the New Covenant is that Jesus died a penal death by taking upon himself the penalty of the Law as a substitute for his people. In keeping with Daniel 9:24, he died for the purpose of making an atonement for sins. Three days after his death, he was resurrected. Finally, the New Covenant proclaims the fact that he will someday return to set up his kingdom and the age of righteousness.

If Daniel was right, then Messiah came and died prior to the year 70 C.E. If Daniel was right, then there are no other options for who the Messiah is, but Jesus of Nazareth. If Daniel was right, this Jesus is destined to return and to set up the messianic kingdom.” (3)

As any reader can see, Jesus clearly fits the prophecy and provides an explanation for the prophecy of Daniel. We only have two options: either the Old Testament can be used as a reliable metric for determining a false prophet or it is fallible and cannot. If the Old Testament included incorrect revelations, then the rule of determining a false prophet by incorrect prophecies can be discarded due to the lack of credibility of the Old Testament. If we assume the Old Testament must be correct, then we must also assume that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied. Otherwise, we have no one else to fulfill this timeframe and the credibility of the Old Testament falls apart.


II - Argument from Islam

As stated earlier, many sources inside of Islam believe the Bible to be corrupted and unreliable. They put forward the idea that their holy book, the Quran, sheds light on the true nature of Jesus Christ and his ministry. There are some pretty stark differences between Islam and Christianity, such as the fact that they believe Jesus was never truly crucified. We need look no further than this Quran verse in Surah An-Nisa 4:157 to see the reason for that belief.

“And [for] their saying, "Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allāh." And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.1
— Saheeh International” (4)

Due to this, the information in the Gospel is questionable at best to Muslims and cannot be used to attack the Muslim position on the ministry of Jesus Christ. One cannot use verses in the Bible to attack the position of Jesus as a prophet for the Islamic position; he must use the Quran to do so.

III - Rebuttals

I first must disagree with your definition of Jesus Christ. He is not only the central figure of Christianity; he is the an important prophet in Islam and other offshoots of the Abrahamic faiths. I agree with your definition of what you would consider a false prophet.

Rebuttal to Strike One:

I have unintentionally addressed part of this argument in the first argument of my response. God has revealed that a Messiah would come at the time of Jesus in the book of Daniel. Additionally, there are other signs of the Messiah. Look no further than Isaiah for God revealing the Son here:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.” —Isaiah 7:14–16
I cannot write more due to the character limit. God bless, and I will finish the rebuttal to strike one and the other strikes during the next round.



Round 2
Pro
#3
Thank you, Con, for your arguments. 


1. Christian Perspective

I would agree with what Con stated. 

2. Islamic Perspective

Red herring as I am not a Muslim. 

I - Argument from Daniel

I think it would be really good to have a separate debate just on Daniel 9. The problems with using Daniel 9 is that you are using an incorrect translation. Here is what Daniel 9:26 actually states: 

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off, and he will be no more, and the people of the coming monarch will destroy the city and the Sanctuary, and his (the same anointed one) end will come about by a flood, and until the end of the war, it will be cut off into desolation.
The most important thing to take not of is the Hebrew word "karet" meaning "cut off." The word karet is used only in the context of someone who is wicked [1]. It is one of the most severe punishments in the Torah.  The second part of the passage really emphasizes this point as this anointed one's end will come about by a flood and will be cut off into desolation. This does not sound like Jesus to me. 

Cross-examination question for Con: Why would the word Karet be used for Jesus, since Jesus was supposedly sinless? 

I have neither the time nor the space to devote a large section of the debate to Daniel 9, but I think these two points are sufficient to refute con's arguments. 

II. Arguments from Islam

Red herring. I am not a Muslim. 

III - Rebuttals

Fair enough on your definition of Jesus. 

Rebuttal to Strike One:

Again, I think it would be nice to do a separate debate on Isaiah 7:14. The problem is the same as in Daniel 9. This is a deliberately mistranslated passage. Here is what the passage actually states: 

 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, this young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel.
The Hebrew word used here is almah, which means a young woman. If Isaiah intended to mean virgin, he would have used the word betulah. Moreover, the Hebrew in this passage is clear that this person is already pregnant and is definitely not a virgin. The child in this passage can definitely not be Jesus. 

Next, let's look at the rest of the passage: 

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, this young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel.[a] 15 Immanuel shall eat curds and honey by the time Immanuel knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 For before Immanuel knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.”
I took some liberty with the translation by replacing he and the child with Immanuel, just to emphasize that this prophecy is about an event that is taking place in the time of Isaiah and Ahaz. This child cannot have been someone born several thousand years later. 

Thank you, I am looking forward to your reply. 

Sources
Con
#4
I'll be honest, not really feeling this debate anymore since I have my voting privileges. Since the debate took so long due to the restarts, my semester started. I am fine with continuing if my opponent really desires to. However, I'll ask if my opponent simply wants to delete the debate. If so, we can continue it at a later date.
Round 3
Pro
#5
I think we should tie the debate and keep the debate up, just to preserve our arguments. I think the debate arguments are good and it will benefit the site leaving them up for everyone to read.
Con
#6
Forfeited
Round 4
Pro
#7
extend
Con
#8
Oops, forgot to say extend. My bad XD. Sounds good. I don't mind restarting the debate after the semester. I will be out of the country to visit my wife. Once I get settled in there, we can definitely start up the debate again.