“But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 9:22).
Lately I’ve been listening a lot to anti-missionary teachings against the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament for a project I’m working on at the college. A very well-known rabbi from America makes a very big deal over the “fact” that Christians must rely on translations of the Old Testament which distort the meaning of the original Hebrew Bible. He even claims that the early church strategically prevented Christians from studying Hebrew to keep them from realizing that Jesus cannot be the Messiah according to the Hebrew Bible. Not only does this “thesis” distort the historical fact of Saul’s miraculous transformation from persecutor to persecuted, it also fails to account for the many ancient rabbinic commentaries written in Hebrew that interpret the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament in ways that are incredibly similar to the New Testament. Add to these facts the miraculous rebirth of the church in Israel today, and the growing numbers of native born Israelis who believe in Jesus, not in spite of the Hebrew Bible, but because of it! Truth be told: I wish more Gentile Christians would devote themselves to the study of biblical Hebrew. Not only would they become even more convinced that Jesus is the Messiah – they would also become far better equipped at provoking my people to jealousy!
“I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous” (Rom 11:11).