If you have been following this blog for the last few months, you know that I published several posts regarding orthodox Jewish author, Asher Norman’s book, “Twenty-Six Reasons why Jews don’t believe in Jesus”. This fascinating, must-read book, in my opinion, demolishes the Christian claim that the Old Testament prophesies the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
However, as a former fundamentalist, I have a keen eye for seeing fundamentalist claims, and Mr. Asher makes a whopper for his own fundamentalist belief system. Mr. Asher states that Jews have excellent proof that the Torah is the word of God the Creator. What is this proof?
Answer: According to orthodox Jews, when God gave the Law at Mt. Sinai, he didn’t speak only to Moses. No. God spoke to all THREE MILLION Hebrews camped at the base of the mountain! Therefore Judaism has three million witnesses to its core supernatural claim, whereas Christianity has a few women, the Eleven, Paul, and 500 unnamed witnesses.
Mr. Norman contends that there is no way that anyone in ancient Israel could have made this story up and have gotten away with it. So do Jews have irrefutable evidence for their claim that an invisible deity spoke to three million people out of the clear blue sky?? I say, no. Just like Christians, Mr. Norman is making a very big assumption.
If you read the early books of the New Testament you will notice that the Israelites are frequently mentioned worshipping in “the high places”. Many scholars believe that the Israelites were simply of band of Canaanites that worshipped multiple gods, including El and Yahweh. Then, during the reign of King Josiah of Judah, there was a desire to consolidate power. How could this be done? Answer: “Find” a long lost holy book that tells the Jewish people to worship only one God, Yahweh, and to worship in only one place, the temple in Jerusalem.
Below copied from: Wikipedia
In the eighteenth year of his rule, Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah to use the tax money which had been collected over the years to renovate the temple. It was during this time that Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. While Hilkiah was clearing the treasure room of the Temple he claimed to have found a scroll described as “the book of the Law” or as “the book of the law of Yahweh by the hand of Moses“. The phrase “the book of the Torah” (ספר התורה) in 2 Kings 22:8 is identical to the phrase used in Joshua 1:8 and 8:34 to describe the sacred writings that Joshua had received from Moses. The book is not identified in the text as the Torah and many scholars believe this was either a copy of the Book of Deuteronomy or a text that became a part of Deuteronomy.
Hilkiah brought this scroll to Josiah’s attention, and the king was greatly alarmed lest the calamities threatened in the book for non-observance of its commands should come upon him and his people. He sent to consult the prophetess Huldah, who assured him that the evil foretold would indeed come, but not in his day; “because,” she said, “thine heart was tender and thou didst humble thyself before the Lord.” An assembly of the elders of Judah and Jerusalem and of all the people was called, and the ancient covenant with Yahweh was renewed.
The king then set himself to the task of cleansing the land from idolatry. Josiah encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship. The Temple in Jerusalem was purged by the removal of the instruments and emblems of the worship of Baal and “the host of heaven,” introduced by Manasseh. Then the corrupt local sanctuaries, or High Places, were destroyed, from Beer-sheba in the south to Beth-el and the cities of Samaria in the north. Josiah had living pagan priests executed and even had the bones of the dead priests of Bethel exhumed from their graves and burned on their altars, which was viewed as an extreme act of desecration. Josiah also reinstituted the Passover celebrations.
Gary: So the Hebrews were worshipping many gods in the “high places” (on the top of hills), as they had done for centuries as typical Canaanites. Then, someone during the reign of Josiah gets the bright idea to create a sense of nationalism to bring all the people of Judah and the remnants of the northern ten tribes not taken away by the Assyrians, into one nation. And a great way to do that is to create a glorious history of the Jewish people (the stories of the Patriarchs, the Captivity in Egypt, the Exodus, the Forty Years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan, the great empires of David and Solomon), create uniform customs (the Passover) and uniform worship of one national god (Yahweh), all controlled from the capital city, Jerusalem.
Dear Mr. Asher: Which is more likely to have occurred: An invisible deity spoke to a couple million of your ancestors in the middle of the desert during the Bronze Age, or, some clever Judahite government official or priest made the whole thing up for political purposes.?