As an introduction the writer wants to explain that the three unanswerable questions he proposes in this article were those questions that arose in his own mind prior to his becoming a Christian. He could find no othet answer to them but that Jesus (Yahshua) of Nazareth was in very deed the Messiah for whom he had longed, prayed and waited.
1. "HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT MY SINS ARE FORGIVEN?" Every Yom Kippur is a witness that there is no person who does not stand in this need. The words of the Jewish Prayer Book teach: "We are not so stiff-necked as to say that we have not sinned; but verily we have sinned." The long confession of sin ends: "But penitence, prayer and good deed avert the evil decree." Most Jews - no matter how religious - fast on Yom Kippur. At the end of that solemn day are you sure that your sins are forgiven, or do you simply hope that they are?
The Bible, however, shows us a way in which we can be sure. In Leviticus 16 we read the elaborate ceremony that God ordained for Yom Kippur, AS THE ONLY WAY THAT HE WOULD FORGIVE SINS. The centre of the day was when the High Priest had offered the Sin Offering, and with the blood went behind the veil and sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat. After he came out he confessed the sins over the head of the other goat appointed for the Azazel, and as this second goat went away, so our sins were taken away, out of God's sight. Because there is no Temple, there can be no offering and because God has not ordained any other way, there can be no forgiveness of sins. Nowhere does the Bible say that "penitence, prayer and good deeds avert the evil decree, and wipe out our sins".
And yet there is a perfect answer to this question in Jesus (Yahshua) of Nazareth. he is the "Lamb of God who bears away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). When he died on the cross, the veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and now everyone who believes in Him has the assurance that his sins are forgiven and forgotten by God.
2. "WHY WAS THE TEMPLE DESTROYED, AND WHY WERE THE JEWISH PEOPLES EXILES FROM THEIR LAND FOR ALMOST 2,000 YEARS?" The short answer that the Rabbis give us is: "This is a punishment for our sins." But one must be more explicit than this. What sin can be so grievous to warrant such a severe punishment from God? In His Word God has said that if we love Him and obey His commandments, then we will enjoy our land and have the Temple; but if our hearts are deceived and we worship other gods, then we will perish quickly from off the good land that the Lord had sworn unto our fathers (Deut.4:23ff.; 11:13ff.; 2 Sam.7; Jer.7:1ff.; there are many similar references).
God's Word cannot be broken. When our people forsook Him He sent the Babylonians to destroy the Temple and to take them away captives from their land. It is therefore reasonable to assume that in order for God to repeat the punishment, the Jewish people must have repeated this sin. What sin could be so great as to reject the Messiah, the Prophet like unto Moses (Deut.18:17-22)?
It was within thirty years of Jesus's (Yahshua's) crucifixion that this awful calamity befell our people, and from then until 1948 they were strangers upon the face of the earth. As God is faithful to His Word we must come to the solemn conclusion that we have forsaken God. It is in rejecting Jesus (Yahshua) we have rejected the Messiah, and in rejecting the Messiah we have rejected God.
3. "WHAT ANSWER IS THERE TO THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS (YAHSHUA)? If Jesus (Yahshua) of Nazareth died on the cross as a criminal, wa sburied and rotted in the grace as any other man, then He is not the Messiah. He might have benen a zealot, he might have been a misguided enthusiast that tried to do good to our people, but He was not the Messiah. But if He of a very truth arose from the dead then He is none other but Israel's Messiah.
The proofs for His resurrection are too many to be detailed in the compass of this Article, but briefly they are:
First, His body disappeared never to be found again. It could not have been stolen. If the Jews had the body they would have produced it so soon as the disciples started preaching the Resurrection. The Romans did not have the body for the simple reason that they were the last to believe that Jesus (Yahshua) would rise from the dead. Indeed they would not believe their own friends that they had seen the risen Lord. It took the best part of twelve hours to convince them that Jesus (Yahshua) had risen from the dead. One of the apostles, Thomas, even took a complete week to believe that he had risen!
Secondly, the grave clothes were lying in the tomb as though the body had simply risen out of them. A thief would have to work very fast especially with the guard outside, for they might wake yp any moment. He would therefore have hardly wasted time and risked being caught by playing around with the grave clothes.
Thirdly, the change in the lives of the Apostles was nothing less than dramatic. Think of Peter on the eve of the crucifixion, he denied out of fear before a young woman that he even knew Jesus (Yahshua). Forty days later, he fearlessly proclaimed Him before a crowd well over 3,000. Paul of Tarsus is another example. One moment he was breathing threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord and the next he was boldly proving that he was the Messiah. We can only explain this by saying that Jesus (Yahshua) rose from the dead and is alive.
God promised to David that he would not leave his soul in Sheol, not suffer His Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16). We know for a fact that David died, and was buried. This promise was fulfilled in Great David's Greater Son, the Lord Jesus (Yahshua), who was born of his line. Another promise of the Resurrection is in Isaiah 53:10. In the earlier part of the chapter the Prophet foretells how this servant of God (Yahweh) will suffer for the sins of His people (verses 4-6). In verse 10 he prophet speaks how he, prolonging his days, will see his seed and the travail of his soul so that he will be satisfied. Jesus (Yahshua) did suffer on the cross to bear our sins, but in the resurrection he prolonged his days, he saw his seed and the travail of his soul and is satisfied.
There is only one answer to the three questions: JESUS (YAHSHUA) IS THE PROMISED MESSIAH OF ISRAEL.