Sharing new concepts about God with Jewish people, or any people, has always been a challenge. Noah had so few conversions that had he been a modern preacher, he might have been sent to a backwoods church. In a sense, even Jesus failed. For centuries the Christian church has applied all sorts of measures to introduce Jews to Jesus, everything from gentle persuasion to threats of death--usually without success. Christians to day are still not successful and often are reluctant to talk to Jews about their faith.
Enter three new bridge builders--books by Robert Odom. These are the fruits of more than 50 years of research and offer a unique approach because they are filled with hundreds of references to Jewish writings outside the Bible: the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the Midrash, the Targums, the Pesikta Rabbati, and the Pirkfe de Rabbi Eliezer. In deed, the Bible itself is not enough to persuade Jews to consider the claims of Christianity. These other sources, particularly the Talmud, are important.
Israel's, Prophetic Puzzle is a detailed study of the 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9. Filled with hundreds of references from non-canonical sources, this book helps show how certain verses could point only to Jesus, though Odom never actually says that. The reader is left to draw his own conclusion. One interesting point is a Babylonian Talmud quote that mentions the year-day principle.
Israel's Angel Extraordinary is a study into the work and ministry of Michael, Israel's archangel, whom the Jews believed was the minister in the sanctuary in heaven. It analyzes the Jewish belief regarding this sanctuary and the ministry of the high priest there--a topic of particular interest to Adventists. Most of the references come from non-canonical sources.
Israel's Preexistent Messiah delves into the nature of the Messiah, again using non-canonical non-Christian sources.
These books, though deep, are invaluable for those with a special interest in relating to Jewish people and their understanding of certain issues. They are filled with fascinating quotes and in sights that can strengthen the faith of those who believe and make interesting study for those who don't. The books are particularly valuable for the Jewish person who wants to understand why Christians believe as they do about Jesus.
All three books are available for a total of $10 from Israelite Heritage, 6840 Eastern Avenue NW., Washington, D.C. 20012.