On the website www.jewsforjudaism.org the claim is made that Jesus cannot be the Son of God, or a true prophet, because he said he was coming back in the first century, and did not do so. The Islamic religion rejects Jesus on the same premise. Atheists say the failed promises of Jesus and the New Testament writers prove that Jesus is a fraud, and the Bible is not inspired.
What would you think if you had a friend that constantly made promises and did not keep them? Keeping one’s word is one of the most important parts of friendship and trust. How can you trust someone that never keeps their promises?
It is amazing that Christians do not take the charges against Jesus and the inspired writers more seriously. These charges strike at the very foundation of Christianity. One of the reasons the charges are greatly ignored is because you cannot defend the Bible if you do not yourself believe that God kept his word! Do some believers actually deny that God kept His word? Yes.
Mind you, the charge is not made in the same way as the Jew, the Moslem and the atheist, but the end result is identical. Christians try to maintain faith, while holding positions that deny faith. That is a serious charge, so let me explain the ways in which good, sincere believers in the Word, implicitly charge God with unfaithfulness and failure.
In Genesis 15:16f, Jehovah promised to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his seed. Did God keep those land promise? You might be amazed to know that a good part of Christianity says no! In several public debates with dispensationalists, my opponents have denied that God fulfilled those land promises. God made those promises almost four thousand years ago. Are we to believe that He still has not kept those promises?
The Bible is emphatic that Jehovah did keep His promises to Israel. At the end of Joshua’s life, scripture says: "So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt therein." (Joshua 21:43f). This was the period of conquest. Later, scripture says Solomon ruled over the very boundaries of the land promised to Abraham (actually more territory than even promised! 1 Kings 4:20-21). This was during the united kingdom. Still later, after the dispersion and re-gathering, Nehemiah rehearsed Israel’s history. He recalled the land promise to Abraham: "You made a covenant with him, to give the land of the Canaanites…to give it to his descendants. You have performed your word, for you are righteous."
So, in the period of the conquest, during united kingdom, and after the dispersion, the inspired text says God was faithful. He had kept His word. Israel had possessed the land! There is no need, or justification for projecting the land promises into the future. God kept His word long ago.