Messiah

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The Messiah Is Not Coming — and He's Not Even Going to Call!
Israeli hit tune in 2001[1]

A Messiah (from Hebrew mashiakh, "anointed";[2] calqued into Greek as christos, whence "Christ")[2] is like your big brother who's going to come home from school one of these days and beat up all the bullies. Jesus of Nazareth (aka Yeshua and Isa) is regarded as the Messiah in the Christian and Islamic religions, but in his days, during the Second Temple period, he was probably just the umpteenth one of a great number of anti-Roman street preachers in Judea with claims to being Messiah.[3] Thus, Christianity was a cult identical to many others (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots etc.) in Second Temple Judaism.

Messianic religions surface often among oppressed minorities; the term messiah appears several times in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament according to Christians), particularly in reference to King Cyrus of Persia, and messianic beliefs persist even into modern times, especially among some sects of Judaism (particularly the Hasidic Lubavitchers), as well as the 19th century Native American Ghost Dancers, the mid-20th century Pacific cargo cults, and the modern Nation of Islam (which combines its messianic/apocalyptic theology with a heavy dose of ufology). Messianic believers often indulge as well in apocalyptic literature, which as often as not describes not only who will arrive, but goes into great (if cryptic) detail as to what will happen when the Anointed One arrives.

Judaism's view of the Messiah[edit]

Criteria expressed in the Tanakh about the Messiah's legitimacy and duties are summarized in the following paragraph by Ezekiel 37:21-28:

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. [...]
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

Specifically, the Hebrew Scriptures (any translation will do) state that the REAL Messiah of the Jews will be recognized as the true one by fulfilling the following prophecies:

One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of the God of Israel by the entire world (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, Zechariah 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34).

Throughout the ages, since the fall of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, Jews have always felt the urge to re-establish their dominion on the Holy Land, but they failed a lot of times... at least, until 1948. During this constant wait, generations of rabbis, sages, theologians and thinkers tried to figure out what kind of person the Jewish Messiah is going to be, and most of all, when will he come.[4] The Messiah's coming has been one of the most enduring hopes for the Jewish people, and the majority of Orthodox Jews still believe in it.
However, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

It is widely supposed that Judaism is a messianic religion and that hope for the Messiah's appereance is the major focus of, and driving force behind, Jewish religious belief and behavior. [...] These assumptions, however, need qualification. Judaism's Scripture, the Hebrew Bible, contains no doctrine of an eschatological redeemer and does not use the term messiah to refer to one. [...] Additionally, the idea of the Messiah is barely present in the Mishnah, the foundation document of Rabbinic Judaism.
—Wendy Doniger (editor), Britannica Encyclopedia of World Religions, 2006, p. 722

Jewish views on Jesus' alleged messianship[edit]

Jews do not accept Jesus of Nazareth as the Jewish Messiah for the following reasons:

Jesus was an impostor[edit]

If a man fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Jewish Messiah, but an impostor.

Given that no one has ever fulfilled the Hebrew Bible's description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the real Messiah.[4][5] All past messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Shimon Bar Kokhba, Shabbetai Tzevi and Menachem Mendel Schneerson (not to mention the othersWikipedia's W.svg...) have been rejected.[4][5]

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Rabbinic literature shows that the Jewish Messiah will fulfill the biblical prophecies outright; in the Old Testament no concept of a Second Coming exists.

Christian faith is entirely based on the premise that Jesus is the savior sent by God to free humanity from sin once and for all, but people are still sinning even after Jesus'death, so nothing changed. This means that his alleged sacrifice was useless.

Moreover, the Old Testament itself clearly explains that no other divine being exists before God, so Jesus couldn't be his son; in Isaiah 43:10-13 God himself says there is no savior and all men must contact him directly. Ergo, there's no need for a savior, and Jesus was, by default, a delusional cult-leader, an impostor, and a false prophet.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, p. 277.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Joseph Jacobs, Moses Buttenwieser; Messiah (1906), JewishEncyclopedia.com
  3. Monty Python, Life of Brian (1979), Warner Bros.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Mashiach: The Messiah, Judaism 101.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Ariela Pelaia, Chaviva Gordon-Bennett; The Jewish View of Jesus - Who Was Jesus? (2016), judaism.about.com
  6. Observance and obedience to the Mosaic Law was the regulatory requirement for all the Jews since the Babylonian Exile, both living in Roman provinces of Palestine and in the Diaspora:
    [...] it seems beyond dispute that above all outside of Jerusalem, the practice of the Law was the distinctive element of Jewish spirituality more than the cult of the temple was. It is precisely the very lively polemics that exploded among the Galilean followers of Jesus with the Hellenists and with Paul that demonstrate it beyond any doubt. And the insistence of Paul on the fact that he was a Pharisee and on his past in Judaism is a further confirmation. It is in the observance of the Law that Jewishness is shown fully.
    —Giorgio Jossa, Jews or Christians? The Followers of Jesus in Search of their own Identity (2006), p. 31, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, ISBN 3-16-149192-0.
  7. However, there have been Jewish scholars that viewed Jesus' Jewishness and the claims of his messianship in different ways; according to Hyam Maccoby (Revolution In Judea: Jesus And The Jewish Resistance, 1980), Jesus was a progressive Pharisee that simply opposed the Roman rule over Judea.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Christian Proof-Texting: Misquoting Texts, Jews for Judaism.
  9. See also Christian evangelism, Lying for Jesus and Pious fraud.
  10. James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (2006), pp. 43-46, Eerdmans, ISBN 978-0802844231.
  11. See also Sacrifice and Scapegoat.