Jewish theology concerning the messiah


#1

According to the Jewish interperetation ofscripture, how are Christians incorrect about Jesus being the Messiah?

Thanks in advance.


#2

They view the Messiah as having to rule over the earth and bring back the old earthly glory of Israel.

Pio


#3

[quote=hlgomez]They view the Messiah as having to rule over the earth and bring back the old earthly glory of Israel.

Pio
[/quote]

From the present day Jewish perspective, how would Israel figure into this view?


#4

Hi all!

Mark A, you asked:

According to the Jewish interperetation ofscripture, how are Christians incorrect about Jesus being the Messiah?

Our very great medieval sage Maimonedes ou.org/about/judaism/rabbis/rambam.htm summarized lomg-standing Jewish beliefs about the Messiah as follows:

“In the future, the King Messiah will stand up and restore the Davidic monarchy…build the Temple, gather the dispersed of Israel, and restore all the laws as they were in former times: offerings, sabbatical and jubilee years as they are commanded in the Torah. Anyone who does not believe in him or who does not await his coming is a heretic, not only against the other prophets, but against the Torah and Moses Our Teacher…Do not entertain the notion that King Messiah will have to do signs and wonders, make new things in the world or raise the dead…This is not so…If a king arises from the House of David, learned in the Torah and engaged in [its] precepts like David his father, both the Written Torah and the Oral Torah, enjoins all Israel to follow it and hold fast to it, and fights God’s wars, he may be presumed to be the Messiah. If he succeeds in building the Temple on its place and gathering the dispersed of Israel, he is certainly the Messiah, and he will repair the entire world so that it worships God together…If he does not succeed, or is killed, then know that he is not the one promised in the Torah…Do not entertain the notion that in the days of the Messiah, anything will be canceled from its way in the world or there will be new works of creation, but the world will continue as it always has…Our Sages said that the only difference between the current world and the days of the Messiah will be service to the kingship of Heaven…There are those among our Sages who say that Elijah will herald the coming of the Messiah…One must not [try to] calculate when this will take place; our Sages say: ‘Blast the bones of those who so calculate;’ they should wait and believe.”

In our view, the Messiah will be a flesh-and-blood human being and not a divine or semi-divine being. The Messiah will re-establish the Davidic monarchy (as Maimonedes describes) and eventually die, passing the crown onto his son. We will know him by what he does, not by who he says he is.

jewfaq.org/moshiach.htm is a very good introductory read to the Jewish concept of the Messiah.

See also “Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus” & “Jews for Jesus” by Rabbi Shraga Simmons at tinyurl.com/37qc2 & tinyurl.com/697ge.

From the present day Jewish perspective, how would Israel figure into this view?

The jury’s still out on this one. Having Jewish sovereignty, however imperfect, restored over parts of the Land of Israel after almost 2,000 years has to mean something. ou.org/resources/prayerisrael.jpg might be of interest; it’s the Prayer for the State of Israel that is used by nearly modern orthodox congregations.

Howzat?

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#5

Hello stillsmallvoice,

Thank you for your thoughts.

What about the Messiah’s view?

Greg


#6

Hi all!

Greg, you posted:

Thank you for your thoughts.

You’re welcome!

What about the Messiah’s view?

Well, since we do not believe that he has come, in our point-of-view, this is moot.

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#7

Hi SSV,

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Well, since we do not believe that he has come, in our point-of-view, this is moot.
[/quote]

That is my point. What about the Messiah’s point of view? Doesn’t the Messiah teach us more about the Messiah than we already know? Isn’t it a key understanding of the Messiah that He will teach us? Are we to have a general approach (regardless of belief in Jesus) that God Himself cannot teach us if His teaching does not fit our current view?

Greg


#8

[quote=stillsmallvoice]In our view, the Messiah will be a flesh-and-blood human being and not a divine or semi-divine being.

[/quote]

We would agree that the Messiah would be fully human with flesh and bone. But we also believe that the Messiah is fully divine, not semi divine.


#9

Hi all!

Greg, you posted:

What about the Messiah’s point of view?

Hmm, since we don’t believe that he has come, until he does, he cannot (in our view) be said to have a point of view.

Are we to have a general approach (regardless of belief in Jesus) that God Himself cannot teach us if His teaching does not fit our current view?

I don’t follow you :confused: . Please explain! (Thanks!)

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#10

Hi SSV,

Quote:
Are we to have a general approach (regardless of belief in Jesus) that God Himself cannot teach us if His teaching does not fit our current view?

[quote=stillsmallvoice]I don’t follow you :confused: . Please explain!
[/quote]

Who has more authority to teach us about the Messiah - the Messiah Himself or rabbis/scholars?

If we have a preconceived notion of the Messiah does this mean that the Messiah cannot come and show us some of our misunderstandings about Himself and also reveal more about God to us?

Greg


#11

Being a bit agnostic on the subject of Moshiach (“don’t hold your breath waiting” being the key) admittedly but, other than more insight into Torah, what understandings could you be implying?


#12

Hi Cabarat,

[quote=cabaret]…what understandings could you be implying?
[/quote]

John 6:57-65
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

Greg


#13

Hi all!

Greg, you posted:

Who has more authority to teach us about the Messiah - the Messiah Himself or rabbis/scholars?

I’ll repeat myself. Since we believe that the Messiah has not yet come, this question (for an orthodox Jew) is moot.

We believe that the Messiah will do as our traditions teach. In any case, he will not suddenly abrogate Judaism & declare his divinity.

If we have a preconceived notion of the Messiah does this mean that the Messiah cannot come and show us some of our misunderstandings about Himself and also reveal more about God to us?

You show your bias by writing “Himself”. The Messiah (in our view) will not violate the Torah by adding to (or, for that matter, subtracting from) it. He will not (in our view) be divine & will be bound by the Torah, much as any Jew is.

Be well!

ssv :wave: **
**


#14

Hello SSV,

[quote=stillsmallvoice]Since we believe that the Messiah has not yet come, this question (for an orthodox Jew) is moot.

[/quote]

(note I use the male pronoun for sake of discussion)
My point is that you base your belief that He has not come on certain expectations of the Messiah. However, who is to say that these expectations of the Messiah are complete or correct? Is it not possible and even expected that the Messiah teaches us more about Himself than we already know?

If so, then how can we brush off someone who claims to be the Messiah without first considering what they teach?

It is we who are to follow God, it is not the Messiah who has to fit our expectations as if we are sure our expectations are correct. In fact, without the Messiah we are in somewhat of a darkness as the who the Messiah even is. So, how can we say He has not come because he didn’t meet our expectations unless we consider what He teaches and see if He leads us to God?

Greg


#15

Hi Greg!

Lessee…you posted:

My point is that you base your belief that He has not come on certain expectations of the Messiah. However, who is to say that these expectations of the Messiah are complete or correct?

Yes, we do have certain expectations of the Messiah but these are part & parcel of traditional, normative (i.e. orthodox) Judaism & always have been. We believe what we believe. We rely on our traditions & our Sages.

If so, then how can we brush off someone who claims to be the Messiah without first considering what they teach?

This is very simple. We will recognize the messiah not based on who he says he is, nor by what he teaches, but (as I’ve said) by what he does. This is what Judaism believes. Our respective faiths’ perspectives on the Messiah could not be more different; Jesus just didn’t fit the bill (in our view). If anyone teaches that which is not in accord with the Torah (Written & Oral), both the teacher & the teachings are nothing we need to take cognizance of & must be discarded as heresy.

Deuteronomy 13:1-6 discusses the miracle-working false prophet.

All this word which I command you, that shall you observe to do; you shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. If there arise in your midst a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto you, saying: ‘Let us go after other gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them’; you shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is putting you to proof, to know whether you do love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. After the Lord your God shall you walk, and Him shall you fear, and His commandments shall you keep, and unto His voice shall you hearken, and Him shall you serve, and unto Him shall you cleave. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken perversion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to draw you aside out of the way which the Lord your God commanded you to walk in. So shall you put away the evil from your midst."

Our Sages comment on the juxtaposition of 13:1 (“All this word which I command you, that shall you observe to do; you shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it”) to the rest of the above-cited passage; at first glance, 13:1 would not appear to be relevant to the rest of the passage. But it is, it is very relevant. The miracle-working false prophet will use the miracles that he/she performs to support his/her claims to either add to, or subtract from, the Torah. But we are bidden to ignore him/her because “the Lord your God is putting you to proof…”

In fact, without the Messiah we are in somewhat of a darkness as the who the Messiah even is.

Not so for a Jew. Our Sages (Maimonedes first & foremost, but there are many others) are very clear on this score.

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#16

Just, really, to echo ssv above.

Greg, to us, Messiah would be apparent from ‘real world’ events and ‘achievements’ beyond those attainable by text manipulation. As I’ve argued before, here, Christians tend to miss the fact that Judaism is not Christianity minus Jesus and Christianity is not Judaism plus Jesus - the religions are paradigmatically different, the whole focus is different. It often seems to me that part of the problem is that we mean entirely different things when using the same words - in this example, I sense that you think that we don’t accept Jesus and are waiting for a more successful version to come along, the error is to miss that both sides have entirely different understandings of the very idea of ‘Messiah’ and that we’re waiting for a completely different kind.

My guess is that his early Jewish followers were expecting him to return and do the ‘Jewish-Messiah’ stuff very soon. When he didn’t, there was a paradigmatic shift to the Paul-ine ‘revelatory’ version.


#17

Peace be with you SSV,

May God continue to bless the Children of Abraham and Moses. Amen.

I, personally, think this decussion is a bit mute since Jews have not embraced Jesus as the Christ. What I am interested in is “if Jesus was ‘not’ the Christ, who does Jewish Rabbis and Jewish Tradition say he is?”

I know that Muslims claim him to be simply another Prophet of the Judaic God but I have been informed that orthodox Jews claim that Jesus was nothing of the kind. I have heard that Jewish Scripture (written after Jesus’ Crucifixion) suggest Jesus was a a common criminal, is this true?

Is there a Jewish oppinion on the Apostles (like St. Paul for instance)?

Peace, Love and Blessings,

PS: What teachings of Jesus added or substracted from the Torah?


#18

Hi SSV (and Cabaret),

Since you don’t embrace the concept that the Messiah can teach us more than sages, tradition, or others that you consider authoritative, I would be happy to discuss specific understandings of the Messiah and from where you have these specific understandings.

What are some of the key expectations of the Messiah and where do these expectations come from (i.e. what are these expectations based on?)

Greg


#19

Hi all!

Cabaret, you posted:

Christians tend to miss the fact that Judaism is not Christianity minus Jesus and Christianity is not Judaism plus Jesus - the religions are paradigmatically different, the whole focus is different.

Well said! :thumbsup:

ChrisB, you posted:

May God continue to bless the Children of Abraham and Moses. Amen.

Thank you!

What I am interested in is “if Jesus was ‘not’ the Christ, who does Jewish Rabbis and Jewish Tradition say he is?”…Is there a Jewish oppinion on the Apostles (like St. Paul for instance)?

Maimonedes (who I mentioned back in my first post on this thread) says:

“Jesus the Nazarene, who purported that he would be the Messiah and was killed by the court…All the prophets said that the Messiah would redeem Israel and save them, gather their exiles and strengthen their commandments, but this one caused Israel to perish by the sword, be dispersed and humiliated, replaced the Torah and misled many in the world.”

I re-refer people to “Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus” by Rabbi Shraga Simmons at tinyurl.com/37qc2.

The Jewish Encyclopedia entry on Jesus is at tinyurl.com/5u33p. The entry on Saul/Paul of Tarsus is at tinyurl.com/5ay4e. (The Jewish Encyclopedia also has entries on most of the Apostles.) See also “From Paul to Constantine: Crash Course in Jewish History #41” at tinyurl.com/2alxk.

What teachings of Jesus added or substracted from the Torah?

Rabbi Simmons mentions this in passing; the Jewish Encyclopedia entry on Jesus goes into more detail.

Greg, you posted:

Since you don’t embrace the concept that the Messiah can teach us more than sages, tradition, or others that you consider authoritative…

We believe that the Messiah, like his ancestors David, Solomon, Jehosaphat, Hezekiah & Josiah will be no slouch of a sage in his own right.

What are some of the key expectations of the Messiah and where do these expectations come from (i.e. what are these expectations based on?)

While Maimonedes gives the definitive statement regarding our beliefs as to what the Messiah will do, he doesn’t specify his sources. Rabbi Simmons does so.

Howzat?

Be well!

ssv :wave:


#20

Hello SSV,

[quote=stillsmallvoice]We believe that the Messiah, like his ancestors David, Solomon, Jehosaphat, Hezekiah & Josiah will be no slouch of a sage in his own right.
[/quote]

Is the Messiah considered to be equal or higher than these sages? In others words, does the teaching of the Messiah have more authority and carry more weight than these and other sages?

Greg


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