Reconcile with Judaism

Hi, Erich!
…yeah… a little obscure… sorry! :o:o:o

I was referring to this duality:

…currency gets us to where we want to go–when in the US: the dollar… everywhere else: the local currency… so it seemed to me that you were arguing from both positions (the Messiah is Jesus and the Messiah is not Jesus).

Maran atha!


Jews believe that the living Word of G-d is the Torah.

This is a good point. Jacob Neusner’s book, A Rabbi Talks to Jesus, is a great starting point for these conversations to understand the point at which these two great faiths diverge.

For Catholics, the experience of the living Christ is a personal encounter unlike any that may be described in written words. For ardent Catholics, this encounter with Christ is very real and indescribable. It is, for lack of better words, “experiential”.

The encounter with Christ takes place at every Mass. It is very real, personal, and cannot be explained in a written document, however eloquent that document may be.

One cannot explain with any clarity the personal encounter with Christ during the Mass, how it takes place, the peace that it brings, and the alteration in one’s spirituality as a result of this encounter.

Logical argument - however rational and even scientific - cannot take away from one’s personal encounter with Christ. “I felt His presence…” All this is foreign to anyone unfamiliar.

The Mass, as the liturgy of the Church, brings this encounter with Christ to the forefront. For those unfamiliar, whether Jewish or any other religious affiliation, this encounter with Christ during the Mass may appear idolatrous, foreign, even strange.

For Catholics who grew up with the Mass, it can become almost second nature and all too familiar, sometimes to a fault if taken for granted. We think, “How could it be any other way?”

I have oftentimes said that if any atheist committed to attend Mass every single day for a year - and actively participated in a prayerful manner - he or she would be a believer within the year. It would be near impossible not to become a believer. At Mass, all the answers are found. Things start to make more sense. Peace envelops the soul. The batteries are recharged. The spirit is uplifted.

The Mass, and the annual liturgical cycle, is in many ways an in-depth study of the Messiah and His Divine Life. It is an annual walk alongside the Messiah, step by step through His life. For those outside of the faith, that have not walked through this path, it might very well appear that Catholics are “worshiping” (and I quote) “that man”, and not paying due homage, respect, and prayer to the Father. As Catholics, we believe this thought to be in error. Instead, Catholics would believe that to know the Father, one must know the Son.

We follow Christ because it is what the Father wants, desires, and approves.

Here is a very interesting website. It comes from Messianic Judaism (a modern branch of Judaism which believes that Y’shua, Jesus of Nazareth, is the Messiah). Although a Messianic congregation has put forth this view, all the old major sources are quoted, such as Targam Jonathan, the Babylonia Talmud, various Midrashim, the great Maimonides, etc.

It asserts that the belief in Israel as the “Suffering Servant” did not emerge until the 11th century, and was the particular thought of Rashi. It was the predominant belief prior to this, that Isaiah 53 referred to the Messiah.

Well, Jesus came to gather the twelve tribes known as Israel.

The Jews are waiting for someone to gather the Jews (tribe of Judah) That is only one of the twelve tribes of Israel, so that is obviously not the Messiah.

Jesus is the Messiah, the king of the twelve tribes of Israel, and we are the lost tribes being gathered.

My question to Jews would be How are you CERTAIN that the Messiah has not already come, as Christians believe?

IOW, assuming they can strip away the influence of upbringing and identity issues. On some personal intellectual level, they have a certainty that Christianity is wrong.

It would be very helpful to understand the First Principles with Jews. :slight_smile:

Here are my personal thoughts concerning some of the arguments against Jesus being the Messiah mentioned in the link in the original post. If these thoughts are not in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church please disregard them with my apologies.

The Jewish website linked to in the original post lists several things in (1) that the Messiah will accomplish. That is all well and good. After he gathers all the Jews back to the Land of Israel, spreads knowledge of the true God throughout the world, and establishes world peace, etc., then we will know that he is the true Messiah. However, are we suppose to ignore a prophet of God and wait until all his prophecies come true before we act? How are we to act toward the Messiah when he first appears, before he has accomplished all the things on the list? For instance, how is he to gather all the Jews back to the Land of Israel unless they first heed his call to return? It seems to me that people are suppose to believe in the Messiah and treat him accordingly before the accomplishment of all the things on the list proves that he is indeed the true Messiah.

In (1) B. and (2) A., they say that the Messiah will be a great prophet and he will gather all the Jews back to the Land of Israel. However, they also say that there can be no prophet until the majority of the Jews in the world are living in the Land of Israel. This sounds to me like a bit of a logical catch 22, a paradox.

Jesus appeared in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seemingly ready to make public his Messianic claim but within a few days he was arrested, tried, and convicted by the Jewish authorities and delivered up to the Roman authorities who put him to death. Less than a week was hardly enough time accomplish the things on the list. In a time without the modern means of mass communication, how was he suppose to get the word out to gather all the Jews back to the Land of Israel from the ends of the earth in less than a week? In (2) B., they admit, “The Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, nor will he possess supernatural qualities.” So, bilocation is out of the question. They might propose if Jesus was the true Messiah, he could not have been killed but by (2) B., quoted above, they admit the Messiah will possess normal physical attributes like other people, i.e., the true Messiah, like many true prophets, could be killed.

They seems to judge Jesus a false Messiah by what he did before he was killed but they do not take into account that, though Jesus truly died, he also truly rose from the dead on the third day, and for forty day showed himself to hundreds of Jews before ascending bodily into heaven, where he took his seat at the right hand of God, leaving his followers for a time to carry on his messianic mission in the world as his authorized ministers. From heaven for the past 2000 years, he has, through his very human ministers, been spreading knowledge of the God of Israel throughout the world, so that today there are about 2 billion Christians who acknowledge the God of Israel as the one true God. (If you count Muslims, who regard Jesus as a prophet, as heretical Christians, then there are about 3 billion Christians in the world, nearly half of the world’s population.) Even his critics have to acknowledge that this messianic accomplishment is well on its way to fulfillment.

They might argue that Jesus is taking too long to accomplish the things on the list for him to be true Messiah but they are reckoning time as impatient men and not as God reckons time:
For a thousand years in thy sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4)

Concerning Torah observance, mentioned in (2) C., they say, “The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance” and anyone changing its commandments “is immediately identified as a false prophet.” However, they seem to forget the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, (Jeremiah 31:31)
A new covenant implies some change to the terms of the old covenant, some change in the commandments, doesn’t it? If there are no changes, how can it be called new?

Concerning Isaiah 7:14, mentioned in (3) A., Jews and Christians have been arguing over the proper understanding of the word *alma *in that verse since at least the second century C.E. See Justin Martyr’s middle-second-century work, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, chapters 43, 66, 67, 68, 71, 84. Justin Martyr’s main points seem to be:
(1) a young woman conceiving a child is a rather commonplace event and not as great a sign as the context seems to call for. On the other hand, a virgin conceiving would indeed be a very great sign and fit the context much better.
(2) in understanding the word *alma *to mean a virgin, Christians are simply following the pre-Christian translation of Jewish Scriptures into Greek, done by seventy unbiased Jewish scholars in Alexandria and known as the Septuagint. It is my understanding that the Hebrew word alma can mean either a young woman or a virgin, whereas the Greek word used by the Jewish translators in the Septuagint can only mean a virgin.

I was actually intending to approach the issue objectively in a manner that would “make sense” to both Jews and Christians.

Regardless of where anyone is in his/her personal faith journey (Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant), we know – from verses like Psalm 132:11, “The Lord hath sworn truth to David, and he will not make it void: of the fruit of thy womb I will set upon thy throne” – that the promised Messiah has to be of David’s line.

Now, I’m not from Missouri (the “Show-Me” State), but I can certainly understand why anyone would want proof that someone who claims to be the Messiah is who he says he is. In fact, the Jews of Jesus’ time asked Him this very question: “And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’” (Matt. 21:23)

Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospels contain genealogies which could (and probably were) checked against the Temple records; I suppose the modern equivalent might be to verify someone’s genealogy against whatever records might be in Salt Lake City – but those don’t go back 2,000 years :slight_smile:

The Jews (and Gentiles) who became the earliest Christians were of course convinced that Jesus was, indeed, the promised Messiah… so they (and Catholics/Orthodox/Protestants of today) don’t need that “extra level” of genealogical proof. If CA Forums were around back then, and they were following this thread, they could skip this post and move on.

The Jews who were not convinced that Jesus was, indeed, the promised Messiah are of course still waiting. When He does come (in what, for Christians, will be the Second Coming), a Jew from Missouri might ask to see some genealogical proof… even *after *peace breaks out in the Middle East :slight_smile: Of course, it would be difficult to verify any answer that might be given, because there is no longer any independent way of backing up any sort of genealogical claim.

It’s hard for me to imagine what I would think/say/do if I were Jewish (because I’m not), but if I were – and I gave this whole topic some serious thought – I might start to worry that I might be waiting for something (the “First Coming”) that can never happen (or, at least, that could not be independently verified if it were to happen today). After all, as wondrous as peace breaking out in the Middle East would be, that by itself would not be sufficient proof, for Jesus Himself tells us, “False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

In other words, knowing that the Messiah has to be of David’s line, and knowing that the Temple was leveled and everything in it was either destroyed or carried off or just plain lost, might just be the “spark” that would cause me to take seriously the claim that Jesus is in fact the Messiah I have been waiting for all this time.

I have a feeling you’ll all have to wait for the conversations you wish for - when CAF recruits some more Jews, I expect.

Some of us have been through all this a few times too many. :slight_smile:

Hi, Erik!
I follow your reasoning… but it is confusing… if I am asked why I believe Jesus is the Messiah, I do not think that it helps to promote non-Catholic views since the person making the query may believe that I am not sure and that his/her belief is far superior, hence they are correct… rather, I would argue point to point… offering my argument alone… this way either they can reconcile themselves with Scriptures or, in the least, know that their view is not paramount and Scriptures themselves do not support it.

…as for Jesus’ Authority, He did not refuse to Reveal the Truth; Jesus knew that they were intent in not listening so He counter with a simple query: ‘John the Baptist, sent by God or not?’ …to this, they played the political middle… ‘aaaah, duuuuh, we know not!’ To which Jesus replied, ‘then I will not tell you about my Authority!’

Maran atha!


Why not listen to Jews who have been in your exact position and investigated with an open heart? Marcus Grodi produces a TV program called “The Journey Home” on EWTN. He has chronicled hundreds of conversion stories from virtually every belief and non-belief system on earth. Bear in mind that Protestants hear the exact same heartfelt pleas and mis-information as they ponder converting.

Some converts have described the Catholic mass as “Synagogue with Christ.” Spend some time listening to the Jewish converts, whom I consider to be the jewels of Catholicism. Many if not most of them sacrificed family and friends for their love of God. One story that fascinates me is that of Fr. Peter Sabbath, who describes his conversion as having to renounce nothing and gaining everything.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit