The Divine Messiah?


#1

As Christians, we believe the Messiah to be inextricably linked to divinity because Jesus was both the Messiah and the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity. Even non-Trinitarians see the Messiah and the Son of God bound together.

However, for centuries prior to the advent of Jesus, Jewish scholars who studied the Scriptures, translated the Scriptures, etc., none of these wise men seem to have left any record detailing how the Messiah was to be divine. If they had left record, should so many Jews, even today, attempt a polemic on this front?

Even some Christian scholars note that the Christ as expected by the Jews was to be a powerful man - but a man, not divine.

Even Muslims say that Jesus is the Messiah, even going so far as to ascribe supernatural powers to him, including the Ascension into heaven, but these supernatural powers were given by God - for the Messiah is not divine according to Muslim theology.

However, Messianic Jews are quite clear in stating their belief that Yeshua is YHWH incarnate.

Who’s right? And where’s the evidence?


#2

Well, Christians (I suppose “Messianic Christians” would be a redundancy) also believe this.

While a divine Messiah was not what was generally expected, Jesus was nevertheless accepted as the messiah, and as divine, by many Jews. Jesus, a Jew, preached among the Jews, all the Apostles were Jews, the first Christians were Jews.

So while it was unexpected, it was ultimately not incompatible with Judaism.


#3

Jesus: Divine Messiah
A New and Old Testament Witness
Author: Robert L. Reymond

The Concept of a Divine Messiah in Early Jewish-Christianity
World of the Bible Study Series
by Randall Price

MESSIAH - PART 3
DIVINE ASPECTS
yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev5hb.htm


#4

It seems the Jews of Jesus’ time were expecting the Messiah to be divine as seen in this exchange between Jesus and the High Priest:

Mt. 26:[63] But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
[64] Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

The High Priest wasn’t shocked at the concept of the divinity of the Messiah only at Jesus claiming he was the “Son of God”, the Messiah.


#5

Of course it is incompatible. There is nothing I can think of that would be theologicaly more incompatible with Judaism then the belief that God came to earth as a human.


#6

But apparently not incompatible enough to prevent his Jewish followers from becoming and remaining disciples. They didn’t consider themselves to be less than Jewish by accepting Jesus as Messiah. The first big argument in the Church was about whether in fact Gentiles had to become Jews first before becoming Christian.


#7

Accepting Jesus as Messiah is one thing. Accepting him as God is another.


#8

So, that’s it? That’s the end of discussion on this subject?

I had expected a more advanced position among Christians regarding this issue…


#9

I’m not sure what you’re expecting, honestly.

The Divinity of the Messiah isn’t something that was explicit in the Tanakh that the non-Christian Jews simply overlooked. The Divinity of the Messiah was a revelation BY the Messiah. While there were hints and possible suggestions of such a thing found in the old Scriptures, there was nothing that could be pointed to as a definite statement or prophesy; that came from the Messiah Himself. It was a test of Faith for Jesus’ followers, and some left Him because of it.

Peace and God bless!


#10

So, in other words, there’s no possible way to prove the Messiah is divine by using the Tanakh - or, if this is not what you’re saying, then leaving the discussion at “Accepting Jesus as Messiah is one thing, as God another” really makes the Christian position look weak: relying on Jesus for the answer is circular reasoning, especially in a discussion with someone of another faith.

The Qur’an vouches itself as being free corruption but, for a Christian, such circular reasoning is meaningless.

If the divinity of Messiah is not laid out elsewhere than the NT, then perhaps the Messiah wasn’t to be thought of as divine, after all.


#11

Well, I can’t put forth what the Apostles didn’t. Like I said, there are things that when tied together point out the need for the Messiah to be Divine, and the Apostles and Christ Himself do this beautifully in the New Testament. There is nothing so explicit as “the Messiah will be God”, however. There is no “proof text” from Jewish Scripture that shows us definitively, without the context of later Revelation, what the nature of the Messiah will be.

It’s not a matter of a weak case, so much as it being a complex and difficult one that draws together too many threads to properly cover in a format like this. Just like you couldn’t properly argue for the existance of a Messiah at all from the Five Books of Moses, though there are hints such as in Genesis, you can’t properly argue heavily for a Divine Messiah outside of later Revelations. This isn’t circular, it’s context; some things are only clear in hindsight.

I recommend simply reading through the New Testament and seeing how the Apostles and Christ argue from the Old for His Divinity. That is the best place to start.

Peace and God bless!


#12

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