What Jews Look For in a Messiah


#1

Gods’ need not apply. THe Jewish Messiah will be a human being and not God in the flesh. Everything I’m posting regarding the requirements can be found in the Jews for Judaism website.

  1. He has to be Jewish. “…you may appoint a king over you, whom the Lord your God shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you.” (Deuteronomy 17:15)

  2. He will be a member from the tribe of Judah. “The staff shall not depart from Judah, nor the sceptre from between his feet…” (Genesis 49:10).

Notice one and two are really applicable to any annointed jewish ruler. The requirements of all kings, inlcuding the Messiah see to be embraced in these two Torah verses.

  1. He will be a direct descendant of King David and King Solomon. “And when your days (David) are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall issue from your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will make firm the throne of his kingdom forever…” (2 Samuel 7:12 - 13)

  2. All the Jews will return to Israel. “And he shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)

  3. **He must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem **- “…and I will set my sanctuary in their midst forever and my tabernacle shall be with them…” (Ezekiel 37:26 - 27) This is a condition that must be met. Whether or not the Messiah has to actually be the one to rebuild the Temple remains debateable.

  4. He will rule at a time of world-wide peace - “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3)

7.**He will rule at a time when the Jewish people will observe God’s commandments - **“My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow My ordinances and be careful to observe My statutes.” (Ezekiel 37:24)

8 **He will rule at a time when all people will come to acknowledge and serve one God **- “And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the Lord” (Isaiah 66:23).

All of the above must be fullfilled. We don’t believe they have to date.

Eden had mentioned in another thread, Rambam’s view on the Messiah. I’ll address that in the next post.


#2

Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim XI - XII. (THis is from the 14th Volume that Eden had referenced). Rambam lived several centuries after Jesus. All bold references are done by me.

The King Messiah will in some future time come, restore the kingdom of David to its former power, build the Temple, bring together the scattered of Israel, and all the ancient laws will again be in force. Sacrifices will be offered, and years of release and Jubilees will be kept as prescribed in the Torah. Whoever does not believe in him, or does not hope for his coming, shows a lack of faith not only in the prophets, but also in the Torah. For the Torah testifies concerning him in the words: ‘And the Lord your God will again bring back your captivity, and show mercy unto you, and again gather you from all the nations…If your outcasts be at the ends of the heavens, from there will the Lord gather you…and the Lord will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed…’(Deut. 30:3-5)

You must not imagine that the messiah must prove his messianity by signs and miracles, doing something unexpected, bringing the dead to life, or similar things. **The principle thing is this: the statutes and precepts of our Torah remain forever, and nothing can be added to them or taken from them. **

If, therefore, a descendant of David earnestly studies the Torah, observes what the written and oral Torah enjoins, causes all Israelites to act similarly, exhorts those who are lax in the performance of the commandments, and fights the wars of the Lord, he may possibly be the messiah. If he does not succeed, or is killed in war, it is certain that he is not the messiah promised in the Torah. He is like all the other noble and good kings of the House of David who have died, and God only caused him to rise in order to try us thereby, as it is said, `And of the wise some will stumble, and through them the people will be tested, purified, and made white, till the time of the end comes; for there is yet a vision for an appointed time.’ (Dan. 11:35).

Also, Jesus the Nazarene, who imagined that he would be messiah and was killed, is alluded to in the book of Daniel, as it is said, `And the sons of the transgressors among thy people will rise, in order to establish a vision, and will stumble’ (Dan. 11:14). Can there be a greater stumbling then this?

I’ll just jump in here and point out that Rambam is referring to Jesus as a son of the transgressors who tried to rise among the people of Israel and stumbled. He is not suggesting by any stretch that Jesus was prophecised in Daniel as being the Messiah

All the prophets said that messiah will be a redeemer and a savior to the Israelites, will bring together their outcasts, and will strengthen their obedience to the Divine precepts, but he (Jesus) caused destruction by the sword to Israel, the dispersion of those left, and their humiliation. He changed the law, and misled many people to worship a being beside God. **
But the thoughts of the Creator of the universe cannot be understood by any human being, for the ways of men are not His ways, nor their thoughts His thoughts.
For all the events connected with Jesus, and with Mohammed that rose after him, served only to pave the way for the King Messiah, who will reform all mankind and lead them to the unanimous service of God, as it is said, ‘For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that all may call by the name of God, and serve him unanimously’ (Zeph. 3:9). **

(cont).


#3

How can this be done? Almost all people have through them (Jesus and Mohammed) become acquainted with the idea of messiah, with the words of the Torah and the Divine precepts. Through them the knowledge of the Bible spread even unto the remotest islands and unto many nations ‘uncircumcised’ in heart and uncircumcised in flesh. These nations seek to justify their disobedience to the precepts of the Torah. Some of them say that these precepts are Divine, but are not in force at present, and were never intended to be permanent laws. Others maintain that they must not be taken literally, as they are mere symbols, the meaning of which has already been explained by their ‘messiah’. But when the true King Messiah will rise, he will prosper, be high and exalted. All will then at once know that it was falsehood what their fathers have inherited, and that their prophets and their teachers have misled them.

It is not because they desired to have dominion over all lands and nations and be honored by all people, or because they desired to have plenty to eat and drink and other pleasures, that the wise men and the prophets longed for the days of the messiah, but because they would then be at leisure to study the Torah and its teachings without being interrupted by any oppressor, and would thus make themselves worthy of life in the World to Come.

There will not be in those days any famine, war, jealousy, or quarrel, because the good things will be in plenty and even luxuries will be found everywhere. All people will busy themselves with trying to know the L-rd. Therefore, the Israelites will be great sages, knowing things which are at present hidden. They will obtain a knowledge of their Creator as far as possible by human understanding; `For the earth shall be full with the knowledge of the L-rd as the waters cover the sea.’ (Isaiah 11:9).


#4

I want to give this thread more time to really look at it and respond more fully. But the first thing that strikes me is that we do not believe that Jesus was killed in war, not that He did not succeed. The triumph of the cross, the slaughtered lamb, rising from the dead to bring eternal salvation - this belief in the Resurrection of Christ set Him apart and was why the Jews who did embrace Him as the Messiah in the first century believed He fulfilled the prophecies.

**

Also, Jesus the Nazarene, who imagined that he would be messiah and was killed, is alluded to in the book of Daniel, as it is said, `And the sons of the transgressors among thy people will rise, in order to establish a vision, and will stumble’ (Dan. 11:14).

Can there be a greater stumbling then this? **

Again, the key is the Resurrection.


#5

Just curious Valke-- do some/all Jewish families keep track of their geneology back to King David? I mean, that seems like a monumental task. If not, how would one know if a person who appears to be the Messiah would indeed be a direct decendent? Thanks!


#6

In light of Rambam’s assertion that Jesus was not the Messiah, how do you understand Isaiah 53:8 and Daniel 9:26 which prophecy that the Messiah will be rejected by His own people?


#7

We’ll probably have to take his word for it.


#8

We had a bit of a similar discussion going on another thread. I asked some questions that you didn’t answer yet. If you could answer them early in this thread, it might smooth things out. (If you are busy typing a response already in the other thread…Sorry!).

Valke2 said:
But if you are teaching that Jesus was God in the flesh, you are teaching a concept that is outside the scope and intent of Judaism and therefore, you are really in a whole other religion
.

My response to you (and question) was:
[W]hat do Jews see as the scope and intent of Judaism?
In a nutshell, (IMHO) Christians see the intent of Judaism as being the key instrument of mankind’s salvation / reconciliation with God, and the scope of this intent as all of humanity.


Another unanswered question follows (that I’ve also moved from another thread):

I said: Here’s a quote from Matthew 22:41-45, which refers to Psalm 110.

*While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them, saying, “What is your opinion about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “David’s.”

He said to them, “How, then, does David, inspired by the Spirit, call him ‘lord,’ saying:
‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet”’?
If David calls him ‘lord,’ how can he be his son?”*

The Catholic interpretation of this is that David can call his son “lord” because David’s son (in the flesh) is also the Son of God.

This would seem to indicate that the Messiah / Son of David is in fact God in the flesh. How might Jews today answer that question?


#9

Why would God command the Jews to make sacrifices in the Temple for their sins and yet, after Jesus died on the cross (as prophesied in Isaiah 53), the Jews have no place to fulfill this obligation, no Temple for 1900 years? How can sin be atoned for today since Leviticus 17:11 says “it is the blood that make an atonement for the soul”? Why is it that there has been no sacrifices made by the Jewish people in the last 1800 years? **
**


#10

Regarding Daniel 9:26. We believe the correct translation is “a messiah” not “The Messiah.” Mashiach is never used as a proper name in our scriptures, but rather as a title. The prince referred to in Daniel is (according to us) Cyrus.

Also, a Jewish year is 354 days, not 360 I’m not a math wizard, but we beleive that the numbers don’t work out the way Christian interpetation calls it.

Have you had these types of debates before? I only ask because Isaiah 53 must have been discussed before. I know that I’ve debated this several times on other boards and I’ll be happy to do it again. But I get the feeling that most here would know what I would say on this.


#11

THere are clear verses in Tanakh that say sincere prayer is the preferred method of atoning for sins. I’ve discussed Levitiucus elsewhere. The fact that there were blood sacrifices for unintentional sins does not mean they were the only method. Leviticus does not say “only by blood sacrifice…”


#12

Not all Jews agree with this one. There are many, if I recall correctly, who feel that God himself will build the Temple and that it will descend from heaven itself. They also beleive that it would be wrong for anyone to think they could build the Temple too.

And, if I remember correctly, I thought that you yourself were not sure whether the Messiah would build the Temple, or if the Temple would be descending from heaven. In other words, I thought there was not enough revealed at this point to say decisively either way.

Have you since changed your stance on this position?


#13

But if that’s the case, then it’s not true to say the statutes and precepts of your Torah remain forever, and that nothing can be added to them or taken from them.

Clearly, some things can be taken away, such as blood sacrifices for example. Likewise, many modern day Jewish teachings have certainly added things to the original Jewish deposit of faith too.


#14

I guess the answer would be that we are to be a light on to all nations, through the keeping of all God’s commandments. It is a difficult question to answer, other than to stress the importance of keeping the covenantal relationship with God. I think I’m having trouble understanding what you mean by “scope and intent.”


Another unanswered question follows (that I’ve also moved from another thread):

I said: Here’s a quote from Matthew 22:41-45, which refers to Psalm 110.

*While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them, saying, “What is your opinion about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “David’s.”

He said to them, “How, then, does David, inspired by the Spirit, call him ‘lord,’ saying:
‘The Lord said to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet”’?
If David calls him ‘lord,’ how can he be his son?”*

The Catholic interpretation of this is that David can call his son “lord” because David’s son (in the flesh) is also the Son of God.

This would seem to indicate that the Messiah / Son of David is in fact God in the flesh. How might Jews today answer that question?

I answered this question in some detail on another thread. I’ll find it and repost it here.


#15

We all agree that the Temple will be rebuilt. how it is rebuilt depends on us. If we are worthy, it will descend fromheaven… As I had said there is a difference of opinion as to whether the Messiah will actualy rebuild the Temple or if the Temple will just be rebuilt during the time of the Messiah My OP states that whether or not the Messiah himself will rebuild the Temple remains debateable…


#16

The Book of Daniel was written in Babylon though, wasn’t it?

It seems reasonable that Daniel would have been using the Babylonian calendar, which was five days shorter than the modern calendar-- 360 days if I recall correctly.

I’m also curious as to when you believe the book of Daniel was actually written. As I’m sure you’re aware, the dating and authorship of Daniel has been a matter of great debate.

The traditional view holds that the work was written by a prophet named Daniel who lived during the sixth century BC. I actually agree with this view. I believe the prophetic nature of this book proves this traditional view to be true too.

Alternative modern views, however, maintain that the book was written (or redacted) in the mid-second century BC-- and that most of the predictions of the book refer to events that had already occurred. As you can already guess, I disagree with this view.

What is your view?


#17

Here’s my answer: (Originally posted in the Messianac Judaism thread)

The Lord said unto my Lord, “Sit thou on my right hand, till I put thine enemies underneath thy feet.”

In the original Hebrew text the first word “Lord” in the Hebrew is a correct translation of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH). But the second “Lord” is a mistranslation of the text. The second word “Lord” in the verse is a bad translation of the Hebrew word “ladonee”, which actually means “to my master” or “to my lord.” Adonee never refers to God. God, the Creator of the universe, is never called adonee in the Bible. And that’s saying something, because there are a whole lot of words for God in the bible. But adonee, isn’t one of them.

The word is used, however, to refer to Abraham and Esau in other parts of the Torah. For some reason, the word is translated correctly in those to verses but not in Psalm 110:1

A cynic might say this is because both Genesis 24:54 and Genesis 32:4 are not texts used to prove Jesus from the Jewish scriptures.

Some recent Christian Bibles have corrected this. the RSV and the New English Bible correctly render the Hebrew word ladonee as " to my lord," in Psalm 110:1. In these translations, it is clear that God is not speaking to God.

As a Jew, I would call the whole story of Jesus talking the the Pharsees about Psalm 110 into question. I can’t see how the Pharasees would remain silent in the story. Even without the internet, they would surely know the correct translation of Pslam 110:1

As to what Psalm 110 is referring to, its opening words are “A Song of David.”

So who was King David writing this (and other) song for?

The original purpose for which King David composed the Book of Psalms was for the Levites to sing them in the Temple. Since he couldn’t be the guy to build it. King David composed Psalm 110 for recitation by the Levites in the Temple years after his death.

This explains the opening line. The Levites would read: "The Lord [God] said to my master [King David] “Sit thou at my right hand . . . .”


#18

Those precepts and statutes will be restored at the time of the Messiah. However, as to sacrifices, there is debate as to the necessity of returning to them, it being believed by some that God issued those commandments because we were used to giving animial sacrifices and that He wanted to make sure they were done in a way that asserted His Oneness, rather than being done to a false idol (i.e., the Gold Calf).


#19

I know you you said that it remains debatable. And that’s why I am confused with this statement…

5. He must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem

Indeed, if he must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, then whether or not the Messiah has to actually be the one to rebuild the Temple is not actually debateable after all. So, according to you, he must rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem-- so there appears to be no debate required.

So which is it – must the Messiah rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem or not?


#20

I generally tend to lean toward the later redaction. But of all the books in the Tanakh, Daniel is one that I’m least familar with, so that doesn’t mean much.


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