In the first two parts of this series, we have looked at proof of Jesus’ existence and that He was indeed the Messiah, promised in the Old Testament.
Let us return to the website www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm and continue to look at the Messianic idea in Judaism.
“Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith, the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, we pray for all of the elements of the coming of the mashiach: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service.
“Modern scholars suggest that the messianic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, during the age of the prophets. They note that the messianic concept is not explicitly mentioned anywhere in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible).
“However, traditional Judaism maintains that the messianic idea has always been a part of Judaism. The mashiach is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, because the Torah was written in terms that all people could understand, and the abstract concept of a distant, spiritual, future reward was beyond the comprehension of some people. However, the Torah contains several references to ‘the End of Days’ (acharit ha-yamim), which is the time of the mashiach; thus, the concept of mashiach was known in the most ancient times.”
This explanation, that the Messiah is not mentioned in the Torah because people could not understand the abstract concept of a distant reward is silly and laughable. God inspired the writing of the five books of Moses, and they do contain numerous references to the end time and to the coming of the Messiah (compare Genesis 3:14-15; 22:18; 49:10).
Continuing with the above-mentioned quote:
“The term ‘mashiach’ literally means ‘the anointed one,’ and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The mashiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days.
“The word ‘mashiach’ does not mean ‘savior.’ The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought…”
“The mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as “mashiach ben David” (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.
“It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the mashiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person’s lifetime, then that person will be the mashiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the mashiach, then that person is not the mashiach.”
It is interesting to read that the mashiach will not be a “being who will sacrifice himself for us” and that he will be “a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.” These statements are all false, and need to be properly reviewed.
As we explained previously, it was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come twice—first, as a human being to DIE for mankind; and second, as God to rule this earth forever.
Regarding His first coming as a human being, this is clearly prophesied in Isaiah 53. However, Judaism rejects today the clearly revealed and intended meaning, but this was not always the case.
We explain in our free booklet, “Do You Know the Jesus of the Bible?,” in chapter 7, “The rejected prophecies of Isaiah 53,” that all the statements mentioned in that chapter were fulfilled by Christ at His first coming. In addition, we state, beginning with page 37:
“The Ryrie Study Bible explains:
“‘Traditional Jewish interpretation understood the passage to be speaking of the Messiah, as, of course, did the early Christians, who believed Jesus to be the Messiah (Acts 8:35). Not until the 12th century did the view emerge that the NATION [of] ISRAEL is referred to, a view that has since become DOMINANT JUDAISM. But the servant is distinguished from the “people” (Isaiah 53:8). He is an innocent victim, something that could not be said of the nation (53:9).’
“Sadly, however, as stated above, Judaism today rejects Isaiah 53 as applying to the Messiah, but teaches that it refers to the JEWISH NATION.
“Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible states in his introduction to Isaiah 53: ‘The Jews have endeavored to apply it to their sufferings in captivity…’”
Similar ridiculous interpretations allege, as we continue to explain, that the “Servant” applies to the people, holding that “the PEOPLE—NOT GOD—will bring about the work of salvation.”
Isaiah 53:8 states that “My Servant” (Isaiah 52:13) “was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.” Daniel 9:26 explains that it is the “Messiah” who “shall be cut off, but not for Himself.” So clearly, the Messiah is identified as the Servant who would come as a human being to DIE for our transgressions.
But the Messiah was no ordinary human being. He was God in the flesh (“Immanuel,” compare Isaiah 7:14; literally” God with us”). He would be born in Bethlehem as “The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
When He comes a second time, He will NOT come as a human being, as it is falsely alleged in the above-quoted website article. IF He were to come as a human being, He would ultimately die (something, which the Muslims believe; compare our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy”, Appendix 1, “Will there be a Mahdi?”, pages 61-62). But this is not what the Old Testament says.
The Messiah was God, before He became a man and died; and when He returns, He will come as God—the Son of God the Father. He will rule as God—the God of Jacob (Isaiah 2:3). His name will be “Mighty God”; and “of His government and peace There will be no end”; it will “remain forever” (Isaiah 9:6-7). Daniel 7:13-14 describes how He—“One like the Son of Man”—is brought before God the Father—the “Ancient of Days” to receive a kingdom and glory and an “everlasting dominion Which shall not pass away,” proving that the Messiah could not be a mere man when He takes over the rule over this earth who would subsequently die in due time. Rather, He will live and rule forever.
That the ruling Messiah could not be a mere man is also obvious from the following considerations:
We know that mankind has been on the earth for around 6,000 years after God created Adam and then Eve. After about 1,650 years, mankind had gone off the track so much and was so evil that we read: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
“And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:5-8).
Then God started again through Noah and his family and eventually, man went off track yet again and has continued to do so throughout all of those years.
How many wars have been fought during the last 6,000 years? Hundreds, maybe thousands or even tens of thousands, who can know? However, it is man’s aggression and lust for power that guarantees that these will continue while man is in charge on earth.
In Wikipedia under the heading of “World Peace,” we read:
“World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom and peace within and among all people and nations on Planet Earth. This idea of world nonviolence is one motivation for people and nations to willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that has this objective. Different cultures, religions, philosophies, and organizations have varying concepts on how such a state would come about.
“Various religious and secular organizations have the stated aim of achieving world peace through addressing human rights, technology, education, engineering, medicine or diplomacy used as an end to all forms of fighting. Since 1945, the United Nations and the five permanent members of its Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) have operated under the aim to resolve conflicts without war or declarations of war. Nonetheless, nations have entered numerous military conflicts since then.”
God gave the nation of Israel a choice. We read in Leviticus 26 they were given a promise of blessings (verses 1-14) but if they went down the wrong path, there would be cursings (verses 15-45). We know from history that they, so often, chose the wrong way.
Today, we see the state of the world and no man can change what is happening today. First of all, the Ten Commandments would have to be kept so that society would be regulated in the right way. Then everyone would have to worship the one true God. “There is salvation in no other name given among men by which we must be saved” (that of Jesus Christ) as we read in Acts 4:12. The chance, at this time in world history, of that happening is zero as only God can call people to the Truth and into His Church, and it is clear that will not happen to everyone on earth at this time.
No man, even leaders like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler and many others have been able to rule the world even though they may well have had aspirations to do so. Man is totally incapable in himself to do so, and so it will take a supernatural Being to sort out the mess that man has made. To think that a human leader can arise and convert the whole world to their brand of religion and authority is flying in the face of history. Even the ancient nation of Israel which was God’s chosen nation could not enforce the ways of God on the rest of the world.
There will be someone who will arise and many will be convinced that this man is God, but of course, he is not God, but an imposter. In our booklet “Is That in the Bible? – The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” we read the following on pages 67-68 under the heading: “The Man of Sin in the Temple of God”:
“Another Scripture that indicates the existence of a future temple in Jerusalem, just prior to Christ’s return, can be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4. Paul writes:
“‘Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [of Christ’s return] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’
“This ‘man of sin,’ who is also called ‘the lawless one’ in verses 8 and 9, is identified in the book of Revelation as ‘the false prophet’ (compare, for example, Revelation 16:13; 19:20; also see Revelation 13:13–14). This religious figure will deceive people through ‘great signs’ (Revelation 13:13; 19:20). We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 that the coming of the lawless one is ‘according to the working of Satan, with all power, SIGNS and lying wonders.’ This false prophet will receive the power to do these things from none other than Satan and his demons (compare Revelation 16:13–14).
“The Ryrie Study Bible comments:
“‘… the Antichrist [this is an incorrect designation—rather, the passage speaks about the false prophet] will desecrate the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem by placing himself there to be worshipped… This will be the climax of man’s great sin of self-deification, in open defiance of God.’
“The Nelson Study Bible adds:
“‘The man of sin will proclaim himself to be divine and will sit in the temple of God, acting as if he were a god… The man of sin will probably stand in a physical temple in Jerusalem, and declare himself to be a god, the ultimate fulfillment of the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 7:23; 9:26, 27; 11:31, 36, 37; 12:11) and Jesus (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14)…’
“The returning Christ will consume the man of sin ‘with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8).”
This man will not be God. He—together with a military leader, the “beast”—will try to convince people that they will create a kingdom to exist and rule forever, but they will fail miserably, as other “messiahs” have failed before them. The “Thousand-Year-Reich” of Adolf Hitler lasted less than 15 years. Right up to just before Jesus Christ returns to this earth, there will be counterfeits and imposters, and the false prophet will fool most people.
For the Jews to think that the mashiach will be “a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being” and that he will be able to subdue all nations and introduce the equivalent of the Kingdom of God on earth is just not possible. It is something that only a great supernatural Being can achieve, and that will be Jesus Christ at His return.
(To be continued)
Lead Writers: Brian Gale (United Kingdom) and Norbert Link