Messiahs

Messiahs ?

By Menashe Dovid Walsh

Believe it or not there are 39 cases of messiahs referring to people recorded in what is mistakenly referred to as the ‘Old Testament’. Yes youold heard it right, multiple messiahs! Priests are messiahs[1], Kings are messiahs[2], G-d’s people are messiahs[3] and a non-Israelite King Cyrus is a messiah too[4]! In a desperate attempt to try to make the case for a singular unique messiah some Christian translators of the ‘Old Testament’ manipulate the text too[5]. Moreover the making of a singular unique messiah by both the ‘Christians’ and ‘messianics’ also extends to other biblical expressions such as the ‘son of G-d[6]‘, ‘son of man[7]‘ and ‘servant[8]‘.

An honest evaluation of the proper term (משיח) ‘moshiach’ is properly rendered even in the Christian translations as ‘an anointed one’ 37 times out of 39. In addition to the 39 cases of messiahs referring to people, the oil to anoint is also referred to as the oil for anointing (משחה) ‘mashchah’. Indeed the anointing oil once applied rendered the status of the tabernacle and the vessels as holy vessels too[9]. The point and purpose of any ‘anointing’ is in principle to render a person, a nation, an object for a holy purpose and/ or use.

Given the multiple messiahs of Israel’s history it does not come as a surprise that also in the messianic age we see at least 2 messiahs sat next to almighty G-d. The two messiahs are clearly shown in Zechariah 6:12, 13. The first messiah is with an allusion to King David (the branch or shoot) himself or one of his descendents and the second is a priestly messiah:

12 and speak unto him, saying: Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying: Behold, a man whose name is the Shoot, and who shall shoot up out of his place, and build the temple of the LORD; 13 even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and there shall be a priest on his throne (עַל-כִּסְאוֹ); and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. Zech 6:12, 13

This statement in Zech 6 also resonates with Jeremiah’s description of the messianic age:

‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; ‘nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ” Jer 33:14-18

According to New Testament teaching in Hebrews 10, sacrifices are no longer needed since Jesus’ once for all self sacrifice is forever andexpect perfects forever those who accept it [Heb 10:8-14]. Hebrews 10 adds further, that the sacrifice of animals can never take away sins[10]. The messianic age described in Jeremiah 33:14-18 has a messianic figure (David A Branch of Righteousness), a promise fulfilled to Israel and Judah who along with Jerusalem will dwell safely and a Levitical Priesthood (with a High Priest of course), offering the sacrifices prescribed by the Torah.

What are Jews Expecting in or of a Messiah?

In discussing what Jewish expectation is of a messiah we have already discussed the very clear biblical idea above that there are multiple messiahs. Each of these messiahs whether they be Prophets, Priests, Kings, regular everyday folks and even anointed inanimate objects all share a common purpose and mission: to help to draw people and get people to have their own close intimate/ meaningful relationship with G-d.

One very important point to make in all of the above is that in the Jewish scriptures very great care is taken to avoid the wrong equating of the Almighty G-d with any messiah figure however special they may be. It should be noted that so called ‘messianic’ passages never actually include the term ‘messiah’ but this does not stop some from equating the Almighty G-d with a unique messiah as a divine messiah who is part of some kind of ‘godhead’ or ‘trinity’. The focus for Jews and Judaism is not some special unique belief in ‘the’ messiah[11] which is any way equal with the worship and belief in the Almighty G-d. Before the messianic age Jews eagerly await messiahs to usher the arrival and direct ruler-ship of Almighty G-d himself here on earth. The desire of every Jew being expressed by Isaiah:

Oh, that you would rend the heavens, that you would come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence, As When fire Kindles the brush-wood, and the fire causes the waters to boil, to make your name known to your Adversaries, That the nations Might Tremble at your presence. (Isaiah 64:1, 2)

The last time there was a rending of the heavens was at Mount Sinai with the giving of the Torah which gave birth to a Torah nation. The covenant established with the giving of the Torah at Sinai will actually pale into insignificance when compared to the ‘new’ covenant of the messianic age. The Torah laws are not abrogated at all (as the New Testament clearly asserts[12]) but instead there is according to Jeremiah the permanent placing of the Torah laws “in their minds and written on their hearts”, universal knowledge of G-d by direct revelation and complete forgiveness of sins (see Jer 31:33, 34).

abrahamIn contrast to the above ideas, Christians and messianics have chosen to believe in a cosmic Jesus / Yeshua as proposed by the redactors of the New Testament which sees only a fulfillment of a heavenly kingdom as opposed to a very real kingdom as told by the Hebrew prophets. Belief in the Jesus / Yeshua as proposed by the redactors of the New Testament includes the acceptance of an evangelical paradigm. According to the evangelical paradigm, Jesus’ coming caused myriads of formerly saved Jews and gentile God-fearers to slip into perdition or least into an eternal jeopardy because the basis of salvation had changed and narrowed with Jesus’ incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, or ascension. The year before Jesus died and rose, faithful Jews and God-fearers needed only seek to live faithful to God, trusting in His faithfulness to Israel and in the provisions he had made through the Temple sacrifices. Under such an arrangement, certainly there must have been tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of Jews whose status with God was assured, in this life and the next. But according to the New Testament, with the coming of Jesus, all that changed! Now, according to the prevailing paradigm, all of these Jews AND non-Jews were fundamentally lost, unless and until they accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour. The evangelical paradigm still requires Jews AND non-Jews to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour or they are doomed. The evangelical paradigm means that human substitutionary atonement (before atonement using just animals is one part of the religion of Israel), now becomes a sole basis for a whole new religion/ faith for the new “Spiritual Israel”.

In a strange paradox there are parts of New Testament which appear to have missed the efforts of the redactors of the New Testament. The strange paradox seems to re-affirm what might be labelled classical Abrahamic faith:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10

Perhaps the thoughtful Christian or messianic may possibly wish to consider how quickly their respective organizations have rejected the definitive content of these New Testament declarations? Perhaps thoughtful Christian or messianic may consider the the disharmony between the statements attributed to Jesus above and his idolatrous claim of being “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”? Perhaps thoughtful Christians or messianics may possibly consider the Jesus who was stripped and still is stripped of his most basic identity as a Jew who affirmed the oneness of G-d and who upheld the commandments of the Torah as the way to eternal life? Perhaps thoughtful Christians or messianics may possibly consider Abrahamic faith?


[1] Lev 4:3

[2] 1Sa 24:6

[3] Psalm 105:11-15

[4] Isa 45:1

[5] Dan 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. Dan 9:25 does not have the definite article the (ה) in the Hebrew of Dan 9:25 and Hebrew does not have capital letters either!

[6] See Ex 4:22, 23 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

[7] In the 7th chapter of the book of Daniel, we learn of a prophetic vision granted to Daniel. He tells us of four great beasts rising out of the sea, one after another. After describing each of the four beasts Daniel sees “one like a son of man (כבר אנש Aramaic) coming with the clouds of heaven” (Daniel 7:13). Nearly all Christians do not entertain the slightest doubt that this verse is talking of their messiah Jesus! Indeed, they will even selectively quote that Jewish commentators like Rashi, who says that this verse is speaking of the King ‘moshiac’ (משיח Hebrew). To the Christian mindset ‘moshiac’ and ‘messiah’ are understood as interchangeable and are equivalent terms! A look at Daniel 7 shows that the Hebrew word ‘moshiac’ cannot appear anywhere in Daniel 7 because Daniel 7 is in Aramaic. The term ‘one like a son of man (כבר אנש Aramaic)’ is found in Dan 7:13. Dan 7:13 is one of the few passages in scripture that comes along with a commentary. The commentary is Daniel 7 itself and the commentary informs us who the “son of man” is in Daniel 7:13! The commentary informs us that after Daniel had seen the vision he approaches an angel and asks for a clarification of all that he had seen (7:16). The angel replies that the four beasts represented four kingdoms, and the final dominion will be given to the “holy ones of the most high” (7:18) – a reference to the nation of Israel. The angel elaborates further by telling us that the dominion under all of the heavens is given to “the nation of holy ones of the most high” (7:27) – again a clear reference to the nation of Israel. According to the angel, each of the beasts represents a different kingdom, while the son of man in Daniel’s vision represents Israel.  Can a man represent a kingdom/ people? Speaking of Babylon; “and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first [was] like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man (כאנש), and a man’s (אנש) heart was given to it. (Dan 7:4, 5)

[8] Certain of the prophetic specifications, which Christians often view as pointing exclusively to Jesus, are in fact borrowed from biblical descriptions of Israels experience. For example, in Isaiah 53:7 the servant of the L-rd is said to be like a flock led to the slaughter. In Psalms 44:22 Israel is said to be like a flock led to the slaughter. For on your account we are killed all the day; we are considered as a flock for the slaughter. To give another example, Isaiah 53:11 says my righteous servant shall make many righteous. We have just such an expression in the Book of Daniel regarding Daniel’s people Israel. Daniel 12:1b-3. At that time your people will escape, everyone found written in the book. Many among those sleeping in the dust of the ground will awake, some to the life of eternity and others to shame and to the contempt of eternity. And the prudent will shine like the brilliance of the firmament, and those who make many righteous like the stars, for eternity and ever. To give another example, Isaiah 53:11 says my righteous servant shall make many righteous and carry their iniquities. This language comes from the operation of Israel’s sanctuary. It was the duty of Israels priests to carry the iniquity of others. Leviticus 10:16-17. Concerning the goat of the sin-offering Moshe diligently inquired. There it was ― ablaze. He was angry with Elazar and with Itamar the surviving sons of Aaron. He said, ‘Why did you not eat the sin-offering in a sacred place, for it is most holy? And it was given you in order to carry the iniquity of the congregation, to make expiation on them before the L-rd. Numbers 18:1 is also explicit in this connection. The L-rd said to Aaron, You, your sons, and your father’s house with you shall carry the iniquity of the sanctuary; you and your sons with you shall carry the iniquity of your priesthood. Carrying the iniquity of others is also a prophetic gesture. Ezekiel 4:4-6. And you shall lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it, the number of which you lie on it you will carry their iniquity. I have given you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of days, three hundred and ninety days. And you shall carry the iniquity of the house of Israel. And you shall finish these, then you shall lie on your right side, and you shall carry the iniquity of the house of Judah, forty days, a day for a year, one day per year I have imposed on you. During the exile, the children of Israel complain that their punishment is too severe, because they’re carrying the iniquity of previous generations. Our fathers sinned and they are no more, and we are carrying their iniquities. [Lamentations 5:7]

[9] Ex 40:9 And thou shalt take the anointing (המשחה) oil, and anoint (ומשחת) the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.

[10] For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Lev 17:11

[11] The only reference to ‘the messiah’ which uses the definite article ‘the’ (ה) is to Aaron the high priest.

[12] In Galatians 4:24 it is very clear that Hagar represents the Old Covenant established at Mt.Sinai which covenant means slavery for its children. “These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” In v. 28 Paul says that his fellow believers are not children of this Old Covenant yoke of slavery, but are the children of New Covenant freedom. In v. 30 Paul tells Christians to “cast out” Hagar who represents the Old Covenant of slavery. What does this accomplish? “Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman” (v. 31). Christians are free from all the laws of the Old Covenant not just the ceremonial ones. The “yoke of slavery” referred to in 5:1 must be the same yoke of slavery that Paul has been referring to in 4:21-31 and that is the whole Old Covenant. “These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.” The Ten Commandments and all the other commandments were from Mount Sinai. Hagar represents the entire Old Covenant and Christians are to cast out that entire covenant in order to become children of freedom.

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4 thoughts on “Messiahs

  1. Menashe Dovid Walsh congrats! may God bless you. Excellent article. Every Jew and Christian must read and think about it and must understand it in the right perspective. Menashe are you aware that Jesus didn’t claim he is the messiah ?
    Are you not aware that Jesus commanded his disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ? Not only that Jesus warned Jews “”Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name,saying Time is short and claiming, I am the Christ, ‘ and will deceive many, do not follow them or believe them. Do not believe any individual who may come claiming he is the messiah, do not believe if somebody says ” Messiah is here or there”. In other words Jesus told the Jews no individual will come as the messiah, who or what will come is the kingdom of God.

    Are you not aware that whenever Jesus spoke about son of man, Jesus said about the same son of man in Old Testament, especially about the same son of man in the book of Daniel?

    Like

  2. Daniel Paul…
    It is nice to come up with a bogus non-supported idea about Jesus in the NT… but as a Jewish apologist I must say that you have no clue to what you are saying.

    Jesus not only allowed or permitted and agreed to people calling him, the messiah or Christ, but that he also said that he was the last messiah that the prophets talked about.

    How many passages do you need?

    1) “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven,” Matt 16. Thus, Jesus admitted to the idea that he was the “messiah.”

    2) And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy,” Matt 26. Thus, he claimed he was the foretold last messiah.

    3) “But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,” Mark 14.

    4) “And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them,” Luke 21:8. Here he boldly claimed he was the foretold messiah.

    5) “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24. Thus, Jesus supposedly explains to these people that he, the Christ, was prophesied to suffer, die and raise again. You can’t get more clear here.

    6) “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he,” John 4.

    Your info is so off it is really pathetic, to put it bluntly.

    It is one thing to defend Judaism, but it is another matter to totally misrepresent someone else book.

    The last messiah of Judaism doesn’t die for sin and HaShem has no son, thus the whole premise of the NT is totally false.

    Maregaal Yaakov
    http://www.ancientjudaism.org

    Like

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