Is Jesus Really the Messiah? Three Messianic Expectations at the Time of Jesus
by Eric Chabot
Over the years I have been asked why Jewish people don’t think Jesus is the Messiah. One of the most common responses is an online article called 7 Reasons Why Jews Have Rejected Jesus For Over 2,000 Years: A Must Read For Every Jew. As we see in the article, we have the traditional messianic views that are informed by Rabbinic Judaism and Maimonidies. Some of the messianic expectations are:
There is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Many of these prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5).
The article also says:
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Bible says that he will:
- Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
- Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
- Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
- Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all the world—on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah 14:9).
Here is another quote that is similar:
“The state of the world must prove that the Messiah has come; not a tract. Don’t you think that when the Messiah arrives, it should not be necessary for his identity to be subject to debate – for the world should be so drastically changed for the better that it should be absolutely incontestable! Why should it be necessary to prove him at all? If the Messiah has come, why should anyone have any doubt?” (Rabbi Chaim Richman, available at http://www.ldolphin.org/messiah.html).
So after we read the online article and this quote, we are supposed to assume it is all settled. Jesus didn’t bring the messianic age, gather the Jewish people back to the land, nor restore the Davidic throne nor the Temple. If it was only that simple. And to assert that the Jewish community has always held to one view of the Messiah is complete nonsense…
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