This week's parsha (Torah reading) is פקודי / Pekudei (Sh'mot / Exodus 38:21-40:38) which discusses the completion of the מִשְׁכַּן / Mishkahn (Tabernacle, or tent of meeting) and ends with the phrase "Moses completed all the work. The cloud / הֶעָנָ֖ן covered the Communion Tent, and G-d's glory / וּכְב֣וֹד filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not come into the Communion Tent, since the cloud had rested on it, and G-d's glory filled the Tabernacle. . . G-d's cloud would then remain on the Tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night. This was visible to the entire family of Israel, in all their travels."
Note that it says "G-d's cloud."
So what is this cloud?
What about the burning bush which attracted Moses, and from which a voice spoke to Moses?
The burning bush was not G-d either. In Sh'mot / Exodus 3:2 Moses did not "see" G-d at all in the bush — it was an "angel" (messenger) not G-d. The angel did not take on the form of a burning bush either -- "G-d's angel appeared to [Moses] in the heart (or flame) of a fire."
How about the cloud on Mount Sinai, mentioned in תְּרוּמָה / Parsha Terumah (Sh'mot / Exodus 20:18) "Moses entered the mist where the Divine was [revealed]."
G-d was not that cloud either.
Two lines later (Sh'mot / Exodus 20:20) G-d tells Moses "Do not make a representation of anything that is with Me."
In this week's parsha the term we are translating as G-d's glory is וּכְב֣וֹד (and glory). כָּבוֹד means glory or honor and the prefix וּ (vav) which is used to mean "and" or "but." Some translations will use the word "presence" for כְב֣וֹד, but this might mislead a reader into thinking that this is somehow part of G-d (and G-d has no parts). It is rather a way we perceive His presence. Glory is a much closer translation than presence. Glory is the translation used in both the Judaica Press and The Living Torah translations. Glory is more accurate and less open to misinterpretation of some physicality. The word כָּבוֹד / 'kavod" is more commonly translated as "honor" than glory. . . In describing G-d's כָּבוֹד / kavod the The Living Torah states it is:
Either a feeling of holiness (cf. Ramban) or an actual physical glow (Moreh Nevukhim 1:44). In any case, G-d's presence was evident in the Tabernacle (Moreh Nevukhim 1:19).
"The Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 1:64) explains that the term “Kavod Hashem”, or any use of kavod in reference to G-d, has numerous meanings. For example, when Moshe asks from G-d (Sh'mot / Exodus 33:18) “hareini nah es kevodecha”, he was asking to understand the essence of G-d. Therefore, in that instance, the kavod refers to the essence of G-d. In the case of the mishkan (Tabernacle), he explains that the kavod Hashem was a light created by G-d to delineate the importance of that specific place. Therefore, the kavod Hashem referred to in the above verses meant some type of light that was emanating from the mishkan, seen through the surrounding cloud.
"We see a clear example of this at the revelation at Sinai. The Torah (Sh'mot / Exodus 24:16) relates how the kavod Hashem rested on Har Sinai, with the anan enveloping it for six days. On the seventh day, G-d called out to Moshe to enter into the anan, where he then received the Torah. Taking the Rambam’s (Maimonides) interpretation, this would mean the cloud covered the mountain and the light emanated from within it. . .
"A cloud and light are actually ideal representations as they share a common feature. They both exist within the physical world, able to be seen, yet lack any physicality – nobody can “touch” light or “feel” a cloud. G-d is not physical, so there is no means of physically representing Him. Yet there are times when G-d chooses to reveal Himself to the nation, and the people need a means of identifying G-d’s presence. The choice of these two entities reflects the need for the manifestation to be observable, yet still intangible (there are other instances throughout the Torah where these two are used)."
Most Christians believe that G-d had a body (and that body had a name: Jesus). Thus the concept of a G-d as something physical is an inherent part of Christianity (for most Christians), while the Torah and Judaism completely rejects the concept that G-d is anyone or anything. G-dd is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that G-d assumes human form makes G-d small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: "G-d is not a man." (Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19).
The Torah tells us G-d is incorporeal (has no physicality) time and time again.
"You did not see any image on the day that G‑d spoke to you at Horeb [Sinai]."-- D’varim / Deuteronomy 4:15.
G-d has no physical manifestation -- He is not a bush, a cloud, or a man. (D'varim) Deuteronomy 4:15 clearly tells us that the Israelites did not see G-d in any form. Ergo G-d was NOT the pillar or the cloud. "You cannot see My Face, for man cannot see Me and live." (Sh'mot / Exodus 33:20).
Sh'mot / Exodus 24:17, told us “the appearance of the glory of HaShem was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop before the eyes of the Children of Israel." Note that it says the appearance of the glory of G-d, not the appearance of G-d.
"But will G-d indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You; much less this temple that I have erected." Melachim Alef / 1 Kings 8:27.
What does it mean when, in this parsha, we are told that the people saw a cloud covering the Mishkahn by day and a light (fire) by night? The Rambam explained that this was a creation by G-d to delineate the importance of that specific place (where the Ark of the Covenant was kept). Therefore, some type of light was emanating from the Mishkahn (Tabernacle). By day the people saw the cloud, and just as we might have an electric light on during the day but can't differentiate between sunlight or the light from a street lamp outside during the day the people did not notice the light during the day. At night (when it was dark) the light was seen (Moreh Nevuchim 1:64).
For more discussion on the concept of G-d's glory in the Mishkhan (and later in the Temple) you might want to read this article from the Mesora website.
The Rambam (Isurey Biah 13 17) writes about the gerim (converts) who don’t commit themselves to the ways of the Torah with a full heart, and they are the ones who end off with second thoughts and try to revert the conversion to no avail. Once a convert had completed his conversion there is no return.
The Rambam continues that a typical example of such converts who refused to live a Torah life were the ערב רב / Erev Rav (mixed multitude who left Egypt with the Jews) who caused the Jews to do many misdeeds.
The Zohar (Ki Sisa 192a) explicitly writes that the gerus (converts to Judaism) of the ערב רב / Erev Rav was not done with a full heart. Both the Zohar and the Rambam [in continuation to his above mentioned comments] write that this is what Chazal had in mind קשה גרים לישראל (converts are not easy on Israel). The insincere cause untold problems (including the delay of the arrival of the messiah), while sincere ones may make a born Jew embarrassed that he is "not as good a Jew" as a convert.
Read Rashi’s commentary to Sh’mot / Exodus 32:7 which he references from Exodus Rabbah your people…have acted corruptly: Heb. שִׁחֵתעַמְ. It does not say, “The people have acted corruptly,” but “your people.” Those are the mixed multitude whom you accepted on your own initiative, and whom you converted without consulting Me. You said, “It is good that converts cleave to the Shechinah.” They have acted corruptly and have corrupted [others]. -[from Exod. Rabbah 42:6]
The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh says that it refers to the ערב רב / Erev Rav. The sin of the Jews is that they did not STOP the ערב רב / erev rav. There were 3 million Jews! 3 million! It was indeed a great sin on the part of the Jews.
Folks more familiar with the movie version of the “Ten Utterances" (not Commandments) rather than what the Torah says argue “how could it NOT be the Jews who built the golden calf, after all Aaron (Moses’ brother) HELPED THEM.”
Well, first of all the Torah tells us that it was not the Jews who made the golden calf. Sh’mot / Exodus 32:7-8 “Then G-d said to Moses ‘Go, descend − your people that you have brought up from Egypt have acted corruptly; they have quickly left the way that they were commanded and have made for themselves a melted [gold] calf.... they have worshiped it and made offerings to it, and they have proclaimed: ‘Listen Jews (Israel), these are your gods that have brought [plural] you up from Egypt'."
First of all, notice that the "people" G-d refers to in verse 7, and the speakers in verse 8, are not Jews; whenever G-d is talking to Moses, He never calls the Jews (Israel) "your people that you have brought from Egypt." G-d always speaks of “My people” when talking about the Jews. But Moses had allowed non-Jews to leave Egypt with the Jews. These people, עֵֽרֶב רַב / érev rav were the non-Jews whom Moses let travel with the Jews leaving Egypt (Sh'mot / Exodus 12:38).
Line 8 is usually mistranslated as "This is your god who brought...." – but that is a mistranslation. The text reads אֵֽלֶּה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ éleh elohecha ("THESE ARE your gods") and even the verb that follows, הֶעֱלֽוּךָ he'elucha, is plural (הֶעֱלֽוּךָ he'elucha is the 3rd person plural, past tense hif'il form הֶעֱלוּ "they brought up" with the 2nd person object-case suffix ־ךָ "you" added to it).
Also Sh’mot (Exodus) 32:5 says “These are your gods”
Did you notice one really interesting word?
It is the word "your"
And not the word "our."
The text does not say, “These are our gods.” - it says “These are your gods” meaning that the עֵֽרֶב רַב / érev rav ( mixed multitude who had come up from Egypt) were the ones who gathered against Aaron, and they were the ones who made it [the calf]. Afterwards, they caused the Israelites to stray after it. -[from Midrash Tanchuma 19].
Again -- pay attention. YOUR gods (plural) not our G-d (singular). If the Jews were speaking they would say "our G-d" (or heaven forbid: our gods). . . who are they saying "YOUR" to???? No one says "your" when they are speaking of themselves! It would be "our" or "us" or even "we"!
Here’s how the story goes. The time: shortly after leaving Egypt. Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to receive the 10 Utterances from G-d, and when Moses is delayed coming down from the mountain the people tell Aaron, “…Make us gods, which shall go before us; we have no idea what happened to this Moses guy who brought out us out of Egypt.”
In reality, this took place after the entire nation heard G-d speak to them at Sinai. The entire nation (some 3 million people) agreed to follow the mitzvot. Do you really think after such an amazing experience and making such promises the Jews would immediately make a statue of a false god?
Does that make any sense at all?
So let’s put things in context. Moses was late coming down from the mountain. Moses said he would be gone 40 days, and the people had miscounted. They thought he was dead. They approached Aaron and Aaron tried to stall them. Sh’mot / Exodus 32:3 “Take the rings off the ears of your wives and children,' replied Aaron. 'Bring them to me.'”
This is not some rabbinical “made up” excuse about Aaron. READ THE TORAH, specifically line 25 of the same chapter. “They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us, because this man Moses, who brought us up from the land of Egypt we do not know what has become of him.' I said to them, 'Who has gold?'”
As Rashi points out, Aaron did NOT say “give me your gold.” He asked “who has gold.” Aaron was stalling, but the people immediately gave him their gold with which to make an idol.
When Aaron is confronted by a mob demanding that he make them אֱלֹהִ֗ים (elohim, mighty, powerful judge. The word אֱלֹהִ֗ים / elohim is used to speak of false gods, angels, humans and G-d Himself. It refers to a powerful leader, thus some sages say the golden calf was to replace Moses whom they thought had died. Others say the calf represented a false god to replace G-d) In this instance it is in the plural (when used for G-d it is never plural).
Aaron says: "break off the gold rings that are in your wives’, your sons’ and your daughters’ ears and bring it to me” (notice that he didn’t ask for the gold jewelry that the men in the mob were wearing. Nope, he asked for the jewelry that their wives and children were wearing). Why?
So STALL FOR TIME.
But the tactic didn’t work. The mob took off their own jewelry and gave it to Aaron.
No read Sh’mot / Exodus 32:5. The golden calf “came out of the fire” (apparently, all by itself). Some sages say the magicians from Egypt (who had come with the עֵֽרֶב רַב / érev rav made it seem to appear. (The Zohar, 191:1).
Aaron continued to stall for time. He said “ ‘Tomorrow will be a Feast for G-d!’ ” (notice that he didn’t offer any sacrifices to the calf, that he delayed the “Feast” until the next day, and that he didn’t announce that there was to be a Feast for the calf, but specifically “for G-d”).
Another important fact is to note at 3000 people took part in the golden calf incident – out of the 3 million there. Only .1% of the people took part in the incident – and they were all killed. 99.99% did nothing wrong! (3,000 people took part out of 3 million people who were there). Sh’mot / Exodus 32:28.
Moses confronted Aaron and asked him why he had allowed the statue to be made – and Aaron explained to Moses that he did what he could to at least slow them down. Sh’mot / Exodus 32:25 “And Moses saw the people, that they were restrained, for Aaron had restrained them to be disgraced before their adversaries.”
Aaron did not encourage the building of the golden calf – he was trying to prevent a riot. Our sages say that Aaron reasoned that it would be better that he alone be blamed for the golden calf than the entire nation of Israel. R’ Hakohen from Lublin explained that Aaron became Kohen Gadol, not despite the golden calf, rather because of it! [See Takanat Hashavim, p. 20]. Aaron did his best, and even though he did, he also repented – knowing that he should have tried to do more. Repentance motivated by love of G-d will turn a sin into a meritorious deed.
Midrash Aggadah adds a bit more detail to the story (since this is Midrash, it is a story and may or may not be true). Earlier we are told that Chur is an important leader and is often with Aaron. Chur is mentioned in Sh’mot / Exodus 17:10, and 24:14. Before Moses leaves to ascend the mountain he says (24:14) “Aaron and Chur will remain with you. Whoever has a problem can go to them.'”
So Chur is in charge (as is Aaron) until Moses’ return – but we never hear of him again.
The Midrash tells us that Chur tried to stop the rabble from creating the golden calf and they murdered him. Now, again, this is a Midrash (story) – it may be fact, or it may be fiction, but it adds a layer to the motivations of Aaron to keep the crowd from rioting while trying to save his own life. . .
Does anyone honestly think that G-d would have made Aaron the kohen gadol (high priest) – and given all of his descendants the eternal priesthood – if Aaron had been an idol worshiper?
The people who made the calf were killed (all 3000 of them). G-d also sent a plague
THINK, folks! Think and read the Torah – not what Cecil B. DeMille makes into a movie, or what someone tells you it says.
The golden calf is considered one of the worst sins of the Jewish people. I am not trying to make less of it than it was. The sin of the 3 million Jews was in not preventing the 3000 from sinning. Surely 3 million could have prevented the actions of 3000.
There are two very important lessons to learn from the tale of the golden calf:
"Only take heed and watch yourself very carefully, so that you do not forget the things that your eyes saw. Do not let [this memory] leave your hearts, all the days of your lives. Teach your children and children's children about the day you stood before G-d your L-rd at Horeb.It was then that God said to me, 'Congregate the people for Me, and I will let them hear My words. This will teach them to be in awe of Me as long as they live on earth, and they will also teach their children.'
"You (The Jewish nation of 3 million) approached and stood at the foot of the mountain. The mountain was burning with a fire reaching the heart of heaven, with darkness, cloud and mist. Then G-d spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words, but saw no image; there was only a voice. He announced to you His covenant, instructing you to keep the Ten Utterances, and He wrote them on two stone tablets. At that time, G-d commanded me to teach you rules and laws, so that you will keep them in the land which you are crossing [the Jordan] to occupy. Watch yourselves very carefully, since you did not see any image on the day that G-d spoke to you out of the fire at Horeb (Sinai). You shall therefore not become corrupt and make a statue depicting any symbol (like a cross maybe?).
[Do not make] any male (Jesus?)
or female image, or the image of any animal on earth, any winged creature that flies in the sky, any lower form of land animal, or any animal that lives in the water below the earth. When you raise your eyes to the sky, and see the sun, moon, stars and other heavenly bodies, do not bow down to them or worship them. It was to all the [other] nations under the heavens that G-d made them a portion. But you, G-d Himself took, and He brought you out of the iron crucible that was Egypt, so that you would be His heritage nation, as you are today. . . Be careful that you not forget the covenant that G-d your L-rd made with you. [Do not] make for yourself any statue image that is forbidden by G-d. G-d your L-rd is (like) a consuming fire, a G-d demanding exclusive worship." D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:9 - 24.
As mentioned in this post Jesus was not eligible to be the messiah if he was a "virgin birth." The messiah must be born of human Jewish parents. The father must not only be Jewish, he must be of the tribe of Judah and descended from Kings David and Solomon. The messiah will be a normal human. He will not be a demigod, The messiah will not possess supernatural qualities either, and performing miracles is not a criteria to be the messiah either.
The Messiah (moshiach ben David -- the messiah son of David) must be descended on his father's side from King David (see B'reshit / Genesis 49:10, Yeshayahu / Isaiah 11:1, Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Yechezkel / Ezekiel 34:23-24). If the virgin birth story was true, and Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus then Jesus did not even have the most basic right to even try to be the messiah.
The T'nach (Jewish bible) makes it clear that the messiah must be descended from King David and King David's son Solomon. Some missionaries will claim that the "promise" that the throne must pass through Solomon is conditional, but this is untrue.
2 Samuel 7:12-16 – When your days (King David) will be completed and you will lie with your forefathers, then I shall raise up your seed after you, that which will issue from your loins, and I shall establish his kingdom. (13) He shall build a Temple for My sake, and I shall make firm the throne of his kingdom forever.
And then read 1 Chronicles 22:9-10 – Behold a son will be born to you; he will be a man of peace, and I shall give him peace from all his enemies around about, for Solomon will be his name, and I shall give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. (10) He shall build a House in My Name, and he shall be to Me as a son, and I to him as a Father, and I shall prepare the throne of his kingdom forever.
And while you're at it read 1 Kings 8:15-20; 1 Chronicles 17:11-15, 22:9-10, and 28:3-7. Torah is clear that the messiah must be a physical offspring of both David and Solomon. The Torah specifies that blood rights, such as tribal lineage, are transmitted exclusively from a father to his biological sons. Whenever the Israelites were selected to serve in the army, it was done "according to the house of their father (Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17 - 18).
"Who is a Jew" passes maternally (see D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:1–5, Vayikra / Leviticus 24:10, and Ezra 10:2–3) and lineage (tribal status) passes paternally (by the father -- assuming one first has a Jewish mother) -- and ALL of this is found in the written Torah. Sh'mot / Exodus 6:14, 6:25, B'midbar / Numbers 17:21, 34:14, 36:1, Y'hoshua / Joshua 14:1, 19:51, 21:1, 22:14, Ezra 1:5, 2:59, 2:68, 3:12, 4:2-3, 8:1, 10:16; N'ḥemyah / Nehemiah 7:61, 7:69-70, 8:13, 12:12, 12:22-23. According to the Torah, lineage/pedigree, a blood right, is passed exclusively by a biological father to his sons.
Ergo the virgin birth totally disqualifies Jesus from being the messiah.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Joseph was Jesus biological father. Joseph impregnated his wife, Mary, and she gave birth to a child, Jesus. The Christian bible tells us that Joseph was of the tribe of Judah, so would a normal human child from Joseph's sperm be eligible to be the messiah?
The Christian bible gives two different and conflicting lineages for Joseph. Some missionaries will claim that one of those is actually the lineage of Mary (even though the Christian bible says that both are the lineage of Joseph). If one were Mary's birth lineage it would be immaterial as a wife takes her husband's tribe upon marriage. Her birth tribe becomes moot (ancient history, unimportant). A woman does not pass tribal rights to her children -- that is passed only from the father as shown by all those passages quoted earlier in this post.
Does the lineage of Joseph given by Matthew and also by Luke put Jesus in the running to be the messiah?
Let's examine each one.
Matthew skips four kings in his lineage. Melachim 1 / I Kings Chapters 1 through Melachim II / II Kings Chapter 24, Divrei Hayamim I / I Chronicles 3:10-17, and Divrei Hayamim II / II Chronicles Chapters 1-36 show the lineages from King Solomon to King Jeconiah. Matthew skips: Ahaziah son of Jehoram, Jehoash son of Ahaziah, Amaziah son of Jehoash and Uzziah son of Amaziah (also called Azariah.
Why does Matthew eliminate 4 kings representing 81 years of leadership?
Matthew 1:17 states "so all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations, and from David to the Babylonian exile are 14 generations, and from the Babylonian exile until the messiah are 14 generations"
This is inaccurate. There were 18 generations -- Matthew eliminated four of them. The T'nach lists the list of lineage in three separate places in the T'nach. Link.
Eliminating four generations still might put Joseph, and his sons, in line to claim kingship, but Mathew makes one more and far more serious error in his list. Matthew left out a generation and the names given after Zerubbabel don't match 1 Chronicles 3. With such glaring errors can Matthew's genealogy be trusted?
Matthew includes King Jeconiah in his lineage for Jesus and Joseph. Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 22:30 states that none of Jeconiah's heirs will ever be kings of the Jews. Thus by including Jeconiah in Jesus (and Joseph)'s lineages Matthew has just eliminated Jesus from the possibility of ever being an anointed (messiah) king of the Jews.
Some missionaries try to "get around" the problem of Jeconiah's line being cursed and removed from the throne. They claim that the curse on Jeconiah was lifted and they point to a Talmudic passage which says that Jeconiah repented, and G-d forgave him. Yet missionaries reject the Talmud! This missionary attempt to put Jeconiah back in the kingly lineage also throws a monkey wrench into the Christian theology that says that only blood can atone for sins. If Jeconiah can ask for forgiveness and be forgiven, why does anyone need Jesus to die for their sins?
Bottom line regarding Matthew's lineage for Joseph: it excludes both Joseph and Jesus from kingship because it includes Jeconiah in the line and G-d removed him from any future descendants being kings. (Again, if Joseph was not Jesus' biological father he had no rights to the throne either).
OK, what about Luke? Luke gives a totally different lineage than Matthew. Would a male child from Joseph and his wife, Mary, be eligible for the Jewish throne? The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31). Based on Luke's lineage Jesus would not have the correct pedigree to be messiah.
So from the very start -- his lineage -- Jesus was not eligible to be a messiah. But having the right lineage (which many even alive today can boast -- after all Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines) does not make anyone the messiah.
To be the messiah a man must not only have the right lineage (which Jesus lacked), he must also be anointed with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”). Notice the word מִשְׁחַת /mish'ḥat? It means anointment. This special mixture of spice and olive oil is the only one that was used for “anointing” Jewish kings or priests. You can read about it in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33:
" G-d spoke to Moses, saying: 30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane, 30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil. 30:26 Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, 30:27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, 30:28 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. 30:29 You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. 30:30 You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. 30:31 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 30:32 Do not pour it on the skin of any [unauthorized] person, and do not duplicate it with a similar formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. 30:33 If a person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized person, he shall be cut off [spiritually] from his people."
Jesus was never anointed with this, the only oil used to anoint Jewish kings. Any claims of being anointed by the "holy spirit" or another oil is immaterial -- it is not the right method for anointing Jewish kings as defined by G-d in the Torah (bible).
Lastly, and most important of all, Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies. Missionaries counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the T'nach no concept of a second coming exists. In fact, the T'nach says when a person dies, "on that day his plans all perish." T'hillim / Psalm 146:4.
The excuse of Jesus’ “second coming” is an admission that Jesus failed to fulfill these essential Messianic passages. Couldn't anyone claim to be the messiah -- and promise to fulfill the prophecies "next time"? The question then becomes why anyone should believe that person was the Messiah when they first came upon the scene?
Paul seemed to realize that the two lineages were a problem. He wrote "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless." Titus 3:9.
Both Jews and Christians use the word "messiah," but we mean very different things using the same word. What are those definitions -- and what does the bible say?
I just mentioned that the word messiah appears 39 times in the T'nach. Ask yourself how many times that word is presented as "messiah" in Christian translations? Usually only once (in Daniel 9) where it is presented as "the Messiah" in the King James Version translation. There is no "the" with the word in Daniel 9, and there are no capital letters in Hebrew. Daniel 9 speaks of two messiahs (not one) -- neither of whom is "the" messiah (and again, the word "the" is not found in the text). Some Christian translations also use the word "messiah" in T'hillim / Psalm 2. Those two places are the only two where Christian translators use the word "messiah."
Here are just a few Christian translations to consider -- the word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) is translated as "anointed one" by Christian translators except for once or twice in Daniel 9 (and sometimes in Psalm 2). Here is a short list, check for yourself:
Most Christian translations of מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) "messiah" in Daniel 9, including the King James Version / KJV, puts the definite article "the" in front of "messiah" ("the messiah") in Daniel 9 although the Hebrew word for "the" does not appear at all ('ha").
Interesting enough the NIV has "the anointed one" in Daniel 9 (and not "messiah") -- but note that they still say "the" even though the word isn't used! Still misleading, it should be "AN anointed one" not "the anointed one."
The T'nach (Hebrew) of Daniel 9 does not say "the messiah." It actually speaks of two anointed ones / messiahs (not one). Neither anointed one (messiah) is "the messiah." The term “THE messiah” (with the definite article “the”) does not occur anywhere at all in the T'nach (Jewish bible). But I digress. The point of this post is to explain the difference in meaning of the word "messiah" for the Christian versus how it is used in the T'nach (Jewish bible) and what it actually means in Hebrew.
If you look up the word "messiah" ("christ" is a modified Greek translation for the word) in your average English dictionary you will find it defined as "the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible" or "the expected king and deliverer of the Jews" or even "Jesus regarded by Christians as the Messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the savior of humankind."
The word "christ" in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) is "The title, also treated as a name, given to Jesus of Nazareth (see Jesus)."
Since you now know that the word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) appears 39 times in the T'nach ask yourself about the 37 instances that are presented as "anointed one" and not as "messiah." Ask yourself "why"? Ask yourself -- is the word "messiah" in the T'nach presented as the "expected king and deliverer of the Jews"? Is the word in the bible only pointing to "Jesus regarded by Christians as the messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the savior of humankind?"
Nope, not even close -- which is why those translations chose to not confuse their readers by presenting the word as "messiah."
The 37 instances of "messiah" which the Christian translators give as "anointed one" and not "messiah" do not fit the Christian theology so they are not presented as "messiah" (which is an Anglicized version of the Hebrew word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach), instead the meaning is given (the actual translation into English. Thus in 37 places it is "anointed one" which most Christians would not realize is presented as "messiah" in Hebrew.
As a result of these misleading translations many Christians think Jesus was the only messiah ever -- and given their mistranslations this is an easy mistake to make.
None of those definitions is correct. The translation of the Hebrew word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one) as Χριστός (Khristós) in the Christian bible is the origin for the word "christ." It should have the identical meaning as the word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one).
Quite simply the Hebrew word מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach) -- or "messiah" in English translates to "anointed one."
The noun מָשִֽׁיחַ (moshiach aka anointed one), in English "messiah" occurs 39 times in the T'nach. Thirty-four are nouns and the remaining five are adjectives.
Additionally there are other closely related words, such as מִשְׁחָה mish'ḥah (“anointment”) which occurs, for example, in the expression שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”)— this term is found twice in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:25 and again in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:31. שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”) is a special type of anointment with a particular oil for kings -- and this was never done with Jesus. Jesus was never a moshiach (messiah) -- and he did not have the "birth right" to be a rightful king of the Jews.
The Hebrew word is inseparable with the concept of the special oil in my last paragraph. This was a special mixture of spice and olive oil that was used for “anointing” of kings and priests. It is called שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”) in the passage of Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33 which gives the formula for making it and how to properly use it. . .
"G-d spoke to Moses, saying: 30:23 You must take the finest fragrances, 500 [shekels] of distilled myrrh, [two] half portions, each consisting of 250 [shekels] of fragrant cinnamon and 250 [shekels] of fragrant cane, 30:24 and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 30:25 Make it into sacred anointing oil. It shall be a blended compound, as made by a skilled perfumer, [made especially for] the sacred anointing oil. 30:26 Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, 30:27 the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, 30:28 the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. 30:29 You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. 30:30 You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. 30:31 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 30:32 Do not pour it on the skin of any [unauthorized] person, and do not duplicate it with a similar formula. It is holy, and it must remain sacred to you. 30:33 If a person blends a similar formula, or places it on an unauthorized person, he shall be cut off [spiritually] from his people." Sh'mot / Exodus 30:22-33.
Thus Saul, David and Solomon were all messiahs -- anointed kings.
Isaiah 45:1 uses the term לִמְשִׁיחוֹ֮ (has anointed).
Rashi's commentary on Isaiah 45:1 is: "Every title of greatness is called anointing. Comp. (Num. 18:8) “To you I have given them for greatness (לְמָשְׁחָה).” Our Sages, however, said: To the King Messiah, the Holy One, blessed be He, says, “I complain to you about Cyrus,” as it is stated in Tractate Megillah 12a." The only kohén (priest) who is ever called הַכֹּהֵן הַמָּשִֽׁיחַ hakohén hamashiyaḥ “the anointed kohén / priest" is the Chief Kohén (in Vayikra / Leviticus 4:3, 4:5, 4:16 and 6:15).
Note that מִשְׁחַת mish'ḥat is basically the same word as מָשִֽׁיחַ moshiach (a “messiah”).
A person cannot, therefore, be “anointed” (in the sense that this word is used in the Scriptures) with water, or with a dove, or with “holy spirit”, or with anything else apart from the compound of spices and olive oil that is specified in the passage I referred to a moment ago. Thus by the very definition of "messiah" in the T'nach Jesus was not a messiah. Jesus was not properly anointed with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ shemen mish'ḥat kodesh (“Oil of Anointment of Sanctity”).
Cyrus was not a Jewish king -- the anointing of a Jewish king is unique to Judaism. Cyrus was thus a messiah because he was a properly anointed king of his people.
Would it surprise you to know that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is a messiah? She is a properly anointed queen of her people.
The first Jewish priest, Aaron, was also a messiah (an anointed one). Moses’ elder brother Aaron and his four sons Nadav, Avihu, El'azar and Itamar) were anointed personally. it was not necessary for subsequent priestly generations to undergo the physical procedure of anointing because the “status” of being “an anointed person” could be inherited by a son from his father.
This is true for kings as well. But the generations must be uncontested.
There was a 600 year gap between the previous Davidic king and Jesus supposed birth. Those 600 years break means that the messiah will have to be anointed with the special oil -- and again this rules out Jesus (as did his parentage, Jesus was never eligible to be the messiah, but I will save that discussion for another post).
Personal anointment for Jewish kings is only necessary in three situations:
There are biblical references the future King who is destined to reign one day over the whole world, but he is never explicitly called a “messiah”. It’s a post-biblical usage in Judaism to refer to him as a “the messiah” The prophet Ezekiel refers to "the messiah" as "the prince. This person is human. He must be descended from a Jewish mother and the father must be a direct descendant of Kings David and Solomon (also with Jewish mothers -- a non-Jewish mother means the child is not Jewish and even if the father is Jewish the child would have no tribal rights).
The messiah will have children, and the messiah (being human) will eventually die. We know that the messiah will not live forever because we are told that his children will inherit.
"Thus says the L-rd G-d: If THE PRINCE gives a gift to any of his sons, it is his inheritance to remain in the their possession; it is their property by inheritance. (17) But if he gives a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his until the year of liberty, and then it returns to THE PRINCE; only to his sons shall his inheritance belong. (18) THE PRINCE shall not take any of the inheritance of the people to wrongfully force them out of their possession; only from his own possession shall he give his sons inheritance; so that My people should not be scattered, each man from his possession." Ezekiel 46:16-18 .
Although the word anointed (messiah) is used to speak of prophets, prophets were not formally “anointed”.
Even though G-d tells Éliyyahu / Elijah in 1 Kings 19:15-16 to go and “anoint” Ḥaza'él as king of Aram (Syria), Yéhu as king of Israel (the Northern Kingdom), and Ĕlisha as his own successor, He does not tell Éliyyahu / Elijah to take a supply of “Anointing Oil” with him (as He had done, for example, when He sent Samuel to anoint David in 1 Samuel 16:1). None of the three people Éliyyahu / Elijah was to “anoint” was a king of Judah so none of them was eligible to receive שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”).
When the time came for Éliyyahu / Elijah to appoint Elisha as his own successor, he didn’t actually “anoint” him at all, but simply threw his coat over the latter’s shoulders (1 Kings 19:19), symbolically transferring his authority to him.
So not only is the Christian definition very different from the biblical definition, it misleads the average Christian badly who does not speak and read Hebrew for themselves. Yet again we have very different meanings in the bible versus how it is used in Christianity (including the Christian bible).
The Jewish position on "the" messiah is all found in the T'nach (bible). He will be G-d's servant, ushing in an age of universal peace and Global knowledge of G-d. (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)
We know he will be a descendant of King David and King Solomon who will rule Israel during this messianic era. (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)
Since every King is a messiah, by convention, we refer to this future anointed king as The Messiah.
G-d is unchanging. It’s right there in Torah. He even tells you not to put your trust in the "son of man" in whom there is no salvation.
Yet Jesus is called "son of man" 88 times in the Christian bible!
Matthew uses the term 32 times
Luke uses the term 25 times
John uses it 12 times
Yet the T'nach (the "OT" - "only testament") tells us: "Do not trust in princes, or in the son of man, who has no salvation." (Psalm / T'hillim 146:3).
Could it be any clearer???
If you need a few more:
"I HaShem do not change ." Malachai 3:6
"Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am HaShem, and besides Me there is no Savior.” Isaiah 43:11
“I am the first and I am the last; apart from Me there is no G-d! Isaiah 44:6
"I am HaShem, and there is no other; besides Me there is no G-d" Isaiah 45:5
"Remember the first things of old, that I am G-d and there is no other; I am G-d and there is none like Me." Isaiah 46:9.
A little math for missionaries. . . 100% + 100% + 100% does not equal 1 no matter how many Trinitarians tell you that it does!
Sophiee Saguy has been countering false missionary claims about Judaism and the T'nach (Jewish bible) for nearly twenty years. You may find her on FaceBook and at the Messiah Truth forum.