D'varim / Deuteronomy 17:15 "You shall set a king over you, one whom the L-rd, your G-d, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother."
G-d selected the human Jewish kings of the bible and gave the right to the kingship in perpetuity to King David and his son Solomon.
Sanhedrin 20b and Sotah 41b (Gemara in the Talmud) tell us that we Jews were obligated to appoint a king (it is one of three obligations when we came to the land of Israel). The other two mitzvot were to destroy Amalek; and to build a Mikdash. The Rambam even wrote that the mitzvah of appointing a king precedes and seems to be a prerequisite to the other two mitzvot.
If it is such a positive thing to appoint a king, why did the prophet Shmuel (Samuel) become angry when the people asked for a king (Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 8:5)?
Chazal (Radak, Rambam and Ralbag for three) said that Samuel was angry at the way they phrased their request. The people DEMANDED a king -- as if they can command G-d. They should have ASKED G-d to give them a king, not demand that one be appointed. This was disrespectful to G-d.
On top of that they did not ask for a Jewish king, but rather for a king ‘like all the nations."
A Jewish king is NOT like other kings. Thus this was also insulting to G-d.
Remember that non-Jewish kings were often worshiped as gods -- and the Radak says that some people wanted a king to lead them to serve idols – as was done for foreign rulers. . . Jewish humans are not worshiped (not David, Saul, Solomon or some non-king such as Jesus).
When Shmuel / Samuel the prophet anoints the first Jewish king (Shaul / Saul) he says: "And Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him. And he said, "Indeed, the L-rd has anointed you to be a ruler over His inheritance." Shmuel Alef / Samuel 1 10:1.
The L-rd anointed Saul to be king. G-d anointed Saul, through the Torah dictated method of his anointment with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”)— which is the only oil that can be used to anoint a Jewish king. It is mentioned in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:25 and again in Sh'mot / Exodus 30:31.
Consider Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 9:17 "When Samuel saw Saul, HaShem spoke up to him, "This is the man whom I said to you, This one will rule over my people. He will save My people from the hand of the Philistines, for I have looked upon My people, for their cry has come to Me.""
G-d selected Shaul / Saul as king. G-d is the 'king of kings" but you seem to be confusing that with earthly kings. Who ruled Israel before Samuel? Does the name Joshua ring a bell? How about the various Judges? In other words there were always rulers -- and G-d had said there would be an earthly king.
The Jews did not reject G-d as king (He is the eternal king), they simply wanted an earthly king to lead them since the multiple judges had become a fragmented government. There is a similarity in American history. The original form of American government did not have a strong central government and it was failing -- causing the United States to institute a constitution with a president (modern form of "king"), a congress (Sanhedrin) and court (Sanhedrin).
Israel did NOT reject G-d by wanting a human king, but indeed fulfilled what G-d said we would do -- and per our sages were commanded to do.
Missionary Misuse of Jewish Sources on Isaiah 53, Rashi "changed" the Jewish interpretation from the messiah to Israel
This is an oft repeated missionary claim: the ancient Jewish sources all agreed that the messiah (moshiach ben David) was the subject of Isaiah 53, but that רבי שלמה יצחקי / R' Solomon Isaac aka Rashi (1040 CE - 1105 CE) changed the entire Jewish view of Isaiah 53 from the messiah to Israel as a direct response against Christianity.
Jews for Jesus claims "Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Itzchaki, 1040-1105) and some of the later rabbis, though, interpreted the passage as referring to Israel. They knew that the older interpretations referred it to Messiah. However, Rashi lived at a time when a degenerate medieval distortion of Christianity was practiced. He wanted to preserve the Jewish people from accepting such a faith and, although his intentions were sincere, other prominent Jewish rabbis and leaders realized the inconsistencies of Rashi's interpretation."
This is a very interesting claim given that there is source after source after source pre-dating Rashi by nearly 1000 years which state the exact opposite of this missionary statement -- made (you will note) as if it is a factual statement and not their opinion.
In 248 CE -- 792 years before the birth of Rashi -- early church father Ὠριγένης / Origen (184 CE - 284 CE) wrote that ancient Christians knew that the literal meaning by Jews was that the servant in Isaiah 53 is the Jewish people. “bore reference to the whole [Jewish] people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations.” Origen, 248 C.E., Contra Celsum.
So much for the missionary claim that "the older interpretations" (of Isaiah 53) referred it to Messiah."
Did Origen miss the missionary message?
If Rashi did not invent the idea that the servant in Isaiah was Israel, why do so many missionaries claim that he did?
It all goes back to that 19th century book written by the missionary E.B. Pusey The idea that Jews USED to say that Isaiah 52-53 was about the messiah but "changed" it to the nation of Israel because of the threat of Christianity during the time of Rashi (12th century CE) -- as mentioned even on Jews for Jesus as quoted above -- popped up in the 19th century thanks to the book The 53rd Chapter of Isaiah According to Jewish Interpreters by Driver and Neubauer.
Missionaries so often just repeat a claim made by other missionaries. Isn't it interesting that the quote in the previous post (about Midrash Tanchuma) appears in so many missionary locations? It might add credibility to the missionaries if they chose differing quotations -- but they all parrot the same misuses!
Aside from the Christian Origen (2nd century CE) do we have any other proofs that the Jewish sages noted that the servant in Isaiah 53 is the Jewish nation?
Of course we do.
The missionaries reference Targum Yonatan (Jonathan) to prove that ancient Jews spoke of the messiah in Isaiah 53 and reference the Targum for proof. Well and good, but the Targum also speaks of the servant as being Israel (the Jewish people) -- something the missionaries never seem to mention! The messiah (in this allegorical story using Isaiah 53 as its "jumping off" point) is an exalted messiah -- not the suffering Jesus concept. Nowhere in Targum Yonatan does it speak of a suffering messiah. It speaks of an EXALTED messiah. The suffering servant in the Targum is Israel -- Jews. There is a blog post on the missionary misuse of Targum Yonatan.
So much for the missionary claim that Rashi "invented" the idea that Isaiah's suffering servant is Israel rather than the messiah. It simply is not true.
We needn't rely on a Christian source or even the Targum Yonatan to show that the primary consensus among Jewish sources is that in the ps'hat (plain meaning) the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 is the Jewish people -- there are plenty of other sources pre-dating Rashi which state the same thing.
In the Babylonian Talmud, בְּרָכֹות / Berachot 5a, pre-dating Rashi by at least 500 years, states that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is the Jewish people "If the Holy One, blessed be He, is pleased with Israel or man, He crushes him with painful sufferings. For it is said: And the L-rd was pleased with [him, hence] He crushed him by disease (Isa. 53:10). Now, you might think that this is so even if he did not accept them with love. Therefore it is said: "To see if his soul would offer itself in restitution" (Isa. 53:10). Even as the trespass-offering must be brought by consent, so also the sufferings must be endured with consent. And if he did accept them, what is his reward? "He will see his seed, prolong his days" (Isa. 53:10). And more than that, his knowledge [of the Torah] will endure with him. For it is said: "The purpose of the Lord will prosper in his hand" (Isa. 53:10). It has been taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai says: The Holy One, blessed be He, gave Israel three precious gifts, and all of them were given only through sufferings.. These are: The Torah, the Land of Israel and the World To Come."
Note that Jews for Jesus and the other missionary sources somehow miss this Talmudic quote regarding Isaiah's suffering servant!
A noted scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls and early Christianity in the first century of the common era, Geza Vermes, wrote "Neither the suffering of the messiah, nor his death and resurrection, appear to be part of the faith of first century Judaism." (Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels, page 38). Vermes was a British scholar of Jewish Hungarian roots who became a Catholic priest, and even accumulated many accolades as a Christian scholar while a Roman Catholic priest. Geza Vermes was born a Jew to Hungarian parents who were Jews and were murdered by the Nazis. He was taken in by Catholics (I think nuns) and raised as a Roman Catholic. So, when he, as adult, found out about his heritage, he decided to RETURN to Judaism.
Tanna D'Bei Eliyahu Rabbah (Midrash, so not a literal interpretation), has three citations referencing that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 refers to the righteous of Israel (chapters 6, 13, 27).
Additional sources pre-dating Rashi:
Yalkut Shimoni II 476
Bamidbar Rabbah chapter 13.2
Zohar (numerous places)
Poems by R. Shlomo Ibn Gavriel
Isaiah himself often refers to the Jewish people as G-d's servant. Chapters are a Christian invention -- but even so in chapters 41, 44, 45, 48 and 49 Jacob (another name for the Jewish people) and Israel (another name for the Jewish people) are stated repeatedly to be G-d's servant.
Finally, the missionary argument that early Jewish sources referred to Isaiah's servant as the messiah and we "changed" it is false -- but it is also a straw horse. It is a diversion from the true question at hand, to whit -- can Isaiah 53 possibly be about Jesus? The answer to that question is a resounding "no." Jesus did not live a long life. He did not have children. He was not exalted in life. He did not die multiple deaths. . .
There are Jewish sources who view the servant in Isaiah 53 as the Jewish people, as the messiah, as Moses, as David -- there are many interpretations (most not meant literally). The consensus of Jewish opinion is that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 is the Jewish people -- but if it can be applied to others as well it cannot be applied to Jesus -- and that is the question a Christian must ask as they read the T'nach (Jewish bible) for what it truly says -- not what taking a word or sentence out of context forces it to seem to say.
There is nothing in the T'nach (bible) that says the messiah will be born in or even arrive in בֵּֽית־לֶ֣חֶם / Beit Lĕḥĕm (aka Bethlehem).
The Christian bible misuses the words of the prophet Michah / Micah who said that the messiah will be a descendant of King David. It was David who was of Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah. "And David was the son of this Ephraitite man from the House of Lĕḥĕm (Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah, aka Bethlehem) of Judah." Shmuel Alef / 1 Samuel 17:12
The prophet Micah was not prophesying that the messiah will be born in the town of Bethlehem. There is no prophecy that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem -- or even where the messiah might be born.
The prophet Micah was stating that the messiah will be a descendant of King David (which Jesus was not if one believes in the virgin birth since lineage only passes from the biological father -- and G-d is not a son of David!).
Michah / Micah 5:1 (2 in Christian translations) says “But as for you, Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah... (there were two Bethlehems - Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah was in the land of the tribe of Judah and the other was in the Galilee) you are too small to be among the thousands of Judah (so small you aren't even counted)- (but) from you [the messiah] shall emerge for Me, to be a ruler over Israel; and his origin is from of old, from early times (days of old).”
So there is no prophecy that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem. Just how many people do you suppose were born in Bethlehem? People are still born there -- Bethlehem of Judah still exists. Again -- something as ordinary as a person being born somewhere -- something that "fits" tens of thousands if not more -- is not and cannot be a messianic prophecy.
On top of misstating that the messiah will be born in Bethlehem of Judah (based on incorrectly applying the words of Micah) the anonymous author of the book of Matthew misquotes Micah -- and REVERSES what the prophet wrote.
The Christian translations start Micah 5 with the last sentence from the previous chapter. Line 4:14 in the T'nach reads "Now you shall gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops; he has laid siege to us. With a rod they strike the judges of Israel on the cheek." Christian translations call this line 1 of chapter 5 -- but this is either sloppy translation or outright deceit. We know this is the last line of chapter 4, and not the firs tline of chapter 5 (as in Christian versions) because line 4:14 is separated from 5:1 (the sentence about Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah by a paragraph-break in the Hebrew text. This paragraph-break means it is a new section.
The application of Line 4:14 is “quoted” by Matthew as if it is the first line of a new chapter and thus part of a "prophecy" about Jesus -- and this seems to have been a purposeful dishonesty because Matthew reverses what Micah actually says by ignoring that paragraph-break.
The prophet Micah states clearly that the Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah was a small, unimportant place -- so small that it was “too small to be reckoned among the ‘thousands’ of Judah.” (meaning it had to have fewer than 1000 citizens). Even though it is a small, insignificant place King David was born there -- and the messiah will eventually come from the line of David -- this insignificant boy from an insignificant town.
Matthew totally reverses Micah, saying ""'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
Micah: “But as for you, Beit Lĕḥĕm–Ĕfratah... you are too small to be among the thousands of Judah (so small you aren't even counted)-
Matthew: "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
We seem to be in opposite land!
So, while in this season many sing of the "Little Town of Bethlehem" and picture Jesus being born there to fulfill a prophecy that the messiah will be born there -- you have been duped. Matthew lied when he wrote "When he (Herod) had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’"
There is no such prophecy of where the messiah will be born.
The prophet did not write that Bethlehem of Judah was "by no means least" -- he wrote the opposite!
UriYosef has written an interesting article entitled "O Little Town of Bethlehem -- of Galilee" which is worth reading. He writes "Two distinct geographical places named בֵּֽית־לֶ֣חֶם / Beit Lĕḥĕm (aka Bethlehem) are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: One, the familiar city that is located in the territory of the Tribe of Judah, is referenced on 40 occasions. The other, a more obscure one referenced only once (as one of the 12 named cities in the territory of the Tribe of Zebulun), is located in the lower Galilee some four miles (approximately 7 kilometers) northwest of Nazareth. . .
Uri notes that archaeological studies show that the town in Judah (the one mentioned in the Book of Matthew) appears unoccupied in the time frame Jesus was supposedly born there. From 37 BCE to 70 CE there is zero archaeological evidence that anyone lived there.
There was another Bethlehem -- this one located in the Galilee -- and not that far from Nazareth. This would mean that Matthew named the wrong town (not Judah, but Galilee) -- and that this town was not the one mentioned by the prophet Micah.
I do recommend reading Uri's article. His summary lists points worth repeating here:
The hijacking of the term "messianic Judaism" by Christians has always struck me as ironic as observant Jews ARE messianic Jews and always have been. Judaism believes that one day a special HUMAN king, descended from Kings David and Solomon, will help usher in an age of global peace, global knowledge of the one true G-d, the return of the Jewish people from exile to our land, and so forth.
12th of the 13 Principles of Judaism – Belief in the Messiah and the messianic age.
“We believe and affirm that the Messiah will come and usher in an age of global peace (the messianic age). [One must also] believe that [the Messiah] will surpass all the kings who have ever ruled in terms of his grandeur, his greatness, and his honor. Included within this Principle is [the idea] that the king of Israel must come from the House of David and the seed of Solomon. Anyone who opposes this dynasty defies the Almighty and the words of His prophets.”
The Jewish concept of the messiah is very different from the Christian concept. Again – remember that with thousands of iterations of Christianity one will say Jesus was a human while another will say he was G-d in human form (G-d forbid). Jesus was never a moshiach (messiah) -- and he did not have the "birth right" to be a rightful king of the Jews.
To be a Jewish messiah a king must be anointed with the שֶֽׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹֽדֶשׁ / shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”). This is a very special type of anointment with a particular oil for kings. The Hebrew word is inseparable with the concept of the special oil and the messiah.
The shĕmĕn mish'ḥat kōdĕsh (“anointment-of-holiness oil”) was a special mixture of spice and olive oil that was used for “anointing” of kings and priests. It is mentioned 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: You (Moses) 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, and 500 shekels of cassia, all measured by the sanctuary standard, along with a gallon of olive oil. 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. Then use it to anoint the Communion Tent, the Ark of Testimony, the table and all its utensils, the menorah and its utensils, the incense altar, the sacrificial altar and all its utensils, the washstand and its base. You will thus sanctify them, making them holy of holies, so that anything touching them becomes sanctified. You must also anoint Aaron and his sons, sanctifying them as priests to Me. Speak to the Israelites and tell them, 'This shall be the sacred anointing oil to Me for all generations. 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. 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.
Did the Christian bible ever claim that Jesus was anointed by the only oil the bible allows for anointing kings?
Did the Christian bible claim that Jesus was descended from Kings David and Solomon?
Yes, it does – but it gives two conflicting lineages for Joseph which would disqualify any of Joseph’s children from being a messiah. One excludes Solomon (which is a requirement) and the other lineage goes through a cursed line (Jeconiah) which has been cut off from kingship in the bible.
But a far bigger mistake is the virgin birth. Tribal rights only pass from having a Jewish mother and a Jewish father (who is married to the mother). The biological father passes the tribal status and if Jesus were a “virgin birth” then Joseph was not his father and he was not of the tribe of Judah. It doesn’t matter what tribe Mary might have had – that is immaterial.
In fact the whole lineage argument for Jesus is a bit silly. The right parentage is just “table stakes.” It is a requirement – but there are men from the tribe of Judah through David and Solomon who are alive today and none are the messiah.
The true messiah will build the Sanctuary (Jesus lived during the time of the Second Temple and it was destroyed within 40 years of his death – so this is the opposite of the prophecy).
The messiah gather the dispersed of Israel and return them to the land. Jesus did not do this – and within 100 years of his death the Jews were exiled from the land by the Romans – again the opposite of the prophecy.
Jewish law (Halacha) will be re-instituted in his days. Many Christians think that Jesus removed all the mitzvot – so again we have the opposite of the prophecy occurring – his followers deserted Halacha. Jews were under Roman law during Jesus’ lifetime. . .
The messiah will resume sacrifices and will bring a sin sacrifice (see Yechezkel / Ezekiel). Most Christians believe that Jesus was the "last and final sacrifice." Yet the T'nach (bible) tells us that the messiah (called the prince in Yechezkel / Ezekiel) will bring sacrifices in the messianic era -- including a sin sacrifice for himself (Christians believe Jesus was "without sin" -- he never brought a sin sacrifice).
"the burnt-offerings and the meal-offerings and the libations on the Festivals and on the New Moons and on the Sabbaths, and on all the times fixed for meetings of the House of Israel shall devolve on the prince (the messiah); he shall prepare the sin-offering and the meal-offering and the burnt offering and the peace-offering, to effect atonement for the House of Israel. . . And the prince shall make on that day for himself and for all the people of Israel a bull for a sin-offering." Yechezkel / Ezekiel 45:17-22.
Within 40 years of Jesus’ death the Temple was destroyed and sacrifices ceased. Again we have the opposite of the ture messianic prophecies with Jesus. The messiah will build the Temple as described in Yechezkel / Ezekiel 43 (the Second Temple, existing during the time of Jesus, had been built hundreds of years prior to his birth -- ergo he did not build it. The Second Temple was not built to the prophecy of Yechezkel / Ezekiel in chapter 43, more proof that Jesus was not the messiah and that the Second Temple was not the Temple of the messiah). Chapters 40-48 of Ezekiel gives a very detailed directions for building the messianic era Temple -- and again this Temple did not exist 2000 years ago (meaning Jesus was not "the" messiah).
The Second Temple (the one standing 2000 years ago) was specifically NOT built to Yechezkel / Ezekiel's prophecy because the prophets alive when it was constructed were told by G-d that it was not to be the messianic Temple. When it came time to rebuild the second Temple, G‑d commanded through his prophets Chaggai, Zechariah and Malachi not to build it according to the specifications in Ezekiel.
When missionaries use the term “messiah” or “christ” (Greek) they mean Jesus and only Jesus – if they think of what the word means they probably assume it means “king” (it can refer to kings, but it refers to any anointed one and is often used to speak of Jewish priests).
Most Christians think Jesus was the only messiah there ever was – and yet by the Torah requirement Jesus was never a moshiach -- and he did not have the "birth right" to be a rightful king of the Jews. Also, most Christian translations only translate “moshiach” as “messiah” once or twice in their English translations – doing so only where they think they can use it to “point” to Jesus. Generally speaking the one or two times the word “messiah” is used in their translations of the Jewish bible it is in Daniel 9. The other 37 instances are translated as “anointed one.” This is misleading to the average Christian who doesn’t know of the deceit. Even in Daniel 9 there is deceit as most versions say “the messiah” even though the word “the” is not in Daniel 9. Daniel 9 actually speaks of two anointed ones (messiahs), none of whom is called “the messiah.”
There have been many messiahs (Saul, David, Solomon and even Cyrus who was a non-Jewish messiah). See Shmuel I / I Samuel 26:11, Shmuel II / II Samuel 23:1,Yeshayahu / Isaiah 45:1, and T'hillim / Psalms 20:6. . . However when Jews speak of “the” messiah they are speaking of the specific King who will usher in the messianic age. The final Messiah will be a normal human being, born of human parents. It is thus possible that he is already born. In every age there is a man who could be the messiah – if we are ready for him and deserving of him.
Where does the Jewish concept of Messiah come from? Some of the prophecies are found in Yeshayahu / Isaiah 2:1-4; Tzefaniah / Zephaniah 3:9; Hoshea / Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Yeshayahu / Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Michah / Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; and Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 31:33-34 (the renewed covenant between G-d and the Jews).
Many of these prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 11:1-9; Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Yechezkel / Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hoshea / Hosea 3:4-5).
Since every King is a Messiah, by convention, we refer to this future anointed king as The Messiah. The above is the only description in the T'nach of a Davidic descendant who is to come in the future. We will recognize the Messiah by seeing who the King of Israel is at the time of complete universal perfection.
Here are a few of those messianic prophecies with their sources listed:
A. Build the Third Temple (Yechezkel / Ezekiel 37:26-28).
B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 43:5-6).
C. 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." (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 2:4)
D. Spread universal knowledge of the G-d of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "G-d will be King over all the world -- on that day, G-d will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).
If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be "The Messiah."
Christians reply that Jesus will do this the "next time" (e.g. the "second coming"). There is no mention of a second coming in the T'nach. The "second coming" was an attempt by Jesus' followers to explain why he failed to fulfill the messianic prophecies -- but it certainly does not constitute proof of messianic claims. Indeed, Jesus told his followers he would return in THEIR lifetimes (over 2000 years ago). The second coming "promise" is a failed promise. There is not one word about a second coming of the Messiah in any of those passages! Some missionaries point to Daniel 7:13(12) to support the idea of the second coming, but Daniel 7 is a vision (primarily of the kingdoms who follow Daniel). The term used in Daniel 7:13 is כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ k'var ĕnash, which means “something like a human being." It does not say the "son of man" is coming. . . And how would a Christian know if it referred to Jesus the first time (or the second)?
If Daniel 7 were speaking of someone as important as the messiah and a "second coming" why would the passage be a vague "possible" reference rather than a clear message that cannot be interpreted incorrectly?
As with most proof texting, the answer becomes clear when it is read IN CONTEXT. Don't stop at line 14 in Daniel 7. After Daniel has the vision he approaches an angel and asks for an explanation of all that he had seen (7:16). The angel tells Daniel that the four beasts represent 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 reference to the Jewish people (Israel) is repeated in verse 7:27. According to the angel, each of the beasts represents a different kingdom, while the son of man in Daniel’s vision represents Israel. The Christian assertion that this passage refers to the Messiah (let alone a second coming of a messiah) is plainly refuted by scripture itself.
So, no, Daniel 7 does not support the concept of a "second coming" of the messiah.
Bottom line, the messiah MUST fulfill the prophecies in his lifetime or he is not the messiah.
The Rambam "If he did not succeed to this degree or was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah. Rather, he should be considered as all the other proper and complete kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. G-d caused him to arise only to test the many, as Daniel 11:35 states: 'And some of the wise men will stumble, to try them, to refine, and to clarify until the appointed time, because the set time is in the future.' If the Messiah fulfilled some miracles but not all, before dying, we cannot regard him to be the Messiah, and instead view him as a test or our own will." Hilchot Melachim 11:4-5.
Jesus was not a Davidic king (he was not properly anointed as a king as already explained in this post, and he lacked the lineage to be a king).
Because no one has ever fulfilled the T’nach's description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. I don't want to overwhelm you with references -- but here are the messianic prophecies. Compare them to Jesus for yourself. Bamidbar / Numbers 24:14‑19, D'varim / Deuteronomy 4:30, 30:1‑10, 32:43, Yirmiyahu / Jeremiah 3:14‑18, 16:14,15,19, 23:3‑8, 30:3,7; Yechezkel / Ezekie 11:17‑20, 20:40‑44, 28:25‑26, 34:9‑16,22‑31, 36:6‑15,22‑38, 37:1‑28, 38:1‑48:35, Yeshayahu / Isaiah 1:26,27, 2:1‑4, 4:2‑6, 10:33‑12:6, 24:21‑25:9, 30:26, 34:1‑35:10, 40:1‑11, 41:8‑20, 43:1‑10, 44:1‑5 49:8‑26, 51:11,22‑52:12, 54:1‑55:5, 56:7, 60:1‑63:9, 65:17‑25, 66:10‑24, Hoshea / Hosea 2:1‑3,16‑25, Yoel / Joel 3:1‑4:21, Amos 9:11‑15, Ovadiah / Obadiah 1:17‑21, Michah / Micah 4:1‑7, 5:1‑13, 7:8‑20, Tzefaniah / Zephaniah 3:9‑20, Zechariah 2:9, 8:1‑8, 14:3‑21, Malachi 3:4,16‑24, T'hillim / Psalm 51:20,21, 69:36,37, 98:1‑3, 102:14‑23, 126:1‑6, Dannyiel / Daniel 2:44, 7:18,22,27, 12:2,3. Here is a link to the Judaica Press T'nach if you want to check the sources.
Principle #12: "Anyone who does not believe in the messiah, or whoever does not look forward to his coming, denies not the teachings of the prophets including those in the Torah. “G-d, your G-d, will return your captivity and have mercy on you. He will return and gather you [from all the nations whither G-d, your G-d, has scattered you]. If your banished shall be at the utmost end of the heavens [G-d, your G-d, will gather you from there]… and G-d, your G-d, will bring you [to the land that your fathers possessed, and you will possess it]." D’varim / Deuteronomy 30:3-5.
Recently the blog has focused on how Jews know that Jesus was not the messiah (he did not have the correct parentage, he did not fulfill the prophecies and human sacrifice is forbidden. The Torah also teaches us that no one can atone for the sins of another -- each of us is responsible for his / her own sins. That last topic -- our personal responsibility -- brings me back full circle to the intention of this blog.
The focus of this blog is not on Jesus (as a person or a god). The goal of this blog is to explain what Jews believe and to show how these beliefs are based firmly in the Jewish bible (primarily the Torah, the Five Books of Moses). The other books of the bible (Prophets and Writings) do nothing more but re-enforce what G-d already taught us in the Torah. We are forbidden from adding to or subtracting from the mitzvot of the Torah. Think about it -- the prophets spent most of their effort trying to return Jews to Torah observance!
This blog exists to help teach uneducated Jews and interested non-Jews the teachings of Torah (and thus Judaism) -- and to refute the assumption by many a missionary that Judaism and Christianity are "the same" -- except they believe the messiah has come (Jesus) while the Jew still awaits the messiah.
This assumption is false. There are far more differences between Judaism and Christianity than there are similarities.
Let's just list a few differences, Remember: what one Christian believes another will reject -- some Christian reading the list will say "I don't believe in "original sin" or "faith over works", but the list of what Christians believe is based on a majority of "normative" Christian teaching and beliefs:
A Jew cannot be Christian and remain Jewish. A Jew accepting the beliefs of another religion (gods) and rejecting those promises we made to G-d to do and to hear is endangering his or her immortal soul. A Jew can never stop being a Jew, and thus turning to עבודה זרה / avodah zarah (strange / foreign worship, aka idolatry) is cutting that person off from G-d and the Jewish people. That person is an apostate to the Jewish people until such time as he or she returns to G-d and repents of their idolatry.
The term idolatry in Judaism means any form of worship we did not know at Sinai, and any thinking Christian must realize that the Jews of Sinai did not pray to or through Jesus.
The website Simple to Remember puts it well. Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
(What exactly is the Messiah?)
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.
By "the beginning" I mean let us start with the very first disqualification of Jesus as a potential messiah. The "table stakes" (entry fee if you will) to be the messiah is a man who is a direct descendant of Kings David and Solomon on his father's side.
Tribal lineage is only passed by a Jewish biological father impregnating a Jewish woman (his wife or concubine). The mother must be Jewish because "who is a Jew" is passed maternally (link), while tribal status is passed by the Jewish father IF the mother is Jewish. For those who want to understand in more depth why "who is a Jew" is passed maternally follow the link.
Christianity teaches of the virgin birth of Jesus, and this supposed miracle is actually the very first thing that totally disqualifies Jesus from being a Jewish king (messiah). Joseph was married to Mary. Some missionaries try to avoid the issue of Jesus' legitimacy by stating that Mary was engaged to Joseph, but not yet married. Thus there is no question of adultery, because she was engaged, but not married. Nice try, but (there was no such thing as an engagement in ancient Judaism). Marriage was a two part process, and in the first stage (eirusin) the couple might not live together, but they were still considered married. Also note that Joseph is said to have thought to divorce Mary (Matthew 1:19). One divorces a wife, not a fiance.
As an outsider (non-Christian) it is odd to me that a missionary can become so in love with the idea of a virgin birth that they ignore that Jews are a real people, with real laws. At the time Jesus was supposedly born we had a real country (even though it was occupied by the Romans). Jewish law (halacha) was given by G-d. These are not man-made rules, these are the very words G-d commanded us to do and to follow. In this post we will discuss Jewish law taken from the bible and it will show why the virgin birth disqualifies Jesus from even being a member of the tribe of Judah, let alone a messianic "wannabe."
In the beginning (of the covenants with our people: Abraham, not Adam!) no one was Jewish. Abraham had a covenant with G-d, so did Isaac, as did Jacob, but the first Jews were created (converted if you will) at Sinai when G-d revealed Himself to the entire nation and we agreed to be His people. The laws relating to "who is a Jew" relate, then, only post-Sinai (again, some missionaries seem to ignore chronological order!). The first "You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son. For he will turn away your son from following Me, and they will worship the gods of others, and the wrath of the L-rd will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.” D'varim / Deuteronomy 7:3-4. see also Ezra 10:2-3..
Tribal lineage however is passed only by the Jewish father (if the mother is Jewish). We also know this because this is what G-d tells us in the T'nach (bible). Start with Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17-18 where the pedigrees are decreed by the men (not the women). according to their families (tribes). Rashi (great biblical commentator) wrote "They brought the records of their pedigrees and witnesses of their birth claims, so that each one should trace his genealogy to a tribe."
Every tribal lineage can only be transmitted from a father to his biological sons (assuming the mother is Jewish -- if the mother is not Jewish the child has no Jewish status at all, including no tribe). The Torah discusses that only men transmit tribal status in Bamidbar / Numbers 1:17-18 (quoted above) , including the right to priesthood and kingship (Sh'mot / Exodus 40:15; Baidbar / Numbers 25:12-13).
This is what G-d has decreed in the Torah. And G-d does not lie.
"G-d is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?" Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19.
"And also, the Eternal One of Israel will neither lie nor repent, for He is not a human to repent." 1 Samuel 15:29
"I am G-d and not a man. In your midst is the Holy One." Hosea 11:9.
"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.
Some missionaries will argue that Tzelafchad / Zelophehad's daughters (בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד) inherit from their father. This, they insist, means that Mary could pass her tribe on to Jesus whether or not Joseph was the biological father. First of all, there is not one passage in the Christian bible which says it is Mary's lineage (although missionaries will try to fit one of two conflicting lineages to her). It would not matter what her birth tribe was since a woman's birth tribe "goes away" upon marriage. A woman becomes a member of her husband's tribe when she marries him. The story of Tzelafchad/ Zelophehad's daughters re-enforces the fact that tribal status is passed only by men (and not women).
Tzelafchad / Zelophehad's five daughters are told they may inherit their fathers "things" only so long as they remain in their father's tribe. If they marry in the same tribe then that property stays in the tribe (because it is the tribe of their husband as well as their birth tribe).
The part that the missionaries do not quote is Bamidbar / Numbers 36 which shows that if any of Tzelafchad / Zelopehahd's daughters married into a different tribe they would lose their father's property -- proving yet again that this type of inheritance is only from the male (father) and not the woman:
"You have also been commanded by G-d to give the hereditary property of Tzelafchad our brother to his daughters. 36:3 'But if they marry a member of another Israelite tribe, then the hereditary property coming to us from our fathers will be diminished, since it will be added to the tribe into which they marry. Our hereditary property from the lottery system will thus be diminished. 36:4 Even if the Israelites have the jubilee, their hereditary property will be added to the property of the tribe into which they marry, and it will be subtracted from the property of our fathers' tribe.'
36:5 Moses gave the Israelites instructions at G-d's command, saying, 'The tribe of Joseph's descendants have a just claim. 36:6 This is the word that G-d has commanded regarding Tzelafchad's daughters: You may marry anyone you wish as long as you marry within your father's tribe.
36:7 The hereditary property of the Israelites will thus not be transferred from one tribe to another, and each person among the Israelites will remain attached to the hereditary property of his father's tribe.
36:8 'Thus, every girl who inherits property among the Israelite tribes shall marry a member of her father's tribe. Each Israelite will then inherit his fathers' hereditary property, 36:9 and the hereditary property will not be transferred from one tribe to another. Each of the Israelite tribes will then remain attached to its hereditary property.' 36:10 Tzelafchad's daughters did exactly as G-d had commanded Moses. 36:11 Machlah, Tirtzah, Chaglah, Milcah and No'ah, the daughters of Tzelafchad, married their cousins. 36:12 They thus married into the families of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their hereditary property remained with their father's family." Bamidbar / Numbers 36:2-8.
Ergo the tale of Tzelafchad's daughters clearly shows that tribal rights pass only through the men -- unless the women do not marry (and thus remain in their father's tribe). The story of Tzelfchad's daughters actually refutes the missionary argument rather than supporting it.
One final missionary argument (when all else fails) is that Jesus was adopted by Joseph, thus giving him the right to the tribe of Judah.
Nice try, but Jewish law does not work that way. Tribal status does not pass to an adopted child.
If adoption into the royal line were possible, one would have to wonder why Athaliah took such drastic measures following the death of her sons at the hands of Jehu and his men: "And Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, and she rose and destroyed all those of royal descent." 2 Kings 11:1. Had adoption been a viable solution to the problem of an heir, Athaliah would have been able to pursue that route -- but instead when her son died she killed those that had the lineage to claim the throne. See also 2 Kings 9:27, 10:13-14. Yoash the son of Ahaziah was saved (hidden away), and he did have the lineage to the royal family.
Tribal status only pass from biological Jewish father of a specific tribe who has a child with a Jewish woman. Adoption doesn't pass tribal lineage and neither do women (a woman takes her husband's tribe upon marriage and the tribe of her birth is immaterial). If the woman has a child from a man other than her husband that child would have no tribal status (being the result of adultery per Jewish law).
Ask the missionary who argues for adoption into kingship if Queen Elizabeth II of England had adopted a boy prior to giving birth to Charles would that adopted son be in line for the British throne? The answer is NO. So why is it so hard for them to understand the same is true of Jewish law? While Jewish law is different from British -- this concept is the same.
Add to this the fact that Jewish "adoption" significantly different from Roman / Christian adoption. In Judaism the concept of being adopted and having your birth parents "forgotten" is non-existent.
A Jew who is adopted into a family of a tribe other than his birth tribe does NOT take the tribe of the adopting family. The argument is false. In Judaism an adopted child retains the tribe of his birth (if he had one). A girl retains her father's tribal status until such time as she marries outside of that tribe (and then she is a member of her husband's tribe).
In Ketuvim (Writings) we are told that Esther is adopted by her cousin Mordechai (Book of Esther 2:7). Esther's full name is used twice in the story --- and both times it is tied to her birth father (Esther daughter of Avihayil). (Book of Esther 2:15 and 9:29) -- in other words, she is called by the name of her biological father, not her adoptive father.
A child born as a priest (a kohein) is ALWAYS a kohein even if adopted by someone from the tribe of Judah. Adoption does NOT change tribal status -- it is only biological from a Jewish father to his Jewish child.
In Mary's case if the father of her child was anyone other than Joseph the child was a mamzer and had no tribal status at all. When a woman marries she takes on the tribe of her husband (as if her birth tribe simply disappeared). Mary's lineage is totally immaterial -- excepting that she had to be Jewish.
So adoption by Joseph of Jesus would not make Jesus a member of the tribe of Judah.
A child may be raised by persons other than his or her biological parents, but the heritage (parentage) does not change as it does in Western society. From the Guide for the Jewish Adoptive Parent:
"It might come as a surprise to learn that adoption, as a legal institution does not exist in Jewish tradition, at least not in the same way that it is understood in civil law. . . Adoption as a legal institution was rare in Biblcal and Rabbinical literature. The Bible contains several incidents of foster care which, though not the equivalent of adoption, are noteworthy. Most famous of these was Moses, who was raised by Pharaoh's daughter. Later Rabbinic sources praise this pagan woman for her piety and note that Moses' name was given to him by his foster mother; his Hebrew name, presumably given to him at birth, is not remember. Ruth's son Oved was nursed and perhaps raised by her mother-in-Law Naomi. . . Esther, orphaned at an early age is raised by her cousin Mordecai. . .
"Rabbinic law also describes no formal adoption procedure. Rather the Rabbinic court provided for the care of needy children by the appointment of a legal guardian, an apotropos, who was responsible for the child's economic and educational welfare. An apostropos was appointed for orphaned children and an asufi (foundling; a child with no known parents), and occasionally when biological parents were incapable of providing adequate care. It was considered meritorious to take into one's house children in need of care and to raise them along with one's own family.
"There are crucial differences between the Jewish and civil institutions of adoption. While Jewish law recognizes the possibility of creating a facsimile of parental and filial obligations that could approximate those in a biological relationship, the natural bond between parent and child cannot be legally severed. Though a child might be physically removed from the biological parents, some legal relationship to them was preserved"
The Encyclopedia Judaica states (reprinted at the Jewish Virtual Library):
Adoption is not known as a legal institution in Jewish law.
According to halakhah the personal status of parent and child is based on the natural family relationship only and there is no recognized way of creating this status artificially by a legal act or fiction.
However, Jewish law does provide for consequences essentially similar to those caused by adoption to be created by legal means. These consequences are the right and obligation of a person to assume responsibility for (a) a child's physical and mental welfare and (b) his financial position, including matters of inheritance and maintenance. The legal means of achieving this result are (1) by the appointment of the adopter as a "guardian" (see *Apotropos ) of the child, with exclusive authority to care for the latter's personal welfare, including his upbringing, education, and determination of his place of abode; and (2) by entrusting the administration of the child's property to the adopter. The latter undertaking to be accountable to the child and, at his own expense and without any right of recourse, would assume all such financial obligations as are imposed by law on natural parents vis-à-vis their children. Thus, the child is for all practical purposes placed in the same position toward his adoptors as he would otherwise be toward his natural parents, since all matters of education, maintenance, upbringing, and financial administration are taken care of (Ket. 101b; Maim., Yad, Ishut, 23:17–18; and Sh. Ar., EH 114 and Tur ibid., Sh. Ar., ḤM 60:2–5; 207:20–21; PDR, 3 (n.d.), 109–125). On the death of the adopter, his heirs would be obliged to continue to maintain the "adopted" child out of the former's estate, the said undertaking having created a legal debt to be satisfied as any other debt (Sh. Ar., ḤM 60:4).
Indeed, in principle neither the rights of the child toward his natural parents, nor their obligations toward him are in any way affected by the method of "adoption" described above; but in fact, the result approximated very closely to what is generally understood as adoption in the full sense of the word.
Along with the laws defining that tribal status passes only by a Jewish father impregnating his wife (or concubine) with his zera (think "sperm") we also have the many promises by G-d to King David that the right to kingship would never be removed from King Solomon. Thus the messiah must be descended not only to a member of the tribe of Judah, but the messiah must also be descended from Kings David and Solomon. This post is long enough, I will save that discussion for another post.
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.
Daniel 9 is not about the messianic age. It is not a messianic prophecy. And, "no," "the" messiah did not have to arrive before the destruction of the second Temple.
Daniel is seeing a vision about the return of the Jews from the exile in Babylon. In his vision he sees that a messiah (not "the") will give the word to rebuild Jerusalem. The word "messiah" in Hebrew means "anointed one" and it is used to speak of anointed kings and Jewish priests.
In Daniel 9 the first ruler (messiah) comes after 49 years after the destruction of the Temple a ruler will come and give the order to rebuild Jerusalem:
"Know and comprehend: From the emergence of the word to return and to build Jerusalem until the anointment of the prince will be seven septets, and fir sixty-two shavuim (weeks / septets) it will be rebuilt, street and moat but in troubled times." Daniel 9:25.
The messiah is Cyrus the Great of Persia. He was the king who gave the order to rebuild Jerusalem. From the time the order is given the Jews have nearly 500 years to return to observance and avoid a second exile. If they do, then they will avoid a second exile. (All negative prophecies are warnings that can be averted if one listens to the warning). Missionaries will claim that it was not Cyrus who gave the word mentioned in Daniel 9, but the prophet Ezra tells us:
"And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the HaShem by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the HaShem stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he issued a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing." Ezra 1:1
In case you were not sure that it this word was fulfilled by Cyrus, we can recap all of the above verses with this synopsis in Chronicles.
"To fulfill the word of HaShem by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths; for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, so that the word of HaShem spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, HaShem stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying: Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has the HaShem G-d of heaven given me; and He has charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, HaShem his G-d be with him, and let him go up!" 2nd Chronicles 36:21-23.
This indeed happened -- just as Daniel had been told. Cyrus gave the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.
"Know and comprehend: From the emergence of the word to return and to build Jerusalem until the anointment of the prince will be seven shavuim (weeks / septets), and for sixty-two shavuim (weeks / septets) it will be rebuilt, street and moat but in troubled times." Daniel 9:25.
For 490 years (from when the first Temple was destroyed to the destruction of the second Temple) the Jews need to be purified of their sins such as not properly observing the sabbatical years. The angel says the second Temple period will be troubled.
All negative visions can be avoided. If the people used the time correctly they can receive the positive vision mentioned in Daniel 9:24 "to terminate transgression, to end sin, to wipe away iniquity, to bring everlasting righteousness, to confirm the visions and prophets and to anoint the Holy of Holies." If they do not turn away from their transgressions and stop doing the evil things moving them away from Torah they will have a different ending -- and a second (and evil) messiah will come to destroy Jerusalem yet again, and exile the Jews again as well.
The Jews did not heed the warning — indeed the Second Temple period was one of great strife. The Jews actually invited the Romans in! Some Jews became very Hellenized (Romanized). There were many splinter groups, one of whom actually torched the food within the walls of Jerusalem — destroying their fellow Jews. The Talmud (Yoma 9b) says: “Why was the Second Temple destroyed? Because of sinat chinam, senseless hatred of one Jew for another.”
Hence the second exile was not avoided. The Temple was destroyed in 68 CE and around 135 CE the Jews were exiled from Judah — most of us for 2000 years.
"Then, after the sixty-two septets , the anointed one will be cut off and will exist no longer; the people of the prince will come and will destroy the city and the Sanctuary; but his end will be (to be swept away as) in a flood. Then, until the end of the war, desolation is decreed." Daniel 9:26.
The term “messiah” is used 39 times in the T’nach. It means “anointed one” and it refers to kings and priests. In the case of Cyrus it refers to a non-Jewish king. The evil messiah who is cut off from G-d at the end of the 490 years (as mentioned in Daniel 9:26) could have been Herod Agrippa, or even Titus (who became the anointed emperor of Rome). How do we know this second messiah was evil? Because Daniel tells us that he will be כרת / kareit -- cut off. The term כרת / kareit means someone who has done something so evil that he is cut off from G-d and from the Jewish people. Missionaries who wish to insist that Daniel 9 is speaking of Jesus (as at least one of the messiahs) should ask themselves "was Jesus so evil that G-d would have cut him off from knowing Him?" If not, Daniel 9:26 cannot be speaking of Jesus.
When Daniel 9 uses the term "messiah" there is no definite article (the word "the") used at all, even though some Christain translations including the King James Version say "the messiah."
The lack of a definitive article (messiah but not “the” messiah) indicates that this second anointed one (messiah) could refer to several different anointed subjects. King Herod Agrippa the last King of Judah (Kings are considered anointed as it says in 1 Chronicles 11:3). He was killed during this time (around 44 CE). Messiah could also refer to the last High priest (priests are anointed as seen in Vayikra / Leviticus 4). There was also Titus (Emperor) who made a treaty with the Jewish nation for seven years, but for the second half of the term the Romans would violate that covenant and impede the Temple service. He eventually became the Roman emperor and died around 81 CE.
My point being Daniel 9 has nothing to do with “the” messiah or the messianic age. David was a messiah. Aaron was a messiah. Saul was a messiah. Cyrus was a messiah. Solomon was a messiah. . . none of them were “the” messiah. There are two messiahs (plural) in Daniel 9 -- neither of which was "the" messiah. This is not a messianic prophecy. (Actually the book of Daniel is not prophecy at all -- it is found in Ketuvim, Writings, in the T'nach). To better understand why Sefer Daniel is not prophecy refer to the 365 Prophecies tab and read the post explaining prophecy. Link.
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.