The King’s Musician – Tactics of Persuasion
The prophets of Israel painted a future of light. They described a world in which war is a forgotten concept (Isaiah 2:4). They talked of a world in which all of mankind enjoys the light of God in brotherhood and love (Isaiah 60:3). The prophets gave us hope for a time in which the knowledge of God covers the world as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
The prophets also spoke of God’s musician. They told us about David; the man whose songs draws hearts to God (2Samuel 23:1). And the prophets told us about David’s descendant; the Messiah, the man who will pick up the tune where David left off (Ezekiel 37:25).
Israel’s hope for the future also illuminates the present. Instead of seeing people steeped in selfishness; Israel sees future servants of God. Instead of reading life as a ride towards chaos and darkness; Israel sees life progressing ever forward towards light and tranquility.
Hope is so powerful. It has the attention of so many people in such a deep way. The magnetism of this hope has drawn people into believing that they themselves are somehow an integral part of this future of light. The office of King’s musician attracts the most attention. Many people have deluded themselves and others into thinking that they are or that they will be that singer of the King.
It is obvious to one and all that the King’s music is still not being played. Yes; David’s songs still resonate and even now they melt hearts towards God. But as long as darkness, war, confusion and hate still reign; David’s descendant is not here.
One of the many aspirants to the coveted title of “Messiah” was one Jesus of Nazareth. The delusion of his messianic career was put to rest as quickly as most others who hoped to change the world. Where Jesus stands apart from the rest of the messianic aspirants is in the propaganda team that his followers put together on the occasion of his failure.
The first thing any failure needs to do is to find someone to blame. The refrain of almost every failed campaign is that it was the “villain” who maliciously and unjustly turned the tables on us.
The problem that Jesus’ propagandists faced was that there was no one to blame but Jesus himself. It would have been bad enough if he did nothing that would make anyone think that he was the Messiah. But he didn’t stop there. Instead of playing the role of the King’s musician; who directs everyone’s attention to the king, Jesus dropped some hints of his pretentions to the throne of the King itself.
The wall of indifference that Jesus had crashed into was the loyalty that Israel had towards God and the understanding that Israel had of the Messianic hope. Israel’s loyalty to God would not allow them to submit to another entity and their understanding of the Messianic hope would not allow them to bestow the title “Messiah” on a man who played not a stitch of David’s music.
It wasn’t so much that Jesus was “rejected”. There was simply nothing to consider.
But Jesus’ propagandists were not daunted. The first thing they did was that they changed the target audience. Instead of talking to the people of Israel, who were God’s witnesses and the bearers of the Messianic hope, the Church Fathers turned to the Gentiles who had less of an understanding of these matters.
While the Gentiles had less of an understanding of the concept of a Jewish Messiah than did the Jews but the Gentiles were still going to ask the Churchmen why the Jews, who should be more knowledgeable about the matter, did not buy the story. How were the masters of persuasion going to deal with this challenge that was bound to arise even from the new audience that they were appealing to?
This is what they did.
They redefined the objective. Instead of a Messiah who is obviously and clearly the King’s musician they invented a new concept of “Messiah” as a mystery man who needs to be discovered and accepted. Once we are dealing with this “new reality” of a Messiah who needs to “prove” himself the persuaders can now claim that the “judgment” was unfairly skewed against him.
Who were the ones that committed this “injustice”? The Jews of-course! This tactic gave the propagandists the villain that they needed and it also discredited the only ones who would see through their charade.
The work of propaganda did not stop there. The Churchmen needed to redirect the conversation. Instead of a conversation about loyalty to God the Churchmen turned the conversation to a host of unrelated issues. They presented the argument between Jesus and those who ignored him as if it was an argument about faith, spirit and humility – all represented by Jesus; versus works, pride, legalism and hypocrisy all represented by his opponents; the Jews.
To recap; the followers of Jesus lied to the Gentile world by telling them that the office of Messiah is a position that is acquired by passing a series of tests. They then claimed that although Jesus had successfully passed these tests, the Jews still misjudged his case and rejected him. In order to direct attention away from the Jewish loyalty to God and to the crown of David the Churchmen spoke on behalf of the Jews and told the world that they rejected Jesus because he didn’t fit in with their legalistic, haughty, and hypocritical belief system.
These propaganda tactics succeeded not only to build Jesus’ following amongst the people of Europe but they also precipitated the persecution of the Jewish people by the believers of these myths.
To set the record straight I will say that the position of “Messiah” is not attained by winning a contest. The real Messiah will not need a team of propagandists to explain away his failure and to demonize the nation that God appointed as His witnesses.
The real Messiah will simply pick up the song where his ancestor David left off.
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal
The Wisdom that is Present Wherever You Look
The word “Jew” is a derivative of the Hebrew “Yehuda.” The name “Yehuda” means thanks and acknowledgment (Genesis 29:25), and the calling of the Jew is to praise and acknowledge the goodness of God (Isaiah 43:21). The activity of thanking God may seem to be something that is not very relevant in our fast-paced modern lives. But in fact, thanking God is something that has the power to turn over every moment of your life. And the Scriptural prophets promised that the calling of the Jewish people will one day light up the world.
Most of mankind’s activities are devoted to acquiring happiness or to avoid the threat of pain. We work to acquire food to eat to escape the threat of starvation and to enjoy the pleasure of eating. We amass wealth in order to avoid the threat of poverty and want. We exert ourselves to protect ourselves and our families from all types of disasters. We seek love, security and stability and we attempt to avoid loneliness, vulnerability and confusion. We want guarantees for our future in this world and the next and we want to see those guarantees in writing and in our own possession.
The underlying assumption that stands behind all of these activities is that we have the ability to escape our state of dependency and establish ourselves to be independent. We think that when the money is in our bank account then we are no longer dependent on outside factors for our material well-being. When we have that medicine in our pharmacies then we will have our health in our hand. When our houses are built and our borders are guarded then we will possess our security. When we find that relationship then we will possess the solution to loneliness and emotional want. When we find the right spiritual connection then we will possess the assurances that will assuage our fears.
In other words, most of mankind’s activities are devoted to combatting the fact that we are dependent beings. We assume that by acquiring various possessions we can establish our own independence.
But this battle of life is a battle of futility. We will never become independent. We will never possess our happiness, our health, our security or a guarantee for our future. How can we possess anything if our very existence does not belong to us? All of our happiness, our security and our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being rest with God. Every minute that we experience existence is a gift from the One who created us all and it is a gift that we did nothing to deserve.
The calling of the Jewish people is to declare to the world that there is no point in fighting God. There is no point in trying to acquire what you can never possess. Instead of fearing the state of dependence, rejoice in the fact that your existence is in the hands of God. Recognize that every breath that you ever took and ever thought that passed through your mind stood on nothing but on God’s love for you. You will come to enjoy the love of God not only in your own life, but you will also delight in God’s goodness that is evident in the breath of every living being.
The mission of the Jewish people is to testify to the simple truth that every iota of existence belongs to God and to no one else. Everything always belonged to Him and everything will forevermore belong to Him.
The greatest opposition that the Jewish people encounter in their mission to bring this truth to their own hearts and to the world is the philosophy of idolatry in its various manifestations. Not only does the philosophy of idolatry oppose the foundational truth of the absolute sovereignty of God but it does so in the name of spirituality and religious virtue.
The philosophy of idolatry opposes the foundational truth of the absolute sovereignty of God on two fronts. On the one hand the call to worship an idol is an exaltation of a quality (or set of qualities) that is contained in the context of a finite existence. Be it the majesty of a mountain, the beauty of river, the serenity and solidity of a statue, the power of thunder or the miraculous powers of Jesus, these are all qualities that are perceived in the context of a finite existence. By exalting these qualities and claiming that these qualities justify devotion toward the entity in which they are found the idolater is denying that these properties can never truly belong to a finite existence. The idolater denies that any quality that is found in the context of a finite existence can only be an undeserved gift from the One Creator of all. Worship of an idol is a denial of the idol’s debt toward the Creator for its very existence.
There is another way that the philosophy of idolatry opposes Israel’s message of God’s sovereignty. The idolater is not only denying the idol’s debt to God but the idolater also denies the worshiper’s debt to God. If we truly recognize that every iota of our existence belongs to God then we would also recognize that the only question that is pertinent in the context of worship is: to whom does my heart belong? The idolater encourages the worshiper to turn away from that question and instead ask: where can I direct my heart and profit the most?
The primary message of Israel’s prophets is that God is the absolute Master of all. Instead of allowing ourselves to be overawed by the qualities that we perceive in various finite entities, we should recognize that these entities are beneficiaries of God’s benevolence. Instead of seeing our hearts as free to bend to the object of our choosing we should recognize that our hearts belong to the One whose love is sustaining our heart this very moment.
The prophets looked forward to the day when idolatry is eradicated from the minds of men. They looked forward to the day when all mankind recognizes and acknowledges that they are indebted to God for their very existence. Mankind will then beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and they shall learn war no more. They will recognize that wealth and security can never be acquired. They will understand that happiness is feeling the love of God in every breath of life.
The calling of the Jewish people is to remain true to this message. If the word “kosher” (which simply means correct and proper) is going to mean that which is correct and proper in light of Israel’s calling before God then recognizing our debt to our Creator is kosher. A philosophy that exalts an individual without acknowledging that individual’s debt towards God is decidedly not kosher.
The beginning of wisdom is a reverence toward God (Psalm 111:10). This wisdom is not far off. The benevolence of God is evident in every blade of grass, every ray of light and every breath of air. What prevents us from seeing God’s sovereignty is our futile desire to be independent, to establish our own sovereignty. The songs of David draw us away from this illusion of self-sufficiency. David’s music gave expression to the joy that Israel experienced in accepting the fact of God’s mastery over every facet of existence. And Israel’s prophets gave the world hope for a future in which all of mankind experiences that same joy.