There are many ways to describe David’s career, to encapsulate the accomplishments of his life but let us see how the Bible describes David’s life. Toward the end of the book of 2Samuel (23:1) David is described as the man who was raised to be the anointed one of the God of Jacob and the sweet singer of Israel (perhaps a more accurate translation of the Hebrew would be; “the one who gave pleasantness to the songs of Israel.”) David executes his duty as Israel’s king through his songs, the book of Psalms.
Again, the responsibility of a king is to lead his nation to its destiny. How did David do this through his songs?
In David’s own day he exerted himself to build the Temple. Although David did not build the Temple himself, he still prepared the materials for the Temple, he received the prophecy about the architectural details of the Temple and David found the place upon which the Temple was built. But the Temple is not merely a building built on a geographical location. It is a building built with love for God and obedience to God, and David inspired that love and obedience in the heart of Israel through his Psalms.
But David’s role as king of Israel did not end with David’s death. David’s role as king of Israel extends to this very day. Throughout Israel’s long exile it is in the songs of David that Israel finds inspiration and hope. It is through the songs of David that we maintain our loyalty to God’s message. The Psalms of David inspire us to keep sight of our destiny, to hold on to God’s truth and to hope for God’s salvation. And the Psalms of David actually give voice, expression and articulation to our message.
David experienced a colorful life. He suffered humility and shame, and he enjoyed honor and fame. He felt guilt and he experienced forgiveness. He struggled, as we all do, and experienced both failure and success. David’s life covers the full gamut of the human experience and in each situation David gives expression to a heart that trusts in God. In sin and in righteousness, in joy and pain, in humility and in honor in victory and in defeat. And in each of these situations we have expression of a heart that yearns for God. These songs lead us in each situation that we find ourselves, they guide us and they direct our hearts to God and to God alone.
David is the king after God’s heart. He is the man that God chose to lead us years ago and he still leads us to our destiny today.
When the Messiah comes he will not come with a different message. The Messiah will not oppose the message of Israel, he will confirm it. The Messiah, like David before him will teach that God is close to everyone who calls out to God with sincerity. He will sing about the perfection of God’s holy law. He will speak of the blessing of obedience to God’s law. He will sing of the joy that is inherent in recognizing God’s love in every detail of existence. The Messiah will stand as a continuum of the message and the leadership of his ancestor David. Like his ancestor before him, the Messiah will inspire Israel to obedience and love of God. And like his ancestor before him, the Messiah will see to it that a Temple is built for God in Jerusalem.
In the footsteps of David, the Messiah will do all of the above without diverting attention to himself. The Messiah will set the example of a heart that yearns for God as did David before him. And the heart of the Messiah will draw the hearts of Israel and the hearts of all mankind to love and to obey God.
And when the Messiah continues the work of his ancestor, David the nations of the world will experience the blessing that God promised to the world through the children of Abraham. For that blessing does not come to the nations through the Messiah alone. That blessing flows to the nations through the people of Israel, through the Temple in Jerusalem and through the Messiah who sits on David’s throne.
So to recap; what does the Bible teach us about the Messiah? That he will be king of Israel and that he will sit on the throne of David. This means that he will lead Israel to its destiny, to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth, and he will do so as a continuation of David’s legacy. In short we can say that the Messiah will pick up the tune where his ancestor David left off.
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I so enjoyed the picture you painted of King David in weakness and strength. I wish we had the melody as well as we have his words. Thank you
Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal,
I recall that the article above is taken from the “Real Jewish Messiah” debates between Dr.Brown and yourself a few years ago. You have sought to paint the picture of what the real Jewish Messiah is like and the idyllic picture of the Messianic era.
I am fortunate to have the opportunity to learn about the situation of the Temple , sacrificial system and the Levitical priesthood during the 2nd temple era through online classes on the Talmud. These teachings do made me think about the Messianic era , particularly when the Jewish Messiah comes and the Temple is rebuilt as per the hopes and dreams of the Jewish people.
One area I observed which was heavily discussed by the Sages/Gemara about the scenario of the 2nd Temple is on ritual purity /impurity of the priests, those who offer sacrifices at the Temple as well as the sacrificial offerings itself. The laws of ritual purity/impurity are outlined in the Torah. Individuals who are ritually pure were allowed in the Temple while those impure are not . The Torah outlines remedies for ritually impure individuals to be pure again. Offerings are fit for the altar if it did not come into contact with sources of impurity. Certain impurities can be transmitted to other individuals/vessels/offerings which renders these individuals/items ritually impure. As such the Sages discuss these matters extensively and enacted decrees in this area as a fence around the Torah to ensure there is no Torah transgression. However are there any implication to the Gentile who is not obligated by Torah to observe these laws?.
I learnt in Tractate Shekalim 21b (Chapter 8:1) that there is a Mishna which states that all spittle that is found in Jerusalem, the city in which the Temple stood , is ritually pure, except if it were found in the upper marketplace as there was a fortress of Gentiles there . The Sages decreed that Gentiles have the ritual impurity of a Zav (i.e a man who has had abnormal seminal discharge and is in a state of ritual impurity). What is the rationale for the Sages to rule that Gentiles are ritually impure when the Torah did not categorize Gentiles as such? I can only think that the Sages would have enacted this decree as the Holy Land was under occupation during the 2nd temple period and that this decree is meant to deter Gentiles from desecrating the Temple . However ,if the decree on Gentile impurity was meant to be a fence around the Torah , then what is the Torah prohibition that the Sages intended to protect the Jew from transgressing? How can a Gentile transmit ritual impurity to a Jew when the Torah does not subject the Gentile to these laws?
A Jewish man who has abnormal seminal emission needs to count seven days without seminal discharge, immerse and then bring sacrifices for him to be ritually pure again. I am assuming that there is no such remedy for the Gentile and that he/she will be in a perpetual state of ritual impurity. Is it possible then for the Gentile to sacrifice burnt offerings when the animals brought by a ritually impure person is also deemed ritually impure and thereby unfit to be sacrificed ? As such were Gentiles able to offer sacrifices on their own at all when the temple stood , or did a Jewish person offer these sacrifices on their behalf?
In addition , I learnt through Tractate Yoma and from further reading that there are four courts in the 2nd Temple-The courts for the Priests, The Court of Israel , The Women’s Court and the Gentile Court. Gentiles were permitted to enter the Temple Mount up until the Soreg fence (refer link here https://templeinstitute.org/illustrated-tour-the-temple-mount/). As such, Gentile Court is located at the outermost part of the Temple . It seems that there are dividing walls between four groups of people -the priests, the male Israelite , the female Israelite and the Gentile during the 2nd temple period , perhaps reflecting the purity state of these four groups.
Naturally this brings me to the situation of the Messianic era , when the Jewish Messiah will rebuild the Temple and the Levitical priesthood as well as the sacrificial system is reinstituted once again. Will the laws and Rabbinical decrees of ritual purity as per the 2nd temple be enforced at this time? If yes , will the sacrificed made by Gentiles who are deemed ritually impure , be accepted ? Will the physical division between groups of people –the Priests, the male Israelite , the female Israelite and the Gentile during the 2nd temple period be reinstituted again ?
I do believe wholeheartedly that the Messiah will lead Israel to its destiny . However I do have a certain degree of skepticism on the idyllic picture you have painted in the article . How can the Messiah, like David teach that God is close to everyone who calls out to God with sincerity when there are physical divisions between groups of people and non Jews only permitted to be at the outer parts of the temple ? How can the Messiah sings about the perfection of God’s holy law when it seems to divide i.e build walls rather than building bridges between peoples?
Perhaps this skepticism arise as I am looking at this picture from non Jewish eyes. However is there any possibility than in refuting Jesus as the Jewish Messiah in your debate with Dr. Brown, you may have overlooked these crucial facts ? Or are these facts irrelevant ? How should a Gentile respond to this?
Please explain and correct me if I am wrong.
Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal,
I understand that you might be busy , or away , but I would like to follow up on my earlier comment to you with additional information for your consideration.
I recalled that you have posted a transcript of a discussion between Dr. Brown and youself on Isaiah 40-52 here https://judaismresources.net/2020/11/13/discussing-isaiah-40-52/. I understand that discussion is very much related to the Real Jewish Messiah debates that both of you participated in , which includes this post. One of the items discussed was on the understanding of the last verse of Isaiah 52:1 “The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again”. You described your understanding of this verse as follows :
“According to my reading – the point is that Israel will stand separate in order to be able to fulfill this function just as the priests and Levites camped separately in the wilderness in order to be able to more perfectly fulfill their priestly functions – again – not separate in the sense of no contact – because it is clear that the entire calling of Israel to project glory and strength is to be a blessing to the nations – but in the sense of no intermingling – a clear and defined community in the sense of identity and purpose.”
“As an aside – the early chapters of Isaiah speak of the togetherness in the Messianic age (10:9,10 also come to mind) but at the same time – the separateness in the sense of clear identity is also emphasized – 10:11,14; 25:6-8; 26:2; 35:9,10 come to mind.”
“So we are in agreement about the gist of the phrase – that Jerusalem will be able to project her glory because there will be no foreign pollution that would dilute or corrupt her in a way that would prevent her from assuming her ideal state of being.”
It seems that your understanding of the last verse of Isaiah 52:1 –in which you emphasized on the separateness of Israel -seems to confirm my understanding based on 2nd temple condition-that there will physical divisions between groups of people , notably between Israel and the nations during the Messianic era.
If Israel is to stand separate and with no intermingling during the Messianic era, then I assume that there is no state of togetherness of all peoples i.e Jew and Gentile standing “shoulder to shoulder” in common worship , as described in the prophets and Psalms (Psalm 47:9, Zephaniah 3:9). This seems to be in contradiction with the temple as a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7) . I am also confused about Israel standing separate and thereby projecting her glory and strength as a blessing to the nations , when Amos 4:2 and Isaiah 2:1-4 describes the nations going up to the mountain of the Lord , that He (God) will teach the nations His ways, so that the nations will walk in His paths. I understand from these verses that there seems to be a direct interaction between God and the nations.
I understand that the Messianic era is mainly about the national liberation of Israel from her enemies and for her to be what she is meant to be , hence the verses in Isaiah 52:1 and in many other places in the Tanakh regarding removal of foreign pollutants etc. I also understand that purity of the people and land is an important prerequisite during this era, hence the verses on being pure as a nation. However , based on the above verses , I don’t see how no intermingling and separation is an important prerequisite for Israel to project glory and strength to be a blessing to the nations .
Correct me if I’m wrong , I am confused that you do not emphasize the separateness of Israel from the nations during the Messianic era in the Real Jewish Messiah debates as compared to your separate discussion with Dr. Brown on Isaiah 40-52 –which is very much related to that debate. In my opinion this piece of information is crucial and must be laid out in the debate and in discussions of the Messianic era so that the audience , both Jew and non Jew (Gentile) will have a more accurate picture of that era from the perspective of Judaism.
As a non Jew , my concern is on whether your emphasis on Israel being separate indicates a “shutting” out of Gentiles , even those who have sincere hearts from God’s Presence.
Appreciate that you can look into my queries and respond accordingly when your schedule permits. Please explain and correct me if I’m wrong.
Sharon S Thank you for your questions. In response I will point to the example that I used. I compared the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in the Messianic era as the relationship between the priests and the Israelites described in the Torah. There are laws that separate the priests from the people and those laws are important in preserving the priest’s special role (These laws include limitations on where the Israelite can walk in the Temple as opposed to the priests). But the overall picture is one nation serving God shoulder to shoulder. So it will be in the Messianic era – Israel will realize its destiny as a priestly nation – thus in a sense standing apart from the rest of the nations. This does not mean that the rabbinic laws of Second Temple era will apply in the Messianic age ( – The reasoning behind those laws was the general immorality of the nation’s at the time, which will clearly not be relevant in the Messianic age.). But there will be distinction, Israel will stand apart. Yet the overall picture is still one in which all of mankind stands shoulder to shoulder in service of God. This dichotomy of separate yet together is reflected in the words of the prophets as you can see from the verses in Isaiah.
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal,
Good day. Thank you for your making clear your position on the situation of Israel and the nations during the Messianic era.
Based on your explanation, it is likely that the limitations on where the Israelite can walk in the Temple as opposed to the priests will still be in force once Messiah builds the Temple. The Kohanim and the Levites alone are permitted to be in the sanctuary of the Tabernacle as per the Torah (Numbers 3:10). The Levites are to be set apart from the other Israelites as commanded by the Torah (Numbers 8:14) .How then is it possible for one nation ( Priest , Levites, Israelites both men , women and children ) serving God shoulder to shoulder in the Messianic era when the Torah laws stands supreme?
If we go by this picture , then it is also most likely that the nations will be in the same position as the Gentiles who visited the temple during the 2nd temple period, who stood outside the perimeter of the Temple. They stood away from the Israelites who congregated within the Temple compound.
We live in a world where boundaries between peoples ( for example apartheid and segregation) is seen negatively as has in history contributed to discrimination and unequality between people groups in various parts of the world. These boundaries have been mostly eradicated in the modern world , yet its effects remain till this very day.
The Torah , to my understanding emphasize heavily on boundaries , distinctions and separations- which goes against the conventions of the present world . Israel and those within her i.e the Kohanim and Levites are required to be set apart in order to play her role in the Messianic era.
As such , as a non Jew, I am having difficulty to process this dichotomy of separate yet together as per the Torah and prophets, especially when considering David’s song that God is close to everyone who calls on Him with sincerity. How is this possible when there are physical boundaries between peoples?
Perhaps David may not have realized this dichotomy himself. I mean no disrespect to David and his legacy , David has led a colorful life. His songs has inspired the Jewish people through good and bad times. However David has not experienced what is it like to be a person who is outside of the Covenant. There is a big difference between how a person in the covenant perceives his/her relationship with God as compared to a person who is out of the covenant with the same God. I have experienced first hand the difference in the relationship I have with God, especially when reciting David’s song of praise when I was Christian i.e as part of God’s people then – and as someone outside of the covenant now.The enthusiasm and spiritual high I felt is vastly different then and now. Is David able to sing a tune of his song with the same vigor and enthusiasm if he is in the shoes of one who is not in Covenant with the God of Israel? Are you able to sing the same tune if you are a non Jew?
My apologies, I view your post with a certain degree of skepticism due to the above. Do you really stand by your writing in the above post that the Jewish Messiah is able to sing this song and draw the hearts of the whole of mankind to love God in light of the above?
A suggestion- perhaps you should include the separateness of Israel and the nations more explicitly in future writings/ debates on the Messiah/Messianic era . In my opinion this piece of information is crucial for one to have an accurate picture of this era.
My apologies if my comment offends.
Sharon S The law which kept the Gentiles out of the court of the Israelites is rabbinic and will probably not be there in the Messianic era. My understanding is that in the Messianic era everyone will feel secure in God’s love for them and they will understand the boundaries that God set in place in the context that He meant them to be understood – not as distinctions in value or love but distinctions in role. They will recognize those boundaries as part of God’s blessing for all. The problem that people have with boundaries is not modern. In Tanach we find people complaining about boundaries. But the lesson is that God set them in place for everyone’s benefit. David himself was not a priest yet he rejoiced in the fact that there were priests doing their job – I imagine that he could have seen things from the perspective of a non-Jew as he interacted with non-Jews who honored God (such as Hiram king of Tyre) in his lifetime.
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal,
Thank you for responding to the concerns raised in my earlier comment. If you don’t mind , I have some final questions and I would like to reply to your comment about boundaries in the Torah.
Final questions – how do you interpret Amos 4:2, Isaiah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 56:7? I understand from these verses that there seems to be a direct interaction between God and the nations during the Messianic era. Does these verses fit in or contradict the picture of blessing to the nations in your post –where you described it flowing through the people of Israel, through the Temple in Jerusalem and through the Messiah who sits on David’s throne? In addition , based on your description , isn’t it more apt to describe the distinctions between Israel and the nations in the Messianic era as more of a hierarchy from which Divine blessings flow rather than distinctions in role?
On boundaries -You informed there are people complaining about boundaries in the Tanach , are you referring to Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16?
There are religions and cultures other than Judaism that teaches concepts of boundaries , separation , ritual purity etc. An insider within these cultures will tell exactly what you are saying to me , that their deity/deities/founders of the religion put in these boundaries for the good of the community . Unfortunately , it is very clear to the outsider that application of these beliefs for the most part cause discrimination and driving far bigger wedges within the community as compared to what is described in the Tanach.
As an example , look at what the caste system –a concept of boundaries in the teachings of Hinduism did and continue doing in Indian society today. Those in the lower level (low caste) of society suffer discrimination , are living in poverty, delegated to doing menial jobs and have a lower quality of life than those at the higher level of society (high caste). It is easier and far more common for an outsider to the religion to blame the teachings on the religion itself . However is far more challenging for the outsider to step back , to think and separate the teaching from the behavior of its adherents – to come to a conclusion that the teaching itself is not faulty , rather these negative outcome stems from the faulty interpretation of the religious/community leaders and even those within society itself .
I appreciate your explanation on the proper understanding on the concept of boundaries as per the Torah. It challenges me to see the concept of boundaries differently. However our backgrounds differ and perhaps it takes more effort on my part to see the concept of boundaries and separation favorably as you do, given the above. It is even more challenging for me to see these concepts , which I have come to regard negatively ,as mandated by the Master of all Creation and still see Him favorably , but I will try.
Sharon S I am not sure what you mean with Amos 4:2 can you please clarify? Either way – Zephaniah 3:9 uses the expression of “one shoulder” in describing the unity in serving God in the Messianic age. This does not change the fact that some people are given a different role than others – such as Jeremiah 33:18; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:23. I see this struggle with boundaries in the passage in Numbers that you mentioned as well as in 2 Chronicles 26:18
Try to imagine the following scenario – an elderly Israelite, a man who had dedicated his life to serving God and is truly an exemplary servant of God comes to the Temple and a young priest steps beyond the area that this Israelite may go. How would this Israelite feel? or perhaps the better question is – how should he, as servant of God feel?
To answer my own question I would say that this Israelite as a servant of God should recognize that his service of God is not an inherent possession of his – it is a gift from God and the fact that God places boundaries which we do not necessarily understand gives us an opportunity to acknowledge that our service of God is a gift by accepting those boundaries – those who are chosen to step further need to use the boundaries in serving God by overcoming the tendency to become haughty and take their position for granted
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal,
I interpret Amos 4:2, Isaiah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 56:7 as indication of a direct interaction between God and the nations during the Messianic era without any distinction in roles. How then do you interpret these verses within the context of different roles between Israel and the nations in the Messianic era?
You described of divine blessing “which flows to the nations through the people of Israel, through the Temple in Jerusalem and through the Messiah who sits on David’s throne” in your article . How does Amos 4:2, Isaiah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 56:7 fit in this picture when there is a direct interaction between God and the nations?
Thank you for the continued dialogue on our understanding of boundaries. I do appreciate the scenario of the elderly Israelite and the young priest. If you don’t mind , I would like to bring up an excerpt from your article “The Good News” which can be found at the link here https://judaismresources.net/2017/09/08/the-good-news-2/
“You can enter into a deep, joyful and fulfilling relationship with the One Creator of heaven and earth without having anyone else involved in that relationship aside from the two of you: G-d and yourself.
Don’t let anyone tell you that your Creator is “unapproachable”. You don’t need anyone to stand between you and Him.
He is close to all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).”
Anyone reading the above statement will have an impression that one can have a direct relationship with God without any boundaries whatsoever , with no one standing in between.
However what I have learnt from our discussion is different from what you have written above. First , I learnt that our Creator is “unapproachable” . God has set boundaries and distinctions in the Torah.There are physical boundaries and distinctions within the Israelite community such as limitations on where the Israelite can walk in the Temple as opposed to the priests by Torah law (Numbers 3:10). Israel is distinct and separate from the nations to fulfill her priestly role (Jeremiah 33:18; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:23). Divine blessings to the nations flow through Israel.
I learn that the priest , levite and the Israelite stand between me , a non Jew and the God of Israel. Since God assigns boundaries and distinctions between peoples, I assume that He sees us within these distinctions & boundaries as well. How then is God is close to all who call upon Him in truth?
I understand that your writings in this blog are intended to address the teachings of Christianity. However I am concerned that in your zealousness to refute Christianity , you may have misrepresented the position of Judaism on the nature of relationship between God and Man.
Sharon S Perhaps you are working with a different chapter division – in the Jewish Bible Amos 4:2 is unrelated to this discussion. Isaiah 2:1-4 as well as 56:7both describe God’s blessing flowing to the nations through the Temple in the same way that 60:3 describe the blessing as flowing through Israel. The fact that there are boundaries in the physical observance of the Law in this world has no bearing whatsoever on our relationship with God. Your relationship with God takes place in your heart and in that realm no one stands between you and your Father. David had a direct relationship with God yet in the physical world the priests stood between him and the holy places in the sanctuary. The physical world is the platform from which we relate to God and God so designed it that each of us can have a direct relationship with Him and the boundaries are an integral part of that design. In short – going to a holier place doesn’t bring you closer to God – it may serve as an inspiration to bring your heart closer to God but so can the observance of God’s boundaries serve as an inspiration to bring your heart closer to God. Who is closer to God? The gentile that loves God with all his/her heart who happens to be in Antarctica? Or a corrupt high-priest who never thinks of God but happens to be standing in the holy of holies?
1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >
Shalom Rabbi Blumenthal,
You are right, I had mistakenly quoted Amos 4:2 , it should have been Micah 4:2 . The verse in Micah 4:2 is similar to Isaiah 2:1-4.
Thank you for your explanation on the need for boundaries and that boundaries does not have any bearing in our relationship with God. I understand and appreciate it very much.
My apologies for stating that you may have misrepresented Judaism in your other article. In addition, I would like to apologize on my earlier comment about David . I came across a teaching about David in Yoma 22 which made me realise how much David loved God, even though he was chastened severely for his sins.
I thank you for your patience in this dialogue and I will end my conversation here. However , I would like to leave one thought for your consideration.
This discussion is about your article on the Jewish messiah and the Messianic era. I understand this to be the era where God will make this world His dwelling place, where His Presence will no longer be hidden. It will be greater than the Exodus experience and era of the 1st and 2nd temples. Creation will be made anew- it will be a much better world.
You explain well, but I am having difficulty to understand why limitations continue to exist in that era , especially when God’s presence will be clearly revealed in creation.
These are just my thoughts . Thank you.
I love your explanation about the true Messiah’s legacy and his work. The New Testament, especially Gospel of Luk describes it exactly same in Lk 1:32-33, 68-75. Sadly, most of Christian church is ignorant of THAT role of Messiah as King David who will restore kingdom to Israel.
Gean Guk Jeon,
Greetings. I would like to answer your brief comment in two different comments of my own, discussing two different elements of your response.
This first is to say this:
Because one can find some Christian teachings in line with the teachings of Tanach does not mean that they all align. While I believe you are well-intentioned, it is a strategy of the missionary to obscure the differences between Christian doctrine and Torah. The two are not inseparable. Indeed, on many points they are in direct opposition one to the other. This opposition cannot be papered over and ought not be papered over in order to make the two appear compatible. It is false to assert that the New Testament is really only saying what Tanach says. We must not present as agreement with Torah that which deviates from Torah.
I would count it as a kindness if you would read something that I wrote almost seven years ago and seriously consider the point at which I am driving. It is a satirical essay that deals with this subject and can be found here:
Gean Guk Jeon,
In my second comment, I would like to briefly take up the question of how one can recognize the Messiah.
In order to make a judgment whether any object belongs to a category, we must know the qualities that belong to the category, and we must know the qualities of the particular object. Then we must compare the particular to the category and determine if they share characteristics. In the case of the Messiah, we must know what are the qualities that belong to the Messiah without which he would not be the Messiah. Any candidates that we propose fall under the category of “the Messiah”—as opposed to a messiah—we must test by determining if he shares those same qualities. If a candidate does not have them, then we must judge that he is not the Messiah. If it is undetermined whether or not he has them, then it is also undetermined whether or not he is the Messiah. (We might call him Schrödinger’s Messiah.)
In the case of Jesus, the Church has proposed him as a candidate for Messiah, as it were. In your estimation, the Christian scriptures propose the same qualities of the Messiah as R’ Blumenthal articulated in his article above, making special reference to some verses in Luke. Let us leave aside for the moment whether your claim is correct. The verses in question pose some serious problems for Jesus’ candidacy. Let us consider a few of the verses from Luke to which you drew our attention:
“He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” (Luke 1:69-71)
According to this passage, the Messiah would save Israel from its enemies and those who hate them, yes? If we accept that this is one of the qualities of the Messiah, then we must ask whether or not Jesus possessed this quality. If so, then he may be the Messiah—we would need to examine any other qualities of both the Messiah and Jesus to be certain. If not, he is not the Messiah.
We need hardly enumerate the suffering that has befallen the Jewish people at the hands of their enemies since the time of Jesus. Not only did he not deliver them, he has been a source of exacerbating the hatred of the Jewish people. He has done the very opposite of what the Messiah will do. Jesus does not even meet the definition of Messiah from a Christian source!
Now, of course, I am not stupid—well, not ignorant at least. I know what a Christian will say. He will say that Jesus will in the future save Israel from her enemies. Fine, but if so, it is undetermined whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. If at some future time he does so, then he will bear this characteristic of the Messiah. Until then, any assertion that he is the Messiah is unjustified.
It appears to me that the Church knows this to be true and that this is why they have invented characteristics of the Messiah that do not comport with Tanach, despite the Church’s efforts to force them upon Tanach. For example, they attempt to place a virgin birth in Isaiah and attribute it to the Messiah as one of his characteristics. However, as we have discussed previously, Isaiah says no such thing. Nor would one have any idea whether or not Jesus bore this characteristic.
One cannot assume the characteristics of the candidate in question in order to determine whether or not he is the Messiah. To do so would be to corrupt one’s judgment. It would be to assume the conclusion before making the investigation. Yet, this is precisely what the Church asks us to do. It asks us to assume Jesus is the Messiah based on characteristics that cannot be known, that have to be granted without evidence—virgin births, privately witnessed resurrections, and the like. But if we assume these things, we act as judges who are disinterested in the evidence, blinded by our biases, seeking not the truth but a predetermined conclusion.
Again, if we assert that Jesus will fulfill in the future whatever prophecies in Tanach—or in Luke—he has not already fulfilled, we judge falsely. We would be assuming evidence that has not yet been presented. Moreover, the need for the Church to manufacture from Tanach characteristics of the Messiah speaks disfavorably for Jesus’ candidacy.
Long time no see, Jim. I hope you and your family stay strong in body and soul as Jewish.
Luke 4:19-20 meticulously described the hand gesture of Jesus; “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. and he CLOSED the book.” In that synagogue, Jesus seems to reveal what he was going to do for his public ministry in the 1st century- he would do the work of prophet and priest which would be characteristic of the “acceptable year of the LORD.”
Yet He might do the Davidic king’s work to deliver his people from gentile enemies which was characteristic of the “dayof vengence of our GOD” through his body- Israel and Church in the last age.
Israel has been reestablished and the Jews are coming back home. So many Christians in the world are standing with Israel. Christians including me will fight for Israel and against antisemitism. If the church believes Jesus is the Messiah, they MUST do the work of Messiah who will do the work of King David.
They must not try to convert Jews, instead learn from them about the truth.
Although some of them have missionary intention, Yet not me. I believe they misunderstand the New Testament. Jews don’t have to convert to Christianity because your Messiah is yours and Your Messiah is already at work among you.
I totally accept this as reasonable response to Church.
“it is undetermined whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. If at some future time he does so, then he will bear this characteristic of the Messiah. Until then, any assertion that he is the Messiah is unjustified.”
Regarding your story, i find it little confusing because although people like you who have anti-Christianism will easily understand, but people like me whose mindset is to love both Christians and Jews and try to lead them and myself to the truth will not understand the imaginative plot and even the vague terms.
Hello Gean Guk Jeon,
Thank you for your response. I am a little confused, and I beg your patience. I am, as they say, not the sharpest tool in the shed. Allow me to clarify why I asked you to read my prior essay and then ask a few questions.
I appreciate that you do not see the role of the Church to evangelize the Jews. And, I believe that you are an honorable man. However, many in the missionary field today attempt to hide the differences between the Torah and Christianity in order to make Christianity more palatable to a Jewish audience. Moreover, in covering up these differences they seek to give credibility to Christianity. Though your intention is not missionary—for which I am thankful—you nevertheless obscure the differences between Christianity and the Torah by emphasizing areas of agreement, thereby granting Christianity legitimacy. However, this is an unearned legitimacy. Despite your good intentions—the attempt to foster brotherhood—your comments serve to prop up and propagate falsehood.
On to my questions:
First question: you say that you wish to learn from the Jewish people. (By the way, I am not Jewish.) This is reasonable, inasmuch as God gave them the Torah. However, if the Jewish people tell you that Jesus is not the Messiah, why do you not listen to them?
A comment on my question: A Christian friend wished me to teach him about the Jewish holidays, a task for which I am not equipped. But we spoke for a little bit, and I told him a few things about Pesach and Shavuot that should give a Christian pause. He thought what I said was interesting and then asked how he make this knowledge relevant to his Christianity. Right then, I told him that we must not continue. If his goal was to distort the teaching, to Christianize it, I could have no part of this. It is not for us to alter the Torah to suit our religion or philosophy.
Similarly, if you come to the Jewish people to learn, but only to suit the learning to your preconceptions, this is not learning. This is a distortion of the truth.
Second question: I and my family are not Jewish. Do you not abide by the maxim that you should spread the gospel to every nation? If you teach my children that they should believe in Jesus as their messiah, will I not have every reason to oppose you? Will it matter to me that at least you are not evangelizing a Jew if you are evangelizing my children? Moreover, even if you do not actively evangelize them, if you distort the truth, should I be silent?
Third question: What does it mean that I “have anti-Christianism”?
We are brothers, you and I. It is not my desire that I should offend you. Indeed, I wish the best for you, but the best is not found in the distortion of the truth. Despite your good intentions, it is a distortion of the truth to ignore the differences between Christianity and Torah, to pretend that the former is just an extension of the latter. Nor does one learn by reinterpreting what one is taught to match his preconceptions.
Thank you so much for your kind additional explanation and i admire your passion for the truth.
I dont intend to cover up differeneces to make false unity between two religions. My intention is to dig up the areas where both misunderstand each other. Even within Judaism, there are different interpretations and opinions regarding Messiah and laws and homosexuality, right? Seems to me that It is not Judaism vs. Christianity; rather it is more revealed truth vs. less revealed truth.
For example, Torah teaches the homosexuality is sin; liberal Judaism allows it but conservative Christianity opposes it. Which one is closer to the Torah?
Asking questions and arguing in the process of Learning dont have to be “distortion of the truth. ”
“Gospel” in your understanding and also in most Christianity is different from my understandinf of it. Gospel to me is God’s soverign ruling over the history and fulfilling of His word which is to restore Kingdom to ISRAEL.
I know we have been suffering from the distortion of the truth in both religions. We will continue to strive to reach the truth together with these amazing friends in this classroom. I apply much insight and truth i learned from this room to my teaching and preaching to Korean Church although i have been criticized by many for 5 years.
Yet these days i see the change among them. I see they become less antisemitic and less biased toward Jews and Judaism not because i teach them Judaism but because i open their eyes to see the Judaism in the New Testsment.
I expect our ongoing discussion to be productive and to hasten the age of Geula. I thank you and bless you my brother Jim.