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The Messiah: Jesus
Why has Judaism decided that Jesus is not their Messiah or Savior? Part has to do with all the persecution and torture done in the name of Jesus by people professing themselves to be Christians. From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the pogroms in Europe, to Hitler’s holocaust, being a “Christian” and the name of Jesus has been associated with horrendous things.
Partly because the concept of a man who is the son of God sounds contrary to the concept of one God which is the foundation of Judaism.
Partly because Judaism does not teach about the need for salvation, the need for a savior.
And partly because some argue that Jesus did not fulfill all the prophecies in the Hebrew Bible. There are a multitude of prophecies about a Messiah who will come as ruling, triumphant King and set up his kingdom. This hasn’t happened yet.
So, Judaism dismisses the fulfilled predictions stating they are wrong or mistranslations, and also points to those still unfulfilled ones and states that Jesus cannot possibly be THE Messiah.
However, let us take a look at two sets of prophecies.
One shows the Messiah suffering as an atonement for sin (Psalm 22, Isaiah 52:13–Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:25-26, Zechariah 12:10.) The other shows the Messiah reigning and bringing about the redemption of Israel, the end of war, and universal knowledge of God (Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11:1-9, Ezekiel 40-48, Daniel 2:44, Zechariah 14.)
What is the Rabbinic response to this?
One fascinating possibility, which can be traced to the third or fourth century, is that there are two Messiahs: one called “Messiah son of Joseph,” who suffers and dies; the other called “Messiah son of David,” who rules and reigns. The suffering Messiah is given the name “Son of Joseph” because He suffers rejection and humiliation like Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 37-41). The reigning Messiah is given the name “Son of David” because He reigns in triumph like King David.
Are there two Messiahs, or do the Prophets describe the same Messiah who is coming on two different occasions with two different purposes?
Upon close examination, Jesus definitely fulfilled the Messianic prophecies of the Suffering Servant. He fulfilled other Messianic prophecies as well.
Here is a list of 365 Messianic Prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. What are the odds?
Some Rabbis say that the “suffering servant” of Isaiah 53 is the nation of Israel and not one person, the Messiah. You can read about Isaiah 53 here.
When Messiah Jesus returns in power and glory, He will be revealed as the longed for Messiah, Son of David. He will bring an end to the conflict which will be raging over Jerusalem, threatening the world with destruction (Zechariah 12-14, Revelation 16-19). He will destroy the world system responsible for corruption and wickedness on earth and for the tribulation (Jeremiah 51, Revelation 18) and He will set up a kingdom from Jerusalem, bringing peace and justice to the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:1-4, Revelation 20:4-6).
The fact that Jesus did not bring lasting peace at His first coming does not disprove that He is indeed the promised One of Israel. It is part of God’s plan that Messiah would come once to die for our sin, bringing salvation and forgiveness to all who believe, and then later return as Judge and King. The view of two comings of Messiah fits perfectly with the two distinct “portraits” of the suffering and reigning Messiah found in the Hebrew Scriptures.