Ultraorthodox Jewish Men (source)
Since this is a prophecy website, I would like to branch out a little and explore other aspects of prophecy, in this case, Jesus Christ himself. Below is my Quora answer to "Why do some people believe Jesus is the Messiah?" I explain how Jesus "works" as a Messiah just as well as the current orthodox Jewish model(s) do.
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus is the best Messiah candidate there is.
He fits into the existing Jewish paradigms of the Messiah in a rather simple, unifying (and serendipitous) way.
Before I can dive into this question, we have to discuss what a Messiah is....
What's a Messiah?
The Messiah is a figure predicted in the Old Testament who would:
1) Fight battles on behalf of Israel and defeat her enemies
2) Lead the world to worship Yahweh
3) Teach Law observance
4) Rebuild the Temple
5) Generally rule the world and bring world peace
6) Be a king in the dynasty of king David
Christianity Started as a Jewish Sect
If you explore Orthodox Judaism (then and now) you will not find a single, unified concept of "what the Messiah will be like." Keep in mind, during the life of Jesus on earth, there was a variety of Jewish sects, such as the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. In fact, Jesus Himself and Paul, are very closely aligned with the theological views of the Pharisees, in some ways.
Christianity started as yet another sect of Judaism. The first Christians had absolutely no intention of forming a new religion. They weren't open to pagan modifications either, because they were...well... Jews. Christianity has very strong Jewish origins. In fact, when reading the book of Acts, public officials regarded Christianity as a controversial sect of Judaism.
Because that's precisely what it was, and what it is now.
So How Does Jesus Line Up?
Contrary to what most people think, Christians back then (and Christians today!) don't "disagree" with Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. That list I made of commonly held features of the Messiah? Christians believe every one of them applies to Jesus. In fact, many evangelical Christians believe they apply in a very literal way. In order for Jesus to fulfill Old Testament Messianic prophecy, he must fulfill every prophecy, including rebuilding the Ezekiel 40-45 Temple, defeating Israel's enemies, ruling the world from Jerusalem, etc.
But orthodox Jews today will quickly point out that Jesus hasn't done any of these things. This is where I need to explain how Jesus makes the best sense of the data, and compare it to other Jewish interpretations of the Messiah.
Orthodox Judaism's "Two Messiah Theory"
There is a long running theological concept among Jews which I will call the "Two Messiah" theory. Basically, there are passages in the Bible which one could interpret to mean that the Messiah will be killed (perhaps in battle). Yet there are others which imply he will be a king in David's dynasty who rules a political and religious golden age. These are very dissimilar concepts. So we need some kind of theological theory to reconcile them. Enter: Two-Messiah theory.
Messiah ben Joseph
Many orthodox Jews in the past up until today propose that there will be two Messiahs. The first one, called "Messiah Ben Yosef" will fulfill the prophecies about dying, and perhaps be killed in battle. However, his son or grandson will come to the throne to be "Messiah Ben David" and fulfill the Davidic/ruling aspects of the Messiah. So here we have two messiahs, fulfilling two different Messianic perogatives.
For more info on this, see Joshua Kaplan's answer to this question. (Please upvote his answer if you read it):
Joshua Kaplan's answer to What do Orthodox Jews believe about the Messiah?
Christianity's "One Messiah Theory"
This is where Christianity comes in. We believe in a "one Messiah" theory. We think all the prophecies about the Messiah dying, but yet ruling Israel as a glorious conqueror and king, occur in the same person, but at different times.*
So the Orthodox/Talmudic theory is that there will be "two messiahs." The Christian theory is that there will be "two comings" of one Messiah.
The one Messiah theory is a simpler theory that accounts for all the data. The Old Testament gives the impression that there will be one primary Messianic deliverer. So Christians stick to that theme, and resolve the tension by having two comings of the same Messiah.
So there is nothing, so far, that would rule out Jesus from being the Messiah. If He indeed resurrected (which is possible in a Jewish worldview), He very well fits the bill as the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament.
The Resurrection Validates "One Messiah Theory"
If he was merely killed, without a resurrection, then it would be a cop out to say that he will fulfill all the other prophecies at the Second Coming. But if he really resurrected, then it's not a cop out at all, since we see that "One Messiah Theory" is a better theory about the Messiah than "Two Messiah theory." For evidence for Jesus' resurrection I direct you to one of my other answers:
David Wilkinson's answer to What are your reasons for believing in your religion?
The Jesus-Messiah Theory Has Theoretical Elegance
But it doesn't stop there. The "Jesus-Messiah" theory has a lot of theoretical elegance that is very "unifying" when understanding the Old Testament. Good theories have a very unifying and simple explanation of diverse data.
Here are some concepts found in the Old Testament.
1) Some day, God is going to make an entirely new covenant with Israel, in which he forgives all of their sins. (Jeremiah 31: 31-34)
2) Some day, all the people on the earth will rally to the Messiah. (Isaiah 11:10)
3) Some day, God is going to return in blazing fire and defeat his enemies. (Isaiah 66: 15-16)
4) Some day, the Messiah is going to destroy his enemies, just by breathing on them. (Isaiah 11:4)
5) Isaiah and Psalms contain mysterious and confusing prophecies about someone greatly suffering on behalf of a large group of people. (Isaiah 53; cf. Psalm 22)
6) The Old Testament is full of instances where God requires blood sacrifice for forgiveness of sins. (see the entire Torah).
7) Some day, God is going to write His law on everyone's hearts, so they instinctively do the right thing. (Ezekiel 36:22 - 37)
8) Some day, God is going to touch his feet to the ground, and defend Israel militarily (Zechariah 12-14)
9) Some day, God will be King over the whole earth and his name will be the only name. (Zechariah 14:9)
10) Some day, the Messiah will rebuild the temple. (Zechariah 6:13)
Jesus Makes Sense of the Old Testament
So basically, upon reading the Old Testament, one will run into these ideas and themes now and again. On the surface, they appear to be separate concepts.
But in Jesus, all of these ideas come together quite elegantly.
1) Jesus makes a new covenant in which sins are forgiven, by dying on the cross. (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 9:15)
2) Christianity has huge amounts of Gentile converts.
3) Some day, Jesus is going to return in blazing fire. (2 Thessalonians 1)
4) Some day, Jesus is going to defeat his enemies simply by breathing on them. (Revelation 19; 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
5) Jesus is that mysterious guy who suffers for everyone else in those prophecies in Isaiah and Psalms. (1 Peter 2:24)
6) Jesus, when suffering on the cross, is the final blood sacrifice. He was crucified on Passover week as the Ultimate Passover Lamb. (John 1:29; Revelation 5:12)
7) Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to all of His followers, to live inside them and guide them in their decisions. (John 14:16)
8) Some day, Jesus is going to touch his feet to the Mount of Olives, and engage in military conquest of Israel's and His enemies. (Acts 1:11; Revelation 19)
9) Some day, Jesus is going to be King of the whole earth. He will be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 20)
10) Some day, Jesus is going to rebuild the temple, and be the person worshiped inside of it.
The Most Beautiful Thing of All
I already hinted at it before, but I think this is the most beautiful thing of all, about Jesus being the Messiah. Throughout the Old Testament, God repeatedly promises Israel that he will save and deliver them. Furthermore, he promises a great religious and political hero called the Messiah. Jews have been anxiously waiting for this Messiah for millenia. But how fitting, that the true Messianic Hero that everyone has been waiting for, is really God Himself all along.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
You will notice that, within the prophecies about the Messiah, there are two different theories to interpret the seemingly contradictory portraits we receive: suffering servant vs. conquering king. I argue above that the "two comings" (with a big gap in between) is not any more ad hoc or weird than a "two messiah" theory.
Prophecy is replete with instances of "time compression" and the "mountain peaks" phenomena. We see this in many areas: 1) The first and second coming of Christ, 2) The first and second phase of the revived Roman Empire, 3) The gap in the 70 weeks prophecy. I am sure there are others. The prophets seemed to have given prophecies about a specific event or person, and only saw the "mountain peaks," but didn't report on the "valleys" in between. For example, when the prophets talk about Jesus, they just talks about him and all of the things he will do, regardless of how far apart each sentence will be fulfilled from each other.
Furthermore, in prophecy, God seems to like to do things against all odds. Abraham was very old and normally wouldn't be able to have a kid with his old wife, even though God promised to make him the father of many nations. Noah made a big ark in anticipation of a large flood, to the confusion of the locals. Moses led the Israelites, fleeing the Egyptian army, to the shores of the Red Sea. Miraculously, God opened up the water and let them walk through.
This website argues both the "time compression" and "against all odds" phenomena are in progress with the Antichrist candidate Javier Solana. In the past, he had fulfilled prophecies in Daniel and Revelation about the Antichrist. Nevertheless, these fulfillments seemed to stop when he entered "retirement" and got older. Now, at 74, he seems to be back at it, in a much greater way than I (or some EU officials for that matter)* had anticipated.
What makes him different from other Antichrist candidates is that he has historically fulfilled unique prophecies about the Antichrist that no one else ever has. Many people, when speculating on who the Antichrist is, point to a politician of interest and speculate on what he will do in the future, based on what he has done. To my knowledge no other Antichrist candidate, other than Javier Solana, is based squarely on fulfilled prophecy. To learn more about the theory guiding this website, check out the overview page.
*(This website has no affiliation with the militia group mentioned in the Newsweek article, who share similar beliefs about Solana).
hats off! this is tony in vt.,...ShalomReplyDelete
so with john the baptist back then,....Elijah will come for now, to make things clear to us as to the timing certified*...would you agree?, this is tony/vtReplyDelete