Why Jesus Christ Cannot be the Messiah
05 December 2008
(Revisions through 12 July 2010)
Please click here for a Rabbinical explanation of why Jews do not understand Christ is the Messiah.
This article in a nutshell:
Moses, King David, Isaiah and Jeremiah were agreed:
(1) God _showed his favor_ to the righteous by causing them to defeat their enemies, utterly destroying them.
(2) God _showed his disfavor_ to sinners by allowing their enemies to defeat and kill them.
Christ's death at the hands of his enemies was proof he had been _held in disfavor_ by God; he was not righteous, he was an unrighteous sinner whom God had allowed to be humiliated and killed by his enemies.
(3) The prophets declared that the post-exilic Messiah would come to power upon the conclusion of a 40 year (Ezekiel 4:6, 13) or 70 year Babylonian Captivity or Exile (Jeremiah 25:8-11, 27:6-7, 29:10-14) for Judah. Christ was 500 years too late to be the Messiah according to these prophets' timetable.
(4) Ezekiel also understood that the "Prince" (Hebrew: nasi: "king, ruler, exalted one") was a _sinner_ who would offer the blood of slain bulls on his behalf in atonement for his sins, and he would also
(5) offer the blood of slain bulls as "sin offerings" for his people: both notions are denied and repudiated by Christianity. Ezekiel also understood that God's post-exilic priests would be
(6) circumcised Levites, not uncircumcised gentiles (Christian priests). Ezekiel also understood that the Messiah and priests would prepare
(7) daily food offerings to "feed" God "fat and blood" for all of eternity.
(8) Finally, Moses had warned Israel: If a prophet arises among them in the future and performs wonderous signs and miracles, and advocates the non-observance of Torah (the commandments, ordinances and statutes), he is not to be believed in or obeyed, he is a false prophet. That is to say God is "testing his people," allowing miracles and signs to be accomplished by the false prophet, to see if his people will really follow him and obey him or the miracle-accomplishing false prophet.
Christianity _denies, repudiates and challenges_ the Holy Spirit's revelations about the Messiah in the Old Testament:
(1) that destruction of one's enemies is God's desire (Christians are to pray for those who abuse them, not destroy them)
(2) that one's death at the hands of one's enemies is _a sign of disfavor_ from God IDENTIFYING A SINNER
3) that the Messiah was to appear at the end of Judah's 40 year (Ezekiel) or 70 year (Jeremiah) Babylonian Exile
(4) that the Messiah is a sinner and must on a regular basis (yearly) slay bull's to expiate himself of his sins
(5) that the blood of slain bulls and goats is acceptable to God as sin offerings in lieu of Jesus Christ's shed blood
(6) that God's priests in the Messianic Age are to be circumcised Levites only, no uncircumcised gentiles are allowed
(7) that God must be _fed daily_ the "fat and blood" of slain beasts for all of eternity
(8) Saint Paul taught that Torah is _not_ to be observed by Christians because Christ's resurrection accomplished the
"sign" asked of him by the Jews, that he would lie in his grave 3 days and nights then rise from the dead.
Christ's followers urged the people to believe in him because he accomplished "miracles and signs" during his life:
healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, turning water into wine,
casting out demons, and they also advocated the non-observance of Torah. Jesus "fitted to a T" Moses' warning of the
false prophet who would arise, accomplish wonderous signs and miracles and advocate the end of Torah observance.
For all of the above reasons, from an Old Testament perspective, Jesus Christ could not be the Messiah.
As is well known many Jews do not understand Jesus Christ is the Messiah. This brief article explores the reasons for this understanding.
Christ according to the New Testament, died for man's sins, to reconcile sinful man to God the Father. He willingly lay down his life because his heavenly Father wanted him to.
Christians are to model themselves after Christ. Just as he was willing to lay down his life for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven so too Christians ought to be willing to lay down their lives for the said Kingdom's sake.
Christians are informed that they will be persecuted and some will be martyred for the cause. Christianity holds in veneration the blood of the Martyrs making some into Saints.
Moses told his people that if they obeyed God he would reward them with victory over their enemies. Their enemies would not be victorious over them, taking their lives from them and afflicting them as a conquered and despised people. In other words Moses taught the people that victory over their enemies was a sign from God that their behavior was pleasing to God, while their defeat and deaths at their enemies' hands was to be construed as God's disfavor, he finding fault with his people as unworthy sinners who needed chastizing via defeats at the hands of their enemies.
Christianity turns Moses' teachings upside down and on their ear for it declares that just because a Christian's enemies triumph over him in taking his life, this does not mean God holds his people in disfavor, he is only "testing" them to see if they will be loyal to him till death.
Where are Christians getting these notions from that contradict Moses' teachings if they do not exist in the Old Testament?
I understand that Christianity is a hybrid religion which has embraced Hellenistic Greek motifs which glorify martyrdom. Judah was under Hellenistic Greek rule by the Greek Seleucids of Antioch, Syria and the Ptolemies of Alexandria, Egypt. The Book of Four Maccabbees reveals that some Jews, including priests had accepted Greek religious beliefs. The Maccabees led a succesful revolt, purging the Jerusalem Temple of apostate Greek sympathizers and restored the cult to its pre-Greek Mosaic rituals and point of view.
The Maccabees never-the-less fell under Hellenistic Greek influence and the writings of the intertestamental period (the Apocrypha) glorify Jewish martyrs who resisted the Syrian Greeks by refusing to accept Greek gods and rituals into the Temple. These Jewish martyrs are dated circa 160 B.C., about 160 years before Christ's birth. So, for at least 160 years Jews had come to glorify and honor martyrs who gave their lives for the faith.
I understand that the Jewish cult of martyrs, assimilated from the Hellenistic Greeks, was transferred to the Christians who saw Jesus as a type of martyr who was willing to lay down his life for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
Henten and Avemarie (2002) on Martyrs in pre-Christian times (before the first century A.D.). Note: BCE, Before the Common Era and CE Common Era are alternate scholarly substitutions for BC "Before Christ" and AD Anno Domini "year of our Lord [Christ]":
"An important tradition in ancient culture, this time closely linked to the theme of noble death from the beginning onward, concerns the death of philosophers. Ancient philosophers valued sacrifice on behalf of others for important causes. Some of them put this ideal into practice themselves. They functioned as model figures, because they showed how important goals could be reached even under extremely difficult circumstances. Indeed, Aristotle characterises a virtuous person as somebody who is prepared to sacrifice himself for one's friends and one's homeland and if necessary, to die for it."
(p. 11. "Noble death of philosophers." Jan Willem van Henten & Friedrich Avemarie. Martyrdom and Noble Death: Selected Texts from Graeco-Roman, Jewish and Christian Antiquity. London. Routledge.2002)
"The various traditions about philosophers' deaths belong to the 'cultural baggage' of intellectuals in the Hellenistic and Roman periods...Diogenes Laertius...Lives of the Philosophers (third century CE)...show that contempt of suffering or death is commonplace in traditions about famous philosophers like Socrates, Zeno of Elea and Anaxarchus of Abdera. Severe suffering or execution did not shake their convictions.
"In the Roman period philosophers believed that Socrates also provided an example of how to live. Paradoxically, his death exemplified this way of life. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus, for example, refers to Socrates in his presentation of the ideal philosopher as a witness for the truth who refuses to make any concession that would lead to betraying one's conviction. Socrates' acceptance of death formed the ultimate proof of his steadfastness and ability to maintain his freedom of thinking under any circumstances. Epictetus greatly admires his resolute decision to prefer a noble death to living on dishonourably: He saves himself by dying, not by flight.' Socrates figures in Epictetus' argument as the steadfast philosopher who does not shrink away from the threats of a tyrant, who says what he has to say with full frankness and independence, and accepts torture or even execution if these are the consequences of his attitude. Jewish and Christian martyrs also share Socrates' attitude towards death, which was ideal in the eyes of many in the imperial age." (p. 14. "Pagan Traditions of Noble Death.")
"The famous Athenian dramatist, Euripides (fifth century BCE), depicts the theme of noble death in several of his tragedies. These tragedies are often situated in a mythic past. They may, however, have fulfilled an exemplary function for the audience with an eye upon the contemporay political situation. Several tragedies highlight the theme of atoning or substitute death. Before life could continue, the wishes of an Olympic or anonymous god had to be fulfilled, or the spirit of a deceased person had to be satisfied. Euripides' penchant for the theme of self-sacrifice may be closely connected with the social and political developments in Athens..." (pp. 14-15. Henten & Avemarie)
"Noble death clearly has a patriotic significance in Euripides' tragedies...Erechtheus...the sacrifice of another maiden, the daughter of the Athenian king Erechtheus. The mother of the girl...agrees to her daughter's sacrifice, because she thinks that it better that one dies instead of all. Such a depiction of the death of an individual as a substitue for the death of many or all can be found in several later texts, including Christian ones. Famous, of course, is the high priest Caiaphas' statement about Jesus' death in the Gospel of John, which anticipates and comments upon John's passion narrative" 'You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed' (John 11:50). Praxithea explains the effective meaning of her daughter's death and states that she dies as one for all and the benefit of the city." (p. 16. Henten & Avemarie)
"The oldest Jewish stories of martyrdom are part of Second Maccabees (about 125 BCE), one of the four books named after the Maccabean brothers who rebelled against the Greek king Antiochus IV...The Book of Daniel is probably the result of a lengthy process of expansion and reworking. It dates in its present form from about 165 CE."
(p. 42. Henten & Avemarie). My Note: most Liberal Scholars date the book of Daniel to circa 165 BCE to the time of the Greek king Antiochus IV who appears in the Book of Maccabees. So "165 CE" is probably a "typo" error?)
Eleazar the priest and his seven sons (who was slain by Antiochus IV) become martyrs for the faith and their shed blood is to be an expiation for the nation's sins against God rather like Jesus' shed blood is an expiation for sins:
"I, LIKE MY BROTHERS, GIVE UP BODY AND LIFE FOR THE LAWS OF OUR FATHERS, APPEALING TO GOD TO SHOW MERCY SOON TO OUR NATION...THROUGH ME AND MY BROTHERS TO BRING TO AN END THE WRATH OF THE ALMIGHTY WHICH HAS JUSTLY FALLEN ON OUR WHOLE NATION." (2 Macc 7:37-38 RSV)
"Therefore the creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." (2 Macc 7:23)
"...the king of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws." (2 Macc 7:9)
"...because of them our enemies did not rule over our nation, the tyrant was punished, and the homeland purified- THEY HAVING BECOME, AS IT WERE, A RANSOM FOR THE SIN OF OUR NATION. AND THROUGH THE BLOOD OF THOSE DEVOUT ONES AND THEIR DEATH AS AN EXPIATION, DIVINE PROVIDENCE PRESERVED ISRAEL THAT PREVIOUSLY HAD BEEN AFFLICTED." (4 Macc 17:20-22)
Please click here for my article on Christ's atoning blood as a reworking of motifs regarding the death of Eleazar and his seven sons.
David, one of the most famous of Israel's messiahs (messiah meaning "the annointed"), stated that he knew he was pleasing to God in that God gave him victory over his enemies; this observation aligns with Moses' statement that if Israel is "right" with her God, he will give them victory over their enemies. But if Israel is "wrong" with their God, their enemies will prevail over them, taking their lives.
Jesus, another messiah, turns David's observation upside down and on its ear. Jesus knows he is pleasing to God not because God has given him victory over his enemies, but because he was willing to let his enemies triumph over him and take his life, the very opposite of David's understanding.
The Jews of Jesus' days "knew" their Old Testament. They "knew" that God showed _his favor_ to his people by giving them victory over their enemies. They also "knew" that God showed _his disfavor_ by allowing one's enemies to take one's life.
The Jews rejected Christ because Christ had not triumphed over his enemies. Christ's enemies had succeeded in taking his life from him.
Ergo, Jesus could not be a Davidic Messiah, because the messianic texts understand that the longed-for Davidic Messiah will possess God's favor by triumphing over his enemies instead of his enemies triumphing over him (cf. Isa 60:10-14).
From a Jewish perspective (based on the teachings of Moses, David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah) Christ's death at his enemies' hands was "proof" that he did _not_ possess God's favor, God held him in "disfavor."
David speaks of God delivering him from his enemies because David was "righteous," he obeyed God's statutes and ordinances. Had he been evil, God would not have delivered him from his enemies. God is to be praised for he rewards those he loves with victory over their enemies.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they are too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of
He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The Lord rewarded me according
to my righteousness...
For I have kept the ways of the Lord...
all his ordinances were before me
and his statutes I did not put
away from me.
I was blameless before him...
I pursued my enemies and overtook
and did not turn back till they
I thrust them through, so that they
were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet...
Thou didst make my enemies turn
their backs to me,
and those who hated me I destroyed...
blessed be...God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me;
who delivered me from my enemies;
yea, thou didst exalt me above my
thou didst deliver me from men of
For this I extol thee O Lord...
and sing praises to thy name.
Great triumphs he gives to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his descendants for
...I kept myself from guilt.
Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to
David understands that the righteous will not be slain by the wicked, nor will God allow the wicked to prevail over the righteous in trials. God delivers the righteous:
Psalm 37: 32
The wicked watches the righteous,
and seeks to slay him.
The Lord will not abandon him to his power,
or let him be condemned when he
is brought to trial...
The salvation of the righteous is
from the Lord;
he is their refuge in the time of
The Lord helps them and delivers
he delivers them from the wicked,
and saves them,
because they take refuge in him."
Of course, as we all know, David was _not_ all that righteous despite the above claims, he sinned in his complicity of the death of Uriah the Hittite whose wife, Bathsheba, David had committed adultery with, and then had Uriah killed to cover his crime. So David-the-Messiah was not without sin, he was indeed a "sinner." (cf. 2 Samuel 11:1-27).
The book of Habakkuk seems to agree with the above observations of David, that the Lord's righteous "anointed" one (messiah) will be protected, his life will not be taken by his evil enemies, God himself will destroy his anointed's enemies. Jesus is presented by Christians as the messiah and righteous, but he fails Habakkuk's description of being spared death by his evil enemies via God's personal intervention:
Habakkuk 3:13 RSV
"Thou wentest forth for the
salvation of thy people,
for the salvation of thy anointed.
Thou didst crush the head of the wicked..."
Moses on God's _favor_ being shown by trumphing over enemies:
De 28:1, 7 RSV
"And if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments...all these blessings shall come upon you...The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you..."
Moses on God's _disfavor_ being shown by allowing Israel's enemies to triumph over her, taking his people's lives:
"But if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you...The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies...and your dead body shall be food for all the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth..."
Jeremiah in agreement with Moses and David understands that God shows his disfavor by allowing Judah's enemies to take their lives, destroy their land and carry them off into exile because they have sinned and refused to obey God's commands, statutes and laws. The Jews who have fled to Egypt after the fall of Jerusalem are complaining that since they have stopped worshipping the queen of heaven, misfortune has befallen them because the queen is unhappy and angry with them for no longer honoring her with sacrifices. Jeremiah "corrects" them: Their misfortunes are because they have failed to worship God. In other words God does _not_ reward his faithful by allowing them to be destroyed by their enemies, he destroys the enemy, rescuing those he loves:
Jewish women in Egypt to Jeremiah (Jer 44:18):
"But since we left off burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out libations to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by sword and by famine."
Jeremiah's reply (Jer 44:23):
"It is because you burned incense, and because you sinned against the Lord and did not obey the voice of the Lord or walk in his statutes and in his testimonies, that this evil has befallen you."
From the above verses it is quite clear that Jesus does _not_ qualify as possessing God's "favor" by the standards laid out in the Old Testament for God allowed this "messiah" to be publicly humiliated by being slapped, beaten, scourged, mocked, then executed upon a cross in a slow, painful, death.
The Old Testament texts understood that the Davidic Messiah would be a righteous man. Jesus' followers claimed that he was not only righteous but also without sin, thus he qualified as the Davidic messiah.
Christ failed the "proof-test" for a righteous man.
Moses, David and Jeremiah had declared God would _not_ allow a righteous man's enemies to defeat and kill him.
Christ's death was then "proof" that the claims of his followers that he was righteous and without sin were false, they were liars and deluded, for had Jesus truely been "without sin" God would have let the Jews know this by causing Jesus' enemies to defeated, sparing his life, and placing him on the throne of David at Jerusalem.
Jesus being a devout Jew and well-acquainted with scripture would have known Moses', David's and Jeremiah's teachings that God would _not_ allow a righteous man's life to be taken from him by his enemies. Hence, apparently, the reason for Jesus' final words: "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
In the final moments before his death as his life force ebbed out of him he realized that God was _not_ going to "defeat" his enemies as promised by Moses and David, his enemies had triumphed over him, taking his life.
As an observant Jew Jesus Christ "knew" that _the sign of God's favor_ was that a righteous man would defeat and destroy his enemies while a sinner would be destroyed by his enemies.
The Jewish priests, scribes and elders "knew" their scripture, that Moses and David had said God's _sign of favor_ for determining who is a righteous man was that his life would be spared and his enemies delivered into his hands to be destroyed, hence the reason they demanded a "sign" of Jesus: if he was truely rigtheous why was God allowing him to be executed by his enemies?
Matthew 27:41-50 RSV
"...the chief priests, with the scribes and elders mocked him, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, "I am the Son of God."...about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli la'ma sabach-tha'ni?" that is, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?"...And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit."
Rabbi Sandmel (1956) wrote a book for Jews to help them understand Christian beliefs by examining the teachings of the New Testament. He contrasted Jewish vs. Christian beliefs. He noted that Saint Paul acknowledged that Christ's execution was a "stumbling block" for Jews preventing them from accepting him as the longed-for post-exilic messiah (My note: Paul and the writers of the New Testament however, were "silent" about Ezekiel's portrayal of the messiah's nature, when he would appear, and what he would do). The Gentiles regarded the claims that Christ had been resurrected as folly or madness, dead people did not come back to life, Christian claims were absurd.
"That Christ was crucified was in part a difficult problem for Church apologetics, "a stumbling block to Jews and a folly to Gentiles" (I Cor 1:23). But Paul argues that it attests to the "power of God and the wisdom of God" (I Cor 1:24)...Crucifixion thus was not a defeat for Christ, but necessarily paved the way to the triumph of resurrection."
(p. 58. "Paul's doctrine of Christ." Rabbi Samuel Sandmel. A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament. Woodstock, Vermont. Jewish Lights Publishing. 1st edition 1956 Hebrew Union College. 3rd edition 2005)
Moses informs Israel that an executed criminal's body shall not hang all night upon a tree, for anyone hanged on a tree is ACCURSED BY GOD. So, God has shown His _disfavor_ to Jesus by not only allowing his enemies to take his life from him, they have also hanged him on a tree (the cross) to show once again Jesus does _not_ have God's favor, he is accursed by God:
Deuteronomy 21: 22 RSV
"And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is accursed by God, you shall not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance."
Christians freely admit Jesus was indeed accursed by God, but not because he personally sinned against God (He was without Sin and Righteous), but because he "took on symbolically" the sins of the world. Below, Peter addresses the Jewish Sandhedrin:
"...Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree."
"...They put him to death by hanging him on a tree..."
"...they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb..."
Saint Paul on Christ being "cursed" by God the Father:
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree"..."
We see now that Jesus Christ _did_ fulfill some prophecies: Moses' prophecies about what would happen to those who taught that the Torah should not be observed: they were to be executed, hung on a tree, and considered accursed by God as a warning to His people to hold fast to and observe His Commandments, Statutes and Ordinances, that they might continue to remain in His good grace and favor.
Christian apologists of course understand Jesus had God's favor because he "allowed" his enemies to prevail in taking his life for this is "the inscrutable will" of God the Father who wants to reconcile sinful man to himself via his son's death and shed blood. The Jews found this Christian argument to be nonsensical. Their Torah quite clearly told them that once a year on Yom Kippur God would forgive the whole nation of _all_ their sins, so there was _no need_ for a savior to be born and killed to redeem man of his sins and reconcile man to God; notice also that this annual procedure for absolvement of "all sins" is declared to be "everlasting" and without end, for all of eternity. God does not say this statute is in force until the arrival of a post-exilic messiah, it is in force for all of eternity, even after the messiah's arrival, a notion repudiated by Christianity. So why would God _contradict Himself_ by changing His mind ending Yom Kippur and replacing it with Christianity and a slain savior? It makes no sense.
Leviticus 16:30-34 RSV
"...for on this day shall ATONEMENT SHALL BE MADE FOR YOU, to cleanse you; from ALL YOUR SINS you shall be clean before the Lord...the priest...shall make atonement...for ALL THE PEOPLE of the assembly. And this shall be an EVERLASTING STATUTE for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of ALL THEIR SINS. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him."
Christians claim God has "blinded " the Jews in order to make salvation available to the gentiles who will believe that Christ is the Messiah, causing the Jews to erroneously think Christ was unrighteous and accursed by God because he did not deliver him from his enemies as prophecized by Moses, David and Jeremiah.
We have a delimma here. If the Old Testament is the Word of God and God declared via Moses, David, and Jeremiah that he will deliver the righteous from the wicked and _not_ allow their deaths to be accomplished by their enemies, then Christian claims are nullified and Christ's public humiliation and death is "proof" he was not righteous and thus he was unqualified to be a Messiah.
If Christian claims are correct, then the Holy Spirit that inspired Moses, David and Jeremiah to declare that the righteous will be protected and their lives will not be taken by the wicked erred most grievously.
The Holy Spirit is not suppossed to contradict itself, but it did here in allowing a supposedly righteous man (Jesus Christ) to slain by his wicked, evil, enemies.
As noted earlier, above, the Jews "knew" their sacred texts, they knew from the prophet Ezekiel that the longed-for messiah was _not_ free of sin and Jesus' followers claims that Christ was "without any sin" was a slap-in-the-face to the Holy Spirit who had caused Ezekiel to understand that the messiah was a sinner, for the longed-for messiah offers the blood of slain bulls to expiate himself of his sins (Ez 45:22) and the sins of his people (Ez 45:23), a notion _contradicting_ Christian claims of the messiah being free of sin, and that the blood of bulls as sin offerings has ended as Christ's shed blood ends sin offerings in the form of slain animals. This messiah would also insure that all of God's ordinances and statutes would be obyed (Ez 37:24-26), a notion repudiated by Christians via Saint Paul's teachings who stated that Christ's death and shed blood had ended the observance of the Mosaic statutes and ordinances for Christians. The priests serving God under this longed-for messiah would not be uncircumcised gentiles (uncircumcised gentile Christians) but circumcised Levites (Ez 44:7-10).
Ezekiel 37:24-26 RSV
"My servant David shall be king over them; they shall have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes...David my servant shall be their PRINCE [Hebrew: nasi] for ever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them..."
Ez 44:7-10 RSV
O house of Israel, let there be an end to all your abominations, in admitting foreigners, UNCIRCUMCISED heart and FLESH, to be in my sanctuary, profaning it...No foreigner, UNCIRCUMCISED in heart and FLESH, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary."
Ezekiel on the PRINCE (nasi: "king, ruler, prince, exalted one") offering a slain bull for his sins:
Ez 45:21-22 RSV
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the feast of passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. On that day the PRINCE SHALL _PROVIDE FOR HIMSELF_ and all the people of the land A YOUNG BULL FOR A SIN OFFERING."
That's right, read it again! The PRINCE (MESSIAH) will provide for HIMSELF a bull sin-offering for his sins!
Ezekiel on the longed-for post-exilic messiah offering slain animals as SIN OFFERINGS on behalf of his people _contra_ Christian notions that Christ's shed blood has done away with sin-offerings (note: "HE" is referring to the "PRINCE" or "MESSIAH" making SIN-OFFERINGS):
Ez 45:23-25 RSV
"And on the seven days of the festival HE SHALL PROVIDE AS A BURNT OFFERING to the Lord seven young bulls and seven rams without blemish, on each of the seven days; and a he-goat FOR A SIN OFFERING...In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, HE SHALL MAKE THE SAME PROVISION FOR SIN OFFERINGS, burnt offerings, and cereal offerings, and for the oil."
That's right, read it again! The future Messiah will provide bulls and goats to be slain as sin-offerings for GOD'S PEOPLE in the Messianic Age _contra_ Christian teachings!
As is quite clear from the Holy Spirit speaking through Ezekiel, the longed-for Davidic-Messiah will offer on a yearly basis for all of eternity the blood of slain bulls and other animals as a sin offering for (1) himself and (2) his people, a notion denied and repudiated by Christianity, who claims their messiah was without sin and that he (Jesus) does not offer the blood of slain bulls to expiate his followers (Christian's) sins in the Messianic age for it is his shed blood that has ended sin-offerings via slain animals.
Ezekiel's description of the prince or messiah, the "anointed," duplicates somewhat the duties which were assigned to an earlier messiah or "anointed": Aaron the brother of Moses and High Priest of Israel (Christians claiming Jesus is the High Priest now who atones for mankind's sins):
Leviticus 16:6-34 RSV
"And Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house...Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself...Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering which is for the people...Then Aaron shall...offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people...And it shall be a statute to you for ever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month you shall afflict yourselves, and do no work, either the stranger who sojourns among you; for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord. It is a sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute for ever. And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father's place shall make atonement...for the priests and all the people of the assembly. And this shall be an everlasting statute for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins." And Moses did as the Lord commanded him."
The Jews, then, who "knew" their sacred texts could not accept Jesus as the longed-for messiah for all of the above reasons.
Just as David had been a "sinner" who had offered slain bulls to expiate himself of his sins, so too, his descendant, the longed-for post-exilic messiah, would likewise be a "sinner" who would offer the blood of bulls to expiate himself of his sins like his messianic ancestor David! That is to say the sacred texts revealed that King David was a "righteous sinner," a notion Christians could not accept, their messiah had to be righteous and without sin. The Catholics would later take this notion one step further in declaring Mary, the mother of Jesus, as being of an "immaculate conception" so that the sin that in-dwells in all human flesh since Adam's fall would not be a part of Jesus' fleshly body, for he must be without any sin.
Having been rejected by Judaism Christianity would have "greater success" in propagating itself as a great worldwide religion by pitching its notions to an _ignorant_ gentile_audience_ that was "unaware" that the Old Testament (Moses, David, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) _contradicted_ and repudiated Christian teachings and notions of "when" the Messiah would appear, "what" he would be like, and "what" he would do.
Ezekiel is ignored and passed over with "silence" in Christianity's New Testament.
Perhaps the reason for this "silence" is that Christians realized that Ezekiel's portrayal of the longed-for post-exilic messiah _contradicted and repudiated_ Christian teachings about Jesus Christ being righteous and without sin?
Ezekiel also understood that Judah's exile would last only 40 years, then she would return to the Promised Land and a Davidic Messiah would reign from Jerusalem (Ez 4:6). Christ made his appearance as a "messiah" 500+ years after Ezekiel's prophecies so he couldn't possibly be Ezekiel's predicted post-exilic messiah. Here we have another reason why the authors of the New Testament passed over Ezekiel's writing in silence: his timetable for "when" the messiah would make his appearance contradicted their claims that Jesus was the longed-for post-exilic messiah.
Ezekiel 4:6, 13 RSV
"And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, a day for each year...Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations whither I will drive them."
The Christians are not the only ones who "pass over in silence" Ezekiel's prophecy regarding "when" the messiah would appear, Judaism is just as guilty here too.
The Rabbis pass over in silence Ezekiel's prophecy that at the conclusion of 40 years Judah's punishment or exile will end and she will be restored to her land and a messiah will be given her to reign from Jerusalem.
This prophecy was never realized.
By suppressing Ezekiel's words Judaism has been able to give its followers the "false hope" that some day in the future a post-exilic messiah will appear and reign at Jerusalem.
So both Christianity and Judaism _are equally guilty_ of "hoodwinking" their followers, giving them the "false hope" of a future messiah's appearance thousands of years into the future by suppressing Ezekiel's prophecies regarding the appearance of a post-exilic messiah at the conclusion of a 40 year exile for Judah.
A Jewish apologist, David Klinghoffer recently authored a book (2005) explaining "why" the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as being the Messiah. His comments are worth quoting. But before I do that I want to point out that Klinghoffer is "silent" about the time-constraints imposed on "when" the Messiah was to appear. Jeremiah understood at the conclusion of a 70 year Exile (Jer 25:12) while Ezekiel understood it would be at the conclusion of a 40 year Exile (Ez 4:6). The Bible informs us that prophets are not to be believed until their prophecies have been accomplished (De 18:21). The fact that Jeremiah and Ezekiel were wrong is given "a blind-eye" by both Jewish and Christian apologists who both argue that the faithful should continue to believe in the prophets despite the biblical warning _you are not to believe until the prophecy is fulfilled_
(De 18:21). So both Christian and Jewish apologists are in mutual defiance of the Holy Spirit in urging their people
"to believe" that Jeremiah and Ezekiel are real prophets despite their prophecies' failure to materialize for over 2500 years!
Klinghoffer, citing Deuteronomy 30:1-10:
"But the Messiah's coming would not be a product of happenstance. The pre-eminent condition that would cause him to appear was repentence. The book of Deuteronomy said just this. There, Moses had spoken prophetically of a time when the people Israel were dispersed everywhere in the world but then repented, re-embraced God's commandments, and were subsequently were gathered together again. "It will be that when all these things come upon you -the blessing and the curse that I presented before you- then you will take it to heart among all the nations where the Lord, your God, has dispersed you; and you will return unto the Lord, your God, and listen to His voice, according to everything that I command you today...You shall return and listen to the voice of the Lord, and perform all His commandments that I command you today...The Lord will return to rejoice over you for good...when you listen to the voice of the Lord, your God, to observe His commandments and His decress, that are written in this book of the Torah...God's rejoicing and the return of the exile were tied explicity with the "commandments and...decrees that are written in this book of the Torah." The very commandments whose observance Christians said their Messiah had dispensed with were the very pre-conditions for the promised redemption."
(p. 140. David Klinghoffer. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus. New York. Doubleday. 2005)
"Christianity said the Jews could dispense with the commandments prescribed in the written and oral Torahs, the very grammar of a Jew's relationship with God. No true Messiah would found a religion that presumed to abolish the commandments."
(p. 138. David Klinghoffer. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus. New York. Doubleday. 2005)
Klinghoffer is correct that a "true" Messiah should _not_ be advocating an end to the commandments, statutes and ordinances of Moses for the Bible makes this point quite clear: Anyone claiming to speak for God who advocates the abolishment of Moses' (God's) commandments is a false prophet and not to be believed or obeyed, he is to be executed:
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 RSV
"If a prophet arise among you or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, 'Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him, and keep his commandments and obey his voice...But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God..."
Please note that De 13:1-5 speaks of "other gods" and the "abandonment of God's Commandments." How is this "warning" to Israel by Moses "fulfilled" by Christianity?
John 1:1-10 presents Jesus Christ as the Logos or "The Word" of the Old Testament. It is Jesus in his role of "The Word" who made Adam and Eve, it is Jesus who as the "Logos" spoke to Moses and gave him the 10 Commandments. The Rabbis knew nothing of God having a "son" who, on His behalf, created Adam and Eve and gave Moses the 10 Commandments, Ordinances and Statutes. So Christianity has in effect _substituted_ an "other god" originally unknown to Israel in the Old Testament with a "new" god in the New Testament (Jesus Christ as the Logos). Christians declare there are now "new gods" instead of a God: God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost, the so-called "Holy Trinity."
Keep His Commandments:
De 13:1-5 warns Israel that the worship of "other gods" will entail an "abandonment" of observing the Commandments (the 10 Commandments as well as the Ordinances and Statutes given by God to Moses) and this is just what Saint Paul preached to his Christian converts: They are _not_ to observe the Torah anymore (the Commandments, Statutes, Ordinances) as Christ's death and sacrifice has ended said observations.
So, then, Christianity "fulfills" Moses' warning in: (1) presenting new gods: Jesus as the Logos who _replaces God_ as being the creator of the earth and Adam and Eve, the Holy Trinity consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which were _unknown_ to Israel and (2) in declaring that the Commandments, Ordinances and Stautes given by the Holy Spirit on God's behalf to Moses are _not_ to be observed as per Saint Paul's statements.
Klinghoffer cites Ezekiel as being helpful for establishing the preconditions that must be in place before the Messiah's appearance. What is markably "absent" in Klinghoffers' list is that Ezekiel had prophecized that the restoration would occur after Judah had spent 40 years in the Exile (Ez 4:6). By turning a blind-eye to this time-constraint, Klinghoffer the Jew, like the Rabbis before him, can offer his people a false hope in a Messiah yet to come:
"We found that Ezekiel, in his 36th and 37th chapters, may be the clearest and most detailed prophetic voice in laying out this sequence:
1) gathering of exiles;
2) reign of the Messianic king;
3) a new covenant characterized by scrupulous observance of the commandments;
4) eternal peace;
5) a new temple;
6) the nations recognize God..."
(p. 139. David Klinghoffer. Why the Jews Rejected Jesus. New York. Doubleday. 2005)
Ezekiel and Jeremiah were false prophets because they claimed that upon the completion of 40 (Ez 4:6) or 70 years (Jer 25:11) both Israel and Judah would be restored to their lands and be given a Messiah to rule over them at Jerusalem. This _never_ happened. False prophets are known by their failed prophecies:
Deuteronomy 18:20-21 RSV
"But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other words, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, 'How may we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' -when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken..."
If I were to be asked what are the "most important verses" in the Holy Bible I would have to say Deuteronomy 18:20-21.
They are a warning from God TO NOT BELIEVE A PROPHET UNTIL THE EVENT IS FULFILLED.
Why is this so important?
BECAUSE BOTH RABBI AND CHRISTIAN MINISTER ARE IN _OPEN _DEFIANCE_ OF_GOD_ IN URGING THEIR PEOPLE TO IGNORE GOD"S WARNING AND TO BELIEVE IN THESE FALSE PROPHETS DESPITE THEIR PROPHECIES _NEVER_ BEING FULFILLED FOR OVER 2500 YEARS. These "false prophets" claimed the Messiah would come to power upon the completion of either a 40 or 70 year Babylonian Exile and it didn't happen.
"And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, a day for each year...Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations whither I will drive them."
Jeremiah 25:8-11, 27:6-7, 29:10-14 RSV
"This land shall become a ruin and waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years...Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant...All the nations shall serve him and his son and grandson...For thus saith the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place... Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me...I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."
Isaiah claimed a Messiah had arrived in the form of Cyrus the Persian. The problem? This "messiah" was not of Jewish blood and a descendant of David.
Isaiah 44:28, 45:1, 13 RSV (note: "anointed" in Hebrew is "messiah")
"...who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd...Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus...he shall build my city and set my exiles free..."
The Chronicler claimed Cyrus' release of Jewish captives from the Babylonian Captivity and his orders to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem fulfilled Jeremiah's prophecies (the captivity ended in 539 B.C. and had lasted only 48 years, not 70 as announced by Jeremiah):
2 Chronicles 36:22-23 RSV
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up th spirit of Cyrus king of Persia...Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up."
"Some" Apologists try "wiggle" their way out of the above time constraints by claiming that the 40 and 70 years are but "metaphors" for an "unknown" length of time that will elapse before the restoration and Messiah appear thus absolving the prophets of failed prophecies. It is a very clever argument but this Apologetic "smoke screen" is easily unmasked for what it is and dispensed with. How so?
De 18:20-21 reveals that God's people are _not_ to believe a prophet until the prophecy has been fulfilled and to this day, 15 January 2009, the prophecies have never been fulfilled.
Quite clearly De 18:20-21 understands that prophecies are expected to be fulfilled within the lifetime of the audience hearing the prophet's words, for how else will this audience "know" if these are God's words or not?
If the prophecy is not fulfilled in their lifetime they have been told they are not to believe the prophet, so they are expected to die in a state of disbelief, not belief.
Special Update of 27 January 2009:
Today I did a Google search keying in the following words "Why Jesus cannot be the Messiah." The below exchanges of views were found on some internet forums which I thought would be a useful supplement to my above arguments.
The first exchange of views is from a Jew explaining to a Christian why Jesus cannot be the Messiah: He didn't fulfill the messianic prophecies.
The second exchange is from another forum and the poster explains that Jesus' ancestry, as presented in the New Testament, disqualifies him as being the Messiah.
Topic: Did Jesus Christ fulfill the Messianic prophecies?
March 22, 2005
"GOD IS NOT A MAN:
BaMidbar (Numbers) 23:16 - "And God directed Himself to Bilaam and put a word in his mouth and said: Go back to Balak and thus you shall speak."
BaMidbar 23:17 -"...and Balak said unto him (Bilaam): What did God say?"
BaMidbar 23:18-19 - "(He) said: Rise up Balak and hear...God is not a man...(or) a son of man..."
Now let's look at the question of Jesus and miracles.
JESUS AND MIRACLES:
Could Jesus have made miracles? Sure, why not. Would that prove anything? NO! G-d tells us that He will bring false prophets and miracle workers to the world to test us. G-d tells us that these people will say incredible things WHICH WILL HAPPEN exactly as they say it will happen. G-d then tells us that this is all meaningless if they say or do ANYTHING counter to His Torah. G-d tells us it was a TEST. (Very few people pass this test.)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:1 - "Everything that I command you, do it and do it meticulously. You may not add to it, nor take away from it."
Devarim 13:2-4 - "If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, AND THE SIGN OR THE WONDER COME TO PASS, of which he spoke to you, saying, Let us go after other gods (alter the Torah in any way), which you have not known, and let us serve them; you will not hearken to the words..."
Devarim 13:4 - "You shall not hearken to the words of the prophet (who changes anything in God's Torah)..., for God, your God tests you to know whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul."
Devarim 27:26 - "Cursed be he that does not maintain ALL the words of the Torah TO DO THEM. And all the people shall say, Amen."
Could Jesus be Moshiach (The Messiah)? Absolutely not.
JESUS AS MOSHIACH (Messiah):
Moshiach must come from the tribe of Yehuda, and ONLY through the father (never the mother) does one enter a Jewish tribe. Joseph we are told was not the father of Jesus. A Jewish child CAN be adopted INTO A FAMILY, but a Jewish child CANNOT be adopted INTO A TRIBE.
Could Jesus be Moshiach? Absolutely not. Moshiach MUST perform ALL of the duties Moshiach is to accomplish in this world. Jesus did not perform these required duties. For example, every real Jew in the world MUST be brought to Israel. Did Jesus do this? NO! For example, the world MUST be brought to peace. Did Jesus do this? NO! For example, at least the foundation for the 3rd Temple must be prepared. Did Jesus do this? NO! And more.
Moshiach must accomplish every bit of this. Because Jesus did not do so, the idea of the second coming was invented by Christians. Jesus will come back they tell us, to finish the job. NOT SO! The REAL Moshiach won't have to come back. He will get it right the first time.
JESUS AND JEWISH LAW:
Did Jesus obey Jewish law? The NT tells us he did not. Jesus tried to change the law. For example, John 9:16 tells us that Jesus broke Shabbos (The Sabbath). All the Pharissees agree that Jesus did this, although some of them were shocked that he could behave in such a manner.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 13:1 - "Everything that I command you, do it and do it meticulously. You may not add to it, nor take away from it."
Topic: Why Jesus cannot be the Messiah
June 5th, 2006
(Note: I have made some minor corrections to spelling errors in the below exchange)
"... I think we should go back and look at whether Christianity is even a valid belief. So let's start with the core belief of Christianity - that Jesus is the 'Messiah' (whether Jesus even existed is another question and there are lots of books written about this - fact is there is little evidence for it, but that doesn't even matter here).
According to Christian belief, the Messiah that will save Israel and mark a new era in God's kingom on earth, can only be the Messiah if he is in line to be the king of Israel, which requires the Messiah be in the royal line of Solomon, and shall NOT be, according to Jeremiah 22:28-29, a descendent of Jeconiah. In this context check out Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 where we are presented with two genealogies of Jesus that are in conflict. They both cannot be correct as they disagree, and this discredits the bible as the infallible word of God. But Christians don't give up so easy, they explain away the different lineages by claiming the genealogy found in Matthew is the lineage of Jesus through his father Joseph, and the genealogy found in Luke is the lineage of jesus through his mother Mary. Now there is no reason found in the Bible to think this, and both passages in fact say they are the lineages of Jesus through his father Joseph, but Christians need to explain away the contradiction or the basis for their whole religion is in question.
In the lineage in Matthew, a couple of issues arise - first, Joseph was NOT the father of Jesus, since Mary was a virgin. As Christians claim, God was the father not Joseph. But God is not a descendant of Solomon. So if God is the biological father of Jesus, as the gospels and Christians assert, then Jesus is not a descendant of Solomon, and if not, then he cannot be the Messiah. Further, if you read the lineage in Matthew, Jeconiah is in the list of ancestors of Jesus. But according to Jeremiah 22:28-29, no descendants of Jeconiah can be king of Israel. But the Messiah has to be a king according to prophecy...thus for two reasons, Jesus could not be the Messiah based on this lineage.
So that leaves us with Luke's lineage. This lineage is different than the one in Matthew, so Christian scholars attempt to justify this by claiming the lineage in Luke is through Jesus' mother Mary. However, even if we accept this lineage is indeed Mary's, which there is no reason to do other than to justify the discrepancy, you must deal with a second difficulty - the rights of the royal line are not passed through the mother, only the father. Even though Mary, through her lineage, was a descendant of David as required by prophecy, she should be excluded from being able to pass those rights of the bloodline because of being a female (Deut 21:16). But even if Mary could transfer kingship, Mary (if this is indeed her genealogy) is a descendant of Nathan not Solomon. Nathan is a brother of Solomon, and the Messiah must be a descendant of Solomon, so again, this lineage cannot be that of the Messiah. Even if the kingship could go through Nathan, Luke lists two people in this genealogy named Shealtiel and Zerubbabel and they are descendents of Jeconiah according to Matthew 1:12, and as shown above, Jeconiah cannot be an ancestor of the Messiah. Further, in Matthew, Jeconiah is listed as a descendent of Solomon, so the lineages again disagree, and Luke's then disagrees with other Old Testament lineages which also show Shealtiel and Zerubbabel as descendants of Solomon not Nathan. So, the question is, is Mary a descendant of Solomon through Jeconiah or of Nathan and not Solomon? Either answer disqualifies the lineage as that of the Messiah, ignoring completely that the kingship could not be transferred through the mother anyhow.
The fun of all of this is that it shows that Jesus CANNOT be the Messiah, and if he is not, the basis for Christianity whithers."
Conclusions (27 January 2009):
Jesus Christ cannot be the Messiah for several reasons as has been presented above:
(1) He arrived at the "wrong time," he was 500 years too late according to the timetables of Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
(2) What he would "do" as a Messiah according to Christians is in _contradiction_ to his duties as presented by Ezekiel (the Messiah offering the blood of slain bulls and goats for his sins and his people's sins on a regular basis, monthly and yearly, for all of eternity).
(3) He didn't fulfill the Messianic Prophecies appearing in the Old Testament (leading Israel and Judah to military victories over their human enemies).
(4) He doesn't have the necessary Messianic Lineage. Jeremiah claimed David would "never lack a man" to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, this implies an "unbroken-male-lineage" which would _disqualify_ Christ's descent from David via his mother Mary for she is _not_ a male, she is a female, nullifying Jeremiah's messianic prophecy:
Jeremiah 33:17 RSV
"For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel..."
(5) Christianity's notion that the Torah, the Commandments, Statutes and Ordinances of Moses are not to be observed by Christians disqualify Jesus as being the Messiah according to Deuteronomy 13:1-5 which clearly states that anyone advocating the non-observance of the Torah is a False Prophet and is to be executed irregardless of whatever signs or miracles he accomplishes.
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 RSV
"If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them," you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him, and keep his COMMANDMENTS and obey his voice...that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God..."
Moses clearly reveals that to "walk in God's ways" is to not only observe the 10 Commandments but the Statutes and Ordinances as well:
"...you will walk in his ways, and keep his STATUTES and his COMMANDMENTS and his ORDINANCES, and will obey his voice..."
Ezekiel _agreed_ with Moses, the post exilic Messiah and his people would observe God's Statutes and Ordinances _contra_ Christian teachings that Christ's death has done away with them:
Ezekiel 37:24-26 RSV
"My servant David shall be king over them; they shall have one shepherd. They shall follow my ORDINANCES and be careful to observe my STATUTES...David my servant shall be their PRINCE for ever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them..."
Paul, who claims to possess God's Holy Spirit, informs his Christian converts that they are _not_ to observe God's commandments, statutes and ordinances as Christ's death has abolished this need:
Ephesians 2:14-15 RSV
"For he [Jesus] is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by ABOLISHING in his flesh the LAW of COMMANDMENTS and ORDINANCES..."
How interesting that the present day controversy about the removing of images of the Ten Commandments from public buildings should outrage some Christians -apparently they are unaware according to Paul- that Christ's death has abolished the observance of the 10 Commandments for Christians.
Christ's followers urged the people to believe in him because he accomplished "miracles and signs" during his life:
healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, turning water into wine, casting out demons, rising from the dead himself after 3 days and nights in a tomb; they also advocated the non-observance of the Torah and Israel's calendar of Holy Feast Days (Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, etc.).
Paul's Jesus "fitted to a T" Moses' warning of the false prophet who would arise in the future, accomplish wonderous signs and miracles and advocate the end of Torah observance (the non-obeyance of God's Commandments, Ordinances and Statutes).
04 May 2009 Update:
Please click here for Why Jesus Cannot be the Messiah from a Jewish Perspective (A tract published by "Jews for Judaism" of Los Angeles California, 4th edition 2001, by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz titled The Jewish Response to Missionaires. Counter Missionary Handbook.)
From page 29 of the tract:
"Judaism understands the Messiah to be a human being (with no connotation of deity or divinity) who will bring about certain changes in the world and who must fulfill certain specific criteria before being acknowledged as the Messiah.
These specific criteria are as follows:
1) He must be Jewish. (Deuteronomy 17:15, Numbers 24:17)
2) He must be a member of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and a direct male descendent of both King David
(I Chronicles 17:11, Psalm 89:29-38, Jeremiah 33:17, II Samuel 7:12-16) and King Solomon. (I Chronicles 22:10,
II Chronicles 7:18)
3) He must gather the Jewish people from exile and return them to Israel. (Isaiah 27:12-13, Isaiah 11:12)
4) He must rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1)
5) He must bring world peace. (Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 11:6, Micah 4:3)
6) He must influence the entire world to acknowledge and serve one G-d. (Isaiah 11:9, Isaiah 40:5, Zephaniah 3:9)
All of these criteria for the Messiah are best stated in the book of Ezekiel, Chapter 37:24-28:
“And My servant David will be a king over them, and they will all have one shepherd, and they will walk in My ordinances,
and keep My statutes, and observe them, and they shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant...and I will make a
covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant and I will set my sanctuary in their midst forever and My
dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their G-d and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the
Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.”
If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, he
cannot be the Messiah."
Regarding point 2) _why_ Jesus' genealogy disqualifies him as the Messiah (p. 31):
"WHY JESUS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE JEWISH MESSIAH
A careful analysis of these criteria shows us that, although Jesus was Jewish, he did not fulfill any of the other criteria. An examination of the contradictory accounts of Jesus’ genealogy demonstrates a number of difficulties with the fulfillment of the second criterion.
Specifically, the New Testament claims that Jesus did not have a physical father. The Jewish Scriptures, however, clearly state that a person’s genealogy and tribal membership is transmitted exclusively through one’s physical father (Numbers 1:18, Jeremiah 33:17).
Therefore, Jesus cannot possibly be a descendent of the tribe of Judah nor of King David and King Solomon.
There are even further problems with any attempts to use the Jewish Scriptures to prove Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph, the husband of Mary (Jesus’ mother). For the New Testament claims that Joseph was a descendent of King Jeconiah, who in the Hebrew Bible was cursed to never have a descendent “sitting on the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:30). Joseph’s genealogy, even if it were transmittable to Jesus, would only serve to further disqualify Jesus as the Messiah.
Finally, there is the problem of the contradictory accounts of Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew, Chapter 1 and Luke, Chapter 3.
The common Christian explanation of this contradiction claims that Luke’s genealogy is that of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
However, this is unfounded, even according to the Greek original. In addition, it has already been established that genealogy is transferred solely through the father, making this attempted explanation completely irrelevant. Even if one could trace one’s genealogy through one’s mother, there would be the additional problem that Luke 3:31 lists Mary as a descendent of David through Nathan, Solomon’s brother, and not through Solomon himself as required according to the
prophesy in I Chronicles 22:10 of the Jewish Bible.
The third, fourth, fifth and sixth criteria have obviously not been fulfilled—neither during Jesus’ time nor since.
Any Christian claims that these final criteria will be fulfilled in a “Second Coming” are irrelevant because the concept of the Messiah coming twice has no scriptural basis."
Update of 25 August 2009:
Professor Bart Ehrman presents several reasons why Jesus cannot be the Messiah from a Jewish perspective, to wit: The Jews have no knowledge in their readings of their sacred texts (the Bible) of the Messiah having to "suffer" and "be rejected by his own people." (Note: Ehrman does not address the Jewish understanding that Yom Kippur, Leviticus 16:30, is God's system for the forgiveness of _all_sins_of his people and thus the need for a Messiah's suffering, rejection and death for forgiveness of sins is nonsensical)
"The belief in a suffering Messiah is absolutely central to the Christian relgion. The term "Messiah" is simply the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek term "Christ."...Why is it that the vast majority of Jews has always rejected that Jesus is the one who was predicted- a savior sent from God in order to suffer for others, so as to bring salvation, and then be raised from the dead?
The answer is actually quite simple. In the Jewish tradition, before the appearance of Christianity, there was no expectation of a suffering Messiah. But doesn't the Bible constantly talk about the Messiah who would suffer? As it turns out, the answer is no. Since the beginning, Christians have frequently cited certain passages in the Old Testament as clear prophecies of the future suffering Messiah, passages such as Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, in which someone suffers horribly, sometimes expressly for the sins of others. These passages, Christians have claimed, are clear statements about what the Messiah would be like. Jews who do not believe in Jesus, however, have always had a very effective response: the Messiah is never mentioned in these passages. You can check it out for yourself: read Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22...The term "Messiah" never occurs in them. In Jewish tradition, these passages refer not to the Messiah but to someone else..."
(pp. 227-229. "A Suffering Messiah." Bart D. Ehrman. Jesus, Interrupted, Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible and Why We Don't Know About Them). New York. HarperOne. 2009)
If there was no expectation among Jews that the Messiah would suffer and die for sins, why is it that Christians believe in a suffering Messiah?...Prior to Jesus' death some of his followers evidently thought he was the Messiah; this conviction shows up throughout the Gospels. But obviously if they said "Jesus is the Messiah," they meant it in a traditional Jewish sense, for example, that he would be the king who would establish the throne once more in Israel and rule over his people...This hope that Jesus could be the Messiah was radically disconfirmed by the events of history: Jesus never did raise an army, never did drive the Romans out of the promised land, never did establish Israel as a soveriegn state. Instead he got crucified. This showed his followers that their faith in him had been unfounded...the earliest Christians...logic was impeccable. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus suffered and died Therefore, the Messiah had to suffer and die.
But what was one to do with the fact that there were no Jewish prophecies that the Messiah would suffer and die? The earliest Christians began searching the Scriptures for hints of their new belief, and they found them, not in passages that referred to the Messiah but in other passages that describe the suffering of God's righteous one. Christians concluded, and argued, that these passages were actually referring to the Messiah, even though the Messiah is never mentioned in them and even though no one had ever thought, before this, that they referred to the Messiah."
(pp. 233-234. Ehrman)
"In reality, the idea that Jesus was the suffering Messiah was an invention of the early Christians. It is no wonder that the apostle Paul, writing decades after Christians had come up with this idea, indicates that it is the greatest stumbling block for the Jews (1 Corinthians 1:23). Even though this is the very foundation for all Christian belief, to many Jews it was a ridiculous claim."
(p. 236. Ehrman)
Ehrman understands that Jesus never intended to found a new religion or do away with the Jewish observance of the Laws and Statutes of Moses, it was later Christians who ascribed these notions to Jesus. Ehrman understands that the earliest followers of Jesus, called the Ebionites, observed Torah. He understands that these people were later denounced as heretics, marginalized and superceded by later Christians who believed, under Paul's influence, that Jesus had intended to do away with Judaism. That is to say the "original" Jewish-Christians, the Ebionites, observed Torah and circumcision.
"One of the most pressing and intriguing questions that historians of early Christianity have had to face is how the thoroughly Jewish religion of Jesus so quickly transformed itself into a religion of gentiles. How did Christianity move from being a sect within Judaism to becoming a virulently anti-Jewish religion in less than a century?
When one reconstructs the actual sayings and deeds of Jesus, they all stand firmly with this Jewish apocalyptic framework. It was only his later followers who saw him as starting a new religion. He appears to have had no intent to start a new religion. Some of his later followers retained the Jewish character of his proclamation. As the Christian religion developed in other directions, however, these followers came to labeled heretics. This is one of the real ironies of the early Christian tradition, that the original form of the religion came to be cast out and denounced.
The followers of Jesus known as the Ebionites urged that Jesus never intended to abrogate the law; since he was the Jewish Messiah sent from the Jewish God to the Jewish people in fulfillment of the Jewish law, and since he himself wholeheartedly embraced the Jewish law, his followers needed to be Jewish -and needed to keep the law...Jesus taught his followers that they needed to keep the law if they wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, they had to keep it even better than the leaders of the Jews themselves (Matthew 5:17-20). Jesus in this Gospel is portrayed as a teacher of the law who conveys its true meaning to his followers. He never urges them to break any of the laws. He urges them to follow him by observing the law."
This view of what it meant to follow Jesus was destined to lose out in the struggles over core beliefs in the early church. The apostle Paul's views were different from those of the Ebionites (who saw Paul as the archenemy), of Matthew, and of Jesus himself. Paul was quite vociferous in claiming that the law can have no role in having a right standing before God."
(pp. 237-239. Ehrman)
Update 02 January 2010:
Ezekiel understands that in the Post-Exilic Messianic Age the Prince will provide animals to be slain by the Priests for sin and guilt offerings. Some verses suggest the Priests do the actual sacrificing on behalf of the Prince, other verses suggest perhaps the Prince offers sacrifices:
Ez 45:17-46:4 RSV
"It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, cereal offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts...he shall provide the sin offerings...to make atonement for the house of Israel...the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering...the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull; for a sin offering...the priests shall offer his [the prince's] peace offering...The burnt offerings that the prince offers to the Lord..."
Ezekiel has the prince entering and leaving certain temple gates in Jerusalem in association with the sacrifices of animals (Ez 46:8-9).
Ezekiel has Levitical priests ministering to God in the sanctuary, preparing sin offerings and guilt offerings (Ez 45:4), there is not just a _single_ High Priest (Jesus) ministering before God as claimed by the author of Hebrews.
The Levitical priests who serve God are of the line of Zadok (Ez 44:15-16), there is nothing here by Ezekiel or the Holy Spirit about a High Priest "of the order of Melchizdek" serving God, Jesus' descent being Jewish from David.
The priests will eat the sin and guilt offering (Ez 45:29).
The author of Hebrews makes a point of stressing Jesus is _not_ of Levitical descent and under the Old Covenant, he has no claim to being a High Priest as Moses taught that High Priests must descend from Levi and Aaron. But this is of no concern, Jesus is of the order of Melchizdek, a non-Levitical order acceptable to God.
The author of Hebrews repudiates point by point everything the Holy Spirit has inspired Ezekiel to write about the Messianic Age.
(1) There are _no_ priests slaying beasts for sin offerings as Jesus' shed blood ends this practice, and only a High Priest (Jesus) intercedes with God on man's behalf, not a bunch of priests.
(2) The Prince (Hebrew Nasi) has to procure animals for the Priests to sacrifice on his behalf and the people's behalf for his and their sins, a notion repudiated by the author of Hebrews for Jesus' shed blood ends the procurement of beasts for sacrifices.
(3) The Prince has to follow protocols about entering and leaving certain temple gates at Jerusalem's temple (Ez 46:8-9), whereas the author of Hebrews says Jesus in heaven, does not bother with such protocols on the earth, he stands before God in heaven, not before God on the earth at Jerusalem.
(4) If the Holy Spirit really exists, it got everything terribly wrong in its inspiring Ezekiel to write in great detail who would minister to God, what they would do, and where they would minister, as Christianity refutes everything the Holy Spirit told Ezekiel about the Messianic Age.
Hebrews 4:14, 15:6
"...we have a high priest...Jesus, the Son of God...without sin...after the order of Melchizedek..."
Ezekiel knows nothing of a High Priest of Jewish descent of the order of Melchizedek (Jesus) ministering to God in the Messianic Age at Jerusalem.
"...it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests...He [Jesus the High Priest] has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself."
Ezekiel's notion that the High Priest and Priests of the line of Levi, Aaron and Zadok in the Messianic Age will serve God at Jerusalem is denied by the author of Hebrews. Jesus, a non-Levite, of the line of Judah, is the High Priest and he has no need of priests to prepare beasts for sin offerings on the earth at Jerusalem.
"For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf...he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
From the above, it is quite clear that Ezekiel's notion that the High Priest in the Messianic Age ministers to God on the earth at Jerusalem is wrong according to the author of Hebrews, the High Priest (Jesus) ministers to God in heaven, not on the earth.
"But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins."
The above is a denial and repudiation of the Holy Spirit's revelation to Ezekiel regarding the High Priest and his Priests slaying animals for sin and guilt offerings in the Messianic Age.
Is it any wonder then that Christianity "turns a blind eye" to Ezekiel and his visions of the Messianic Age and its High Priest, Priests, and Messianic Prince (Nasi), he _contradicts_ Christianity's portrayal of the Messianic Age!
12 July 2010 Update:
I highly reccomend a very scholarly presentation by a Jewish scholar explaining Why Jesus cannot be the Messiah because his two lineages as preserved in the New Testament Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-28 are contradictory and seriously flawed when compared to 1st Chronicles 3. Please click here to access this very important article, it's the clearest and finest presentation I have ever seen and it addresses _every_ Christian counter-argument or rebuttal!