The Jewish perspective on whether the Messiah has arrived or not
by Robert Randle 12/31/2010 / Bible Studies
One of the matters of disagreement between a Christian and a Jew when discussing whether Jesus was the Messiah is that if He really was, then why are things in the world as they are, and certainly even more so when it pertains to the nation of Israel. This study is an attempt to understand the theological quandary written with the pen of a Christian but viewed from a Jewish perspective, perhaps.
Jeremiah 30: 3, 9
For behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the LORD. And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave their fathers, and they shall possess it. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
NOTE: In this particular instance, the return from the captivity are those who were taken to Assyria from Samaria/Israel and to Babylon from Jerusalem/Judea.
Ezekiel 34: 12-13a, 23-24
As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them-My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My Servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
NOTE: Have all the Jews returned to their ancestral land from countries around the world?
Ezekiel 37: 21-22, 24-27
Then say to them, "Thus says the LORD God: Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountain of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations (Cp. 37: 15-19), nor shall they be divided into two kingdoms again. David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments and observe my statutes and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
NOTE: This event hasn't happened because not all the Jews are living in the land and not only that, but quite a few of them don't want to return back to Israel and a number of them are secular and have very little interest in the religious practices and traditions of their ancestors.
Hosea 3: 4-5
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return [Heb. teshuvah-"repent"] and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.
COMMENT: The prophets mention about a king David ruling over them but it cannot be the historical king of Israel, who had long since died so it must refer to his descendant; but to whom or how is he identified in the Old Testament [TANAKH]? Since the Jews do not believe in the New Testament [Brit Chadasha] then the identity of the Messiah would remain a mystery until he is revealed [as they see it] in some kind of contemporary or future-time event to take place in the land of Israel. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see what the New Testament does say which just might tie in with what is written in the Old Testament, as in the following:
Luke 1: 26-27, 30-33
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin [Heb. betulah] betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus [Yeshua]. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father [ancestor] David. "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Acts 2: 29
Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David; that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him [King David] that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ [Moshiach] to sit on his throne.
NOTE: Is Christ [the Messiah] sitting on the throne of David at this present time or is it an event which will take place in the future?
Acts 1: 6
Therefore, when they [the disciples] had come together [and met with Jesus], they asked Him, saying, "LORD, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
COMMENT: This certainly implies that Jesus had not or was not about to reign on the throne of David and restore Israel to her former, or even greater glory than she had enjoyed previously. Now from the standpoint of someone Jewish these passages would seem to strengthen and support their belief that the Messiah had not come because the events associated with His reign over the kingdom of Israel, especially among the Jews, had not occurred. As a final thought is the notion that the Messiah [Christ] could be put to death was inconceivable to the Jews, as in the following below:
John 12: 32-34
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He [Jesus/Yeshua] said, signifying by what death He should die. The people answered Him, “We have heard from the Law [Torah or more specifically TANAKH] that the Christ [Messiah] remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
Micah 5: 2
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrath, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me, the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting [from the days of Eternity].