Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What All Branches of Judaism Can Agree On: Jesus Is Not Moshiach

Let's talk a little about Moshiach (the Messiah). I'll admit, I'm not as well versed on Moshiach as I should be because since there is no world peace, I know that Moshiach hasn't arrived yet. The lion has not laid down with the lamb, we haven't made our swords into plowshares, and there is not an end to war. While I have so many other areas that need more immediate detailed knowledge (kashrut, lashon hara, etc), I don't see the need to delve further than the knowledge I just listed. (If you disagree, I'd love to hear your argument!)

So let's get one thing straight: If you want to convert to Judaism-in any movement-Jesus is not Moshiach. You cannot believe in Jesus as anything more than a historical person. (But yes, you can believe he existed as a historical person.) Messianic Jews are not Judaism, they belong to Christianity. Many aren't even Jews. I suggest checking out Jews for Judaism. Further, Jesus is not a prophet in the Jewish religion; you're thinking of Islam (as I understand).

I know, I get off easy because I wasn't raised Christian. I didn't have to work to overcome a Christian training. (Though that might be debatable since I grew up in the Bible Belt!) However, my understanding is that many former Christians approach Judaism precisely because Jesus doesn't "seem right" to them. If you feel pulled between these two worlds, I wish you luck and strength.


  1. Well stated. It might also be worth noting that if you think the Messianic "Yeshua" is the Mashiach rather than the "Christian" Jesus, you *still* can't convert. Judaism doesn't accept any such distinction.

  2. I agree with Sarah on that one! lol

    Many do approach Judaism through the eyes of Christianity, but if you're serious about conversion you're going to find out sooner or later that you're going to have to drop all previous religious notions and start from scratch. Shame on any religious leader or Rabbi who wouldn't make certain this idea didn't slip through the cracks with a potential convert!

    as far as Moshiach - I do think very much it's something to concern us with. Judaism isn't just a way of life, it isn't just a religious, it isn't just a people - it is a nation with a purpose given by Hashem himself. While many things might pull us towards Judaism (the music, the routines, the beautiful prayers, the incredible ease in conversion (not!)... the reason purpose behind Judaism is that they are the Chosen people - Chosen to bring in Moshiach.
    We may not all have the same level of interest in the guelah and Moshiach - we all have different passions - but we ALL need to be concerned with it. We all need to actively participate in this vital part of Judaism. It is the very ESSENCE of Judaism. and in my humble opinion the ignorance of Moshiach is working against the Jewish people more than any of it's enemies.

  3. forgive me for all the typos. I could give you a list of good excuses, but the truth is I'm just a typo kinda person. ;)

  4. Well said. The Jesus Question was one of the first (possibly the very first, actually) questions that my sponsoring rabbi asked me. For me, Jesus was really a non-issue; it was doubt over his status within the Christian religion that first sent me looking elsewhere, and I never felt any big attachment to him as a Christian, so looking at all of the information and saying, "Nope, definitely not Moshiach," wasn't a big deal or a big stumbling block for me. That said, I can understand that for people raised in other Christian denominations, where a "personal relationship with Jesus" is much more heavily emphasized, the kind of doubting and eventual rejection I went through could be much more painful and difficult.

  5. I understand all that has been said. But I worry about the fact that I was raised in a household where we memorized scriptures; sometimes Christian ones slip out into the front of my brain. Many of them are so close to Jewish ones, but with one or two words added (kind of like many of the Psalms are Torah-based). I always had a tough time keeping citations straight, but I have an easy time linking scriptural concepts together and juxtaposing them. (Part of how I came to Judaism).

    Right now, I try not to mention scriptures that pop into my head for fear that it will get me in trouble, but I am worried that this could prevent me from being completely honest with my beit din/rabbi in response to a question. It is also holding back my ability to study Torah as well as I would like to.

    Can anybody relate/share advice? How do I forget things that are imprinted in my memory so strongly?

  6. Thank you for this post! I know some people who believe that they can somehow convert while still believing in Jesus. Jesus is a Christian thing no matter how you paint it and as a Christian who respects Jewish culture I find it appalling that some seem to think you can slap Christianity onto anything and propiet Jewish traditions fo their own use. I cringe when I see Messianc Jews wearing tallits and doing what they please with sacred Jewish garments and objects. It's like they are play acting to me.

  7. Anonymous, you should be as open and honest with your beit din as possible. They should be aware of any possible underlying issues - knowing that the GT cites the OT (Only Testament!) is, in of itself, not a problem.

    The thing to keep in mind is that the GT is NOT scripture - we never regarded any of its works as being. Its historical accounts are suspect, its contradictions unresolvable; try keeping that in mind when the temptation arises.


  8. I'm curious, what would your response be to these verses from the prophet Yeshayahu/Isaiah and Daniyyel/Daniel that so clearly describe Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah who laid down his life for us on the cross to forgive us of sin?

    Isaiah 53:1-12
    1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
    2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
    3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
    5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
    7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
    8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
    9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
    10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
    11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
    12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (KJV)

    Isa 50:6
    6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (KJV)

    (Jesus was flogged [Matityahu 27:26]. Jesus was mocked [Matityahu 27:29] Jesus was spit upon [Matityahu 27:30])

    Isaiah 52:13-15
    13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
    14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
    15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. (KJV)

    (Jesus was beaten much worse than was normal Roman punishment, but His blood covers us all as a cleansing before the Lord God)

    The prophet Daniyyel prophesied the exact year of Yeshua's crucifixion (who would not even be born for another four hundred and some odd years from the time of this writing). Dan 9:24-26

    Each week is seven years. In verse 25 you have seven weeks [seven sevens = 49 years] and three score and two weeks [62 weeks is 62 sevens = 434 years].

    So you have: "that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem" till : "shall Messiah be cut off" , is 69 weeks [69 sevens] = 483 years. The command to restore the Temple was given in 454 B.C. [Neh 2:1 &2:18].

    Therefore, from the command to restore the Temple in 454 B.C. to the crucifixion of the Messiah in A.D. 29 you have exactly 483 years as prophesied.

  9. I also ceased to believe in Jesus' divinity a few years ago. However, I chose to become a Quaker as a result. I was completely open at my Friends' admission interview that while I strongly believe in God, I don't believe in the specifics of Christian theology any longer. I was admitted with no problem, as my strong and longstanding commitment to Quaker social justice positions was deemed more important than my specific beliefs. I think it was the right choice for me, given my Christian cultural imprinting, and also because my forebears have also been Quakers, although it's not an unbroken line of membership.

    Being or becoming a Jew encompasses *much* more than this specific theological position, and this excellent blog shows clearly why. Superb resource! I am learning so much and am really grateful for your efforts.

  10. I so very much appreciate everyone's honesty and non-judgementalism. I came from a sick and damaging christian background that taught nothing even close to the truth about Hashem and his scriptures. Over the years I have worked very hard to throw it all out and now I see my upbringing as a cult. After 60 years I am still in the process of overcoming the brain washing. I just wanted to share with everyone how destructive christianity was for me and my relationship with Hashem. I think it is very sad that christianity is so widespread and has led so very many people away from the one true El Shaddai, it makes me angry and I'm sure that Hashem cries over it.

  11. I so much appreciate the honesty and non-judgementalism shared here. I was raised in a christian, what I now see as a, cult. I started Sunday school wth Gramma at 3 and I'm 64 now and I still have thoughts interfere with what I know to be true. It is so very sad that christianity prevails worldwide and that so few people know the only, One and true El Shaddai. I know too that Hashem cries over these misled people and that their leaders will stand before him one day when the true Moshiach comes.