the Jewish Messiah? (Part 1)
and Christianity Introduction and History
of Judaism Continued
Objections and Historicity of Daniel (P. 1)
of Daniel (P. 2) & Judeo-Christian Syncretism
Few Words on Gnosticism
- A Sect of Judaism (P. 1)
- A Sect of Judaism (P. 2) & Prophecy in Judaism
Jesus the Jewish Messiah? (P. 1)
Jesus the Jewish Messiah? (P. 2)
of Messianic Qualifications & the Resurrection of Jesus
Resurrection of Jesus (Part 2)
Conclusions and Overall Comparisons
Sufferings of Eyewitnesses
of Mystical Religions to Judeo-Christianity
Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 1)
Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 2)
Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 3)
Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 4)
Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 5)
Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 6)
Introduction | Section 1
| Section 2 | Section
Is Jesus the Expected Jewish Messiah
Though more proof could be offered along these lines for the
legitimacy of Judaism, we will restrict our investigation
to addressing the central question of whether or not Jesus
fulfilled Judaism's prophecy of a Messiah. There are two principle
First, what requirements and/or prophecies does the Old Testament
(Jewish scripture) provide to identify the Messiah? Second,
does Jesus of Nazareth meet these identifiers, requirements,
and/or prophecies? In examining the Old Testament prophecies
about the Messiah it will become apparent why orthodox Judaism
historically continues to recognize Judaism's need for a literal
Before we proceed with our proof we must unequivocally state
that the greatest series of documents offering proof that
Jesus is, in fact, the Jewish Messiah are found in the Christian
New Testament. Any person seriously seeking to known whether
Jesus is the Jewish Messiah should read the New Testament
with an interest in the proofs that are offered toward that
conclusion and compare them to the Old Testament claims made
about the Messiah. Our analysis in this article will not do
justice to that topic.
However, while an exhaustive study demonstrating that Jesus
is the Messiah could be performed, it is not necessary to
do so here. Instead, we will simply provide ample evidence
to sufficiently and conclusively prove that Jesus is Judaism's
Messiah. We will do this by providing information from three
sources: Old Testament scripture, Jewish rabbinical teaching,
and from the New Testament record of Jesus.
Many Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah are recognized
by both Jewish scholars and Christians alike. We will establish
and collect a sufficient number of these prophetic identifiers
from the Old Testament along with some Jewish rabbinical commentary
confirming their Messianic message, and then compare this
list to the New Testament record to see if Jesus fits the
bill. Before we proceed it is first helpful to discuss Jewish
rabbinical sources that we will, at times, refer to.
Rabbinical commentary on the Jewish scriptures are contained
in the Talmud.
"Talmud - the authoritative body of Jewish tradition
comprising the Mishnah and Gemara" - Merriam-Webster's Online
"Talmud - in Judaism, vast compilation of the Oral
Law with rabbinical elucidations, elaborations, and commentaries,
in contradistinction to the Scriptures or Written Laws. The
Talmud is the accepted authority for Orthodox Jews everywhere.
Its two divisions are the Mishna or text of the Oral Law
(in Hebrew) and the Gemara (in Aramaic), a commentary on the
Mishna, which it supplements. The Mishna is divided into
six Orders (Sedarim) and comprises 63 tractates (Massektoth),
only 36-1/2 of which have a Gemara. The redaction of the
Mishna was completed under the auspices of Juda ha-Nasi, c.A.D.
200, who collected and codified the legal material that
had accumulated through the exposition of the Law by the Scribes
(Soferim), particularly Hillel and Shammai, and its elaboration
by the Tannaim of the 1st and 2d cent. A.D., particularly
Akiba ben Joseph. The Gemara developed out of the interpretations
of the Mishna by the Amoraim. Both the Palestinian and
Babylonian schools produced Talmuds, known respectively as
the Talmud Yerushalmi (compiled c.5th cent. A.D.) and the
Talmud Babli (c.6th cent. A.D.). The Babylonian Talmud
is longer and more comprehensive and sophisticated than the
Talmud Yerushalmi. It became the authoritative work due in
part to the predominance of Babylonian Jewry and the decline
of the Palestinian community by the year 1000. The Talmud
touches on a wide range of subjects, offering information
and comment on astronomy, geography, historical lore, domestic
relations, and folklore. The legal sections of the Talmud
are known as the halakah; the poetical digressions, illustrating
the application of religious and ethical principles through
parables, legends, allegories, tales, and anecdotes, constitute
the Aggada. In the Middle Ages there arose a vast literature
of commentaries on the Gemara—commentaries on those commentaries—and
responsa (questions and answers); Rashi was one of the best-known
commentators, and his commentaries are included in standard
editions of the Talmud. In the Middle Ages thousands of Talmud
manuscripts were destroyed by the Christians. The term
Talmud is sometimes used to refer to the Gemara alone."
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
"Talmudic Judaism - the normative form of Judaism that
developed after the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem (AD 70).
Originating in the work of the Pharisaic rabbis, it was
based on the legal and commentative literature in the Talmud,
and it set up a mode of worship and a life discipline that
were to be practiced by Jews worldwide down to modern times."
The Talmud was collected and codified during the 2nd century
A.D. It was comprised of expository writings of the Law by
the Jewish Scribes, especially those of Hillel, Shammai, and
Akiba ben Joseph. We looked at Akiba ben Joseph earlier where
we noted that the Talmud credits him with endorsing a false
Messiah, Simon bar Kokhba. At this point, it is important
to make note that Akiba ben Joseph is not only accepted as
an orthodox Jew despite his acceptance of a historical messianic
figure, but as a contributor to the Talmud, Akiba ben Joseph
is, in fact, also considered part of "the accepted authority
for Orthodox Jews everywhere."
"Akiba ben Joseph - Scholarly opinion is divided on
the extent of Akiba's participation in an ill-fated rebellion
against Rome (132-135) led by Bar Kokhba (originally Simeon
ben Koziba). Some consider Akiba to have been the spiritual
force behind the uprising. Others take note of the Talmudic
report that Akiba considered Bar Kokhba to be the promised
messianic king but see no evidence of further action on
his part." - Britannica.com
The Talmud contains scriptural interpretations called Midrash.
"Midrash - verse by verse interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures,
consisting of homily and exegesis, by Jewish teachers since
about 400 B.C. Distinction is made between Midrash
halakah, dealing with the legal portions of Scripture, and
Midrash haggada, dealing with biblical lore. Midrashic exposition
of both kinds appears throughout the Talmud. Individual
midrashic commentaries were composed by rabbis after the
2d cent. A.D. up to the Middle Ages, and they were mostly
of an aggadic nature, following the order of the scriptural
text. Important among them are the Midrash Rabbah,
a collection of commentaries on the Torah and the Five Scrolls
(the Song of Songs, Esther, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes),
and the Pesikta Midrashim, concerning the festivals.
This body of rabbinic literature contains the earliest
speculative thought in the Jewish tradition." - The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
"Midrash - 1: a haggadic or halakic exposition of the
underlying significance of a Bible text 2: a collection of
midrashim 3 capitalized: the midrashic literature written
during the first Christian millennium." - Merriam-Webster's
Now that we have briefly covered the Jewish rabbinical commentaries
that we will draw upon to substantiate the Messianic implications
of Old Testament scripture, we will begin with Deuteronomy
18, which we looked at earlier as we begin to develop the
prophetic identifiers of the Messiah. (And, as we examine
the expectations concerning the Messiah, which are driven
by these various Old Testament passages, at least one result
that is worthy of note is the extent to which modern Jewish
critics of Christianity are forced to abandon the messianic
expectations of earlier Jews, including those contained in
the Talmud, for the sole purpose of avoiding the conclusion
that Jewish messianic expectations were met by Jesus of Nazareth.)
Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto
thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like
unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all
that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day
of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of
the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more,
that I die not. 17 And the LORD said unto me, They have
well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise
them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee,
and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto
them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come
to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which
he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
From Deuteronomy 18, we have seen that from the very earliest
times of Judaism (the 13th century B.C. or so), a prophecy
was made that a Prophet would come who would be like Moses.
We also learned from Exodus 19-24 and Jeremiah 31:31 what
Moses was indicating by saying that the Prophet would be "like
him." This Prophet would:
1. Be an Israelite.
2. Mediate a new covenant between God and His people.
3. Give God's new law, commands, and covenant to the people,
which would be written in their hearts as opposed to tablets
4. Intercede between God and His people.
5. Be given God's word from God and would tell it to the people.
6. Deliver God's people from bondage.
Additionally, we saw that the establishing of a covenant with
7. A sacrifice.
8. A sacrificial meal.
9. The leaders of God's people being taken up on a mountain
and seeing God's glory.
So from the onset of Judaism there is an inherent expectation
of someone who would come and be Moses' successor. By understanding
Moses' importance to the people of Israel and his role in
their history we know that this Prophet would be no insignificant
It has been said that Jewish commentators believe that this
prophecy, made by Moses, is fulfilled by Joshua and the other
prophets of Israel. Though, these individuals did receive
God's word and proclaim it to the people of Israel it is difficult
to agree that this is what Moses had in mind. Recognizing
that Moses' words indicate a more specific fulfillment in
a singular individual, who would function in a role very similar
to his own has led some Jewish scholars to view this passage
as Messianic in nature.
For example, below is the 13th century (A.D.) Jewish scholar
Levi ben Gershon's interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:15-19.
Also called Gersonides or Ralbag, Levi ben Gershon is has
at times been criticized as unconventional, nevertheless his
views were influential through the 19th century. Here is his
interpretation of Deuteronomy 18.
"'A Prophet from the midst of thee.' In fact, the Messiah
is such a Prophet as it is stated in the Midrash of the verse,
'Behold my Servant shall prosper' (Isaiah 52:13)...Moses,
by the miracles which he wrought, brought a single nation
to the worship of God, but the Messiah will draw all peoples
to the worship of God." - Levi ben Gershon
Below is the Midrashic passage to which Levi ben Gershon was
"It is written, Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, He
shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high (Isaiah 52:13).
It means, He shall be more exalted than Abraham of
whom it is written, 'I lift up my hand' (Genesis 14:22). He
shall be more extolled than Moses of whom it is said,
'As a nursing father beareth the nursing child' (Numbers 11:12).
'And shall be very high'—that is, Messiah shall be higher
than the ministering angels."
From these two quotes we see that together Levi ben Gershon,
a 13th century Jewish scholar and a Midrashic interpretation
of Isaiah 52:13 proclaim the Jewish belief that the Prophet
of Deuteronomy 18:15-19 is the Messiah. And that Jewish thought
included the belief that the Messiah will be exalted above
Abraham and Moses and, by miracles, bring all peoples to God,
as Moses brought Israel to God.
We might also then add to our ongoing list that:
10. The Messiah will be responsible for bringing the Gentile
nations to worship the God of Israel.
Now, since we've already mentioned Isaiah 52, let's take a
look at this passage in its entirety, beginning in Isaiah
52:13 and continuing into Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 52:13 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
Isaiah 53:1 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.
This passage from Isaiah 52-53 is riddled with Messianic prophecy.
This Messianic significance is acknowledged by Jewish scholars
in the Talmud. Below are some of their comments.
Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel, a 2nd century A.D. disciples of
Hillel (the Pharisaic leader who's teachings are preserved
in the Talmud), connects this passage to the Messiah with
"Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high,
and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of
Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance
was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond
the sons of men. (Targum Jonathan on Isaiah 53, ad Iocum)"
- Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel
Notice how Jonathan ben Uzziel simply places the word Messiah
after Isaiah 52:13's "Behold my servant." Thus, he indicates
that this passage is describing the Messiah. Likewise the
Babylonian Talmud, compiled in 5th century A.D. speaks similarly,
identifying the Messiah as the one whom Isaiah says will bear
Here is the Talmudic quote, referred to by Jonathan ben Uzziel:
"The Rabbis said: His name is "the leper scholar," as it
is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our
sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and
afflicted. [Isaiah 53:4]." - Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin
The Midrash Rabbah, in interpreting Ruth 2:14, makes the following
comments about the Messiah again connecting the Messiah with
"The fifth interpretation [of Ruth 2:14] makes it refer
to the Messiah. Come hither: approach to royal state.
And eat of the BREAD refers to the bread of royalty; AND DIP
THY MORSEL IN THE VINEGAR refers to his sufferings, as
it is said, But he was wounded because of our transgressions.
(Isa. LIII, 5)." - Ruth Rabbah 5:6
The Midrash Tanhuma, also affirms the Messianic nature of
of Isaiah 52:13:
"Who art thou, O great mountain?" (Zechariah 4:7) This
refers to the King Messiah. And why does he call him the
"great mountain?" Because he is greater than the patriarchs,
as it is said, "My servant shall be high, and lifted up,
and lofty exceedingly." He will be higher than Abraham
who said, "I raise high my hand unto the Lord" (Gen. 14:22),
lifted up above Moses, to whom it is said, "Lift it up into
thy bosom" (Numbers 11:12), loftier than the ministering angels,
of whom it is written, "Their wheels were lofty and terrible"
(Ezekiel 1:18). And out of whom does he come forth? Out
of David." - The Midrash Tanhuma
We might also note that this last quote also states that the
Messiah will be a descendent of King David. We will revisit
this Messianic qualifier again later on. For now, we will
continue with our Jewish commentaries on Isaiah 52-53 as prophecies
of the Messiah.
Moshe Kohen, a 15th century rabbi in Spain, also discusses
Isaiah 52-53. He refutes the interpretation that the passage
is a reference to the people of Israel as a whole.
"This passage, the commentators explain, speaks of the
captivity of Israel, although the singular number is used
in it throughout. Others have supposed it to mean the
just in this present world, who are crushed and oppressed
now...but these too, for the same reason, by altering the
number, distort the verses from their natural meaning.
And then it seemed to me that...having forsaken the knowledge
of our Teachers, and inclined "after the stubbornness of their
own hearts," and of their own opinion, I am pleased to
interpret it, in accordance with the teaching of our Rabbis,
of the King Messiah."
Herz Homberg, a Jewish educator, who lived between (1789 and
1841) also refutes the idea that Isaiah is referring to someone
besides the Messiah.
"According to the opinion of Rashi and Ibn Ezra, it relates
to Israel at the end of their captivity. But if so,
what can be the meaning of the passage, "He was wounded
for our transgressions"? Who was wounded? Who are the transgressors?
Who carried out the sickness and bare the pain? The fact
is that it refers to the King Messiah."
Here is another quote from Homberg, in which he interpret's
Isaiah 53:10's comment the Messiah shall be an offering for
"The fact is, that it refers to the King Messiah, who
will come in the latter days, when it will be the Lord's good
pleasure to redeem Israel from among the different nations
of the earth....Whatever he underwent was in consequence of
their own transgression, the Lord having chosen him to
be a trespass-offering, like the scape-goat which bore all
the iniquities of the house of Israel." - Herz Homberg
More quotations could be cited, but this is sufficient to
demonstrate the point. Jewish scholars interpret Isaiah 52-53
as a reference to the Messiah. And we must note what this
passage is saying, even as is recognized by many such Jewish
11. The Messiah will suffer physical affliction. (Isaiah 52:13-14,
Isaiah 53:5, 10)
12. The Messiah will be despised and rejected. (Isaiah 53:3-4)
13. The Messiah will be an offering for our sin and bear the
sin of many and justify them. (Isaiah 53:5-8, 12)
14. The Messiah will be killed. (Isaiah 53:7-8, 12)
We must also note that while Isaiah 53 clearly depicts the
Messiah as lowly, afflicted, rejected by men, and being cut
off from the land of the living, Isaiah 52:13 clearly depicts
the Messiah as being exalted. We can see from these opposing
descriptions of the Messiah in this same passage of Jewish
scripture why the Jewish rabbis developed the notion of two
Messiahs. Isaiah 53 is taken to describe the suffering Messiah
who has been called the Messiah ben Joseph (or ben Ephraim).
Isaiah 52 is interpreted as a reference to the conquering
Messiah, who is called the Messiah ben David.
This dual concept of the Messiah is developed further in reference
to Zechariah 12.
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David,
and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace
and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom
they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth
for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one
that is in bitterness for his firstborn.11 In that day
shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning
of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 And the land
shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of
David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the
house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 The family
of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family
of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families
that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.
The Babylonian Talmud comments on this passage in the two
quotes that follow:
"And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family
of the house of David apart, and their wives apart [Zech.
12:12]....What is the cause of the mourning?—R. Dosa and the
Rabbis differ on the point. One explained. The cause is
the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, and the other
explained, The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination."
- The Babylonian Talmud
"It is well with him who explains that the cause is the
slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees
with the Scriptural verse, And they shall look upon me because
they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him
as one mourneth for his only son; but according to him
who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination,
is this an occasion for mourning? Is it not rather an occasion
for rejoicing? Why then should they weep?" - The Babylonian
The commentaries of other Jewish scholars on Zechariah 12
are similar to that of the Babylonian Talmud.
"All the heathen shall look to me to see what I shall do to
those who pierced Messiah, the son of Joseph." - Ibn Ezra,
"It is more correct to interpret this passage of Messiah,
the son of Joseph, as our rabbis of blessed memory have interpreted
in the treatise Succah, for he shall be a mighty man of valour,
of the tribe of Joseph, and shall, at first, be captain of
the Lord's host in that war, but in that war shall die."
- Abrabanel, 15th century
"I will do yet a third thing, and that is, that "they shall
look unto me," for they shall lift up their eyes unto me
in perfect repentance, when they see him whom they pierced,
that is Messiah, the son of Joseph; for our rabbis, of blessed
memory, have said, that he will take upon himself all the
guilt of Israel, and shall then be slain in the war to make
an atonement, in such a manner, that it shall be accounted
as if Israel had pierced him, for on account of their sin
he has died; and therefore, in order that it may be
reckoned to them as a perfect atonement, they will repent,
and look to the blessed One, saying that there is none beside
Him to forgive those that mourn on account of him who died
for their sin: this is the meaning of 'They shall look upon
me.'" - Moses Alshekh, 16th century
So, we can see that Jewish scholars understood from Isaiah
53 and Zechariah 12 that the Messiah who would suffer for
the sins of the people and be killed.
The extension "ben Joseph" which is given to the suffering
Messiah, is a reference to Joseph the son of the Jewish patriarch
Jacob (also called Israel), who as Genesis 37, 39 and 40 recount,
was sold by his brethren to Midianite traders and ends up
in prison in Egypt after being accused of committing adultery
with the wife of his master. The idea asserted by this term
"ben Joseph" is that like the patriarch Joseph, the Messiah
will suffer unjustly due to the sin of his brothers.
The extension "ben David," which is given to the exalted and
conquering Messiah stems from the Jewish understanding that
the Messiah would be a descendent of King David, and like
his ancestor, would be a conquering king.
Again, other Jewish scholars have made reference to the Davidic
lineage of the Messiah. Consider that The Temple Mount and
Land of Israel Faithful Movement earlier referred to the Messiah
as the King of Israel and the Messiah ben David. "Ben David"
is Hebrew for "son of David" indicating that they understand
that the Messiah will be a descendent of King David who was
of the tribe of Judah. Likewise, the false Messiah Simon bar
Kokhba (endorsed by Rabbi Akiva ben Joseph, a significant
contributor to Talmudic teaching) was the leader of a political
revolt to free the Jews from the Roman empire and establish
them as a sovereign nation. He was also thought to be of Davidic
"Bar Kokhba - Enraged by these measures, the Jews rebelled
in 132, the dominant and irascible figure of Simeon bar Kosba
at their head. Reputedly of Davidic descent, he was hailed
as the Messiah by the greatest rabbi of the time, Akiva ben
Yosef, who also gave him the title Bar Kokhba ("Son of the
Star"), a messianic allusion. Bar Kokhba took the title nasi
("prince") and struck his own coins, with the legend "Year
1 of the liberty of Jerusalem." - Britannica.com
Likewise, it has been noted that Zerubbabel, the governor
of Jerusalem, after the Babylonian exile was the subject of
Messianic hopes of his day. He as well was a descendent of
"Judaism - A new religious inspiration came under the
governorship of Zerubbabel, a member of the Davidic line,
who became the centre of messianic expectations during
the anarchy attendant upon the accession to the Persian throne
of Darius I (522)." - Britannica.com
"Zerubbabel - flourished 6th century BC also spelled
Zorobabel governor of Judaea under whom the rebuilding of
the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem took place. Of Davidic origin,
Zerubbabel is thought to have originally been a Babylonian
Jew who returned to Jerusalem at the head of a band of Jewish
exiles and became governor of Judaea under the Persians.
Influenced by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, he rebuilt
the Temple. As a descendant of the House of David, Zerubbabel
rekindled Jewish messianic hopes." - Britannica.com
The Jewish understanding that the Messiah would be a descendent
of King David is found in several passages throughout the
Old Testament. One of the most notable ones comes from Isaiah
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us
a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty
God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall
be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of
hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7 clearly depicts a Jewish king who will sit upon
the throne of David and whose government will have no end.
The concept that a King from the line of David would always
sit upon the throne of Israel as established by Isaiah 9 is
also found in the following passages as well where we note
that God made a covenant with King David to this ends.
1 Kings 9:5 Then I will establish the throne of thy
kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy
father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne
2 Chronicles 6:16 Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel,
keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast
promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my
sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy
children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou
hast walked before me. 17 Now then, O LORD God of Israel,
let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy
2 Chronicles 7:18 Then will I stablish the throne of
thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David
thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man [to be]
ruler in Israel.
2 Chronicles 13:5 Ought ye not to know that the
LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for
ever, [even] to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
2 Chronicles 21:7 Howbeit the LORD would not destroy
the house of David, because of the covenant that he had
made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him
and to his sons for ever.
Psalm 89:3 I have made a covenant with my chosen,
I have sworn unto David my servant, 4 Thy seed will
I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.
Psalm 132:11 The LORD hath sworn [in] truth unto
David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy
body will I set upon thy throne.
Jeremiah 33:19 And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah,
saying, 20 Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant
of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should
not be day and night in their season; 21 [Then] may also my
covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not
have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites
the priests, my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot
be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will
I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that
minister unto me. 23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to
Jeremiah, saying, 24 Considerest thou not what this people
have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath
chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised
my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
25Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant [be] not with day and
night, [and if] I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven
and earth; 26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob,
and David my servant, [so] that I will not take [any] of his
seed [to be] rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy
So from these passages as well as Isaiah 9 we note the Messianic
15. The Messiah will be king over Israel.
16. The Messianic kingdom will have no end.
17. The Messiah will be of the house of King David, of the
tribe of Judah.
Micah 5:2 also relates the Messiah to the house of David by
saying that the Messiah will come from Bethlehem, David's
family home (1 Samuel 17:15, 1 Samuel 20:6).
1 Samuel 17:15 But David went and returned from
Saul to feed his father's sheep at Bethlehem.
1 Samuel 20:6 If thy father at all miss me, then say,
David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to
Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there
for all the family.
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though
thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of
thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
We have already documented that the title Messiah ben David
is warranted by the Jewish scripture itself since the Messiah
will clearly be a descendent of King David. Therefore the
title Messiah son of David is appropriate. Likewise, Micah
5:2 tell us that out of David's family home, the town of Bethlehem,
will come forth the Messiah who will be the ruler of Israel.
So, we can add another Messianic requirement:
18. The Messiah will come forth from Bethlehem, the family
home of King David.
We will complete our basic list of Messianic identifiers or
requirements with a look a three final passages from the Old
Testament: Psalm 2, Psalm 16, and Daniel 9.
Psalm 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine
a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and
the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and
against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands
asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth
in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them
in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon
my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree:
the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have
I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee
the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts
of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them
with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like
a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be
instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with
fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest
he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath
is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their
trust in him.
So, that we do not have to interpret this passage ourselves,
we will again refer to Talmudic and rabbinical commentaries,
which discuss this passage as being messianic in nature. The
Babylonian Talmud speaks of the Messiah, quoting Psalm 2:
"Our Rabbis taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will
say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal
himself speedily in our days!), 'Ask of me anything, and
I will give it to thee', as it is said, I will tell of
the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me
and I will give the nations for thy inheritance [Psalms 2:7-8]."
- Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a
Moses Maimonides also comments on the Messiah and refers to
this passage. Maimonides is a prominent and influential figure
in modern Jewish thought.
"Moses Maimonides - Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204),
a native of Spain, is incontestably the greatest name in
Jewish medieval philosophy, but his reputation is not
derived from any outstanding originality in philosophical
thought. Rather, the distinction of Maimonides, who is
also the most eminent codifier of Jewish religious law,
is to be found in the vast scope of his attempt, in the Dalalat
al-ha'irin ( Guide of the Perplexed ), to safeguard both religious
law and philosophy (the public communication of which would
be destructive of the law) without suppressing the issues
between them and without trying to impose, on the theoretical
plane, a final, universally binding solution of the conflict."
"Moses Maimonides - or Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204, Jewish
scholar, physician, and philosopher, the most influential
Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages,b. Córdoba, Spain, d.
Cairo. He is sometimes called Rambam, from the initials of
the words Rabbi Moses ben Maimon. His organization and systemization
of the corpus of Jewish oral law, is called the Mishneh Torah
[the Torah Reviewed] and is still used as a standard compilation
of halakah. He also produced a number of discourses on
legal topics; a work on logic; a treatise on the calendar;
and several medical books, including an important work on
hygiene. His great philosophical work is the Moreh Nevukhim
(tr., Guide for the Perplexed, 1963), written in Arabic, in
which he explained the esoteric ideas in the Bible, formulated
a proof of the existence of God, expounded the principles
of creation, and elucidated baffling metaphysical and religious
problems. The Moreh Nevukhim, which reflects Maimonides's
great knowledge of Aristotelian philosophy, dominated Jewish
thought and exerted a profound influence upon Christian
thinkers." - The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
Keeping in mind his significance, we note that Maimonides
quotes from Psalm 2 and affirms that it is a reference to
"The prophets and the saints have longed for the days of
the Messiah, and great has been their desire towards him,
for there will be with him the gathering together of the righteous
and the administration of good, and wisdom, and royal righteousness,
with the abundance of his uprightness and the spread of his
wisdom, and his approach to God, as it is said: The Lord
said unto me, Thou art my son, to-day have I begotten thee."
- Maimonides (11th c.), introduction to Sanhedrin, chapter
So, we can clearly see that Psalm 2 is taken as a reference
to the Messiah. And Psalm 2 firmly establishes the Messiah's
role as a conquering king, adding another requirement to our
(Continued in next section.)