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Basic Worldview:
104 Why Christianity?

Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah? (Part 1)

Judaism and Christianity Introduction and History
History of Judaism Continued
Scholarly Objections and Historicity of Daniel (P. 1)
Historicity of Daniel (P. 2) & Judeo-Christian Syncretism
A Few Words on Gnosticism
Christianity - A Sect of Judaism (P. 1)
Christianity - A Sect of Judaism (P. 2) & Prophecy in Judaism
Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah? (P. 1)
Is Jesus the Jewish Messiah? (P. 2)
List of Messianic Qualifications & the Resurrection of Jesus (P. 1)
The Resurrection of Jesus (Part 2)
Study Conclusions and Overall Comparisons

Additional Material
The Sufferings of Eyewitnesses
Comparison of Mystical Religions to Judeo-Christianity
Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 1)
Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 2)
Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 3)
Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 4)
Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 5)
Rabbinical Judaism Accepts Christian Interpretations (P. 6)

| Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3

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 questions involved.

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 Messiah.

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 Dictionary

"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." - Britannica.com

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 Online Dictionary

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 of stone.
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 God involved:

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 person.

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 referring:

"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 consider.

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 these words:

"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 our sicknesses.

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 98b

The Midrash Rabbah, in interpreting Ruth 2:14, makes the following comments about the Messiah again connecting the Messiah with Isaiah 53.

"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 sin.

"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 (18th-19th c.)

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 interpreters.

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 Talmud

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, 12th century.

"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 descent.

"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 King David.

"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 9.

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 of Israel.

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 servant David.

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 on them.

So from these passages as well as Isaiah 9 we note the Messianic qualifications that:

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." - Britannica.com

"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 Messiah.

"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 10

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 list.

(Continued in next section.)

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