King David: Founder Of The Hebrew Messianic Line
The human condition has resulted in mankind’s perennial search for a Saviour/Redeemer who will bring about a Utopian Society. This Saviour Archetype is expressed in different forms in different Cultures, like Krishna in Hinduism, Maitreya in Buddhism, and the Second Coming in Christianity.
In Judaism, this figure is the Messiah, who is the Anointed One of God as foretold of in the Hebrew Bible.
The Identity of the Messiah
The concept of the Messiah seems to have been revealed in later Judaism, although some scholars recognize early allusions (e.g. Gen. 3:15).
In general, the following passages are accepted by Jews as referring to the Messiah as foretold by the Prophets:
- Isaiah 2, 11, 42; 59:20
- Jeremiah 23, 30, 33; 48:47; 49:39
- Ezekiel 38:16
- Hosea 3:4-3:5
- Micah 4
- Zephaniah 3:9
- Zechariah 14:9
- Daniel 10:14
The Prophets: Messianic Messengers
The Messianic Age
The “when” of the Messiah’s arrival is not clear, and has been a source of much speculation. However, when the Messiah does come, he will inaugurate the Messianic age with the following characteristics:
- Peace among all nations (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3)
- Perfect harmony and abundance in nature (Isaiah 11:6-9) (but some interpret this as an allegory for peace and prosperity)
- All Jews return from exile to Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5)
- Universal acceptance of the Jewish God and Jewish religion (Isaiah 2:3; 11:10; 66:23; Micah 4:2-3; Zechariah 14:9)
- No sin or evil; all Israel will obey the commandments (Zephaniah 3:13; Ezekiel 37:24)
- Reinstatement of the Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-27)
Pretenders To The Throne: Failed Messiahs
There have been many failed claimants to Messianic title in Jewish History, the most disastrous one for the nation of Israel being the Jewish rebellion against Rome led by Simon Bar Kokhba .
Bar Kokhba led a successful guerilla insurgency, even issuing new bronze and silver coins to commemorate the redemption of the State of Israel from Roman Bondage.
The Romans were having none of it though, and eventually the Rebellion was brutally crushed, and the second Jewish Temple was destroyed marking the beginning of the Jewish diaspora.
Roman Destruction of Jewish Temple
According to Christianity however, Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah foretold by the Prophets of old despite the fact that Orthodox Judaism rejects this claim on the grounds that Jesus did not successfully complete the tasks of the Messiah and bring about an age of peace as described by the Prophets.
The debate continues to rage, and we have included two short videos below from the perspective of both Judaism and Christianity.
Jesus As Messiah: Jewish Perspective
Jesus As Messiah: Christian Perspective
It would seem that Jesus and many other claimants have failed to deliver the fruits of the Messianic Prophecy as described in the Old Testament.
Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that Messianic expectations are a reflection of a Human Archetype that seeks to escape the Human condition by imagining the possibility of a Utopia in which the vicissitudes of life do not exist, feeling safe in the comfort that a better world awaits.
Check out the links below for more on the Messianic promise, including the list of failed Messiahs before and after the time of Jesus…We’ve also created a ‘Mysteries Of The Bible’ Playlist on our YouTube Channel.
Each episode gives an excellent portrayal of Biblical times whilst discussing the relevant academic questions in a very digestible way. Its really great if you want to polish up on your Bible knowledge or just getting lost in the stories and lands of the Bible…Its classic.
Mysteries Of The Bible Collection
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Links & Credits
Jewish Messiah: http://www.religionfacts.com/judaism/messiah