How Can Yeshua Be The Jewish Messiah?

Q: How can Yeshua be the Messiah? He is not what Jewish tradition is looking for.

A: If the expectation of Jewish Tradition as we now know it excludes Yeshua as a possibility, it should come as no surprise. One of the factors forming that tradition was the perceived need to distinguish post-temple Judaism from the emerging Christian faith. In 2nd Temple Times there was no Talmud as such, there was only the "oral law" which became the basis of the Talmud. What passed for Judaism in those days was not the same as what is known as Judaism today. The sect of the Pharisees became the basis of rabbinic Judaism. The Pharisees held the Oral Law in high regard, as opposed to the Saducees who did not. Yeshua is not easily pegged as typical of any of the known sects of his day, but he made it quite clear where he stood on the question of the Oral Law (see Matthew 12, 15 and 23 for example). The "tradition" of the Pharisees tends to "nullify the word of God."

To determine what the Messiah should be and do, we must look beyond Tradition to the Sacred Scriptures themselves. What matters is not what the Rabbis said, but what God said.

For example, what does the prophet Isaiah say?

  • 42:6, 49:8 -- He will be a Covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles
  • 53:2, 52:14 -- Messiah will have no physical appeal, many will be appalled at him (Isaiah 52:14)
  • 53:3-5. -- he will be despised and rejected, unappreciated, a man of sorrows

It is often claimed that there is no need of an intercessor in Judaism, but Isaiah says:

  • 53:6 -- Messiah would carry away our iniquities.
  • 53:8. -- he would die childless for the transgressions of Israel
  • 53:12 -- he would pour out his life unto death to intercede for transgressors
  • 53:10 -- His life would be a guilt offering

If the Messiah is yet to come, the Messiah is yet to be rejected and to die! And yet,

  • 53:11 -- he would be raised from the dead.

This is exactly what we have in Yeshua: a rejected Messiah who died and rose again.

Does the Bible claim or suggest that Messiah must be divine? Isn't he just a man?

See Isaiah 59:17, 63:5, 43:11, 49:26. God himself to work salvation, as only he is able. No ordinary man is up to the task. Could it be that God himself would chose to be born as a man, in order to fulfill the Messianic prophecies and bring about the salvation of Israel and the world?

Now what of those things they say Yeshua has not accomplished? Isn't Messiah supposed to bring about a new order of world peace and bring all Israel to the Promised Land to dwell in safety? Yes, undeniably the Bible is full of such predictions. We believe Yeshua will fulfill them all when he comes again, but the other was necessary first. Clearly, if the Messiah is to be rejected and die and also to reign over New Jerusalem, the rejection must come first. Any pretender to the title of Messiah who tries to do the second part without the first part cannot be the Messiah spoken of the Bible, no matter how closely he matches traditional expectations!

David Brown
AMF International

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