BET EMET MINISTRIES
Hebrew For "The House Of Truth"
Craig M. Lyons Ms.D, D.D., M.Div.
I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the moshiach, and though he may tarry, still I await him every day. - Principle 12 of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith
THE JEWISH CONCEPT OF "THE" MESSIAH....WHY CAN'T THE JEWS AND THE CHRISTIANS AGREE?
CONFUSION OVER "THE" MESSIAH...WHY CAN'T JEWS AND CHRISTIANS AGREE?
The problem today remains unchanged from the time the prophet Hosea expressed it 2,500 years ago: "My people are perishing through ignorance."
Oh by the way the "ignorance" of which I speak is an ignorance and fluent understanding of the Jewish Scriptures and what they originally taught concerning "the" Messiah "before" they were corrupted in the Greek translation of the Hebrew texts by the Essenes of Alexandria, Egypt, in 200 B.C.E. But we will get to that in a moment.
Few issues are more foundational to the Christian faith than the belief that Jesus is the Messiah as Christians maintain is predicted by Old Testament Jewish prophets. Yet many of the prophecies that are said to predict Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, when read in their Old Testament context, are not as clear as we might expect; especially when compared between the Jewish Masoretic Jewish texts and the Greek translations taken from them. In fact, it's easy to see why unbelievers are often skeptical.
Answer for yourself: Why aren't the prophecies more obvious? And why in some cases does the New Testament claim a fulfillment where no prediction is even in view?
Before answering these questions, let's look at claims made by Christians, and the kind of questions thoughtful skeptics ask.
In Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Christian apologist Josh McDowell states, "The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus." He believes this "establishes the fact of God, authenticates the deity of Jesus, and [proves] the inspiration of the Bible." He lists 61 specific messianic prophecies and shows how they were fulfilled hundreds of years after they were spoken. Then he quotes from Peter Stoner's book Science Speaks, which says that according to scientifically accepted laws of probability, the odds against just eight of the prophecies being fulfilled are one chance in 1017 (pp.150-175).
Answer for yourself: Are McDowell's facts and logic sound?
Those who already believe in the traditional Christian dogma and doctrines concerning Jesus will probably say his facts are unarguable. They know, for example, that Luke 24 describes two occasions when the resurrected Christ "opened the minds" of his followers to understand that Moses, the Prophets, and Psalms had spoken of his death, resurrection, and salvation he would provide through them (Lk. 24:25-27,44-49). Believers in Jesus are convinced that he was telling the truth when he said that the Old Testament was speaking about him (Jn. 5:39). These claims, however, do not greatly impress skeptics. Many Jewish people, to whom the revelation from God was given in the first place, believe that the prophets foresaw a different kind of Messiah. They see prophets pointing to a coming Deliverer who would rescue Israel from her enemies and establish Jerusalem as the capital of a world government (Isa. 2:1-3). Since Jesus did not do this, they wonder how he could be the Messiah. Yet Christians believe that among the prophecies of a coming world leader are predictions with another view of Messiah. He will be despised and rejected (Isa. 53:3). He will die for our sin (Isa. 53:6). He will be "cut off" before the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple (Dan. 9:24-27). He will live after dying (Isa. 53:10). He will justify many (Isa. 53:11). He will be a light to the Gentiles (Isa. 49:6). Christians believe that these prophecies present the Messiah as suffering, dying, and rising from death to provide salvation from sin's penalty before restoring Israel and ruling the earth from Jerusalem.
Answer for yourself: Is this claim supported by facts? Skeptical people have many questions.
Many skeptics doubt that Jesus fulfilled even one prophecy. They argue that the Christians' Old Testament is a purposeful mistranslation and misapplication of the "original" Jewish Scriptures. They go further and state that Christians are not only reading and quoting these purposefully mistranslated Jewish Scriptures without prior knowledge but often even quote Old Testament passages out of context, mindlessly misinterpreting them, or even dishonestly changing them to fit their purposes. I have found over the last 20 yeas of my Pastorate and study that the vast majority of Christians are not aware of these "alterations" in their Christian Bibles but majority of the Jewish people, let alone their scholars are.
As individuals seeking to know and do the will of the Almighty, and being now aware of these purposeful mistranslations of the Jewish Scriptures, then you are confronted with a significant question right from the beginning: is the New Testament and it's teachings concerning Jesus as "the" Messiah true and is the New Testament really the Word of God?
Christian leaders have assured us that the answer is "yes;" perhaps you have even had some emotional experiences which seem to validate your leaders' assurances. As you hopefully know, though, true faith is based neither upon trust in men (Ps, 146:3), nor even upon occurrences of the supernatural (Deut. 13). And so, the question remains, your eternal salvation contingent upon the answer.
Proving whether something is true or not is called apologetics. This word is derived from the Greek word apologia, which means to defend.
Answer for yourself: Can the Christian's claims concerning "Jesus as 'the' Messiah" and their doctrines concerning him and his salvific death be defended or are the Jew's counter arguments and denial of such Christian dogma more correct?
In order to come to "the" truth concerning "the" Messiah as taught by Moses and the Prophets it may be helpful to understand a word that is often used by both sides of the Messianic debate concerning Jesus; that word being "heresy." First of all it will be helpful to accurately define the word "heresy" as it is used quite often by those who fail to understand what it means. "Heresy" comes from the Greek (hairesis) meaning, "a choice; a taking for oneself; a sect or school of philosophy". Hence, in the Bible, it means,
Answer for yourself: Are you aware that if your religious beliefs system concerning "the" Messiah is incorrect then your worship, if you are a Christian, could be idolatrous and you could be accepting a false atonement? Likewise, of course, if you are Jewish and refuse to accept the Christian doctrines concerning Jesus as "the" Messiah then Christians maintain that you are without and have rejected the only "atonement?" So what is the truth in these regards?
The words "heresy" and "apostasy" are two of the most often used words to refer to doctrinal error and practice in the Church Age. Any Christian or Jew is subject to error in his thinking about spiritual matters. The presence of the sin nature in the soul guarantees that we will have a constant battle to distinguish between human and divine viewpoints. Error may be the result of ignorance, of a lack of doctrine, of prior indoctrination of untruth, or of deliberately adopting some point of view or activity. The open-minded Christian or Jew who is positive to the teaching of the Bible and who is willing for the LORD YHVH to deal with him in doctrinal matters will find that his erroneous ideas will be, upon serious unbiased study, replaced with the truth of the Word of God if he searches for "the" truth with all his mind and heart. This will require no small amount of serious study. As he grows in his spiritual maturity, he will avoid heresy and any deliberate apostasy. Heresy itself, which is the result of making a wrong choice among competing ideas, may have been entered into as a result of being deceived. Heresy becomes apostasy, however, whenever a person deliberately decides to reject Bible truth when shown it and maintain and promote false ideas while previously encountering such a knowledge of "the" truth.
Answer for yourself: So what is the truth concerning the "Messianic Idea" in the Jewish Scriptures? Are the Jewish people and their scholars right or are the Christians and their scholars right?
This website is devoted to help Jews as well as Christians avoid error, heresy, or apostasy by teaching "in depth" the concepts and truths concerning "the" Messiah as taught from the Jewish Scriptures and the "true" Masoretic text. This is complicated to say the least because of the "two" different versions of the Old Testament that exists today. It may be news to you but the Christian Old Testaments are completely different from the Jewish Bible when it comes to "Messianic prophecy." Our quest must begin there for surely you understand that one's belief in "the" Messiah must be determined by the "authentic texts" that have not been purposefully altered to reflect ideas not given to the Jewish people by God. Sadly it can be proved beyond any doubt that such falsification of the Jewish Bible has occurred when translations were made into the Greek language. This serious problem is only made worse by the realization that "ALL" the quotes in the New Testament concerning "the" Messiah and Jesus are taken from these corrupted Greek texts.
Because of these textual differences between the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament with it's subsequent New Testament quotes as taken from the falsified Greek translation there is probably no greater area of "dissension arising from diversity of opinion" as in the area of "the" Messiah. The Jewish people and Jewish scholars maintain that the true Jewish Messiah has not come while at the same time the Christians maintain that "the" true Jewish Messiah has come in the form of Jesus of Nazareth.
Answer for yourself: What is the truth concerning "the" Messiah according to the Jewish Scriptures?
Judaism and Christianity are two separate faith systems. There are radical differences between Judaism and Christianity.
Judaism and Christianity are entirely different and essentially unrelated religions. The two religions bear different messages and distinctive meanings, each possessing completely different beliefs concerning "the" Messiah and atonement. The Christian concept of God is not the Jewish concept of God; in essence, the Christian's God is not God of the Jewish Bible. One cannot replace Torah with Jesus and still have a reason for Judaism or truthfully call the new entity "the Old Testament fulfilled and the fulfillment of Judaism." The respective adherents to Judaism and Christianity are part of distinct faith communities.
Belief in the eventual coming of the moshiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. It is part of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith, the minimum requirements of Jewish belief. In the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, recited three times daily, the Jewish people pray for all of the elements of the coming of the moshiach: ingathering of the exiles; restoration of the religious courts of justice; an end of wickedness, sin and heresy; reward to the righteous; rebuilding of Jerusalem; restoration of the line of King David; and restoration of Temple service.
Yet there is diversity concerning the Messiah in Judaism. Modern scholars suggest that the messianic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, during the age of the prophets. They note that the messianic concept is not mentioned anywhere in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). However, traditional Judaism maintains that the messianic idea has always been a part of Judaism. The moshiach is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, because the Torah was written in terms that all people could understand, and the abstract concept of a distant, spiritual, future reward was beyond the comprehension of some people. However, the Torah contains several references to "the End of Days" (achareet ha-yameem), which is the time of the moshiach; thus, the concept of moshiach was known in the most ancient times.
The term "moshiach" or "messiah" literally means "the anointed one," and refers to the ancient practice of anointing kings with oil when they took the throne. The moshiach is the one who will be anointed as king in the End of Days. The word "moshiach" does not mean "savior." The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save mankind from the consequences of their own sin is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought. Unfortunately, this Christian concept has become so deeply ingrained in the English word "messiah" that this English word can no longer be used to refer to the Jewish concept.
In his monumental work Mishneh Torah, Maimonides (1135-1204) spelled out the fundamental Jewish concept of the messiah as it was handed down to the Jewish people through Divine revelation, generation after generation, from the time of the prophets. In his concise and lucid manner, the great Jewish philosopher and jurist herewith presents us with a clear picture of the promise which God made to the Jewish people. These concepts must be compared with Christianity's teachings to ascertain if the Christians are being taught about "the" Jewish Messiah or if they have been taught concerning a "different Messiah" which has more in common with the Gentile's solar and astral godmen.
Jews do not believe that Jesus was the moshiach. Assuming that he existed, and assuming that the Christian scriptures are accurate in describing him (both matters that are debatable and what this website will investigate), the Jews maintain that he simply did not fulfill the mission of the moshiach as it is described in the biblical passages cited in the Jewish Scriptures (the following passages in the Jewish scriptures are the ones that Jews consider to be messianic in nature or relating to the end of days. These are the ones that we rely upon in developing our messianic concept: 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 Jesus of the New Testament did not do any of the things that the Hebrew Scriptures said the messiah would do.
Throughout Jewish history, there have been many people who have claimed to be the moshiach, or whose followers have claimed that they were the moshiach: Shimeon Bar Kochba, Shabbatai Tzvi, Jesus, and many others too numerous to name. But all of these people died, including Jesus, without fulfilling the mission of the moshiach; therefore, according to the Jewish people, none of them were the moshiach. The moshiach and the Olam Ha-Ba lie in the future, not in the past.
I wish I could say that there is a simple answer to this question but after 20 years of intense scholarly study I can assure you that there is not. I will say that there is "truth" in both camps yet a significant amount of error in the Christian camp which the Jews' cannot boast. It is my prayer that your study of the facts as presented in this website will help you come to see these long hidden "truths" about "the" Messiah for yourself as they will have a dramatic impact upon one's worship, idolatry, and atonement. It is to these troublesome issues we turn in this website in order to ascertain and arrive at the truth about "the Messiah" of Israel. In coming to such "truth" it will be necessary to examine in detail a multitude of issues concerning the doctrine of the Messiah. We will cover areas in this website dealing with various topics like:
As you can tell we will address all pertinent issues concerning "the" Messiah for both the Jew and the Christian. Once having done so as unbiasedly as possible then one can rest assured that he has come to "the" truth concerning "the" Messiah of Israel.
LET US CONTINUE OUR STUDY...TO FIND THE TRUTH ABOUT THE JEWISH MESSIAH
Recover "The Faith Once Given To The Saints" Which Has Been Perverted By Gentile Christianity And Their "Literal" and "Historical" Interpretation of the Sacred Texts
In our CD of all out websites contained on one disk we provide a "study plan" for the student and give detailed instructions as how to study these websites "in order" to faciliatate one's study. Please inquire for the CD for such through study will take you some time if you ever hope of cracking the "Jesus Puzzle" and coming to the answer of the question: "Who do men say I am?".