[ In this column is an article from a Jewish website. It has a pinko background.] In this column is a reply from a Christian worldview. It has a green background. I've added the texts of Scripture citations with a blue background.

Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus

Why Jews Don't Believe in the Torah and the Prophets

For 2,000 years Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah. Why?

For 2,000 years atheists have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah. Why?

by by Kevin Craig
One of the most common questions we receive at Aish.com is: "Why don't Jews believe in Jesus?" The more precise question is, "Why don't some Jews believe in Jesus?"

The writers of the New Testament documents were Jewish, and they believed in Jesus. If they were correct, the Jewish authorities of Jesus' day were the most corrupt generation of Jews in Jewish history. They collaborated with idolatrous pagan imperialism and ripped off widows and orphans. They were adulterers and evil hypocrites. They murdered a good teacher named Jesus, who healed the sick, and God destroyed the Jewish establishment in a day of fiery vengeance in A.D. 70, after many -- maybe most -- Jews became Christians (Acts 2:41, 47; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 12:24; 19:20; 21:20; Matthew 13:31-33; John 12:24,42; 3:2; 11:45; 19:38; Colossians 1:6).

Jesus was a Jew, and the first to say that Jesus was the Messiah were devout Jews. His Jewish followers plainly believed Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the Old Testament prophets. These Jewish followers of the Jewish Jesus claimed that those Jews who rejected Jesus as the Messiah were putting human tradition ahead of the Scriptures ("the Law and the Prophets").

If the Jews who wanted Jesus put to death were correct, then Jesus was 

  • a despicable liar or
  • a deluded lunatic or
  • a loser when it comes to understanding the Jewish Scriptures.

This goes for all His followers as well. Including the Apostle Paul, who was a highly educated Jewish scholar. They were losers. They were liars. They were con men. They were not good people by any standard, and certainly not good people by Jewish standards. There is no other alternative that makes any sense. Admirable people don't make the claims made by the first Jewish believers in Jesus -- unless they are true.

Jesus could not have been "moderately" good. You can't say the things He said and make the demands upon people that He laid upon His hearers if those demands were not justified. He was not a "good teacher" if He was a liar, lunatic, or incompetent loser. If non-Christian Judaism is true, and Jewish worship is valid, then Jesus should have been put to death. If you don't believe Jesus should have been put to death, then you don't believe the Jewish religion. If you don't believe Jesus should have been put to death, then you reject Judaism as taught by its most consistent adherents, both in our day and in His.

Let's understand why – not to disparage other religions, but rather to clarify the Jewish position.

"The Jewish position" is contrasted with "other religions." But there really is no single "Jewish position." The difference between an orthodox Jew and a liberal/secular/atheistic Jew is greater than the gap between a non-violent Muslim and a fundamentalist Christian. The gap between Isaiah and the Jews who tortured him was as great a gap. Read Isaiah 1. The first chapter of the book of Isaiah is recognized by Jewish and Christian scholars alike as a summary or example of Isaiah's preaching. It is "Jew-phobic." It sounds like Fred Phelps. It doesn't paint a pretty picture of Isaiah's fellow Jews. According to The Jewish Encyclopedia, Isaiah was sawed in half by the Jewish King Manasseh. Clearly, "the Jewish position" of Manasseh was completely different from "the Jewish position" of Isaiah. Isaiah said "the Jewish position" of the majority in Israel differed from "the Jewish position" of "the remnant." Even more clearly, "the Jewish position" of the Jew named Jesus differed radically from "the Jewish position" of the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted Jesus tortured to death.

The writers of the New Testament would say that the Jewish religion -- as practiced by those who put Jesus to death -- was not the religion of Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah. The religion of the Law and the Prophets is a completely different religion from the Jewish religion

The question asked on this webpage can be stated thus: Would Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah ask barbaric pagan Gentiles to torture the Jew named Jesus to death? If you're Jewish, would you demand that Jesus be tortured to death by the Gentiles who invaded your homeland and put it under military occupation?

The Jewish religion -- as practiced by the religious establishment of Jesus' day -- was the religion of the majority, or as Jesus described it, "the broad road," whereas the religion of the Scriptures -- of Moses, David, Isaiah, and Micah -- was the religion of the minority, "the remnant," or as Jesus described it, "the narrow way."

Otherwise, the Jewish writers of the New Testament -- like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter, and Saul of Tarsus -- were all losers who didn't understand the Scriptures and the God of Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah.

The Old Testament is the most anti-Semitic book ever written
Throughout the history of Israel, the majority of Jews in Israel believed that God's commandments ("Torah") were oppressive and unreasonable. God continually and repeatedly sent prophets to Israel to warn Israel about the consequences of their rebellion against God's Torah, and these prophets would certainly be described as "judgmental anti-Semitic bigots" today. The New Testament confirms and consummates the verdict of the Law and the Prophets against the Jewish mainstream. The Jews are portrayed as having been the recipients of undeserved mercy and pampering by God, given direct revelation which no other nation received; revelation that would lead to blessing and safety if followed. Israel was shown extraordinary miracles to confirm their faith, and treated with greater patience than all other nations. Yet the mainstream of Israel rejected this wonderful and merciful God and worshiped a Golden Calf and sacrificed their own children to Moloch, committing violence and perversion in idolatrous rejection of God. When God sent prophets to correct the Jews, they did not repent, but arrested, tortured, and killed the prophets. Only a "remnant" of Israel was faithful to God's revelation. The majority of Israel adopted the false religions of the gentile nations, and made self-serving, God-rejecting political alliances with them. God would send His prosecuting attorneys, the Prophets, who would warn Israel that their sins would lead to bad things. Israel ignored (or persecuted) God's prophets, and were repeatedly oppressed by enemies raised up by God as a punishment. Israel complained, God relented, God would raise up a savior, who would deliver (save) Israel from the pagan empires around her, then Israel would go back to their worship of the false gods of these same (or other) pagan empires.

The Bible portrays God as patient, and Jews as faithless rebels against the True God.

According to the Jews who accepted the claims of Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah), the Jews who did not accept His claims were trapped in sin. They did not want to purify their religion as Jesus taught. The Jews of Jesus' day put Jesus to death just as they put the prophets to death. As Jesus told them,

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.
Matthew 23:29-36

All of that did in fact come upon that generation, and Jerusalem and all the Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah were destroyed 40 years after Jesus ascended to the throne of David at the right hand of God (Acts 2:30-36). (Despite His reputation as a "Great Teacher," Jesus could not get a job writing feel-good slogans at Hallmark Cards.) 

It is a matter of history that Jesus said

  • He would be tortured and killed by the Jewish authorities
  • He would rise from the dead
  • God would take vengeance on the Jewish establishment for murdering Jesus.

All these things took place, as Jesus said. He seems to have been a more passionate defender of the Torah and the Prophets than the Jews of His day were. Jesus was either the greatest (or at least one of the greatest) Jews in all of Jewish history, or else the Jewish leaders of His day were justified in putting Jesus to death. What other alternative makes any sense? Hate Him or obey Him, but "neutrality" is not an option

There is no neutrality here. Both sides cannot be right. At least one religion is wrong.

I don't think I have an anti-Semitic bone in my body. I would much rather have dinner with an intelligent, challenging, or entertaining Jew than any of the air-headed "christians" I see on TV. I respect the disproportionate number of Nobel prize-winning scientists who have been Jews.

But I don't understand what it means to be a "Jew."
It does not mean obeying Leviticus or most of the laws given by Moses.
A large number of self-identifying "Jews" do not believe that Moses even wrote "the laws of Moses."
World Jewry certainly has the money to rebuild the temple and hire "security forces" to protect the re-establishment of daily temple sacrifices as required by the Torah, or else trust in the promises of the Scriptures that God would protect them if they obey His ordinances. I don't think the majority of world Jewry actually cares about re-instituting daily animal sacrifices.

I can't imagine anyone saying "I'm a Jew because I side with those Jews who collaborated with the barbaric, pagan, Gentile Roman Empire and demanded that the Jew named Jesus be tortured to death." Even if Jesus the Jew was misguided and not really the messiah, he deserved to be tortured to death at the hands of Gentiles??

But the response might be, Jesus blasphemed by claiming to be God

But a surprisingly large percentage of Jews do not even believe in God. Is this "the Jewish position?"

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, New Poll Shows Atheism on Rise, With Jews Found to Be Least Religious:

Of the religions surveyed in the poll, Jews were found to be the least religious: Only 38 percent of the Jewish population worldwide considers itself religious, while 54 sees itself as non-religious and 2 percent categorizes itself as atheist. In comparison, 97 percent of Buddhists, 83 percent of Protestant Christians and 74 percent of Muslims consider themselves religious.

See also:

This might sound like an "ad hominem" argument. It would be a fallacy to say that the arguments in article in the left-hand column should be ignored because Jews were wrong to assassinate Jesus. I'm asking: Is there a common premise that leads so many Jews to both of these conclusions:

  • Jesus is not the Messiah
  • There is no God.

"Religion" is an ambiguous and potentially misleading word. The survey above says "97 percent of Buddhists" consider themselves "religious," yet Buddhism is an atheistic "religion," with no transcendent deity. We're told "83 percent of Protestant Christians" consider themselves "religious," but does Jesus consider those people religious?  James 1:27 says something like this:

Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

Jesus described Himself as "the Supreme Judge of the World" (to use the words of the Declaration of Independence) and said He would base His judgment of the "sheep" and the "goats" on whether they had practiced the "works of mercy." Probably most of those 83 percent have never visited someone in prison or sheltered a homeless person in their spare bedroom -- unless it was a member of their own family.

If a Jew doesn't even believe in God, should it surprise us that he doesn't think another Jew was the Messiah? If the "real" Messiah did come, sent from God, would most Jews -- who don't believe in God -- believe in this Messiah? Why did the Jewish intelligentsia of Jesus' day passionately want Jesus tortured to death? If you're not a Buddhist, would you want to kill a Buddhist who claimed to be the Buddhist messiah?

 

Who Do You Say that I Am?”

Consider what Matthew records happening in a city called Caesarea Philippi. The city was named after Caesar Augustus and Philip II, who was Tetrarch of the area before king Herod Agrippa II (before whom the Apostle Paul pled his case in Acts 25-26). Philip commemorated the naming of the city by issuing a coin, which like others of the day, had idolatrous images on it. Jesus commented on such idolatrous coins when He said "Render unto Caesar."

So this city has politics written all over it.

The Jews (and Jesus' Jewish disciples) were hoping the Messiah (the Christ) would lead an army to overthrow the Roman occupation forces and make Israel free. Jesus did not intend to make Israel free by a clash of arms. Jesus did not intend to rule the way Caesar ruled.

And we read about this in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 16:

       13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
      
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
       15 He said to them, But who do you say that I am?”
       16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

To say that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the King, in "Caesar-ville," was politically subversive.

       17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
      
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.
       21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
       22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

To say that the Messiah, the Christ, the King, must be tortured and executed by Caesar and the Jews, rather than triumph over His Roman enemies, was a concept Peter the Jew could not accept.

       23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
       24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Jesus added insult to injury by telling Peter to "take up his cross," the symbol of execution by the Romans. That's like "Take up your firing squad."

 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

The last two verses are a reference to Jesus coming in judgment against Jerusalem in AD 70.

The Jews (and today's futurists) believed that the Messiah would come and set up an empire more powerful than Caesar's. It would essentially be a police state. But Jesus repudiated this political vision. He told His disciples that they would not be beating sinners with rods of iron in the coming Kingdom. They would not be "archists" like the kings of the gentiles. They would be servants instead.

This is a total "paradigm shift," and it affects not just our "eschatology" (view of the future and end-of-time), but our view of how we should live our lives today, and how human beings should organize their communities.

Jesus stood squarely in line with the Old Testament prophets who continually rebuked state-worship among the Jews.

The most important question every human being must answer: Who do you say Jesus is?

  Jewish Thinking Among Christians

What makes this article interesting is that probably a majority of Christians agree with Jews. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus is now the Messiah. That is, they do not believe that Jesus is reigning as the Messiah, and exercising Messianic power to the full. They believe there must be a second Advent of Christ. (This claim is addressed by the Rabbi below.) Only then will Jesus actually reign as the Christ. At His first Advent, Jesus only offered a ticket to heaven when you die (as "Savior"), but not the peace and world righteousness that the Prophets predicted would characterize the Messianic Age. These Christians will agree with the Jews that Jesus has not yet fulfilled or has not even begun fulfilling Old Testament messianic prophecies, and will not begin to reign as Messiah and begin fulfilling these prophecies until after a Second Advent.

In the Jewish Scriptures, there is no such thing as an only-after-you-die "savior." Anyone who is a "savior" is also a "messiah"-figure, on a society-wide basis, with [anti-]political implications.

Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because: Now let's look specifically at the arguments against Jesus being the Messiah foretold by the Torah and the Prophets.
  1. Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
  2. Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
  3. Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.
  4. Jewish belief is based on national revelation.
 
But first, some background: What exactly is the Messiah?

"Christ" is Greek for the Hebrew "Messiah"

 

John 1:41
41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

John 4:25
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

The word "Messiah" is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means "anointed." It usually refers to a person initiated into God's service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, 1-Kings 1:39, 2-Kings 9:3)

[I added the full text of these citations below -- kc]

Daniel 9:25
25 “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
26 “And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Exodus 29:7
And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.

1 Kings 1:39
39 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!”

2 Kings 9:3
Then take the flask of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I have anointed you king over Israel.”’ Then open the door and flee, and do not delay.”

Anointing

Psalm 89:20
20 I have found My servant David;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,

Isaiah 11:2
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 61:1
61 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because the LORD has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Luke 4:16-21
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Psalm 2

Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Acts 4:25-28
25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Acts 10:38
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him

Psalm 45:6-7
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

Hebrews 1:8-9
But to the Son He says: (Psalm 45:6-7)
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” 

(1) Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies Jesus Began Fulfilling the Messianic Prophecies 2,000 Years Ago
What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? One of the central themes of biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)

Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 are similar. In the verses printed out below, I moved Micah to the top of the list.

The two key issues are "perfection" and process. (A third issue, covered below, is "politics.")

The texts do not explicitly say "perfection." Most Christians make this same mistake.  For example, in the utopian Messianic Age, there is death:

“Never again will there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
    will be considered accursed.
Isaiah 65:17-25

Nor do the prophecies specify an instant global transformation. Instead, they suggest a process of transformation, which depends on God's people being responsible agents of change. 

The Process

The Old Testament Prophet Daniel predicted the destruction of the ancient imperial world, and the inauguration of a new world order under Christ:

Daniel 2 31 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom [s] inferior to yours; then another [t], a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces [u] and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the Stone [a]  was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
Notes - Geneva Bible, 1599

By gold, silver, brass, and iron are meant the Chaldean, Persian, Macedonian [Greek], and Roman kingdoms, which would successively rule all the world until Christ (who is here called the stone) himself comes, and destroys the last. And this was to assure the Jews that their affliction would not end with the empire of the Chaldeans, but that they should patiently await the coming of the Messiah, who would be at the end of this fourth monarchy.

Daniel leaves out the kingdom of the Assyrians, which was before the Babylonian, both because it was not a monarchy and general empire, and also because he would declare the things that were to come, until the coming of Christ, for the comfort of the elect among these wonderful alterations. And he calls the Babylonian kingdom the golden head, because in respect of the other three, it was the best, and yet it was of itself wicked and cruel.

(s) Meaning, the Persians who were not inferior in dignity, power, or riches, but were worse with regard to ambition, cruelty, and every type of vice, showing that the world would grow worse and worse, until it was restored by Christ.

(t) That is, those of the Macedonians will be of brass, not alluding to the hardness of it, but to the vileness with regard to silver.

(u) That is, the Roman empire will subdue all these others, which after Alexander were divided into the Macedonians, Grecians, Syrians, and Egyptians.

(a) Meaning Christ, who was sent by God, and not set up by man, whose kingdom at the beginning would be small and without beauty to man's judgment, but would at length grow and fill the whole earth, which he calls a great mountain, as in Dan 2:35. And this kingdom, which is not only referred to the person of Christ, but also to the whole body of his Church, and to every member of it, will be eternal: for the Spirit that is in them is eternal life; Ro 8:10.

  Isaiah said of the Messiah, "of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7).  "His authority shall grow continually..." (NRSV).

That raises another issue (also beginning with the letter "P"): passivity. God does not hand the millennium over to passive yearners on a silver platter. Persuasion and conversion are God's work in the human heart, but God uses human agents who preach the Gospel. See how Paul quotes Isaiah in Romans 10:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Isaiah 52:7Nahum 1:15

Parents must teach their children (Deuteronomy 4:9f.; 6:7f., 20f.; 11:18-21); employers must shepherd their apprentices, and all of us have a duty in our own station to promote the reign of the Messiah and build His Kingdom.

Passivity is the mother of politics. We turn to politicians because we don't want personal responsibility.

  
There are two reasons why Jews and most Christians do not believe Jesus is now reigning as full-strength Messiah. Both reasons have a common source: we are all victims of educational malpractice.

First we are ignorant of the past. The prophets lived in a time of unfathomable idolatry, perversion, faithlessness, and violence. Authors like Payne and Pinker have shown that the world before Jesus was incomparably more violent and barbaric than the world after Christ. The ancient world, for example, knew nothing of the idea of liberty which we take for granted today. Conquest and slavery were pervasive. The Bible describes this violence and sin, not just in the empires surrounding Israel, but -- all too often -- in Israel herself. 

Jesus changed everything. Christian civilization is an entirely different order than the pre-Christian world. We don't appreciate the differences.

The prophets -- familiar with their own world of demonic imperialism and not immersed in the violence-dispensing mainstream media of our day -- would say their prophecies of the Messianic Age have been fulfilled beyond the wildest imagination of the prophets -- while recognizing that they also prophesied further continual growth of the Messiah's kingdom -- amidst struggle and challenges.

We are not grateful for the prosperity and peace enjoyed by billions of human beings today, and that the barbarism has passed. Our ingratitude is simply astounding. Dare I say, "blasphemous."

Pinker, for one, does not credit Jesus with the prevailing peace. He credits the State. But the last century of secular statism -- the departure from "Christendom" and Christian civilization -- has been one of the most violent in human history, as the governments of the world have abandoned the ethics of Christendom and "Theonomy" (God's Law, "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God") in favor of autonomy against the Creator.

Too many Christians join the Jews in choosing statism over Christlike service. They prefer the King David model of the millennium.

The "saviors" in the Old Testament did not always follow the ethical teachings of Christ. King Solomon was an "archist." King David, at times, was an unfaithful, sinful "archist." Jews and "premillennial" Christians believe that the Messiah will be an "archist" and will exercise an "archist" administration in His Messianic Kingdom.

What is an "Archist?"

An "archist" is someone
   who believes he has a right to
  
impose his will on others by force.

The archist:

  1. initiates force against others
  2. engages in punitive retaliatory vengeance
  3. does not respect others' rights to private property
  4. creates disorder, chaos, economic instability 
    engages in the violent overthrow of competing archists;
  5. promotes monarchy, oligarchy, socialism, fascism, "the dictatorship of the proletariat," "crony capitalism," democracy, republicanism, and all the other political theories that "the kings of the Gentiles" have come up with over the centuries.
A Genuine Christian does not impose Christianity on others by force.
no initiation of force, no offensive violence
Christian civilization -- the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies -- is not to be imposed by "the sword"

This might seem obvious and non-controversial. But in fact it will be one of the most hotly-contested issues in this conversation.

The God of Abraham opposed earthly archists, who were rivals to God's Government. God is King, Lawgiver and Judge: no other branch of government is needed. Ancient Israel lacked faith in God, and therefore turned to the false gods of pagan Gentile empires, and their archists who claimed to be divine. The key text here is 1 Samuel 8. Israel wanted a political/military god like the Gentiles (the other nations). God told the prophet Samuel that this was because Israel was rejecting God as her King

The devout Jews who heard the teaching of Christ only hesitatingly abandoned their archist heritage and followed Jesus consistently.

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10, Jesus discovers His disciples arguing about who is going to be the "greatest" in the Messianic Kingdom of God.

They didn't understand that Jesus' Messianic Kingdom was quite unlike the kingdoms of the world.

But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. {43} Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. {44} And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. {45} "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

The word translated "rulers" comes from the Greek word from which we derive our English word "anarchist."

"Lords," "rulers" and "great ones" are "archists."

Jesus clearly says His followers are not to be "archists." They are to be "servants."

It is servants, not archists, who create civilization. It is the people of the plowshares, not the people of the sword, who "save" a society.

The Biggest Government Lie of All Time is that "anarchists" are bad, while those who oppose "anarchists" are good. 

Logically, those who oppose "anarchists" must be "archists."

The mind-boggling reality is, "archists" are the bad guys, and Jesus commanded His followers not to be archists.

The True Christian is not an "archist."

If you want to be a Christian (a follower of Jesus Christ), then you do not want to be an archist.

Jesus told His disciples not to be archists.

You are not a consistent, faithful Christian if you are an archist. (They say repetition is a good teacher.)

www.HowToBecomeAChristianAnarchist.com

Technically, Jesus is an Archist. He alone has a cosmic right, as Creator, to impose His will on the creation by force. But Jesus exercises His Messianic reign in an "anarchist" manner. There is no earthly king, no creature-sized Messiah in Jesus' concept of the Kingdom of God. Global prosperity and blessing are the result of "spontaneous" decentralized obedience to God's Commandments, not force and political violence orchestrated by archist planning.

These three texts are decisive:

  • Isaiah 33:22: God is our true King. He knows how to reign without sitting visibly on a physical throne in Jerusalem.
  • 1 Samuel 8: God is our true King, and despises rival archists. The desire for earthly archists is a rejection of God. The desire for a visible, physical Messiah is faithless.
  • Mark 10:42-45: Jesus prohibits His followers from being archists.

Now let's look at the Messianic prophecies which the Jews say Jesus did not fulfill, but which we say have been gloriously fulfilled, are being further fulfilled, and will continue to be fulfilled, "world without end."
   

Micah 4:1-4

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the LORD’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And peoples shall flow to it.
Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice that the Messiah must "rebuke" "strong" nations. That does not suggest a state of "perfection."

  • How long does it take for swords to be beaten into plowshares?
  • Why does it say "they" shall beat "their" swords into plowshares?
  • Why doesn't it say "He" [the Messiah] shall beat "their" swords into plowshares -- instantaneously, without any effort on their part?
  • Is the Messiah more concerned with changing hearts that leads to arms conversion, or does the Messiah beat swords into plowshares without respect to the will and heart of the people? Didn't the Lord's prophets repeatedly confront Israel on their hypocrisy for pretending to obey God when their hearts were not circumcised

This passage was the basis for the original "American Dream," and helped turn America into "a Christian nation." Christianity produced liberty and security such as the world had not known prior to Christ.

For more on this passage, see the Vine & Fig Tree homepage.

 

The Jewish website did not cite the next two verses of Micah 4:

   5 For all people walk each in the name of his god,
But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
Forever and ever.

6 “In that day,” says the LORD,
“I will assemble the lame,
I will gather the outcast
And those whom I have afflicted;
I will make the lame a remnant,
And the outcast a strong nation;
So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion
From now on, even forever.

 

How long does it take to "assemble the lame?"
How long does it take to "gather the outcast?"
Why does God "afflict" people?
Why are the lame, once "assembled," only a "remnant?"
How would you describe those who are not a part of "the
remnant?"

Isaiah 2:1-4

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the LORD’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

Essentially the same passage as Micah 4

 

 

 

When people say "Come, let us go," there is an element of persuasion, education, and exhortation. They have not instantly begun obeying, like zombies, the Law of God. We see a continuing process, not an abrupt, historic discontinuity. 

  • The prophet Daniel said that the "mountain" begins as a rock, and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:31-45).
  • Isaiah said of the Messiah, "of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7).  "His authority shall grow continually..." (NRSV).

The prophecies do not demand perfection, nor preclude a lengthy process of transformation. The prophets do not say that the transformation from the barbaric world of Isaiah's day to the civilized world of the Messiah would be an instantaneous transformation. 

This is a critical point. How does the transformation take place? Does the Messiah, as heir to the throne of David, accomplish the transformation using the "archist" techniques of Solomon? Will he, like Solomon, lay on Israel (and the world?) a heavy yoke of taxation to finance chariots and weapons of war (1 Kings 12:11) and fulfill the curses spoken of by Moses and by the Prophet Samuel

The first two passages seem to suggest that the non-Israelite nations would "flow" or "stream" towards God's Law, suggesting a gradual process of increasing obedience and blessing rather than instantaneous global transformation. 

Most Christians definitely believe in a passive, instantaneous transformation. By "passive" I mean that most Christians reject the imperative to "build the kingdom," and the idea that the Messiah reigns through the saints, who are priests and kings in a world without priests and kings.

Isaiah 32:15-18

15 Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field is counted as a forest.

16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
17 The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
18 My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,

 

Today, Agricultural productivity is "fruitful" beyond the wildest dreams of Isaiah.

Just as the transformation of the world by Jesus the Messiah has been gradual, rather than instantaneous, there are also "ups and downs," as God "afflicts" those who reject His Commandments. The coming of Christ meant the fall of Rome, a slaver/warmonger state of indescribable debauchery, perversion, and immorality. In place of Rome, "Christendom" arose, and the effect of increased obedience to God's Law was a peace that Isaiah could not have imagined (as he lived in a day of widespread violence in the world before Christ). But in the last century, "Christendom" has been replaced with "pluralism" and "secularism," and war and violence have increased dramatically. The connection between secularism and statist violence is inescapable. The denial of God as Governor means "the Government" is god.

Isaiah 60:15-18

15 “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,
So that no one went through you,
I will make you an eternal excellence,
A joy of many generations.
16 You shall drink the milk of the Gentiles,
And milk the breast of kings;
You shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

17 “Instead of bronze I will bring gold,
Instead of iron I will bring silver,
Instead of wood, bronze,
And instead of stones, iron.
I will also make your officers peace,
And your magistrates righteousness.
18 Violence shall no longer be heard in your land,
Neither wasting nor destruction within your borders;
But you shall call your walls Salvation,
And your gates Praise.

 

 

Peace Now

I'm willing to defend the proposition that Isaiah, if he could travel through time from his day to ours, would say this prophecy has been or is being fulfilled in our day. He would say that it is our duty as followers of the Messiah to extend His reign by works of righteousness which further build His Kingdom. Most Christians join the Jews in rejecting these propositions:

  • Salvation in the Biblical sense means much more than going to heaven when you die after living in hell all your life on earth.
  • According to writers like Steven Pinker and James Payne, violence and war have dramatically declined since the birth of Christ (though Pinker, in particular, an atheist, gives no credit to Jesus or the Bible). The world before Christ was uncivilized. The Jews held the key to civilization, and were given a commission by God to be priests and prophets to the nations, but too often exchanged it for the barbarism of the Gentiles.
  • What the prophets described in their prophecies of the Messianic Age can be summed up in one word: "civilization." Civilization is Christian civilization. Hinduism, Islam, atheism, and the religion of the Prophet-torturing Pharisees, have not produced lasting, peaceful, civilization. Islam and Judaism both claim in some respect to be religions of Abraham, but Jesus said "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56). The Jews who killed Jesus and the Prophets saw their religion as a series of outward liturgies, the performance of which made Jews superior ("clean") to Gentiles ("unclean"). The Jews who followed Jesus as Messiah believed the Torah and the Prophets commanded Israel to be priest to the nations and serve their greater good. True religion, says James, is protecting widows and orphans (James 1:27). Jesus and the New Testament are clearly more in line with the prophets than were the religious leaders who put Jesus to death. See the verses here.

Jews (and too many Christians) believe that they are entitled to the fruits of the Messiah, without much sacrifice or effort on their own part. Everyone believes that the promises of security and abundance are meant just for them, and we wait to have them handed to us on a silver platter by a Messiah who is at our beck and call.

We should ask ourselves if the Messiah would actually say we are His, to be given salvation.

First of all, who is it that was "forsaken and hated?" 
Was it the Jews who were in power, or was it "the remnant" who was persecuted by powerful Jews?

In Acts 7:51-52, Stephen told the Jews who would stone him, 

51 You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers,

Economics (capitalism) has increased our standard of living so much that Isaiah would be staggered. We don't live in a bronze age.

Christianity has transformed civil rulers from brutal and debauched Caesars to benevolent bureaucrats. (Again, this can change very rapidly, and has, as secularism has replaced Christianity in the public square.) 

There are virtually no walled cities with gates any more. This would have been unthinkable to anyone living in Isaiah's day, before the birth of Jesus.  Learn about "Salvation" in the holistic Biblical sense.

Violence has diminished dramatically since the birth of Jesus, and it is clearly within the power of Christians to oppose the secularism that has dramatically increased violence in the last few decades. A large number of Jews are secularists, and as a result, are statists.

Zephaniah 3:9

“For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language,
That they all may call on the name of the LORD,
To serve Him with one accord.

What is meant by a "pure language?"
Hosea 2:20-22

20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the LORD.

21 “It shall come to pass in that day
That I will answer,” says the LORD;
“I will answer the heavens,
And they shall answer the earth.
22 The earth shall answer
With grain,
With new wine,
And with oil;
They shall answer Jezreel.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 2:22 Literally God Will Sow
 

The world before Christ was a world of insane paganism and idolatry. Since the coming of Christ, the world has been purged of most of these idols. Today we have a hard time understanding how human beings could have been so stupid as to worship idols. How could we commit spiritual adultery with such obviously impotent and ugly gods? As human beings, we were not faithful to our Husband.

Jeremiah 3:14
"Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion.

Isaiah 54:5
For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

The kind of idolatry that characterized mankind before Christ has been largely Christianized out of existence, though admittedly occasionally by violence. 

From the Greeks to the Marxists, secular rationalism has another side of the coin: occult pornography of the kind that characterized ancient pagan religions around Israel. "Modern" secularism is in many ways a throwback to pre-Christian idolatry.

Amos 9:13-15

13 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.
14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
15 I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the LORD your God.

Acts 15:12-21
12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. 13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the LORD who does all these things.’ (Amos 9:11, 12)

18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works. 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” 

Zechariah 8:23

23 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”

Zechariah 8:23 is offered as proof that Jesus is not the Messiah.
How does the existence of "men from every language of the nations" in the Messianic Age fit with the prophecy from Zephaniah 3:9 above, concerning all "the peoples" having a "pure language?" 
Is this a gradual process, or an instantaneous transformation?

Which attracts more proselytes to the God of Abraham: a Christian nation like America, or a Jewish state like Israel (and in particular, the more orthodox of the Jews)?

The Apostle Paul said a true Jew is one inwardly, not outwardly:

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
Romans 2:28-29

Christ completed the transformation of God's chosen people from outward observers of liturgy to those characterized by inward love and service of neighbor. According to the Prophets, this is what the Torah really required. See the verses here.

Zechariah 14:9

And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The LORD is one,”[a]
And His name one.

Footnotes:

  1. Compare Deuteronomy 6:4
The idea of "Christendom" -- the Lord as King over all the earth -- was a historical reality, though imperfect. The past serves as a guide to the future. The Law and the Prophets are a roadmap and a standard. 

I must admit, as a Christian I cannot even conceptualize a Jewish parallel to "Christendom" -- "Jewishdom." How is it more attractive to all the nations of the earth than Christendom?

Secularists are outraged at the violation of "the separation of church and state" which they see in "Christendom." Jewishdom would suffer the same criticism, though secular Jews are often leading the charge against "Christendom." My version of Christendom is anarchistic: not the "separation," but the abolition of both church and state. 

Jeremiah 31:33-34

33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

 The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews told the Hebrews that this prophecy was being fulfilled in their day:
He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judahnot according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 8:6-13
Specifically, the Bible says he will:  
A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).  
Ezekiel 37:26-28

26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’”

If the temple and its sacrifices were really that important to Jews, they could rebuild it and hire security forces to protect it. They have the money. One problem: the temple described by Ezekiel is an architect's nightmare. It cannot be built. Herod engaged in massive earth-moving to build the second temple. Ezekiel's temple strains the imagination:

http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/thoughts-on-the-temple.htm 

It is likely just a symbol. But a symbol of what? 

These sources might appear somewhat hokey, but they have some valuable verses and comments: 

http://www.faithprinciples.com/temple.htm 

http://www.thepathoftruth.com/teachings/third-temple-physical-spiritual.htm 

Most Jews today observe Jewish customs, but not a literal reading of the Scriptures. Only the Orthodox Jews would persevere in the detailed observance of the minutiae of Mosaic temple codes. The temple and its sacrificial rituals symbolized a truer, holistic obedience, and were never really intended to be observed forever.

1 Samuel 15:22 Then Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Proverbs 21:3 To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

"to do justly"

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:7-8

Genesis 18:19 "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."

Genesis 26:4-5
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Because that Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My Charge, My Commandments, My Statutes, and My Torah.

Abraham is the model for Christians, the father of the faithful.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, {13} "and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

Isaiah 1:16-19 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, {17} Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. {18} "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. {19} If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;

Isaiah 58:6-11 "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? {7} Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? {8} Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. {9} Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.' "If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, {10} If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. {11} The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 66:1-4
Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the LORD.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.

“He who kills a bull is as if he slays a man;
He who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog’s neck;
He who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine’s blood;
He who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol.
Just as they have chosen their own ways,
And their soul delights in their abominations,
So will I choose their delusions,
And bring their fears on them;
Because, when I called, no one answered,
When I spoke they did not hear;
But they did evil before My eyes,
And chose that in which I do not delight.”

Jeremiah 7:3-6 
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. {4} "Do not trust in these lying words, saying, 'The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.' {5} "For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, {6} "if you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt,

Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Hosea 12:6 So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.

Amos 5:24 But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.

Zephaniah 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, Who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the Lord's anger.

Matthew 3:8-10 "Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, {9} "and do not think to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. {10} "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Mark 12:30-34 'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. {31} "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." {32} So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. {33} "And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." {34} Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." But after that no one dared question Him.

Luke 11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, {12} teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

2 Peter 1:5-8 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, {6} to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, {7} to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. {8} For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).  
Isaiah 43:5-6
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
  • There are about 13-14 million Jews in the world
  • About 80% of them live almost evenly divided between Israel and the United States
  • Will they all want to leave New York and Florida and return to the state of Israel and live in Palestine? Will the Messiah take their wishes into consideration, or force them all like cattle into an already overcrowded Israel? If Jews will be free to live in New York after the Messiah comes, then what were the prophets really saying?
C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)

What does the word "usher" mean? Where is this word explicated in Scripture?

Jesus has already ushered in an age of peace, and Christians have the resources and electoral power to accelerate the process exponentially. 

Beating "swords into plowshares" threatens the profits of the "military-industrial complex." Jesus the Prince of Peace is ridiculed by the mainstream media, financed by the arms industry and pressured by the Pentagon.

A lengthy argument, but a necessary one: We have extraordinary peace now, and could have even more astonishing peace if we really wanted it. Review the facts from Isaiah's perspective. The world before Christ was dominated by warring empires, which, like Sparta, were wholly organized for permanent war against foreigners (Caesar) or permanent slavery of its own citizens (Pharaoh). Most of the world's 7 billion people today live in peace, not under war.

There was no concept of liberty in the pre-Christian world. Oppression was a way of life. Isaiah would say suffering and disease have virtually been abolished. Jesus gets the credit. We have a duty to continue along that path.

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world – on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9). After Jesus had been executed, "Christianity" was made up of 12 confused and dejected disciples, who thought Jesus was the promised Messiah. Then Jesus rose from the dead, and now there are two billion people who claim to be Christians. Nobody alive in 33 A.D. could have imagined this.

This progress has been almost accidental. Most Christians don't believe they have a duty to Christianize the planet. They are waiting for a second Advent of Christ to do it all for them. The Bible says we are to build the Kingdom of God.

What does the phrase "knowledge of God" really mean?

Most of the world's ancient pagan religions have been abolished, mostly by education and Christianization. 

On May 12, 1779, in a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, George Washington advised them:

You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention.
The Writings of George Washington, JC Fitzpatrick, ed., Wash. DC: US Gov't Printing Office, 1932, Vol 15, p.55.

Christianity -- which claims to worship the God of Israel -- has indeed spread across the face of the earth. It needs to be as deep as it is wide.

Zechariah 14:9

And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The LORD is one,”[a]
And His name one.

Footnotes:

  1. Zechariah 14:9 Compare Deuteronomy 6:4
See comments on this verse above.
If an individual fails to fulfill even one of these conditions, then he cannot be the Messiah. Again, how are these prophecies to be fulfilled? Instantaneously, without effort on our part? How much progress must be made before Jews will acknowledge that the birth of Jesus was the beginning of Messianic Civilization?
Because no one has ever fulfilled the Bible's description of this future King, Jews still await the coming of the Messiah. All past Messianic claimants, including Jesus of Nazareth, Bar Cochba and Shabbtai Tzvi have been rejected.  
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming. Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists. "Jewish sources" is not Scripture. Scripture does not promise the creation of full-orbed Biblical civilization "outright," that is, in the twinkling of an eye. On what Scriptural basis are these "Jewish sources" founded? Let's talk about those sources. Let's talk about the Law and the Prophets, and not the Rabbis.

Christians who await a future "Second Coming" are misinterpreting the New Testament. This website champions "preterism" -- that Jesus began reigning as Messiah in the past.

(2) Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah  
A. Messiah as Prophet  
The Messiah will become the greatest prophet in history, second only to Moses. (Targum – Isaiah 11:2; Maimonides – Teshuva 9:2)  
Isaiah 11:1-2

11 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

 
Prophecy can only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry, a situation which has not existed since 300 BCE. During the time of Ezra, when the majority of Jews remained in Babylon, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets – Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. This is a rabbinical concept, not a Scriptural criterion. Miriam was a "prophetess" before the land was inhabited by Israelites (Exodus 15:20). There were other prophets before Israel was in the land (Numbers 11:27). Was the land inhabited by a majority of world Jewry when Daniel was a prophet? 
Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended, and thus could not be a prophet. Many Jews in Jesus' day considered Him to be a prophet (Matthew 21:9-11; Luke 24:17-21 ). Why were they wrong? Can they be proven wrong from the Law and the Prophets, rather than just from the religious leaders of Jesus' day, or Jews two thousand years later?
B. Descendent of David  
Many prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)  
Isaiah 11:1-9

11 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

His delight is in the fear of the LORD,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.

Jeremiah 23:5-6

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 23:6 Hebrew YHWH Tsidkenu

Jeremiah 30:7-10

Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it.

‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’
Says the LORD of hosts,
That I will break his yoke from your neck,
And will burst your bonds;
Foreigners shall no more enslave them.
But they shall serve the LORD their God,
And David their king,
Whom I will raise up for them.

10 ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD,
‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel;
For behold, I will save you from afar,
And your seed from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet,
And no one shall make him afraid.

Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:

15 ‘In those days and at that time
I will cause to grow up to David
A Branch of righteousness;
He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
16 In those days Judah will be saved,
And Jerusalem will dwell safely.
And this is the name by which she will be called:

THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’

Ezekiel 34:11-31

11 ‘For thus says the Lord GOD: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. 18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

20 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. 28 And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. 29 I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. 30 Thus they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord GOD.’

31 “You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 37:21-28

21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’”

Hosea 3:4-5

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

 
The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father – and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David. (1) This sounds like a requirement set down by a rabbi, rather than by Moses or Isaiah. The word "father" does not occur in any of the Biblical passages cited:
Genesis 49:10

10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes;
And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Isaiah 11:1

11 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 

Jeremiah 23:5

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.

Jeremiah 33:17

17 “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel;

Ezekiel 34:23-24

23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

 
According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities. Neither the Torah nor the Prophets exclude God Himself from being the Messiah. David said (Psalm 110), 

The LORD says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Micah described the Messiah: 

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of thee shall come forth unto Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”

The basic criticism of Christianity above is that we don't see evidence of a supernatural messianic reign: instant world peace, instant personal sanctification of all people, and instant prosperity. Why would the Messiah in such a world not be as supernatural as the prophesied results?

C. Torah Observance  
The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4) Jesus, as the Lamb of God, provides the only path to truly fulfill all the requirements of blood atonement in the Torah. The prophets said (as we saw above) said obeying (doing justice, righteousness) is better than disobeying and then offering a sacrifice to atone for it. Jeremiah said that under the New Covenant God's Law would be written on our hearts, and we would manifest "full Torah observance."
  • Ezekiel 11:19-20
    19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
    20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
    Ezekiel 36:27
    27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

This is the big difference between Christianity and Judaism. A Christian nation is one characterized by hospitality and charitable works, lifting up the poor. A Jewish nation is one characterized by the pursuit of personal ritual purity. Judaism secures individual purity through daily observance of blood liturgies in a temple building. Christianity sees the People of God as the temple, and the blood of the Lamb as our atonement.

Russell Kirk, a secular writer, in The Roots of American Order, explains:

     At the heart of Jesus' ethical teaching stands the Great Commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with thy whole strength, with thy whole mind, and thy neighbor as thyself." So it had been written in the Law of the Jews, and every devout Jew repeated twice daily this precept. But by "neighbor," the Jews understood their immediate associates—at most, the community of Jews; while by that word neighbor, Jesus meant all mankind.
     "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you": this "Golden Rule" enunciated by Jesus is the spirit in which Christians are to fulfill that commandment to love neighbors. In its negative form, the same precept was stated by Hillel, the great Jewish teacher who lived about Jesus' time: "Do not do unto others what you would not wish others to do unto you." It appears thus in other sacred writings of the Jews, and in other religions; in this negative expression, it was a saying of Confucius.
     But the positive injunction of Jesus is more compelling, and requires higher sacrifice. In this, as in much else, the teaching of Christ urges men to be active in the service of God. The Jewish belief of his time was that Jews must obey the Law strictly—doing their duties under the Law, but not being expected to exceed the letter of the Law. To follow in the steps of Jesus of Nazareth required courage, and stern rejection of much that the average sensual man held dear. Far more must Christ's followers give than Jews gave under the Law. Sincere disciples of Jesus must forsake worldly possessions; they must forsake even father and mother, if need be, to follow the Way. [p. 144]

The Judaism of the Pharisees in Jesus' day was narrow: both individualist and nationalist. 
Christ's view of God's Law was broad: holistic and global. 
Our true purpose as beings created in the Image of God (Genesis 1:26-28) is found in acts of self-sacrifice, not ritual acts of animal sacrifice. 
The heart of the Law and the Prophets was in the direction of Christ, not in the direction of the Pharisees.

It's true that too many so-called Christians are antinomian, anti-Torah. But this was not true of Christ Himself.

Is the Law of Moses (Torah) Still Binding? -- A Theonomic Answer

Throughout the Christian "New Testament," Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), "He does not observe Shabbat!" This is a good example of the point made above: Christ said the sabbath was fulfilled not in protecting our own personal purity by isolating ourselves in non-work, but in reaching out and doing the works of healing and righteousness which lift up the weak and oppressed. Peter Leithart writes:

Matthew 25 echoes Isaiah’s call to true fasting (Isaiah 58). That too is a judgment day passage, a warning about an approaching advent of God. Isaiah condemns the people of Judah as hypocrites because there’s a rift between their piety and their daily lives. On the same day they humble themselves with fasting, they act as taskmasters to their servants. They spend their spare time on fast days fighting each other. They’re supposed to afflict their souls, but instead, like Pharaoh, they afflict their neighbors. They fast with their fists. At the temple, they’re Jews, pleading with Yahweh for justice. When they go home, they live like Egyptians.

If they want Yahweh to listen to them, Isaiah says, they need to open everything: Loose bonds, free the captive, break the yoke of oppression. They need to open their fists so they can unlock doors and untie knots.

They need to open their fists so they can give. This is Yahweh’s fast: Share bread with the hungry. Shelter the homeless. When a naked man approaches, don’t pretend you don’t see him; give him clothes. Satisfy the desires of the afflicted, and give him the liberty that he longs for. Be a spring of water to the parched world. In Hebrew, Isaiah 58:10 commands Judah to “give your soul to the soul of the hungry.” Charity can be a way of keeping people at a distance, especially needy people who make us uncomfortable. Yahweh says it’s not enough to give your bread without offering friendship and fellowship. Yahweh’s fast requires a self-gift. He calls the people of Judah to pour their souls out to heal emaciated and wounded souls.

Yahweh is the first to keep his own fast. He sets the pattern. He opened his hand to loose Israel’s chains in Egypt, to let oppressed Hebrews go free, and to break the yoke of Pharaoh. He shared the bread of heaven with Israel in the wilderness and gave them water from the rock. He clothed them with glory. He poured out his soul to refresh his people.

And the God of Israel has done all this again and in full in the Advent of the Son. Adam saw he was naked and hid himself. God saw Adam naked and came so near that he eventually took Adam’s naked flesh to himself. He didn’t turn away in disgust but made himself bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. In Christ, God doesn’t drop bread from heaven and keep his distance. In the Advent of the Son, he gives himself as bread, pouring out his soul to satisfy the hungry and thirsty. Jesus tears off heavy yokes and gives his easy yoke, his light burden. In baptism, Christ becomes clothing for the naked, for all who are baptized have put on Christ.

Advent issues a call to repentance, and Matthew 25 and Isaiah 58 trace the shape of the penitent life. Judah is called to mirror what Yahweh does, for the disciples of Jesus, filled with his Spirit, are called to live lives that bear the marks of the life of Jesus. Such a life will pass inspection at the final advent because, by keeping Yahweh’s fast, sheep prove to be what they are—true children of the living God.

Jesus was indeed "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:23-28)

(3) Mistranslated Verses "Referring" to Jesus  
Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text – which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation.  
A. Virgin Birth  
The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods. "First century pagan idea" is a myth. Christianity is based on the Law and the Prophets, not pagan religions.
B. Suffering Servant  
Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers to Jesus, as the "suffering servant." Isaiah is sometimes called "the Fifth Evangelist," as though he wrote a fifth Gospel (along with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and Isaiah 53 is quoted frequently in the New Testament. I'm certainly no expert, and don't even know who the experts are on this question, but the argument has been made that the majority of rabbis -- especially before AD70 -- have explained Isaiah 53 as a reference to the Messiah, not Israel.

This is not to say that the Scriptures do not describe Israel as God's "servant," nor to deny that Israel has ever "suffered," but only that the ultimate "suffering Servant" who takes on the sins of God's People is the Messiah, not the People themselves.

On the same Jewish website, an article on Isaiah 53 says,

Isaiah 53 is the fourth of the four “Servant Songs.” (The others are found in Isaiah chapters 42, 49 and 50.) Though the “servant” in Isaiah 53 is not openly identified – these verses merely refer to “My servant” (52:13, 53:11) – the “servant” in each of the previous Servant Songs is plainly and repeatedly identified as the Jewish nation. Beginning with chapter 41, the equating of God’s Servant with the nation of Israel is made nine times by the prophet Isaiah, and no one other than Israel is identified as the “servant”:

  • “You are My servant, O Israel” (41:8)
  • “You are My servant, Israel” (49:3)
  • see also Isaiah 44:1, 44:2, 44:21, 45:4, 48:20

There is no reason that the “servant” in Isaiah 53 would suddenly switch and refer to someone other than the Jewish people.

But there is a reason for Isaiah to switch -- or rather, not to "switch," but to "culminate." An example of the "switching" is Paul's seeing the culmination of God's promise to Abraham's "seed":

16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed” (Genesis 12:713:1524:7) who is Christ.
Galatians 3:16

Israel served as an "incubator" for the Messiah, who would save the world in a way that the nation of Israel itself could not do. Sure, Israel suffered at the hands of Babylon (Isaiah's reference), but this suffering (in Isaiah's eyes) would not save the world. The world was not healed by Babylon taking Israel captive.

This interpretive argument is larger than simply noting that in many verses Israel is called God's "servant."

In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The prophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews ("Israel") are regarded as one unit. Throughout Jewish scripture, Israel is repeatedly called, in the singular, the "Servant of God" (see Isaiah 43:8). In fact, Isaiah states no less than 11 times in the chapters prior to 53 that the Servant of God is Israel. Isaiah 43:8

Bring out the blind people who have eyes,
And the deaf who have ears.

Isaiah 43:10

“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. 

Isaiah 44:1-3

44 “Yet hear now, O Jacob My servant,
And Israel whom I have chosen.
Thus says the LORD who made you
And formed you from the womb, who will help you:
‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant;
And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
And floods on the dry ground;
I will pour My Spirit on your descendants,
And My blessing on your offspring;  

Isaiah 44:21

“Remember these, O Jacob, And Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you, you are My servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me!

Isaiah 44:26

Who confirms the word of His servant, And performs the counsel of His messengers; Who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ To the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ And I will raise up her waste places;

Isaiah 45:4

For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Isaiah 45:4

For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Isaiah 45:3-6

I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;

Isaiah 41:8-9

“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:

Isaiah 48:20

Go forth from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldeans! With a voice of singing, Declare, proclaim this, Utter it to the end of the earth; Say, “The Lord has redeemed His servant Jacob!”

Isaiah 49:2-7

And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.”

“And He said to me,
‘You are My servant, O Israel,
In whom I will be glorified.’
Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;
Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD,
And my work with my God.’”

Previous verses spoke of Israel as God's servant, but here the servant is the prophet Isaiah, who is commissioned to instruct an erring Israel. 
Or is the prophet Isaiah himself a type of "that Prophet" who would come (Deuteronomy 18:18)?

“And now the LORD says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD,
And My God shall be My strength),
Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Thus says the LORD,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the LORD who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You.” 

Isaiah 52:13

Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

When read correctly, Isaiah 53 clearly [and ironically] refers to the Jewish people being "bruised, crushed and as sheep brought to slaughter" at the hands of the nations of the world. These descriptions are used throughout Jewish scripture to graphically describe the suffering of the Jewish people (see Psalm 44). Psalm 44

To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation[a] of the sons of Korah.

44 We have heard with our ears, O God,
Our fathers have told us,
The deeds You did in their days,
In days of old:
You drove out the nations with Your hand,
But them You planted;
You afflicted the peoples, and cast them out.
For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword,
Nor did their own arm save them;
But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance,
Because You favored them.

You are my King, O God;[b]
Command[c] victories for Jacob.
Through You we will push down our enemies;
Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us.
For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor shall my sword save me.
But You have saved us from our enemies,
And have put to shame those who hated us.
In God we boast all day long,
And praise Your name forever. Selah

But You have cast us off and put us to shame,
And You do not go out with our armies.
10 You make us turn back from the enemy,
And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.
11 You have given us up like sheep intended for food,
And have scattered us among the nations.
12 You sell Your people for next to nothing,
And are not enriched by selling them.

13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors,
A scorn and a derision to those all around us.
14 You make us a byword among the nations,
A shaking of the head among the peoples.
15 My dishonor is continually before me,
And the shame of my face has covered me,
16 Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles,
Because of the enemy and the avenger.

17 All this has come upon us;
But we have not forgotten You,
Nor have we dealt falsely with Your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back,
Nor have our steps departed from Your way;
19 But You have severely broken us in the place of jackals,
And covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we had forgotten the name of our God,
Or stretched out our hands to a foreign god,
21 Would not God search this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.
22 Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

23 Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord?
Arise! Do not cast us off forever.
24 Why do You hide Your face,
And forget our affliction and our oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
Our body clings to the ground.
26 Arise for our help,
And redeem us for Your mercies’ sake.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 44:1 Hebrew Maschil
  2. Psalm 44:4 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Septuagint and Vulgate read and my God.
  3. Psalm 44:4 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate read Who commands.
Isaiah 53 concludes that when the Jewish people are redeemed, the nations will recognize and accept responsibility for the inordinate suffering and death of the Jews. Read through Isaiah 53 and substitute "Israel" for "we" and "Jesus" for "him."
Then try substituting "Israel" for "him." Who would Isaiah be referring to as "we" under this substitution?
Who do you think Isaiah meant when he said "we?" I think he meant Israel, and ultimately all mankind.
I think Israel the "servant" of God rejected the suffering Servant sent by God.
  Matthew 12 quotes Isaiah 42:
  Jesus went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse Him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, how to destroy Him.

15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed Him, and He healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make Him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

       18 “Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen,
           My Beloved with whom My soul is well pleased.
       I will put My Spirit upon Him,
           and He will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
       19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
           nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets;
       20 a bruised reed He will not break,
           and a smoldering wick He will not quench,
       until He brings justice to victory;
       21     and in His Name the Gentiles will hope.” 

  Notice that "the Servant" will do certain things and not do other things (vv. 19-20) "until He brings justice to victory." This speaks of a process rather than an instantaneous event. In whose name will the Gentile nations hope: Israel, or the Messiah? So "the Servant" is the Messiah, not the nation of Israel.
(4) Jewish Belief is Based Solely on National Revelation The word "national" in this argument is vague. Does it mean "public?" Or does it reflect a trust placed in political establishments? Israel as a nation trusted in Rome
  
   Luke 7:5 
    For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

and was destroyed by Rome.

If not "public," then this argument completely ignores the fact that the "nation" of Israel was most often in rebellion against her Husband, and only the "remnant" was faithful. God's revelation was often given to individual prophets who were ignored by the "nation."

  Isaiah 1:4
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

Isaiah 1:23
Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

Isaiah 10:6
I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Isaiah 30:9
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is God's true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, they do not prove  he is a genuine prophet. All the miracles show – assuming they are genuine – is that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy. In the case of Jesus, others heard God speak to Him, and to them (Matt 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35). As Peter tells it,
 

17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
2 Peter 1:17-19

  Thus the importance of Jesus' question: "Who do you say that I am?" 
Judaism, unique among all of the world's major religions, does not rely on "claims of miracles" as the basis for its religion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of "miracles" to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah (Deut. 13:4). Did God give Jesus the power to heal because Jesus was a "charlatan" and God was testing Israel? Really? Did Israel actually pass this test by asking the Gentile Roman Empire to torture Jesus to death?
Of the thousands of religions in human history, only Judaism bases its belief on national revelation – i.e. God speaking to the entire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense He'll tell everyone, not just one person. Reductio ad abusurdum
"If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense that He'll tell everyone, not just one nation." 
Maybe Israel is a charlatan nation, testing all the Gentile nations.
Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8): The Torah says God gave miracles as signs so that the people would believe:
The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracles he performed. Whenever anyone's belief is based on seeing miracles, he has lingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performed through magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in the desert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.

What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? The Revelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard with our own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others... as it says, "Face to face, God spoke with you..." The Torah also states: "God did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us – who are all here alive today." (Deut. 5:3)

Exodus 4
Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’”
The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

The LORD furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” 

  These miracles were not "necessary," they were proofs of "his prophecy."
Judaism is not miracles. It is the personal eyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai 3,300 years ago. The events on Mt. Sinai were certainly "miraculous" "signs." But Mt. Sinai is not something anyone can witness today. But the reign of Jesus the Messiah through Christian civilization and the salvation that Jesus has provided is something everyone in the world can see through the last 2,000 years of history.
Further reading: "Did God Speak at Mount Sinai?"  
Waiting for the Messiah  
The world is in desperate need of Messianic redemption. To the extent that we are aware of the problems of society, is the extent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the first questions asked of a Jew on Judgment Day is: "Did you yearn for the arrival of the Messiah?"  
How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The best way is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (as best we can), and to encourage others to do so as well. This will not "hasten" the coming of the Messiah, but it is the way the Messiah reigns through us. Christ has made believers priests and kings, and we constitute the new temple of God, and this is how the Messiah has been reigning for the last 2000 years. Jesus was a defender of the "mitzvot of the Torah."
Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed toward redemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement is afoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.  
The Messiah can come any day, and it all depends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says: "Redemption will come today – if you hearken to His voice."  
For further study:  
 
FOOTNOTES  
(1) In response, it is claimed that Joseph adopted Jesus, and passed on his genealogy via adoption. There are two problems with this claim:  
a) There is no biblical basis for the idea of a father passing on his tribal line by adoption. A priest who adopts a son from another tribe cannot make him a priest by adoption.
Faith is more important to God than blood and sons.

Proverbs 17:2
A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame,
And will share an inheritance among the brothers.

Psalm 69:36
Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it,
And those who love His name shall dwell in it.

In 1 Chronicles 2 we have this genealogical item:

34 Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. And Sheshan had an Egyptian servant whose name was Jarha. 35 Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant as wife, and she bore him Attai. 36 Attai begot Nathan, and Nathan begot Zabad; [etc.]

The genealogy is not broken. The son of the Egyptian slave is counted as the legitimate heir, and the family line in Israel continued.

b) Joseph could never pass on by adoption that which he doesn't have. Because Joseph descended from Jeconiah (Matthew 1:11) he fell under the curse of that king that none of his descendants could ever sit as king upon the throne of David. (Jeremiah 22:30; 36:30)

 
Jeremiah 22:30

30 Thus says the LORD:
‘Write this man down as childless,
A man who shall not prosper in his days;
For none of his descendants shall prosper,
Sitting on the throne of David,
And ruling anymore in Judah.’” 

Jeremiah 36:30

30 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: “He shall have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night.

 
  • The Problem of the Curse on Jeconiah in Relation to the Genealogy of Jesus
  • "He was a wicked king (2 Chron. 36:8). The scriptures say he did evil in the sight of the Lord and eventually surrendered to King Nebuchadnezzar when he laid siege against Jerusalem. Esther 2:6 makes this comment using his other name:
    . . . who had been taken into exile from Jerusalem with the captives who had been exiled with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had exiled.
    Jeconiah was the last Jewish king to reign as a king in Judah." (Zedekiah was appointed by the Babylonians.)
    Bible Question: How can Jesus, being the descendant of Jechonias, fulfill the role of the Messiah?
  • Jeremiah 22:24
    "As I live," declares the LORD, "even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were a signet ring on My right hand, yet I would pull you off . . . .
    God reversed the curse on Jeconiah’s family. This is hinted at by the prophet Haggai, who told Zerubbabel, Jeconiah’s grandson, that God would make him a “signet ring” on God’s hand (Haggai 2:23):
    ‘On that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’” declares the LORD of hosts.
    He was governor of Judah.
    What is the curse of Jeconiah?
  • Taken as a whole, the Law and the Prophets declare that the kingship of David, which began in 1 Samuel 8, was such a failure that no mere human descendant of Israel could ever be the Messiah-Deliverer-Savior.
    Curse of Jeconiah and the Virgin Birth
This looks like a good response to the argument:
To answer this difficult problem, apologists claim that Jesus traces himself back to King David through his mother Mary, who allegedly descends from David, as shown in the third chapter of Luke. There are four basic problems with this claim:  
a) There is no evidence that Mary descends from David. The third chapter of Luke traces Joseph's genealogy, not Mary's. Luke says that Joseph was "supposedly" Jesus's father. The line is actually that of Mary.

"Those who take the latter opinion, that we have here the line of Mary, as in Matthew that of Joseph--here His real, there His reputed line--explain the statement about Joseph, that he was “the son of Heli,” to mean that he was his son-in-law, as the husband of his daughter Mary (as in Ru 1:11, 12), and believe that Joseph’s name is only introduced instead of Mary’s, in conformity with the Jewish custom in such tables. Perhaps this view is attended with fewest difficulties, as it certainly is the best supported."
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., Fausset, A. R., Brown, D., & Brown, D. (1997). A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments . Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

 

b) Even if Mary can trace herself back to David, that doesn't help Jesus, since tribal affiliation goes only through the father, not mother. cf. Numbers 1:18; Ezra 2:59. See the case of the man with no son, above. The daughter (mother) preserved the family line. The daughter's son is treated as coming from the [grand]father.
Numbers 1:18

18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they recited their ancestry by families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, each one individually.

Ezra 2:59

59 And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father’s house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel:

While the Rabbis might not recognize it, the Bible recognizes the importance of mothers for kings:

1 Kings 14:21

And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
 
1 Kings 14:31
And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess. And Abijam his son reigned in his stead.
 
1 Kings 15:2
Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. and his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
 
1 Kings 15:10
And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
 
1 Kings 22:42
Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
 
2 Kings 8:26
Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.
 
2 Kings 12:1
In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba.
 
2 Kings 14:2
He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
 
2 Kings 15:2
Sixteen years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned two and fifty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.
 
2 Kings 15:33
Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.
 
2 Kings 18:2
Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah.
 
2 Kings 21:1
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.
 
2 Kings 21:19
Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
 
2 Kings 22:1
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
 
2 Kings 23:31
Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
 
2 Kings 23:36
Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
 
2 Kings 24:8
Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
 
2 Kings 24:18
Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
 

And see also the parallels in the books of Chronicles.

c) Even if family line could go through the mother, Mary was not from a legitimate messianic family. According to the Bible, the Messiah must be a descendent of David through his son Solomon (2-Samuel 7:14; 1-Chronicles 17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:4-6). The third chapter of Luke is irrelevant to this discussion because it describes lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. (Luke 3:31)  
2 Samuel 7:14
14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.

Chronicles 17:11-14
11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”’”

1 Chronicles 22:9-10
Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

1 Chronicles 28:4-6
However the LORD God of Israel chose me above all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever, for He has chosen Judah to be the ruler. And of the house of Judah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father, He was pleased with me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. Now He said to me, ‘It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father.

Luke 3:31
31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

Solomon did commit iniquity. Solomon, for all his wisdom, was a polygamist,[2] military dictator,[3] and idolater;[4] under him were fulfilled the curses of 1 Samuel 8.[5]

2. 1 Kings 11:1ff.
3. 1 Kings 4:26ff.; 5:13ff.
4. 1 Kings 11:4-11
5. 1 Kings 10:14+c.; 12:11; cp. Deuteronomy 17:14-20; cf. #24 (Deuteronomy 17 predicted that Israel would apostatize and demand a king like the Gentiles. Deuteronomy 17 neither commands nor condones Israel's quest for a human archist.)

God was merciful and condescending toward a nation of rebels, among whom Solomon himself must be numbered. A repeat of Solomon is not God's messianic hope. No human king is a model of God's Messiah. The entire concept of earthly archists must be abandoned in order to recognize God's Messiah.

d) Luke 3:27 lists Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in his genealogy. These two also appear in Matthew 1:12 as descendants of the cursed Jeconiah. If Mary descends from them, it would also disqualify her from being a messianic progenitor.  
Luke 3:27
27 the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,

Matthew 1:12
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. 

 
(2) Maimonides devotes much of his "Guide for the Perplexed" to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that He assumes no physical form. God is eternal, above time. He is infinite, beyond space. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human form makes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torah says: "God is not mortal" (Numbers 23:19).  
Numbers 23:19
19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  
 
with thanks to Rabbi Michael Skobac - Jews for Judaism  

Published: March 6, 2004

 

Glossary

"Futurist" -- someone who believes the coming of the Messiah is in the future

"Preterist" -- someone who believes the coming of the Messiah was in the past

 


Ezekiel 37

The Dry Bones Live

37 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”’”

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’”

One Kingdom, One King

15 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.

18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”’ 20 And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.

21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’”


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