Session 3 - The Jewish Messiah

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Session 3 - The Jewish Messiah - Description

In this next session we will look at the topic of the Jewish Messiah. We will focus much of our time on one of the most debated passages in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53) While also rebutting arguments against Jesus being the Messiah. ID: 556090 Download Presentation

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Session 3 - The Jewish Messiah

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Session 3 - The Jewish Messiah

In this next session we will look at the topic of the Jewish Messiah

We will focus much of our time on one of the most debated passages in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53) While also rebutting arguments against Jesus being the Messiah

Research was used from both, and


The Jewish Messiah

The question is, does Jesus fulfill the role and predictions to be the Jewish Messiah? Or are there objections that can’t be overcome?

This is the big one when dealing with Judaism, if Jesus is the Jewish Messiah than Christianity is correct. If he is not, than it is wrong.


The key texts we will be using when talking to a Jew is obviously the Old Testament, because it is the text that we have in common with them

We do however have to use the New Testament still to show the history of Jesus and his life to see if he fulfilled the role of the Messiah

We will start by looking broadly at some of what the OT says about the Messiah


The Old Testament says several things about the Messiah that is to come, and sometimes (to some people) they can seem confusing and contradictory

Example: Zechariah 9:9-10

: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He 


 just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey…


The picture we get here is a King (the Messiah) who will bring peace

…I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.”

But this looks different than other passages talking about the Messiah in the OT


Zechariah 14:2-4


For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the 


 will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east…


this passage also strongly suggest that this Messiah-king (who stands on the Mt of Olives) is none other than the Lord (God) himself, who is coming to fight for his people

We get a King of War here

…And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west,


 a very

large valley; Half of the mountain shall

move toward the north And half of it

toward the south.”


Often traditional Judaism teaches that the messiah is a God fearing (not himself God), obedient Jew, who is both a teacher of truth and a great leader.

He is to be a direct descendent of King David, as prophesied in the Old Testament. He will be anointed as the new Jewish King. (Which explains the Hebrew word messiah 'Moshiach' which means 'anointed one.')"

Here are some confusing things (to some)


Will the Messiah be cut off (killed) as we have predicted in Daniel 9, or will he reign forever as Isaiah 9 says?

Micah 5 tells us he the Messiah is born in Bethlehem, the city of David. But in Daniel 7 the we are told he will arrive, riding on the clouds of heaven. Which one?

Is he the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 (we will examine this in depth) or a royal king portrayed in Psalm 2?


These two are often referred to as Messiah ben Yosef (Joseph) who would come and suffer (like Joseph in Egypt) and Messiah ben David, who would come as a conquering king. (like King David)

Because of these contradictions, some Jewish rabbis decided there must be two Messiahs that we are dealing with, not one.


The view that we hold (which we believe the OT writers and many NT believers understood) was one Messiah, two comings

Another Jewish tradition explains the two contrasting verses of the Messiah like this: "If the people of Israel will be righteous, the Messiah will come in the clouds of Heaven. If they will not be righteous, he will come as a poor man riding upon an ass"

(Sanhedrin 98a).


The first coming would be as a suffering servant (which he did 2,000 years ago) and the second coming (yet to happen) will be as the conquering King

All that being said, what is the Biblical case for or against Jesus being the Messiah? If he is the Messiah than we know which of these interpretations is correct, because the Messiah would know if he was coming back again (or if it would be a different person next time) and Jesus said he was returning


One of the most debated texts, which we will spend a large chunk of time talking about, is Isaiah 53

It's commonly thought among Jewish scholars today that Isaiah 53 was never considered messianic by rabbis and Jewish sages. It’s often said that Isaiah 53 is referring to the nation of Israel, not the coming Messiah, and certainly not Jesus

Let’s get into the debate


Despite their claims, Isaiah 53 (more precisely, 52:13-53:12) has been interpreted as referring to the Messiah by many Jewish commentators over a long period of time

While it is true other interpretations have existed for quite some time, they are not the oldest (or correct) views

The idea of Israel as a nation being the topic of the passage came about in medieval times being popularized by Rashi


Isaiah 52:13-53:12:

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


Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;


So shall He sprinkle




 many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report?


And to whom has the arm of the 


 been revealed?

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him,

There is

 no beauty that we should desire Him.

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, 


 faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our grief’s And carried our sorrows;


Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,


And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they[b] made His grave with the wicked— But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;


He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul,[c] and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death,


And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”

Is this talking about a person (the Messiah who is Jesus) or the nation of Israel?

Here are the arguments for this referring to the Messiah and not Israel



his passage mentions an individual person.  The references are in the singular.


  Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, who is a Messianic Jewish Scholar notes, “This One, who is Messiah, is quite distinct from ‘my people,’ who are Israel.”

Dr. Walter Elwell notes, “While it is true that Isaiah does not explicitly link the title Messiah with the Servant of the Lord, identifying both figures as one and the same person is justifiable”

There is no textual problem, here’s why:


Both are uniquely anointed (Is. 61:1)

Both bring light to the Gentiles (Is. 55:4; cf. 49:6),

Neither is pretentious at the first appearance (Is. 7:14-15; 11:1; cf. 42:3; 53:1),

They both have the title of the Davidic “branch” (Is. 11:1-4),

They both are humiliated and exalted


Is. 49:7




In the Old Testament, “my people” is always a reference to Israel.  However, Messiah will be killed for the sins of Israel.

Second (in response to an argument against our view) just because not every reference to the servant of the Lord is talking about the Messiah, doesn’t mean none are

Even in the book of Isaiah the word servant is used of multiple people


The prophet himself (Is. 20:3), Eliakim (Is. 22:20), David (Is. 37:35), Israel (Is. 41:8-10; 43:10; 44:1-2, 21;45:4; 48:20), and an unnamed individual (Is. 42:1-3; 52:13 – 53:12) to name a few of the passages. 

While some references in Isaiah certainly appear to identify the servant as Israel or Isaiah, the best interpretation of Isaiah 53, because of the context of the passage, is that it refers to the Messiah.


Because of Jesus people can become sons of God, and we would see this as the seed of the Messiah, the Kingdom of God (Spiritual) that he established while here on earth

Third, we must admit that it is difficult to apply “he shall see his seed” to Jesus since he never got married or had kids

We must take it in a more figurative way than a physical (babies) way to understand


Fourth, Historically this has been understood as referring to the coming Messiah

Jewish scholars during the early church had this understanding of the passages

Fruchtenbaum points out, “All of the ancient Jewish writings – the Mishnah, the Gemara, (the Talmud), the Midrashim and many others – all regard this portion of Scripture as relating to the Messianic Person.”[


It wasn’t until Rashi, around 1050 A.D. when it was first suggested to refer to Israel.  And not everyone went along with Rashi idea, many Rabbis debated and disagreed with his interpretation (even though it’s the popular version today)

They paraphrase Isaiah 42:1 as “Behold my Servant Messiah” and Isaiah 53 as “Behold my Servant Messiah will prosper”

The idea of two Messiahs did come about partially because of this text though


Fruchtenbaum summarizes this view, “They taught that the first Messiah, whom they called ‘Messiah son of Joseph,’ who suffered in Egypt, would come to suffer and die in fulfillment of the servant passages, one of which they listed as Isaiah 53.  The second Messiah, ‘Messiah son of David,…

More ancient Rabbis had the idea of a dying and a reigning Messiah, like we talked

about earlier


would then come and raise the first Messiah back to life.  He would then establish His Kingdom to rule and to reign.”

Fifth, Isaiah 53:10 says, “when you shall make his soul an offering for sin.” 

The word used for offering (asham) is the same word used in the Law where the offering had to be perfect and without blemish. 


In reference to this passage, Louis Goldberg says, “At this point, if our Jewish friend persists in saying that Isaiah 53 refers to the nation, we can raise the questions, Can you say that Israel is without spot or blemish – perfect in every way? . . . Usually our Jewish friends will say no.” 

All you need to do is read the Old Testament in order to see that Israel was not a perfect (without blemish) nation


What are some objections Jews have to Jesus being the Messiah?

1 – The Genealogies of Jesus

According to the genealogy in Matthew 1:12, Jesus is a descendant of Jeconiah (which you may not know is a problem)

The problem is, Jeconiah was cursed in Jeremiah 22:24 and 22:30. Let’s see what the passage says:


"As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. This is what the LORD says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule any more in Judah."

How can Jesus be the Messiah and rule on the throne of David then?


First of all, we have to wonder why Matthew (who’s a pretty smart guy) would ever have included Jeconiah among the ancestors of Jesus if it would have disqualified him as being the Messiah

What’s the answer? the Scripture shows that the curse was only short-term, if not altogether reversed by God.

There are three parts to the curse on Jeconiah (who is also called Jehoiachin)


The Scripture shows that none of these things actually took place

That he would be childless (this is how the Hebrew text literally reads)

that he would not prosper in his lifetime

No descendants would rule in Judah

“The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son, Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah” - 1 Chronicles 3:17-18


He did prosper in his day.

“In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-


became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of


higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.”

- 2 Kings 25:27-28


His grandson Zerubbabel prospered & ruled

"As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off.” - Jer 22:24

It’s interesting that the same words God used in rejecting Jeconiah were deliberately used in establishing Zerubbabel.


"'On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty.“ -- Haggai 2:23

While Zerubbabel was not king, the fact that Haggai 2:23 uses the exact same terminology as Jeremiah 22:24 shows that Haggai intended to indicate

a reversal of the curse.


While this is one possible way to answer the question, another satisfactory way exists

The bloodline of Jesus through Mary goes through a different set of ancestors, Jeconiah is not included in this line (only in the line of Joseph, who was his adopted father)

The curse on Jeconiah does not present any problem for Jesus being the Messiah (nor does anything in the Old Testament)


Next session we will change focus to the overwhelming case for Jesus being the Messiah talked about in the Old Testament

We will see many problems that Jewish scholars find themselves in today, because prophecies exist that can no longer be fulfilled today

Understand that other objections do exist though, we don’t have time to cover everything that you may hear


Memory Verse


53:8: “By

oppression and judgment he was taken away


 and as for

his generation

who considered that

he was cut off out of the land of the

living, stricken

for the transgression of



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