Jews: What about all the seemingly conflicting prophecies regarding the Messiah?

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I have recently learned that according to the Jewish rabbis, the prophecies regarding the Messiah often seem to conflict, and that in an attempt to logically explain this, they have come up with these possible theories:

1) There will be 2 Messiahs; one will suffer and die and one who will rule and reign

2) The Messiah’s coming depends upon our behavior: If righteous, he will come with the clouds. If sinful, he will come on a donkey

3) There is a “potential” Messiah in every generation, and it is up to Jews to recognize him and become worthy of him

4) Per the followers of Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson – the Messiah will be resurrected and then return and reign as king (?)

What if the life of Joseph was a foreshadowing of the Messiah...?

Called by God to be a leader among his siblings (an “anointed one”)

Hated and rejected by his own, sold as a slave (~Crucified)

Honored by foreigners (~Gentiles)

His own family didn’t recognize him the first time they visited (Yeshua rejected in his first coming)

Recognized him the second time they visited, feared him, though he received them with great love (Yeshua yet to be received in love by many repentant Jews in fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah, 12:10—14:21!)

At first abased, but later exalted (first the “suffering servant”, but later to be the “reigning king”)

First esteemed by Gentiles, then later honored by his own flesh and blood

Are these just wild coincidences, or could it be the Messiah was and is to come twice to fulfill ALL prophecy...and that we just live *in-between* his first and second coming?

If not, how do you explain all the *conflicting* prophecies regarding the Messiah?

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21 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, there IS a Masiach ben Yoseph prophecied..but he isn’t the Davidic Messiah and he is prophecied to be killed in a military battle. He is also contingent upon the spiritual condition of Jews prior to the time of the Davidic Messiah’s appearance.

    "If Israel will do proper tshuva, they won't need Moshiach ben Yosef, but rather immediately (miyad) Moshiach ben Dovid will come with clouds of heaven "

    Jesus doesn’t fit either one.

    I’ll be back in a moment with some very respected Rabbinical writings on the topic.

    What I find so odd is the self-same people who demonize the Pharisees and Rabbinic Judaism are now trying to use the rabbis as authority to prove Jesus!

    EDIT: Ok..here quoted from a very respected Jewish Rabbi and scholar, Rabbi Immanuel Schochet, Professor of Philosophy at Humber College, Toronto, Canada and Rabbi of Kielcer Congregation, author of more than twenty books ..

    The term Mashiach unqualified always refers to Mashiach ben David ( Mashiach the descendent of David) of the tribe of Judah. He is the actual redeemer who shall rule in the Messianic age. All that was said in our text ( My insertion..this comes from a book about the Messianic Age) relates to him.

    Mashiach ben Yossef ( Mashiach the descendent of Joseph) of the tribe of Ephraim ( son of Joseph) is also referred to as Mashiach ben Ephrayim, Masiach the descendent of Ephraim. He will come first, before the final redeemer…

    Now I’ll skip ahead..

    The principal and final function ascribed to Masiach ben Yossef is of political and military nature. He shall wage war against the forces of evil that oppress Israel.

    Again I’ll skip ahead ( this is a long narrative )

    Quite significantly, R Saadiah Gaon ( one of the few to elaborate on the role of Mashiach ben Yossef) notes that this sequence is not definite but contingent! Masiach ben Yossef will NOT have to appear before Masiach ben David, nor will the activities attributed to him or his death have to occur. All depends on the spiritual condition of the Jewish people at the time the redemption is to take place.

    It goes on ..but the point is clear that the death and suffering of the Messiah of Josephs’s line will live just before the time of the Davidic messiah..he may also LIVE to serve as his “viceroy”..but his role is very clearly and specifically the military leader and he is not of the Davidic line at all in any rabbinic thinking.

    So..this is a RED HERRING to anything to prove Jesus.( as a Davidic messiah)

    I simply MUST address this individually "2) B. Sukkah 55a attributes the individual mentioned at Zechariah 12:10 as Messiah Son of Joseph. It also explains that this Messiah will be slain, THEN RESURRECTED!"

    Suzanne misleads by OMISSION

    What Suzanne FAILED to note when she said this is that the Gaon stated that IF the Masiach ben Yossef is killed then the Masiach ben David ( who is living at the time ) will then be the one who will perform the resurrection of Masiach ben Yossef and avenge his death and then usher in the Messianic age! So this couldn't possibly have been Jesus..( if they want to claim he was Messiah ben Yoseph who will be reincarnated to do the job as Messiah ben David that is incompatible with the very reference she gives!) The two messiahs are to live in the same age.

    Was there any great military battle led by Jesus? Was Jesus killed in a battle with the descendents of Esau ( Edom)? Did another Messiah resurrect him?

    They also note that the Messiah of Jospeh's lineage doesn't have to die at all. The scenarios in these prophetic discussions of the Talmud are actually much FARTHER from the life depicted of Jesus and his disciples than anything in the Tanakh itself.

    This book goes into detail..giving all the Talmudic references. I highly recommend it AND reading the passages referred to here in context. As always..context is everything.

    EDIT: I want to make a few side mentions: Paperbacks answers require no " questions"..they are statements of Jewish belief in fact.

    The concept of the Messiah ( Davidic messiah ) riding on a donkey ..is ONLY significant if one is speaking of a KING . The reason being..all of the ordinary citizens rode donkeys. It was no big deal to have anyone, teacher, sage, whomever..ride a donkey. BUT, if one was of the elite ruling class, they rode a HORSE or in a chariot or such. The commoner was forbidden to ride a horse.

    For royalty to ride on a donkey was the way of showing relation or connection to the commoner..lowering or humbling himself.

    Since Jesus wasn't an anointed ruler it was nothing extraordinary for him to be riding in to any town on a donkey. That's what all non royalty rode.

    Now to get back to this Masiach ben Yossef Issue and relate it to one other thing. There are SEVERAL Messiahs spoken of in Jewish writrings. Don't forget that King Cyrus of Persia, a Gentile who didn't even believe in God at all was called a messiah in the Tanach and he was also blessed by God for how he ruled. He was a redeemer of Israel and saved the Jewish people and the Tanakh for us today. Just saying there is another messiah isn't going to convince a Jew who knows Judaism that it supports a " second coming", especially if the prophetic visions or the lives of the other messiahs don't fit the guy you're promoting any better than the first failed effort.

    It becomes increasingly obvious that there are now stronger and more elaborate efforts to misrepresent every aspect of Judaism in order to promote evangelistic efforts. I'm especially put off by people who make their living misleading others about Jewish belief and customs.

    If your path is a valid path..the actions of your life show it. If the actions of your life show dishonesty, then that is certainly not a valid path for me.

    EDIT: The edit from "I have yet to find one modern rabbinical Jewish website that even addresses this" to "I have yet to find one modern rabbinical Jewish website that really addresses this" is duly noted.

    I still suggest people DO research this on their own. Shalom :)

    EDIT: TO ADDRESS SUZANNE. perhaps it is because they've read a bit at some of the links or in the Talmud to see that you omitted key things about that resurrection and what the Gaon said that clearly indicate Masiach ben Yossef doesn't fit Jesus either.

    But now I'm wondering..since Masiach ben Yossef comes from a DIFFERENT LINEAGE..why are the messianic evangelic Christians even TRYING to fit Jesus to him?? This is a puzzlement since he is clearly not the Davidic Messiah that they want to tag on Jesus.

    Source(s): This text is a good one to recommend if you want to know the Rabbinic views of the Messiah. Title : Mashiach: The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Era In Jewish Law and Tradition by Rabbi jacob Immanuel Schochet (EDIT: HERE is where he posted a portion of his book about this and it contains some of the things I copied from the book in my home: http://www.moshiach.com/discover/tutorials/moshiac... I just discovered this on peeking at the Google search below! You might also want to read this answer to why Jews don't believe Jesus is Messiah here : http://www.moshiach.com/questions/topten/jesus_as_... And for Marji..all you had to do was Google Mosiach ben Yossef and you could find : http://www.messiahtruth.com/yosef.html http://www.askmoses.com/article.html?h=227&o=20978... Aww heck..rather than list the MANY modern writings you couldn't find I'll just give you the Google search page..there is a whole lotta reading you can catch up on the topic http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Mosiach+ben+Y... EDIT TO NOTE I DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE THE FIRST LINK TO POP UP ON THIS GOOGLE SEARCH ABOVE, REFERENCES MY SOURCE PERSON..CHECK IT OUT!. SHALOM :)
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  • 1 decade ago

    1. The prophesies are supposed to be confusing. (Daniel 12:4, using Artscroll translation: "As for you, Daniel, obscure these matters..." Later, in 12:9, when Daniel asks for an explanation: "...the matters are obscured and sealed until the time of the End." Other prophecies are presumably similarly 'obscured'.) Just because the prophecies are confusing does not prove that they are wrong, nor do they prove that the Massiach has already come.

    2. Not being anywhere near an expert scholar, and never having studied the prophecies you speak of, I don't actually know of any contradictions. How am I supposed to explain these conflicts if I don't know where or what they are, or even if they truly exist!?

    3. Was Yosef ever called 'anointed?' Even if he was, this word hardly refers only to saviors. For example, Saul is described by David (Samuel I, 24:6) as "the anointed of Hashem". I don't think ANYONE (Jew, Christian, or whomever) ascribes messianic status to Saul.

    4. I looked up (both in a regular Gemora, using my rudimentary skills, and in an online English translation, here: http://www.dafyomi.co.il/sukah/points/su-ps-052.ht... the Gemoras mentioned by Suzanne in her 'proof'. Sukkah 52a states that Messiah son of Joseph is, indeed, resurrected. But even if Yeshu were the Messiah son of Joseph, it's Messiah son of David that brings in the redemption, and begs for Messiah son of Joseph! So unless you're claiming that Yeshu was both Messiahs at once (!?), this source actually disproves your argument, not the other way around. The Gemora on 55a has nothing to do with our discussion, and the Gemora in Sanhedrin does not prove anything related to your arguments: that contradiction, the only one I have yet seen, was easily resolved by R' Alexandri.

    5. Lubavitch is not the only branch of Judaism, and these 'Messianic' Lubavitch (for lack of a better word) are not the only branch of Lubavitch. And according to this portion of a portion, their Rebbe (Menachem Mendel Schnerson, ZT"L) is actually just NOT DEAD... nothing with them about a second coming or anything. Even this sect of a sect does not claim that Messiah son of David will die and be resurrected...

    I'm hardly a learned Torah scholar (I have trouble even reading Gemora, for example, that's why I needed the translation) but if even I was able to disprove these attacks... they must be pretty flimsy. I'm sure a learned Rabbi would be able to do it much better and more completely...

    Source(s): My Jewish Learning (I'm still in high school, so that's not really so much. Particularly as proven by the fact that I call it high school and not Yeshiva.) Gemora Succa Artscroll Tanach with English translation http://www.dafyomi.co.il/
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  • 1 decade ago

    Couple of things:

    1. The two-messiah concept is not found in mainstream Judaism. The only place that that really appears is in some early Dead Sea texts.

    2. Many people do believe that the messiah's coming depends on our behavior; the clouds vs. donkey idea, however, is incorrect

    3. Yes, this is a common belief

    4. Yes, this is what the Lubavitch Chassidim believe, but they're about the only ones who believe that the Rebbe was the messiah.

    The rest of what you've put down are due to misinterpretations and mistranslations by other religions of my Bible. For us, in general, there are no conflicting prophecies:

    Judaism teaches that the messiah will fulfill the following prophecies:

    * The Sanhedrin will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)

    * Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance. (Isaiah 2:4)

    * The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)

    * He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8-10)

    * The Moshiach will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with "fear of God" (Isaiah 11:2)

    * Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)

    * Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)

    * He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)

    * All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)

    * Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)

    * There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)

    * All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)

    * The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)

    * He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7)

    * Nations will end up recognizing the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13-53:5)

    * The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)

    * The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)

    * Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)

    * The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot

    * He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)

    * Jews will know the Torah without Study (Jeremiah 31:33)

    * He will give you all the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4)

    * He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13-15, Ezekiel 36:29-30, Isaiah 11:6-9)

    Source(s): I'm Jewish.
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  • RW
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    >>"1) There will be 2 Messiahs; one will suffer and die and one who will rule and reign"<<

    try talking to actual rabbis. I have never once ever heard such nonsense. theres nothing in the old testament to lead one to believe that.

    >>"2) The Messiah’s coming depends upon our behavior: If righteous, he will come with the clouds. If sinful, he will come on a donkey"<<

    nonsense. this is an obvious misunderstanding. there are clearly two "phases" to the SINGLE messiah's life time.

    >>"3) There is a “potential” Messiah in every generation, and it is up to Jews to recognize him and become worthy of him"<<

    woohoo! got one right!

    >>"4) Per the followers of Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson – the Messiah will be resurrected and then return and reign as king (?)"<<

    some do believe that.

    but most think the people who do are a little nutty.

    >>"What if the life of Joseph was a foreshadowing of the Messiah...?"<<

    ... that makes no sense at all.

    >>"Are these just wild coincidences, or could it be the Messiah was and is to come twice to fulfill ALL prophecy..."<<

    or, much more likely, most of that is nonsense that was misintepereted and added later by christians to retroactively try to make Jesus fill a role that simply wasn't his.

    this is really astoundingly simple.

    there are a variety of tasks the messiah must complete, in order to be the messiah.

    once these have been completed, it will be rather obvious to everyone.

    if these tasks are not completed, hes not it.

    ... these tasks are not yet done.

    thus, ... Jesus, nor anyone else to date, is it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Judaism teaches that the messiah will fulfill the following prophecies:

    * The Sanhedrin will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)

    * Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance. (Isaiah 2:4)

    * The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)

    * He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8-10)

    * The Messiah will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with "fear of God" (Isaiah 11:2)

    * Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)

    * Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)

    * He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)

    * All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)

    * Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)

    * There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)

    * All the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)

    * The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)

    * He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7)

    * Nations will end up recognizing the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13-53:5)

    * The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)

    * The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)

    * Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)

    * The Temple will be rebuilt, and as a result many of the suspended mitzvot will become incumbent on us (Ezekiel 40)

    * He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)

    * Jews will know the Torah without study (Jeremiah 31:33)

    * He will give us all the desires of our hearts (Psalms 37:4)

    * He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13-15, Ezekiel 36:29-30, Isaiah 11:6-9)

    Don't confuse people who call themselves "messianic Jews" with people of the Jewish religion.

    "Messianic Jews" is a code name for Christians who are trying to mislead Jews. They are to be condemned for their lying methods, and for underestimating the intelligence of their Jewish "targets."

    If, of course, one of them is born of a Jewish mother, many (but not all) halakhic decisors regard that individual as a Jew. But the movement is without a doubt a Christian scam.

    It is a pity that the asker does not have knowledge of the responsa literature; otherwise she would be able to be less inaccurate.

    .

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  • Bill
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Why should I have to explain my beliefs to anyone? You should spend more time worrying about your belief in a Non-Messiah Messiah, Jesus Christ. Let a person believe how, what and why the believe in. Do not try to convert the world because you think you found the proof you need to show the error of someones ways. Your question's conflict is non-existent. Only you are causing conflict between Gentile and Jew.

    Source(s): A tired old Jewish man who is sick of the I am right you are wrong attitude of people when it comes to religion. Each person should be left to believe in their own faith.
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  • ?
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I don't claim to be arrogant enough to explain the prophecies, but I do think that after a decade of Torah studies I am qualified to say that there are exactly zero conflicting prophecies about the Messiah.

    The only "conflict" happens when common people, usually members of a Christian church, try to subvert scripture for their own unscrupulous agendas.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Happily, there is no confusion over what the real messiah must do to prove he IS the Jewish messiah.

    He must:

    - usher in world peace.

    Did Jesus do that? NO

    - unite all Jews in Israel.

    Did Jesus do that? NO.

    - resurrect the dead.

    Did Jesus do that? NO.

    -rebuild the Jerusalem temple.

    Did Jesus do that? NO.

    - did Jesus come from the line of King David?

    NO

    AND CRUCIALLY:

    This and more must all be achieved in one NORMAL HUMAN LIFESPAN.

    Clearly, not Jesus.

    TO THE PERSON ANSWERING ABOVE ME:

    Why is it so hard for you to understand the basic fact that the JEWISH MESSIAH DOES NOT HAVE A 'SECOND COMING'.

    He must do all these things IN ONE LIFETIME.

    And do tell me, how is it you think that 'world peace' is in the process of happening? Do you not watch the news? Do you not read the newspapers?

    What gives you the right to tell Jews that WE don't understand the Jewish messianic prophecies???

    They were written by JEWS, for JEWS. We don't lecture you on how to interpret the NT. Kindly start showing us the same respect with regard to OUR scriptures.

    OH, and to the person who says he has 'jewish blood' - no, you don't.

    Firstly, because there's no such thing.

    Secondly, because one is either Jewish, or not Jewish. No one gets to be a 'little bit Jewish'!

    This is outlined most clearly in Jewish religious law.

    Who gets to define Christianity? CHRISTIANS

    Who gets to define Islam? MUSLIMS

    And who gets to define Judaism? JEWS.

    EDIT TO MARJI

    *sigh* Yet again, MARJI comes along and tries to twist Judaism. Those of you out there reading all this, please just be aware that MARJI has an agenda: she is a 'messianic' and her energies are directed to getting Jews converted to CHRISTIANITY.

    I respect Christians - but I don't respect those who try and convert Jews by lying. MARJI has been lying on this website for months now.

    EDIT TO SUZANNE

    - my goodness, are you really that ignorant that you can't understand that my 'questions' are rhetorical given that I have also ANSWERED THEM!

    I am Jewish and I understand the JEWISH scriptures. Unlike you SUZANNE, I don't have to be deceitful and leave things out in order to 'prove' my point.

    And besides which, MAMA_PJAMA has caught you out this time and no doubt she will again because unlike you, SHE understands Jewish theology.

    MAMA_PJAMA ****************************************

    YOU TELL'EM ! great answer as usual!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Mark S just listed the prophesies that Jews believe must come true from Jesus to be the true Messiah. I was astounded. Are they not all either true or in the process of coming true? Some are to take place only after His second coming. Some have already happened. I am saddened by the lack of belief when the evidence is the same for both Jews and Gentiles. I had to actually go back and make sure that it was a Jew posting the answer because I was praising God and thankful for each thing that He listed.

    My faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah is actually INCREASED by what he finds to be the evidence against Him. Amazing.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The hardest one for a Jew (by the way I've got Jewish blood in me) and know TORAH and targum. is the prophesy that the ability to judge according to TORAH law (specifically capital punishment) will not be overthrown till the Messiah (Shiloh) comes.

    10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

    (Ge 49:10).

    When Roman law forbade the Jews to condemn and carry out capital punishment but must be handed over to Roman rulers to decide the fate of a convict, (this was the first time this ever happened), "the Jewish leaders rent their clothes and put ashes on their heads and wept bitterly in the streets" (Josephus F.) Why? Because this was in direct contradiction ot the prophecy given above.

    Was this a failed prophecy? No. Why? Because this edict happened 4 years after Jesus Christ was born. The Messiah had come into the world.

    This prophecy realized converted many rabbinical leaders in the first century.

    Also, conveniently "forgetting" prophecies, Jews don't like to remember that Daniel 9:26 (the messiah shall be "cut off" (die) and Isaiah 53 (the Crucifixion) where considered MAJOR messianic prophesies in historical rabbinical writings. You won't find that list in the answer below!

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  • Marji
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    For those interested in learning more about the Two Messiah Theory, which is much more prevalent in ancient rabbinical writings than some of the answerer's would lead us to believe:

    http://www.rbc.org/uploadedFiles/Bible_Study/Disco...

    And yes - this is a Christian source. I have yet to find one modern rabbinical Jewish website that really addresses this (and I'd be interested in links if anyone has one), although I do have a couple books in my library written from that perspective, including The Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai.

    EDIT: My apologies. I should have clarified that I have yet to find one site that TRULY addresses it in any depth. Most have a few paragraphs and end with something similar to the conclusion of the AskMoses site: "there is no point. . . in elaborating on the subject."

    אני מטבע הדברים לא מסכים מיאו קסיאוצ'אן

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