The Scriptural Messiah - a second look
Now that most non-Jewish scholars concede that Isaiah 53 refers to the Jewish people... Some Christians have tried to find support for their beliefs in Rabbinic writings. Traditional Judaism NEVER believed that there would be a supernatural virgin-born Messiah who would be killed as an atonement for sin. If this had been the traditional Jewish belief all along, it certainly came as a shock to the Jewish followers of Jesus. When the Nazerene told his followers that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer...Peter protests, "G-D forbid it lord, this shall never happen to you." (Mat. 16:22) Peter didn't joyfully exclaim: Praise G- D, you are the suffering servant of Isaiah 53! The Disciples never knew that the Messiah was supposed to suffer - (Mat. 17:23, Lk. 18:34, Jn. 20:9)
Jesus' enemies, such as Herod (Mat. 2) certainly didn't think that the Messiah was supposed to be killed - otherwise why help his cause by trying to kill him!?
In reality, the Jewish people expected the Messiah to rule as king over a restored Israel in an age of universal peace and belief. (Acts 1:6, Jer. 23:5- 6, Isaiah 11:1-9, 2:1-4, Ezekiel 37:21- 28...) This had always been the Jewish understanding of Messiah, and Isaiah 53 was understood as referring to the Jewish people all along. It's not an idea invented by Rashi in the Middle Ages. The church father Origen reports that this was the Jewish understanding in his time, hundreds of years before Rashi. (Contra Celsum)
Actually, there are ancient sources that have explicit reference to a supernatural, virgin-born savior, who dies by murder to achieve salvation for believers who can experience him by eating of his blood and body...You can read all about it in the mythologies about Mithra, Osiris, Krishna, Tammuz, Adonis, Dionysus, Bacchus, Isis, etc.
Those Christians who desperately ransacked the Talmud to find support for their preconceived ideas are not students of the Talmud with any interest in the actual teachings of Rabbinic Judaism. They merely usee the Talmud like a drunk uses a lamp post - not for illumination, but for support.
Most Christians who read the Talmud are not really in the position to know what it means (although some honest ones have) much as they would claim that a non-Christian can't really understand the New Testament. (I Cor. 1:18) They will claim that non- Christians can't understand such sublime passages as Mat. 27:46, Lk. 14:26, Mat. 11:34-35, Mat. 15:22-27, Mat. 21:18-19, Mat. 23:35, Mat. 26:7- 11, II Cor. 12:16, etc. etc. ad infinitum.
Most of these Christian Talmudists can't even read the Talmud, and get their information from collections of secondary sources put together by other lamp post leaners.
When these collections are checked, the Talmudic passages are frequently incorrectly cited, usually quoted out of context, and occasionally completely manufactured.
Would a Christian ever do these things to Jewish sources to prove a point?! Investigate the following passages:
Gal. 3:16 Mat. 2:18 Mat. 2:23 Mat. 2:15 Mat. 27:9 John 7:38 Acts 7:16 Rom. 10:5-8 Rom. 11:26 Eph. 5:14Heb. 1:5 Heb. 10:5 etc. etc. etc. etc....
Did the Rabbis ever notice that there are two different pictures of the Messiah in the Bible? Did they resolve this tension by proposing a theory of 2 Messiahs, a Messiah son of David and a Messiah son of Joseph? That depends on whether you read what the Talmud actually teaches, or accept the propaganda of the so called Christian-Talmudists.
R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven; whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee...] lowly, and riding upon an ass! - If they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven; if not, lowly and riding upon an ass. - Sanhedrin 98A
The minor figure of a Messiah son of Joseph has nothing to do with how Talmudic sages perceived contradictory passages in the Bible. He does figure into Rabbinic Apocalyptic-Midrashic speculation.
Ask a "Christian-Talmudist" to explain the difference between "PSHAT" and "DRASH".
Ask a "Christian-Talmudist" about why the Talmud applies Isaiah 53 to Moses, any pious person who suffers, and sick men who have had an ejaculation (he will see his seed, he will prolong his days...)
Ask a "Christian-Talmudist" why most non-Jewish Biblical scholars, (many of them Christian) accept the real traditional Jewish understanding of Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, and Isaiah 7:14; without having a "Jewish" ax to grind. They have more in common with Rabbi Akiba, Rashi, and Rambam than Oral Roberts and Martin Luther.
(This article was writen by Larry Levey, Former Hebrew-Christian)
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