Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Who is the Jewish Messiah?

The majority of Jewish people fail to realize that the prevalent 21st century view of the Messiah has been long-divorced from the more traditional (ancient) Jewish view.  The 21st century view, that the Messiah will establish His kingdom and peace here on the earth right now, tends to overlook the vital role of the Messiah as Servant, more specifically, as Suffering Servant.

Shortly after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. and in the wake of anti-Jewish sentiment, one of the ways in which the Jewish leadership sought to ensure the unity of the Diaspora Jews was to reinforce the belief that Yeshua (Jesus) was the Christian Messiah and not the Jewish one and to diminish or suppress all together the atoning role of the Suffering Servant. 

Regrettably, the role and work of the Messiah as described in the Torah, the Prophets, and much of the rabbinic literature such as the Talmud and Midrash, was distorted to such a degree as to make Him virtually unrecognizable to the Jewish people.  The upshot of all of this is that many of our sages and rabbis have actually done a tremendous disservice to the very people whom they were seeking to unify and preserve. 

By deliberately suppressing the role of the Messiah as the Suffering Servant, the vast majority of our people have fallen prey to the lure of secularism and have become disillusioned and otherwise alienated from the very spiritual beliefs to which Israel had held fast for millennia.  Consequently, the Jewish people remain blind to the hope and immune to the peace that is found in the Messiah Yeshua.

Although traditional Judaism has taught and emphasized that the Messiah's lineage will be a fundamental criterion for His identification, it is critical to note that most modern Jewish rabbinical studies place little emphasis on the importance of genealogy.  Rabbis who still maintain a belief in the Biblical concept of the Messiah, will try to argue that genealogical proof is unnecessary, since the Messiah will be identified in other ways.

However, genealogical evidence is necessary if we are to trace the Messiah's lineage and understand the significant roles assigned to Him by G-d throughout the Scriptures.  By doing so, it soon becomes evident that Yeshua satisfied at least two key Messianic criteria: He originated from the correct "kingly roots" and He fulfilled the role of the Suffering and Atoning Servant.    

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