Introduction to the concept of Messiah (mashiach) Part 1

I have studied this topic for a while and it is worth noting that Jesus did not fulfill any prophecies that are mentioned in the Jewish Bible! By this I do not mean to explain away everything that Jesus did while he lived on this earth. I have no intention to dismiss Jesus as a person, but he was not the anointed king that the Jews have been waiting for. Many of the characteristics he has been attributed, I believe, are reconstructions made by Paul and his contemporaries. Although I do not believe that he was the son of G-d incarnate, I fully believe that he was a historic person, I believe he has lived.

I have tried hard to find the sources I often heard about while I still was a member in the Pentecostal church. We can use a check list to see what has been established, both in the thought process among believers as well as in fulfillments of alleged “prophecies.”

There comes a time in the future, may it not linger too long, as an anointed king will sit on the throne and rule the land of Israel during a time of universal peace and universal knowledge of G-d. This has nothing to do with faith; when this happens, everyone will see, looking out through the window, is the world in peace? Watching the news on TV, how does it looks like around the world? When this happens, then we will know that it is happening.
We still have wars, conflicts, famine and natural disasters. Lions do not eat grass with the lambs, there is still confusion in the wild. And a universal acknowledgement of G-d has not yet occured!

This idea of believing in the messiah is a pointless concept. Anytime we create a concept of whom the messiah is, it has to come straight from the Tanach, the Jewish Bible! It has to come out from this clearly identified, consistent verses that show us the messianic era and who the king is at that time. All of the verses that we use, are consistent in describing a time of worldpeace and an acknowledgement of G-d. We do not find hundreds of prophecies about Jesus in Tanach and there are big differences in the quality of the Jewish verses that talk about messiah and the Christian verses that talk about the Messiah. It is not about quantity, it is all about QUALITY!

The word messiah, the English word, is a rendering of the Hebrew word, mashiach, משיח.
Many Western people have difficulties to pronounce the word “mashiach” with the deep-throat “cha-sound”, so instead of breaking our throats, we simply say it in anglicised form; “messiah.” At this point you do not know what this word means, because you say it in English. The definition of the word mashiach comes from the Hebrew form “limshoach” which means “to pour.” In the Bible we will see that oil was often poured on people or things to inaugurate them or initiate them into the service of G-d. We will see that a ceremony that was done as an initiation ceremony to inaugurate people or things to the service of G-d was to pour oil on them. (Exodus 30:22-30).

We have here the formula, the recepy for making the anointing oil. We are told in Exodus that when the Jewish people left Egypt some 3.300 years ago, they built a portable form of what later would become the Temple in Jerusalem. It was able to move around with them in the desert. In chapter 30 it says that when it was constructed, each of the parts of the portable Tabernacle, the altars, the different basins, utensils, menorahs and so on, were all anointed with oil to dedicate them to the service of G-d. Later on in chapter 30:30, we are told that “You shall anoint Aron and his sons, and consecrate them”. Aron and his sons were high priests.

Saul was the first anointed king and later on even king David. The Jewish kings were initiated as well by being anointed with oil. What is interesting is that because they were people who were anointed, they were referred to as anointed ones! A person would actually be called “one who is anointed” or in Hebrew, a “mashiach”, a “messiah.” So a high priest would be called a messiah, a king would be referred to as a messiah. Where do we see this?

And he said to his men, “The Lord forbid it for me, that I should do this thing to my lord, to the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth my hand upon him, for he is the Lord’s anointed…”
Read the whole passage on 1Sam. 24:6-11

More examples:
…you shall come and anoint Hazael to be king over Aram.
And Jehu, the son of Nimshi, you shall anoint as king over Israel… and Elisha…you shall anoint to be prophet in your stead”

1 King. 19:15-16

“So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I held…”
Isaiah 45:1

Even a non-Jewish king, Cyrus of Persia. He is here called G-d’s anointed, a mashiach. We see in our Bible that there are many messiahs! Kings were anointed, prophets were anointed and we see even a non-Jewish king is referred to as a messiah, an anointed.

What is missing from the Bible is any reference to someone that is called “The Messiah”, the word with a definite article and capital letter. There are no references in the Jewish Bible to someone we refer to as The Messiah. A clarification, because that was not 100% true! In the beginning of the book of Leviticus, there are references to Aron, the high priest, and there the Bible refers to him as “ha-kohein ha-mashiach” where ha-kohein is The High Priest, ha-mashiach is The anointed one. So, the high priest was the anointed priest. The only time we ever find this word “ha-mashiach” the messiah, in the Jewish Bible, is references in the beginning of Leviticus 4 to Aron.

“If the anointed kohen [ha-kohein ha-mashiach] sins, bringing guilt to the people…”
Leviticus 4:3-4

There are no references anywhere in the Bible to the future, anointed one to come directly as ha-mashiach. What does that mean? If you have arguments about this, you can’t go to the index of the Bible, and simply look up the word “ha-mashiach”, The Messiah, and find any clear references in the Bible to anyone the Bible calls “The Messiah.” You can not find any clear statement in the Bible that says something like “In the future The Messiah will come” or “The Messiah will accomplish the following things…” There is not one direct reference to anyone in the Bible that we call “The Messiah.” I am aware that this is a center point in Christian teaching but in Judaism the idea of the messiah is not the most central and important concept. G-d is the most important concept! G-d is all over the Bible. We are not so bothered by the fact that the word “The Messiah” does not appear in the Bible.

To be continued…

© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
אתר הבית של יונתן
Twitter @tzedaqyal

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About Meadow of Tzedaqyal

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955)
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