“Are you the one who is to come?”

Tyron Inbody has a very interesting chapter on Christianity and Judaism in his Many Faces of Christology. With “post-Holocaust” theologies, he notes that the contention between Judaism and Christianity isn’t over Jesus’s teachings–which scholars now believe fell largely within the parameters of 1st-century Pharisaic Judaism. Nor is it over his death–which was not the fault of “the Jews” but of the Jerusalem politico-religious establishment and the Roman occupying government. It’s not, he contends, even necessarily over Jesus’s resurrection–resurrection was a core belief of the Pharisees, and Inbody cites the contemporary Jewish New Testament scholar Pinchas Lapide, who actually accepts that Jesus was resurrected. While this is obviously a minority view, Inbody argues that it shows that the resurrection as such is not incompatible with Judaism.

But this also highlights where the true point of contention lies–in the messiahship of Jesus. Inbody points out that the resurrection does not per se prove that Jesus was the Messiah. Jews can, in principle, accept the fact of the resurrection. What faithful Jews deny, however, is that the world has been redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus. This isn’t, as Christians sometimes like to think, because Jews wanted a “political-military” Messiah and thus couldn’t accept a “spiritual,” nonviolent one. While this view is self-flattering for Christians, it misses the point. That is, for Jews, the advent of the Messiah is inextricably linked with the redemption of the world–that is, the end of violence and suffering and the establishment of God’s universal kingdom. 1st-century Judaism had a variety of concepts of what the Messiah would be like, and even varied on whether the Messiah should be indentified with a specific individual at all. But the consistent theme was that the messianic age would user in peace, justice, and wholeness for God’s creation. Jewish rejection of the messianic status of Jesus isn’t due to “stubbornness” or “blindness” as much Christian tradition has had it, but can in fact be seen as a faithful response to God’s promises as they were revealed through the Torah and Prophets.

Inbody argues that Christians were able to identify Jesus as the Messiah only by reinterpreting the meaning of messiahship. Christians, if they’re being honest, must admit that the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus did not establish God’s kingdom. Rather, Jesus provides a “foretaste” of the kingdom, which will only be established in its fullness at the end of time. Somewhat paradoxically, this shows that Christians and Jews may be closer together than it at first seems. If Christians view Jesus’s messiahship in terms of prolepsis and promise, then they have much in common with Jews who still await the coming of the Messiah. Both are awaiting the same Kingdom–God’s universal reign of shalom. Whether or not Jesus is the one who will reign as Messiah in that kingdom is ultimately an eschatological question that we can’t definitively settle now–even if we agree that Jesus was resurrected!


10 thoughts on ““Are you the one who is to come?”

  1. אליהו קאן

    “….. this also highlights where the true point of contention lies–in the messiahship of Jesus.”

    If the author knows some basic premises of Judaism he may want to rethink “the true point of contention.”

    Judaism at it’s foundation is, “Shema Israel, HaSheim Eloheinu, HaSheim Ekhad.” And the Pharisee Yehoshua (not J*esus), you know the Talpiot Tomb Jewish man with bones, said, “you shall love your companion as yourself.” NMH 22:29.

    “Shema Israel, HaSheim Eloheinu, HaSheim Ekhad,” is a statement about the “only-ness” of the Creator and Sustainer of the world. He is not a man.

    Those same scholars that understand history, and rightly so about the 1st century man who was a Perushi (Anglicized to pharisee), those that understand it was the Romans that executed him with help from their quisling Hellenist Jewish Temple companions including the High Priest, also understand Christianity’s umbilical cord to the Egytpian/Greek/Roman pantheon. That Christianity is a syncretism, of the Z*eus myth with a stolen identity of a Jewish man. The facts of history are that there was a man, a Jewish, Torah observant man, actually having judicial authority as evidenced by his being called Ribi, not rabbi, which is much less authoritative. This man lived and died as all men do. Did I mention his tomb in Talpiot? His identity was ripped from history and placed in the limbo that is Christianity.

    So it is not Ribi Yehoshua’s messiahship that is the true point of contention. It is Christianity’s foundation of a man being the One that holds this universe together.

    Now today if the following scientific and historical facts are agreed upon:
    1. All men die.
    2. There is a tomb dated to the proper time.
    3. There is an ossuary in that tomb.
    4. The above ossuary is inscribed, “Yeshua bar Yoseiph.”

    Then Christianity takes it’s rightful place with the rest of the pantheon, completely apart from Torah Judaism and the final question can again be examined.

    Was Ribi Yehoshua ben Yoseiph the Mashiach?

    For “orthodox” Jews, whatever that means, it is particularly difficult having been taught by both Jews and Christians that the Torah observant man Ribi Yehoshua was the excuse for Christianity and it’s persecution of the Jewish family.

    They are also taught that the Mashiach could not have come yet. Yet they cannot agree on how one would recognize him, (little h in him.)

    Remember that he must be documented to be of the line of King David, born in Beit Lechem, heal the breaches in Torah, and fight the enemies of HaSheim. The first two qualifications he has fulfilled and others from now on can’t. The last two his talmidim (students) continue to do today. netzarim.co.il

    1. That Christianity is a syncretism of Platonic thought with the stolen identity of a Jewish man is arguable; “That Christianity is a syncretism, of the Z*eus myth with a stolen identity of a Jewish man” not so much, in my opinion.

      1. The chief of the Roman pantheon was Z*eus, correct? J*zeus? A divine g*od-man? J*zeus being the offspring of a g*od and woman? That is classic Egyptian/Hellenist/Roman mythology. Did Plato speak of any of this?

        The only translation that takes into account all of the earliest extant manuscripts including even Hebrew polemics is The Netzarim Reconstruction of Matityahu. It is very clear that Yehoshua addressed current halacha within the Torah/Jewish community. Did Plato also advocate Torah?

    1. The posts on that ntweblog, from what I read, were not from scientists. Most ignored the objective archeology, focusing on their opinion of the statistics, which usually were skewed by their Christian bias. I mean really, a New Testament blog from a university is going to cut their own funds by acknowledging Christianity is a hoax?

  2. Oh, it’s worse than that, אליהו קאן. There’s Lao Tzu and the Buddha, both conceived without sexual intercourse, centuries before Jesus. There’s numerous stories of divine-human copulation in indigenous religions. Isn’t it the case that Christianity hasn’t just stolen one Jewish man’s identity, but has been looting and pillaging religions the world ’round?

    Or could it be, as Robert Bellah argues, that at the level of myth, ritual and symbol, there are remarkable similarities between all the big religions because those religious elements are common to a particular stage in human cultural evolutionary history, a stage that all the big religions, both East and West, have passed through?

    Yes. It could.

    As for Plato’s influence on Christianity, it is extensive. Early Christians found Plato’s concepts of a world of Forms and a rational Logos extremely agreeable. Everything from the Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation to Christian asceticism owes a debt to Plato (for good or for ill). This is well-attested in the primary sources (and so is the early Christian loathing for Greco-Roman polytheism whose symbolic and ritualistic similarities to Christianity they chalked up to demonic deception). EVERY reputable scholar in philosophy, religion and history knows this.

    And so can you! Take a western civ or world religions class at your local college. But to make effective use of it, you’ll have to momentarily suspend your zeal for polemic. There are other motivations to undertaking a comparative study of religion than debunking, you know.

    1. What you call zeal for polemic I would call desire for historical accuracy which will clear a sullied name. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions but the facts are not for owning. The Singularity Creator logically gave an instruction manual for life. Misrepresentation of Torah by Christians, Muslims, or any other religion is merely a canard that those that will not keep Torah play. Christianity though especially, misrepresenting Ribi Yehoshua, has wreaked havoc and death on millions. Reestablishing accurate history of the man will at least dispel the lie to future generations.

  3. Pingback: Should Jews view Christianity as a new revelation? | A Thinking Reed

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