Who is Jesus Christ in Judaism?

February 19, 2018

Jesus as Moshiach

Judaism states that the virgin birth is a myth and that Jesus Christ is a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 13:6.

If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers,(Deuteronomy 13:6)

Judaism teaches that the phrase “the son of your mother” is a veiled reference to Jesus Christ as an apostate that would lead Israel to other gods and claim to be born of a virgin (without a human father). The context of the passage is addressing false prophets.

Jewish Concept of Moshiach

If Jesus is not the Jewish Moshiach, then what is the Jewish concept of Moshiach?

The general belief was that the sending of the Moshiach was part of the Creator’s plan at the inception of the Universe.  ‘Seven things were created before the world was created: Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden (i.e. Paradise), Gehinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah’ (Pes. 54a).  In a later work, there is the observation: ‘From the beginning of the creation of the world king Messiah was born, for he entered the mind (of God) before even the world was created’ (Pesikta Rab. 152b).

On one point the Rabbis were unanimous, viz. Moshiach would be just a human being divinely appointed to carry out an allotted task.  The Talmud nowhere indicated a belief in a superhuman Deliverer as the Moshiach.  The prevailing belief was that the Moshiach would be a descendant of the king, and a common designation for him in Rabbinic literature is ‘the son of David’.

Remember, however, that the Talmud was written after the time of Christ and has the purpose to answer current circumstances.  The Talmud had to address the division between Judaism and Christianity and the distinction was in a Divine Moshiach.

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