The Claim: Jesus Did Not Embody the Personal Qualifications of Messiah
- Messiah as Prophet Jesus was not a prophet; he appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended.
- Descendent of David Jesus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David.
- Torah Observance Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable.
Messiah as Prophet
In the mid to late second century, Judaism established an arbitrary "end of prophecy" upon the death of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi and declared that Yeshua cannot be the Messiah since "he appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended."
If this were true then according to Judaism Messiah can never come. Any Messiah that showed up today, tomorrow, next week, or next year would "appear on the scene 2350+ years after prophecy had ended" and would not qualify as a prophet either.
In contrast, believers know that God continues to appoint apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Descendant of David
Judaism has invented a requirement of patriarchal lineage (i.e. lineage through the father) that does not exist in Scripture. The Law of Moses allows for inheritance and continuation of lineage through daughters as well as sons. (see Numbers 27:1-7)
In a rather ironic twist, modern Judaism only acknowledges Jewish heritage and legitimacy through a mother's lineage... not the father's.
The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. The Torah states that all mitzvot [commandments] remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation of Shabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), "He does not observe Shabbat!"
While it is entirely true that most Christians today ignore G-d's holy days, dietary laws, and other commandments with varying degrees of temerity and distain, Christ Himself did not. In my opinion, these actions and attitudes of Christians are the single largest stumbling block placed in the path of Jews who might become believers.
Although various anti-missionary groups argue that "Jesus annulled the commandments which makes him a false prophet", Scripture itself does not support their claim. In fact, it tells us the exact opposite:
1) Messiah Himself commanded His followers, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17) He declared that until heaven and earth pass away not even the least letter shall pass from the Law.
The last time I checked, the heaven and earth are still present!
2) In the first century, Messiah's enemies wanted to put Him to death. They hungered for it as a starving man craves food. Yet they never charge Him with violating the Law or being a false prophet. Conviction on such a charge would have easily warranted the death penalty. Instead Scripture tells us that His enemies kept trying to obtain false testimony against Him (Matthew 26:59-60, Mark 14:55-59) but they did not succeed.
Something Greater Than the Temple
Healing, making paste, picking grain... all of these are considered violations of the Sabbath according to Jewish tradition.
Messiah healed on the Sabbath, made paste, and allowed His disciples to pick grain. There are only three possible options to describe what He was doing:
1) He was violating or abolishing the Sabbath. If this were true then the Law requires His death for violating the Sabbath. His enemies never charged Him with this crime so neither should we.
2) He was abolishing the man-made rules about the Sabbath. This, too, would have been a sin against the Law and neither His enemies nor Scripture itself accuse Him of this.
3) He was establishing a hierarchy of the commandments. In defending His actions, the Master points to examples from Scripture:
"Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT A SACRIFICE,' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:3-8)
In defending Himself, Messiah points to King David's clear violation of the Law in eating the consecrated bread and the priests' clear violation of the Law in working on the Sabbath... and yet they are innocent. How is this true?
In declaring "something greater than the Temple is here", He was not referring to Himself. The Pharisees would have never accepted such an argument! The thing "greater than the Temple" was the need of those who were sick and the hunger of His disciples. In these examples, Messiah illustrates that showing compassion for simple human hunger (in the case of David) and need (in the case of the priests' serving the needs of others) is the portion of the Law that must be observed before the stringencies of the Sabbath.
If anti-missionary Jews today only knew what this means, "I desire compassion, and not sacrifice", they would not condemn the Innocent One.