Wednesday, 4 November 2009

2000 Years + Later

If there is one question that Jews get asked ad infinitum, it’s: why don’t you worship Jesus?

There are so many answers to this, though none satisfy of course. Many Christians believe with a passion that we Jews have somehow managed to misunderstand and misinterpet our own religious texts, the Tanakh.

Perhaps one way of answering the age-old Jesus question, though, is to remind our Christian friends that in fact, Jesus was nothing unique at that time. He was one of many young Jewish blokes wandering around Judea, proclaiming himself ‘maschiach’.

Many other men did exactly the same and just like Jesus, they too failed to fulfill the 23 Jewish messianic prophecies before they died. There is no ’second coming’ in Judaism.

Take a look at these other aspiring maschiachs. Some fulfilled more of the prophecies than Jesus – he, after all, only fulfilled one, namely that he was born to a Jewish mother.

Note also how many of these other claimants were also executed by the Romans.

Judah Maccabee – delivered the Jews from oppression by leading rebellion against Syria. The Maccabee familes ruled over Israel for over 250 years – and there was peace. Maccabee priests were all anointed. Judah Maccabe qualifies as a would-be Maschiach.

Theudas: claimed to be a prophet and a would-be maschiach. He is mentioned in Josephus (Antiquities, 20:97).
In 44 C.E. he was crucified by the Romans.

Judas of Galilee: led Jewish uprising against Rome, 6.C.E. Mentioned in Josephus (Wars, 2:118). He tried to liberate the Jews from Roman rule – his followers called him the Saviour, and the Messiah.
He was crucified by the Romans.

Benjamin the Egyptian: Mentioned in Josephus (War 2.261263). He claimed to be the Maschiach, and he inspired rebellion against Rome.
He too was crucified by the Romans.

Menachem: grandson of Judas the Galilean, 67.C.E. Outspoken, zealot, leader, claimed to be the Maschiach.
He was crucified by the Romans.

Cyrus, King of Persia: called lthe ‘mash’aka’ (anointed) according to Isaiah (Isaiah 45:1)

King David &
King Hezekiah:

- both were anointed, both ruled and brought peace. Both named the ‘king of the Jews’.

And there were many others, including:

Menahem ben Judah.

Moses of Crete.Serene.

David Alroy.

Abraham Abulafia.

Asher Lemmlein.

Reubeni and Solomon Molko.

Isaac Luria.

Moses Luzzatto.