Missing the Messiah
by Rit Nosotro
Will the past be repeated in the future?
Why did the Jews miss Jesus as Messiah? Are the prophesies of His second coming any less obscure?
Oppressed, and persecuted by Roman control, the Jews longed for a Messiah. They hoped for a Messiah who would deliver them from under the Romans, and establish peace in Jerusalem. But they were looking in the wrong places.
The priests were not diligently searching the scriptures enough to correlate the prophesies in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah’s coming with a real person such as Jesus. In fact, the rejection of the Messiah by his own people was a prophesy in itself which has been abundantly fulfilled (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 53:1,3). Because of Israel’s disobedience and unfaithfulness to God, their eyes were shut, and they were given no understanding of the scriptures. Many Jews are still waiting for the Messiah’s first coming, having overlooked Jesus. All the prophesies proclaimed in the Old Testament of the Messiah’s first coming were fulfilled in detail by Jesus Christ.
Perhaps a large part of the confusion lies in the fact that the Bible talks about a “Conquering King” as well as a “Suffering, Compassionate Servant”. Because the Jews were focused on and wanted a Messiah who would liberate them from the domination of the foreign Roman rulers, they ignored the significance of the prophesies concerning a Messiah who would have to suffer and die (Isaiah 53). They didn’t know that the suffering servant had to come before the conquering king in order to be a final sacrifice for sin.
In 1947 a young Arab threw a rock into a cave above the Dead Sea, and chanced
upon some old manuscripts. One third of the manuscripts were biblical, including
Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Psalms, and the New Testament. These manuscripts are 1000
years closer to the originals than the previous ones. In Isaiah it talks about
a Messiah from the line of David, and a Messianic King. Instead of believing
that they are the same person, the Essene priests of Qumran had interpreted
this to mean that there are two separate people. It’s clear that there
is enough of a difference between the types of prophesies, involving the suffering
servant, and the Messianic king, to understand why there is confusion.
During the time of Jesus, many others claimed to be Messiah as well, so the people’s attention was distracted. Because of the false claims, the priests began to say that anyone claiming to be the Messiah was blaspheming God. This is why they attacked Jesus. A constant argument between the Sadducees and the Pharisees involved whether there really was a resurrection or eternal life. The idea of someone claiming to be God was so ridiculous in the Pharisee’s eyes that they didn’t even check with the scriptures to see if it was true. The Pharisees wanted to glorify themselves, by their outward appearance, and added additional rules and laws about external practices. In fact they got so enveloped in their own practices, that they ignored the importance and meaning of the scriptures. They were so busy making themselves look good that they missed the heart of the scriptures, as well as the truth.
The Sadducees believed that only the first five books of the Bible, written by Moses, were true. They were also willing to conform to the ways of the Romans, and rejected the idea of spirits or the resurrection. One thing the Pharisees and the Sadducees did have in common was that they both opposed Jesus.
Neither the Roman leaders, nor the Jewish leaders wanted people claiming to be the Messiah for fear of riots and uprisings that would cause a threat to their power. Jesus was a real threat to the Romans, as well as the Jewish leaders, so they eliminated him by crucifying him on the cross. Little did they know that Jesus rose from the dead. His disciples, being filled with the Holy Spirit, went out into the world boldly declaring the Good News of a living resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
Prophesies concerning the Messiah’s first coming are found in the Old Testament, whereas the prophesies of his second coming are found throughout the Bible. The prophesies relating to his second coming are much easier to follow, especially because of the fact that Jesus talked about the end times and His second coming many times with his disciples. In addition, there is a whole book on the end times, and His second coming (Revelation).
It is easier for Christians to distinguish between the Messiah’s first and second coming because they have the New Testament, and have heard the accounts of his first coming. They recognize how Jesus fulfilled the prophesies of his first coming, and are waiting for the others to be fulfilled when He comes back the second time.
Although the prophesies of his second coming are for the most part clear, there is some disagreement among Christians as to when Christ will return due to vague prophesies; for example pre-mid-post tribulation.
In conclusion, the Jews were blinded by their previous sins so that they did not recognize that their Messiah had come. They are still in a mist, awaiting the fulfillment of future prophecies concerning when Christ will come again. The Bible clearly points out the fingerprint match to Jesus in His first appearance and it declares that His second coming will be seen worldwide and be unmistakable, irrefutable and final in its consequences (Mathew 24:26-31).
1. What group wanted to glorify themselves by their outward appearance?
2. The “Conquering King” refers to:
a. Christ’s second coming
b. A European king
c. Christ’s first coming
d. A kind of Roman King
3. The “Suffering Servant” refers to:
a. Christ’s second coming
b. A Jewish King
c. Christ’s first coming
d. A kind Roman King
4. Who held Israel captive at the time of Jesus?
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
Allen, Greg. 2004. Difference between Pharisees and Sadducees? In, Bethany Bible Church, http://www.bethanybible.org/askpastor/pharsad.htm.
Halff, Charles. 2002. What the Rabbis Believe About the Messiah. In, CJF Ministries, www.cjf.orglpages/wrabsel.htm.
Lefkovitz, Elliot B. "Jews - Roman Rule." World Book Millenium 2000, 1999.
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