Is Yeshua the Messiah? Is Jesus the Messiah? Is either one of them God?
Or are we still looking for the Messiah, the one God promised to send throughout the Tanakh?
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The answer will change, depending on how you were raised, or which religion you listen to, or what you choose to believe despite how you were raised or which religion you listen to.
Me? I was raised as a Reform Jew, and like almost every Jew being raised by Jews (although, to be honest, my parents were not very “religious”, at all), I was taught that Jesus (growing up Jewish, I never heard the name “Yeshua” used, ever) was born a Jew but created a new religion called Christianity which hates Jews, so he was a traitor to his religion and his people. And he was definitely NOT the Messiah- we are still waiting.
Thank God that even though it took 40 years, I was introduced to Christians who did not ignore my Jewish beliefs, and showed me who Yeshua was, and is- the Jewish Messiah sent to the Jewish people, through whom all people can be saved.
Since then, I have learned that the early Jewish Believers did as always, but as more and more Gentiles were recruited, so to speak, by Shaul (Paul) and other missionaries, the Jewishness of the movement, as well as that of Yeshua, himself, was swiftly removed. By the 2nd century CE, instead of these believers following the Jewish way of life, as Yeshua did, they had a new guy, somebody named Jesus Christ, who was their Savior. The religion named after him, Christianity, is based almost totally on the letters that Shaul wrote, a Pharisee who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah God promised, but who has been completely rebranded as someone who converted to Christianity when he had a vision of Jesus.
Since that time, his letters have been misused, misinterpreted, and mutated into polemics against people following the lifestyle and form of worship that Yeshua did all his life, and they have become the foundation for most of the tenets of modern Christianity.
So, who is Yeshua? He is the Jewish Messiah.
Who is Jesus Christ? He is the blond-haired, blue-eyed Christian savior who has sent his people to convert everyone they meet to Christianity. And as for Jews, the ones who killed Jesus, well- if they won’t renounce their religion and accept Jesus, then they should be killed.
Of course, you can torture them for a while; you know, just to give them a chance to change their mind.
How can I say such a terrible thing? I say it based on history- the Crusades, the Inquisition, Martin Luther, even the Nazi’s, whose belt buckles said “Gott mit uns”, which means “God is with us”.
Now, let’s talk about whether or not either Yeshua or Jesus is God.
Actually, let’s not- it doesn’t really matter as far as salvation through the Messiah is concerned, so choose what you want to believe. However, let me mention this: if you choose to believe that either Yeshua or Jesus is also God, himself, and you also believe (as most Christian religions teach) that Jesus did away with the Torah, then you will need to decide on one or the other of the following:
- If Jesus is God and he did away with the Torah, that means he changes his mind about how to worship him, so he could also change his mind about how to be saved, and if so, then how can you trust his promise of salvation?
- If Jesus is God and, as we have been told, he never changes his mind or goes back on his word, then if you have been ignoring the commandments regarding lifestyle and worship (which includes holidays) he gave in the Torah, you have not been following God, but men, and you have been sinning.
Not very pleasant alternatives, are they?
What to do? If I may suggest, you can re-evaluate your belief system by comparing it to what God says in the Torah, read the rest of the Tanakh, AND the entire New Covenant. And when you read the letters from Paul, do so fresh- as if you do not know what they mean. Compare them to what Paul learned about the Torah as a Pharisee, how he lived his life (sorry, but he never converted to anything- he was a Jewish Pharisee his entire life), and why he wrote those letters.
If you do that, I believe you might come to see that he was not writing the words he heard from God, but giving managerial directives to the congregations (there were no “churches” during Paul’s lifetime) he formed who were having either interpersonal issues or problems with maintaining faithfulness.
Let’s finish up with my answers to my own questions:
Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah God promised to send (please-don’t be childishly prideful about the correct pronunciation of his name- we are saved by faith in who he is, not by how we pronounce his name).
Jesus, as portrayed by Christianity, is not the one God sent. In fact, the name “Jesus Christ” a Latin translation of a Greek transliteration of the name “Yeshua” with the title “haMaschiach”.
(If you want the whole story about how that came to be, you can find it in the Introduction to “The Complete Jewish Bible”.)
The Messiah may be God, he may not be God- for me, it doesn’t matter: he didn’t come to the world in order to replace God but to be God’s messenger, and to sacrifice his life so that many can be saved. That is what we know from the Bible, and anything else is conjecture. Period.
One last answer- are we still looking for the Messiah, the one God promised to send? Well, yes…and no.
My Jewish brethren, for the most part, are still waiting because they reject Jesus as the Messiah and have never even learned about Yeshua. They don’t know the Messiah God sent, and they really don’t know why to reject Yeshua- they do so because they have been told to do so.
Christians, who believe Jesus is their Savior, aren’t waiting, but they believe only because they have been told to believe. In truth, they do not know the real Messiah God sent, either.
So, what should you do? I never tell anyone what to believe or what to do, but if I may make a suggestion? Read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation, and look for what is said in the New Covenant that matches what is said in the Old Covenant, because God really doesn’t change: he doesn’t go back on his word and he has never said his Torah is invalid, and- just for the record- neither did the guy we read about in the Gospels. And when you read the Epistles, as I said earlier, try to do so without already knowing what they mean.
If you can do that, honestly and with a truly open mind, using Circles of Context and Hermeneutics (if you aren’t familiar with those terms, you can learn about them here: Interpreting the Bible), I believe you will be surprised at how you have been spiritually misled by those who you have trusted.
They didn’t do it on purpose, though, so don’t be mad at them- they were just teaching what they were taught.
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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and an early Shabbat Shalom!
Oh- and an early Hanukkah Sameach, too!