An Undisputed Messiah Requirement

 

One Messiah requirement is common to both Judaism and Christianity in Matthew and Luke. The foundations begin in Genesis with a prophetic blessing by Jacob, then the Law handed down to Moses followed by many prophecies thereafter until the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth.

First, prophetic blessings were given by Jacob, aka Israel, to each of his sons. One son, Judah, received the blessing that his family-tribe lineage would be like a lion that would possess the “scepter”:

Gen 49:8-10 “Judah, [as for] you, your brothers will acknowledge you. Your hand will be at the nape of your enemies, [and] your father’s sons will prostrate themselves to you.  A cub [and] a grown lion is Judah.  From the prey, my son, you withdrew. He crouched, rested like a lion, and like a lion, who will rouse him?  The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the student of the law from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him will be a gathering of peoples.”(Complete Jewish Bible)[1]

Rabbi Rashi, one of most revered Rabbi sages, identified Shiloh as the “King Messiah, to whom the kingdom belongs.” According to Rashi, the“scepter” refers to the royal lineage of “David and thereafter.”[2]

Centuries later, at Mt. Sinai Moses received the Law from God defined in the books of the Torah – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers. Much more than just the 10 Commandments, the Law of God also included promises and prophecies. One was the promise of a future kingdom in an unnamed place God would choose.[3]

Leaving Mt. Sinai on their quest to reach the promised land of Abraham, the tribes of Israel were defeating one enemy after another creating dread by those kings and nations lying in their path. One enemy king, Balak, thought he could cleverly use God to prevent his Moab nation’s defeat.

Persistently, Balak asked the prophet Balaam to place a curse from God on the Hebrews, but the prophet refused. In response, Balaam instead issued a momentous Messiah prophesy saying:

Nm 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.”(New American Standard Bible)

“Scepter” or “staff” is translated from the same Hebrew word shebet appearing in Jacob’s blessing of Judah.[4] Once again, Rashi said shebet represents “a king who rules dominantly” pointing to King David. A star, the Rabbi describes, “shoots out like an arrow” and uproots the sons of Sheth or Seth, the son of Adam; in other words, symbolically all of mankind.[5]

Rabbi Maimonides authored the 13 Principles of Faith defining the fundamentals of the Jewish faith. In it, the Rabbi interpreted Balaam’s prophecy to be referring to the future King David and the Messiah who will be a King from the “House of David.”[6] Later, building on Balaam’s prophecy, the prophet Nathan promised Israel’s King David:

2 Sam 7:16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”(New American Standard Version)

Multiple prophecies of the Branch of David were issued by prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah.[7] Isaiah, regarded by Judaism and Christianity to be the greatest of all the prophets, alone issued multiple Messiah prophecies.[8] One Isaiah prophecy viewed by Christians as pointing to the Messiah is often seen during Christmas season: [9]

Is 9:5-6 (vs. 6-7) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”(Jewish Publication Society)[10]

Rabbi Jose the Galilean, in the Babylonian Talmud tractate, “The Chapter on Peace,” identified one of the names of the Messiah as the “Prince of Peace.” In the second verse (6/7), the prophecy says he will rule from the throne of David.[11]

Rabbi Tanhun in a Talmud Gemara interpreted two of the six blessings of Ruth 3:17 as referring to David and the Messiah.[12] The Rabbi associated the Messiah with “peace” in Isaiah 9:5 clarifying the blessing of David by identifying the Messiah as the son of the “Bethlechemite” Jesse with the Messiah’s blessing appearing in Isaiah 11:2:

“The name of the Messiah is also “peace” (Shalom), as it is written [Is. ix. 5]: “The prince of peace.” … “Messiah — as it reads [Is. xi. 2]: “And there shall rest upon him the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”[12]

Isaiah chapter 11 contains a second prophecy referencing the “root of Jesse.” The Jewish Encyclopedia recognizes Jesse as the father of King David saying of Isaiah’s 11:10 prophecy, it is “one of his sublimest Messianic prophecies.”[13]

Is 11:1-2 “And a shoot shall spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig shall sprout from his roots.And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” (Complete Jewish Bible)

Is 11:10 “And it shall come to pass on that day, that the root of Jesse, which stands as a banner for peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his peace shall be [with] honor.”(Complete Jewish Bible)

Judaism interprets the prophecies of the scepter, the Prince of Peace, the “root of Jesse” and the Branch as referring to the Messiah. These prophecies establish the one single prophetic Messiah requirement recognized by both Judaism and Christianity – the Messiah must born in the family lineage of King David. What then are the odds that Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of this Messiah requirement?

 

Updated October 19, 2022.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] The Compete Jewish Bible – with Rashi Commentary. 2019. <https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/63255/jewish/The-Bible-with-Rashi.htm>
[2] Rashi. The Compete Jewish Bible – with Rashi Commentary.  Commentary on Genesis 49:10.  “The Throne of David Trailer.” Vimeo. Image. 2014. <https://vimeo.com/113429903
[3] Dueteronomy17:14-15.
[4] Net.bible.org. Numbers 24:17. Hebrew text shebet <07626>. 2019. <http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=07626>
[5] Rashi. The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary. Numbers 24:17 commentary.
[6] Maimonides.  “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Ed. Yechezkal Shimon Gutfreund, Chapters 11 & 12. <http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html#SIE>
[7] Rich, Tracey R. “Mashiach: The Messiah.” Judaism101. 2011. <http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm>
[8] “Isaiah.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8235-isaiah> “Isaiah.” Biblica | The International Bible Society. 2019. <https://www.biblica.com/resources/scholar-notes/niv-study-bible/intro-to-isaiah>
[9] Rashi. The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary. Isaiah 9:6 commentary.
[10] “The Book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah): Chapter 9.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2019. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/yeshayahu-isaiah-chapter-9>
[11] The Babylonian Talmud. Trans. Michael L. Rodkinson. 1918. Book 5: Tractate Derech Eretz-Zuta, “The Chapter on Peace.” p 32. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/t05/ere18.htm>  “Minor Tractate Zuta Rabbah: Chapter on Peace.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2019. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/minor-tractate-zuta-rabbah-chapter-on-peace> “Jewish Concepts: Peace.” Virtual Library. 2019. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/peace> “Jose the Galilean.” Jewish Encyclopedia. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8788-jose-the-galilean>
[12] “Tractate Sanhedrin: Chapter 11.” Virtual Library. 2019. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/tractate-sanhedrin-chapter-11>  CR Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Isidore Epstein. “Sanhedrin 93b.” 1935-1948.  <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_93.html#93b_12 >
[13] “Jesse.” JewishEncyclopedia.com. 2011. <https://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8613-jesse>  “The Book of Yeshayahu (Isaiah): Chapter 11. Jewish Virtual Library. 2019. <https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/yeshayahu-isaiah-chapter-11>

 

Veiled – a Genealogical Fact

 

Anyone who reads the Matthew and Luke Gospel genealogies of Jesus of Nazareth can easily see they are listed differently – Matthew chronologically works forward starting with Abraham, Luke works backward from Jesus of Nazareth all the way to Adam…and the lists are not identical. Thus it leads to a controversy where detractors say the lineage inconsistency proves the inaccuracy of the Gospels.[1]

Variation between the two Gospels occurs with the interim generations between King David  and the birth of Jesus. Matthew and Luke genealogy lists have two names in common by sharing ancestors at the end of the Babylonian captivity, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel.[2]

Matthew’s genealogy traces back to the House of David through Solomon. Luke tracks the lineage of Jesus back to David’s son Nathan – a different lineage path. Many experts believe Luke’s lineage is that of Mary assumed by Joseph under Judaic Law covering her inheritance rights as a Jewish female only-child.[3]

Hebrew genealogical records were not just limited to the land of Israel. Jewish historian Josephus wrote they were tracked and recorded by local priests and prophets for all Jews living “at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth…with the utmost accuracy.”[4]

All Jewish genealogies were readily available in the Temple until it was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD, seven decades after the birth of Jesus. Utmost religious importance was placed on Hebrew genealogy for the specific purpose of ensuring the purity of the lineage of the priesthood.[5]

To become the wife of a Priest, a Jewish woman was subjected to the scrutiny of her “genealogy from the ancient tables,” according to Josephus. Proof was required that a female was a Hebrew thus necessitating documented credible lineage history.

Josephus used a historical Hebrew scenario to make his point. After the release of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, 565 priests were disqualified from the priesthood “having married wives whose genealogies they could not produce.”[6]

As a former Priest and Pharisee insider, Josephus pointed to the Jewish lineage records challenging anyone who questioned his own heritage to check the public records that traced his family’s ancestry back 2000 years.[7] That period of years equates to the same time span covering from Jesus back to Abraham.

Jewish sages agree that prophecies define the undisputed requirement the Messiah must be born in the lineage of King David. If Jesus of Nazareth was not born in David’s lineage, he could not be the Messiah.

Archenemies of Jesus, the Jewish leadership, were at ground zero with full access to the Temple’s complete Hebrew genealogical records dating back millennia. If the High Priest Caiaphas or the Jewish leadership had simply demonstrated that Jesus of Nazareth did not have royal legal rights to the House of David, it would have ended any speculation that Jesus is the Messiah.

Talmud Sanhedrin 43a is a tractate that fell victim to the Censor in the Middle Ages. Restored, it strongly infers that Jesus was of royal lineage because he was associated with the government or royalty; therefore, an exception was made for Yeshu (Jesus) from the Jewish Law defining execution for blasphemy or idolatry.[8]

Sanhedrin 43a Gemara

“With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].’” – Soncino Babylonian translation

Rather, Jesus was different, as he had close ties with the government…” – William Davidson translation

Rabbi Maimonides, a Jewish sage who lived some 1200 years after the birth of Jesus, produced his renowned work, Mishneh Torah. In it, the Rabbi denounced Jesus as one from the Davidic dynasty who had “aspired” to be the Messiah:[9]

“If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not [the redeemer] promised by the Torah. [Rather,] he should be considered as all the other proper and legitimate kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court…”

All Jewish genealogy records were maintained in the Temple meaning these records had to include Joseph, Mary and the birth of Jesus since the were all 3 were Jews and Jesus had not yet become controversial with the Jewish leadership.[10] Luke records that Joseph and Mary paid a redemption price to a Temple priest for Jesus in compliance with the Law for a firstborn male and as well as for Mary’s own Temple purification sacrifice ritual.[11] Neither event would have been allowed if the family had not been genealogically vetted and approved by Temple officials.

A truism in the world of investigations is that when information is being intentionally withheld, it strongly suggests the withheld information is damaging.[12] Direct acknowledgement of the lineage of Jesus is rare, practically unspoken – in this case, silence speaks volumes.

What is the likelihood the archenemies of Jesus would have taken full advantage of the opportunity to disqualify Jesus as being the Messiah if they could have only exposed Jesus of Nazareth was not of the royal House of David?

 

Updated January 7, 2023.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Lippard, Jim. The Secular Web. 2004. “The Fabulous Prophecies of the Messiah.”  https://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_lippard/fabulous-prophecies.html> “Contradictions Part 6: Jesus’s Genealogy.” Finding Truth. 2011. <https://findingtruth.info/2011/03/11/contradictions-part-6-jesus-genealogy
[2] Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38.  Dolphin, Lambert.  “The Genealogy from Adam to Jesus Christ” Idolphin.org. 2011. <http://ldolphin.org/2adams.html>  Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4.
[3] “Historical Commentary:  The Birth of Jesus.” Producer John Heyman. Film, Event 3. HistoricJesus.com. <http://www.historicjesus.com/3/history.htmlNet.bible.org. Luke 3:23-38 footnotes 69 – 82.  Life Application Bible – New International Version (NIV).  “The Birth of Jesus” (Luke 2:1-20) History and Commentary.” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton Illinois, and Zondervan Publishing House. 1991, 1790.  Ryrie Study Bible.  Ed. Ryrie Charles C.  Trans. New American Standard. 1978. Matthew 1:1 Luke 3:23 Footnotes.  The House of David. Global Empower Media. image. 2012. <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_tfUQCGrAsk/UEhE1xBb8ZI/AAAAAAAAH6c/YlnNltTOjcc/s1600/David1.jpg>Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Book II, Chapter 4. <http://philologos.org/__eb-lat/default.htm> Maas, Anthony. “Genealogy of Christ.” Catholic Encyclopedia. 2009. Volume 61909.  <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06410a.htmClarke’s Commentary on the Bible. Luke 3:23.  BibleHub.com.  n.d.  <http://biblehub.com/commentaries/clarke/luke/3.htm>  Gloag, Paton J. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. Edinburgh:  T & T Clark.  1895. “Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels.” Online Books Page. Pages ix, 39. <http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008728595>
[4] Josephus, Flavius. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7. The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false> “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia.
[5] I Chronicles 1:24 – 2:10; II Chronicles 2:1-10; Ruth 4:18-21; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32.  Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7.“Genealogy.”  Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6577-genealogy. “Siege of Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Siege-of-Jerusalem-70> Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. Book III, Chapter XII.2.  The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>
[6] Ezra 2:61-62; Nehemiah 7:63-64. Josephus.  Antiquity of the Jews.  Book XI, Chapter III.10.
[7] Nehemiah 12:23. The Life of Flavius Josephus. #1. CR  footnote “t;
[8] Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein, Isidor. “Introduction to the Seder Nezikin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud.  Shachter & Freedman. “Introduction to Sanhedrin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin Chapter VI, Folio 43a. Greenberg, Eric J. “Jesus’ Death Now Debated by Jews.” Jewish Journal. 2003. Reprinted from The Jewish Week.  <http://jewishjournal.com/news/world/8546>
[9] Maimonides, Moses. (aka Rambam.) Mishneh Torah. Ed. Yechezkal Shimon Gutfreund, Brooklyn, NY:  Sichos in English. “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Kesser.org. n.d. <http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html#SIE> Maimonides. Mishneh Torah. Moznaim Publications. Jewish year 4937 (1177 AD). Trans. Eliyahu Touger.  Chabad.org.  2015. “Sefer Shoftim” > “Melachim uMilchamot.” <http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/682956/jewish/Mishneh-Torah.htm
[10] I Chronicles 1:24 – 2:10; II Chronicles 2:1-10; Ruth 4:18-21; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32. “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6577-genealogy>>  “Siege of Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Siege-of-Jerusalem-70>
[11] Luke 2. “First-born, Redemption of.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6138-first-born-redemption-of > Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 7.
[12] “Deception in Research Guidance.” University of Wisconsin-Madison|KnowledgeBase. 2016. <https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=68286> Sapir, Avinoam. LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation, Inc. n.d. <http://www.lsiscan.com/index.htm> “SCAN – Scientific Content Analysis (Statement Analysis).” Advanced Polygraph. 2011. <http://www.advancedpolygraph.com.au/scan.htm> Lesce, Tony. “SCAN:  Deception Detection by Scientific Content Analysis.” LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogations, Inc. 1990. <http://www.lsiscan.com/id37.htm>  Gordon, Nathan J.; Fleisher, William L. Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques. p12.  2011. <https://books.google.com/books?id=JuMzKpFu93IC&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=interrogation+if+they+didn%27t+answer+the+question,+they+just+did&source=bl&ots=V4cf3Z1kjl&sig=NeRLKyFKMRr66SWtUQxbLrByKrY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_2Z3phb_aAhVBgK0KHWMQDOA4FBDoAQgtMAE#v=onepage&q=concealing%20information&f=false> Napier, Michael R. Behavior, Truth and Deception. 2017. “Nonresponsive Subject.” p56. <https://books.google.com/books?id=eEUrDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT95&lpg=PT95&dq=Sapir+if+they+didn%27t+answer+the+question&source=bl&ots=95gjQFQYg9&sig=gUOEC7Aiq-yFgqUEA4VClHyzNhA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjspeHFkr_aAhVwjK0KHab-DF0Q6AEIRjAC#v=onepage&q=nonresponsive&f=false>