Who was/is the promised Messiah ? Jesus or Immanuel

by smiddy 13 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • smiddy

    In Isaiah 7:14 "therefore Jehovah himself will give you men a sign look the maiden herself will actually become pregnant and she is giving birth to a son and she will certainly call his name Immanuel"

    This scripture is attributed to the virgin birth of Jesus from his mother mary to become the Messiah

    The problem is the name of the Messiah isnt Jesus its Immanuel

    Their is no prophecy in the old testament that states the name of the messiah would be called Jesus from a virgin birth

    Whereas the opposite is true. , Isa.:7 14 Immanuel

  • Mr Negative
    Mr Negative

    What you need to know is that the scripture in Isaiah isn't even a prophecy about a Messiah. It has been taken out of context to make it look like a prophecy (which is useless anyway, due to the name issue that you have mentioned). Keep reading and you will see that the child referred to is born just a few scriptures later, and he still isn't called Immanuel even then!

  • David_Jay

    If you were raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses or had no religious education outside of the Watchtower religion, what I say now will likely shock you. I've even had people who had given up on all they learned as a JW years ago fight me on this when they first heard it (some psychological response for a few in the process of learning TTAT, apparently), but here goes...

    The Messiah is a post-Biblical concept composed mostly of Jewish religious tradition, and there are no Scripture texts in the Jewish Bible (the Tanakh or "Old Testament" ) that explicitly predict, foretell or directly describe any concept connected with this Jewish concept.

    (From experience, this is where JWs and even a few ex-JWs lose it and start arguing with me. But wait, it gets "worse.")

    With this, Christendom agrees.

    For example, the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 2001, when discussing how the Jewish Scriptures are to be interpreted by Christians stated: "Jesus in not confined to playing an already fixed role--that of Messiah--but he confers, on the notions of Messiah and salvation, a fullness which could not have been imagined in advance....It would be wrong to consider the prophecies of the Old Testament as some kind of photographic anticipations of future events....The messiahship of Jesus has a meaning [to Christianity] that is new and original." --The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible, II, 5, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, 2001.

    (Hold on, as your jaw will remain where it is on the floor for just a little longer.)

    Not a single text formally or informally held by Christians and even Jews as being "messianic" says anything about the Messiah fulfilling them.

    For instance, from Christianity and Judaism:

    1. That the Promised Messiah will be a descendant of King David is found in no Scripture. There are no texts in the Old Testament which speak of or have the wording describing "the Promised Messiah," let alone which say that this figure will be David's son. There are promises that David will have descendants on his throne forever, but nothing more.

    2. Micah 5:2 does not say "the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem," but that merely "a ruler" representing God will come from there.

    3. Zephaniah 9:9 only describes how kings of Israel would ride on donkeys up to their throne on inauguration day, not that only the Promised Messiah would use this as a unique sign (which it was not, merely the common Davidic practice).

    4. Zechariah 11:11 doesn't say that the Messiah or any king would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.

    5. Psalm 22 never says the Promised Messiah would be mocked or that people would cast lots for the Messiah's clothing. It merely describes an unnamed individual having HAD these experiences.

    6. Psalm 34:20 (21) does not predict that the Promised Messiah would have no broken bones. It only days that King David once escaped from some of his enemies without even as much as a broken bone which he attributes to divine providence.

    And time would fail me and we would run out of space if I went on. Look at all the so-called prophecies of the Messiah and note how "the Messiah" is not really mentioned in any of them, regardless if it is a Christian or a Jew who claims that a text foretells the Messianic figure.

    And still, we are not finished!

    The New Testament "fulfillments," as stated in that document from the Vatican, are mostly describing this transcendent Messiah that Jesus comes as, not one recognized or accepted by his own people. The type of fulfillment Jesus' messiahship has of the Scriptures is one which transcends their original intent, like that of Isaiah 7:14.

    Whereas Isaiah 7:14 states that the child born to a young woman would be named "Immanuel" as a sign that God is with his people, in Matthew the author is saying that something far greater than a literal reading is happening in the case of Jesus.

    St. Athanasius stated that "the Son of God became man so that we might become God." I know, I know. Years of JW training make you want to debate this. As a Jew I have no part in advocating the notion, but the truth of Christianity is that they believe God came in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, that God became incarnate so that mankind might share in God's divinity, "that...you might come to share in the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4) Only the incarnation of a god would make sense in regarding such an offer of sharing "divine nature." A merely perfect man could never do so.

    So, yes, though my people don't believe it (and it is the reason most of us don't), Jesus messiahship is all about Jesus being God. Sorry to rain on the parade of all those endless debates, but even we Jews know that this is not only the central claim of what it means to practice Christianity but central to all Jesus taught, said and did. If the whole "Jesus is God" thing wasn't a factor, more Jews would likely be Christians. This whole "Jesus is the Messiah" is a concept that transcends not merely the Jewish traditions about the Messiah but the Scriptures themselves.

    So when Isaiah talked about the child being Immanuel, the transcendent fulfillment is that the Messiah Jesus is a literal "God With Us" experience, not merely a name for a baby.

    There you go. And please, no "debate with David Jay" about the Trinity. Jews don't believe in or condone the Trinity doctrine, so this is not what I've been saying.

    But what I am saying is that JW theology on Jesus does not work due to its demand for literal interpretation. There are no literal texts about the Messiah in Scripture, and as Christendom teaches, the entire Jesus thing is about God fulfilling even these traditional comcepts in a transcendent manner.

  • punkofnice

    ..and I thought it was Brian.

  • Vidiot

    It's Michael Bay.

  • Crazyguy

    Isn't the scriptures alluding to the idea that Isaiah's son is going to be the messiah?

  • David_Jay


    There is a widely accepted school of Jewish thought that the verse does, indeed, suggest the POSSIBLE coming of the Messiah in the person of Hezekiah.

    The prophecy was given by Isaiah but not applicable to the prophet as the oracle was addressed to King Ahaz. The "child" which will prove God is with his people is considered by some Jewish traditions to be Ahaz's son Hezekiah.

    But even in this interpretation the Jewish view is not that the oracle is saying the Messiah himself will have a miraculous birth of some sort, but that King Ahaz's son has the potential to be the Messiah. Why?

    The tradition of the Promised Messiah states that in each and every generation one person among the Jewish people has the potential to be the Messiah. The tradition teaches that if the person who realizes their messianic calling does not live up to their potential, they do not become the Messiah due to their own personal failure.

    It is believed by some that the text was never uttered by Isaiah to Ahaz but that it was an inspired oracle for Hezekiah, uttered during his lifetime instead. The reason? To persuade Hezekiah not to join the alliance against Assyria. Hezekiah failed to listen to Isaiah and therefore did not become the Messiah.

    This, however, highlights the genius behind its use in the Matthean gospel. The way it is worded to take advantage of the Greek word for "maiden" (which can mean "virgin") is a clever example of Jewish midrash. Midrash is a manner of Jewish interpretation of a sacred text that often relies on the way the text is re-worded to get the point across. Jewish tradition sees Isaiah 7:14 as a failed opportunity for Hezekiah to be the Messiah, but the author of Matthew takes it up with a couple of plays on words in order to claim Jesus fulfills it. From the standpoint on how to correct!y execute midrash, Matthew 1:23 is a stellar example.

  • Vidiot

    @ David_Jay...


    ...the first-century Jews weren't expecting a "messiah" to come and liberate them from Rome?

  • Carol1111

    Are Jews expecting a messiah now?

  • David_Jay

    The Messiah concept developed mainly after the return from Babylonian exile, during the Second Temple era, though the idea did begin immediately after the Davidic dynasty failed in Solomon. So after the split of the kingdom into Judah and Israel, the hope for a reunited kingdom under the Davidic dynasty has always been a part of Hebrew religio-political life. The entire reason for the term "messiah" and "son of God" is that these are titles connected with kings in the line of David.

    But the idea that Jews were expecting a warrior messiah to liberate them from Rome is a bit misshapen. Blame it on the Bar Kokhba revolt. After the Romans squashed the uprising in 70 CE, the Jews united under Simon bar Kokhba to regain independence in 132. Due to the highly influential sage Rabbi Akiva declaring him the Messiah (or at least attributing the possibility to Simon) and the revolt that followed, the idea stuck afterwards that the Jews in general were awaiting someone like Bar Kokhba's figure over Jesus.

    It isn't easy to say, however, that the Jews in general did or didn't see the Second Temple era and the Roman oppression as indicative of the coming Messianic era. The views were varied, and since the return from Babylon many Jews tried to reclaim the crown and glory days of the Davidic dynasty. The celebration of Chanukah is actually partially due to such an attempt that suceeded, the Hasmonean dynasty, though it was not Davidic.

    Most Jews still hope for the coming of this figure, though some view the concept of Messiah as a personification of a time period in which humanity has learned for itself to bring a better world under Providence. A few believe that the Messiah has come and gone in an obscure figure of history here or there, and some expect a dual messianic arrival, one being political and the other priestly. There is no, however, consensus among all the Jews, and unlike Christianity the Messianic concept is NOT central to Judaism.

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