"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

By David Dryden

The history

I was raised in a christian home. My mother and father raised my sister, brother and I to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the “son of God”. By the time I was seventeen years old, I accepted christianity and became a christian, being baptised in the name of their messiah.

At first I was laid back about what I believed. I knew the right words and phrases that was commonly used at church, warmed the pews, didn’t do anything really active to progress myself or my faith. But when I went to university and met christians who believed differently to what I believed and challenged me on those differences, and shook me to my core. I mean, I was a christian as well. Why were we so different? They were single-minded in their belief and I was surrounded by them. They asked questions of me that, due to my laid back and lazy attitude, I never had the answers to. I never bothered to get the answers.

I found myself at a crossroads. I could either continue as I was, a complacent christian, just having my beliefs as an after-thought. Or, I could just accept what these christians said and accept it as truth with little criticism just to be part of the crowd. Or, I could test what I believed and what these christians said and test it with scripture, through study.

I chose the last choice, to make scripture my foundation, not simply the beliefs of my parents or the beliefs of these christians. I needed to have the truth so that I couldn’t be bullied and battered by arguments or by numbers. My only measure of truth had to be scripture.

The ultimate crossroad

This method of study and testing really built me up in my knowledge of scripture, and based on that knowledge, my conviction grew strong on different areas of my worldview. For a number of years I continued in this vein: studying, getting my thoughts straight, reasoning, praying for guidance. I learnt so many new things, my mind was open to a world that was so beautiful, real, glorious, yet still earthy, solid. I solidified and corrected and resolidified my beliefs, assumptions and convictions and knowledge bases. I had already dealt with atheism and agnosticism, and the evolution-faith in my mind, knowing that there was a Deity, a Creator.

But then I had to ask myself the ultimate question. Why did I accept Jesus as the messiah? I mean, what had convinced me that he was the promised one from the Almighty? My questioning this point didn’t affect the Deity issue, since they were separate issues. One was concerning the First Cause and sustainer of the universe. The other was concerning someone sent to do a job. Two separate issues.

I thought back to how I accepted the faith in the first place. I couldn’t think of any scriptural reason why I had accepted Jesus as messiah. In fact, I had accepted it as a fundamental assumption. It was already accepted as truth, taken for granted like the existence of the Deity of the Israelites. At my initial stage of conversion to christianity, the acceptance of Jesus as messiah had appeared to be part and parcel of accepting the Creator in my life. But through my studies, and even through simple logic, just like the “new testament” followed on from and thus was supposed to be based on the old testament, so the notion of messiah in the new testament had to be based on something before, some precedent. It was therefore evident that it wasn’t as fundamental as the Creator himself, but was a follow-on. It occurred to me that I hadn’t followed that path of logic, I hadn’t looked for the foundational elements of what it meant to be a messiah in the “old testament”. So the essence of this conclusion is this:

my belief in Jesus as the messiah had to be based on something, not exist simply as a baseless belief

So the “fundamental” of the messiah wasn’t the fundamental after all, since it needed context and backing, unlike Deity who, being the first cause, is not affected by such things. The world could end, or never have been created, and he would still exist.

There were side issues as well. What was the importance of his sacrifice, and how were the “old testament” righteous people “saved”? In fact, how could they be called righteous without him? Who was Jesus really? Did the idea that he was supposed to be divine offer any backing to him being messiah? There were more questions, but they were still based on who the messiah was supposed to be.

So that became my new focus: why did I believe that Jesus was the messiah?

The foundation of the messiah issue – the Hebrew Scriptures

So where did the messiah concept come from? It didn’t just come to being in isolation. It didn’t just originate in the new testament. Its origins are said to be in the Hebrew scriptures, the so-called “old testament”. In fact, to take that further, not only is the definition of “messiah” found in the Hebrew scriptures, the prophecies that are said to point to him are found there too. In order to be the messiah, you had to fulfill the criteria that is set out in the Hebrew scriptures.

That sort of thinking was the thing that propelled me into searching further into the issue in order to have a solid, bible based, reasoned idea as to if Jesus was the messiah. Although, back then, I believed in the new testament, I realised that it had to be founded on something, and had to agree with that foundation. That foundation was the Hebrew scriptures, which was ultimately based on the Torah, the five books of Moses.

Now I didn’t need to doubt the Torah or the prophets and the writings (the books that make up the hebrew scriptures). That had already been looked into and I saw the truth of things observed by a whole nation and handed down as historical fact rather than a collection of stories. With that basis I could move forward and test the “new testament’s” claims.

Such an undertaking cannot be done without serious prayer and seriousness, because, believe me when I say, it will change your life forever and you need to make sure it is all for the right reasons: the truth of the Almighty and the service and worship of Him!

The search and the findings

It would take way too long to take you thoroughly through everything I’ve been through, everything I investigated. I’m not saying it took an eternity to come to the conclusions I hold to now, but it can go quite deep when it comes to some things.

But I was blessed! I couldn’t disagree with that fact. The Almighty had blessed me with learning in the languages of Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew. I had a good armoury/storehouse of resources I could use, such as Greek and Hebrew dictionaries, websites galore, access to commentaries, and a Hebrew Bible all in Hebrew, and a version of the New testament in greek, with an interlinear new testament, with a slightly different greek version. But all these wouldn’t mean anything if I didn’t have any trust in Yahweh and a zeal to just understand the scriptures as they were written, trying to avoid as much long-winded interpretation as possible, but staying true to the plain reading. I was also armed with such notions as “start where the bible starts and stop where the bible stops” and “don’t take the scripture out of context”. Of course, commentaries help, but they ain’t the word of the Almighty. Everything has to be tested with the anvil of the word of YHWH, the most solid thing we have.

So what was a messiah? Simple. Dictionaries said it is a transliteration of the Hebrew word “mashiyach”. It meant a person who is anointed or smeared with oil. It is used in the Hebrew scriptures to talk about priests and kings, especially of Israel. It is simple then that the anointed one may be a priest or a king. That’s where problems start for the “Jesus being messiah” idea. He never ruled Israel. Some may say that it was a spiritual kingship, but there is no evidence of that in the Hebrew scriptures, which always use it to point to a physical king. I’ll talk more about this “spiritual” meaning as I continue.

But I still needed more. So I decided to look up all the messianic prophecies and see if they pointed to him. I found a website that claimed to have over 300 messianic prophecies. I looked through them one by one, looking at context and what the verses actually said for themselves. And one by one, I found that they talked about something else. Some were just weak, like the one in Gen 9:26. The website said that the God of Shem was the Son of Shem. Looking at the actual text, there is nothing messianic at all (remember what messiah means).

Some were simply historical texts saying that something happened, like one in 2 Kings 2, where Elijah ascends into the sky by a whirlwind. The website tries to say that this is somehow a prophecy about Jesus’ ascension. The problem is you would never get that interpretation just looking at the text of 2 Kings 2. It’s just historical narrative.

Then there were verses like Isaiah 7:14. The new testament states that it is talking about an actual virgin who had not had any sexual relations with a man and about the mother of Jesus. But the context of Isaiah points to a time very close to the time of the prophecy, to the time of King Rezin of Syria and Pekah, king of Israel, and the time of Assyria. In fact, the Hebrew word for absolute virginity is not there, but only a word meaning “young woman”. The words related to it mean “young man” and “youth”, so the word simply points to a young woman.

Now some christians admit that Isaiah 7:14 can point to an earlier time literally (i.e., the days of Ahaz, see Isaiah 7), but spiritually it points to Jesus. What is the answer to that? That is simple. The literal fulfilment of the prophecy is what the scripture plainly shows. The “spiritual” fulfilment seems to just be a work of circular reasoning. By that I mean, the only reason it is accepted as a prophecy is because the new testament said it was and the new testament can’t possibly be wrong. So what we have here is the following logic:

1) Isaiah 7:14 points to Jesus.

2) This is because the new testament says it does and it is true.

3) The new testament is true because Jesus is the messiah born of a virgin.

4) We know that Jesus was born of a virgin because Isaiah 7:14 points to Jesus.

In essence, the new testament is true because the new testament is true.

What I find about these “dual” or “spiritual” interpretations and fulfilments is this: It is normally not actually based on the scripture itself, but upon the conviction that Jesus is the messiah. For example, Isaiah 7 says nothing about any messiah or even anything about a king. The sign is simply that by the time a boy named Immanuel reaches the age of understanding good and evil, Judah’s enemies, Rezin and Pekah, will be gone because of the king of Assyria. The text says nothing about Jesus. It says nothing about a intact virgin. But the conviction that it does speak of the virgin birth of Jesus, due to the fundamental belief in the new testament, is the most powerful force. Thus it is not scripture that points to Jesus. It is the conviction that Jesus is messiah that forces and shapes messiah-irrelevant passages into the mold of a new testament belief.

The cause? I believe it is partly because people are taught faith in Jesus before they are taught the meaning of scripture and the tools of interpretation. That faith becomes the only glasses you are allowed to wear in order to read and interpret scripture. It must be jesus-centred. Every scripture can point to Jesus directly or indirectly. The seed promised to Abraham wasn’t Israel (Gen 26:4). It was Jesus (Paul said so in Galatians 3:16). The offspring of Eve is not mankind who would always be at emnity with snakes, with man stamping on snakes heads whilst snakes bite at their heels (Gen 3:15). It is Jesus who kills the Devil. It is no longer David, struggling in his life pains and enemies, asking YHWH why He has forsaken him (Psalm 22). It is Jesus dying on a cross as a human sacrifice.

Actually this leads me to one of the worst twisting of the true meaning of scripture in the new testament, which I will use as an example of this “spiritual” interpretation and/or fulfilment.

Scripture in the hands of the mad ax-man: Paul

A passage I have grown to love is Deut 30. It really does give a person hope that an average person can keep the law. I’ll quote some of it for you.

Deuteronomy 30:8-14 (8)And thou shalt return and hearken to the voice of YHWH, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day.(9) And YHWH thy Deity will make thee over-abundant in all the work of thy hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good; for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as He rejoiced over thy fathers;(10) if thou shalt hearken to the voice of YHWH thy Deity, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto YHWH thy Deity with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.(11) For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off.(12) It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say: Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? (13) Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? (14) But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

When read in context, this passage makes beautiful sense to the reader. Moses is giving over his last speeches to the people of Israel in the last days of his life. He is exhorting them to be obedient to the commandments that he is giving them. The context tells us that this commandment includes all the laws the book of Deuteronomy. It may even include all the commands YHWH had given Moshe throughout the wilderness experience, which includes the latter half of Exodus, and the books of Leviticus and Numbers.

In essence, what is being said is that the commands of YHWH are not too difficult, neither are they far away or beyond reach. They are near, close to your mouth and heart, so that they may be done. So the “word” in verse 14 is the commands, based on context. The part after this section gives Israel a choice of life or death, obedience or disobedience. You see here the power that YHWH bestows upon his nation, the nation he chose, the power of choice. It is similar to what he said to Cain in Genesis 4:7, where YHWH says that Cain can rule over sin if he chooses to do well or do good. It is a choice we all have.

But then here comes Paul, a person who appears to have a “spiritual” insight to scripture. After we have looked at this scripture in context and we know what it is talking about, let’s look at Paul the christian’s evenhanded way of dealing with this scripture.

Romans 10:6-9 (6) But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) (7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (8) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

So in a couple of sentences, Paul destroys the context, meaning, and essence of the scripture, turning a scripture about Israel’s obedience to the law of YHWH into a evangelistic tract about accepting Jesus as Lord. He pays no attention to what scripture really says and makes it say what he wants it to say. [For a more in-depth discussion on Paul’s dismantling of Deuteronomy 30, see this link.]

Such is the tools of christians who try to shove messiah messages into scriptures that say nothing about messiah. This is an example of the so-called “spiritual” interpretation or fulfilment. It seems to follow the rule of scriptural eisegesis that if jesus the messiah ain’t there, then make him appear. But it is not right at all, since it adds to scriptures what isn’t there, and diminishes from the true intent of the scripture as it is written and it is an unsafe thing to add to the word of Deity (see Proverbs 30:5-6).

This flawed “spiritual” interpretation concept includes the notion that the kingship of the messiah was really “spiritual”, even though the prophecies point to a time of a literal reign, a literal kingship, based upon the kingship of David, who was both an anointed one and a real king. It is because Jesus failed to fulfill this apsect of the prophecies that christians choose to pin their hopes on a “spiritual” kingship or a literal one to come where Jesus returns. It is as though they see there is no hope for forgiveness without the blood of a man or a man-god (something which is again not in the Hebrew scriptures). It is as though they see no hope of a relationship with Deity without this man or a man-god.

Just for the record, there is hope. Just as Enoch, Noah, and Job were righteous before Deity, but non-Jews, we can be too. Just as they had a relationship with YHWH, so can we. Just like the Syrian (non-Jew), Naaman, could find the truth about YHWH being the only Deity and worshipping him alone, so can we. How?

Psalm 145:18-20a YHWH is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him; He also will hear their cry, and will save them. YHWH preserveth all them that love Him…

Micah 6:8 It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what YHWH doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy Deity.

1 Kings 8:41-43 Moreover concerning the foreigner that is not of Thy people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for Thy name’s sake – for they shall hear of Thy great name, and of Thy mighty hand, and of Thine outstretched arm – when he shall come and pray toward this house, hear in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as doth Thy people Israel, and that they may know that Thy name is called upon this house which I have built.

The main problem

I won’t go into every single prophecy, since I’ve done that on another page on this website. But the main problem for Jesus being the messiah is that he was never a king, which is one of the offices which an anointed person would do. He never ruled anything. He never sat on the throne of David. If christians try to say that was for a future time, then the problem still is that the prophecy about kingship is still unfulfilled and that is a huge chunk out of the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures.

They may try to say that he is a bit like King David, who was anointed over 13 years before he became king, and that Jesus came the first time to suffer and die for sinners. They will point to his miracles too. There are problems with these ideas.

  • Firstly, although David was anointed, people were still expected to serve Saul until his death. Even David did this. Although he may have had men at his side, he never claimed kingship until the death of Saul. This is not what christians do, who worship Jesus as king of their lives NOW. So this belief that there is a time period before Jesus becomes king properly, a kingship which is yet to come, is inconsistent with the fact that christians worship him as king (and most worship him as a god, or THE Deity) from the time of his death until now.
  • Secondly, Jesus was never anointed. In scripture, anointing was a literal thing. When you anoint someone, you actually anoint their head with oil, to commission them to do a job. Prophets had the spirit, but they were not called anointed. So the story of Jesus’ “baptism” in the spirit doesn’t mean he was anointed to be king. In fact, a priest, king, or prophet had to do this (anoint them on the head), which excludes the idea of some woman anointing his feet with ointment making him the anointed one of the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • There is only one strong scripture that points to the idea of a suffering servant, which is Isaiah 53. The problem with this is that the context clearly states that the servant is the nation of Israel (e.g. Isaiah 41:8,9, 43:10, 49:3) and scripture does speak of the nation figuratively as one man (Isa 43:10; Numbers 23:21 [NB. in some translations of Numbers 23:21, such as the King James, they translate the Hebrew which speaks of a singular “him” as “them” in the final part of that verse]) or as a singular entity, such as a daughter or wife (Jer 3; Ezek 16 [for King James readers, “thy” means singular “you” talking about one person]). There is more to this, but I’ll leave it at the fact that the scriptures already tells us who the suffering servant is: Israel. The promised anointed one is not in the context.
  • We should take note of Deut 13, which warns about miracle-men, and the story of Moses showing signs to Pharaoh but being combatted by magicians who, to an extent, could replicate those signs. Miracles are not necessarily evidence of truth.
  • Human sacrifice, and atonement by means of human blood, are not in the Torah (the books of Moses) or anywhere else in the Hebrew scriptures.

After going through the 300 messianic prophecies of that website, I found that I had no reason to believe that Jesus is the promised messiah when he didn’t even fulfil the simple parts of it. He isn’t even the seed of David since he is supposed to have no earthly father. But if you look at the geneaologies in 1 Chronicles 3 and the stories of the kings in 1 and 2 Kings, you’ll see that kingship only goes through the natural father, not the mother. This also means that adopted sons are not included. Why, some may ask? Because that is the precedent of scripture! Anything else is simply an unscriptural idea.

So allowing the scriptures to speak for themselves and using the original context to give meaning to scripture, it became evident that Jesus wasn’t the messiah because he didn’t fulfill the stronger prophecies of a future king. His “sacrifice” wasn’t based on scripture, but a misrepresentation of it.

If the new testament didn’t have this foundation, then I could no longer accept it. So I stopped. I knew what my scriptural foundation was, and it started from Genesis 1:1, not Matthew 1:1. In my foundation each layer was built upon another – the Torah, the undisputable word of YHWH, was first, built upon that was the prophets and the history of Israel, and built upon that was the poetic and wisdom writings. The new testament and its claims of Jesus being the messiah didn’t agree with that foundation, so it fell out of my favour, out of my beliefs, out of my life.

Conclusion – “But how can you only accept part of the Bible?”

That was the main questions that the christians around me would ask. “How could I only accept half of the scripture?” I hope you can see the logical reasons why this question is irrelevant to me, or simply misses the point. For them, the whole scripture is “the old testament” and “the new testament”. But the new testament is not “scripture” since it doesn’t agree with Scripture – the foundational Hebrew scriptures. It is an addition, a foreign add-on, a jigsaw piece that was never part of the puzzle. I’m not accepting part of the scripture. I’m accepting the whole of it. But the scripture is the Hebrew Scriptures, which they, irreverently, call “the old testament”. But it’s not old because it has never been succeeded by a new one.

There are other parts of this website that discusses the messianic prophecies more in-depth, or that deal with salvation and forgiveness. I didn’t want this to be an article filled with references and links. This is just my story, my progression in my thoughts and knowledge. Although I stay open to listen to the Almighty, to see what truth he gives me, I know He has already given me His truth in His Word. That is the measure of truth, and by it I can be made wise in the fear of Yahweh, as David said in Psalm 19 and 119.

For any christian who reads this, let me tell you this. Jesus and his disciples had to convince the Jews and others that he was the messiah based on the Hebrew Scriptures. If christianity has any validity, then you should be able to do the same. If the scriptures really do speak of Jesus, then show clear evidence from the Hebrew scriptures. Until then, and I will be blunt, christianity will remain a falsehood which has deceived the nations, not only in its acceptance of a false messiah/king whom YHWH has not chosen (Deut 17:15), but in its worship of another god. Yahweh is jealous when glory and worship that is rightfully His is given to another (Exo 20:5-6; 34:14; Isaiah 42:8). Be warned!

 

Want to share or print this? Choose how below:
  • Print
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us

{ 2 comments… read them below or add your own }

David Chansky June 6, 2014 at 3:16 pm

David:
I read your article on Isaiah 49.  It was obvious that you see the problems but you
state that the Messiah is out of the picture.  I have an article that I wrote long ago
that has connection to Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 49.  I do believe that it refers to the Messiah but
if you want to send me an email address I will send it to you and if you want we can communicate on it
Daveid Chansky

  Quote this in your comment

Reply

drydend June 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for the offer. But I’m not interested. Having read the whole book of Isaiah, as well as focusing on the chapters from Isaiah 40 onwards, and seeing that there is no overt mention of the “servant” mentioned being the promised anointed Davidic king of Israel, I would need a lot of incentive to read more about it when I’m focused on other projects. Your invitation is not enough incentive. But thanks for the offer.

  Quote this in your comment

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: