Q363 : Are the Jews Expecting a Divine Messiah?

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Q363 : Are the Jews Expecting a Divine Messiah?

Hello Tony,

I hope you are doing well, and want to thank you again for your ministry and willingness to answer our questions! It is much appreciated

I was posed an interesting question the other day that I didn't have an answer for, and wanted to run it by you. I had been telling him about the events of the Great Tribulation period. How the antichrist will sign a peace treaty with Israel, and they will actually believe that his is the messiah they have been waiting for. I told him of his change at the 3.5 year mark, that he will stand in the temple and demand worship from the whole world. This is when he posed his question that was an interesting one......

"If the Jews think that the antichrist is the messiah, with the understanding that the Messiah is God in the flesh, then why would they see it as a bad thing, him standing in the temple demanding worship?"

I am not adding all the verses that tie into this as I am sure you will do so, but my first inclination was that not only will he demand worship (which the word "demand" could be part of it), but he will also put a stop to the sacrifices like Antiochus IV did. I have not given him an answer yet, but told him I would get back with him. If you could help me out, I would greatly appreciate it!

A363 : by Tony Garland

I would question the premise that the Jews have “the understanding that the Messiah is God in the flesh.”

The NT (and nearly 2,000 years of Jewish evangelism since) demonstrate the opposite: the Jewish view of Messiah is that of an anointed man, but certainly not “God in the Flesh.” This view, from their perspective, is decidedly Trinitarian—one of their major complaints regarding Christianity: that Christians made a God out of Messiah. (Judaism and Islam have this in common: rejection of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.)

If the Jews think Messiah is going to be God-in-the-flesh, then why did they reject Jesus? As the NT records, one of their main complaints against Jesus was that He “made Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

Here's some quotes from the late Jewish rabbinical scholar, Jacob Neusner ,that demonstrate how distasteful Jews find the authority claimed by Jesus in the NT. These are key reasons why Neusner rejected Jesus as the promised Jewish Messiah—he didn't accept the Messiah would be divine:

Yes, I would have been astonished. Here is a Torah-teacher who says in his own name what the Torah says in God’s name. It is one thing to say on one's own how a basic teaching of the Torah shapes the everyday. . . It is quite another to say that the Torah says one thing, but I say . . . then to announce in one's own name what God set forth at Sinai. . . The prophet, Moses, speaks not in his own name but in God's name, saying what God has told him to say. Jesus speaks not as a sage nor as a prophet. . . At Sinai, God spoke through Moses, On this Galilean hill, Jesus speaks for himself.1

Jesus wants me to follow him and be like him. Have I heard such a commandment in the Torah? Of course I have: ‘You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.’ I am called upon by the Torah to try to be like God: holy.”2

From the perspective of the Torah as I understand it, only God is lord of the Sabbath. . . So I say to the disciple [of Jesus], is it really so that your master, the son of man, is lord of the Sabbath? Then - so I asked before, so I ask again - is your master God?3

To Neusner’s last question, we would answer with a resounding, “YES!”

It would appear that Jews in the future who initially accept the Antichrist will not see him as "God in the flesh" and will be among those who reject his subsequent attempt to assume that role.

At that juncture, I believe this event will bring some Jews to faith: facing the objectionable divine (but false) claims of the Antichrist, they will consider the parallel to the most famous Jew of history. In that process, some will realize the much better (Scriptural) credentials of Jesus and understand they, as a nation, missed their real Messiah at His first presentation.

Those who—challenged by the divinity-claiming impostor who search the OT Scriptures—may eventually see that Messiah is to be divine, and that Jesus is that divine Messiah. Of course this will require the work of the Spirit to "lift the veil" in their reading of the OT (2 Corinthians 3:15).


1.Ref-0137, 46-48
2.Ref-0137, 100
3.Ref-0137, 87-88


Ref-0137Jacob Neusner, A Rabbi Talks With Jesus (Montreal, Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993).

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