The Claim: Jesus Did Not Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies
The Bible says that the Messiah will:
- Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
- Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
- Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering, and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
- Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world ― on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright; in the Bible no concept of a second coming exists.
The Hebrew word for Messiah (משׁיח, mashiach) is extremely rare in the writings of the Prophets. This word is only found once in Isaiah, once in Lamentations, twice in Daniel, and once in Habakkuk.
None of the verses noted above state that either "a messiah" or "the Messiah" would do any of these things. Every one of these prophecies says that G-d will accomplish them:
- "I will... set My sanctuary in their midst forever." says the LORD G-d.
- "I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west." says the LORD G-d.
- And He [the LORD G-d] will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples...and never again will they learn war.
- And the LORD G-d will be king over all the earth; in that day, He will be the only one, and His name the only one.
Believers recognize these prophecies as "Messianic" because we acknowledge that the Messiah Yeshua is G-d made flesh (John 1:14, Colossians 2:9) and we look forward to Him fulfilling these prophecies. Jews cannot claim these are "Messianic" prophecies unless they accept G-d in the flesh... which they do not.
When we consider the specific prophecies that are mentioned we find that they only occur after G-d makes a covenant of peace with Israel. Israel cannot be at peace with G-d until the sin that separates them from Him has been addressed. Messiah Yeshua is the only means of reconciliation between G-d and Israel through His work and the shedding of His sinless blood.
Once G-d brings Israel to national salvation then He will:
- Gather the Jews back to their Land
- Establish His sanctuary in their midst
- Usher in an era of world peace
- Spread the universal knowledge of Himself
We await G-d's perfect timing for this event.
The Second Coming
While it is true that the exact phrase "second coming" is not found in either the Jewish or Christian Bible, it is disingenuous to claim that no concept of the second coming exists in Scripture. If we believe there is only one "capital-M" Messiah then it is reasonable to think He would come twice because there are two distinct pictures of Him given in Scripture: the servant and the sovereign.
In Judaism the servant Messiah is called Mashiach ben Yosef (Messiah son of Joseph) in reference to the servant pictured by Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis. The book of Daniel refers to Messiah being "cut off" and Joseph was cut off from his family. There are numerous parallels between Joseph and Messiah and Judaism recognizes this.
The sovereign Messiah is called Mashiach ben David (Messiah son of David) in reference to the reigning sovereign pictured by King David. Numerous passages refer to the authority and kingdom of David... and yet David did not receive the fullness of those promises. Those promises find their fulfillment in the coming Messiah and Judaism recognizes this as well.
Scripture itself provides a picture of this "return of the King":
I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. (Hosea 5:15)
Once Israel acknowledges their guilt and seek His face then Messiah will return. That time will come:
I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
Judaism itself recognizes "second comings". Every year at Passover, Jews all over the world look for the second coming of Elijah the prophet. At a specific point in the Seder meal, a child opens the door of the home and recites some words asking if Elijah has returned and inviting him into the home.