Rabbinical belief that the Messiah will be crushed, die, bring redemption, and resurrect.

rakovsky

Member
Christians and Jews traditionally have believed that a Davidic Messiah would come and bring Redemption and the era of this prophesied resurrection of the righteous. Maimonides included belief in the Messiah and in the Resurrection in his 13 main beliefs of Judaism. Rabbinical Judaism also has the concept where the Messiah would suffer along with the nation or undergo vicarious suffering on behalf of the nation. The idea is that since the Messiah is part of the nation and redeems them, then he would suffer due to his belonging to the suffering nation or that his work in redeeming them would incur or involve suffering, although this does not mean that the rabbis taught that the Messiah would be killed on the nation's behalf as an atonement. Further, the rabbis have commonly have taught that the Messiah would be crushed in some sense and be mortal and die. Finally, it follows that their belief in the Resurrection would entail the Messiah's Resurrection as well.

Let me focus here on the rabbinical belief that the Messiah would be crushed and die, because it seems frequently passed over today.


Isaiah 42 says:
א הֵן עַבְדִּי אֶתְמָךְ-בּוֹ, בְּחִירִי רָצְתָה נַפְשִׁי; נָתַתִּי רוּחִי עָלָיו, מִשְׁפָּט לַגּוֹיִם יוֹצִיא.
ב לֹא יִצְעַק, וְלֹא יִשָּׂא; וְלֹא-יַשְׁמִיעַ בַּחוּץ, קוֹלוֹ.
ג קָנֶה רָצוּץ לֹא יִשְׁבּוֹר, וּפִשְׁתָּה כֵהָה לֹא יְכַבֶּנָּה; לֶאֱמֶת, יוֹצִיא מִשְׁפָּט.
{ד לֹא יִכְהֶה וְלֹא יָרוּץ, עַד-יָשִׂים בָּאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּט; וּלְתוֹרָתוֹ, אִיִּים יְיַחֵלוּ. {פ.

The 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation puts it as:
  1. Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon him, he shall make the right to go forth to the nations.
  2. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
  3. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the dimly burning wick shall he not quench; he shall make the right to go forth according to the truth.
  4. He shall not fail nor be crushed, till he have set the right in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his teaching.
The 1984 JPT translation has for verse 4:
"Neither shall he weaken nor shall he be broken, until he establishes justice in the land, and for his instruction, islands shall long."

The verb here for "crushed" or broken in Hebrew is ratsats, as the word is used in these 4 passages:
Judges 9:53: "And a certain woman cast an upper millstone upon Abimelech's head, and broke his skull."​
Ezekiel 29:7: "When they take hold of thee with the hand, thou dost break, and rend all their shoulders; and when they lean upon thee, thou breakest, and makest all their loins to be at a stand."​
Psalm 74:14: "Thou didst crush the heads of leviathan, Thou gavest him to be food to the folk inhabiting the wilderness."​
Ecclesiastes 12:6: "Before the silver cord is snapped asunder, and the golden bowl is shattered, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel falleth shattered, into the pit"​


Maimonides described the Messiah and his era, and then noted:
all those who will be in those days will attain to great perfection, by which he will merit the world to come. The Messiah will then die [as all men], and his son, and his son's son will rule after him. Now God has already described his death; he says: 'He shall not tire nor be weary, till he establish judgment in the earth: and the isles shall hope for his law' (Isa. 42:4). His kingdom shall continue for a very long time, while the lives of men will also be prolonged; for by the absence of worries and troubles they shall prolong their lives. Neither should it seem strange that his kingdom will continue for thousands of years

Maimonides - Wikipedia

Biblehub's commentaries note:
Maimonides (Porta Mosis, p. 160) produces this passage to prove that the Messiah shall die, because it is said, "he shall not fail--till", etc.; but this does not signify that he should fail afterwards, but that he should continue always:​

Menachem Kellner in the book Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism notes about this statement by Maimonides:
By way of emphasizing messianic naturalism, and by way of countering Christian messianism, Maimonides stresses here that the Messiah will die and will be succeeded by his son and further descendants ... [In} Perek Helek, Maimonides lists the twelth of his thirteen principles of faith:
  • The twelth foundation is the days of the Messiah; to wit, the belief in and the assertion of the truth of his coming. ... He who doubts or treats his command lightly says that the Torah, which promised his coming specifically in the weekly readings of Balaam and Attem Nitzavim, is lying.

This idea about Messiah's death shows up elsewhere as R. Kaplan writes: "the Messiah will be mortal. He will eventually die and bequeath his kingdom to his son or his successor. ... Furthermore, he will accomplish these tasks within his own lifetime: "He shall not fail or be crushed until he has set the right in the earth" (Isaiah 42:4). (SOURCE: "Why Jews Know Jesus was a false messiah" in Counter-Missionary Forum, http://messiahtruth.yuku.com/topic/467/Why-Jews-Know-Jesus-was-a-false-messiah#.WIBGoX2Al2A)

Rabbi Weiman says that he considers Isaiah 42:4 about the Messiah's crushing to be Messianic in the course of his explanation on why he doesn't consider Jesus to be the Messiah:
The only way to tell if someone really is the messiah or not is if they accomplish the mission. If they don’t return the exiles, inspire us to follow the Torah, and build the temple, they weren’t the messiah, as it says, “He shall not fail nor be crushed until he has set right the world” (Isaiah 42:4)
Will the real Messiah please stand up? – Kabbalah Made Easy
Christians would respond to Rabbi Weiman by saying that Jesus set the right in the earth by giving the New Testament before he was crushed/broken by the crucifixion. Christians commonly see Isaiah 53: verses 8 and 10 as Messianic, which talks about the Lord's Servant being cut off from the land of the living and crushed/bruised:
כִּי נִגְזַר מֵאֶרֶץ חַיִּים, מִפֶּשַׁע עַמִּי נֶגַע לָמוֹ. .. וַיהוָה חָפֵץ דַּכְּאוֹ, הֶחֱלִי--אִם-תָּשִׂים אָשָׁם נַפְשׁוֹ,

So Christians and rabbis essentially agree on a major prophetic series of events - that a Davidic Messiah would come, bring in a spiritually blessed era that includes the resurrection of the dead, and then die, perhaps crushed/killed, after which life on earth would continue for a long time afterwards. In the rabbinical reading of Isaiah 42, his law is spread to the islands waiting for it, whereas in the Christian reading, it is spread by his followers to the ends of the earth.
 

rakovsky

Member
I should mention that in the Judaism section of Religiousforums.com, the user Rosends objected to my reading of the Hebrew word Yarutz in Isaiah 42 as meaning that the Messiah will be "crushed"/"broken", etc. Rosends noted my "the assumption then that 'crushed' is some form of suffering", saying:
since the text doesn't say "crushed" but yarutz, that's a false conclusion to draw. There are a number of different meanings for the r-tz-tz root including pressured, bent, broken and others. That the JPS chooses one in particular is not really useful. ... The section that the wiki page quotes (intro to Perek Chelek) has the language as "tire and be weary" but no mention of bruising or breaking.
Rosends also criticized the idea that Isaiah 42 meant that the Messiah would be crushed and die:
The problem with Gill's (and other's) conclusion is the timing. They see the verse as explaining the process, that there will be bending and tiring once the clause at the end is satisfied. (though Gill does also say, "but this does not signify that he should fail afterwards, but that he should continue always" with "continue always" directly contradicting the death claim). The Hebrew uses the word "ad" which means "until." However, the Hebrew construction does NOT mean "x until y and then no x anymore." Look in Gen 49:10: The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a scholar from among his descendants, until (ad) Shiloh shall arrive.

This does not mean that once Shiloh arrives, the scepter will depart. In the same way, Maimonides' understanding of the verse "he will not tire...until" does not mean that once the far islands hear his message he will, therefore, tire/bend/break.

Rosends asked:
How about all the other translations available at biblestudytools.com that don't have "crushed"? What does each one indicate. There is nothing in Jewish theology which demands the word "crushed" there. ... How about Gen 25:22..."Struggled"
Rosends also wrote: "Since they are not all the same, you cannot choose one and say that all parties agree that that sense is agreed upon by all parties."
Next, she quoted the Artscroll Stone edition of the Tanach (page 1027):
"He will not slacken or tire until he sets justice in the land and islands will long for his teaching."

Rosends explained his/her own view:
The eventual MB"D (Messiah Son of David) will die because he will be mortal. But if the messianic age develops through the MB"Y (Messiah Son of Joseph) then he will die first because of the warfare and the being oppressed and such. The MB"D's (Messiah son of David's) death will not be one because of being "crushed" or oppressed.
 

rakovsky

Member
Actually, I agree with Rosends' idea that Isaiah 42 ("He shall not fail nor be crushed, till he have set the right in the earth") doesn't necessarily mean that the Messiah will die. But that is how Maimonides interpreted it nonetheless, because Maimonides said that Isaiah 42:4 predicts the Messiah's death:
The Messiah will then die [as all men], and his son, and his son's son will rule after him. God has already described his death; he says: 'ד לֹא יִכְהֶה וְלֹא יָרוּץ, עַד-יָשִׂים בָּאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּט; וּלְתוֹרָתוֹ, אִיִּים יְיַחֵלוּ. {פ}.' (Isa. 42:4).

To better understand the meaning of the word Yarutz in Hebrew, here are all verses in the Tanakh where it appears:
Strong's Hebrew: 7533. רָצַץ (ratsats) -- 19 Occurrences

I replied that I agreed that "Since they are not all the same, you cannot choose one and say that all parties agree that that sense is agreed upon by all parties." I noted that "That is why I said "in some sense". I meant that there are different senses of the word in Isaiah 42:4 (break, oppress, crush, bruise), and that Maimonides was using some sense of this." Maimonides took this verse to refer to the Messiah's death.

Genesis 25:22 (JPT) does say "struggled", in the sense the two children stuck together are physically fighting, striking, or hurting eachother. BibleHub notes:
Hithpo`el reciprocal, Imperfect3masculine plural וִיִּתְרֹצְצוּ הַבָּנִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ Genesis 25:22 (J) the children crushed (thurst, struck) one another within her.
Strong's Hebrew: 7533. רָצַץ (ratsats) -- to crush

Besides the translations we've already discussed, I can note that of the Russian Lubavitcher Chassidus website. It is like a Russian counterpart to the English "Chabad" website. Its Tanakh translation of Isaiah 42:4 says:
Не ослабеет он и не сломится, пока не установит на земле правосудие, и учения его острова ждать будут.
He won't weaken and won't be broken, so long as he doesn't establish justice on earth, and the islands await his teachings.

I concluded: I think that yaruts probably means crush, bruise, break, oppress, or a related meaning, based on Strong's, JPT, 1917 JPS, its use in other Biblical verses, and Maimonides' conclusion that this clause points to Messiah's death. It doesn't look like Rosends agreed with my reading of the word Yarutz here, and I see that Artscroll gives "tire". I respect that this is Rosends' view.

I used the idea of "crushed in some sense" meaning crushed in the sense of discouraged or tired out, etc. because I was aware that many Jews reject the concept of a suffering Messiah.

As far as I can tell, in Maimonides' reading, Isaiah is saying: Messiah won't die via "ratsats" before putting justice in the earth and distant places await hearing his teaching. Now why mention dying at all in the verse? The verse seems to be saying that chronologically, Messiah will come, he sets justice in the earth, islands await his teaching, before he dies.

Now, why does it say the islands "await" his teaching before he dies, and not "the islands hear his teaching" before he dies? Certainly, spreading his teaching to the ends of the earth is a goal of Messiah, and if the islands await, then in justice their expectation should be fulfilled. It seems that therefore at some point the islands do hear Messiah's teaching, but it's not mentioned that they do in this verse about Messiah's life before dying because Messiah would die while they are still awaiting his teaching.

In the passage, Maimonides appears to be talking about Messiah ben David dying, as he writes:
But the Messiah will die, and his son and son's son will reign in his stead. God has clearly declared his death in the words, לא יכהה ולא ירוץ עד ישים בארץ משפט (Isaiah 42:4). His kingdom will endure a very long time... From the general nature of this principle of faith we gather that there will be no king of Israel but from David and the descendants of Solomon exclusively. Every one who disputes the authority of this family denies God and the words of his prophets.
Further, Maimonides does not seem to make Messiah's death a conditional. He nowhere mentions the "two Messiahs" theory, and he says "the Messiah will die" and "God has clearly declared his death", not "the Messiah could die", or "a Messiah will die".

M. Morgan writes about this in Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism: "By way of emphasizing messianic naturalism, and by way of countering Christian messianism, Maimonides stresses here that the Messiah will die and will be succeeded by his son and further descendants."

That being the case, my first question here would be:
What does it mean that the Messiah's death would be by yaruts / ratsats?
If Messiah's death is crushing, breaking, oppressing, bruising, etc., does that imply it is different than a peaceful, painless death?

I found Targum Jonathan on 42:1 interpreting this as about Messiah like Maimonides says:
Verse 1: Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteth;​
Targum: Behold, my servant, the Messiah, whom I bring, my chosen in whom one delights:​

Here is a different translation of the Targum:
See my servant the Messiah whom I bring near,​
my chosen one in whom my Word [Memra] takes delight;​
I will place my Holy Spirit upon him​
and he will reveal my Torah to the nations.​
(SOURCE: Messianic Exegesis)​
 

rakovsky

Member
On the Ancient Hebrew forum, which includes native Hebrew speakers, they say that Yarutz is a form of both Ratsats (crush, break, oppress, etc.) and Rutz (run). But they think that Ratsats is better used here in Isaiah 42:4 than Rutz (run) because it forms a parallel with the preceding verse (3) where ratsats is used. They also gave an example from the Talmud where Yarutz particularly means Ratsats (crush, break, etc.):
in the rabbinical writings, and specifically, the talmud, we have a passage that discusses the appropriate course of conduct for a native when encountering an alien on the road or highway.

the relevant text reads:
ואל (and not) // ישוח (he shall bend/bow down) // לפניו (to face of him / before him)
שמא (lest) // ירוץ (he shall crush) // את (sentence object marker) // גולגלתו (skull/head of him)

and you can read the hebrew/aramaic text here;

mechon-mamre.org/b/l/l4702.htm
 

rakovsky

Member
Here I want to consider: Are there other Jewish traditions saying that Messiah ben David would die?

Rabbi Nachman wrote:
People think that there will be no more death after the messiah comes. This is not so. Even the messiah will die. (Chayei Moharan II, p. 13, #35).


Uri Yosef writes on the Messiah Truth forum:
In the Hebrew Bible, there are passages that tell us the Messiah will leave an inheritance to his sons [e.g., Ezekiel 46:16-17]. The implication is that he will pass on, but of old age and after he completed executing the messianic agenda that is laid out in the Hebrew Bible.
...

=========================================
25. And they shall dwell on the land that I have given to My servant, to Jacob, wherein your forefathers lived; and they shall dwell upon it, they and their children and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
...
16. So says the Lord God: If the prince give a gift to any of his sons, it is his inheritance and remains in his sons' possession; it is their property by inheritance
========================================

I personally prefer to accept the opinion of Metzudat David [Rabbi David ben Zimra (1462-1572)] and Avot d'Rabbi Nathan [the earliest commentary on Pirkei Avot, by (the school of) the Tanna Rabbi Nathan], who say this is a reference to the eternity of the Davidic throne (sort of a repetition of 2 Samuel 7:16), and not a literal reference to an eternally living Messiah named David.
SOURCE: http://messiahtruth.yuku.com/topic/...nt-say-that-the-Messiah-will-die#.WKull_KAl2A

I agree with Prof. Uri Yosef that passing on an inheritance implies he died.
I don't think that passing on inheritance implies the cause of death, however.

Ervin Patai, who received his doctorate from Hebrew University, where he also taught, wrote about Messiah's death:
When the death of the Messiah became an established tenet in Talmudic times, this was felt to be irreconcilable with the belief in the Messiah as Redeemer who would usher in the blissful millennium of the Messianic Age. The dilemma was solved by splitting the person of the Messiah in two: one of them, called Messiah ben Joseph, was to raise the armies of Israel against their enemies, and, after many victories and miracles, would fall victim Gog and Magog. The other, Messiah ben David, will come after him (in some legends will bring him back to life, which psychologically hints at the identity of the two), and will lead Israel to the ultimate victory, the triumph, and the Messianic era of bliss.

Patai, Raphael, The Messiah Texts, Avon Books, 1979
I think that this part in parenthesis probably is suggesting that Messiah ben Joseph who dies and Messiah ben David who resurrects him are the same person.

In Pesach: A Kid, a Kid. And All of Jewish History, one writer claims that the scholar Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, or "Vilna Goan", had a teaching where an "ox gets slaughtered by a butcher. The butcher is killed by the Angel of Death, And finally the Angel of Death is ended by God." He writes that Vilna Goan's theory includes Messiah's death:
the Butcher. The Mashiach. ... the word is actually schecter. He’s not some dime a dozen animal slaughterer. A schecter knows and is proficient in the mitzvahs of killing an animal in a painless and holy way, making it kosher. The metaphor is appropriate as Jewish understanding of the messiah is a military leader. ...

But even the Mashiach will die at the hands of the Angel of Death. And the Jews will once again be plunged into a period of darkness. But finally in the end, Hadosh Baruchu, our God will end the Angel of Death and with it all of death.

Aaron Minsky writes in his book Beyond Faith: Exploring Judaism and comparing it to other religions:
There are many references to moshiach in the Prophets and the Writings in the Bible. I will cite just one, which is very well known.... ".... unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting place shall be glorious." (Isaiah 11:1-10) The final verse seems to indicate that the moshiach will die, but this conforms to the Jewish concept that he will be human and die like everyone else.
 

Open Heart

Active member
I should mention that in the Judaism section of Religiousforums.com, the user Rosends objected to my reading of the Hebrew word Yarutz in Isaiah 42 as meaning that the Messiah will be "crushed"/"broken", etc. Rosends noted my "the assumption then that 'crushed' is some form of suffering", saying:

Rosends also criticized the idea that Isaiah 42 meant that the Messiah would be crushed and die:


Rosends asked:

Rosends also wrote: "Since they are not all the same, you cannot choose one and say that all parties agree that that sense is agreed upon by all parties."
Next, she quoted the Artscroll Stone edition of the Tanach (page 1027):
"He will not slacken or tire until he sets justice in the land and islands will long for his teaching."

Rosends explained his/her own view:
I suggest you talk with Rabbi Rosends personally. He can be found on many forums, including religiousforums.com. He would be very irritated that you have misrepresented Rabbinical Judaism's position. It does not propose that the Messiah will vicariously suffer. It proposed via Isaiah 53 that the obedient remnant of Israel will vicariously suffer for the whole of Israel.
 

rakovsky

Member
I suggest you talk with Rabbi Rosends personally. He can be found on many forums, including religiousforums.com. He would be very irritated that you have misrepresented Rabbinical Judaism's position. It does not propose that the Messiah will vicariously suffer. It proposed via Isaiah 53 that the obedient remnant of Israel will vicariously suffer for the whole of Israel.
Hello, Open Heart.
In my conversation with Rosends (I take it that this is R. Rosends), I wrote: "Maybe I added crushed "in some sense" meaning crushed in the sense of discouraged or tired out, etc. because I was aware that many Jews reject the concept of a suffering Messiah." In my Opening thread here, I said that Rabbinic Judaism has the idea that Messiah will either suffer with the nation or suffer on behalf of the nation, and that this doesn't mean dying as an atonement.

The idea that the Messiah suffers vicariously came out IIRC in my discussion on the old Messiah Truth Counter-Missionary forum where they wrote that the idea that the Messiah could suffer on behalf of the nation existed in Rabbinical Judaism, but the idea that his death would serve as an atonement did not. t has been 10 years, so I could be misremembering and they just said that vicarious suffering existed in Judaism but that vicarious atonement did not. I remember also reading this elsewhere in modern Jewish commentary about the Messiah's suffering (ie that he would suffer for the nation but not get killed as an atonement) but didn't save the citation. It was somewhere along the lines that he would have to train in his work, or that he could incur some suffering in the course of his saving work for the nation. I don't remember exactly.

This idea is not necessarily out of keeping with what Rabbi Tovia wrote:
Accordingly, it is the messiah who is raised up as God’s ideal servant in the Targum Yonatan ben Uziel on Isaiah 52:13, yet on the following verse, the Targum identifies the faithful of Israel who suffer vicariously (Isaiah 52:14).
Certainly the Messiah is one of Israel's faithful, so if we take the Servant to be the faithful suffering vicariously, then that could include the Messiah, although Rabbi Tovia doesn't get into that issue.

You probably have already heard of the passage in the Talmud that runs:
"The Messiah --what is his name?...The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said, `surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God and afflicted...'" (Sanhedrin 98b)
Today typically the answer is that while the Talmud contains this story, that it is a "Drash" or interpretation of Isaiah 53 but that Isaiah 53 is not Messianic.

In any case, the point of the story that I want to make is that the rabbis were making a Drash that portrayed the Messiah as bearing the nation's griefs.

Further, two medieval rabbinical works contain the concept of the Messiah bearing the nation's sufferings:
In the tractate Pesikta Avkat Rochel from the eighth century we can observe the atoning nature of the Jewish Messianic expectation: "When God created his world he extended his hand From the throne of his glory arid brought forth the soul of the Messiah. Then he said to him: Wilt thou heal my sons and redeem them after six thousand years? He answel-ed: I will. God said to him: Wilt thou then suffer punishment in order to blot out their sins as it is written, 'But he bore our diseases'? He said to Him: I will suffer it with joy."

Although the picture of the suffering Messiah is omitted from the regular lectionary systems of the synagogue, the main message is still to be found in the prayers of the Day of Atonement, such as Machzor. rabbah. This well-known hymn was composed by Eleazar Ben Qualir in the ninth century and reads as follows in the Sephardic Hebrew edition: "Messiah our righteousness has turned from us; we are dispersed and there is none to justify us. Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions is a burden. But he is wounded for our transgressions, he will carry our sins upon his shoulders that we may find forgiveness for our iniquities, and by his stripes we are healed; the time is come to make a new creation forever; bring him up from the circles of the nations, draw him forth from Seir that we may hear him from Lebanon a second time by Jinnon. He is our God, he is our He is our God, he is our he is our King, he is our Savior, and he will deliver us a second time and he will proclaim his grace a second time in the sight of all, saying: I will save you in the end as in the beginning..."

In his book "Isaiah 53: Who Is the Servant?", Gerald Sigal takes the view that the Servant is the nation Israel and he writes that vicarious atonement doesn't exist as a Biblical or traditional Jewish concept but that vicarious suffering does exist, and he gives a long list of stories in pre-Christian and rabbinical literature for this. One example is the story in the Maccabean books, particularly where 4 Maccabees retells the story told in 2 Macc. 6-7 about the suffering of righteous martyrs on behalf of the nation. (https://books.google.com/books?id=MqIVCgAAQBAJ) (You must type in "vicarious suffering" in the search bar on the left of that page).

That vicarious suffering is a concept in Judaism goes along with your statement "It proposed via Isaiah 53 that the obedient remnant of Israel will vicariously suffer for the whole of Israel."
 

rakovsky

Member
He would be very irritated that you have misrepresented Rabbinical Judaism's position. It does not propose that the Messiah will vicariously suffer.
I Liked your reply because I'm glad you wrote. But I don't see a vicariously suffering Messiah image that doesn't involve atoning death as being in inherent conflict with your idea. For instance David suffered long hours of training and battle on behalf of the nation. Maybe Rambam endured long hours of study and writing on behalf of his students.
 

Open Heart

Active member
I Liked your reply because I'm glad you wrote. But I don't see a vicariously suffering Messiah image that doesn't involve atoning death as being in inherent conflict with your idea. For instance David suffered long hours of training and battle on behalf of the nation. Maybe Rambam endured long hours of study and writing on behalf of his students.
Isaiah 53 talks about the servant, meaning Israel. (See Isaiah 41:8: "But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the descendants of Abraham My friend.".) This passage describes the suffering of the obedient faithful remnant of Israel suffering for the whole of Israel. It includes all kinds of suffering, including death. But while the Messiah may certainly be part of this suffering remnant of the obedient faithful, the passage just isn't exclusive to him or any one person. It is not a messianic passage.
 
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rakovsky

Member
This passage describes the suffering of the obedient faithful remnant of Israel suffering for the whole of Israel. It includes all kinds of suffering, including death. But while the Messiah may certainly be part of this suffering remnant of the obedient faithful, the passage just isn't exclusive to him or any one person.
What you wrote is the kind of thing that I thought of when I wrote in the OP:
Rabbinical Judaism also has the concept where the Messiah would suffer along with the nation or undergo vicarious suffering on behalf of the nation.

More specifically I also remember reading a modern rabbinical writer who took the same view of Isaiah 53 as you commenting that the idea of the Messiah suffering vicariously without an atoning death was or can be part of the rabbinical view. It was 10 years ago and I didn't save the quote because he wrote it in a simple and reasonable enough way that I took it as non-controversial for the rabbinical POV, since eg. the writer was also rejecting the idea of a Messiah who had an atoning death.

I think an example of this is where rabbis in the Talmud used Isaiah 53 to describe the Messiah's suffering, eg as the "leper scholar". On the countermissionary forum, IIRC one argument was that the rabbis in the Talmud (like in the leper scholar passages) were using Isaiah 53 to illustrate some aspect of the Messiah without Isaiah 53 actually being Messianic specifically.
 

Open Heart

Active member
What you wrote is the kind of thing that I thought of when I wrote in the OP:
I know you did and I appreciate that. But I am not replying to what you wrote -- I am replying to the Christian view. The Christian take on it is that the passage applies to the messiah in a very unique way, meaning that he will atone for all the sins of all time of all the world. And that's just not true.
 

rakovsky

Member
Open Heart, and anyone who wants to chime in here:

Other than the fact that Rabbinical Tradition and Tanakh has these ideas of the Messiah, the Messianic Age, the Messiah's "Yarutz" (יָרוּץ) and Death, the Resurrection, the World to Come, what basis do we have to think that these prophecies are reliable?
 

Open Heart

Active member
Open Heart, and anyone who wants to chime in here:

Other than the fact that Rabbinical Tradition and Tanakh has these ideas of the Messiah, the Messianic Age, the Messiah's "Yarutz" (יָרוּץ) and Death, the Resurrection, the World to Come, what basis do we have to think that these prophecies are reliable?
There is nothing that says the Messiah has to die, or that he will be resurrected.

We take it on faith that the Tanakh is the word of God.
 

rakovsky

Member
There is nothing that says the Messiah has to die, or that he will be resurrected.

We take it on faith that the Tanakh is the word of God.
With the last part, when you take it on faith, is it a matter that your ancestors handed it down and that you find it inspiring? It sounds like by saying that you take it on faith, then it's not mostly based on objective or neutral analysis.
 

Open Heart

Active member
With the last part, when you take it on faith, is it a matter that your ancestors handed it down and that you find it inspiring? It sounds like by saying that you take it on faith, then it's not mostly based on objective or neutral analysis.
That's right. It is NOT mostly based on objective or neutral analysis.
 

rakovsky

Member
That's right. It is NOT mostly based on objective or neutral analysis.
Is this creating a problem because of subjectivity, where people who don't believe in TaNaKh can just say that they don't find it inspiring? Or they can say that we shouldn't use "inspiration" or emotion as the basic way to judge whether some book of predictions is true, and they we don't have some kind of nonbiased way to prove to them otherwise?

So for instance, let's say that some nice religious person gives me a prediction that I would find inspiring and want to be true, like me winning the lottery so that I can find 20 million children. Just because I may find it appealing doesn't necessarily make it reliable...

It does seem to me like inspiration is a sign that something is true. But I don't know how strong it is...
 

Open Heart

Active member
Is this creating a problem because of subjectivity, where people who don't believe in TaNaKh can just say that they don't find it inspiring? Or they can say that we shouldn't use "inspiration" or emotion as the basic way to judge whether some book of predictions is true, and they we don't have some kind of nonbiased way to prove to them otherwise?

So for instance, let's say that some nice religious person gives me a prediction that I would find inspiring and want to be true, like me winning the lottery so that I can find 20 million children. Just because I may find it appealing doesn't necessarily make it reliable...

It does seem to me like inspiration is a sign that something is true. But I don't know how strong it is...
I'm sorry, but we use our intuition, not our reasoning. I don't have problems with that. And yes, it is the reason that people don't agree on religious matters.
 

rakovsky

Member
I'm sorry, but we use our intuition, not our reasoning. I don't have problems with that. And yes, it is the reason that people don't agree on religious matters.
If we are going to use our intuition to evaluate the TaNaKh's reliability, then there are still a few issues that come up. For instance, in your intuition, do you think that the extreme stories of the Creation and the Great Flood were literally true? My intuition tells me "No" because for instance you would have to posit that the Great Flood happened in the 3rd millenium BC and caused a total break in the line of animals and civilizations and cultures in the Americas. But archaeologically, that is not the case. You have to ask how flightless birds got to New Zealand. Like did they fly there and then totally lose their flying ability in just a few thousand years? It just creates lots of counterintuitive propositions.
 

Open Heart

Active member
If we are going to use our intuition to evaluate the TaNaKh's reliability, then there are still a few issues that come up. For instance, in your intuition, do you think that the extreme stories of the Creation and the Great Flood were literally true? My intuition tells me "No" because for instance you would have to posit that the Great Flood happened in the 3rd millenium BC and caused a total break in the line of animals and civilizations and cultures in the Americas. But archaeologically, that is not the case. You have to ask how flightless birds got to New Zealand. Like did they fly there and then totally lose their flying ability in just a few thousand years? It just creates lots of counterintuitive propositions.
Well there is a line that should not be crossed. Intuition is hyperrational, but should never be irrational, meaning it can exist side by side in addition to reason and fact, but should never contradict fact. Now we know as a fact that no global flood took place -- we know this because there is no scientific evidence that a global flood took place (i.e. no uniform layer of silt around the world), as well as unresolvable logistical problems with the story itself. Therefore our intuition, if it says there was a global flood, should be resisted.
 

rakovsky

Member
Nice answer, it seems. There is neat stuff in the Creation story. Eden was apparently a real kingdom that was relatively close to Edessa and Gobekli Tepe.
 
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