Is the Jewish Messiah still coming?

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by Bruno's logic, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Bruno's logic

    Bruno's logic Agnostic/Panthiest

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    A few questions;

    1 - Can anyone tell me if the Jewish religion still awaits the messiah?
    2 - Do they still keep up with the direct descendents lineage from Adam/Noah on down to today?
    For as I understand it Jesus was not the messiah according to Jewish beliefs.
    3 - Is the messiah still coming then?
    4 - If so what prophecy must the messiah fulfill?
    5 - Does the Jewish nation (?) honor the Christian calendar… ?
    For the record; my father was a Russian Jew, born in America, but he died when I was 5 years old. So I consider myself to be of the Jewish lineage. Is it possible that I am the long awaited messiah? the last question was not a question
    ~Bruno
    PS.- I try to live a good moral life but I’m only human…. Also of note, people rarely take me seriously, so if I was to claim to be the messiah……. Can anyone say …………………………. Crazy
     
  2. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    1. Depends on the denomination. Orthodoxy is still waiting for the messiah. Most others believe in some sort of idyllic messianic age rather than a personal messiah. I have spoken with one rabbi who suggested that the idea of the messiah doesn't refer to a particular time, but rather to those times where, when everything in society seems terrible, someone comes along who catalyzes change.

    2. No.

    3. See answer 1.

    4. See this link: The Laws Concerning Mashiach

    5. We use the secular calendar for secular purposes and our own calendar for religious purposes.

    There is a Jewish teaching that if you are holding a sapling in your hand and someone tells you the messiah has come, to plant the sapling first and then go greet the messiah. In other words, it's not so good to rush out and support messianic claims. It can in fact be dangerous sometimes to do so. For a bit more on that, see this list of Jewish messiah claimants:

    List of messiah claimants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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  4. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    what dauer said.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  5. Bruno's logic

    Bruno's logic Agnostic/Panthiest

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    Hi Dauer,
    Thank you for the response and I apologize for my slow return….. The website you suggested and your reply answered my previous questions. Thanks again…
    I have a few more questions….
    You wrote;
    One rabbi who suggested that the idea of the messiah doesn't refer to a particular time, but rather to those times where, when everything in society seems terrible, someone comes along who catalyzes change. –Dauer
    1 - Can this mean then that someone like President Obama could be considered a messiah? I don’t mean to imply that he is anything more than the right person at the right time who will do the right things to help humanity survive troubled times. To put it another way; is it possible that, the all to human, Obama been guided by God here and there in his life to help him have the right understanding and wisdom that is just what is needed at this time/age?
    2 – Does the Jewish culture believe, like the Christians, that there is a Hell and or a Satan the ultimate enemy of God, the lord of evil, the tempter of human beings, Lucifer, the leader of the fallen angels?
    3 - Does the Jewish culture believe , like Christians , that there is a war going on in Heaven?
    4 – What do you think this place is? This Earth within the physical universe? What does the Torah claim this place to be? Is there a Heavin? What happens when we die?
    ~Bruno
     
  6. Bishadi

    Bishadi Interfaith Forums

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    since we all know, there is an underlying truth

    "if existence only operates ONE way; then the math is the 'name' to know."

    If you bump into someone who has the name of God between his ears; such as to be able to answer

    'what is life?'

    and even

    4 – What do you think this place is? This Earth within the physical universe? What does the Torah claim this place to be? Is there a Heavin? What happens when we die?

    then listen

    knowledge is the catalyst

    magic and omnipotence does not exist (hence why the guy is to be considered the anti christ)........... as the phenomena of the world's beliefs will become extinct

    the religions will be over, forever!


    let me know if you find someone so foolishly arrogant to say such a thing
     
  7. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Bruno,

    1. The interpretation you're citing is not a common Jewish interpretation and reads it more as a sort of social archetype. I don't know that rabbi's personal theology but I'm guessing she was attempting to reconcile a rejection of classical ideas about prophecy with an understanding that there is something timeless in the words of the prophets. I could be wrong, but I think it would be in error to apply the same emphasis of the original concept onto an individual when using this understanding of it.

    2. No. HaSatan is not seen as evil. He's seen as a servant of G!d who runs what one might think of as sting operations for G!d. Sometimes he's identified with the yetzer hara which is a part of an early rabbinic psychological model. Jewish views on the afterlife are a bit more like inspired conjecture than anything concrete, but there is no place of eternal suffering nor would such a place be compatible with Judaism which sees G!d's justice as always tempered by His mercy.

    3. No.

    4. Personally, I reject supernaturalism. I think this place is what it is and each of our individual perspectives of it are colored by our own subjective experiences and our very nature as finite beings in a universe much larger than ourselves to be unable to fully experience the world as it is. I think, however, because of this, that we might as well embrace what we've got rather than chase after some unattainable absolute truth. I'm not so certain what you mean by this place though. There are a few different ideas within Judaism about this world, some based on very complex metaphysics, some based more on concepts of time. This world or olam hazeh has a fairly specific meaning, contrasted with olam haba or the world to come which can refer either to Gan Eden (loosely equivalent to heaven) or the world after hamashiach comes.

    Rather than go over different views of the Jewish afterlife I'll give you a link to read:

    My Jewish Learning

    If you want to read further after that, try this link:

    My Jewish Learning

    If you want more specific info, this has more:

    My Jewish Learning

    I can say that the questions you're asking are very Christian questions about Judaism in that, in my experience, they're the types of questions that a Christian would be more likely to ask due to the places of focus in Christianity and deal less with the meat of Jewish thought and practice. I hope this post helped a bit.

    -- Dauer

    edit: You are probably aware of this, but please note that Bishadi is not Jewish nor are his perspectives.
     
  8. Bruno's logic

    Bruno's logic Agnostic/Panthiest

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    Thanks Dauer,
    I'll try to get to that link this week some time...



    Well, I know more about Christianity than any other religion..... So my questions probably do come off that way.... But I do not consider myself a Christian...
    I am currently investigating the Jewish faith hence my questions here... I find it quite interesting that Christians and Jews have the same beginnings but have very different views of it..

    Why is that:confused:



    I find it bizarre that people cannot let go of ancient history. That we cling to myths and fables and believe in gods and angels.... personally I don't see anything like that.. I only see this physical world... Granted I may be blind and stupid:cool:... I try to enlighten my perspective, I pray for understanding .... I have high morals, not because I am scared of what God may do to me, but because I feel that it is the right way to live/to be...

    I'll be studying Judaism this year in hopes of enlightenment on the subject...
    Thanks again
    ~Bruno
     
  9. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Bruno,

    I don't think they have the same beginnings, just share a few of the same texts. I don't personally see Judaism as it exists today in the Torah much more than I see Christianity there. I think Judaism has worked much harder, due to a different perspective on the Torah, to be inclusive of it and to wrestle with it rather than to discard it -- Judaism identifies itself as a continuation of Israelite religion while Christianity identifies itself as a foretold break from it, imo -- and I would distinguish between the finite Torah that was an historical text from Torah as the hub around which Judaism spins and from which Judaism extends outward, but I don't see the Judaism of today in that historically limited document. Someone with a more traditional outlook would say similarly that the written Torah can't be understood without also considering the oral Torah -- and on that point I'd agree in terms of understanding Judaism.

    And the G!d that you don't believe in, I don't believe in either. I doubt many questioning people who take religion seriously believe in that G!d, including many theists.

    -- Dauer
     
  10. Penguin

    Penguin Member

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    I know this is a bit off thread but can I ask one question please. Does the "Torah" contain just, basically, the old testament?
    When you say "Torah" what does it consist of exactly? Many thanks.
     
  11. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Penguin,

    the word's a little ambiguous. Analogous with the "OT" would be the Tanach which consists of Torah (the pentateuch or five books of moses) nevi'im (the books of the prophets) and ketuvim (writings which is all the stuff that doesn't fall into the first two categories either due to time of canonization or content.) There are some variations between the OT and Tanach in terms of books included and where they occur, but this is also true if you compare the protestant and catholic OT. At the same time there are some differences in language that can be significant because Judaism is based on the masoretic text with no "official" translation into another language -- unless you consider the targumim official, but they're a bit more commentary than plain interpretation -- and Christianity does have its important translations, depending on the sect, be it the Septuagint, KJV or another translation.

    Torah can refer to the five books of moses as mentioned, but it can also refer to anything that extends from/expands on Torah including Jewish writings up through today.

    At the same time, sometimes the more specific terms "written torah" and "oral torah" are used in which case the written torah refers to the five books of moses. Oral Torah is a little more ambiguous but is generally understood, in one way or another, to be contained in early rabbinic writing. For some it may include more specific legal rulings or midrashic texts (stories about biblical characters that aren't included in the tanach) and for others it's about a methodology for interpreting Torah and applying it to new situations.

    So when I say Torah, when anyone Jewish says Torah, it's best to look at the context in which the word appears and try to ascertain which definition is being used. If it's unclear, ask. Hope that helps.

    -- Dauer
     
  12. Penguin

    Penguin Member

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    Many thanks dauer for that bit of insight. Very interesting :)
     

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