Jesus fails to meet the Biblical requirements generally accepted by traditional Jews as the promised Messiah.1) The Messiah predicted/promised in the Torah will be an Earthly King or leader, who will gather together all of the forces of good to fight a final battle with the forces of evil at Meggido (“Armegeddon”). Once the forces of good have triumphed, God will establish his kingdom on the Earth. Jesus never did any of these promised things.2) The promised Messiah will be descended from the “House of David”. This implies direct descent from King David. Joseph, the husband of Mary was so descended, but, if we are to accept the accounts in The New Testament, Joseph WAS NOT Jesus’ father. Moreover, in Biblical times lineal descent for the purposes of inheritance was calculated through the Mother’s lineage, not the Father’s. We have no record to suggest that Mary was of the House of David.3) No mention of execution, resurrection, or “return” appears in the Torah accounts that Christians choose to accept as evidence for the Messiahship of Jesus.In short, orthodox Judaism simply does not see the Jesus of Christianity as meeting the criteria set down.
Me: Is there a basis for a suffering servant Messiah in traditional Judaism? What is the traditional Jewish Interpretation of Isaiah 53?
Jewish scholars do not put the same interpretation or importance on Isaiah that Christian apologists seem to do. Since they do not believe that Jesus of Nazareth meets most of the criteria of Messiahship, I am not aware (remember, I am by no means either a Rabbi, nor am I currently studying Tanakh) that Jewish scholars spend much time on this particular statement in Isaiah.
Me: What is the traditional Jewish view of the afterlife? Heaven and hell?
The definition of Heaven most widely accepted by Orthodox/traditional Jews is “being in the presence of God” after death. In fact, the “reward” for having lived a righteous life (obeying God’s commandments) is simply having lived such a life. Heaven is not a place or locale. In fact, the concept of Heavenly “reward” is largely a Christian concept, which makes sense if one believes that the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for forgiveness of sins is the main requirement for entry into Heaven, rather than “good works”, The Jewish concept of Hell, on the other hand, is simply “separation from the Lord”. Jewish tradition places much greater emphasis upon one’s relationships with one’s fellow men in this life than upon what may or may not come in the hereafter. I have always felt that it is worthy of note that the majority of the Ten Commandments deal with human relationships, rather than with our relationship with God.
I’m finding Harvey’s answers to my questions particularly interesting. The Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah should give pause to Christians. Yet because of a few scriptures in the New Testament this rejection has been accepted by Christians as necessary to the gentiles being grafted into God’s family. I still ponder why this would be so. The traditional Jewish understanding of the afterlife speaks neither to exclusivism, inclusivism, or universalism. It makes much more sense to me that the emphasis for any system of theology would be placed on treatment of fellow man and creation than on some ridiculous hand washing, animal sacrificing, human sacrificing appeasement of a deity. What say ye?