Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsJews

Jesus as Messiah Advertisement

January 07, 1986

In his masterful letter Corey correctly states the Jewish Messianic tradition that the Messiah was to be a human priestly king, and not a supernatural being. The coming of the Messiah did not signal the end of the world. It signaled the return to the world of a golden age when God's teachings would again govern humankind's daily activities.

The term "Messiah" was always used in Judaism in the context of the Hebrew phrase "ha-melech ha-maschiach" : "The Anointed King." It was the practice of the ancient Hebrews, in accordance with divine commandment, to anoint their kings and other persons selected by God with oil (from olives). The Hebrew word for oil is " shemeh. " Hence, the anointed one was one upon whom oil, by divine commandment, had been poured.

The Encyclopedia Judaica (in Volume II, Page 1407) notes that the Messiah, the Anointed King, was to be ". . . a charismatically endowed descendant of David (King of Israel approximately 1,000 years before the birth of Christ), who the Jews of the Roman period believed would be raised up by God to break the yoke of the heathen and to reign over a restored kingdom of Israel to which all the Jews of the Exile would return. . . ."

The Romans, during Jesus' time, were aware of the yearning of the Jews for the coming of their Messiah, the Anointed King. Accordingly, they sarcastically referred to Jesus as the King of the Jews when they crucified him. (In turn, the writers of the Gospels were careful to trace Jesus' lineage back to King David so that Jesus might be seen as the Anointed King.) In mocking Jesus with the title of King, the Romans were saying, in effect, "Jews, this is what we do to your Anointed King."

Perhaps the principal objection to Christianity on the part of Judaism and Islam is its deification of Jesus. Corey has made his point well.

ARTHUR STANLEY KATZ

Paso Robles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|