Greetings again, friends!
As a Christian, have you ever wondered why Jews do not believe in Jesus? Though our roots are in Judaism, there remains key differences in how we identify the Messiah. Christianity teaches that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the Messiah, yet Jewish belief sees it differently. Here are a few reasons why Jews do not believe in Jesus as Messiah:
- Jewish belief is a national issue, not a spiritual one
- Jesus doesn’t meet the qualifications of the Messiah
- Jesus failed to fulfill Messianic prophecies
- Christians do not appropriately interpret verses referring to Jesus
Over the past two days, we have examined the first two reasons. Today, let’s turn our attention to the third: Jesus’ failure to fulfill Messianic prophecies. Interestingly, Christians most often cite the fact that Jesus DID fulfill Messianic prophecies, thus providing clear evidence of His Messiahship. How do we come to such totally different perspectives? Let’s take a look and see if we can identify key elements to this difference.
Rabbis would say that the Messiah must fulfill certain prophecies. If even one is not accurately fulfilled, then Jesus’ Messiahship falls apart. Here are a few of the prophecies Jews believe must be fulfilled (and the Scriptural references they cite):
- The Messiah will rebuild the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28)
- The Messiah will gather all Jews back to the land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6)
- The Messiah will usher in a time of world peace (Isaiah 2:4)
- The Messiah will spread the knowledge of the God of Israel and unite humanity in oneness (Zechariah 14:9)
Because these prophecies have not been fulfilled, the Jews await the coming of the Messiah. From a Christian perspective, however, we look to mounds of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled perfectly by Jesus’ first coming (click here for examples), and we know that many others will be fulfilled in His Second Coming.
So, to look at the list above, did Jesus rebuild the Third Temple? Not during His first coming. However, His Word tells us that He built His Temple within us as believers (1 Corinthians 6:19), though the Jews do not acknowledge that. The Third Temple will indeed be re-built, but only during the Tribulation. (Daniel 9:27, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
The Ezekiel 36-37 prophecy regarding the re-birth of Israel reached a climax on May 14, 1948 when Israel was re-born. Since that time, Jews have steadily returned to their homeland, fulfilling the very prophecy of Isaiah 43:5-6.
Currently, world peace seems impossible. From a human perspective, it probably is! However, when Jesus returns again and sets up His Millennial Kingdom, peace will reign throughout the earth. (Isaiah 11:6-8, Isaiah 65:24-25) Those prophecies are still awaiting fulfillment. At that time, Zechariah 14:9 will be fulfilled as well.
It is not that Christians and Jews have different sets of prophecies, but that the timing of fulfillment is in dispute. While Jews await the first coming of the Messiah, Christians await the second coming of the Messiah. Jesus clearly fulfilled over 300 prophecies when He came to earth as a baby born in Bethlehem. Fulfillment of those prophecies is the guarantee that God will accurately fulfill all end time prophecies as well!
We’ll finish our series “Why the Don’t Jews believe in Jesus?” tomorrow. Stay tuned!