Is Jesus the Saviour, the Messiah and the Son of God?

Is Jesus the Saviour, the Messiah, and the Son of God?

No, no and no.

We know he’s not the Saviour because he hasn’t saved anyone. Every single person who has believed in him over the last 2,000 years has died and stayed dead. He hasn’t resurrected a single one of them and hasn’t ushered anyone into the heavenly mansion he (supposedly) said he was preparing for his Elect. Neither has he saved them from the trials of this life: illness, pain or suffering. His followers are no more saved from these than the rest of us.

Of course, Christians claim that what he saves people from is ‘sin’. But sin is an empty and peculiarly religious concept signifying the separation of ‘man’ from God. If there’s no God to be separated from there can be no sin. If, however, we’re talking about morals – ‘sinning’ – then it’s evident that believers are no more or less moral than anyone else. Jesus, it turns out, doesn’t save anyone from their own bad behaviour.

He’s not the Messiah (I’m resisting the temptation to add the Monty Python completion of that sentence) which is why most Jews do not believe in him. He doesn’t demonstrate any of the characteristics of the Messiah prophesied in Jewish scripture. He didn’t overturn the oppression his people endured under Roman rule and he hasn’t been there for the Jewish people in all their subsequent suffering. He certainly didn’t rescue them from the Holocaust. Only by redefining what is meant by ‘Messiah’, as early Christians did when they made the term synonymous with ‘saviour’, could Jesus even be considered a contender. In reality, he is an utter failure as a Messiah.

He’s not the Son of God. Even in the synoptic gospels he doesn’t claim to be; he’s cagey whenever the subject arises. It’s as if his early followers couldn’t make up their minds about how divine he actually was. Later Christians were more emphatic, claiming that the resurrection demonstrated Jesus’ divinity. Paul, however, doesn’t think so, saying only that Jesus’ return from the dead elevated him to a favoured position in God’s hierarchy (Philippians 2:9). Even this is going too far when the evidence of Jesus’ physical resurrection is so poor; the gospel stories do not  qualify him for Sonship. Nor do his failed promises and prophecies; if he were the Son of God, he’d have known the appearance of Son of Man (he himself?), the last judgement, the Kingdom of God on Earth, the inversion of the social order and the meek inheriting the Earth would not happen when he said they would. Or indeed at all. He was ignorant about so much! What sort of Son of God was he, to get so much so wrong?

In fact, we can be certain Jesus was no more the Son of God than Alexander the Great was Son of Ammon-Zeus or Augustus the ‘Son of the Most Divine’. How? Because like Ammon-Zeus and ‘the Most Divine’, the likelihood YHWH exists is ridiculously low; so low it’s reasonable to conclude he doesn’t. And no God = no Son of God.

To be continued.

47 thoughts on “Is Jesus the Saviour, the Messiah and the Son of God?

  1. Jesus fulfilled every prophecy of the messiah. Every single one. Except all those prophecies the Jews think/thought were about the messiah. Jesus will fulfill all those on his next trip. So don’t worry about it. And he’s gonna be back any minute now. So, it’s like he’s already fulfilled them already. Yep. 100%.

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    • What about them? They don’t alter what I say in the post: notions of Jesus’ divinity evolved over time.

      Also, no God = no Son of God, no matter what cultists 2000 years ago believed.

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      • Neil, from your perspective, everything in the Gospels evolved over time. So, everything is evidence of that. What would convince you otherwise?

        If there is nothing that would convince you otherwise, doesn’t everything become circular? Doesn’t everything prove your starting premise?

        However…

        One of the earliest texts we have, dating to the early 50s, is Galatians. Several times in Galatians (3) Paul calls Jesus the Son of God. (See Gal. 4:4) That is, I remind you, at least 15 years before any of the Gospels were written. There are additional references in 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romans, all written prior to the Gospels.

        The early creed in Philippians 2 implies the same. That creed many scholars believe was used in the early church before Paul wrote the letter and quoted it.

        So, from the evidence, Jesus was called the Son of God from the earliest days of the church. If you have evidence to the contrary, this is the place to present it.

        Why didn’t Jesus make that claim in the Gospel narratives – until the very end? (Others made that claim for him, however.) Logically, he did not because to do so would have immediately incurred the wrath of the Jewish religious elite. But also because he wanted to show rather than tell. And show he did by everything he said and did.

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    • Oh, Don! You’re adorable. Highlight the common thoughts in your book, but ignore the discrepancies.

      Yes. A common thought in the New Testament is that Jesus was the son of God.

      But when did he become the son of God?

      For Paul, it was at his resurrection.
      For Mark, it was at his baptism.
      For Matthew and Luke, it was at birth (or conception).
      For John, Jesus existed as Jesus before the creation.

      The whole son of God theme highlights that this is a story that evolved over time rather than one that was revealed.

      Add to that your special pleading. Jesus was the son of your preferred god and therefore his story is True™. You just hand wave away all the sons and daughters sired by other gods and featured in stories told in other books that aren’t your book.

      Alexander the Great was a son of Zeus. He actually had the military accomplishments and united much of the world under his rule – Jewish prophecies of their messiah that Jesus didn’t pull off.

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      • It is too bad that Neil did not quote or at least consult the first verse in the creed in Philippians. It goes like this:

        5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

        6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

        Being in the ‘form’ (morphe) of God is the same as being God.

        The creed was pre-Paul. It was pre-Gospels. It was how the early church in the period between the resurrection and the early 50s understood the nature of Jesus.

        That should settle the question whether Jesus was the Son of God. But there is more.

        The rest of the creed explains how the early church understood the mystery in that Truth™. They understood that the Son of God willingly emptied himself (the kenoisis) of that prerogative to become in form a man. That word is ὁμοιώματι, and it means ‘the same as’ or ‘similar to’ man. That emptying of his divine prerogative meant that he would not independently know all things, be all powerful, or be omnipresent. He would have to depend on the Father and the Spirit to know things that he could not know naturally. He could not know the time of his return, for example, unless the Father revealed that to him. And he did not.

        But there is more. Those prerogatives were returned to him at his resurrection. So, “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” Paul was right. he reclaimed his place as the Son of God on his resurrection. But John was right as well; the word (not Jesus the man) existed before the creation. Mark was right also: at his baptism the Holy Spirit anointed him so that he could know and do works of power as the Son of God. Matthew and Luke were right also: at the conception of the human being Jesus, he was also God though without the prerogatives of God.

        Thanks for letting me explain that; a lot of Christians find it a bit of a mystery as well.

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      • Really? It proves Jesus was God? It doesn’t. It shows that early Christians believed he was god-like (‘in the form of God’ = like God). That’s it. You can stop scouring scripture for support for your impossible beliefs.

        And it’s no good playing the numbers game either. If a third of the population acknowledges Jesus somehow, it means two thirds don’t. Neither demonstrates whether or not he was God.

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      • And who would know better than they? Remember 500+ saw him risen from the dead. Do you think they kept that a secret? Would you have?

        Do you think that was all a scam? And if so, to what purpose. Those 500 had nothing to gain by making a false report. The Apostles had nothing to gain by making a false report, except pain and death.

        I do not need to go to the moon to know it isn’t made of cheese. I can trust those who have gone and the analysis of the rocks they brought back. (Don’t be a literalist here. I mean this as an analogy.)

        If you continue to doubt everything, even when there is adequate testimony about it, you will find yourself knowing very little. But we live in such a doubting age. Who can trust anything they hear or read? Still, that leaves you knowing nothing for sure. That is sad.

        RE: the size of the kingdom of God on earth. It is larger than any other kingdom even though it is still only 1/3 of the population. That is larger every way you measure it than Alexander’s. Or any other kingdom for that matter. That was my point. Sorry you missed it. I only made that point because of Koseighty’s comment. The size really has very little to do with anything we’ve been discussing – except it is a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy that the kingdom of God would be very large and be in every place on earth, like yeast in a loaf of bread.

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      • Oh Don, we don’t have the 500 whom Paul says saw the risen Christ. We have hearsay repeated by Paul. We do not have anything any one of these people wrote or said about the experience, not even in the Bible (as you say, they probably wouldn’t have kept it secret); we do not know what they actually saw (a collective vision, similar to Paul’s and those experienced today by Marion visionaries?); we don’t know they even existed, as indeed Paul did not: he merely repeated what is thought to be some sort of early creed. It’s hearsay, Don, not dissimilar to ‘I’ve a friend of a friend who knows some people who think they might’ve seen a ghost.’

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      • We all make the mistake of thinking the New Testament was written to us. It was not. In particular, Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was written to the Corinthians. They were real people. And they had good knowledge of what was going on in Christian communities in other cities, being at a crossroads on the Mediterranean and having been visited by other itinerant teachers. They did not depend on Paul for that information.

        So, Paul expected that they would know at least some of the 500 people whom he says saw the risen Jesus.

        Or not. If they had no knowledge at all, if they had no acquaintance with one of the 500 or with someone who did, they would have had the right to be a bit skeptical. Remember, they were not necessarily Paul groupies. They had other allegiances as well. They had other sources of information.

        If they had no confirmation of Paul’s claim that there were 500 who had seen the risen Jesus, they could have checked it out. And not finding any confirmation would have undermined their confidence in Paul. So, why would Paul mention it if it were not true. It was not necessary to Paul’s thesis in 1 Cor 15. He need not have mentioned it. The testimony of the Apostles was enough.

        Not only could the Corinthians have checked it out they could have confirmed it with the other Apostles or with others of Paul entourage. Certainly, Cephas could have confirmed it or refuted it, and he had devotees in Corinth.

        So, the proposal that Paul made it up, really seems unlikely if we consider the first readers.

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      • You’ve made the argument before that people were running round fact checking Paul and others. How do you know this? Do you fact check everything your pastor tells you?

        Even if Paul’s contemporaries could have checked his ‘facts’, you think anyone would’ve taken any notice of them, challenging the great renowned preacher? You live in a fantasy world, Don.

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      • Probably no intentional fact checking, but as Paul’s letter went to a larger audience, it surely must have run into some questions – if his 500 people seeing the risen Jesus seemed out of line with what they knew.

        The idea that Paul was “the great renowned preacher” is out of step with the New Testament and history. He was regularly challenged by those who either would like to have the same attention or by those who disputed his theology. In addition, though we think of Paul as the only preacher/missionary, there were actually many others. Paul did not even reach all the Roman Mediterranean world. Rome, for example, had a church before Paul ever made a visit. The empire’s second city Antioch had a church before Paul ever visited the city. The South Mediterranean was never visited by Paul, but there was a thriving church early on. The East likewise. There were churches in Syria and Persia and further east in Central Asia and south in India without any influence form Paul. These were founded by others of the Apostles. And in many cases, they were more successful than those Paul founded.

        Most Westerners, Christians among them, are myopic historically. They think the world revolves around us. When I visited with Indian pastors in India, they thought our nearsightedness was a bit amusing. While we were still hemming and hawing about whether the Apostle Thomas visited and founded churches in Inda they had more than enough evidence and an unbroken tradition.

        So, would Paul’s claim go unchallenged if wrong? I think so.

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      • Vision or physical appearance?

        I am not sure the early Christians thought one was superior to the other. prior to the ascension every appearance was described as a physical appearance. People touched him. They saw him eat. And so on. After the ascension – Paul, for example, and others today – do not describe Jesus that way. But they still considered that appearance as Jesus.

        Theologically, it is not essential that the post-ascension appearances be physical. We might argue that way, but there is really no scriptural evidence for a physical appearance. They might have been, but that was not critical.

        But Paul, who described his experience on the road to Damascus as a vision, did not think that his experience was less real than the Apostles’, who experienced a physical risen Jesus. So, making that distinction is meaningless as far as the first century people were concerned. It is meaningless today as far as the experiences of those who see Jesus are concerned.

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      • Now there’s an admission: it doesn’t matter whether people actually saw a physically raised Jesus or merely imagined they had. Of course it matters. If they were seeing something only in their own heads then it was indeed meaningless, just as your imaginary encounters with ‘him’ are.

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      • You may think so. They did not. The ancient world thought of reality as multidimensional. There was the physical and there was the spiritual. They were not separate realities but one. Seeing a person in person and seeing a vision were equal experiences, even if different. So, Paul could say that his encounter with Jesus in a vision was as real as the Apostles encounters with the risen physical Jesus.

        You think of reality as physical only. That requires you to characterize the seeing of a vision as seeing something in your own head. Or Christians who talk of their encounters with then Lord as meaningless. If reality is only physical, where else could you go?

        I think of that as being partially blind.

        That may be one of the fundamental differences between us and between you and much of the rest of the world, because like it or not the idea of reality being multidimensional is not something unique to Christians. I have friends who have been missionaries in Guinea West Africa. They found that the people of Guinea not only believed in evil spirits but experienced the spirits in very ‘real-world’ ways. These spirits were real, and they could affect things in the physical world.

        That religion was brought to America by slaves and is alive and well as voodooism in New Orléans where my pastor is from. In fact, he was deeply involved in spiritism when he was young. Having seen it up close, you would have a difficult time convincing him that it was all in his head. Those encounters with the spiritual world were not meaningless to him or to many in New Orleans and Guinea.

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      • I don’t think of reality as being physical only. I know it is. There’s no evidence whatsoever for your fantasy version of invisible spiritual beings.

        Speaking of which, you obviously don’t fact check what your pastor tells you, just as converts in the first century didn’t fact check Paul. You accept his stories of spirits and demons with unquestioning naivety. Engage your mind, Don. and then maybe stop imposing your wacky whimsy on the rest of us.

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      • Fact check Voodooism? Aside from being there as witnessing it, I have had multiple people from different backgrounds and at different times tell of similar experiences with the Voodoo culture both in New Orleans and in Guinea.

        Everyone who has experienced voodoo tells a story far different from the encyclopedia version. Voodoo originated in Africa. I did become syncretized with Roman Catholic beliefs, but it is not Christian nor was it ever. It is a belief, as practiced in both places, that believes in spirits and their power over people. Those spirits control the lives of the village people in Guinea. And they actually do cause harm. Consequently, sacrifices are offered to appease the spirits.

        The modern wiccan spin is that Voodoo is a harmless earth friendly religion does not portray Voodooism as it is. Neither do the movies, where Voodoo dolls are the popular thing.

        Fact check? I think that people who I trust to be accurate and truthful are a good check. And I think there were such in Paull’s day.

        Your overriding skepticism is again causing you to reject every witness to the facts.

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      • The various kinds of nuttiness we call religion are products of the human mind. They may be dark and damaging but they’re not emanations of spiritual beings. My skepticism, as you put it, fact checking as I like to call it, saves me from falling for any woo, be it voodoo, scientology or Christianity. You should try it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is a belief, as practiced in both places, that believes in spirits and their power over people. Hmmm. Taking that comment in and of itself, it certainly describes Christianity … although “spirits” is singular rather than plural.😈

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      • I don’t dispute that Paul regarded Jesus as divine. Read the post! I don’t dispute the gospel writers did, nor that gullible first-century cultists also did.

        The salient point is when they considered this to have happened. You can track quite easily how views of his supposed divinity evolved. Paul, the four gospels and later Christians all believed it was at different, irreconcilable points. Read the post! Your attempt to claim all these different times were in fact the same time is, frankly, rubbish.

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      • If you are wondering if Jesus ever said that he was the Son of God, the answer is yes. Several times.

        Luke 20:13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. The Pharisees got the idea.

        Matthew 26.
        63 But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

        64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

        65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

        66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

        Jesus did not correct them when they asked if he was the Son of God. He alluded to Daniel 7:13 where the son of man is obviously more than a man. At that the high priest tore his robes and said he was guilty of blaspheme. That indicated that he understood what Jesus claimed of himself.

        Jesus also did not correct Peter when he said you are the Christ the Son of the living Giod. (Matt. 16:16)

        That is pretty decisive. But, of course, it is just a story, right?

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      • I wasn’t wondering. I said he was ‘cagey’ when the subject came up as your quotations demonstrate (‘he doesn’t contradict the claim’.) In any case, we don’t know if Jesus himself claimed to be the Son of God. We only have stories written 40-70 years after he purportedly lived that suggest others thought so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kos, how much of the world bows in allegiance to Jesus as king? I’d guess about a third. That is more than 2 billion people. I don’t think Alexander could claim that.

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  2. Don:
    how much of the world bows in allegiance to Jesus as king? I’d guess about a third. That is more than 2 billion people.

    Yes, Don, this is how reality works. The One True God™ will be decided by popular vote.

    Right now, The One True God™ is Jesus because Christianity is winning. Sometime in the 2050s Jesus will be displaced by Allah as Islam takes the lead.

    No god is allowed to appear (or “return”) until 100% of humanity decides on one god. Which could be a while because my small family can’t even decide which Jesus is the Real Jesus®.

    Thank god(s) you’re here to remind us of this simple fact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jesus actually said at his return would there be faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7,8) It is rhetorical, but the assumed answer is no.

      Though Jesus foretold that the gospel would be preached in all the earth and that there would be a large number who would become his followers from every people group, he did not say that at his coming there would be anything close to 100% of humanity who believed in him. In fact, the contrary.

      Reading broadly in the scriptures, the picture of the last days that emerges is a falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and a great conflict between those who believe and those who oppose them. There will be very hard times for believers in Jesus.

      During those times there will be a revival of faith in the Messiah among the Jews. But to their peril. They will be the target of those who oppose God. At the most difficult time for the Jews as well as for others who identify as believers, the political, financial, religious, and social systems of the world will begin to self-destruct. God will be blamed. A final attempt to destroy Israel will be made. Most other believers will be dead. Then the Son of God will return and replace the kingdoms of the world with his kingdom.

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  3. Don:
    how much of the world bows in allegiance to Jesus as king? I’d guess about a third. … I don’t think Alexander could claim that.

    But in all seriousness, Don, Alexander fulfilled the one major requirement of the Jewish messiah: He was a military leader who conquered the(ir) world.

    Jesus didn’t do that.

    So, at this point, Alexander is infinitely more likely to be The One True Messiah™ than Jesus is.

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    • The expectations of the Jewish leaders should be regarded with suspicion. But they were not necessarily completely mistaken. The Messiah is depicted in the OT as a Jewish king who will bring justice for the Jews. And he will.

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      • Don:
        The expectations of the Jewish leaders should be regarded with suspicion.

        As should anything ever said by any Christian ever.

        Don:
        The Messiah is depicted in the OT as a Jewish king who will bring justice for the Jews. And he will.

        Sure. I’m looking forward to it. But until then, don’t tell me Jesus was/is the Jewish messiah. Until he actually does the messiah stuff, we’ve got no reason to believe you.

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      • You haven’t been following the discussion. He did the ‘Messiah stuff’. It was why his disciples came to believe he was the Messiah. The ‘Messiah stuff’ included healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, as well as suffering and dying and rising from the dead. It included being a son of David and qualified to be a Davidic king. Pretty much the only thing you don’t see in the New Testament is Jesus as king on the throne and conquering his enemies. But I don’t think you want to see that unless you are not his enemy. It doesn’t go well with them.

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      • To sum up:

        1 – Jesus never fulfilled the messiah prophecies. Therefore, Jesus was not the messiah. (This point can be revisited should he fulfill those prophecies in the future. But, I wouldn’t hold my breath.)

        2 – Neither Jesus nor any wannabe messiah fulfilled the messiah prophecies in that timeframe. Therefore, Daniel – who prophesied the messiah’s coming in that timeframe – is a false prophet.

        We can add these to topics covered previously:

        3 – Jesus failed to return in his generation as he foretold. Therefore, Jesus is not only a false messiah but a false prophet as well.

        4 – Jesus failed to come during Paul’s generation as Paul prophesied. Therefore, Paul is also a false prophet.

        Things aren’t looking good for Christianity.

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  4. Don has entered the Sunday school portion of the discussion where he just quotes the Bible at us as if 1 – we don’t know what the Bible says and 2 – the Bible has some value beyond being a story book.

    Don has nothing that shows his book to be true. Nothing to show his or any god ever existed. Nothing to show that his religion offers anything but a pretty (though ridiculous) story.

    But he’ll keep firing off scriptures as if that proves something.

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      • Aah, that old chestnut: everyone else quotes inaccurately. Why not throw in ‘out of context’ too? We don’t and you know it.

        I cut and paste quotations I use, directly, usually, from the NIV. Are you saying the translators got it wrong and only you know what the Greek really means?

        You do talk nonsense. Don. I think I’m going to have to go back to grading your efforts.

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  5. Don:
    RE: the size of the kingdom of God on earth. It is larger than any other kingdom even though it is still only 1/3 of the population.

    This is a great illustration, Don, of the Christian modus operandi.

    The prophecies of the Jewish messiah can be summarized as a future King of Israel who will rise up and conquer Israel’s enemies, killing or subjugating all other nations. It is a military campaign and victory.

    Then Jesus comes along and doesn’t do that.

    So, Christians tell us that the Jews got their own prophecy wrong. This is about a military victory, but a spiritual one. God’s kingdom isn’t established by might. Heck, it isn’t even established by Jews. It’s people turning to the church that is Christianity. Oh, and also, too, Jesus will totally do that vanquishing thing when he comes back.

    Jesus failed to fulfill the messianic prophecies. So you have to rewrite those prophecies to fit reality.

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    • Kos: The prophecies of the Jewish messiah can be summarized as a future King of Israel who will rise up and conquer Israel’s enemies,

      Where do you get this? There are may be several hundred prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament. They speak of many facets of the Messiah’s coming. Being a conquering king is one of them, but to declare that is the ONE aspect of the Messiah to the exclusion of the others is to misrepresent what the prophecies say.

      But think about conquering king a moment. A king is hardly a king if he has no subjects. Any reading of the New Testament that is unbiased reveals that is what the Messiah is about right now; he is gathering the subjects of the kingdom. Jesus’ constant invitation was “Come unto me.” It was Paul’s appeal as well. And it is the last appeal in the last book of the Bible: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” No one is forced, but all are invited.

      That includes Israel. They are especially invited. They have been from the earliest prophets in the Old Testament. It was the goal of the prophets to call Israel to own the Lord as their king. (If you miss that, you cannot get anything else right.)

      So, the coming of the Messiah as conquering king awaits the completion of the gathering of the subjects of the kingdom. When the last one who will receive the king as king responds, then the king will return.

      And btw, you are invited as well. The door is open.

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  6. Don:
    Kos: The prophecies of the Jewish messiah can be summarized as a future King of Israel who will rise up and conquer Israel’s enemies,

    Where do you get this?

    Don, I’ve made it clear in several of my comments that I’ve been talking about the “Jewish messiah.” As has Neil in the original post and his subsequent comments.

    If you’d like to know where I got the information I’ve been sharing, you could search for “Jewish messiah.” This is information any amateur biblical scholar would know. It’s surprising you don’t. Or, maybe you’re playing ignorant as you so often do.

    Of course, you could just start at the link Neil provided in the original post under “Jews do not believe in him.” Here it is again for your convenience: https://aish.com/why-jews-dont-believe-in-jesus/

    Beyond these suggestions I see no reason to go over it all again.

    Liked by 1 person

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