MESSIAH: The Jewish Versus the Christian Concept

Since most of my friends are Christian, I get into this discussion often.

The Christian concept of Messiah (the Anointed One) is that he is God. A perfect being. Hence Jesus is the Archetype of Messiah. He is an aspect of the Trinity.

But the Jewish concept of Messiah is very different. Messiah is a human being – albeit an anointed one by the Divine. Because of his humanity, Messiah is subject to sin – the sins of the mortal self.

Lets review some of the anointed ones of the past. Moses was the Messiah of his generation. He was “near perfect” though not 100%. A slight disobedience to the Divine, cost him his chance to enter the Promised Land. Samson was also anointed and also the Messiah of his generation. Yet, as we all know, he too succumbed to his humanity with Delilah – to his downfall.

Saul was anointed King of Israel, but later on lost his anointing and King David was anointed in his place. Now David was a great man – a holy man – a devout man. The psalms, which he authored (mostly) is a testament to this. Yet, he sinned with Baathsheva. His human self succumbed to desire. When rebuked about this by the prophet Nathan, he readily confessed to his sin. Yet, he was the Messiah of his age and the line from which future Messiahs would come. Solomon his son was also anointed. And though he was wise and just, he too sinned (according to the Rabbis) by having too many wives (he had a thousand).

So, in the Jewish concept, Messiah is to be revered and respected, but he is not God. One prays only to God, not to Messiah, Hence we see the Rabbinical aversion to praying in the name of Messiah – they considered it idolatry.