Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?

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    Why ask specifically about Jesus? Why don't Jews think Julius Caesar is the Messiah? Why don't Jews think Joel Spolsky is the Messiah? Why don't Jews think {x} is the Messiah?
    – TRiG
    Commented Aug 6, 2011 at 22:34
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    +1 This question has been asked of, and answered by, Jews for centuries, not sure why it would be off topic here.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 7:27
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    I agree with HodofHod. As a Christian I appreciate the response from Jews, not to troll but because Judaism as a part of presumed Christian history is a critical component of Christianity. It is immature and insecure to react defiantly to the question, particularly since StackExchange doesn't exactly support retorts (in other words, we aren't here to argue but to learn).
    – stimpy77
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 8:57
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    @TRiG and who said we don't think Joel Spolsky is the Messiah? Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 20:57
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    @stimpy77, it is not immature to react defiantly. As you said, Judaism is seen by Christians as a part of their history. It's like telling Native Americans that their culture is a presumed part of American history. That may be true in a sense, but it is horribly arrogant and presumptuous to tell someone who maintains and lives that culture that you are the new bearer of that history, and that, therefore, they have no reason to be offended by your curiosity about it. Real interest ought to be expressed with humility, not, "Why can't our assumptions about you be right? Or could they be?"
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 14:10

9 Answers 9


I used to be a Christian but converted to Orthodox Judaism more than 32 years ago. I have a website called: "A Primer: Why Jews Can't Believe in Jesus" that should more than adequately answer your question (although I actually designed it for Jewish education and not to combat missionaries). But let me just touch on the basics:

Not only isn't Jesus the Messiah, but it is obviously so that the Messiah has yet to come, although, G-d willing he will come soon. We know this definitively because we do not live in the Messianic Age. If we lived in the Messianic Age you would know it because:

  • All Jews would be living in Israel (Isa. 11:12, 27:12-13);
  • Israel would also be populated by the resurrected souls who died in previous generations (Isa. 26:19);
  • The Holy Temple would be rebuilt and functioning (Micah 4:1);
  • There would be world-wide peace (Isa. 2:4, 11:6, Micah 4:3); and,
  • The entire world would believe in the G-d of Abraham (Isa. 11:9, 40:5; Zephaniah 3:9).

If you have read the papers recently, you would know that none of these things has yet occurred.

Now, many missionaries tell me that Jesus will rise from the dead and do all the requisite things that Messiahs are supposed to do that he didn't get to. In golf, they call that a "mulligan" -- a do-over. There have been a lot of people who claimed to be, or were acclaimed to be the Messiah over the last 2000 years or so. If you give one guy a mulligan, they all have to get mulligans. So where are you now. You cannot say that Jesus gets exclusivity to the mulligan because he is the Messiah, because that is just circular.

You can tell me how Jesus raised the dead. Well, so did some of the rabbis who were almost his contemporaries, if you choose to believe in the Talmud's stories of the rabbis. My friends here cited some examples in response to this question.

You might tell me that Jesus suffered. He did? How long? Was it more than a half a day that he was crucified? Have you ever heard how ten of our sainted rabbis died at the hands of the Romans? See this. And do you know anything about people like the Klausenburg Rebbe (Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam (1905-1994)), zt'l, who were imprisoned by the Nazis. The Klausenburg lost his wife and 10 children who were killed in the death camps. For more than a year he was personally starved, beaten and tortured by the Nazis, and yet kept the commandments in the camps, even though no one had to under the circumstances. He even saved any rolls he received until the Sabbath eve when he would say the blessing over two rolls in honor of the Sabbath, and give that bread to the other inmates. When he was rescued at the end of the war, he weighed about 85 lbs. But he was undeterred. After the war, he went on to build schools for children and hospitals for the sick on three continents. Please read Judah Lifschitz's translation of the Klausenburg Rebbe's biography. You will see that although he had no claim to be the Messiah, he litterally fed the hungry, took care of little children and healed the sick, and over a far longer time than the Christian messiah.

And, if you tell me that he is the "suffering servant" defined in Isaiah 53, please go back to your copy of Isaiah and see who he defines as "the servant." No, it's not in chapter 53, but there are at least four verses in Isaiah that define Israel as G-d's "servant." (Is 44:2, 44:21, 45:4, and 49:3). Origen, the 3rd century Christian scholar, in Contra Celsum, admitted that this was the Jewish understanding of Isaiah 53, that the entire Jewish nation was G-d's servant and that they indeed had suffered for centuries before (and to come). But I will admit that Jewish liturgy and thought also suggest that Isaiah 53 does refer to the Messiah, among many others. The Messiah, like righteous people have in every generation, will accept upon himself suffering for the excessive sins of others that G-d chooses not to give to the sinner because then they might lose all faith in G-d. This belief, described at Talmud Bavli, Brachot 5a, is an explanation of why we see good people suffering for no apparent reason.

Please see my Primer for other points.

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    amazing answer! Commented May 2, 2014 at 2:58
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    Downvoter: If there is something wrong with the accuracy of my arguments, please explain. If you voted me down because you have theological differences, that is not an appropriate reason for a down-vote -- I answered the question which is "why don't Jews think Jesus is the Messiah." Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 19:44
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    @Loewian -- you find the answer in that the gemara specifically quotes Isaiah 53:10 ("For it is said: And the Lord was pleased with [him, hence] he crushed him by disease." The next verse in Isaiah tells us that by causing this suffering to one whom God loves, he thereby bears the iniquities of other sinners. Rashi says this in his commentary to Isaiah 53:12, and I think Rashi says it also in his commentary to Berachos 5a. I don't have that with me, however. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 17:09
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    Great point about downvote appropriateness. If someone posted the question "Why do Muslims believe that the Torah was corrupted?" on Islam.SE, you would not downvote answers just because you believe that the Torah has not been corrupted. Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 20:52
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    @WillByers judaism is not an ethnicity, it is a people identified by their faith and religion, unlike other peoples who are identified by their genetic ethnicity and culture. authentic judaism is made up of people of all cultures
    – Hershy S.
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 16:32

For a complete treatment of the subject, see a work like this. There are anti-missionary sites that certainly go through the various Biblical descriptions of the Messiah; these aren't hard to find if you google around a bit.

In brief, here's how Maimonides codifies the job description of the Jewish Messiah, in Chapter 11 of his Laws of Kings & their Wars; this is normative Jewish belief:

ו [ג] אל יעלה על דעתך שהמלך המשיח, צריך לעשות אותות ומופתים, ומחדש דברים בעולם, או מחייה מתים, וכיוצא בדברים אלו שהטיפשים אומרים; אין הדבר כן--שהרי רבי עקיבה חכם גדול מחכמי משנה היה, והוא היה נושא כליו של בן כוזבא המלך, והוא היה אומר עליו, שהוא המלך המשיח. ודימה הוא וכל חכמי דורו שהוא המלך המשיח, עד שנהרג בעוונות; כיון שנהרג, נודע שאינו משיח, ולא שאלו ממנו חכמים, לא אות ולא מופת.


ח [ד] ואם יעמוד מלך מבית דויד הוגה בתורה ועוסק במצוות כדויד אביו, כפי תורה שבכתב ושבעל פה, ויכוף כל ישראל לילך בה ולחזק בדקה, ויילחם מלחמות ה'--הרי זה בחזקת שהוא משיח: אם עשה והצליח, וניצח כל האומות שסביביו, ובנה מקדש במקומו, וקיבץ נדחי ישראל--הרי זה משיח בוודאי.

ט ואם לא הצליח עד כה, או נהרג--בידוע שאינו זה שהבטיחה עליו תורה, והרי הוא ככל מלכי בית דויד השלמים הכשרים שמתו. ולא העמידו הקדוש ברוך הוא אלא לנסות בו רבים, שנאמר "ומן המשכילים ייכשלו, לצרוף בהן ולברר וללבן--עד עת קץ: כי עוד, למועד" (ראה דנייאל יא,לה).

The Messiah need not perform miracles, alter nature, or ressurect the dead; as Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest sages of the Talmud, supported Ben Koziva [a.k.a. Bar Kokhba]'s revolt and believed him to be the Messiah, until Bar Kokhba was killed [by the Romans] due to his own sins, at which point it was known he was not the Messiah. ...

Should a king arise from the [patrilineal] house of David, versed in the Torah and involved in commandments like his ancestor King David, in line with the Written and Oral Law [i.e. Tanach and Talmud], and leads the Jewish people to follow the Torah with increased strength, and fight the wars of G-d, he is a candidate to be the Messiah.

  • Should he succeed, defeating the nations around him, building the Temple in its location, and ingathering all the exiled Jews, then he is certainly the Messiah.
  • Should he fail to do any of that, or be killed -- then certainly he is not the one the Torah promised; he is like any other wholesome, appropriate king from the House of David who served well until his death.

Suffice it to say that Jews believe Jesus failed to meet that description.

  • How does the "be killed" part work out with moshiach Ben Yosef, who will be a precursor to, but not a leader of the redemption?
    – Moshe
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 5:12
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    @Moshe, Rambam here is talking about the moshiach, clearly the Davidic one (as he stated). The whole Ben Yosef thing is a lot murkier (and doesn't appear in the Rambam at all, to the best of my knowledge). Apparently it's not for us to worry about: we know what Mashiach ben David will look like; once we see that, we can look back and figure out how the whole ben yosef thing played out.
    – Shalom
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 13:29
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    "we know what Mashiach ben David will look like"... please elaborate. What will he look like?
    – Sam
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 3:14
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    @Sam, It means we know what his behavior will look like. See the Rambam in Shalom's answer.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 12:55
  • @Moshe: If Moshiach ben Yosef were killed, then according to Rambam cited above, "he is like all the other fit and proper kings of the house of David that died". He just isn't the ultimate and final Moshiach that is promised in the Torah. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 16:32

As a student of early Christology, Patristic theology, biblical hermeneutics, textual criticism of the bible, and the history of the bible and the early church, I can answer this question the way I wish it had been explained to me.

The Jewish messiah is expected to be and do many things, but Jesus simply doesn't fit the description, and he certainly didn't fit the description which was widely popular in the first century. At that time, Israel was dominated by heathen pagans from Rome. These pagans even appointed the high priest of the Temple. The messianic expectations of the first century were reflective of this context, and the expectations included:

  • The messiah will overthrow the Roman regime in Judaea. Jesus tried to challenge Roman authority, and it cost him his life.

Halacha 1 In the future, the Messianic king will arise and renew the Davidic dynasty, restoring it to its initial sovereignty. He will build the Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel.

Should he succeed, defeating the nations around him, building the Temple in its location, and ingathering all the exiled Jews, then he is certainly the Messiah.

Should he fail to do any of that, or be killed -- then certainly he is not the one the Torah promised; he is like any other wholesome, appropriate king from the House of David who served well until his death.- Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 11

There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite through the corners of Moab.
- Numbers 24:17

Hag. ii. 21, 22; "I will shake the heavens and the earth and I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms. . . ." - Talmud tractate Sanhedrin97b

"He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever." - 2 Samuel 22:51

But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination.
- Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, Chapter 5, Verse 4

  • The messiah will be exalted by all. Jesus was ignored by most people, and humiliated and tortured to death by pagans.

'Behold, My servant the Messiah shall prosper; he shall be exalted and great and very powerful...It is the will of the Lord to purify and to acquit as innocent the remnant of his people, to cleanse their souls of sin, so that they may see the kingdom of their Messiah.’ - Targum of Isaiah 52.13-53.12

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. - Isaiah 11:10

  • The messiah will be triumphant in life, not death. Jesus failed completely in life, and even Christians claim that he was triumphant in death, not life.

  • The messiah will be a warrior King, a priest King, or both. Jesus was neither a warrior nor a priest. He was never any kind of King.

  • The messiah will unite the Jews, make non-Jews seek the guidance of Jews, raise Israel to her proper place at the head of the nations. Jesus didn't do anything regarding Israel's status, and if anything, he actually divided Jews rather than uniting them.

12He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
- Isaiah 11:12-13

…22'So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.' 23"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."'" - Zechariah 8

'I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.'
- Daniel 7.13-14

  • The messiah will usher in the kingdom of G-d. Jesus didn't do this either.

'I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.'
- Daniel 7.13-14

“G-d will be King over all the earth; on that day G-d will be One and His Name One
- Zechariah 14:9

  • The messiah will be a mortal human being, not a divine figure. According to Christianity, Jesus was divine. This does not conform to any of the predictions regarding the messiah.

    • This one is almost impossible to provide a reference for, because it is taken for granted by Jews. The messiah is simply a human being of exceptional piety, virtue, and wisdom. The texts don't seem to mention it because it didn't need to be mentioned. By way of analogy, biographies of Abraham Lincoln don't mention the fact that he had feet, because everyone knows that already. The messiah being a mortal human being is almost as self evident to Jews as the fact that most people have feet.

The Messiah will be a mortal man, a descendant of King David

  • The messiah will be accepted by the Jews. Jesus was not accepted by most Jews.

“For the children of Israel will remain for many days with no king and no prince… Afterward, the children of Israel will return and seek G-d their L-rd and David their king; they will come in awe to G-d and His goodness, in the end of days”
- Hosea 3:4-5

  • The messiah will be a great interpreter of scripture and Jewish law. Jesus' interpretations of law were not especially popular, and if the gospel accounts are accurate, he occasionally misquoted scripture.

'For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.'
- Isaiah 2:2-4

'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called "Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness, from this time forth and for ever more. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.'
- Isaiah 9.6-7

All of the above facts are relevant in their own way, but the most basic reason for rejecting the claim that Jesus was the messiah is simple:

He died.

Not only that, he died in the most horrific and humiliating manner imaginable. He was stripped naked, flogged in public, spat on, nailed to a cross, and mocked and ridiculed by jeering crowds. It is difficult to imagine anything less messianic than this. When the messiah comes, he will not be crucified. He will rule the world.

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    The messiah will be a warrior King, a priest King, or both. While there is a midrashic source that mentions that there will be three ancillary "messiahs" accompanying the primary Messiah descended from David (who is to be the actual king), and one of the ancillary messiahs is a kohanic priest, the Messiah with direct paternal lineage to David cannot be a kohanic priest by definition.
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 20:11
  • Also, regarding the translation of the verse in Isaiah 9, you may be interested in judaism.stackexchange.com/q/34228 and judaism.stackexchange.com/q/31907 (as well as judaism.stackexchange.com/a/38673).
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 20:27
  • Isn't there a tradition that there were at least several other Jews nailed to a cross right next to Jesus that fateful day?
    – JJLL
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 1:00
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    Sounds like you guys will believe on his return visit as he will fit all those things. God's timing is just different than man's and perhaps he wanted more of us gentiles to convert. Either way, if Revelations is correct I think we'll both have our expected savior, praise our maker...
    – Adam Heeg
    Commented Apr 3, 2021 at 13:02
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    @AdamHeeg The difference is the Jews actually knew Jesus personally, and did not believe he had the potential to be the messiah, or even a person of particular note. The fact that 2000 years passed does not make it better.
    – N.T.
    Commented May 5 at 4:37

This question is not just about 'Who was, or will be, the Jewish messiah?' It's also about things like what 'the messiah' even means, and whether or not the whole religion of Christianity could also be true.

That would include the assertions that a man was an incarnation of God; that you need to believe in a messianic claimant in order to have forgiveness from and relationship with God; and that only Christian Jews are the fulfilment of Isaiah 59:21, while no other Jewish group is the place where God is speaking. Most communities of people who believe in Jesus adhere to one or more of those points.

It's also important to think about the starting points of the question. Why listen to Jesus/Yeshua, out of all the people who have claimed this? Should we take it seriously because of something in the Christian community or experience that stands out to us? Or because of prophecies in Tanach? Or because of a feeling of admiration for the personality of the messianic claimant described in the Christian gospels?

The divinity/incarnation claim is the most serious issue, because if it is not true then to worship a human as God is plain idolatry. For sure, a lot of Christians truly love and seek God, and He responds to them in their sincerity. But it's still destructive, and it's still off-limits to Jews and to anyone who knows better. At the heart of Tanach, and of Judaism, is the relationship between Creator and His creation. If you read Psalm 148 you can gain a beautifully clear sense of this attitude that pervades the biblical Israelite understanding. For us to treat something or someone around us in creation as if they were the one who made and deserves our hearts, or a power that we can completely trust and admire in and of themselves, is spiritual adultery. It's also humiliating to worship a fellow creature who owes worship to God as much as we do.

So clearly with this point, you have to be totally careful in light of the Torah and the prophets. When it comes to knowing God, it's good to cling to Him in faith even when our knowledge is small or unclear for a time. But when it comes to worshiping something that seems to be created, or possibly distinct from God, you can't allow something into your worship if you're not 100% sure that it's our Creator alone. The commandments about worship in Torah are clear and there's no room for ambiguity. A couple of questions arise. First, is it possible that God should become incarnate as a human? And also, how does the Torah expect anyone to test such a claim according to the standards of absolute carefulness regarding worship?

Most people who believe in divinity for Jesus think he was 'fully human and fully God'. In the New Testament, it's clear that Jesus prayed and that he had a relationship with God, calling Him Father. So one question would be, in this fundamental relationship between Creator and created, which side of the relationship was Jesus on? If 'Creator' then he was not one of us. If created, then he didn't deserve to be called God. We could talk about this for a long time, and it's not the deepest or clearest point here, but it is an important one. The most defining feature of 'what it means to be human' is our relationship of worship towards God, and the interesting thing is that (according to the gospels) Jesus portrayed himself as having the humility of a worshipper and a servant of God (in line with the idea of what the Davidic king 'should be'). If he was also going to ask for worship from us as well, then that is a fundamentally mixed signal.

The other issue on this point is the question of how Jews should test such a claim according to the Torah. For example, Torah expects that prophets will come and that there will be particular ways of testing them. Even miracles or fulfilled prophecies, though they might be a sign of a prophet, aren't a guarantee according to the Torah standards. In the commandment about tzitzit (Numbers 15:38-41), the Israelites were taught to hold onto the commandments so they wouldn't be led astray by their hearts or eyes. So, does the clarity of commandments in the Sinai revelation, where Israel met her God, point someone to expect that a new way of meeting with and worshipping God may one day be commanded? If so, what is the test; how can you know which incarnations are true, and which are false? Did God expect Israel to take any such claim seriously about a human they could meet or remember, or anything else with breath? Many Jews have loyally chosen to put up a wall around their worship with a door that will only ever be opened to God; they do not open it to Jesus because no reason to do so can match the carefulness taught in the Torah.

The question remains about whether Jesus might have been the messiah even if he was not God to be worshipped. It becomes difficult to ask this question, though, firstly because most of the Jews never accepted him, while most of the people who did ended up using him as an idol. Unless you're going to assume that the testimony of God could be held in Islam, but that's beyond the scope of your question and would only be considered for reasons quite different from the ones why people consider Christianity. Just quickly, a problem with Islam from the Jewish perspective is that Muhammed asked Jews in his time to follow him because of what they already knew of God and His Law, but Muslims insist that by that time the Jewish scriptures and traditions had been corrupted. To follow Muhammed would have been to violate Judaism as they understood it, so they would first have to stop trusting in the Jewish testimony; only then could they listen to Muhammed. There could be no continuity. If God set up a method of preservation in His covenant with Israel, what was it?

But for all of those communities who do believe in Tanach (as currently preserved) and who also believe that Jesus was messiah, regardless of whether they think he was God, the thing that they are lacking most is the sign of the covenant between God and Israel. I'm not saying that the rabbinic/Orthodox Jewish community is infallible or perfect, by any stretch, but there's no other claimant to being the 'righteous remnant' of Israel who can say that in every generation, there were people among them keeping Shabbos, keeping testimonial signs, mitzvot, and observances, and passing them on to their children along with the messsage of their God who brought them out of Egypt. That's a big problem for them: how can Jesus be the messiah if in some generations, all the people keeping the signs of the remnant of God, and living righteously according to the Torah and prophets, didn't accept him? No matter what feelings, miracles, or beautiful expressions of community and love for God exist in Christianity or in 'Messianic Jewish' (following Jesus) groups, how can they claim that they are the only Jewish remnant living by faith, and that all other Jews have no concept of grace or of coming close to God in love and His forgiveness?

When you look at the proof texts that are brought by Christians to support the idea of Jesus being the messiah, you can see from the context that most of them are not even clearly about the messiah, the/an anointed one, or the king who will restore David's line. A lot of them can also be read legitimately in a number of different ways. The description of someone suffering is not necessarily a reference to Jesus(!), and there are also some translation issues in Christian Bibles. I can't go into them all because it would take a long time, but suffice to say that these parallels seem much bigger to someone who thinks 'messiah'='Jesus'; who equates the idea of moshiach with death and resurrection, with incarnation, or with a sacrifice for forgiveness; and who has truly known God in the Christian community and setting while reading the 'Old Testament' with a structure that highlights their belief in (and thankfulness for) Jesus' 'sacrifice'. They (and Tanach as a whole) can always be read very legitimately, and more naturally, in different ways. And you should remember that the people who wrote the New Testament knew Tanach and the imagery of the hope of Israel, so some parallels could be because of their understanding of what happened (influenced by biblical imagery) rather than the reality that everyone else could see.

The idea of needing forgiveness for sin is a non-issue. God clearly promised this forgiveness to the Jewish people and already built it in to the Torah. It's a gift beyond words that we can't understand, but Isaiah 55:6-9 makes it clear that we don't need to understand how it happens. Christianity looks at it retrospectively and says that they can now explain it, but that in itself is no proof for anything. Also see Deuteronomy 30 for the way in which God taught Israel to return to Him and be forgiven, even in the last generation, and Ezekiel 33:10-16.

A good parshah to give foundations for considering all the claims that people make about Jesus is Va'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11). This is where the caution and loyalty, which Christians often perceive as pride or stubbornness, is coming from. Remember also how important the community of the righteous remnant is in the prophetic understanding of God's program in the world concerning Israel. If Jews who love God and rely on His mercy while keeping His commandments carefully are really holding His light in our world, then to ignore them and listen to another cult or sect or religion is to ignore the word of God in our midst and to cause a lot of pain and isolation to members of the real firstborn-son and servant of God (Israel) who are holding on to their testimony and to His Law, which is their life and the method of preserving the covenant. It's true that they're still waiting for the restoration of many things, but what is the standard in Tanach for defining the righteous among Israel? Doesn't it involve justice, faithfulness to God, and mercy for people who are suffering? Nothing is said about accepting a messianic claimant in the time before he has fulfilled any actual messianic prophecies, or else losing your relationship with God, especially if the trusted leaders and the righteous community of Israel (whom we trust as the ones who recognised the prophets) don't recognise a person as such. No one can tell you that you owe this, and there is no clear reason to draw the circle of 'salvation' so small as to take the words of God away from the people who are so loyally and lovingly, obediently guarding them.

Some Christians also believe that the Torah is no longer valid in the 'messianic age' of Jesus, and that Jews who try to follow it are rejecting grace. I don't think that this was the message in most, if not all, of the New Testament. But for groups who believe it, there are some very severe biblical issues with accepting an idea like this as well. Obviously this comes from a lot of misconceptions about how grace and a law 'on your hearts' are already a foundational part of the Jewish experience of Torah.

Basically, the question of whether Jesus was / will be moshiach and the one of whether Christianity (or Messianic Judaism) is true are two very different questions. But I can see no reason to seriously consider or accept either claim, and in each case there's a lot at stake in doing so if you're wrong.


Jesus in his time period, from a historical perspective, was unimportant. Josephus; the famed Jewish historian during the Roman reign, doesn’t even mention a Jesus (there is a text of Josephus which mention Jesus, that has been disproven by many historians; Jew and Gentile alike, as a forgery by later Christians). Philo the great Alexandrian historian as well does not mention any such Jesus. I do not mean to say that Jesus never existed; that is a discussion unto itself. What I mean to say is that in his lifetime, he did not make any noticeable impact upon his time period, the stories of the Gospel were written down almost a hundred years after Jesus died, and many of the stories were embellished to give the impression that Jesus was more important in his time period. That period was a very tumultuous time for the Jewish people. Roman persecution was brutal and merciless. In fact, there were many people who proclaimed themselves to be the Messiah at the time, none of them were successful in gaining acceptance among the people, yet we know of these people from the historians. But if it were true that he was Jesus played a central and public role during the period, why wouldn’t the major historians of the time mention him once? In this light, being that Jesus did not play a significant role, we can assume that he was no greater or worse than the other myriad of self proclaimed Messiahs of the period. Essentially, there is or was nothing forcing or compelling the Jews into accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

Furthermore, The Christian belief that Jesus is the son of G-d or G-d Himself is also untenable and considered Heresy, for it had been established for thousands of years that G-d could not take the form of Man. Historically (again without use of scripture) the Romans classified Judaism as atheism because our religion never had any idols or drawings of G-d in any form whatsoever (this was a time when only the Jews held the view of monotheism, as opposed to the rest of the world which practiced idolatry and paganism). To say that Jesus was the human embodiment of G-d in this world is clearly a breach of this.


there are a few reasons 1) the Messiah must be a human descendant from the linage of King David on his fathers side and he apparently didn't have a human father 2)belief in G-d as a human being is heresy. G-d is infinite and putting him in a body incarnate limits his being. In Christianity when Jesus rose from the dead he was no longer in the grave he was laid to rest in. This is a limited being and G-d is all places at all times and without exception. 3) anyone who attempts to negate the prophesy of Moses isn't considered a prophet but a liar. A liar who can preform miracles is a liar who relies on impure sources to get these abilities. 4) the messiah is required to accomplish specific things such as cause all of the Jews to keep the Torah, influence non-Jews to observe the seven laws, wage the wars of G-d against amalek, rebuild the temple. 5) the messiah cannot have been someone who was killed.

essentially the Messiah is someone who will bring Jews to observe the Torah and influence all of humanity to become moral people. The teachings of Christianity have not accomplished any of those things and post the crucifiction of Jesus the world has experienced large amounts of evil done in his name


you have two completely different question here, one on the topic and other on the question body. so in order: 1) they have a tradition that goes ultimately to his first 12 students which believe because he said so. 2) the rambam brings several points on how to detect false prophets, see mishne tora. we have a tradition that the messias in a prophet. there are also several point that the messias need to fulfill, and this is basically how we would recognize him and how we can know which ones to reject (in plural, note that the one you mentioned was not the only one in the last ~3 thousand years).

I could make a list here but that would be the answers for a different question, one simple point that I believe anyone can check for himself is the temple, we simply have no temple (until this writting). you can come and check yourself.

  • I don't believe that Jesus was anything but a man, but I think you can make a strong case against him being the messiah without the self contradictory statements about him not having a human father. If you, like me, believe that Jesus was just some guy, and if you, like me, don't believe he was the son of G-d, then it doesn't make sense to suggest that he didn't have a human father. The claim that Jesus was the son of G-d only makes sense if you believe it. It is far more reasonable to simply say that the genealogies of Jesus are wildly inaccurate, because they are.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 15:04

On the simplest level,like mentioned in the other answers here quoting Rambam, Mishnah Torah, Hilchot Melachim, Chapter 11:4 he was killed, meaning executed, by the Romans. That disqualifies him.

If you are actually looking for a more involved answer, he is the false prophet that was destined to arise from the Jewish people that Moshe Rabbeinu told of in Sefer Devarim 13:1-6. Even though technically you could call this a type of 'moshiach', meaning one sent by G-d, it is for a completely different mission like Moshe tells us.

  • Perhaps it would be helpful if you could more specifically delineate the things he prophesied and how he was qualified or disqualified based on the test set forth in Devarim 13. If I understand correctly, a true prophet would speak and something he prophesied would come to pass in that generation that would validate the rest of his prophecy that extended into the future.
    – user2411
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:28
  • @Sarah, personally I'm not interested in reviewing his life, or miracles, or 'prophecies'. Suffice it to say there are Jewish sources that acknowledge these things. The significant point is that he transgressed the prohibition of adding or subtracting from the commandments with 'his commandment', meaning the golden rule. Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:42
  • Well, it is understandable your lack of interest in examining it, especially if someone has done so already. Are there sources you know of you can point me to. This examination is where I was heading next; but, I am weak on geography, and history, so it is difficult for me to put the pieces together. I am also interested if you willing to elaborate on your point about the golden rule and his adding to or subtracting from the commandments.
    – user2411
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:48
  • Check out Sefer Toldot Yeshu HaNotzri. It contains the censored parts of the Talmud. The 'golden rule' is stated as a positive, exactly the opposite of how it is taught in Torah. The Torah version teaches tolerance. His version has the opposite effect. Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:55
  • could you provide links
    – user2411
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 21:10

Your question is poorly posed. You ask "Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?". I ask "Why should Jews think Jesus is the messiah?". Compare this with "Why can't you be like me?" and "Why should I be like you?".

I have seen lots of Christians pick and choose various verses from all over the Tanach which purport to prove that Jesus was the messiah. However, if you look at Jewish thinking over the past few thousand years, the concept of a messiah has never been central, or even major. Have you ever attended a shabbat evening or morning service? There is really nothing there about a messiah. There is a great deal of content on the one-ness of G-d, how G-d is the master of the universe, blessings of well-being.

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