Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) proclaims the coming Messiah, will
be a descendent of David, (Son of David). When we
compare the Jewish and Christian understanding of who
the Messiah is, we see two different people. Although
there are similarities between the Christian and Jewish
views of Messiah, the differences outweigh any
First, let us compare what the similarities between the two
views of Messiah. From a Christian point of view, many
of the qualifications for the Messiah of Judaism
reach fulfillment at the Second Coming. The
Messiah will rule from Jerusalem, over the nations,
during his reign Israel will be blessed above the
nations. Leading up to his coming, Israel will suffer
persecution by the nations (Gentiles) and at the end
when it seems like all hope is lost, Messiah, Son of
David, comes to Israel’s rescue and defeats the
nations. Many of these beliefs are similar between the
Jewish and Christian views on the role Messiah will
differences revolve around the role and nature Messiah
would play in the world. Jews reject the idea of the
Messiah fulfilling two roles, one role, “Suffering
Messiah” and the second role as “King Messiah”.
Judaism also rejects as blasphemous the idea, that the
Messiah would be the Son of God, very God, not to
mention the idea that as God he died for the sins of the
Descendent of Man and Abraham
Son of man
Son of Abraham
Son of Man
Son of Abraham
Descendent of David
Son of David
Son of David
Rescues Israel from the nations (Gentiles)
Comes riding on the clouds or on a donkey
depending on Israel
Messiah (returns) at the second coming as the
nations surround Israel.
Messiah rules from Jerusalem over the nations
Messiah (Christ) rules over the nations
Length of rule
Made chief among the nations. Blessed by God
Made chief among the nations. Blessed by God
According to Judaism Messiah is only a man, and
nothing more, greater then Moses, but only a
Christians view the Messiah as God who came in
the flesh, to pay for the sins of mankind,
Son of God
Jews view Messiah as only the “Son of man”
descendent of David
Christians view Messiah, as not only a “Son of
David” but as God who came into the world
through “Virgin birth” and thus becoming “Son of
Dying for sin
According to Maimonides, if the person who
claims to be Messiah dies, he cannot be Messiah.
Let alone die for the sins of the world.
Christians view Messiah death as the ultimate
atonement for sin. Messiah death paid for the
sins of the world.
differences between the Christian and Jewish views of
Messiah and their justification for each, turns to
scripture. The Christian’s view of Jesus as the
“Suffering Messiah” is clearly in the Jewish scriptures,
the Hebrew Bible. Jewish interpreters reply, “Not so!,
Christians are not interpreting scripture correctly”,
Two messianic prophecies Christians claim speaks to the
person and role of Messiah and his divine nature are in
Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6-7. Let us
examine them separately, although they are part of the
same unit in Isaiah, both proclaimed during a precarious
time in Israel’s history. When Judah very survival was
background to Isaiah 7 to 12
understand the context of these prophecies, we need
first to understand what events surrounded Israel at
this time. In Isaiah chapter 7, Isaiah delivers a
message to Ahaz king of Judah.
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah was a wicked king in Judah,
the 13th in line from King David. During his
reign, Rezin king of Syria and Pekah king
of the Israel,
the northern tribes, formed an alliance against Ahaz
king of Judah. Syria and Israel were intent on
replacing Ahaz, with another king, son of Tabel
hope seemed lost for Judah, they had already been
defeated by Pekah king of Israel, the results were
horrendous, 120,000 men of Judah were killed and 200,000
women and children taken captive (2 Chronicles. 28:5-8).
Syria allied with Israel with intent on replacing Ahaz,
forming an alliance against Assyria to the east.
Ahaz was a faithless king, who worshipped
the Baals, sacrificed his children, burned
incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and
sacrificed on the high places and under green trees.
Because Ahaz and the nation of Judah had fallen away,
the Lord delivered them into the hands of their enemies,
resulting in their hopeless condition (2 Chronicles
Ahaz, rather then turning to the Lord,
turned to Assyria for help. He sent messengers to the
king of Assyria requesting help against Israel and
Syria. Judah became a vassal to Assyria, during the
reign of Ahaz, because he was faithless.
This is the scene surrounding Isaiah 7 to
12, where Isaiah proclaims the prophecies revealed in
Isaiah 7:14 and Isaiah 9:6-5.
the prophet is sent to faithless Ahaz, to give him
message of hope and a choice. The attack of Syria and
Israel is not just on Ahaz, but on the “House of
which they plan on replacing with their own puppet king,
son of Tabel. Isaiah meets Ahaz with his son and
proclaims to him the “Word of the Lord”.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, "Go out now to meet Ahaz, you
and Shear-Jashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct
from the upper pool, on the highway to the Fuller's
Field, 4 "and say to him: 'Take heed, and be quiet; do
not fear or be fainthearted for these two stubs of
smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and
Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 5 'Because Syria,
Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil
against you, saying, 6 "Let us go up against Judah and
trouble it, and let us make a gap in its wall for
ourselves, and set a king over them, the son of Tabel" 7
thus says the Lord God: "It shall not stand, Nor shall
it come to pass”. Isaiah 7:3-7
Lord, through Isaiah then asks Ahaz to ask for a sign,
which Ahaz refuses, demonstrating his faithless nature.
The Lord then replies to Ahaz, referring to him as the
“House of David .
13 Then he said, "Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small
thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God
also? 14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a
sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.Isaiah 7:13-14
at the birth of Jesus applied these verses to Jesus’
birth. Quoting from the Septuagint (LXX) Matthew writes,
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son,
and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is
translated, "God with us." Matthew 1:22-23
Interpretation of Isaiah 7:14
interpreters reject this interpretation of Isaiah 7:14
with several points, they see Isaiah 7:14 referring to a
sign during the time of Ahaz, demonstrating before the
child has the knowledge, to refuse “Wrong and right” the
two kings of Israel and Syria will be destroyed. They
say this is a near term sign, and does not refer to the
translations of Isaiah 7:14
the Lord Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a
Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Lord himself will give you a sign: The
virgin will be with child and will give
birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a
sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and
bear a son, and his name shall be called
Publication Society (JPS)
Lord will give you a sign of His own accord!
Look, the young woman is with child and
about to give birth to a son. Let her name
Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold,
the maiden will become pregnant and bear a
son, and she will name him Immanuel.
Isaiah is not talking about a virgin, Matthew
incorrectly translated the Hebrew word,
`almah as virgin. The word means “Young maiden”
and not virgin.
to Objection 1
Matthew quotes from the Greek translation of
the Tanakh (Old Testment), (LXX) the Septuagint, which
was translated before Jesus was even born. According to
history, the translation was done at the request of
Ptolemy II Philadelphus (284-247 B.C.), he requested the
“Laws” of the Jews translated into to Greek. At that
time, there was a sizable Greek speaking Jewish
community in Alexandria, Egypt. The translation of the
rest of the Hebrew scriptures followed the Law.
These translators also translated Isaiah
7:14, before Jesus was born and before there was any
reason to “mistranslate” the Hebrew word
from virgin to young maiden. The word
though, not exclusively meaning “Virgin” was understood
by the context to mean “Virgin”. The Septuagint
translates almah to
Parthenos which in almost all cases means a women who has not had
sexual intercourse. The Hebrew translators who
translated the book of Isaiah into Greek understood this
is what Isaiah meant when he used the term.
Isaiah did not mean “Virgin” what kind of “sign” is a
young maiden giving birth.
whole purpose here, is to offer Ahaz a sign. Ahaz, was
without hope, he was facing the armies of Syria and
Israel who were combining to set up their own king and
remove the “House of David” from the throne, over Judah
and Jerusalem. Therefore, the Lord provides a sign to
Ahaz who represents the line of David, an
a token, ensign, standard, miracle, proof. God
challenges Ahaz, to ask for a difficult sign, which Ahaz
refuses to do.
"Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God;
ask it either in the depth or in the height above."Isaiah 7:11
What was this sign? The sign Isaiah offered Ahaz was
this, the alamah will have a son named
Immanuel and before, the son has the ability to
choose, evil or good, Israel and Syria will loose
their kings, Pekah, king of Israel and Rezin,
king of Syria.
"For before the Child shall know to refuse
the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread
will be forsaken by both her kings.
Isaiah was assuring a hopeless, faithless
king, who was sat on the throne of David, that both of
these kings would be destroyed. Ahaz was to believe the
Lord, and not doubt (Isaiah 7:9). Ahaz however failed
this test and called out to Assyria for help. The
Assyrians came in 732 B.C. and crushed Syria killing
Rezin and taking the inhabitants of Damascus captive.
Ahaz met Tiglath-Pileser III in Damascus,
submitting to Assyrian authority (2 Kings 16:10). Ahaz
was a faithless king who rejected the Lord’s promise of
deliverance and instead looked to Assyria. In Damascus,
Ahaz had the priest Urijah make a copy of the altar of
the pagan gods to replace the altar of the Lord.
Isaiah warned Ahaz, the Assyrians would one
day pass over the land of Judah like they are passing
over the land of Israel to the north. This theme of
Assyrian assault on Judah continues to chapter 12.
During this period, clear references are made to the
coming of Messiah. In Isaiah 9:7, reference is made to
the eternal throne of David, clearly Messianic in
nature. Isaiah 11 looks forward to the “Branch” from
Jesse, David’s father, who will “Strike the earth with
the rod of his mouth”.
Unlike his father Ahaz, Hezekiah saw the
miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem, because he trusted
the Lord unlike Ahaz (Isaiah 37). Ahaz, relied on
Assyria to deliver him from Israel and Syria rather then
Lord. Assyria would be in control of Judah until the
Lord delivered the nation in Hezekiah reign.
does not exclusively apply to “virgin” either.
interpreters make the charge that the proper name for
hlwtb Bethuwlah not Almah the word used in Isaiah 7:14. Dr.
Michael Brown responds to the charge that
alone can exclusively mean Virgin in the Hebrew Bible.
Actually, there is no single word in biblical Hebrew that
always and only means “virgin” (called in Latin virgo
intacta). As for the Hebrew word betulah,
while it often refers to a virgin in the Hebrew
Scriptures, more often than not it has no reference to
virginity but simply means “young woman, maiden.” In
fact, out of the fifty times the word betulah
occurs in the Tanakh, the NJPSV translates it as
“maiden”—rather than “virgin”—thirty-one times! This
means that more then three out of very five times that
betulah occurs in the Hebrew Bible, it is
translated as “maiden” rather then “virgin” by the most
widely used Jewish translation of our day. Not only so,
but the Stone edition of the Tanakh, reflecting
traditional Orthodox scholarship, frequently translates
betulah as “maiden” as well. Even in verses where
the translation of “virgin” is appropriate for
betulah, a qualifying phrase is sometimes added, as
in Genesis 24:16: “The maiden (na’arah) was
beautiful, a virgin (betulah) whom no man had
known” Obviously, if betulah clearly and
unequivocally meant “virgin” here, there would be no
need to explain that this betulah never had
intercourse with a man…. How redundant! What other kind
of virgin is there?...
Even more clear is Isaiah 47:1, rendered in the NIV as, “Go
down, sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter of Babylon; sit
on the ground without a throne, Daughter of the
Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or
delicate.” Yet a few verses later we read that this
“Virgin” will lose her husband and her
children on the very same day!
verses in Isaiah are quoted often, demonstrating the
Messiah’s nature and character foretold seven-hundred
years before he was even born. Here, Isaiah proclaims
the Messiah would be a son of man by being
born as a child, and at the same time be a “son”
given. He goes on to identify the nature of this “son”
and “child” by identifying him as “Mighty God”,
“Everlasting Father” and “Prince of Peace” terms only
used here in the Tanakh, except for Mighty God (El
Gabor) which appears two other times in Isaiah 10:21
and Ezekiel 32:21. The question is, are these verses
speaking about the Messiah, or somebody else? Are
Christians wrongly interpreting these verses?
Translations of Isaiah 9:6-7(5-6)
New King James Version
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is
given; And the government will be upon His
shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful,
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end, Upon the throne of David
and over His kingdom, To order it and establish
it with judgment and justice From that time
forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of
hosts will perform this.
6 For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given
to us, and the government is upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called, Wonderful,
Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the
world to come, the Prince of Peace.
7 His empire shall be multiplied, and there
shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the
throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to
establish it and strengthen it with judgment and
with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the
zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is
given, and the government will be on his
shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end. He will reign on David’s
throne and over his kingdom, establishing and
upholding it with justice and righteousness from
that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD
Almighty will accomplish this.
Jewish Study Bible (JPS)
5 For a child has been born to us, a son has
been given us. And authority has settled on his
shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty God is
planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable
6 In token of abundant authority And of peace
without limit Upon David’s Throne and kingdom,
That it may be firmly established In justice
and equity Now and evermore. The zeal of the
LORD of Hosts Shall bring this to pass.
Interpretation of these verses
Jewish interpreters see the meaning here much different
from Christians. Some interpreters see these verses
fulfilled in Hezekiah, the royal son, who sat on the
throne of David, where his father Ahaz sat. Other
Jewish interpreters clearly see this as messianic in
nature, the names referring to the Messiah according to
the Talmud and Midrash. Abraham ibn
agrees the names refer to the Messiah. Michael Brown’s
work, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus volume III
quotes Ibn Ezra’s views on this verse, he has the
following footnote regarding the names of Messiah,
quoting from Talmudic and midrashic sources.
“R. Yose the Galilean said: “The name of the Messiah is
Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince
Peace’” (Midrash Pereq Shalom, p. 101); “The Messiah is
called by eight names: Yinnon[see Psalm 72:17], Tzemach
[e.g. Jer. 23:5]; Pele’ [Wonderful, Isa. 9:6(5)],
Yo’etz[Counselor, Isa. 9:6(5)], Mashiach [Messiah],
El[God, Isa. 9:6(5), Gibbor[Hero. 9:6(5) and Avi Ad
Shalom [Eternal Father of Peace, Isa. 9:6(5); see
Deuteronomy Rabbah 1:20
The Targum Jonathan also references
these verses in Isaiah as referring to the Messiah.
“For to us a son is born, to us a son is given; and he shall
receive the Law upon him to keep it; and his name is
called from of Old, wonderful, Counselor, Eloha, The
Mighty, Abiding to Eternity, The Messiah, because peace
shall be multiplied on us in his days.” Targum
The Midrash on Deuteronomy also references these
verses as referring to the Messiah.
Rabbi Samuel, the son of Nachman, said, ‘When Esau met Jacob
he said unto him, “My brother Jacob, let us walk
together in this world. Jacob replied: Let my Lord, I
pray thee, pass over before his servant” (Genesis 33:14)
What is the meaning of, “I pray thee, pass over? Jacob
said to him; I have yet to supply the Messiah, of whom
it is said: “Unto us a child is born” Midrash
These verses do not refer to the Messiah but to
Reply to Objection 1
Clearly based on the above quotes, the idea of
this being messianic in nature is also a Jewish
understanding of scripture. Those who deny Isaiah 9:6-7
(5-6) as being understood as Messianic in Judaism are
not being truthful in their comments. Though some see
Hezekiah fulfilling these verses such as Rabbi Hillel,
other Jewish interpreters such as Bar Kapparah
write Hezekiah fell far short. ( See b. Sanhedrin 94a).
The reason we know this verse is clearly
messianic is because it refers to the everlasting throne
of King David. This characteristic is unmistakable in
scripture. To deny these verses as messianic, would be
to deny scripture itself. Lets examine the nature of
the this child’s authority.
Government will be upon His shoulder
Increase of His government and peace There will be no
the throne of David
Establish it with judgment and justice
First, if this verse is not talking about the Messiah, then
whom’s it talking about? The Messiah according to
scripture will do everything mentioned here. Just ask
yourself these questions,
there be two eternal kings, sitting on one throne of
government is on His shoulder for eternity what does the
this person is over David’s kingdom, who whose kingdom
is Messiah over?
No, clearly this is Messianic in nature, the eternal nature
of the throne makes this verse non-sense if applied to
another person other then Messiah. The Lord, through
Nathan the prophet proclaimed to David, about his
descendent, his throne would be eternal.
13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish
the throne of his kingdom forever. 2 Sam. 7:13
Jeremiah refers to the descendent of David as the “Branch”
clearly understood by Jewish interpreters to refer to
the Messiah. (See also Isaiah 11:1, Zechariah 3:8,
5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "That I will
raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall
reign and prosper, And execute judgment and
righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be
saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His
name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR
RIGHTEOUSNESS Jeremiah 23:5-6
Nature of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6-7
Even if these verses refer to the Messiah, it does
not mean Messiah is God, they are given as a name, not
as a character.
Reply to Objection 2
Whether this refers to Messiah or not is not
really the question, since many ancient Jewish
commentators clearly see this as referring to the
Messiah. The most important question is, does this
verse reveal the nature of Messiah, being God?
The “child is born” and “son is given” is called
by names, which are clearly associated with God. The
names associated with Messiah also reflect his nature,
this is the purpose of the name. Names are used
throughout scripture to reflect the person being called.
For example Hagar calls God, (El Ro’iy) after
reassures her in Genesis 16:13.
Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to
her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I
also here seen Him who sees me?"
name used to describe the Messiah is El Gabor (
la) mighty God.
phrase is only used 3 times in the Tanakh, Isaiah 10:21
and Ezekiel 32;21. Only in Isaiah, is it used as a as a
21 The remnant will return, the remnant of
Jacob, To the Mighty God. Isaiah 10:21
Everlasting Father d[-ba (Ab-Ad)
This term is used only once in the Hebrew Bible, here in
Isaiah 9:6 (5). Here the Messiah is called is called by
a name if which, when combined with Mighty God would be
considered blasphemous if the Messiah were not who the
name proclaims Him to be. The idea of an eternal
messiah, is clearly presented in scripture. In Isaiah
9:7 we are told about Messiah’s reign, “There will be
no end” and it will be “even forever”. Here
the Messiah is called, everlasting father a term which
could easily be seen as blasphemous, if Messiah the term
did not match the person.
Prince of Peace
~wlX-rX (Sar Shalowm)
term also reflects the nature of Messiah, who will rule
the nations bringing them into submission. The Second
Psalm reflects the role Messiah will play on the earth,
as peacemaker. He will rule the earth and bring peace
through his presence.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your
inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your
possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'
" Psalm 2:8-9
The “Branch” of Jesse, the Son of David, will even cause the
animals to transform their wild nature to peaceful
coexistence with humanity.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall
lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the
ox. 8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's
den. Isaiah 11;7-8
names applied in Isaiah 9:6 (5) reflect both the
character and nature of Messiah. Isaiah 7:14, and 9:6-7
shows the Messiah to be, “Son of Man” and “Son of God’,
who died for the sins of the world, to reconcile man and