There is a vigorous debate within the Judeo-Christian faith traditions abut the person of Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew). Many Jews call him a heretic, Christians call him both G-d and Son of G-d, an enigma they explain with a concept called the Trinity. And some within a newly emerging branch of Christianity (or is it Judaism?) often called "Hebrew Roots" says while he is NOT G-d, He is the SON of G-d and thus unique and divine. Like Jews and Muslims, they believe that G-d (whom they refer to using various pronunciations of the tetragrammaton YHVH) is ONE and His nature cannot be divided. There have actually long been a segment of Christians called "Non-Trinitarians" or "antitrinitarians" who have rejected the traditional concept of the "Trinity" - or "G-d as three persons." With so much debate among the various sects of Judeo-Christianity it deserves a pause to look at who this person called Jesus of Nazareth was since whoever he was his legacy has impacted our cultures and particularly the most powerful nation in the world for thousands of years. There are many angles we could look at this topic from, but for this journal entry we will look mostly at one angle, who did He say He was, in his own words?
There has been a recent resurgence of interest in the all but forgotten Talmudic discussion of Mashiach ben Yosef or Messiah son of Joseph. Shockingly the ones leading such discussions are most often not Jews who have spent lifetimes combing pages of Talmud as one might expect, but rather Christians who have stumbled upon the Torah and from the common ground of Torah stretched their arms far enough to reach this little-known figure featured in the Talmudic discourses and debates from before the days of the Great Rambam. Before we talk about who Messiah ben Yosef was, we must first understand what a Mashiach is to the Jewish people. Actually, the first thing we are going to point out to kind of BLOW our Christian readers away is that, as the Tanakh records, the first ‘Christ’ already came LONG before Jesus/ Y’shua! This comes as a shock to many Christians, but indeed, it is true. Christ is a Greek loanword; it means ‘anointed one’ and is a translation of the Hebrew word מָשׁיחַ Maschiach, from which we also get the English word Messiah, a transliteration of Maschiach. So, all three words, Christ, Messiah, and Mashiach mean the same thing, Anointed One.
Forest & Andrea Acker