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Jesus and the Hebrew Messiah

Q: If The Urantia Book supports that Jesus is the Messiah spoken about by the Hebrew prophets, then does the book tell why God did not tell the Hebrew people that the Messiah was his Son? the Jews don't believe that God is divisible and can be another entity.

Thanks so much for writing to us here at TruthBook with your question.

A: The Urantia Book does not support the idea that Jesus is the Messiah spoken about by the Hebrew prophets. Jesus was born into the Jewish culture, and the Jews were thought to be the best launching place for his mission, but he did not come to fulfill the Jewish religion's prophecies. His was a mission that transcended any and all earthly religions and even today, stands above all of them. He can unify all of them but Jesus belongs to all the world, all the universe.

And, did God reveal the Messiah concept to the early Hebrews? I have not found any passages in the book that support that idea. If he did reveal it, then I am as confused as you are as to why he did not make it clearer, if indeed Jesus was to fulfill that prophecy.

According to what I have found in researching your question, the Jewish ideas of the Messiah were hazy and dissimilar.

Click to read Concepts of the Expected Messiah

According to this passage, the Messiah concept was an evolving one.

136:1.1 The Jews entertained many ideas about the expected deliverer, and each of these different schools of Messianic teaching was able to point to statements in the Hebrew scriptures as proof of their contentions. In a general way, the Jews regarded their national history as beginning with Abraham and culminating in the Messiah and the new age of the kingdom of God. In earlier times they had envisaged this deliverer as "the servant of the Lord," then as "the Son of Man," while latterly some even went so far as to refer to the Messiah as the "Son of God." But no matter whether he was called the "seed of Abraham" or "the son of David," all were agreed that he was to be the Messiah, the "anointed one." Thus did the concept evolve from the "servant of the Lord" to the "son of David," "Son of Man," and "Son of God."

Even Jesus was not altogether sure what it meant to be the Jewish Messiah, according to this passage.

126:3.10 The great confusion of Jesus' younger days now arose. Having settled something about the nature of his mission on earth, "to be about his Father's business"—to show forth his Father's loving nature to all mankind—he began to ponder anew the many statements in the Scriptures referring to the coming of a national deliverer, a Jewish teacher or king. To what event did these prophecies refer? Was not he a Jew?, or was he? Was he or was he not of the house of David? His mother averred he was; his father had ruled that he was not. He decided he was not. But had the prophets confused the nature and mission of the Messiah?

By the time John was preaching, "all his early teaching was based upon the current Jewish idea and concept of the Messiah as the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation from the domination of their gentile rulers." And in this next passage, there is further mention of the concept of the Messiah as " 'the Son of Man'—a Son of God—a heavenly Prince, long held in waiting thus to assume the rulership of the earth made new."

135:5.6 Some of the Jews held to the opinion that God might possibly establish this new kingdom by direct and divine intervention, but the vast majority believed that he would interpose some representative intermediary, the Messiah. And that was the only possible meaning the term Messiah could have had in the minds of the Jews of the generation of John and Jesus. Messiah could not possibly refer to one who merely taught God's will or proclaimed the necessity for righteous living. To all such holy persons the Jews gave the title of prophet. The Messiah was to be more than a prophet; the Messiah was to bring in the establishment of the new kingdom, the kingdom of God. No one who failed to do this could be the Messiah in the traditional Jewish sense.
Who would this Messiah be? Again the Jewish teachers differed. The older ones clung to the doctrine of the son of David. The newer taught that, since the new kingdom was a heavenly kingdom, the new ruler might also be a divine personality, one who had long sat at God's right hand in heaven. And strange as it may appear, those who thus conceived of the ruler of the new kingdom looked upon him not as a human Messiah, not as a mere man, but as "the Son of Man"—a Son of God—a heavenly Prince, long held in waiting thus to assume the rulership of the earth made new. Such was the religious background of the Jewish world when John went forth proclaiming: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"

Ater the events of Cana, Jesus finally decided to try and fit himself into the current Jewish idea of Messiah. But this was Jesus' decision and it appears that he made that decision in order to make his mission more acceptable to his people.

137:5.3 That night Jesus did not sleep. Donning his evening wraps, he sat out on the lake shore thinking, thinking until the dawn of the next day. In the long hours of that night of meditation Jesus came clearly to comprehend that he never would be able to make his followers see him in any other light than as the long-expected Messiah. At last he recognized that there was no way to launch his message of the kingdom except as the fulfillment of John's prediction and as the one for whom the Jews were looking. After all, though he was not the Davidic type of Messiah, he was truly the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances of the more spiritually minded of the olden seers. Never again did he wholly deny that he was the Messiah. He decided to leave the final untangling of this complicated situation to the outworking of the Father's will.

And, if you are right about the Jews' belief that God is not divisible, maybe this was one of the problems they had in accepting Jesus as the Son of God, rather than the Messiah.

I think we can both agree that the good news is that Jesus did bestow himself onto our world.

And, like Jesus, it may be best for us "to leave the final untangling of this complicated situation to the outworking of the Father's will."

Thanks so much for writing; I hope this reply has been helpful. I suggest you follow the links above to read more of the story as presented in The Urantia Book.

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Author: Staff