Many of our Jewish people do not believe Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah. Often we are told things like this, “If He was the Messiah, then why don’t most Jewish people believe in Him?” Or “Why don’t the rabbis believe in Him?” Every time we are asked questions like this we are basically being told, the majority hasn’t believed it so why should I, i.e., the majority rules.
But is this true? And is it the standard we want to use for the most important decision we will ever make as individuals – Is Yeshua the Messiah of Israel and is He the means of atonement for our sins? To me it seems a little risky to allow the majority alone to determine my decision in this matter. For my decision as to who Yeshua is will determine not just my life here on this earth but my life in eternity when I leave this earth. And that is just too important to say,”Well there’s safety in numbers. No one else I know believes this. The majority rules.”
You see, mankind has been wrong before, even famous, important people have not always been right about their perception of things.
Here are some modern examples of famous people who were wrong:
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.”– Bill Gates, CEO and founder of Microsoft and world’s wealthiest man, 1981
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC, 1977
“Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.”– Dennis Gabor, British physicist and author of Inventing the Future, 1962
“There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.”– T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965)
“The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.”– IBM , to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous.”– Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916
“The horse is here to stay; the automobile is only a fad.”– Advice of President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for Henry Ford, 1903 (Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later for $12.5 million)
“X-rays will prove to be a hoax.”– Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895
“It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere.”– Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1895
“This telephone has too many shortcomings to be considered as a means of communication. The device is of inherently no value to us.”– Western Union internal memo, 1876
“It’s a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?”Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell’s telephone, 1872
Of course the world was flat! Space travel (or flying) was impossible. Personal computers will never be a household commodity. No one will ever pay for bottled water. Horseless carriages will not replace horses. The internet will only be used by the government and computer geeks.
These are amazing statements made by very intelligent people who thought they were speaking truth. But each one of them ended up being wrong. Now these were things that do not have an impact on eternity, but they show how we need to step back and ask ourselves “Is it right to just follow the crowd?”.
For us as Jewish people, why is it that so many over the years have not accepted Yeshua. Is it because we have taken the time to examine the Hebrew Scriptures to determine what they say about the Messiah? Is it because we have looked at the claims of Yeshua Himself? No, the reason many Jewish people have not embraced Yeshua as the Messiah is because the majority rules. Where does this ideology come from?
I believe the answer is found in part in a story recorded for us in the Talmud about an incident that occurred in around 96 CE. It is the story of Aknaiâ’s oven. His oven had been broken into pieces and cemented back together. The question arose was it kosher to use? What rules apply? Did the rules about broken things apply or the rules about ovens? The rules regarding broken things said it was kosher but the rules about ovens said it was not kosher. Rabbi Eliazer said it was kosher. All the other rabbis disagreed with him. When they would not listen to his logic, he said if I am right let the carob tree prove it. The tree flies through the air. The majority said they would not accept that. He calls on the waters to flow backward and they did. The majority would not accept that as prove he was right. Then he called on the walls of the synagogue to collapse. They did but still the majority held out. Finally Rabbi Eliazer called on the Bat kol voice from heaven to support him. The voice from heaven responded that Rabbi Eliazer was correct and that they should support his interpretation. Rabbi Yehoshua stood up and said the answer is not in heaven. From this it was decided that the majority was to be followed not G-d. They reasoned that G-d had given into the hands of men the ability to determine what should be done and He did’t have the right to interfere. So basically man could now outvote G-d.
It’s ironic to think that my decision to believe something as true or not true is based on what the majority have thought and not on my own investigation of things. And for Jewish people it is hard to understand how we can so blindly accept the majority rules in this area because Jewish people have certainly been independent thinkers and decision makers in so many other arenas of life. Why not in the area of spiritual truth?
But could the majority perhaps be wrong? Could the rabbis be wrong? We just heard about some famous people who were wrong in their interpretations of events and inventions. We chuckle to think how silly some of those statements were, but let’s consider some spiritual thinking and decisions that were followed by the majority and ended up with some pretty serious consequences.
The Hebrew Scriptures are our source:
The Ark. (Bereshit 7-9) The majority were outside the ark when it began to rain. Only 8 people were saved. Was the majority right?
Lot and the city of Sodom. (Bereshit 18) Lot and his two daughters were the only ones to come out alive. Was the majority right?
The Golden Calf. (Shemot 32) Moshe was up on the mountain. The majority made an idol. This was in direct violation to the second commandment of Adonai. Was the majority right?
The 12 spies. (BaMidbar 13) Two of these believed they could inherit the Promised Land. Ten felt it was impossible and influenced an entire nation to walk away from their inheritance. The majority followed these ten men in doubt and unbelief and they died in the wilderness. Was the majority right?
Elijah and the prophets of Baal. (Melachim Aleph 18) During the days of Elijah the majority of the Jewish people were worshipping idols. Again this was a direct violation of the Torah Adonai had given to them. Was the majority right?
What does Adonai say about following the crowd? “Do not follow the crowd when it does what is wrong; and don’t allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect will be to pervert justice.” (Shemot 23.2)
“There can be a way which seems right to a person, but at its end are the ways of death.” (Mishlei 16.25)
But it is not always easy to step out on your own or to disagree with the majority rule. There is something in our human nature that will conform. It can be uncomfortable to go against what the majority says and the consequences can be pretty overwhelming.
Only one man kneeled to pray and faced the lion’s den. Only three men were thrown in the fiery furnace for their beliefs.
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600): “It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.” (He was burned alive because he believed that the earth circled the sun.)
Did the bad things these people face because of their beliefs mean that what they believed was not true? Of course not.
So should we never follow the majority? The answer – if the majority is correct, yes. If they are not correct, how can we choose to reject truth for the sake of the majority?
I ask you to investigate for yourselves what do the Scriptures say about the Messiah. Of course if your mind is closed and you have no desire to see if the majority has been right or wrong on this issue, nothing I share with you will change what you think. However, if you really are open to know what is the truth of the matter, I believe G-d will show you. Ask Him to show you what He says about the Messiah and who He is? Then you make your decision as to what you are going to do about it. We have investigated the Hebrew Scriptures and have found that they tell us the following:
- Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:1 (5.2-English)
- Messiah would be from the tribe of Judah: Bereshit (Genesis)49:10
- Messiah would present himself by riding on a donkey: Zechariah 9:9
- Messiah would be tortured to death: Tehillim (Psalms) 22
- Messiah would arrive before the destruction of the Second Temple. Daniel 9:24-27
- Messiah’s life would match a particular description, including suffering, silence at his arrest and trial, death and burial in a rich man’s tomb, and resurrection: Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 52:13-53:12
Is there anyone in history that you know of besides Yeshua who all these things are true of?
But then why haven’t more Jewish people believed it? Why haven’t the rabbis believed it? My answer is that there have always been Jewish people and even rabbis that have seen the truth and embraced it even if it meant going against the majority rule. Within the writings of the New Covenant itself we clearly see not just one Jewish person after another embracing Yeshua as Messiah, but hundreds and even thousands at a time, entire communities responding in faith to the truth presented to them that Yeshua is the Messiah. By the end of the first century we are told there were one million Jewish people who believed Yeshua was the Messiah.
And I share here a brief list here of Jewish peope from the last 500 years from many walks of life who embraced Yeshua as the Messiah. (List taken from Association of Messianic Congregations)
1506 – Alfonso de Zamora – Rabbi
Alfonso de Zamora, a Rabbi, publicly declared his faith in Messiah Yeshua in 1506. Working with Paul Nunez Coronel and Alfonso d’Alcala, two other Jewish believers, he uses his knowledge of Hebrew, Aramaic, Chaldean, and other languages to help develop a six-volume multilingual work known as the Polyglot Bible. He also writes a Hebrew grammar, a Hebrew dictionary, a dictionary of the Old Testament, and a treatise on Hebrew spelling.
1530 – Immanuel Tremellius – Hebrew Scholar, University Professor
Immanuel Tremellius came to faith in Messiah around 1530 and became Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge University in 1548.
1546 – Johannes Isaac – Hebrew Scholar, University Professor
Johannes Isaac came to faith in 1546. He became a professor of Hebrew at the University of Cologne.
1621 – Malachi ben Samuel – Polish Rabbi
Malachi ben Samuel, a Polish Rabbi, comes to faith in Messiah around 1621, several years after being impressed by a Yiddish translation of the New Testament. He is particularly surprised that marginal references to the Hebrew Scriptures are not distorted, as he had been told they would be. He writes, “My heart became full of doubt. No man can believe the pain and ache that assailed my heart. I had no rest day or night…. What should I do? To whom should I speak of these things?” He finally feels he has no choice but to believe.
1625 – Giovanni Jonas – Hebrew Scholar
Giovanni Jonas came to faith in Poland in 1625 and, working as a librarian, writes a Hebrew translation of the Gospels and a Hebrew-Chaldee lexicon.
1656 – Esdras Edzard – Hebrew Scholar
Esdras Edzard, who grew up studying Hebrew and the Talmud, and then studied in Leipzig, Wittenberg, and Basel, earns a doctorate and begins working among the Jews of Hamburg. He provides free instruction in Hebrew, helps the poor, and explains faith in Messiah to all. From 1671 to 1708 Edzard leads 148 Jewish people to faith. He emphasizes further study for those coming to faith, and almost all of those who joined him continue in faith.
1709 – John Xeres – Talmudic Scholar
John Xeres counteracts the slur that Jewish believers in Yeshua are not well-educated in Judaism by emphasizing his Talmudic studies. Others on the list of learned Jewish believers include Ludwig Compiegne de Veil, Friedrich Albrecht Augusti, Paul Weidner, Julius Conrad Otto, Johann Adam Gottfried, and more.
1722 – Rabbi Judah Monis
Rabbi Judah Monis, after becoming the first Jewish individual to receive a college degree in America (M.A., Harvard, 1720), publicly embraces faith in Messiah Yeshua. In 1735 he publishes a Hebrew grammar, the first to be published in America.
1758 – Seelig Bunzlau – German Rabbi
Seelig Bunzlau, a revered German Rabbi, announces from the pulpit of his synagogue that he is has placed his faith in Messiah.
1781 – William Herschel – Scientist & Astronomer
William Herschel, a Jewish believer, using a telescope he designed and constructed, discovers the planet Uranus. Herschel also fixes the positions of 2,500 nebulas, of which only 103 had previously been known. He infers the existence of binary stars, and then identifies 209 such pairs of stars that revolve around a common center. He discovers the infrared rays of the sun, defines and explains the composition of the Milky Way, and makes many other discoveries.
1782 – Joseph von Sonnenfels, Distinguished Jurist
Joseph von Sonnenfels, a distinguished jurist in Vienna and a Jewish believer, lays out the principles for the Edict of Toleration regarding Jews that Austrian emperor Joseph II announces.
1809 – Joseph Samuel Frey – Hebrew teacher and Cantor
Joseph Samuel Frey, a Hebrew teacher and cantor, organizes the London Society for Promoting Messiah Among the Jews. He later comes to the United States and continues efforts to organize
1822 – Isaac da Costa – Author & Defender of European Jewry
Isaac da Costa, his wife Hannah, and his friend Abraham Capadose come to faith in Holland. Da Costa becomes Holland’s leading poet and Capadose a leading physician; da Costa’s book, Accusations Against the Spirit of the Century, attacks the rationalistic materialism that is coming to dominate Holland and demands that Messiah again become the center of national life. Da Costa writes often of Messiah and also his Jewish heritage: “In the midst of the contempt and dislike of the world for the name of Jew I have ever gloried in it.” The Jewish Encyclopedia comments about him, “His character, no less than his genius, was respected by his contemporaries.
1825 – Rabbi Michael Solomon Alexander – English Rabbi
Rabbi Michael Solomon Alexander comes to faith Messiah in 1825 after concluding that Rabbis had concealed the truth about Yeshua; seven years later he becomes Professor of Hebrew and Rabbinical Literature at King’s College, London. His name comes first on the long list of those who signed a “protest of Messianic Jews in England” against the false accusation that Jews used Christian blood in Passover rites. When the British Parliament endows the position of Bishop of Jerusalem, the appointment goes to Alexander; in Jerusalem, he opens both an institution for the training of Jewish believers and a hospital for the sick Jewish residents of Jerusalem.
1826 – Felix Mendelssohn â€“ Composer
Felix Mendelssohn, Jewish believer and grandson of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn,
1844 – Joachim Raphael Biesenthal
Joachim Raphael Biesenthal, a Jewish believer, begins 37 years of ministry within the Jewish communities of Germany. He uses the knowledge gained in Talmudic academies and while earning a doctorate at the University of Berlin to write commentaries on many New Testament books as well as a History of the â€œChristian Churchâ€ that shows the strong Jewishness of the early church.
1863 – Daniel Landsmann, a Jerusalem Talmudic Scholar
Daniel Landsmann, a Jerusalem Talmudic scholar came to faith in 1863, is almost killed-but by his own people, angered that someone well educated in Jewish tradition should become a believer in Yeshua. His faith in Messiah began when he finds upon the street a page in Hebrew torn from a book. He loves what he reads, and when he later finds out that it is the Sermon on the Mount, he thinks differently about Yeshua than he did before. When he tells all that he believes Yeshua is the Messiah, his wife leaves him, one fanatical group puts spikes in his hands, and another tries to bury him alive. He finally moves to New York City and, with a wealth of Talmudic knowledge and a humble spirit, moves many to consider Messiah.
1883 – Alfred Edersheim, Biblical Scholar
Alfred Edersheim finishes seven years of writing The Life and Times of Yeshua the Messiah, which becomes the standard scholarly work in English for the next 100 years. Born in Austria, he serves as a minister in Scotland and a lecturer at Oxford. Four other major books of Biblical scholarship would flow from his pen.
1885 – Joseph Rabinowitz, Talmudic scholar and Lawyer
Talmudic scholar and lawyer Joseph Rabinowitz comes to faith in Messiah Yeshua in 1885, and, through writings and lectures, begins influencing Russian Jews to become “Sons of the New Covenant.” He draws up a list of 12 articles of faith, patterned after Maimonides’s 13 principles, but proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah. He forms one of the early Messianic Congregations.
1892 – Leopold Cohn, Hungarian Rabbi
Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian Rabbi, comes to believe that Yeshua is the Messiah. An outraged Jewish community forces him to flee, so he studies at divinity school in Scotland, emigrates to the United States with his family, and begins to hold meetings in a heavily Jewish section of Brooklyn that demonstrate that Yeshua is the Messiah. Later he opens a medical clinic and a kosher food kitchen, and delivers free coal to the Jewish poor. The outreach he started grew into “Chosen People Ministries”, an International organization.
1909 – Isaac Lichtenstein, Chief Rabbi of Hungary
In 1909, Isaac Lichtenstein dies, leaving writings explaining how he read a copy of the New Testament after 40 years of work as a Rabbi in Hungary and was impressed by “the greatness, power, and glory of this book, formerly a sealed book to me. All seemed so new to me and yet it did me good like the sight of an old friend…. I had thought the New Testament to be impure, a source of pride, of selfishness, of hatred, and of the worst kind of violence, but as I opened it I felt myself peculiarly and wonderfully taken possession of. A sudden glory, a light flashed through my soul. I looked for thorns and found roses; I discovered pearls instead of pebbles; instead of hatred, love; instead of vengeance, forgiveness; instead of bondage, freedom.”
A letter to his son, a doctor, reports that “From every line in the New Testament, from every word, the Jewish spirit streamed forth light, life, power, endurance, faith, hope, love, charity, limitless and indestructible faith in God.” Others, hating the idea of a long-term Rabbi turning “renegade,” attack Lichtenstein. His reply: “I have been an honored Rabbi for the space of 40 years, and now, in my old age, I am treated by my friends as one possessed by an evil spirit, and by my enemies as an outcast. I am become a butt of mockers, who point the finger at me. But while I live I will stand on my tower, though I may stand there all alone. I will listen to the words of God.”
1913 – Arthur Kuldell, Messianic Jewish Leader
1921 – Max Reich, Professor and Zionist
1922 – Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize for Physics
1927 – Henri Bergson, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
1930 – Hans Herzl, son of Theodore Herzl (founder of modern Zionism)
1930 – Haham Ephraim ben Joseph Eliakim, a Rabbi in Tiberias
1933 – Sir Leon Levison, Messianic Jewish Leader
1938 – Morris Zeidman, Messianic Jewish Leader
1943 – Israel Zolli, Chief Rabbi of Rome
1951 – Karl Stern, University Professor and Neuropsychiatrist
1953 – Dr. Boris Kornfeld, Medical Doctor, imprisoned in Soviet Concentration camp
1968 – Ernest Cassutto, Holocaust Survivor, Founder of Congregation of Jewish Believers
1974 – Howard Phillips, Chairman of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity
1976 – Dr. David Block, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy
He concludes, “It might seem strange to some that a scientist and a Jew could come to faith in Yeshua. But faith is never a leap into the dark. It is always based on evidence. That was how my whole search for God began. I looked through my telescope at Saturn and said to myself, Isn’t there a great God out there? The logical next step was to want to meet this Designer face-to-face.”
2003 Yitzchak Kaduri, Kabbalist
He died in February 2006, somewhere between the ages of 106 to possibly 117. 300,000 attended his funeral in Jerusalem. The Baghdad-born kabbalist had gained notoriety around the world for issuing apocalyptic warnings and for saying he personally met the long-awaited Jewish Messiah in November 2003. Before Kaduri died, he reportedly wrote the name of the Messiah on a small note, requesting it remained sealed for one year after his death. The note revealed the name of the Messiah as “Yehoshua” or “Yeshua”. The note, written in Hebrew and signed in the rabbi’s name, said: “Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid. This I have signed in the month of mercy.” The Hebrew sentence consists of six words. The first letter of each of those words spells out the Hebrew name Yehoshua or Yeshua.
So have there been rabbis, scientists, doctors, etc. who have embraced Yeshua as the Messiah? Yes. along with regular men and women from every day life. We may not be in the majority, but we do feel we have found the truth. So who/what will you follow today? Will you be open to know the truth? Will you pick up your Hebrew Scriptures and read these passages that speak of the Messiah. Will you be open to know if Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel? If He is, will you be bold enough to accept Him in spite of what the majority have said or done? In spite of the consequences you may face with family and the Jewish community.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live …
Yehoshua (Joshua) 24:15 “… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 21:8 “This is what the LORD says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.
Traditional Judaism tells us that on Yom Kippur the Book of Life is closed and the hope of all is that there name is sealed in it. But the majority leaves synagogues year after year without any assurance of forgiveness of sins or eternal life. But Adonai wants each one to know that He has put before them the way of life. When accepted, there is no doubt in one’s heart that their sins have been forgiven and that eternal life is secure? Will you open your heart to truth today? Will you say yes to the Messiah of Israel?