Are there any prophecies about Jesus that contradict (refute adequately) rabbinical Judaism? I read a book with all of the Old Testament prophecies, but the rabbis always seem to have some way of explaining it away, either through a different translation or interpretation etc.

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    I’m unsure what you’re asking - as far as I know rabbinic Judaism still believes in the messianic promise, it just rejects Jesus is the messiah.
    – Luke Hill
    Commented Apr 19 at 20:49
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    Before one can answer specifically about the Messiah, one must first explain how in general Judaism and the Hebrew scriptures could possibly contradict each other. Commented Apr 19 at 23:01
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    I've voted to close. -1. The question is multiple and vague. The questioner needs to read the OT and NT more, and other books less. He can also read answers to "The resurrection and Deut 13 if a prophet says let us worship another god" on christianity stack exchange. Commented Apr 21 at 7:36
  • @AndrewShanks I don’t know what is vague about the question. It is: Is there anything in the OT regarding the Messiah that contradicts rabbinic Judaism? This really has nothing to do with Jesus, although obviously people who make these claims are trying to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. As I expected, all of the answers so far have just confused necessary and sufficient reasons i.e. being from Bethlehem. The takeaway is supposed to be that there’s no point arguing with Jews about the OT and you need to start talking about things like the resurrection or the corruption of Judaism etc.
    – wmasse
    Commented Apr 21 at 21:25
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    OK. So every text in the OT/Tanakh that is taken as a text in favour of Christian belief in JPS (Jewish Publication Soc) translation has a rendering which usually does not favour a Christian understanding. Eg isaiah 9:6, psalm 22:16. Some texts agree, eg psalm 118:22. Some texts can be taken two ways eg isaiah 7:14. A comparison of a Jewish Tanakh with say nkjv plus esv/niv OT is going to be useful. And a good place to start would be to compare those texts in "The resurrection and deut 13" in jps and Christian OT translations. As for psalm 22:16, the septuagint and the dead Sea scrolls agree Commented Apr 22 at 8:55

2 Answers 2


Rabbinical Recognition There are references during the era that the Jewish rabbis expected a Messiah. They argued over which prophecies referred to Him, but they did not doubt that one day He would arrive.

Recall that the Wise Men (Magoi) from Persia asked the whereabouts of the King of the Jews; and the rabbis were forthcoming, that He would be born in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:4-6) The Jewish rabbis themselves considered that prophecy to be about Messiah.

Timing There was an expectation during that Roman Era (now called 1st century) that Messiah's coming was immanent because of the timing declared in the prophecies of Daniel. Chapter 9 prophesied that there would be 490 years from the return of the Jews from the Diaspora (Exile) unto the Messiah (Anointed One). This was the Second Temple time span. (This is called the 70 Weeks Prophecy, where "week" equals 7 years.)

This prophecy even gave the length of time Messiah would minister before He would be killed, establishing the New Covenant "with the many." (See Mark 14:24) It was 3 1/2 years.

The Slain Lamb The prophet Isaiah gave the grand, amazing prophecy in the 53rd chapter describing in detail, the suffering of the Lamb of God by crucifixion. (Some try to substitute the Israeli nation as the Suffering Servant here. But when "nation" is inserted in the paragraphs, it doesn't make sense.) John the Baptist confirmed this suffering as a Lamb when he pointed to Jesus, and cried out, Behold the Lamb of God. (John 1:29)

Elijah Forerunner Malachi prophesied that a person coming "in the spirit and power of Elijah" would introduce the Messiah, who would suddenly "come to His Temple." So it was required that there be "a Temple" in existence for the Messiah to come to. As you know, there is no Temple in existence now, so the Messiah had to have come before 70 A.D. Which He did!

Sufficient Reason These, and there are others, are sufficient reason to look to Jesus as the Messiah. The Apostles thought so too, as was noted in the Question. (Acts 18:28)

Miracles Isaiah prophesied that when Messiah (God) would come, He would work miracles: Lamb walk, blind see, dead raised, etc. (ch. 35) This was an accurate description of the ministry of Jesus!

How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which first began to be spoken by the Lord (Messiah), and was confirmed unto us by those who heard Him.
God also bearing them witness both by signs and wonders, and with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit...(Hebrews2:3-4)

These miracles were convincing to John the Baptist who was about to be martyred on account of Jesus. (Luke 7:22)

Typology It is true that some of the other verses relied upon are "typological prophecies" or "adapted phrases" that accurately describe the work and teaching...and suffering...of Jesus. Rabbis debated these, as well as modern theologians...and seekers such as yourself.

But there are sufficient, direct prophecies that match up with Jesus---and no other person---that cause us to but our faith in Him as our Savior. And the Jews are also without excuse.

These fulfilled prophecies do "contradict" the accepted teaching of modern rabbis. But, as Paul said, If some do not believe, does that make of none effect the Scriptures? Of course not!

[Note: there are some prophecies, seemingly about the Messiah, which have yet to be fulfilled. Rabbis may have let these hinder them from accepting Jesus as Messiah. But they do not negate the prophecies that have already been fulfilled. And that point to the responsibility we have to accept Him as Christ...and Lord.]

  • I put my response in the question since it was too long.
    – wmasse
    Commented Apr 20 at 1:21

To understand the division on how Jews at the time of Christ interpreted Messianic scripture one can’t compare any argument made today but must go back into history. This question is all about Jews. The name Christian, at the time of Jesus's ministry, simply means Jewish believers in Christ, as opposed to a Jewish person that considered Jesus as false Christ.

The question specifically seems to want to hit on the point of his pre-existent divinity and from what I gather, this was not something the Jewish people clearly expected – a Messiah that was God. However, they did expect a preexisting super-human, so close to what might be considered divine, that the final progression of revelation in the actual appearance of that Christ, took little to bring many Jews finally to this point.

In other words, as is often stated they expected a super-human to restore their nation and were not really putting to much focus on the priesthood portion whereby he would die for their sins, more an unbalanced weighting on his kingly presentation whereby thy would be exalted above other nations. Sure all the prophecies seems true about this man Jesus but to the proud Israelite they could not stomach a Messiah that would be offered to other nations and not bring them into a superior dominion over them. We can see this so obviously portrayed by his own closest disciples that this point of his ministry to be a stumbling block that the true hearted Jews overcame but that put a destined destruction on the rest in the most awful terms as was borne out by the subsequent history.

Back to the point. To specifically address the super-human expected Messiah. The best reference I know at getting old Rabbinic views is Alred Edersheim who coincidentally was a Jew himself, which explain the rigorous study and interest in it. (I will supply a sample of the many ancient Rabbinic Messianic references that would have been similar to those Jews at the time of Christ all from this book. (Edersheim, A. (1896). The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Vol. 2, pp. 710–711). Longmans, Green, and Co.)

The Rabbis saw Messiah everywhere in the Old Testament, much more than those few references used in the New Testament. Ancient Rabbinic sources also highlight that Messiah was pre-existing before creation.

In Gen. 1:2, the expression, ‘Spirit of God,’ is explained of ‘the Spirit of the King Messiah,’ with reference to Is. 11:2, and the ‘moving on the face of the deep’ of ‘repentance,’ according to Lam. 2:19. So in Ber. R. 2, and in regard to the first point also in Ber. R. 8, in Vayyik. R. 14, and in other places.

With respect to the interest of the question referring to Micah, Messianic applications are sprinkled from Chapter 2 – Chapter 7.

Micah 2:13. See our remarks on Gen. 18:4, 5. The passage is also Messianically quoted in the Midrash on Prov. 6 (ed. Lemberg, p. 5 a, first two lines). The promise in Micah 4:3 is applied to the times of the Messiah in the Talmud (Shabb. 63 a). So is the prediction in verse 5 in Shemoth. R. 15; while verse 8 is thus commented upon in the Targum: ‘And thou Messiah of Israel, Who shalt be hidden on account of the sins of Zion, to thee shall the Kingdom come.’ The well-known passage, Micah 5:2, is admittedly Messianic. So in the Targum, in the Pirqé de R. Eliez. 100. 3, and by later Rabbis. Verse 3 is applied in the Talmud to the fact that the Messiah was not to come till the hostile kingdom had spread for nine months over the whole world (Yoma 10 a), or else, over the whole land of Israel (Sanh. 98 b). Similarly Micah 7:6 is applied to Messianic times in Sanh. 97 a, and in Sotah 49 b; also in the Midr. on Cant. 2:13. And so is verse 15 in Yalkut (vol. ii. p. 112 b. In Micah 7:8, the expression, Jehovah shall be light to me, is referred to the days of the Messiah in Deb. R. 11, ed. Warsh. vol. v. p. 22 a.

Similarly, all over Daniel Messianic Rabbinic interpretations existed at the time of Christ:

Dan. 2:22 is Messianically applied in Ber. R. 1, and in the Midr. on Lament. 1:16, where it gives rise to another name of the Messiah: the Lightgiver. Verse 35 is similarly applied in the Pirqé de R. Eliez. 100. 11, and verse 44 in 100:30. Dan. 7:9. This passage was interpreted by R. Akiba as implying that one throne was set for God, and the other for the Messiah (Chag. 14 a). Dan. 7:13 is curiously explained in the Talmud (Sanh. 98 a), where it is said that, if Israel behaved worthily, the Messiah would come in the clouds of heaven; if otherwise, humble, and riding upon an ass. Dan. 7:27 is applied to Messianic times in Bem. R. 11. Dan. 8:13, 14. By a very curious combination these verses are brought into connection with Gen. 3:22 (‘man has become like one of us’), and it is argued, that in Messianic days man’s primeval innocence and glory would be restored to him, and he become like one of the heavenly beings, Ber. R. 21 (ed. Warsh. p. 41 a). Dan. 9:24. In Naz. 32 b it is noted that this referred to the time when the second Temple was to be destroyed. So also in Yalkut vol. ii. p. 79 d, lines 16 &c. from the bottom. Dan. 12:3 is applied to Messianic times in a beautiful passage in Shem. R. 15 (at the end). Dan. 12:11, 12. These two verses receive a peculiar Messianic interpretation, and that by the authority of the Rabbis. For it is argued that, as Moses, the first Redeemer, appeared, and was withdrawn for a time, and then reappeared, so would the second Redeemer; and the interval between His disappearance and reappearance is calculated at 45 days, arrived at by deducting the 1,290 days of the cessation of the sacrifice (Dan. 12:11) from the 1,335 days of Dan. 12:12 (Midr. on Ruth 2:14, ed. Warsh. p. 43 b).

There are so many references to Messiah from Rabbinic view on Isaiah that it would take to much space to copy here but as the question mentioned Chapter 35 & 53, in both there is an ancient connection to the Messiah by the Rabbis:

Is. 35:1. This is one of the passages quoted in Tanchuma on Deut. 1:1 (ed. Warsh. p. 99 a) as among the miracles which God would do to redeemed Zion in the latter days. So also is verse 2 in this chapter. Is. 35:5, 6 is repeatedly applied to Messianic times. Thus, in Yalkut

  1. 78 c, and 157 a; in Ber. R. 95; and in the Midrash on Ps. 146:8. Verse 10 is equally applied to Messianic times in the Midrash on Ps. 107:1, while at the same time it is noted that this deliverance will be accomplished by God Himself, and not either by Elijah, nor by the King Messiah. A similar reference occurs in Yalkut (vol. 2. p. 162 d), at the close of the Commentary on the Book of Chronicles, where it is remarked that in this world the deliverance of Israel was accomplished by man, and was followed by fresh captivities, but in the latter or Messianic days their deliverance would be accomplished by God, and would no more be followed by captivity. See also Shemoth. R. 15 and

In regard to Is. 53 we remember, that the Messianic name of ‘Leprous’ (Sanh. 98 b) is expressly based upon it. Is. 53:10 is applied in the Targum on the passage to the Kingdom of the Messiah. Verse 5 is Messianically interpreted in the Midrash on Samuel (ed. Lemberg, p. 45 a, last line), where it is said that all sufferings are divided into three parts, one of which the Messiah bore—a remark which is brought into connection with Ruth 2:14.

The question also mentions Zech 12:10 so here we go again:

Zech. 12:10 is applied to the Messiah the Son of Joseph in the Talmud (Sukk. 52 a), and so is verse 12, there being, however, a difference of opinion whether the mourning is caused by the death of the Messiah the Son of Joseph, or else on account of the evil concupiscence (Yetser haRa).

In summary there were no prophecies that contradicted the Rabbinic expectations and Jesus clearly satisfied them, that is partly why some Rabbis believed in Christ as their Messiah. However the final progression of revelation in the appearance oh this man from Bethlehem who satisfied all these prophecies was not just a pre-existing human above angels and above Abraham and everyone else, but also God himself (though admitted the difference seems small, yet important) and that he was a Priest not just to restore Israel but to die for gentiles, this seems too much of a stumbling block to their pride. So it is not any particular prophecy in question that would cause a Rabbi to reject Christ but the 'composite whole' of all the prophecies and what they all meant, at the appearance of Christ, that divided father from son and Rabbi from Rabbi.

  • @ Mike - The word, "composite," is quite revealing! The O.T. contained, not just many prophecies about nations, events, etc., that were fulfilled individually by each. But what is awesome is the fact that a multitude of prophecies were fulfilled all in ONE PERSON compositely! The odds of this are "out of this world."
    – ray grant
    Commented Apr 22 at 19:38

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