Over the last couple of weeks, I have been in search of solid representatives of those in the anti-Messiah groups, who for either intellectual or religious reasons have chosen to believe that Messiah has not yet come (or won’t). This search and subsequent study has proven itself to be a fascinating journey, one that I continue to enjoy working through. We know that often our biggest spiritual and intellectual challenges are what YHWH ("God") uses to test us and sharpen our understanding. Sometimes, we even find out we were wrong.
With that said, I challenged myself to seek out some of the most overtly anti-Messiah teachers that I could find, one scholar from the Jewish realm and one from the intellectual. First, I tested a Jewish rabbi who specializes in changing your mind about the authenticity of "Jesus" (Tovia Singer) and second, a University Professor (notorious author) who specializes in changing your mind about the "Bible" (Bart Ehrman). Both believe "Christians" to be utterly deceived, and they've made it their mission to rescue Messianics from their delusions. Each man would likely say they have unique motives, but ultimately, the motive for both is to create disbelief in the possibility of Yahusha (“Jesus") being the prophesied Messiah.
When ultimately forced to answer, both men will say that it is true that this man "Jesus" (as they call Him) lived. Bart Ehrman, the agnostic of the two, will say that today's "Jesus" is a figment of the Christian imagination, a gross exaggeration of the truth, and a fairy tale based upon a real living man (who was not the Son of "God").
Tovia Singer, the Jewish representative, will tell you that it cannot possibly be known for certain, but that if he had to guess he would say that the idea of "Jesus” being a real man in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago has an 8 out of 10 probability of being true. In other words, the person labeled Messiah ("Jesus"/ Yahusha) more than likely existed.
Just dwelling on that thought alone for some time should cause a rational person to pause. These men don't deny that the first followers of the way of this "Messiah" were the Ebionites and Natsarim. They each speak eloquently about the truth of these groups, and how the first followers of Messiah were in fact “Jews” in Jerusalem. They both agree this happened in the 30's -70's CE, and the Word of this Messiah quickly grew through the first century and into the fourth century (at a minimum) among "Jewish" non-Roman groups.
Both of these men also understand clearly that the first followers kept the Torah of Moses (as is attested to by the early historians and church writers), but that the Roman version of "the gospel" was forced upon the world instead, creating the modern day Christian church. Both these anti-messiah scholars also acknowledge that according to what is known of history, the original followers were killed and scattered.
Clearly, this admission is not enough to prove anything in and of itself; however, I would like to present what I believe are simple, critical and logical responses to some of the arguments being made against the Messiah. We will see if, in the end, this acknowledgment of His existence is more important than might first meet the eye. The information presented here is not designed in any special order, nor is it intended to go line for line with any one scholar who opposes the Messiah. Instead, this study represents some of the most popular sentiments I’ve seen that are presented by anti-Messianics, in no particular order, as well as my critical response. Please follow the links below to each section of study, and feel free to share any portion you find helpful. Shalom!