How Did Ancient Israel View God & the Messiah?
Do Jews today reflect the understanding of their ancient fathers? I believe there is a great deal we could understand about God from the current Jewish understanding, but I also believe the current Jewish understanding does not reflect in its entirety how God was understood by the ancients. For example, I have often spoken with Christians who seem to believe our bodies were created in the image of God, which, of course, is untrue. They assume God looks like us and that one day we’ll see him walking around heaven or visit with him while his is literally “sitting” on a throne. This understanding, as far as I can tell, comes from the pagan understanding of our ancient gentile point of view. However, this was not the view of ancient Jewry. The Scriptures, for example, tell us that our universe—what we call the heavens and heaven of heavens (space) cannot contain the whole of God (1Kings 8:27; 2Chronicles 2:6; 2Chronicles 6:18). As children, we may have joked about the spirit world, asking how many angels could fit on the tip of a pin. However, though God is not limited by space and time, it seems both space and time cannot really contain him in the way we might have liked to think. Below you will find a few studies I made showing how the ancient Jewish scholars understood God and the coming of the Messiah and who the Messiah might be. I hope anyone who reads will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed studying this subject.
- Ancient Jewish Literature and the Godhead
- Eve’s Messianic Expectations
- The “Word of the Lord” in the Jewish Targums
- The Targumists and the God and Savior of Israel
- The Messiah Was to be a Divine Being
- The Messiah Would Suffer and Die
- The Messiah Was Expect to Atone for Sin