“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
with the claim of Divine values that believers show mutual respect specifically for “the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates [of] conscience.” Followers of God also show respect as they carefully characterize each other’s beliefs.
It is personally puzzling to me, how anyone can believe the teachings of the Old Testament and not come to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the promised Messiah.
To accurately characterize the beliefs of Judaism, the following is quoted from the article “Why Jews Don’t Accept Jesus as the Messiah or Son of God” by David Wolpe, Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles:
“The primary reason that Jews do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah is that after his arrival and death the world was not redeemed. There is at least as much suffering, pain, and tragedy in the world as there was before Jesus–probably much more. If the Christian answers that the suffering is a result of the world’s rejecting Jesus, two related questions arise, . . . Why did the majority of those who knew him reject him in his own lifetime (as the majority of the world still does today)? And if suffering is a result of rejecting Jesus, why has so much of the suffering historically been inflicted by (and even upon) those who accepted him, that is, Christians?”
From the days of Abraham and Moses, through millennia of time, it is clear that Jewish tradition has initiated and perpetuated an expectation about Messiah that is different from the expectation set by Old Testament prophets. Of the first coming of Messiah, the prophet Isaiah foretold of a mortal mission that included sorrow, affliction, and rejection:
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53: 2-5).
Given the precedent pattern of Israel’s deliverance from Pharaoh’s oppression, such a grand deliverance could create a logical expectation that Messiah’s redemption should include deliverance from oppressive political powers. Differently, the promised deliverance of Messiah is primarily a spiritual one–deliverance from the bondage of sin.
This is why Isaiah emphasized Messiah’s suffering and atonement: “Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . . he was bruised for our iniquities . . . and with his stripes we are healed.”
Exactly what Isaiah meant by these words of prophecy could be the subject of endless speculation, but there is a better way! The most definitive interpretation of Isaiah will not come by logically debating scriptural evidence, or by reading countless books that argue the issue; instead, the clearest conclusion as to Isaiah’s intention will come directly from God–the Source of all prophecy.
In contrast, for those who do not take the opportunity to sincerely seek Divine guidance about the true identity of Jesus Christ–and get crystal clear about conclusions that carry eternal consequence–the following scene of sadness is foretold by Old Testament prophet, Zechariah:
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem” (Zech. 12: 9-11).
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zech 13: 6).
Because Jesus Christ “came unto his own and his own received him not” (John 1: 11), as a compelling symbol that the Son of God was crucified, Isaiah foretold the color of Christ’s apparel at His second coming:
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: . . . and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come” (Isaiah 63: 1-4).