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The Jews Expected a Divine Messiah
When we stumbled across the following, we found it quite shocking. Could it possibly be true?
While describing Paul's recital of his conversion to King Herod Agrippa II, Ellen White made the following comments:
We were under the impression that the difficulty the Jews had with Jesus was that they didn't think the Messiah would be a divine being as He claimed to be. Thus we were quite surprised to find that Ellen White taught that the opposite was actually the case. According to her, at least some prominent first-century Jews rejected the idea that the Messiah would be a mere man, not the idea that He would be divine.
When we turned to the Scriptures, we found confirmation of this very idea:
"Christ" is the equivalent in Greek of the Hebrew word "Messiah." Thus, Peter makes it clear that he thought that the Messiah would be the same person as the Son of God. And Peter wasn't the only one to express that conviction:
If one reads Robert Leo Odom's book, Israel's Angel Extraordinary, one is left with a similar conclusion. Odom cites various passages from the Talmud, several Jewish encyclopedias, and other Jewish writings. He demonstrates that Jews and rabbis repeatedly taught that Michael the Archangel is divine, "the lesser YHWH," worthy of worship, and the high priest in the heavenly temple (pp. 65-68; 107-109).
According to Odom's citations, Michael, as well as being the high priest, "is identified with Melchizadek." Yet since the Messiah is also said to be a priest like Melchizadek in Psalm 110, an admittedly Messianic passage (pp. 105 ff.), would not then at least some Jews have identified the Messiah with the divine Michael?
And this is not all. In Jewish thought, Michael raises the dead in the end of time. Yet Jews also associate the resurrection with the advent of the Messiah (pp. 87-89). If the divine Michael raises the dead, and if the Messiah also raises the dead, then perhaps John 5:25 really is true when it says that the voice of Christ the Son of God will raise the dead.
Just how many first-century Jews really did believe that the Messiah would be a divine being, the "Creator of all worlds"? A minority or a majority? Just the Pharisees or other sects as well? Any rabbis out there know?
The accusation of some critics that Ellen White "plagiarized" Sketches from the Life of Paul from a book by Conybeare and Howson gives rise to another question: We just searched a bit through our copy of Conybeare and Howson's book, and have failed to find any such sentiment. If Ellen White borrowed from another author the idea that the Jews expected the Messiah to be the "Creator of all worlds," from whom did she borrow it?
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