I see in Matthew chapter 1, it talks about the Messiah saving his people from their sins. But Tanakh talks about the Messiah coming to those who repent. How do we reconcile these two?

Matthew 1:20

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Isaiah 59:20

“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.

  • 1
    Can you elaborate on why these need to be reconciled? Both seem obviously true to me, but you see some contradiction, so can you explain your reasoning about why these are contradictory? That might help explain the issue.
    – Robert
    Jul 8, 2021 at 5:18
  • Can you elaborate why you think both are true please.
    – Yeddu
    Jul 8, 2021 at 5:34
  • 2
    That is a theological question, not a hermeunetic question, but most religious traditions don't see a contradiction because of the qualifier of his people, and whether someone who rejects Messiah is really his and if so, in what sense. This is a theme of the book of Romans -- read Romans 9 and especially Romans 9.24-32. Also read the contextual verses surrounding Messiah in Isaiah, Zechariah, etc. If you still want more elaboration, I'll write up an answer.
    – Robert
    Jul 8, 2021 at 5:47
  • I have been reading the Bible in context and what is sad is the Greek text cherry picks verses out of context to prove Jesus is the messiah. Classic case is this one that contradict what Tanakh says. If you read the Tanakh in context it never tells you the Messiah will take away peoples sins, the messiah is god or that you will worship the messiah. Thank you and G-d bless.
    – Yeddu
    Jul 8, 2021 at 6:05
  • No, it's standard exegesis as you see in the Talmud. This is because the NT was written by jews, using the accepted exegetical techniques of their day. This is explained in Robert Pickup's paper "NEW TESTAMENT INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: THE THEOLOGICAL RATIONALE OF MIDRASHIC EXEGESIS" - you can google it and read it if you are seriously concerned about this and are not just trying to make your own point.
    – Robert
    Jul 8, 2021 at 6:22

2 Answers 2


Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 11:6 All the Prophets spoke of the Messiah, Redeemer of Israel and Savior and Gatherer of the Exiles and Strengthener of the Commandments. Laws of Kings and Wars. trans. Reuven Brauner, 2012

Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Rabbinic statements: “R. Yose the Galilean said: “The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince Peace” (Midrash Pereq Shalom, p. 101); “The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinnon [see Ps. 72:17], Tzemach [e.g., Jer. 23:5]; Pele [Wonderful, Isa. 9:6 (5)], Yo’etz [Counselor, Isa. 9:6 (5)], Mashaich [Messiah], El [god, Isa. 9:6 (5)], Gibbor (Hero, Isa. 9:6 (5)], and Avi’ Ad Shalom [Eternal Father of Peace, Isa. 9:6 (5)]; see Deuteronomy Rabbah 1:20.

What is the name of the King Messiah? R. Abba b. Kahana said: His name is "the Lord" (Midrash Rabbah, Lamentations 1:16)

Messiah literally means Savior, regardless of the current beliefs of the Jews, which perhaps after Rashi, has totally erased the whole concept of the Messiah just to oppose Jesus. The primary role of the Jewish Messiah was to save Israel or his people, not merely from an earthly slavery from a foreign kingdom but from the kingdom of Satan, and redeem mankind to God for eternal life and peace. After realizing that the Messiah is the Savior, you should ask, the Divine Savior will who and from what? Will he only protect from a temporary problem of a few people, or will be the savior of the world, as the Tanakh says? Study the Rabbinic tradition on Isaiah 53 being the Messianic prophecy:

Midrash Konen in discussing Isaiah 53 puts the following words in the mouth of Elijah the prophet: “Thus says the Messiah: Endure the sufferings and the sentence your Master who makes you suffer because of the sin of Yisroel. Thus it is written, “He was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities”, until the time the end comes.”

Tractate Sanhedrin in the Babylonian Talmud (98b), writes about the name of the Messiah “His name is ‘the leper scholar,’ as it is written, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted”.

In Midrash Tanhuma it says, “Rabbi Nachman says, it speaks of no one but the Messiah, the Son of David of whom it is said, here a man called “the plant”, and Jonathan translated it to mean the Messiah and it is rightly said, “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief”.

Midrash Shumel says this about Isaiah 53: “The suffering was divided into three parts: One for the generation of the Patriarchs, one for the generation of Shmad, and one for the King Messiah”.

The prayers for Yom Kippur, the ones we all know also relates Isaiah 53 to the Messiah. The prayer added for Yom Kippur by Rabbi Eliezer around the time of the seventh century: “Our righteous Messiah has turned away from us we have acted foolishly and there is no one to justify us. Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions he bears and he is pierced for our transgressions. He carries our sins on his shoulder, to find forgiveness for our iniquities. By his wounds we are healed.”

In Genesis Rabbah, Rabbi Moshe haDarshan says that God enabled the Messiah to save souls but that together with that, he would suffer greatly. Also Maimonides relates Isaiah 53 to the Messiah in his Epistle to Yemen. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai wrote, “And Messiah of Ephraim died there and Israel mourns for him as it is written: ‘He is despised and rejected of men’, and he goes back into hiding, for it says: ‘and we hid, as it were, our faces from him’.”

Actual Interpretations of Talmudic (or Rabbinic) Judaism:

Old Testament passages such as Isaiah 53 prophesy that the Messiah, even the King Messiah, will suffer and die to atone for our sins as Priest, but he will be resurrected from the dead. The interpretation that Isaiah 53 refers to the nation of Israel as a whole and not to a specific individual is a relatively recent view that does not appear in rabbinic literature until the eleventh century A.D. For nearly a thousand years rabbinic tradition understood Isaiah 53 to refer to a specific Messianic individual. The reference in Isaiah 53 to the Messiah seeing his seed does not indicate actual physical descendents. For instance, this passage has been interpreted by some to refer to Jeremiah who was commanded by God not to marry or have children and to the late Lubavitcher Grand Rabbi who also had no children. Most likely, the passage is speaking of persons of the same spiritual qualities. Zechariah 3 does refer to the Messiah and identifies him with Joshua the High Priest through the use of the Messianic term “the Branch.” Zechariah 12 does prophecy that the Messiah will be pierced and die for the sins of Israel who will mourn for him as for a firstborn son. Psalm 16 does refer to the Messiah indicating that his body will not decompose. (Some of the ultra-orthodox Lubavitcher Hasidic movement taught that their deceased high rabbi, who they claimed was the Messiah, would be resurrected and return.)

This becomes even more interesting when we realize that the Jews who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls were looking for two Messianic figures, called the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel. 30 In addition to this, the important first-century document called the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, in particular the Testaments of Levi and Judah, also had much to say about this priestly Messiah, speaking of him in highly exalted terms. 31 – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 1, Historical Objections, p. 85

Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 11:1 "And a scepter-bearer will arise out of Israel"--that's the King Messiah. "He will strike the corners of Moab"--that's David." And so it says "And he defeated Moab and measured them with a cord (2 Samuel 8:2)." "..and destroy all the sons of Seth (Numbers 24:17)"--that's the King Messiah, as it is said about him "And his reign will be from sea to sea (Zachariah 9:10). "And Edom will be an inheritance (Numbers 24:18)"--that's David, as it is said, "And Edom were slaves to David (2 Samuel 8:14)", etc. "And it will be an inheritance, etc. (Numbers 24:18)" --that's the King Messiah, as it is said, "Saviors will ascend Mount Zion (Ovadiah 1:21)", etc.

[Mat 4:17 ESV] From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

[Act 5:31 ESV] God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

[Luke 24:45-47] Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

There is nothing contradictory with the sacrificial system and repentance. In Leviticus 16, God explains to Moses how the sins of the People of Israel will be forgiven, by taking the blood which was offered at the altar, and sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat as atonement for the iniquities and sins of the People of Israel. The Jewish tradition recognizes this. God provides the ultimate and permanent sacrifice for atonement; there is no forgiveness without blood.

Yalkut Shimoni says on Exodus 29: “There is no atonement but in the blood.”

In tractate Yoma 5a it says: “And he shall lay his hand… and it shall be accepted for him. Does the laying on of the hand make atonement for one? Does not atonement come through the blood?”

Rashi himself said: “There is no atonement without blood.”

The Sages also recognized this principle and repeated it in Zevachim 6; Minchot 93; Sifra 4, and more. And yet, Rabbi Asor calls what God defined in the Pentateuch as the only way to receive atonement and forgiveness over sins as paganism and idolatry.


Isaiah 59:20 prophesies the Messiah Jesus:

"The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD.

Ezekiel also prophesies the Messiah Jesus:

36:27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness.

37:23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Peter recognized the prophecy in Acts 2:38

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus will save the believers who repent from their sins. The Holy Spirit will dwell in them.

Will the messiah save us from sin or will the messiah come to those who repent?


  • Tony, Can you point me to the verse in Tanakh that says he will come to save sinners please?
    – Yeddu
    May 5, 2021 at 14:32
  • Matthew 3:2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” -- John Preached Matthew 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” -- Jesus Preached
    – Yeddu
    May 5, 2021 at 14:49
  • Good question. I added.
    – user35953
    May 5, 2021 at 15:43
  • Tony, How do you see these verses are about the messiah. This is about God gathering Israel and changing and healing them. Ezekiel 36:24 For I will take you from among the nations and gather you from all the countries, and I will bring you to your land. 25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean; from all your impurities and from all your abominations will I cleanse you.26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
    – Yeddu
    May 5, 2021 at 15:57
  • Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you will walk in My statutes and you will keep My ordinances and do [them]. Same thing with Ezekiel 37, it is about God and there is no Messiah in this also. Ezekiel 37:21And say to them, So says the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and I will bring them to their land.
    – Yeddu
    May 5, 2021 at 15:59

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