Last Days pastor Tom Horn told Jim Bakker about some unidentified “rabbis” and their view of Donald Trump, saying, “They’re looking at Donald Trump” as the messiah. These “rabbis,” Horn relates, are saying that Trump’s name “actually means ‘messiah.’” In what language is anybody’s guess.
Horn also assured us that these mysterious “rabbis” are doing research to prove Trump’s “bloodline goes back to the Davidic dynasty.” In other words, a descendant of Mary, the mother of Jesus, or, worse, the family of Jesus himself (Luke 3:23-38).
Talk about looking for messiahs in all the wrong places…The more corrupt Donald Trump shows himself to be, the more certain the Religious Right becomes that he is the messiah. Not a messiah in the sense the word is more generally used, but in the sense that the word is used in Christianity.
It doesn’t help that Horn allows that Trump may not be the messiah himself but rather a John the Baptist-type forerunner, and that either way, he signals the arrival of the end times again…or still (take your pick).
At the turn of the first of our 21 centuries, the Roman province of Judaea was a hotbed of sedition. And people were seeing messiahs everywhere.
And not just one messiah, or even one type of messiah. What New Testament scholar Morton Smith described as an “unreconciled diversity” of first-century messianic groups. The Maccabeans had their messiah, The Essenes another, the intellectual Philo of Alexandria his, the followers of Jesus another and these were only a few.
While we must be careful not to make too much of the differences à la Python’s Life of Brian – as J.J. Collins observes, “The variation was limited, and some forms of messianic expectation were widely shared” – we must also recognize that there was no uniform expectation of who or what the messiah would be.
Arguably, the one Christians got is not the one Jesus’ followers were originally looking for, or alternately, the Jews expected one and the Gentiles ultimately got another.
There were all sorts of messiahs just as there were all sorts of Judaisms – and Christianities – all expecting different sorts of messiahs. The Romans couldn’t shake a census scroll without hitting one. Naturally, they were underwhelmed when the attention fell on a tektōn (the Greek word for craftsman) from Galilee, from which nobody expected a messiah to come.
Similarly, nobody expected a messiah to come from Manhattan, but that is what the Religious Right is telling us.
We have watched as Trump has corrupted the Religious Right beyond anything imaginable. We have seen them increasingly come to the defense of the indefensible, but as I wrote here in October, “the Religious Right set out to conquer our sins but was conquered by Donald Trump’s instead.”
They have flushed whatever pretense they had of being defenders of Christianity, let alone some monolithic morality, and idea that the most unholy example of humanity we can imagine is somehow the messiah is offensive however you understand the term, as a physical savior or a spiritual.
 Morton Smith, “What is Implied by the Variety of Messianic Figures?” JBL 78 (1959), 68.
 See Jacob Neusner et al, Judaisms and Their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era (1987).
 John J. Collins, The Scepter and the Star: The Messiahs of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Other Ancient Literature (1995), Collins, 12
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
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