Many messiahs?

This is a concept under development; I intend to show that there is a valid additional way of looking at the concept of “messiah” and to draw some conclusions from it. It’s intended primarily for a Christian audience at the moment, but attempts not to tread too hard on Jewish toes…

In Hebrew, the word which is translated in English as “messiah” is “moschiach”. This word means “anointed” and is used in quite a few passages of, for instance, items used ritually in Judaism.
In texts in Biblical Hebrew it tends to come without any “the” (maybe it always does, but I’m careful about claims like that, as I don’t read Hebrew to any significant extent!).
Now, in the Hebrew scriptures (in Christianity referred to as the Old Testament), where we’re talking about human beings who are given this label, they are priests or kings (Saul and David spring to mind as both having been labelled so); Cyrus is, if I’m not mistaken, the only non-Jewish person so labelled, in Isaiah 45:1. In addition there are, of course, multiple references to a future “annointed one” in the prophetic writings.
The direction of my thinking on this subject makes me an equal-opportunity offender from the point of view of both Judaism and Christianity. It goes as follows:-
1. Multiple people are described in scripture as “moschiach”, including one non-Jew. Multiple messiahs are therefore scripturally sound as a concept, taken historically.
2. There is no helpful “the” to distinguish whether what is being talked about prophetically is A messiah or THE messiah.
3. The assumption that prophecy using the word “moschiach” refers to one single individual is therefore unfounded in Scripture, taken purely on the face of the words.
4. The tradition of “one messiah” may therefore not be what the prophets intended to indicate. (In fact, I’m aware of a smallish Jewish school of thought which talks of two messiahs, a kingly and a priestly one, and another which talks of a “messiah of the age”)
5. Judaism therefore need never have looked for one person to fulfil all messianic prophecy.
6. Christian identification of Jesus as “the messiah” is therefore based on an error of interpretation. It was open to him, possibly, to have been “a messiah”, and using the example of Cyrus, he didn’t have to be of either a kingly or priestly line for that to be a valid identification. It didn’t, however, have to be exclusive, as he didn’t have to fit all messianic prophecy (and there are a lot of these recognised in Judaism, few of which have so far actually been satisfied). One would do.
7. Reb. Schneerson (former leader of the Chabad Lubavitch group within Judaism and controversially hailed as “moschiach” by many during his lifetime and still by some today) may well also have been correctly identified as “moschiach”, and the same comments apply.
8. I take the view that if the “end times” are actually going to occur in a literal sense, there’s no good reason to believe that that will be any time soon. In terms of fulfilling all messianic prophecy, it seems to me hugely unlikely that a confluence of all these will in fact happen during the lifetime of any one individual, so messianic expectations in both religions are likely to continue unfulfilled. However, they don’t necessarily need to, purely on the basis of the Hebrew Scriptures.
It’s clear to me that there has been a development of a tradition (within pre-second century Judaism) on which both the modern Jewish and the Christian positions are based, but I haven’t yet been shown a logic for this development and would question it if it were shown. I don’t remotely expect either religion to break with this tradition, but I wonder whether freeing up the possibilities a little would not be a good thing…
And on that note, in Christianity we look for the return of Jesus. In part, theologians justify the fact that Jesus emphatically did not satisfy all prophecy referring to a future messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures by suggesting that the remaining prophecies will be satisfied on his return, which is conceived as a once-and-for-all event. Indeed, a return is talked of in the NT eschatological scriptures, and very many people take that as prophetic and literal. While I take note that it might be, on the whole I look for how the eschatological scriptures might be interpreted in terms of the here and now on a spiritual basis.
However, I don’t at this point need to explore this avenue in detail, because I have a number of well-developed principles in Christianity which allow me a view of Jesus as having already returned in some sense (or possibly having never left). The church as the body of Christ, for instance. Jesus being our “head”, i.e. controlling our actions. Aspiring to be Christ-like. Entering into His death and resurrection ourselves. My list is not exhaustive…
This opens the way for me to look for individual Christians or the Church as a whole to fulfil messianic prophecies in advance of any dramatic “second coming”, and thereby to become “moschiach”, “messiah” themselves, in a limited sense individually, but possibly in a more general sense collectively.
The notable unfulfilled prophecies which I have in mind are “a time of world peace” (Isaiah 2:4) and “a time when everyone believes in God” (Isaiah 66:23), these being accessible to everyone as aims. We may be pursuing the second, but I suggest we should maybe not be looking for divine intervention to establish the first. Other notable ones are “gather all the Jews” (Isaiah 11:12), “rebuild the Temple” (Ezekiel 37:27 inter alia) and “a time when all Jews follow God’s commandments” (Ezekiel 37:24); I see the first two as up to Judaism and the nation of Israel to accomplish, though the rest of us should approve. The third, I could interpret as indicating that we should not attempt to persuade Jews to cease following all of the commandments.
There’s also Zechariah 8:23, indicating that the rest of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance. Now in the person of Jesus, a Jew, I could argue that Christians already do this. However, it may very well be that there’s more to it than that, and that we should re-examine any supercessionist thinking we may have (and the passages which lead us to that) and enquire whether we should not be taking concepts such as, for instance, mitzvah into our own thinking, at the very least. Pace the Council of Jersualem in Acts 15:28-29, while accepting that there is no obligation on us as Christians to follow any of the commandments specific to Israel (and this is echoed within Judaism in the “Noahide” concept), there is also (I suggest) no overriding reason why we could not regard voluntary adherence to some of those as being a valid and worshipful action, and something which could be introduced into our own praxis.