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A Divine Messiah That Suffers and Reigns! Pt. 2

I continue from where I left off https://answeringallah.com/a-divine-messiah-that-suffers-and-reigns-pt-1/

Isaiah wasn’t the only prophet to speaking of the Deity and vicarious suffering of the Messiah. Daniel was given a vision of a human figure that all nations must worship as he reigns over them forever:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

Here is how Rashi, one of Judaism’s leading medieval rabbis, interpreted this text:

one like a man was coming: That is THE KING MESSIAH.

and… up to the Ancient of Days: Who was sitting in judgment and judging the nations.

came: arrived, reached. (The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16490#v=13&showrashi=true; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Another foremost medieval rabbi identified Daniel’s Son of Man as the Servant of Isaiah 52:13, describing him in language which befits the majesty of God alone:

“I will now proceed to my exposition. 13 Behold my servant shall have understanding. From the prophet’s saying ‘understanding,’ it may be seen that all the lofty predicates which he assigns to him have their source in this attribute; in virtue of his comprehensive intelligence he will attain an elevation above that even of the most perfect men in the world. He shall be high and exalted, and lofty exceedingly. According to the Midrash of our Rabbis; he will be higher than Abraham, who was first of all a ‘high father,’ and afterwards a father of a multitude. He will be more exalted than Moses, who was ‘exalted’ above the exalted ones of Levi (cf. Num. iii. 32), who was a prophet such that ‘none arose like him in Israel,’ (Deut. xxxiv. 10), who ‘saved’ Israel ‘with a great salvation’ (cf. I Chron. xi. 14) when they came out of Egypt, and the report of whom spread into all places until ‘the dukes of Edom were confounded’ before him, and ‘trembling seized the mighty men of Moab, and all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away’ (Ex. xv. 15). But this one will be exalted far above Moses: for when he gathers together our scattered ones from the four corners of the earth, he will be exalted in the eyes of all the kings in the whole world, and all of them will serve him, and will exalt him above them, as Daniel prophesies concerning him, ‘All nations, peoples, and tongues shall serve him’ (Dan. vii. 14, 27). He will be loftier than Solomon, whose dignity was so lofty that he is said to have ‘sat on the throne of the Lord’ (I Chron. xxix. 23), and our Rabbis say that he was king over both the upper and the nether world. But the King Messiah, in his ALL-COMPREHENDING INTELLIGENCE, will be loftier than SolomonExceedingly above the ministering angels, because that same comprehensive intelligence will approach [God] more nearly than theirs. For it is an exceedingly high privilege, that one whose nature is compound and material should attain to a grade of intelligence more nearly Divine than that which belongs to the incorporeal; and so it is said of him that ‘his strength is greater than that of the ministering angels,’ because these have no impediment in the exercise of their intellect, whereas that which is compound is continually impeded in consequence of material element in its nature. Accordingly, the grade of his intelligence being such as this, he is said to be ‘lofty exceedingly,’ and his strength to be ‘greater than the angels.’… And when this ‘servant of the Lord’ is born, he will continue to be marked by the possession of intelligence enabling him to acquire from God what it is impossible for any to acquire until he reaches that height wither none of the sons of men, EXCEPT HIM, have ever ascended: from that day he will be counted with his people Israel, and will share their subjugation and distress; ‘in all their affliction’ (Is. lxiii. 9) he will be exceedingly afflicted; and because of their being outcasts and scattered to the ends of the world, his grief will be such that the colour of his countenance will be changed from that of a man, and pangs and sicknesses will seize him (for great grief, as physicians know, by producing melancholy, subjects a man to many diseases); and all the chastisements which come upon him in consequence of his grief will be for our sakes, and not from any deficiency or sin on his part which might bring punishment in his train, BECAUSE HE IS PERFECT, IN THE COMPLETENESS OF PERFECTION, as Isaiah says (xi. 2f.). Truly all his pains and sicknesses will be for us…” (R. Mosheh Kohen Ibn Crispin (14th century AD), as cited by Driver and Neubauer, The “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, pp. 101-103; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

To say the foregoing description of the Messiah is astonishing would be to put it mildly.

It is evident why the rabbi could speak so highly of the Messiah. Daniel describes the Son of Man in language reserved for God alone. For instance, the Son of Man rides the clouds of heaven, which is Jehovah’s mode of transportation:

“who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:” Psalm 104:3

“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3 – cf. Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20, 24; 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Numbers 10:34; Deuteronomy 33:26; Isaiah 19:1

The Son of Man is also receives the very worship that is supposed to be given only to God:

“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27

“There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up… Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?… If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up… Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.” Daniel 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28

We, thus, have Daniel agreeing with Isaiah that the Messiah is both personally distinct from and yet identical to God, being the human incarnation of God Almighty.

Daniel also concurs with Isaiah in connecting Messiah’s violent death with God’s ushering in perfect reconciliation and final atonement for sins:

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be CUT OFF, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:24-27

A truly astonishing prophecy to say the least!

The prophet associates everlasting righteousness, reconciliation, the termination of sin/transgression, the sealing or fulfillment of prophecies, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple with the appearance and cutting off, i.e. violent death, of the Messianic Ruler.

Though Rashi erroneously identified the Messiah that would be killed with king Agrippa, he nonetheless connected the ultimate fulfillment of this amazing prediction with the appearance of the Messianic King:

Seventy weeks [of years] have been decreed: on Jerusalem from the day of the first destruction in the days of Zedekiah until it will be [destroyed] the second time.

to terminate the transgression and to end sin: so that Israel should receive their complete retribution in the exile of Titus and his subjugation, in order that their transgressions should terminate, their sins should end, and their iniquities should be expiated, in order to bring upon them eternal righteousness and to anoint upon them (sic) the Holy of Holies: the Ark, the altars, and the holy vessels, which they will bring to them THROUGH THE KING MESSIAH. The number of seventy weeks is four hundred and ninety years. The Babylonian exile was seventy [years] and the Second Temple stood four hundred and twenty [years]. (The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary, v. 24 https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16492#v=27&showrashi=true; capital and underline emphasis ours)

And after: those weeks.

the anointed one will be cut off: Agrippa, the king of Judea, who was ruling at the time of the destruction, will be slain.

and he will be no more: Heb. וְאֵין לוֹ, and he will not have. The meaning is that he will not be.

the anointed one: Heb. מָשִׁיחַ. This is purely an expression of a prince and a dignitary. and the city and the Sanctuary: lit.

and the city and the Holy. and the people of the coming monarch will destroy: [The monarch who will come] upon them. That is Titus and his armies.

and his end will come about by inundation: And his end will be damnation and destruction, for He will inundate the power of his kingdom THROUGH THE MESSIAH, and until the end of the wars of Gog the city will exist.

cut off into desolation: a destruction of desolation. (Ibid., v. 26 https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16492#v=26&showrashi=true; capital and underline emphasis ours)

and until destruction and extermination befall the dumb one: and the ruling of the abomination will endure until the day that the destruction and extermination decreed upon it [will] befall it, IN THE DAYS OF THE KING MESSIAH. (Ibid., v. 27 https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16492#v=27&showrashi=true; capital and underline emphasis ours)

We, thus, have another OT prophet affirming the Messiah’s essential Deity and his humanity, as well as his vicarious death for sinners, that brings about everlasting righteousness and perfect reconciliation between God and mankind.

For an in depth exegesis of Daniel 9:24-27, which shows how this prophecy was perfectly fulfilled in the coming of the Lord Jesus and subsequent destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple, we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

The Anti-Anti-Mission: A Response to some Jewish Objections to Christian Theology http://www.tektonics.org/guest/antianti.html#fourteen

The Timeline of the Messiah Pt. 1 https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/the-time-of-messiahs-advent-pt-1/, Pt. 2 https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/the-time-of-messiahs-advent-pt-2/

I still have more in the next part of my discussion https://answeringallah.com/a-divine-messiah-that-suffers-and-reigns-pt-2/

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