Share on facebook
Share on twitter

The Messiah Revealed Pt. 4

We now arrive at the final part of the series:


the New Testament portray of Christ.

Jewish Scriptures & Thought New Testament Comparison
Other quotations taken from the Jewish Scriptures include the promise of Isaiah 42:1-9 that God’s Spirit would dwell on the Messiah. One Targum state “Behold my Servant Messiah, I will draw Him near, My chosen One, in whom my Memra (Aramaic- ” word“) is well pleased.” The identification of God’s Word with the Messiah is similar to what the Apostle John states in his prologue:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:114

Another tradition states that the world was created for Messiah:

” Rabbi Yohanan taught that all the world was created for Messiah. What is His name? The school of Sheeloh taught; His name is Shiloh as it is written (Gen. 49:10).” Sanhedrin 98b

This also agrees with what the New Testament states:

” For by Him (Jesus) all things were created : Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him (Jesus) and for Him (Jesus) .” Colossians 1:16-17 (cf. John 1:1-4Hebrews 1:2)

The Yalkut states:

” ‘And God saw the light and it was good.’ This is the Light of the Messiah. .. to teach you that God saw the generation of Messiah and His works before He created the universe, and He hid the Messiah… under His throne of Glory. Satan asked God, Master of the Universe: ‘For whom is this light under your throne of Glory?’ God answered him, ‘It is for… [the Messiah] who is to turn you backward and who will put you to scorn with shamefacedness.” (Sanhedrin 99a; Berachot 34b; Shabbat 63a)

Compare this with Jesus’ statements:

“While I (Jesus) am in the world, I am the Light of the world. ” John 9:5 (cf. John 1:4-5)

Finally, the Rabbis confirm that the prophets wrote only in regards to the future advent of the long-awaited Messiah:

“Rabbi Chiyya ben-Abba said in Rabbi Yochanan’s name: ‘ All the prophets prophesied [the good things] only for the days of the Messiah… ‘” (Sanhedrin 99a; B’rakhot 34b)

In the words of Jesus Christ himself:

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

From the preceding examples and prophecies one thing remains certain. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. As the High Priest himself found out when questioning Jesus at His trial:

“Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

To which Jesus replied:

“I AM, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:61b-62

He’s coming back! Are you prepared to meet Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ha Adonai, Ben Elohim? We pray that you are.

Appendix A – Isaiah 53: Of Whom Does The Prophet Speak?

We present additional Jewish references that uphold the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53.

According to an ancient Jewish tale, God asked Messiah if he wanted to take upon himself the suffering for Israel’s sins. The Messiah replied,

“With gladness in my soul and with joy in my heart I accept it, so that not a single one of Israel should perish; and not only those who will be alive should be saved in my days, but even the dead who have died from the days of Adam the First man until now.” (Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts, citing Pesikta Rabbati, pp. 161a-b)

Sanhedrin 98b:The rabbis say: “The Leprous of the House of study is his name, as it is said, verily he has borne our diseases and our pains – he carried them and we thought him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.”

According to another legend, Elijah will take the head of the dead Messiah Ben David, placing it on his lap and say: “Endure the suffering and the sentence of your Master who makes you suffer because of the sin of Israel .”

The story then concludes with a quotation from Isaiah 53:5: “… he was wounded for our transgressions.” (Patai, The Messiah Texts, p.115)

Midrash Rabbah on Ruth 2:14: He is speaking of the King Messiah: “Come hither” draw near to the throne and “dip thy morsel in the vinegar,” this relates to the chastisements as it is said, ” But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. 

Midrash Tanhuma, Parasha Toldot, (end of section), states: “Who art thou, O great mountain?” (Zech. 4:7) This refers to King Messiah. And why does he call him the “great mountain?” Because he is greater than the patriarchs, as it is said, ” My servant shall be high, and lifted up, and lofty exceedingly .” He will be higher than Abraham who said, “I raise high my hand unto the Lord” (Gen. 14:22), lifted up above Moses, to whom it is said, “Lift it up into thy bosom” (Num. 11:12), loftier than the ministering angels, of whom it is written, “Their wheels were lofty and terrible” (Ezek. 1:18). And out of whom does he come forth? Out of David.

Jewish educator Herz Homberg (1749-1841) states: According to Ibn Ezra, it relates to Israel at the end of their captivity. But if so, what can be the meaning of the passage, “He was wounded for our transgressions?” Who was wounded? Who are the transgressors? Who carried out the sickness and borne the pain? The fact is that it refers to the King Messiah.

Nachmanides (R. Moshe ben Nachman) (13th c.) notes: “The right view respecting this Parasha is to suppose that by the phrase ‘my servant’ the whole of Israel is meant… As a different opinion, however, is adopted by the Midrash which refers to the Messiah , it is necessary for us to explain it in conformity with the view there maintained. The prophet says, The Messiah, the son of David of whom the text speaks, will never be conquered or perish by the hands of his enemies. And, in fact the text teaches this clearly… And by his stripes we are healed – because the stripes by which he is vexed and distressed will heal us; God will pardon us for his righteousness, and we shall be healed both from our own transgressions and from the iniquities of our fathers .” (S. R. Driver and A. Neubauer, ed., The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters [2 volumes, NY; Klav, 1969], p. 78 f.)

The Karaite Yefeth ben Ali (10th c.) states: As to myself, I am inclined, with Benjamin of Newahend to regard it as alluding to the Messiah, and as opening with a description of his condition in exile, from the time of his birth to his ascension to the throne: For the prophet begins by speaking of his being seated in a position of great honour, and then goes back to relate all that will happen to him during the captivity. He thus gives us to understand two things: In the first instance, that the Messiah will only reach his highest degree of honour after long and severe trials ; and secondly, that these trials will be sent upon him as a kind of sign, so that, if he finds himself under the yoke of misfortunes whilst remaining pure in his actions, he may know that he is the desired one… (Ibid., pp.19-20)

Again from Ali: By the words “surely he hath carried our sicknesses,” they mean that the pain and sickness which he fell into were merited by them, but that he bore them instead… And here I think it necessary to pause for a few moments, in order to explain why God caused these sicknesses to attach themselves to the Messiah for the sake of Israel… The nation deserved from God greater punishment than that which actually came upon them, but not being strong enough to bear it…God appoints his servant to carry their sins, and by doing so lighten their punishment in order that Israel might not be completely exterminated. (Ibid., p. 23, f.)

And, “And the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The prophet does not say avon meaning iniquity, but punishment from iniquity , as in the passage, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num. Xxxii. 23) (Ibid., p. 26)

Maimonides himself affirmed the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53. (Ibid., vol.1, p. 322)

Finally, the idea that God would place the sins of Israel upon an innocent man is alluded to in this Midrash: Moses spake before the Holy One, blessed be he, ‘Will not a time come upon when Israel will have neither Tabernacle nor Temple? What will happen to them (as regards atonement)?’ He replied, ‘ I will take a righteous man from amongst them and make him a pledge on their account , and I will atone for their iniquities .’ (Midrash on Exodus 35:4)

Hence, there can be not one single doubt remaining as to whom Isaiah speaks of, namely, the Messiah whose name is Jesus.

Another attempt to avoid the messianic overtones of these biblical passages is the argument that the passages in question speak of these events as having already been transpired. These prophecies are in the past, and therefore cannot be referring to the future advent of the Messiah. The problem with this argument is that biblical Hebrew does not have a past tense since it is not a “tense” language. Hebrew scholars have come to recognize that biblical Hebrew is an “aspectual” language. This implies that the same form of the verb can be translated as past, present, or future depending on the context and various grammatical constructions.

Hence, it is simply wrong to argue that because these prophecies are spoken of as having already transpired that it does not refer to the Messiah. In fact, there are many examples in the Hebrew Bible where the “past tense” form (called “the perfective” or “perfect”) is used for future time. In support of this, we quote the following Rabbis and Grammarians:

David Kimchi on the prophets’ use of the perfect tense for future events: “The matter is as clear as though it had already transpired.” (Kimchi, Sefer Mikhlol as cited in Bruce K. Waltke and Michael Patrick O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax [Winona Lake, IN; Eisenbrauns, 1990], p.64, n. 45)

Rabbi Isaac Ben Yedaiah (13th c.): [The rabbis] of blessed memory followed, in these words of theirs, in the paths of the prophets who speak of something which will happen in the future in the language of the past. Since they saw in prophetic vision that which was to occur in the future, they spoke about it in the past tense and testified firmly that it had happened, to teach the certainty of his [God’s] words – may he be blessed- and his positive promise that can never change and his beneficent message that will not be altered. (Marc Saperstein, “The Works of Rabbi Isaac b. Yedaiah.” Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1977, pp. 481-82 as cited by Robert Chazan in Daggers of Faith [Berkeley; UC Press, 1989], p. 87)

Contemporary Jewish commentator Nahum Sarna on Exodus 12:17: “This is an example of the ‘prophetic perfect.’ The future is described as having already occurred because God’s will inherently and ineluctably possesses the power of realization so that time factor is inconsequential.” (Exodus: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation [Philadelphia; Jewish Publication Society, 1991], p. 59)

Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (sec. 106n, pp. 312-3113): More particularly the uses of the perfect may be distinguished as follows:-… To express facts which are undoubtedly imminent, and therefore in the imagination of the speaker, already accomplished (perfectum confidentiae), e.g., Nu 17:27, behold we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Gn 30:13Is. 6:5 (I am undone), Pr 4:2… This use of the perfect occurs most frequently in prophetic language (perfectum propheticum). The prophet so transports himself in imagination into the future that he describes the future event as if it had been already seen or heard by him , e.g. Is 5:13 therefore my people have gone into captivity; 9:1ff., 10:28, 11:9…; 19:7, Jb 5:202 Ch. 20:37. Not infrequently the imperfect interchanges with such perfects either in the parallel member or further on in the narrative.

Appendix B – The Messiah and the Second Temple

As we have already indicated, the Hebrew Bible in such passages as Daniel 9:26 clearly place the appearance of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple. This fact is clearly brought out in the following two passages:

Zech 2:1-9 “On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, “Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,” declares the LORD. “Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,” declares the LORD, “and work. For I am with you,” declares the LORD Almighty. “This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the LORD Almighty. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the LORD Almighty.

Haggai 2:1-9 NIV “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the LORD Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the LORD Almighty.’”

God declares that the second temple would be greater in glory than that built by Solomon. This is due to the coming of the one who is called “the desired of the nations.” Some translators view the statement in v. 7 as not referring to the Messiah, but rather the splendor in which the second temple would be adorned with, i.e. the gold and silver of the nations. The only problem with this view is that this in no way would make the second temple greater than the first. The reason is that Solomon’s temple was also arrayed with the finest and most precious materials. Furthermore, the visible manifestation of the glory of God appeared in the form of a cloud and filled the entire sanctuary. (Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-11)

Yet, God specifically states that the glory of the second temple would be greater than the first. What could possible be greater than the cloud descending on Solomon’s temple than God appearing as man in the person of the Messiah at the second one? In the words of Yeshua:

“I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.” Matthew 12:6

That Haggai 2:6-9 was viewed as a messianic prophecy can be seen in this citation from Sanhedrin 97b:
“Rabbi Akibah made the inference, from the verse, ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land’ (Haggai 2:6), that Simon Bar Koziba was the Messiah , though he reigned only for two and half years.”

In spite of Akibah’s error that Koziba was the Messiah, his usage of Haggai 2:6 clearly affirms that at least one rabbi understood this passage as messianic.

The prophet Malachi predicted that God would personally appear at the second temple:
“See I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire will come, says the LORD Almighty.” Malachi 3:1

According to this prediction, the Lord himself was to come and enter his temple. Rabbi Mosheh ben Maimon applied this to the Messiah: ” What is to be the manner of Messiah’s coming , and where will be the place of his first appearance? He will make his first appearance in the land of Israel, as it is written, ‘ The LORD whom ye seek will come suddenly to his temple .’”

In fact, some rabbis were of the opinion that the Messiah had even been born during the destruction of the second temple:
“Rabbi Shemuel bar Nehmani said: On the day when the Temple was destroyed Israel suffered much for their sins… And from whence do we know that on that day (when the Temple was destroyed] Messiah was born? For it is written, ‘Before she travailed, she brought forth [the Messiah].’ ” Bereshit Rabbati 133 (Isaiah 66:7)

The Talmud of Babylon declares: “R. Hillel says there will be no Messiah for Israel, because they have enjoyed him already (fol. 99, col. 1) in the days of Hezekiah. Said Rav. Joseph, may God pardon R. Hillel. When was Hezekiah? In the first house, but Zechariah (9:9) prophesied in THE SECOND HOUSE Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem; Behold thy King cometh unto thee ; He is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding on an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.’ ” (Sanhedrin fol. 99, c. 1)

The only person who claimed to be the divine Messiah and appeared while the second temple was still standing is Yeshua Messiah:

“When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel.’” Luke 2:2225-32

“After the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘ Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? ‘ But they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Luke 2:43-48

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market! ‘ His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” John 2:13-17

Hence, if Jesus is not the Messiah there will be no MessiahThis is based on the testimony of the Hebrew Bible that the Messiah had to come before the destruction of the second temple. We are thankful to God that he did arrive before the temple’s destruction, as was predicted.

Related articles