“For Your Salvation I wait, Adonai!”
- Genesis 49:18
The Promise of Messiah
"For Messiah is the goal of the Torah as a means to righteousness for everyone who keeps trusting"
- Romans 10:4
"I will put animosity between you and the woman— between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel"
- Genesis 3:15
"The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come. To him will be the obedience of the peoples"
- Genesis 49:10
"...nor are you to break any of its bones"
- Genesis 12:46b
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah —
least among the clans of Judah—
from you will come out to Me
One to be ruler in Israel,
One whose goings forth are from of old,
from days of eternity"
- Micah 5:1
"I will declare the decree of Adonai.
He said to me: “You are My Son—
today I have become Your Father"
- Psalm 2:7
There is no doubt that the Hebrew Bible has long been considered G-d’s revelation of Himself to man. Yet, the Hebrew Bible also contains the records of the beginnings of the universe, the world as well as the Nation of Israel, who would also be known as the Chosen People (Ex 19: 6). The Hebrew Bible would not only serve as the foundation for Israel’s existence but also the foundation of their laws, customs and traditions. In addition, the Hebrew Bible would not primarily contain words of historicity, but prophetic words concerning events yet to come. Through His Prophets, and the Writings (Psalms, Job and others), G-d would reveal His future plan of redemption not only for Israel, but for all of mankind. As time went on, the promise of this coming hope would grow with anticipation with each subsequent generation. Yet, how would this hope be recognized? By what means, or through whom would this hope be delivered? As these questions would occupy the mind of G-d’s people, belief in an “Anointed One,” a “Messiah” began to take form.
However, if the Hebrew Bible actually speaks of a Messiah - who is He? How would He be recognized? Would He be Divine, or simply another, prophet, priest or king? In order to give us a picture of redemption, G-d would set up the Levitical priesthood. These priests would not only lead Israel in worship, but they would also perform the sacrifices at the Tabernacle (and later the Temples) - pointing us to the One who would fulfill these sacrifices. While the Levitical sacrificial system would certainly provide a picture of atonement, it would be the words of the Prophets that would continue paint the clearer picture concerning the coming hope of redemption. In other words, a Redeemer was on His way, who would be called the Messiah - “Anointed One.” Therefore, over the centuries the study of the Hebrew Bible and its prophecies intensified in order that the questions as to the identity and the time of this coming Messiah would be answered.
Yet, while many today continue to search the Scriptures in order to identify the person and the time of His coming, there has been for many others, One who has Come and fulfilled what has been written of Him. For many, this Messiah has come in the person of Yeshua, and it is He who has fulfilled the Divine promise of redemption. As we examine certain prophetic promises and events, we will see that the Hebrew Bible not only speaks of G-d’s plan of redemption for Israel and mankind, but that it also reveals to us the Messiah - who also called the Lamb of G-d.
While many agree that the Hebrew Bible contains prophecies of a coming Messiah, these prophecies do not directly or specifically identify the Messiah. Therefore, we must look at certain events, promises and predictions. So, intense has the hope of a Redeemer become that many have come to believe that there is not one Messiah, but two. Therefore, it is important to understand that the Hebrew Bible does not support the idea two Messiahs, who are called “Mashiach ben Jospeh” (Messiah the Son of Joseph) and “Mashiach ben David” (Messiah the Son of David) - but One, who came and will soon return. While many have come up with objections regarding the Messiahship of Yeshua, these objections can be directly addressed and answered by examining the Messianic promises of the whole Hebrew Bible, to include the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings - as Messiah Yeshua Himself had said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify of Me" - John 5:39.
The Hebrew Bible clearly reveals that there is indeed a promise of a Redeemer, who is also known as the the Messiah, and the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant), identifies the Messiah as Yeshua - the only One who has fulfilled what was spoken of in the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings (Tanakh). Because many of the Messianic Prophecies of the Hebrew Bible are not direct or specific in identifying the Messiah, this has led to much liberal thinking as well as rejection of any Messianic Hope contained in the Scriptures. Thus, such prophecies that have traditionally been considered Messianic, have now recently been interpreted to be speaking of the Nation of Israel or are simply referred to as being general or symbolic - and therefore, should not be taken literal. This type of thinking is not merely restricted to Rabbinical Jewish circles, but it also exists among liberal evangelicals. Such thinking is dangerous and contrary to what the Hebrew Bible teaches. Therefore, it is vitally important that those who profess to be believers understand that the Hebrew Bible is indeed Messianic and that it identifies a Messiah - and it is MessiahYeshua, who is that Hope, which is a belief that His early Jewish talmudic (disciples) had no problem confessing - even to point of shedding blood or suffering death.
In the Babylonian Talmud it is written, “All the prophets, all of them, did not prophesy except of the days of the Messiah” - Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 99a. This suggests that within traditional Judaism, there has been a long held belief in a Messiah. The primary reason for such a belief was due to the words of the Prophets themselves who, repeatedly alluded to “the Latter Days” (Num 24: 14) - that the redemptive promises of G-d were to be fulfilled at a later time to come. The “latter days” refer to a time still yet to come as the period when the national greatness of Israel would reach its zenith. In other words, it is the time when Messiah will rule and His Kingdom will be among us. Therefore, the Hebrew Bible is not primarily a record of Israel’s history, but also a prophetic record of Messianic Hope filled with the promise of redemption for Israel and the nations who profess faith in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet, where did this promise of Messianic Hope originate or from whose mouth was it first spoken? Is the Messianic Hope of the Hebrew Bible simply an age, a culmination of events or is it a person?
Because the Messiah hasn’t arrived yet for many - a majority of Jewish modern thinkers and non-Messianic Jewish rabbinical leaders have now “somewhat” concluded that the Messianic Hope to come doesn’t refer to the Messiah at all. Rather, many teach that the promises, refer to an era, or even Israel itself. Some among mainstream Judaism no longer hold on to the literal hope that the Messiah Himself is coming or, has in fact come already - especially, in the person of Yeshua. Yet, early interpreters, rabbis, Messianic writers and the Bible itself suggest that the promises of G-d regarding redemption, do in fact point to the Messiah - and, for many among both Jew and Gentile, the Messiah is indeed Yeshua.
Before, any further examination of the Messianic Hope of the Hebrew Bible, an explanation of the word Messiah (Anointed One), which is Mashiach in Hebrew must first be understood. The term mashiach appears in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) some 39 times. In the Torah (the First Five Books of Moses) it is used four times (Lev. 4: 3, 5, 16; 6: 15) to refer to the anointed High Priest (hakohen hamashiach), not the Messiah. In other passages it refers to the Patriarchs twice (Ps. 105: 15; I Chron. 16: 22), and once to King Cyrus (Is 45: 1). In the majority of the passages, which appear in the Books of Samuel and Psalms, it refers to the “anointed” Kings of Israel, Saul, David and Solomon. Therefore, it can be argued that the Hebrew Bible does not clearly use the term mashiach to directly refer to the Messiah at all. Also, there is no concept of the Messiah as the son of David in the Torah, since David was not born until many years later. Because the Hebrew Bible does not directly use the term mashiach to directly refer to the Messiah, one must examine the Scriptures in other ways, such as predictions, foreshadows and pre-illustrations as well as events that would point us to the Messiah. Such events would include, the Akedah (the Binding of Isaac), which is found in Genesis 22, the life of Joseph (Genesis 45) the promise of Jacob to his son Judah regarding the coming of the Messiah (Gen 49: 10). Yet, while these events speak of the Messiah, and the promise of His coming, these were not the first instances or references regarding that promise. In the Book of Genesis, which is called “Beresheet” in Hebrew, creation as well as the fall of man is recorded. It is in the Garden of Eden where G-d’s creation, Adam and Eve, disobey Him through sin, and therefore, death comes upon the earth and is thusly, passed down to every generation thereafter. Because of their sin, and because G-d didn’t want them to be trapped in their sins forever, Adam and Eve were driven out of were driven out of the Garden (Gen 3: 22-24). Among both Judaism (Rabbinical and Messianic) and Christianity this act is considered the first sin.
Before Adam and Eve are driven out from the Garden, G-d gives them an awesome prophetic promise, which says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel” -Genesis 3: 15. These words spoken by G-d indicate that He is speaking of a future event yet to come, rather than an immediate event. This promise concerning the “Seed of the woman” is considered the “proto-euangelion” - the First Gospel - in Hebrew it is called HaBesorah. This promise would serve as the basis for all subsequent prophecies and redemptive history throughout the Hebrew Bible - revealing that the Messiah would come through humanity. In other words, Messiah would be born as man to deliver mankind from sin. It is also possible that this promise may also refer to the virgin, since He says, “her Seed?” As a result of this promise, every subsequent generation following Adam’s, would be looking for, and anticipating the arrival of the Messiah. An example of this is found in the Book of Genesis, when Lamech has a son and calls him Noach - “And he named him Noah saying, “This one will comfort us from our work and from the pain of our hands because of the ground which Adonai cursed” - Genesis 5: 29.
The name Noah (Noach in Hebrew), comes from the root word “nacham”, which means "rest" as well as "comfort." As a matter of fact, one of the names of the Messiah in Jewish tradition is “Nacham.” This is because, it will be through the Messiah that we will finally achieve rest. It seems that this understanding sounds somewhat familiar regarding the Messiah - “So there remains a Shabbat rest for the people of God” - Hebrews 4: 9. Interestingly, it seems that since the fall in the Garden of Eden, every subsequent generation had been awaiting the time of the Messiah - and the generation of Noah was not any different. Noah’s very name reveals this truth to us - his name in fact means, “rest.” Yet, his name does not appear to be a description, but rather a declaration - as it is written regarding Noah, when his father Lamech named him - “And he named him Noach, saying, “This one will comfort us from our work and from the pain of our hands because of the ground which Adonai cursed” - Genesis 5: 29. It seems that Lamech believed that Noach, could’ve have been the Messiah - the One prophesied of in the Garden of Eden after the fall. However, there was much more required of the Messiah who would come at a much later time to fulfill. Biblically speaking, there is no doubt that the Messiah would in fact bring us rest, but it wasn’t to be done through Noah. Generation after generation, many would seek for the Messiah, in hopes that one day He would arrive and redeem us from the evil in this world and deliver us into His rest - as it is written, “The nations will seek for Him, and His resting place will be glorious” - Is 11: 10b. In Messiah Yeshua, we have in fact found our rest - as He said of Himself, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will you rest" - Matthew 11:28.
Adam’s sin led to death, and because of sin death entered into this world. Now the whole human race dies because it is also under the power of sin through its connection to Adam. Thus, every man is considered - in as sense - dead to G-d and in need of redemption and resurrection (new life). Because man is now conceived into sin, and not born righteous he must be made righteous as the Lord G-d will judge every man according to his sin. Because sin separates us from G-d (Is 59: 2) a resolution in the form of a covenant needed to be established for man to be made righteous in the sight of G-d in order that he may escape the Judgment. The Mosaic Covenant, which G-d gave Israel, provided the foundation for establishing the Nation of Israel in regards to its revelation of G-d, its laws, customs and traditions. It also revealed the necessity of atonement and redemption through the Levitical sacrificial system and the worship of G-d in the Tabernacle and later the Temple( s) through this sacrificial system pointing to the Messiah. However, the Mosaic Covenant itself could not produce new life by itself (Rom 8: 3). Therefore, a New Covenant (Brit Chadashah) would be the resolution in order for man to receive resurrection, which is new life (Jer. 31: 31-34). Yet, this New Covenant would not be like the first. It would be unique. In that it would result in the life that G-d had promised to deliver in Genesis 3: 15 through the Seed of the Woman - the Seed being the Messiah.
The promise that G-d delivered unto Adam, Eve and satan in Genesis 3: 15 is traditionally considered a Messianic promise of hope in that it is not speaking of an immediate event, but of one that will occur in the future - that one day this “Seed of the Woman” would eventually bruise (or strike) the head of the serpent, who is satan. However, it has also been interpreted in other ways. For instance, some have considered that the “seed of woman” is speaking of collective humanity rather than one specific person as “the seed,” which could include any Messianic figure - like King Cyrus (Is 45: 1). This is to mean (according to modern rabbinical teaching), that one day humanity (the descendants of Adam and Eve) could actually bruise the head of the serpent( s). It has further been interpreted to mean that this promise is merely an etiology (a remedy for the sickness of death upon mankind) or symbolic - and doesn’t have to be taken literal. This would explain why snakes slither and also why snakes and humanity seem to be in perpetual conflict.
The promise of Genesis 3: 15 has also been interpreted to be more symbolic, rather than Messianic by modern non-Messianic Jewish rabbinical scholars. However, the majority of early rabbinical scholars believe that this passage is indeed speaking of a Messianic figure, who will come at a future time to bring about redemption and atonement to mankind. For example, the Targum of Jonathan, (an Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible) interprets the Seed of the woman, to be a direct reference of the Messiah - as it is written, "Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for you there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Mashiach” - Targum Jonathan Genesis 3: 15b.The idea of the Messiah being the remedy for the enemy was not overlooked among the Messianic writers of the New Covenant either, as Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) wrote, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” - Romans 16: 20a. G-d would accomplish this through the Messiah - who is Yeshua.
The idea that Genesis 3: 15 speaks of a Messianic Hope that has existed among Biblical interpreters as well as the Biblical authors is not regulated strictly to the Bible. This idea has also existed among rabbinical authors and writers. For instance, Rabbi David Kimchi wrote that Genesis 3: 15 speaks specifically of the Messiah. He wrote, “As you went forth for the salvation of Your people by the hand of the Messiah, the Son of David, You shall wound Satan, the head, the king and prince of the house of the wicked.” In the Midrash Rabbah, Rabbi Tanchuma said in the name of Rabbi Samuel, “Eve has respect to that Seed, which is coming from another place. And who is this? This is the Messiah, the King.” Genesis 3:15 is not the only place where the promise of Messianic hope is spoken of or promised. The Hebrew Bible is replete with references to a coming Messiah who will crush the head of the serpent (satan) and bring redemption to the world. However, this passage lays out the foundation for all others in regards to this Promise - the Promise of a coming Messiah.
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish but to fulfill"
- Matthew 5:17
"..and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed"
- Genesis 12:3
"For Your salvation
I wait, Adonai"
- Genesis 49:18
"Adonai your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst—
from your brothers.
To Him you must listen"
- Deuteronomy 18:15
The Coming Messianic Hope
While Biblical scholars, rabbis and others have long supported the idea that there is indeed a coming Messianic Hope for mankind, the greatest support for this promise is found in the words of the Hebrew Bible itself. We learned in the Genesis 3: 15 account, that it is clear that the promise of the Seed of the Woman is speaking of future events rather than immediate events. It is also understood that this Seed is speaking of someone who has been identified by Messianic Jewish, non-Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars alike as the Messiah. Genesis 3: 15 reveals that this promised Seed (the Messiah) will come from humanity. However, the Bible also promises that He will come from a specific part of humanity. Yet, from which part of humanity will He come? The promise of the “Seed” (the Messiah) to come would seem to not only occupy the minds of the Prophets, but would also serve as the basis for G-d’s promises unto the Patriarchs, the Kings of Israel, and all who put their faith in the
G-d of Israel. Belief in the Messiah would eventually become central to the Judaism of the Bible. Specifically, Messianic Judaism. The anticipation of His coming would serve as the foundational basis for all of Messianic beliefs and studies, as revealed in the Messianic writings of the Brit Chadashah, the Talmud and the Targums.
After the events of the fall in the Garden of Eden, the Word of G-d continued to bring about promise regarding the Seed of the Woman. In Genesis 12: 1-3 G-d eventually delivers another promise. This time it is unto Abram (who would later be called Abraham), who is a descendent of Noah’s son Shem - not only saying that he will be a great nation (have many descendants), but that in him all the families of the earth will be blessed - as it is written, “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed”- Genesis 12: 3b. G-d’s promise to Abram says that in him is the Seed (the Messiah) that will come to bless not only Israel, but also the nations. Abraham, would not only be the father of faith in the One True G-d (monotheism), but also the father of the Hebrew nation, and eventually all of Israel, to include the Jewish people. Thus, it is understandable that Israel would indeed be blessed through him. However, Genesis 12: 3 says, that “all the families of the earth will be blessed.” This means that this promise of blessing would not be limited to only Abraham’s descendants, but to all of mankind (Jew and Gentile). As it is written, “In your Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you obeyed My voice” - Genesis 22: 18.
Yet, is the term “In your Seed” simply to mean that through Abraham’s descendants the world will receive blessing by prosperous means? Or, is this a Messianic term, referring to the promised Seed of the Woman first given in the Garden of Eden? It is clearly a Messianic term referring to the promised Seed of the Woman. In this passage the word seed in used in two ways. In verse 17 it is used in the plural sense referring to Abraham’s descendants (seeds). Yet, in verse 18 is is used in the singular sense referring to a particular descendant (Seed). Therefore, while Abraham is promised that his seed (plural) will be many, he is also promised that in his Seed (singular) the nations of the earth will be blessed. This Seed of Abraham would later be identified as the promised Messiah by Messianic scholars and rabbis. In the Brit Chadashah, Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) would say just that, that the promise of G-d to Abraham spoke clearly of the Messiah. He wrote, “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your Seed,” that is, Messiah” - Galatians 3:16. Thus, according to this promise, he understood that the Messiah not only came from humanity, but He also came from a particular part of humanity - the Hebrew nation that is, Israel and the Jewish people. In other words Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham and, through Him all of the nations of earth will be blessed. The Messianic Hope of redemption lies within Abraham and his descendants, Isaac and Jacob, to whom the promise is also given. However, according to the Messianic writers of the Brit Chadashah, it is Yeshua, who fulfilled this Promise.
Interestingly, a rabbinical midrash (discussion) says, that there is a correlation between the two passages of Genesis 2: 4 and Genesis 12: 3 regarding the Seed - the Messiah. In Genesis 2: 4, we read, “These are the genealogical records of the heavens and the earth when they were created, at the time when Adonai Elohim made land and sky” (Gen 2: 4), and in Genesis 12: 3, we also read, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” This is the correlation. In Genesis 2: 4, the letters of the words “when they were created” are “be’hibaram” in Hebrew. These particular letters the rabbis say, can be rearranged to say “be’Abraham,” which means, “in Abraham.” Early rabbinical teachings say this means, that all things were created for the sake of Messiah - Who is the Seed of Abraham. Thus, the promise to Abraham where it says, “In you (be’Abraham) all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3) is without a doubt, Messianic and points to the Promise of the Messiah. Of course, the Ruach HaKodesh, had already revealed this truth to Messiah’s early apostles in the Brit Chadashah, as Rav Shaul would write, “All was created through Him and for Him. He exists before everything, and in Him all holds together” - Colossians 1: 17.
The Torah established that the Messiah, the Seed of the Woman, will come from humanity (He will be human), and yet, He would also be Divine, since He would be conceived of Ruach HaKodesh - as it is written, “And I will put…” Genesis 3: 15a. Yet, the Messiah is also the Seed of Abraham who will come from a particular part of humanity - meaning that He will be Hebrew. But the Torah would go even further to identify the specific tribe from which He will come. Not long after G-d’s promise to Abraham, He tells Abraham that through him “… kings will come forth from you” (Gen 17: 6b) and that His Covenant will be passed on to his sons. Later, shortly before the death of Isaac's son Jacob, Jacob, in blessing his sons proclaims over Judah, "The scepter will not pass from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs will come" - Genesis 49:10. This verse has also been translated to say, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh come and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” - Genesis 49:10. Shiloh has since become a name by which the Messiah would be called. What does this particular blessing mean? To what or to whom is this particular blessing referring?
This particular passage has also been considered Messianic, in that Jacob is prophetically speaking of a coming King who would rule over Israel. In most translations, the word Shiloh is put in place of the literal translation, which reads, “until He comes to whom it belongs.” Who is this “He” to whom it belongs? This term (Shiloh) has long been interpreted to refer to the Messiah, who will not only come from humanity, as a Hebrew, but He would also come from a specific Tribe. The Tribe of Judah. And, He will be King, as the scepter and the staff denote kingly authority. Prophetically speaking, Messiah would not simply be “a king,” but, He would be “The King.” As it is written, "On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords" - Revelation 19:16.
To suggest that Genesis 49: 10 is not a reference to Messiah, would be contrary not only to its Biblical support, but also its rabbinical and traditional support. Unsurprisingly, this passage has long been considered Messianic. The Targum Onkelos interprets this passage to mean, “The transmission of dominion shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor the scribe from his children’s children forever until Messiah comes to whom the Kingdom belongs and whom the nations shall obey.” A Midrash also interprets this passage as Messianic saying, “This alludes to the royal Messiah who will have the obedience of the people; the Messiah will come and set on edge the teeth of the nations” (Midrash Rabbah 98). The great sage Rashi, also expresses that “Until Shiloh arrives” is the Messiah, to whom the Kingdom belongs. Thus, not only does Torah Promise a Messiah to come, but He will be come humanity, He will be Hebrew, He will come from the Tribe of Judah and He will be a King. And, He will bring with Him the Hope of Israel.
It is interesting to note that the promise spoken of in Genesis 49:10 is also a reference to the time of Messiah’s Coming. The words, “the scepter shall not depart from Judah,” is a reference to Judah’s tribal identity. Many scholars believe that this means that the Messiah would come before Judah lost his tribal identity. The question however, is, “When did Judah lose his tribal identity?” In 70 CE a very significant event took place. The Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed. It was this event that gives us the understanding of Judah losing his tribal identity. How did the destruction effect Judah’s tribal identity? At the time of the Temple’s destruction, all of the Tribal records were kept inside in order to assist in tribal identity for the Tribes of Israel. Only the Tribal records of the Levites were kept in a separate area and kept safe. When the Temple was destroyed so too, were all other Tribal records, except the records of the Tribe of Levi. Thus, making it almost impossible to identify anyone from any of the other Tribes, including the Tribe of Judah, from whom the Messiah descended. Therefore, many scholars have come to believe that the advent of the Messiah was to occur before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. According to the Prophet Daniel this is exactly when the Messiah would arrive - before the destruction of the Temple. He would prophesy, “So know and understand: From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the time Mashiach, the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks. It will be rebuilt, with plaza and moat, but it will be in times of distress. Then after the 62 weeks Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. Then the people of a prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. But his end will come like a flood. Until the end of the war that is decreed there will be destruction" - Daniel 9: 25-26. To this date, Messiah Yeshua is the only One who has fulfilled that requisite.
"Therefore Adonai Himself will give you a sign:
Behold, the virgin will conceive.
When she is giving birth to a son,
she will call his name Immanuel"
- Isaiah 7:14
The Anticipation of Messianic Hope
"But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities.
The chastisement for our shalom was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed"
- Isaiah 53:5
The anticipation of the coming Messianic King has long been a closely held belief within both Messianic and rabbinical Judaism. As a matter of fact, in rabbinical Judaism it is taught that, “whoever does not believe in and whoever does not await the coming of Mashiach, in effect denies the whole Torah, all the prophets beginning with Moses” (Maimonides). Yet, it seems that Messianic Hope (the anticipation of Messiah) is not merely a matter of virtue, but has deep roots stemming from a cataclysmic event. Author Noam Hendren points out that the Messianic
Hope is rooted in the corruption of mankind and all creation following the rebellion in Eden. Thus, if the anticipation of Messianic Hope stems from the Fall, could it be understood that not only will this coming Messiah King come to rule, but He would also come to redeem? In other words, the hope of a Redeemer came as a result of the fall - as well as the necessity for atonement. According the Torah, atonement comes only through sacrifice - as it is written, “Adonai Elohim made Adam and his wife tunics of skin and He clothed them” - Genesis 3: 21. When Adam and Eve sinned, Adonai covered their sin, through sacrifice. Giving us a picture of how redemption would come to those in need of redemption. The necessity of sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, would be fully displayed through the Levitical sacrificial system, which reveals to us that a ransom (a price) must be paid for the violation of G-d’s Law - His Torah. In order for the sins of mankind to be removed there must be atonement made through substitutionary sacrifice, which only comes by way of blood sacrifice. As it is written, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement” - Leviticus 17:11.
This is to mean that the sacrificial system would reveal the need for a Redeemer as well as what this Redeemer would do in order that we be atoned for and made right with G-d. This sacrificial system would reveal that the Messiah would give up His own life for the sake of our salvation and redemption. He will remove all ungodliness from His people and those who put their faith in Him. As it is written, “A Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from (repent) transgression in Jacob,” declares the L-RD” - Isaiah 59: 20. Thus, the purpose of Messiah’s coming would in fact be to remove transgression from us and to destroy the works of satan so that we would be able to enter into His Kingdom. As it is written, in the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant); “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” - I John 3: 8b.
In addition to His kingly rule, it is believed that the Messiah will also bring with Him redemption for all of mankind. As it is written,“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” - Exodus 20: 2. The early rabbis expressed that this particular verse reveals the primary mission of the Messiah would be redemption. Not only would Messiah King redeem Israel from his enemies, but also from his sins. The early sages said, “There is no difference between the present age and the Messianic era but delivery from subjection to foreign powers.” This is to mean that all things would be put into the subjection of Messiah - as the Psalmist wrote, “You put all things under his feet” - Ps 8:7b. The idea that Messiah will bring everything into subjection to Himself, did not escape the minds of the early Messianic writers of the Brit Chadashah, as they taught - “For God has put all things in subjection underneath His feet. But when the Psalmist says “all” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include God Himself, who put all thing under Messiah” - I Corinthians 15: 27. In addition, according to the early rabbis, the Prophet Malachi prophesies concerning the Messianic redemption of Israel, that the Messiah will also restore godly Temple worship in Israel - “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will (purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the L-RD offerings in righteousness” - Malachi 3: 3. In essence, not only will the Messiah come as King, but also as Priest over all of Israel. This is why it is believed that the Messiah will also bring with Him the Temple, which is so central to the worship of Israel.
The anticipation of the Messiah is highly regarded among all who are a part of both Messianic and rabbinical Judaism. So highly regarded is this anticipation, it is included as one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith, written by Maimonides, when he wrote, “I believe with complete faith in the coming of Mashiach. Though he tarry, nonetheless I await him every day, that he will come.” Yet, while there does certainly exist the anticipation of the Messiah, the question as to His identity remains a mystery among many in Israel. Among Messianic Jews, however, there is no questions. While it is certain that the promise of the Messianic Hope of the Hebrew Bible will be fulfilled in the Messiah, who is King and Priest, how will it be fulfilled?
“But a Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those
in Jacob who turn
It is a declaration of Adonai"
- Isaiah 59:20
The Fulfillment of Messianic Hope
It is believed that since the Creation, G-d’s plan regarding mankind included redemption: “Seven things were created before the world was created: Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden (Paradise), Gehinnom, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the Name of Messiah" - The Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 54a. The Talmud goes on to express that the Messiah has always been on the mind of G-d long before the world was created. This means that the Messiah existed along with Elohim, and was not a created being - but also Divine. In other words, He has always been - just as the Father and the Ruach have always been - the Messiah is in essence G-d in the flesh. In the majority of rabbinical Jewish circles, this is not so. The Messiah isn’t considered Divine - that is, G-d in the flesh. However, in the Tanakh, the prophet Isaiah reveals to us that the Messiah would in fact be Divine, as he wrote,“Come near to Me, listen to this: from the first I have not spoken in secret, from the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit” - Isaiah 48: 16. This prophecy places the Messiah on equal standing of G-d and His Holy Spirit. A truth that did not escape the minds of the early Messianic writers - as it written, “In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God” - John 1:1.
One of the major aspects concerning the coming Messiah, is in regards to the way His redemption would be accomplished. While it is certain that this Messiah would come as Priest and King, He will also come as a Servant of the Lord. In addition, the manner by which He will accomplish redemption would be utterly unique from the Levitical sacrificial system. According to the Hebrew Bible, the Messiah would accomplish redemption through His suffering - meaning, His own sacrifice. In order for redemption to be achieved the Messiah would make Himself a guilt offering and die for the people (Isaiah 52:13-53:13). The belief in a Suffering Servant is not foreign to both Messianic and rabbinical Judaism. It has long been believed that the Suffering Servant of Isaiah does indeed refer to the Messiah. For instance, both the Targum of Jonathan and Onkelos interpret the passages of Isaiah 52: 13-53: 13 specifically refer to the Messiah - Messiah the Suffering Servant would also be called Mashiach ben Yosef (Messiah the Son of Joseph), because the life of Joseph parallels the life of the Messiah. Interestingly, the name "Yosef" in Hebrew, means “may He (Adonai) add. He was given this name to express Rachel's hope for Adonai to add more children. Yet, it would also prefigure the Messiah, who would add more children to Israel, which would include both Jew and Gentiles. Thus, it is written in the Brit Chadashah concerning the Messiah that He did indeed fulfill this promise - “A light for revelation to the nations’ and the glory of Your people Israel” - Luke 2:32.
Throughout history there have been many who would come and try to proclaim themselves as the fulfillment of the Messianic Hope of the Hebrew Bible, that is Messiah. However, when one examines that Scriptures thoroughly there are no others who can come close to the what is prophetically required of the Messiah, except for One whose Name is Yeshua. While many non-Messianic rabbis and scholars are still anticipating the coming of the Messiah - the Messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible clearly express that there would be a Messiah - and the Brit Chadashah identifies Him as Yeshua the One who fulfilled the Messianic prophesies of the Hebrew Bible. The Brit Chadashah reveals that Messiah Yeshua, was born as the Seed of the Woman (Gal 4: 4), He came as the promised Seed of Abraham (Gal 3: 16), He came as the promised Seed of Judah as well as the from the royal lineage of King David (Mat 1: 1-2), He came as the Suffering Servant (I Pt 2: 24-25), He came as both G-d and man (Phil 2: 6-7) and He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Mat 2: 1). Yet, there are more compelling prophecies concerning the Promise of the Messiah. While many in rabbinical Judaism may claim that others have come close to the fulfillment of these mentioned prophecies, the one that no one else can lay claim to is the Messianic Prophecy of Resurrection - the is being raised from the dead. Messiah Yeshua is the only One who fulfilled this requirement, which was prophesied through the prophet Isiaah. As it is written, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand” - Isaiah 53:10. Some would argue today that Isaiah 53 does not speak of the Messiah’s death but, rather the rise of Israel and its people. However, it is clear that Isaiah 53 uses almost every possible description to communicate to us that the Servant would die - and, that it can not possibly (even remotely possible be talking about Israel or the people of Israel. Early rabbis have greatly agreed that Isaiah 53 was in fact clearly speaking of the Messiah and not Israel. In the Talmud, it is written concerning Isaiah’s prophecy, “The Messiah— what is his name?… The Rabbis say, the leprous one; those of the house of Rabbi say, the sick one, as it is said, “Surely he hath borne our sicknesses” - Sanhedrin 98b. Isaiah is not only speaking of the suffering that the Messiah would experience but, he rightly prophesies of His resurrection - which is a feat that only Messiah Yeshua has accomplished (and no one else), solidifying the fact that He is indeed the Messianic Hope of the Hebrew Bible, who came to bring redemption to both Israel and the nations. As it is written in the Brit Chadashah, “He has risen” - Mark 16:6.
"In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a huge valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north and half of it toward the south"
- Zechariah 14:4
The Messianic Hope
"Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, a righteous one bringing salvation. He is lowly, riding on a donkey— on a colt, the foal of a donkey"
- Zechariah 9:9
The belief in the Messiah and His redemption is fundamental and central to the principles of the Messianic Jewish faith. While the Hebrew Bible does not come out and specifically or directly identify the Messiah, His mission and His function are clearly expressed. Through the Messianic Prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, the Messiah is clearly identified as Priest, King, Prophet and Redeemer. However, more than that, He is also identified as G-d Himself, who came down from Heaven in the form of the man Yeshua to bring redemption to both Israel and the nations. Messiah Yeshua wasn’t a man who became G-d. Instead, He is G-d who became a man - the Man Messiah Yeshua (Philippians 2: 5-7). The concept of a Divine Messiah is not foreign to early Judaism (Isaiah 9: 6-7), but may have simply been all but lost in interpretation as well as in anticipation. In waiting for the coming Messiah, the anticipation of many in Israel, may have turned to antagonism or frustration. With the advent of Rabbinic Judaism, the identity of the Messiah has been resigned to either a spiritual era or to the Nation of Israel. Because of historicity (i.e, the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, and Nazi Germany), the acceptance of Yeshua as the Messiah is simply out of the question for many Jews. However, in examining the Messianic Prophecies and comparing them to the life of Messiah Yeshua, one is left with the question, “If Yeshua didn’t fulfill these prophecies, then who did?” The obvious answer to that question is, “No one.” Messiah Yeshua is indeed the Messianic Hope of the Hebrew Bible as well as the Son of G-d (Psalm 2).
Thus, we now wait for His Return. As it is written, “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which lies to the east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a huge valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north and half of it toward the south” - Zechariah 14:4
“Men of Galilee, why do you keep standing here staring into heaven? This Yeshua, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven”
- Acts 1: 9