King Messiah II
I. Jesus' Fulfillment of major Messianic Expectations
The general "qualifications" for Messiah were: descendant of Jesse, of David, through the line to Solomon, through the kings of Judah and finally through Zerubbabel. This means of course that he would come from the tribe of Judah. They expected him to free them from the Romans and bring in a great time of world peace and a holy nation. But they also had many other expectations which are in differing degrees, not necessarily those recognized by Jews today. Edersheim reveals most of these and they will be demonstrated within the context of arguments below. IT is not clear exactly how common or universal all of these expectations were, but they did exist and some were common within first century Judaism. Since it is absurd to think that Jews would just give up their faith and dash off to join another religion, we should expect that all of the claims Jesus made and that are made about him by his early followers were present in Jewish expectation, and so we do.
What we find when we examine these, and others below, is not a host of randum fulfillments but that they tell the whole Jesus story as presented in the Gospels. Suffering, rejection, dissaperance, death, return. These expectations will be demonstrated in the course of the following arguments.
A. Expectations1) Root of Jesse and Branch of David.
The whole of chapter 11 (Isaiah) is designated by more than one ancient rabbinical source as pertaining to the Messiah. Targum v 1-6 as Messianic. (Jer. Berach 5a and Sanh 93b) and number of passages in the Midrashim . v 1 says "a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse." Jesus was descended from Jesse, father of King David.
Edersheim demonstrates through many many passages of Rabbinical origin that "branch" and "branch of David" are terms specifically designating the Messiah, but Eisenman and Wise also document this fact specifically using the whole phrase "Branch of David." (24). Of course this phrase is used often in describing Jesus, and in fact is a pun on the word "Nazareth" since no prophesy of the OT predicts the Messiah coming form Nazareth.
Eisenman and Wises translation of "Genesis Florolegium" column 5.1 "The Government shall not pass from the tribe of Judah. During Israel's dominion a Davidic descendant on the Throne shall not cease...[elipseies mine] until the Branch of David comes because to him and to his seed was given the covenant of the Kingdom of his people in perpetuity.." (89).(4q252)2) Messiah to come from Galilee (and linked to God)From Isaiah 9:1-3 "In the future he will honor Galilee of the gentiles, by the way of the Sea...The people who walked in Darkness have seen a great light..." This whole chapter showed to be Messianic by Edersheim and leads into the declaration of Messiah's divinity (see below).
3) Star connected with his birth
"There is however testimony which seems to us not only reliable, but embodies most ancient Jewish tradition. It is contained in one of the smaller Midrashim of which a collection has lately been published. ...the so called Messiah Haggada...'a star shall come out of Jacob' ...'the star shall shine out of the East and this is the Star of the Messiah.'" (Dr. Jellinik a work in six part Beth ha Midrash Liep and Venne 1853--in Edersheim 211-212). Edershiem also quotes three other midrashim. These are presented in the same book. Edershiem goes on to document (Ibid) from the works of Keppler that a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn did actually occur two years before the birth of Christ, and the following year was joined by Mars making for an extremely bright sideriol event.
There is also the star prophecy from Numbers referring to a star out of Jacob and linked to the world ruler at Qumran (see above reference). Eisenman and Wise document many times the importance of this prophecy at Qumran, in the revolt of 66 and the bar Kochba revolt of 135 (and indeed the name bar Kochba itself which means son of the star). Perhaps it could be that, though the star in Numbers is the Messiah himself, the notion of a Star as a herald and symbol of the birth of the 'true Star' somehow was prophesied in an oral tradition, or at least transposed. This thought must have crossed Edersheim's mind for he does mention the numbers prophecy here in passing.4) Mystery concerning his seed
Edersheim states: "It is is not without hesitation that we make reference to the Jewish allusions to the miraculous birth of the Savior. Yet there are two expressions which convey the idea of, if not super human origin, yet of some great mystery attaching to his birth. The first occurs in connection with the birth of Seth R. Tanocum said in the name of R. Samuel "Eve had respect [regard, looking to] the seed which is to come 'form another place' and who is this? This is King Messiah [Ber R. 23 ed. Warsh] The second appears in the narrative of the Crime of Lot's daughters 'it is not written that we may preserve a seed from our father," but 'seed form our father.' This is that seed which is coming form another place. And who is this? This is Messiah the king.'" (Edersheim p178, in Ber R. 51= Bereshith Rabba on Genesis).5) The Qumran sect expected him to be Son of God.Nevertheless we find in the Dead Sea Scrolls "Sons of Light" already understood the Messiah as the Son of God before Jesus came onto the scene. "He will be called Son of God and they will call him son of the Most High.... His Kingdom will be an eternal kingdom and all his paths in truth and uprightness. The earth will be in truth and will make peace. The Sword will cease in the earth and all the cities will pay him homage." (F.G. Martinez: Dead Sea Scrolls Translated, 2nd ed. (New York: E.J. Brill Leiden)1992). The concept of Son of God existed at Qumran before Christianity, and thus was in Judaism, and was not made up by Jesus' followers.
6) Rabbis expected Messiah to be unrecognized by his people
Is. 8:14 "...he will be a sanctuary but to both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall and to the people of Jerusalem he will be a snare" [not the application to Christ, the evangelists even refer to the stumbling stone in the Gospel's] it makes perfect sense within the context of the story in Is. and no one would think it refers to something else, and yet the rabbinate says it does. This is more evidence of interspersed Messianic prophecy; or "double meaning." It makes sense on one level and then is interpreted on another. Is. 10:27 says: "in that day their burden will be lifted from their shoulders; their yoke from their neck." Again, Edersheim quotes rabbinical sources which show that these verses speak of the Messiah.7) Rabbis expected Messiah to suffer rejection and other trails"Jewish writings speak frequently of the so called sorrows of the Messiah (Chevlai shel Mashiach ) [Sabb.118]. These were partly those of the Messiah and partly those coming on Israel and the word previous to coming of the Messiah...period of internal corruption..." Edersheim 433. ( note I am listing the abbreviations of the Rabbinical authorities where these are found).
Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98bThe Rabbis said: His name is "the leper scholar," as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted. [Isaiah 53:4].
-- Soncino Talmud edition.
Ruth Rabbah 5:6The fifth interpretation [of Ruth 2:14] makes it refer to the Messiah. Come hither: approach to royal state. And eat of the BREAD refers to the bread of royalty; AND DIP THY MORSEL IN THE VINEGAR refers to his sufferings, as it is said, But he was wounded because of our transgressions.
(Isa. LIII, 5).-- Soncino Midrash Rabbah (vol. 8, p. 64).
The Karaite Yefeth ben Ali (10th c.) As to myself, I am inclined, with Benjamin of Nehawend, 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 accession 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....
B. Fulfillment of prophecy1) Rabbis identify Suffering Servant of Is. 53 as Messiah.
Allegro documents Isaiah suffering servant Messianic.
[John Allegro, The Dead Sea scrolls, Pelican, 1956] Allegro was the only member of the original translation team who was neither Christian nor Jew, but claimed "neutrality." However, he was criticized by other members of the team as being anti-Christian and skeptical]
"In one of their hymns the sect pictures itself as a pregnant woman suffering the pangs of parturition as she gives birth to her 'firstborn' who is described in terms reminiscent of the Child of Isaiah 9:6, the 'Wonderful Counselor.' Most scholars agree that the passage retains its biblical Messianic significance, in which case it appears that the Sect believed that out of its suffering of atonement for 'the land' would come the Anointed One or Christ."(161).
Is. 8:14 is applied to Messianic times by the Talmud (Sanh 38a) and of 9:6 Edersheim says "is expressly applied to the Messiah in the Targum also Haggada in Debarim and Bemidbar." (Edersheim, 723).
2) Suffering servant Divine.
Isaiah 9:1-3 quoted as Messianic in Edersheim's list and at Qumran, the Messiah to come from Seed of Jesse, from Galilee. "The people who walk in Darkness have seen a great light." Light related to Messiah (see above). This verse in particular is Mesianic at Qumran and on list. v6 "to us a child is born, to us a son is given, the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called 'wonderful conselor', Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." "Prince of David" was a Messianic title at Qumran. "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end...with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever."
Now Rabbinical apologists today say that this merely refers to the child born in chapter 7 as a sign to the King that God will support them in battle. This is a verse often quoted by Christians because it speaks of a "Virgin Birth." Most Christians take this as the expectation of the Messiah as born of a virgin, as was Jesus. Yet Modern day Jewish apologists disagree. They say that the child was not born of a virgin, but that the word is mistranslated in chap 7. But the passage in nine indicates that, while the interpretation fits with the ostensible story of the chapter, the birth of Mahar-Shalal-Hash-Baz" (the child), the passage in verse nine has double meaning. For not only does it fit with the sotry in Isaiah, but it was also understood by Rabbis of Jesus' day to herald the Messiah. This can only be the case unless Mahar-Shala-Hash-Baz was to be called "every lasting father, almighty God."
"Isaiah 9:6 is expressly applied to Messiah in Targum" Debarim R1 (ed. Wash p4) The Child referred to in Chap. 9 is the Messiah, HE will be called "everlasting father, almighty God," Which the Jewish expositors would not call the Messiah, but Jesus Christ has been so called! As further proof that this passage is Messianic Edersheim also shows that the next verse, 7, "the government shall be on his shoulders," is attested by Rabbinical authorities as Messianic. Whose shoulders shall the government be on? The child in v6, the "almighty God."
It is argued by the Jewish apologists of today that nowhere do the scriptures speak of a man being sacrificed for the sins of the people; nor does it speak of a resurrection of the Messiah form the dead. It is not very likely hat any Jews of Jesus' day understood what was about to befall him. But it is not true that the scriptures don't teach these things. When the first followers of Jesus turned to the Scriptures to try and understand what had happened they saw in them the crucifixion and the Resurrection. They understood this as a fulfillment of Messianic prophesy, though understood expost facto. While this leaves us open to the charge of reading in a meaning that is not there, it can be argued that it is a sound interpretation of scripture.3) Crucifixion and atonementa) crucifixion in Psalm 22: 1,7, 14-18 and Isaiah 53:5v1 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus last words on the cross. v7 "all who see me mock me, they hurl insults..." v14 "I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint/my heart has turned to wax/...my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth..." v" they have pierced my hands and my feet ...they divide my garments among them." This is a picture of Christ on the cross. The mocking of the crowd, the physical effects of being crucified upon the heart and internal organs, and the piecing of hands and feet, and the acts of the soldiers at the cross. Of course one can argue that gambling for his clothing is a detail added latter to the Gospel account for very similitude, but what are the chances of the effects of crucifixion, a means of execution totally unknown in Isaiah's time?
The Jewish apologists argue that the verse is wrongly rendered. They say it speaks of animals tearing at the persona, and that the line about piercing hands and feet should really read "like lions my hands and feet," or "lions tear at my hands and feet." This is true if one only goes by the Hebrew text. But in the Septuagint (LXX) the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures made in Alexandria before the time of Christ, and used as the Bible of the early church, it says "pierced." Moreover, they cannot dispute the physical description of crucifixion, its effects upon the heart and internal organs, nor the statement of bones being out of joint, through the beating prior to the resurrection, and the breaking of legs to hasten death.
Of Psalm 22 Yalkut views as Messianic and relates it to Is. 9. Edersheim writes "using almost the same words of the Evangelists to describe the crowd's mocking behavior at the cross." The verse says "all who see me mock me, they hurl insults shaking their heads." He also shows Yalkut links v.15 to the Messiah, and this is the exact verse put forward as a description of crucifixion! "my strength is dried up as a potsherd my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death."
Eisenman and Wise created a sensation with a highly debated reading, which has been contested by many scholars but apparently is a plausible reading of the execution of one of the messianic figures. More will be shown about this below. (24). Edersheim also documents the rabbinical sources as expecting the death of the Priestly Messiah, but this will be covered in more depth below.
We need not expect that the correspondence between the sin offering of the temple and the crucifixion be one to one. In other words, the temple offering was to be without blemish, Christ was sinless, but why must he also correspond one to one with all the requirements? If so, he would have to be less than a year old. Jewish Apologists often quote injunctions from the Deuteronomical code against human sacrifice and argue that to sacrifice a man for the sins of the people violates the law of Moses. Obviously this doesn't apply in the case of the Messiah, because he was the perfect offering and because it was God's will and God himself as the offering.
That being said the OT clearly teaches that the Messiah will take upon himself the sins of the people. "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows and yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed...the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all, the was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth, he was like a lamb to the slaughter...for the transgression of my people he was stricken..." (727) Also see below on suffering servant where this same passage interpreted as bearing the sins of the people in suffering). v" yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer...the Lord makes his life to be a guilt offering..."
This remarkable passage clearly teaches that the Messiah would take upon himself the sins of the people, that he would be stricken for them. Moreover the Jews of Jesus day did expect that, though they did not necessarily think of it as crucifixion, they did expect that the messiah would be stricken for them in his sufferings, which has already been point out. Edersheim shows that Rabbinical authorities views these passages as applicable to the Messiah.
-- S. R. Driver and A. Neubauer, editors, The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters (2 volumes; New York: Ktav, 1969), pp. 19-20. The English translations used here are taken from volume 2. The original texts are in volume 1. Cf. Soloff, pp. 107-09. Another statement from Yefeth ben Ali: By the words "surely he hath carried our sicknesses," they mean that the pains 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."
-- Driver and Neubauer, pp. 23 ff.; Soloff pp. 108-109.
Another statement from Yefeth ben Ali" And the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all." The prophet does not by avon mean iniquity, but punishment for iniquity, as in the passage, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Num. xxxii. 23).
-- Driver and Neubauer, p. 26; Soloff p. 109.
In his list of Messianic passages, drawn from the most ancient sources, Yalkut, Targum, Talmuds, Midrashim, Edersheim demonstrates all the passages of the suffering servant are Messianic. "how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring good news," Messianic. v 13 of Is. 53 the Targum applies to Messiah. "and he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed." is Messianic, R Huna says in the name of R Acha "all sufferings are divided into three parts, one part goes to David and the patriarchs, another to the generation of the rebellion and third to King Messiah, as it is written (Ps 2:7) 'yet have I set my Kind upon my holy hill of Zion.'" Edersheim adds a quotation from the Midrash on Samuel, in which the Messiah indicates that his "dwelling is on Mount Zion and that guilt is connected to the destruction of it's walls."4) Resurrection
The resurrection is clearly seen in the account of the "suffering servant" from Isaiah 53:8
"...he was cut off from the land of the living, for the transgression of my people he was stricken, he was assigned a grave with the wicked..." One thinks of the two thieves on the their crosses crucified on either side of Christ. But in v 11 "after the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many and he will bear their iniquities...for he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.."
There are some telling differences between the Masoretic and the LXX and again the LXX agrees with the DSS on these points. MT does not have "light of life" on v11 but DSS and LXX do. And also on v11 rather than his knowledge "knowledge of him. (from Margin notes in New International Version).
Eisenman and Wise speaking of the first column of the Cairo recension of the Damascus Document "the arising or 'standing up' predicted in the latter sections can be looked upon as well as something in the nature of a Messianic return--even, well, even a 'resurrection' (see Daniel 12:13, Lam. r ii .6..." (18).5) Why the Suffering Servant cannot be Israel as a nation.The Jewish apologists claim that this passage in Isaiah (53) speaks of Israel rather than of the Messiah. They argue that all the references to the servant are in the plural rather than the singular. But this is not the case in the LXX or DSS. Those references are singular. Furthermore, to read the passage as the nation of Israel would necessitate the absurdity of the nation of Israel taking upon itself its own sins in order to be a guilt offering for itself. Let's read it that way:
Surely [they] took up their infirmities and carried [their] sorrows and yet [they] considered [themselves] stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted, but [they] were pierced for [their own] transgressions, [they] [were] crushed for [their own] iniquities, the punishment that brought [themselves] peace was upon [they themselves] and by [their own] wounds [they heal themselves]...the Lord has laid upon [them] the iniquity of [them] all, [they were] oppressed and afflicted, yet [they] did not open [their] mouth[s], [they] [were] like a lamb to the slaughter...for the transgression of my people [my people were stricken]
In that sense it looses all meaning. What would be the point? Especially in the line "the punishment that brought them peace was upon them." What sense does that make? It totally looses the meaning of someone who was thought to be unworthy who suffers on behalf of the people, and makes the people themselves their own guilt offering. Moreover, the Jews have never been totally cut off from the land of the living. I also challenge anyone to find a Rabbi with that reading from before let's say the beginning of the third century. The actual verse does not have the plural but the singular! "Surely He took upon himself their infirmities and carried our sorrows and yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities..."
R. Elijah de Vidas (16th c.) Since the Messiah bears our iniquities which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer for them himself.
-- Driver and Neubauer, p. 331.
Rabbi Moshe Alshekh (El-Sheikh) of Sefad (16th c.) I may remark, then, that our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is speaking of the King Messiah, and we ourselves also adhere to the same view.
-- Driver and Neubauer, p. 258.
II.The Issue on time line and eschatlogical verification
Jewish anti-missionaries say that the "official" claims of Judaism matter more than do other fulfillments of prophecy which Christians point out. when Christians argue that Is.53 predicts crucifixion, resurrection, etc. the Jewish apologist will simply say "that doesn't matter, if Jesus didn't bring in the Messianic Kingdom, unite all Jews, bring them form dispersion, create world peace, rebuild the temple, and do all the other things prophesied of the Messianic age, than he can't be the Messiah." In other words, they argue that Jewish expectation is and always has been focused only on the end of times, and nothing else matters. But this is not the case. It is alleged that fulfillments such as son of David, etc. only qualify him to be Messiah, only fulfilling all of the prophecies can prove that he is.
I made an argument that I never saw an answer to. That there are no "official" signs. Bringing in the Kingdom of the Messiah is not a "sign to watch for." In fact, in all the literature I read on the Messiah, which is now considerable, I have yet to see anyone offering criteria, in Rabbinate, or in OT as to "this is how we know it's really him." That seems in fact irrelevant because when the Kingdom comes we will know it, and the Messiah will be obvious, (he will be the one who outshines the Son standing on top of the temple shouting "Your time of deliverance is at hand"). But that's not a sing to watch for, that's the thing itself. In fact there are no signs, and the Rabbinical lit I have seen says the signs to look for (of those who look--some say not to look) are signs of the coming of the age, or the end of the age and coming of Messiah's kingdom not sings of the man himself as though he will be pulled out of a police line up or something.
A. distinguish between Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Messiah
How does this affect the argument? First, distinguish between the Kingdom of God (the one Jesus' said is "in your midst") and the "day of Messiah, Kingdom of Messiah, age of Messiah, etc. These are two different things. The kingdom of God is abstract, it is going on all the time, it is spiritual reality.
"This 'kingdom of heaven' of 'of God' must be distinguished form such terms as 'the kingdom of Messiah'...'future age'...world of Messiah." "days of Messiah' 'age to come' etc...This is all the more important since the Kingdom of heaven has so often been confounded with he period of its triumphant manifestation in 'the days' or 'the kingdom of the messiah.' Between the advent [of Messiah] and the final manifestation fo the 'the kingdom,' Jewish expectancy placed a temporary obscuration of the Messiah...." Edersheim, p267 [Yalkut vol iip75d and Midrash on Ruth ii14) Yalkut = Yalkut Shemeni Catena on OT
In some sense Jesus brought in the Kingdom of God, realized eschatology, but not the Messianic kingdom. This is what he means when he says "the Kingdom of God is within you" or "in your midst." That will come with his second advent.
B. First century Jews expected Messiah to come, go away, returnSo in other words, the Jews of Jesus' day, and shortly thereafter understood that the Messiah would be born, be secret and hidden not understood by his contemporaries and then come in a powerful way when he brings in the kingdom of Messiah. But he would already manifest the kingdom of God, which is in our midst. And that was really the message of Jesus. Over and over he says, not "i will die for your sins" but "the Kingdom of God is near," "the Kingdom of God is coming." So his message involves a realized eschatology about the kingdom of God, and the coming of the next age at a future date. Which is just what the Jews of his day understood.
"Suffice it to say, according to the general opinion, the birth of the Messiah would be unknown to his contemporaries, that he would appear, carry on his work, than disappear--probably for 45 days, than appear again and destroy the hostile powers of the world..." (Edershiem, 436, Yalkut on Is. vol ii, )
"[Messiah]...his birth is connected with the destruction, [of temple] and his Return with the restoration of the temple" (on Lamentations i.16 Warsh p 64 in Edersheim "He might be there and be known or the might come and be again hidden for a time" comp Sanhedirin 97a, Midrash on Cant.
"Even in the Damascus document, there is some indication in the first column of the Cairo recension that the Messianic "root of Planting out of Aaron and Israel" has already come. The 'arising' or 'standing up' can be looked upon as well, something in the nature of a Messianic return..."(quote finished above on resurrection).(18)1) Messiah's advent connected with destruction of the temple, return with rebuilding:
The Targum applies Is. 10:27 destruction of gentiles before Messiah 10:34 quoted in the Midrash on Lam i.16 "in evidence that somehow the birth of the Messiah was to be connected with the destruction of the temple." Edershiem sites the Targim and the Talmud on the whole of chapter 11. He says the rebuilding of temple associated with Messiah's "return!"
Of course these sources were written after the destruction, which makes it all the more puzzling how they could say that.2) Jesus birth connected with temple destruction in several ways.
a) Star prophecy connected to Jewish revolt that triggered destruction.
"The first Century Jewish Historian Josephus, an eye witness identifies the world ruler prophecy as the moving force behind the Jewish revolt against Rome in AD 66-70 (War, 6.317). Roman writers dependent upon him like Suetonius and Tacitus do likewise."b) The Messianic Claims of the Christians may have fueled the fire
c) Temple period transitional
form a Spiritual or theological view point the temple period remaining after the birth of Christ might be seen as a transitional period and the destruction of the temple a closure to the Mosaic sacrificial system due to the advent of the Messiah and the New Covenant. (Talmid Ben: The Sacrificial system will continue in the Messianic Kingdom, but not for purposes of Divine reconciliation, in my opinion. Messiah has taken care of that.)
In any case this notion indicates that Jewish expectations were such that a Messianic advent, disappearance and return were to be expected.
C. Gap between Advent and return (Messiah unrecognized)
The age between advent (birth) and triumph of Kingdom of M. was of indeterminate length and would include sufferings of Messiah and Israel. It is the Messianic age. "According to the general opinion the birth of the Messiah would be unknown to his contemporaries" he appears, "carry on his work and then disappear=for 45 days reappear and destroy the hostile powers of the world... Israel would now be gathered form the ends of the earth" Edersheim 436 [Yalkut on Isah. vol 2] Yalkut also speaks of the Messiah put under an iron yoke and imprisoned for the sins of the people and it uses the same language of psalm 22 about mouth cleves to the roof and strength dried up like potsherd [discussion Talmud Sanhedrin ). Yalkut iip66 shows Messiah imprisoned and mocked by nations (see also psalm 22).1. Messiah to be rejected and suffers, dies, before Kingdom comes
As Edersheim demonstrates the Messiah was expected to suffer, and at one point even to die, before the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. Actually, the Qumran sect believed in two Messiahs, the Davidic and a Priestly son of Joseph. This view was revived again in the third century and was held by Rabbis in that era at least to the middle ages. Edersheim documents (434-35) it was the Joseph Messiah who would be killed in the Gog/Magog war, and some also expected the Davidic Messiah to suffer as well. Even though these are only the opinions of some rabbis and not the law of the Talmud it is still significant that rabbis actually held views different than modern anti-missionaries and views which corroborate in part the Christian-Messianic time line, that the Messiah would suffer and die and some interval would separate the Messiah's appearance form the coming of the kingdom.a) Two Messiah's Issue crucial
The evidence Edersheim offers for the death of the Messiah is spoken of the Priestly Messiah, the Son of Joseph. Also some rabbis the mentions also saw suffering for the Davidic Messiah. The Priestly Messiah would be killed by the "nations" and the Davidic would take revenge by brining on Armageddon and then usher in the Kingdom of the Messiah. (434).b) Single Messiah theory may have been more important at QumranEdersheim believed that the Talmudic rabbis (second century on) made up the two Messiah notion, since Qumran had not yet been discovered. Allegro and others demonstrate that Qumranian phraseology such as "the Messiah of Aaron and Israel" refer to two Messiahs, one priestly, the other Davidic and war like. But Eisenman and Wise demonstrate that these two are actually melded into one in much Qumran literature, as they were in the early Christian movement.
"Even in the published corpus there is a wide swath of materials, particularly in the Biblical commentaries on Isaiah, Zechariah, Psalms, and the Messianic compendium proof texts that relate to a single Davidic style Messiah..." (18).
What does all this mean? Two things:
a1) All the passages that latter Rabbis identify as Priestly Messiah could be collapsed into a single Messiah Model.
a2) that the rabbi's interpret Messianic death as Priestly but these same passages could be applied to the single Messiah.c) Possible execution of Messiah foretold by Qumran sect.The passages that Eiseman and Wise brought out which, though hotly debated, could imply death of Messiah at Qumran indicate Messiah executed.
"A staff shall rise form the root of Jesse, [and a planting form his roots will bear fruit] (3) ...the Branch of David...They will enter into judgment with...(4) and they will put to death the leader of the community, the Branch of David. (this might also read depending on the context 'and the leader of the community the Branch of David will put him to death..') (p. 29).
Eisenman and Wise argue, however, that their reading is better, although they admit to the possibility of error. "Here the key question is whether fragment 7 comes before or after fragment and could be 'the one put to death.' If before, than it is possible that the Messianic leader does the putting to death, mentioned in the text, though such a conclusion flies in the face of the logic of the apositives like the ..."Branch of David" grouped after the expression the Nasi-ha 'Edah.' which would be clumsy even in Hebrew. f(4Q285)2. Differing views of time line and Messiah (s)The problem is there are several things at variance here. Edersheim's hypothesis is not that Jesus was exactly as the Jews pictured the Messiah. Rather, he argues the opposite! He was not what they expected, and they got many things wrong. But he does agree with and fulfill myriad prophecies which are pointed out. The problem is the understanding of the time line, and the distinction between the two Messiahs. There was a priestly Messiah and a Davidic Messiah. Even the Talmudic Rabbis brought out the notion of the two Messiahs from the pre-Christian era of groups like those at Qumran. Edershiem, writing without benefit of discovery of DSS, argues that they made up the Joseph Messiah to take suffering off Davidic, (Jesus). But we know now they had two at Qumran. It is the Joseph Messiah who suffers, also though authorizes see suffering for the Davdic Messiah as well. fn2 p434
3. Rabbi's differed on length of gap between advent and kingdomThe earliest Talmudic references to two Messiahs dates to 3d century, identifies him as the one they will look upon and mourn, the one they pierced (!) in Zechariah.
The time line is in disagreement between Rabbinical sources. Some view the Messianic age as lasting 2000 years, some much longer, some see the suffering as only 45 days. There are long discussions on the terrors of the Messianic age, famine, rebellion, war, and in the Sibylline Oracles it is a Golden Age. So there is much divergence on how all of this plays out.
It is too simplistic to just say "well, did Jesus bring in the age of peace and gather all of Israel?" It's not as though we are just walking around minding our own business and suddenly here's the Messiah doing those things and that's how we know it's him. The situation is complex, some of the expectations match what Jesus did, some don't, some of the time lines would fit right in with history: Jesus came, he left, time goes on, he will come back, some don't.
D. The following points are crucial:1) The Messiah is born, unknown
2) rejected and suffering (imprisoned and suffering for sins)
3) is obscured for a time
5) then comes back.
That outline could include what happened with Jesus as Messiah, or it could be preserved in skeletal form but rule out the history form Jesus to present, it just depends upon which authorities one listens to.
Now, the major argument: There are no "official sings." the events you point to are manifestly not the only events one could point to as indicative of Messiah, and they are not signs to show one who Messiah is! They are future events, not helpful hints to know Messiah. It is illogical to claim that he has to fulfill these things (coming of Messianic Kingdom) and Only those things. Because no where are these events listed as a means to understand who he is. The age is given signs to know it's coming, no Messiah himself.
E. The verses that show fulfillments are just as valid as 'proof' because:
1) They are prophesies and they are fulfilled and that's the only clue we are ever given. Is. 53 shows exactly what Jesus was to do, and Ps 22, Zech. 4-8 etc. Jer. 23. Those fulfillments are just as valid for understanding the Messiah as the ones you always sight, because no verse says which verses are the key.
2) There can't be fulfillment of the end of the age until it comes, and if that's the only proof than no faith is validated until after the fact. Faith is not eschatological verification, (you can't wait until the end of the world to believe) it has to proceed that. But the demand that he fulfill the end of the age prophecies is irrational, there was supposed to be exactly what happened with him, born, hidden, goes away or obscured, suffers, comes back.
3) Since there is no key which says look at these verses and not at those, all we can do is look at fulfillment. and the fulfillment shows that Jesus was right with God, that he was a prophet, and that he claimed to be the "son of man." If he's true prophet than he's not lying and thus, he is the son of man.
He was a prophet:1) led people to the God of Israel not to other gods,
2) the things he said came to pass, especially the destruction of the temple. His own death and resurrection.
3) As a true prophet of God he could not lie, therefore, when he calls himself "The Son of Man" a Messianic designation from Daniel, we must take him at his word.
III. Two Messiahs are one.
A. Ben Joseph as War Machine Latter idea.
Edersheim argues that since this idea is not found in Rabbinical writings before the Middle ages it was a latter development. Of course, this is not true, but he could not have known about Qumran. Nevertheless, what is probably true is that the fully developed notion of the Warrior Messiah was less well developed before the middle ages. It seems that the idea at Qumran of the Priestly Messiah was more oriented toward the cosmic redemptive priest rather than the war machine.
B. At Qumran
It can be seen that the double Messianism at Qumran may have been one minor voice. Recent scholarship finds far more emphasis upon the single Messiah.
Hebrew Scholars Michael Wise and James Tabor wrote an article that appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review (Nov./Dec. 1992) analyzing 4Q521:
"In short, there is not much evidence in the previously published scrolls that straightforwardly supports a putative doctrine of the two Messiahs. So the text that is the subject of this article (4Q521) is, in speaking of a single Messiah, more the rule than the exception. The Messiah of our text is thus much closer to the Christian Messiah, in this regard, than in any previously published text and requires us to reexamine the previously, rather restricted, views of Messianic expectations at Qumran.
C. Argument from the text
The two figures in Zechariah probably both refer to the same Messiah. Both are each two different symbols for the same figure. The high priest Joshua (Jesus) represents the Messiah's priestly function and his atonement for sin, and Zerubbabel represents his genealogical line.
1) Zerubbable Marked as Messianic line
Zechariah 4:7 "What are you O mighty Mountain before Zerubbabel you will become level ground, then he will bring out the capstone..." IT goes on to say Z will lay the foundation for the temple. That really happened. So that's not so amazing, but it is linked to Messianic prophesy as the language of the capstone is seen by Rabbis Quoted by Edersheim as a reference to Messiah, and in Gospels of course that is what is meant when Jesus speaks of Himself as "the stone that the builders rejected."
Zech. 3:8 "The designation 'Branch' is expressly applied to King Messiah in the Targum. In deep this is one of the Messiah's peculiar names." Thus these branch references link Z to Messiah in some fundamental way.
It is also undeniable form Isaiah 11 that Branch is a designation of the Davidic Messiah. It is clearly the Kingly David Messiah who ushers in the millennial kingdom to which that Chapter refers.
Now look again at 4:7 where it speaks of Z and the Capstone. Zech 4:7 is generally applied to the Messiah, expressly in the Targum and also in several of the Midrashim, thus as regards both clauses of it Tanchuma (Par. Toledoth 14 ed. Warsh p. 56 at the top.) --Edersheim, 735).
So Z is clearly linked to Messiah. And as he lays the corner stone, which, though it was literally something he did do in history, can also have a double meaning, especially since that very verse is linked Messianically. So the Messiah comes through Z's line, which links Jesus closer and removes the curse a priori.
2) The name of the Branch
In Zechariah 3: 3 The high Priest of Zerubbabel's day "...stood before the angel. The angel said to those who stood before him 'take off his filthy clothes' Than he said to Joshua 'see I have taken away your sin and I will put rich garments on you.'" IN v8 "Listen Joshua and your men seated before you who are symbolic of things to come....I am going to bring my servant the Branch,....and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day."
In Zechariah 3:8 God tells Joshua the priest that he will bring a branch. In the Notes to the Oxford Bible (RSV), of Messianic prophesy, it says "8 Branch a Davidic figure who is to usher in the Messianic age (compare Psalm 132:17...) here refers to Zerubbabel (see 6:9-15n) Now that note says "This section abounds with difficulties. Originally it probably directed crowning of Zerubbabel as Messianic King but was revised to refer to Joshua."
But in this same passage, after the crowning of Joshua, "God tells the prophet, to say to Joshua "here is the man whose name is the Branch, an and he will branch out from here and build the temple of the Lord. It is he who will build the temple and he will be clothed with majesty and he will sit and rule on his throne."(6:12).
When he says "here is the man whose name is the Branch" he is crowning Joshua the high priest, whose name is actually Yeshua (Jesus). But what is said next identifies "the man whose name is the branch" more with Zerubbabel. As stated above Zerubbabel may have been originally intended for Messianic crowning.
But I think what's really going on here is an intentional confusing and melding of the two together because they both represent the true branch, the David Messiah who will come and sit on David's throne, and notice the fact that Joshua cannot sit on David's throne, but he shows us the name of the Branch, the name of the one who will.
But the two figures are united in v13 "he will be a priest on this throne." But this makes no sense because the Joseph Messiah can't have a throne, the priestly and Kingly functions are divided between the two, as is the point of having two of the. So this melding indicates the two really symbolize the same figure. Clearly both men are linked to me same Messianic figure. Zerubbabel through Rabbinical lore, the throne and the cornerstone, the Priest Joshua as "the man who brings the Branch" if not as the "name of the Branch."