Messiah is the central message of God, the center of creation, the why and how of the universe from the beginning until the end. He gives all creation purpose, his word cleanses, his light reveals, his spirit seeks and his identity saves and empowers all who know him.
Rabbi Levi ben Gershon (RALBAG), of the 14th century, identified the Prophet from Deuteronomy 18:15 as Messiah:
“…Moses, by the miracles which he wrought, brought a single nation to the worship of God, but the Messiah will draw all peoples to the worship of God.”
The Talmud also teaches (Sanhedrin 99a.)
“All the prophets prophesied only for the coming of the Messiah.”
Orthodox rabbis of past centuries considered the Messiah to be the center of the whole creation. The Messiah is discussed in the context of the “light” in the Genesis creation account. According to the Rabbi’s, this special light was created before the sun, moon and stars. The Yalkut , a rabbinic medieval anthology , says this:
‘And God saw the light, that it was good.’ This is the light of Messiah…to teach you that God was the generation of Messiah and his works before he created the universe, and he hid 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 shamefaced.’ Yalkut on Isaiah 60; Alfred Edersheim, the life and times of Jesus the Messiah (wm. B. Eerdmans 1977), p. 728
– Above excerpts taken from “What The Rabbi’s Know About The Messiah” Rachmiel Frydland
What can we learn from the Rabbi’s, Jewish commentators and ancient Sages? Much indeed! Israel was the first to receive the Word and work of God in their midst. Paul says, for it is you who were grafted in among them and became partakers with them, do not be arrogant toward the branches, remember it is not you who supports the root, but the root which supports you.” Romans 11:17
Have we abandoned these wise men from the very nation God chose as his own possession? Have we forgotten the Holy Ones of Israel? Messiah according to the gospels is “to be a light for revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:32 Have we as followers of the Light neglected His People? have we marginalized their knowledge and contribution to the world? I’m just curious. Because as a christian who has been deeply involved in the christian community most my life, never have I heard a pastor, priest or teacher in the church reference either a Rabbi, Jewish sage, or a “Jewish” book to read from these people’s comments re: a messiah whom they have hoped in for much longer than the gentiles. the church today has divided Jews from Christ, not crowned them with him. I say lets sit at their feet and see what they have to teach us from ancient wisdom, what God revealed to them regarding our Messiah. These men are the experts. We should not allow the few who have been broken off to deter us from the rich olive tree which makes up the remnant of Israel whom God treasures and whom Jesus came for!
it’s vital to our faith to know who Messiah is from the beginning of time, to rediscover him, all facets and colors of him, all angles, and who he is through those who have hoped in him. We who trust him have a piece of him that we must share, and we must be willing to learn from other, even those who don’t “look” as if they have a piece. Isn’t that what James was talking about when he said do not show preference. An Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, might not seem “saved”, to the church, and yet are we not saved by Faith in the Messiah? The church might not look Holy to a Rabbi, but there might be something in each other God wants to extract and magnify, mend, heal and collide. in that collision we might re-discover our first love, rekindle an ancient flame in us for the one in whom we place our hope. The body of Messiah is made up of many unique members. “the eye may say to the hand, what need of I of you?” does this mean the hand is less important, would it be better if we were all eyes? Who are we to say who is and isn’t part of his plan and body on earth? Jesus wants unity, Satan wants disembodiment. If he can divide the two great voices of the light and the glory, Jews and God-fearing gentiles from one another he can discredit and conquer the body of Messiah.
Satan seeks to and works hard to invalidate the word of God, since the beginning. He continues to do so today in our modern world. He will continue to both discredit and counterfeit until his end, in order to confuse and discourage the sons of God. Ultimately if the sons of God don’t know who their Christ is, then they don’t know who they themselves are. This is one of the enemies greatest tactics against God’s children. He did this with Eve, ‘if you eat it you will be like God….and he did this with Jesus in the wilderness……if you really are the son of God? Satan chips away at Christ’s identity in the frail hearts and minds of his followers. If we don’t know who he is, then we don’t know who we are. Satan wants to keep our identity hidden from us. The Bible says, that the creation groans and longs for the revealing of the sons of God. Why? When we know who we are and we know what we are capable of perhaps that indicates the end is near. Jesus said his followers would do even greater things than these! The disciples knew who Christ was and they knew who they were. What was the result? “Galatians 2:20 it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
Therefore we must strengthen the ties that bind us to Christ, we must press in to know him not only from where we stand, but from the standpoint of the Holy Ones who came before us.this is what the Rabbi’s can teach us.
When we go back and read these teachers , sages and shepherds in the faith, as well as their insights and understandings of the prophets, it strengthens and validates our faith regarding who Christ the Messiah is and his work in our lives, yesterday , today and tomorrow.
Jude says this: to those who are called , beloved in God the father and kept for Jesus Christ. Although i was eager to write to you about our common salvation, i found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. He says remember that even after God saved a people out of Egypt afterward destroyed those who did not believe, and even angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper abode
We are not gods, we are men made from flesh and bone and we need our faith reinforced, fortified and increased over and over again, if we are to endure until the end. Let us not become arrogant or whimsical. In the book of revelation Jesus rebukes each church and encourages them to repent, return to their first love. Could we not all use a fresh reminder of who Messiah is, was and will be.
According to R’akiva , who is considered like unto Moses, lived during 50AD, comments:
“the manna God fed the children of Israel was exactly the same food as that which sustains the angels: ‘it was the glow of God’s presence, that had been given a material veneer so that human beings could eat it.’
Most Christians know and believe this, but for some reason it charged my faith when I read it, it was like discovering Jesus is Messiah all over again, perhaps because I am seeing him anew through the eyes of this Rabbi and he doesn’t even know it. Jesus the Nazarene said, “I am the bread of life”, the manna which God fed your fathers in the wilderness, “I am the bread which comes down from heaven”, John confirms this, that Jesus is the word of God which took on a veneer and dwelt among us, Jesus encouraged his disciples to eat that veneer, eat his flesh to partake of the glory of God’s presence, that the Shekinah may dwell within. Isn’t it exciting to know that this was not an isolated private notion, but that prominent teachers in Israel believed that the manna had a coating in order to make it visible and edible! Jesus Christ became the visible part of God for the purpose of His elect.
The tabernacle, a resting place for God’s presence. According to Sforno , an Italian Rabbi born in 1475, God’s original intention was that Israel and the nation herself was to be the dwelling place for God’s Shekinah (God’s divine presence).
“The very construction of the tabernacle was necessary only because of Israel’s lapse into virtual idolatry. He maintains that ideally no temple should have been needed after the revelation at Sinai, because the entire nation achieved the level of prophecy and every Jew worthy for the Shekinah to rest upon him, as it later did on the tabernacle and the temple.”
What made them worthy? up to that point, they hadn’t earned any merits, nor had the law been established, only the revelation of God to them, could have made them worthy. God’s word revealed at Sinai mingled with their redemption from slavery, made them worthy, God made them worthy, as it is today. Compare Sforno’s comments with Revelation 21:3
“behold the tabernacle of God is among men and he shall be his people and God himself shall be in their midst.”
add to that the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentacost, and Joel’s prophecy regarding the Holy Spirit being poured out. The Holy Spirit, is the word of God in mankind, I believe. Therefore it is this Word in us, poured out on us, which makes us worthy and clean,. simply receiving it makes us worthy along with Jesus’s redemption of us. John 15:3 we are made worthy by the Word of God and the Blood of God to be a dwelling place for the Most High. Christ himself made atonement for the sins of men, reversing our spiritual decline. When we are worthy we then have access to the holy presence, the spirit of God and have the potential to be a dwelling place for the Shekinah, the Spirit of God. Paul states: “do you not know that you are the temple of the living God and the spirit of God dwells within you.”1 Corinthians 3:16
Messiah since the beginning is the Light of the world, not a new idea. He came to dwell with mankind. He makes his people worthy at the revelation of his word in order to receive the Spirit God, so that God’s plan to dwell with his people would come to fruition. What can we do to unite the body of Messiah so that we might know who we are, and who He is, and participate in bringing creation to it’s final eternal purpose?