As I have promised, this blog is reserved for spiritual discussion and tonight, I want to review a book called, “What the Rabbis Know about the Messiah”, by Rachmiel Frydland.
I found this book one day while wanting to know the answer to this very question, and I ordered this book. It’s only 117 pages long if you ignore the glossary and the prophecy chart, but it’s so full of meaty food for thought, that I actually wanted to be able to share it with others. I thought it would help me remember salient points better to write about it in my blog, so I actually read the book two or three times and wrote directly in my book all my observations. Makes for very messy reading for someone else!
The first part of the book just talks about the author. In short, he was a messianic Jew in Poland during WWII. So he was in the worst place in the world, at the worst time and and practiced the worst religion. He was “one man against WWII. He survived the holocaust but not without losing his wife and parents, his grandmother and sisters and many others in his family. But he survived and carried a message of hope:
I am confident that all the horrors that befell the Jews are simply the
night before the light will break for Israel and through her to the whole
It is because of something called “the messianic movement”, that many believers have been smitten with the Jewish people and what they represent. There are examples of this in a Birmingham, Al. There is a gentleman in Birmingham that paid for a large banner that hung off a tall building in the city, that declares his love for Israel. I know another gentleman that took out a large ad in a the same town’s newspaper that described his love for the Jewish people.
It’s happening everywhere…the bridegroom is emerging from his chamber, to go get his bride and,as the Psalmist spoke, “There is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” Well, I’ve done something here that I don’t like others to do, so bear with me. I have jumped to a prophetic discussion before I’ve laid the ground rules.
Scripture will bear this out. God spoke to Abraham and made a covenant with him that sealed the deal God would eventually expand to the entire nation of Israel. In Genesis 17 God promoted Abraham at 90, when God told him
“I am almighty God; walk before me, and be perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but you name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you. And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you. I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you, and to your seed after you.”
It is because of this unique calling that God has on the Jewish people, a calling that is irrevocable, that even the very culture itself can possess Jewels of revelation, for many to find if they search for them diligently.
This book is a jewel!
Because of this book, I had to expand my search even to the Renaissance. I discovered that there was a Hebraic movement even in those days. There were men who studied Hebrew and those men were some of the Puritans and Pilgrims who came to the New world. They thought that Hebrew should be the national language of the United States!
It is a handy thing to know that the Orthodox Judaism that exists today, comes directly from the Pharisees. However ,as the author also explains, there are vast differences in what the rabbis of the 21st century believe and what rabbis at the time of Christ believed.
The two really obvious facts that were gradually omitted from Jewish teachings was the importance of the genealogy of the Messiah and the importance of the servant hood of the Messiah. These two teachings are so important to the identity of the Messiah, that Jewish people who don’t know these truths will likely accept another one as the Messiah.
In Genesis 49:8-10 Jacob is prophesying/blessings over his sons and says “the scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come, and to him shall the gathering of the people (nations) be.” Rachmiel notes, “There was continuity of leadership, right down to the destruction of the second temple. At that time, the Sanhedrin’s authority ceased.”
After the temple was destroyed, the records were also destroyed. The rabbis had to make some sort of decision about how they were going to describe or identify the Messiah. Do you know what they said? “He will be identified some other way”.
John 5:43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
The prophets also taught that the Messiah would satisfy a longing for perfection. Think of this verse:
Ezekiel 18:31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!”
and then in another chapter in Ezekiel:
Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
I note here that the two stones that were used by the high priests to seek the face of Adonai and His wisdom in a situation were called “lights and perfection”, Umin and thummin. Scripture says that Jesus (Yeshua) was the the only true high priest who could go before God in all situations without rebuke.
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 [fn1] in these last days has spoken to us [fn2] in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the [fn3] world. 3 [fn4] And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and [fn5] upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
Concerning His servant hood, most rabbis teach that the “servant” in Isaiah is Israel, even though clearly it describes a man. One other way they get around this argument is to say that the messiah that is both servant and messiah (because one rides lowly on a donkey and the other comes in glory) describes the way people will see him. If you are ‘worthy” you will see him as exalted. If you are not, you will see him as lowly and a servant.
The rabbis taught that the Messiah is the center of creation. My mouth almost dropped open when I read this. When I first received Messiah into my heart I remember saying, “I have found the center of humanity”.
The rabbis actually taught that the Messiah was “the light” at creation. How wonderful is that? In John 1:1 it says exactly that:
1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [fn1] it.”
At the very time Yeshua of Nazareth appeared on the scene, we read in the New Testament of the fact that many were looking for him to appear. The rabbis taught that the secret to Israel’s redemption and the days of Messiah lay hidden in the book of Daniel. They believe that God revealed the end of days to two people in scripture: Jacob and Daniel. (Gen 49:1 and Daniel 12: 1 & 4.) “The study of our great sages”, Rachmiel writes, “brought them to the conclusion that if the dates in the scriptures are correct, Messiah should have come in the first century of our era”.
Rachmiel concludes, “Yeshua is Messiah because He alone makes sense of the words of the prophets>”.