“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—this time I will make them know My power and My might; and they shall know that My Name is Yahweh.” (Jeremiah 16: 21)
The Messiah and Israel
I always enjoy visiting Israel. Jerusalem is my favorite place.
Yahweh chose Jerusalem—not David. He said that His Name will reside there forever. The place He had in mind is the Temple Mount. More specifically, He identified the plot of earth where the Dome of the Rock sits today.
That’s the place where Yahweh told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and it’s the place where Jacob had a dream. Jacob’s dream is presented in Genesis 28:
10 Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 And behold, Yahweh stood above it and said, “I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely Yahweh is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
Later, David’s son Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh on that very site. The rock over which the Dome of the Rock now stands was inside the Holy of Holies. This is what Yahweh told Solomon on the day that the Temple was dedicated:
“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.” (2 Chronicles 7:16)
Saying that Jerusalem is important to Yahweh is an understatement.
The Jerusalem referred to in the Old Testament is what is known today as the City of David. It’s at the southern end of the Temple Mount. In the Bible, Bethlehem is called the City of David.
Most religious Jews in Israel believe that the Messiah will go to the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem for their approval. That fact speaks volumes about how little they know about the Messiah and who He is. Jeremiah made His identity perfectly clear:
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares Yahweh, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘Yahweh or Righteousness.’” (Jeremiah 23: 5-6)
Below is a picture of the Great Synagogue. I’ve been there several times. The people I’ve met at the Great Synagogue were cordial and welcoming. I don’t doubt their intentions, but they aren’t reading the scriptures carefully. Instead, they rely on Jewish sages who have confused them more than they can imagine.
That’s what intrigued me about David Levin’s recent article titled “Who is the Messiah?: And how will we recognize him when he comes?”. This is how Levin beings:
The topic of the coming of the Moshiach [Messiah, sometimes it’s spelled Mashiach in English] is a real paradox. On the one hand, belief in the imminent coming of the Moshiach and looking forward to his arrival is one of the Rambam’s 13 fundamental axioms underpinning all of Judaism.1 On the other hand, despite the importance of this belief, anyone who would today announce himself as being the Moshiach would be met with immense scepticism. In fact, this phenomenon has reached the point that the genuine belief that one is the Moshiach is an officially-recognised psychiatric disorder known as Jerusalem Syndrome, with which several hundred people a year are diagnosed. Put simply: we institutionalise people who believe they are the Moshiach!
Rambam is Moses Maimonides. He’s the greatest of the Jewish sages. He lived from 1135 A.D. to 1204 A.D. Although he’s buried in Tiberius, he never lived in Israel. I don’t think he even visited Israel.
It is said about Rambam, “From Moses to Moses, there is none like Moses.” That gives you some idea what religious Jews think of him. Interestingly, the Messiah came between Moses and Moses and they branded Him a blasphemer for saying the Name Yahweh. He is Yahweh, but they didn’t recognize Him.
The roots of this scepticism are easy to understand in light of the various false-Messiah debacles that have beset the Jewish people in the past. Whether it was the famous Bar Kochba or the infamous Shabbasai Tzvi, each time the Jewish people has invested itself in a person held out to be the Moshiach, the fallout has been catastrophic and indelibly felt to this day. Frankly, we have been burned so many times by false Moshiachs that trusting that anyone is the Moshiach is, for many people, a bridge too far.
Rabbi Akiva is another prominent Jewish sage. He is the person who declared that Bar Kochba was the Messiah in about 135 A.D. during what has come to be known as the Bar Kochba Rebellion against Roman rule.
In the early days of the rebellion, things were going well. Jewish people of all sects fought side-by-side to oust the Romans. Then came Akiva’s pronouncement about Bar Kochba being the Messiah. That’s all it took for the Sect of the Nazarenes to withdraw their support. Things started going downhill at that point, and eventually, the Bar Kochba Rebellion was squashed.
The Sect of the Nazarenes was made up of Jewish people who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah. They were the first Christians. At that time, virtually all Christians were Jewish. They knew who the Messiah is, and Bar Kochba wasn’t Him. That’s why they withdrew their support.
Rabbi Akiva blamed the Nazarenes for Bar Kochba’s defeat and declared that they weren’t Jewish as though he had the authority to make such an absurd declaration. People are Jewish because of linage, not beliefs. That should be obvious.
Because of Akiva’s prominence, to this day most Jewish people who embrace the truth about the Messiah are shunned in the Jewish community. That’s why it’s so difficult for Jewish people to accept the truth. In many Jewish families, it’s as though they cease to exist.
Levin continues by quoting Moses Maimonides again:
The Rambam writes:
“The Moshiach King will arise and restore the sovereignty of the House of David to its previous status as it was during [David’s] original rule, build the [Beis] HaMikdash and gather in the Diaspora of Israel. Additionally, during his days, all the [Torah’s] laws will be re-implemented as they were previously: people will bring offerings and Shemita, and Yovel years will be practised according to all of their rules specified in the Torah.”
I won’t delve deeply into Rambam’s teaching, but let it suffice to say that he had some blind spots. None of them were greater than his understanding about the Messiah. Below is an excerpt from His Name is Yahweh that illustrates my point:
Even though the contemporary definition of “ariy” seems to indicate something other than “piercing,” I believe Mr. Levine is mistaken, and this is why. The Jewish authorized Greek Septuagint Tanach (the version of the Tanach I mentioned earlier that was translated by 70 rabbis in 285 B.C.—i.e., almost 285 years before Jesus’ birth) and Targums written at that time interpret “ariy” as “pierced” exactly the way Christians have translated the word. No one alive today has a better understanding of the Hebrew used in the Tanach than that group of rabbis, so I defer to them and rely on their translation of “ariy” to support my conclusion.
Furthermore, Zechariah 12: 10 refers to the “piercing” of the Messiah. The Hebrew word translated as “pierced” in this verse is “daqar” (daw-kar’), and it means “to stab” or “to thrust through.” This is what the Babylonian Talmud (Sukkah 52a) says about Zechariah 12: 10:
“What is the cause of the mourning? It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah, the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, ‘And they shall look upon me because they have thrust Him through, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son.’”
I will not go into much detail about this issue, but many Jewish sages and rabbis over the millennia have had difficulty with the notion that the Messiah Son of David had to suffer for His people. They understood that the Bible describes a suffering Messiah, but they could not accept the fact that He was the Messiah referred to as the Son of David. Therefore, they called Him by another name—the Messiah son of Joseph—even though the only Messiah referred to in the Bible by Name is the Messiah Son of David.
According to Raphael Patai, a Jewish Bible scholar,
“When the death of the Messiah became an established tenet in Talmudic times, this was felt to be irreconcilable with the belief in the Messiah as the Redeemer who would usher in the blissful millennium of the Messianic age. The dilemma was solved by splitting the person of the Messiah in two: one of them, called Messiah ben Joseph…would fall victim….The other, Messiah ben David, will come after him…and will lead Israel to ultimate victory, the triumph, and the Messianic era of bliss.”
Jewish people have been misled by their religious leaders for more than 2,000 years. Yahweh came in Person. He did everything that the prophets foretold that He would do, and they rejected Him. Even worse, they declared that any Jew who accepts the truth is for all practical purposes a non-person.
When I think about that, these things that the Messiah said come to mind:
- “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” (John 5: 43)
- “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.” (John 5: 46)
The Messiah wasn’t referring to Rambam. He was talking about the Moses of the Torah. He’s the Moses that Jewish people should look to, not Moses Maimonides.
I explore Israel a lot. Each year, I see a growing hunger and thirst for something or someone to help them. They are anxiously awaiting the Messiah’s coming, not His return. They don’t realize that they hold the key to His coming/return in their hands. This is how the Messiah explained it:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Yahweh!’” (Matthew 23: 37-39)
When Jewish people in Israel realize that Yeshua is the Messiah and that He is Yahweh and call on Him by Name, He will come, but He won’t go to the Great Synagogue to get their approval. His return will be so dramatic that they will weep for ever having thought that He needs or wants their approval. They are completely dependent on Him, not vice versa.
I love Israel, and I love the Israeli people. My prayer is that their eyes will be opened and that they will have the courage to accept the truth. Eventually, I know they will. I just hope it’s soon.
To see videos that explain the importance of God’s Name, click here.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 22-24)
See “His Name is Yahweh”.