Messianic Prophecy in the Tanakh (pdf format)
“I believe with a perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah.” (13th Article of Faith by Moses Maimonides)
There are more than 300 Scriptures in the Tanakh that refer to a Messiah for the Jewish people, beginning in Genesis and finishing in the Prophets. These Scriptures describe his characteristics, appearance, place of birth, events that will take place during his lifetime–and his death–and much more.
These then are the 24 books that make up the Tanakh, also known as the Holy Scriptures, the Jewish Holy Bible, the Hebrew Scriptures. This edition was translated by Isaac Leeser and published in Hebrew and English by the Hebrew Publishing Co. We have neither added to, nor subtracted from these books, except to preface them with “food for thought” (Tanakh portions are quoted from ISAAC LEESER’s translation, New Covenant quotes are from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
We, of the Rock of Israel, believe with all our hearts the words written in the Tanakh. We know that these pages contain spiritual truth, the hope and plan of God for our lives. In a time when the minds and hearts of many are darkened, these words speak of the timeless eternal hope of our people:
“For thou art my lamp, O Lord! and the Lord will enlighten my darkness” (2 Sam. 22:29). “A lamp unto my feet is thy word, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
This is God’ s message of hope and love to His chosen people, and through them, to all people. It is our hope that you will sincerely and objectively search this text, which is the root of all Jewish thought–especially examining the passages we have compiled in the following section on Messianic prophecies. In doing this, it is our prayer that the Creator, the One living and eternal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, will open your eyes and heart that you may find the Truth. “…and the truth will set you free.”
“Behold, days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will make with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, a new covenant;
“Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day that I took hold of them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they have broken, although I was become their husband, saith the Lord;
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I place my law in their inward parts, and upon their heart will I write it; and I will be unto them for a God, and they shall be unto me for a people.
“And they shall not teach any more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they all shall know me, from the least of them even unto their greatest, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I not remember any more:” (Jeremiah 31:30-33).
Hyman Israel Specter
WHO IS YESHUA AND HOW CAN HE MAKE ANYONE KOSHER?
Most people assume that Yeshua (Jesus Hebrew name) has nothing to do with being kosher, but that’s not true. Yeshua is the most Jewish of Jews: He was born in Israel to a Jewish mother from King David’s royal family. He was circumcised on the eighth day. He was a rabbi who did unparalleled miracles that brought great blessing to the nation of Israel. He taught that He fulfilled, not set aside, the Torah.
Even though He died 2000 years ago, Yeshua was raised from the dead; He returned to life and overcame death! He is the Messiah of Israel. And the Savior of the world. He is the coming world ruler and mankind’s only hope. He is the only one who can make us kosher (clean, fit, proper) in God’s sight because He is completely kosher in the eyes of God. He alone is the one who can enable both Jews and Gentiles to have a kosher relationship with god, and with one another. Only Yeshua can give genuine peace and joy in this life, and everlasting life in the world to come. Have you said “Yes” to “Yeshua” yet?
I was born in New York City in the 1960’s to an Israeli man and an American born Jewish woman. Their marriage lasted only two short years. Eventually, my mother left my father and went back to her mother’s house. It was under the care of these two Jewish women that I received much of my traditional Jewish upbringing.
My mother had to find work to support us which meant that much of my time was spent with a dear Jewish immigrant from the old country affectionately known as my grandmother. She spoke fluent Yiddish, and as a result I learned to understand much of the old country language.
My grandmother’s sense of traditionalism burned bright against the gentile background I’d grown accustomed to in earlier years. We kept two sets of silverware: One for milk, and one for meat. We lit annual Yortzit candles in memory of her husband, my grandfather. We also observed special days the Jewish holidays in the Spring and Fall. We were a very typical Jewish home in New York City!
While most of my friends were allowed to play ball on the street almost every October day, however, there were two specific days during that month that I was not to participate. It was not under the threat of violence that I abstained, but rather from a sense of belonging to my people. On the Holy Days of Yom Kippur and Rosh HaShanna we simply did not act as the gentiles did. I was told that Yom Kippur was the day that we were to fast so God would forgive us of our sins. We were not to engage in any normal activities that day – not even turning on a light switch! You can imagine how difficult this must have been to this ten year old, but we were Jewish! And if this is what God wanted us to do…
As I entered my teens, however, I began to ponder the meaning and value of these and other traditional observances. This idea of just fasting one day a year for the forgiveness of my sins raised perplexing questions in my heart and mind. How could I fast just one day a year and the rest of the year do whatever I wished? And then the question of forgiveness began to loom greater and greater as time passed and I progressed into areas of life that I inherently knew were not pleasing to God.
Before the wedding: The Ketubah
This is a marriage contract that is prepared before the wedding so it can be signed on the wedding day. It is not a document that contains scripture nor is it one that is filled with poetry, but it is more like a legal document signed by the bride and groom (and witnesses) which testifies that the husband guarantees to his wife that he will meet certain minimum human and financial conditions of marriage. While made very ornately and beautifully, it is not a document of scripture or prayer. It makes no mention of the confirmation of God in marriage. It is also not an affirmation of perpetual love. It is a statement of law that provides the framework of love.
The ketubah restates the fundamental conditions that are imposed by the Torah upon the husband, such as providing his wife with food, clothing, and conjugal rights, which are inseparable from marriage. It is not a mutual agreement; the wife agrees only to accept the husband’s proposal of marriage.
At the wedding: The Chuppah
The Chuppah is a canopy which is set up in front with the bride and groom standing under it. In a real sense – it provides a visual focal point for all to see the wedding occur. It is basically a sheet or cloth (or sometimes a very large prayer shawl) that can be decorated very ornately and is held up by four poles. It is open on all sides and it is where the groom waits for his bride to arrive to meet him. The structure itself is light and delicate, even fragile, representing that a home is built on the love within, not the physical walls around it.
The Chuppah symbolizes the first home of the new bride and groom. Just as Abraham and Sarah lived in a tent – and that tent was open for friends and visitors – so too does this tent symbolize the same. It also is a reminder that God’s presence is above this new marriage. It is believed that God grace is present in every chuppah ceremony and thereby makes it holy.
During the wedding: The Bride circles the groom seven times
As part of the wedding ceremony, the bride will circle the groom seven times. This is symbolic with multiple explanations:
At the close of the wedding: The breaking of the glass
One of the very last things to happen before they are presented as ‘Mr. & Mrs.’ comes the breaking of the glass. This is where a glass (perhaps a light bulb sized item) is placed inside a cloth and the groom smashes his foot down upon it as all hear the glass being shattered into a million pieces. Typically all will laugh and shout ‘Mazel Tov!’ (Jewish congratulations equivalent) at this time. Why? Several reasons:
After the wedding: The celebration!
A marriage is a cause for celebration and this is what the food and festivities are all about afterwards. One of the most fun events afterwards is when the bride and groom are placed into two chairs and picked up by several strong men. They are then danced around the room and people clap and celebrate the joy of the newly married couple.
A REMINDER FOR BELIEVERS
The joy of a marriage ceremony is a reminder for us as believers in Yeshua (Jesus) that we are betrothed to Him. When we see Him, it will be a time known as the ‘Marriage supper of the Lamb’! And what joy and celebration that will be!
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;” (Revelation 19:7)
Many Christians may wonder ‘how do Jewish people believe that gentiles will have a place in heaven?’ In other words, ‘what do the gentiles need to do in order to be right before God?’ The Seven Noahide laws are what the Jewish rabbis have taught as to how Gentiles can be made righteous. (Again, this is their thinking, not ours)….. They believe that Genesis 9 contains God’s instructions to Noah and his family after the flood about some fundamental laws that all Gentiles need to follow. And they have ‘extracted’ from Genesis (and we use that term loosely) these seven laws that are binding upon all non-Jewish humanity.
The Seven Laws of Noah are also referred to as the Noahide Laws or the Noachide Laws (from the English transliteration of the Hebrew pronunciation of ‘Noah’), and are traditionally these:
They believe, according to Talmidic rabbinical writers, that any non-Jew who adheres to these laws is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the world to come (Hebrew: עולם הבא Olam Haba), the final reward of righteous people.
Even The United States Congress (the 102nd Congress) recognized the Noahide Laws! In March of 1991, it passed the ‘Education Day’ Bill – part of which stated: u.s._congress ‘Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded; Whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws….’
So is this really what the Bible teaches? It is ‘good works’ (the 7 Noahide Laws) that save gentiles and make them righteous? No. The only righteous people are those who have Messiah’s righteousness ‘imputed’ to them. It is a gift. We are saved by grace, not works. In other words – No one is righteous by themselves. This is clearly what the scriptures teach. ‘For there is not a just man upon earth, that does good, and sins not.’ (Ecclesiastes 7:20) TheJewish apostle Paul says the same thing ‘No one is righteous–not even one.’ (Romans 3:10) When we accept Messiah – then and only then, do we become righteous. Not because we are righteous, but because a ‘Righteous One’ now lives inside our heart. ….‘the glorious riches of this mystery, which is [Messiah] in you, the hope of glory.’ (Colossians 1:27) That is, the gospel (good news) – believers are 100% righteous only because the Messiah lives in us, not by following Noahide laws – for no one has followed God’s laws perfectly their whole life.
It is like this – I could NEVER walk up to the White House and just meander right in. I would be stopped in a heartbeat. BUT if I had someone WITH ME (like a congressman) who was invited, then I could get in based upon me being with him. And that is the gospel. No one can gain heaven by themselves. But if we have the Messiah WITH US – then we can walk right in! It is a gift! You can never be good enough to earn it. When we ‘accept’ the Lord into our hearts, He really does come inside and live in us. We get His righteousness ‘credited’ to our account.
So without Messiah – all are going to be judged by God because all have sinned. (Romans 3)… So can anyone be ‘saved’ by obeying the laws of Noah (if they even exist)? The question is pointless because no adult has been able to keep all the laws perfectly. We have all sinned. And atonement for sin comes through the death of a substitute. That was the point of the whole Mosaic sacrificial system. Ultimately, Messiah is our substitute. (Isaiah 53). That is how we are saved from our sins. Hallelujah.
At the beginning of creation God gave humanity the sun and moon and seasons to mark off periods of time. ‘….and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years.’ (Genesis 1:14)
The ‘days’ on the modern calendar start at midnight and end a split second before the next midnight. Therefore we now start our days in darkness and end them in darkness too! How fitting for the world. However, on God’s Calendar, He starts the day in darkness and it ends in light. ‘And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.’ (Genesis 1:5) With God we start in darkness and end in light. In scripture we read about Joseph of Arimathea placing Jesus’ body in a nearby tomb just before sunset (John 19:42) Then Luke says, ‘It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin‘ (Luke 23:54). So we see clearly that the Bible writers knew that the new day was to begin just after sunset.
Onto the bigger yearly picture. The calendar that most of the world uses today is called a solar or Gregorian Calendar. This calendar was named after the man who first introduced it in February 1582 CE – Pope Gregory XIII. That calendar was itself a revision of the Julian calendar implemented in 45 BC by Julius Caesar. It is based upon the number of days it takes the earth to circle the sun. Since it really takes 365 & 1/4 days to circle the sun – we add 1 day every four years (known as leap year) to keep things in season.
The Biblical (Hebrew) Calendar is quite different. It is a lunar monthly calendar. It is based the moon circling the earth which happens every 29.5 days. Therefore a 12-month year is only 354 days with each month being either 29 or 30 days. To make things ‘right’ with the solar calendar – an extra month is added specifically every two or three years – like a ‘leap month’. This would be like us having two February’s every few years. When this happens – the calendar is said to be in a ‘pregnant year.’ (Incidentally – this year (2016) is a pregnant year.)
HEBREW CALENDAR FACTS
The month with the MOST Biblical holidays is the 7th month called ‘Tishri’ (corresponding with our Sept – Oct time frame.) The month God calls the first month is ‘Nisan’ which corresponds with our March – April time frame. ‘This month (Nisan) shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.’ (Exodus 12:2) So if you really want to shout ‘Happy New Year’ on God’s Calendar in 2016 – then wait until sundown on April 8th! That is when Nisan 1 starts.
Of course we know that Yeshua (Jesus) lived according to the Hebrew calendar. And we believe it is according to the Hebrew Calendar that He will return!
WHAT DO THE JEWISH PEOPLE THINK OF JESUS?
Well, there is really not a single view of Him in the Jewish community. Actually, most Jewish people do not think about Him at all. If they were asked about their views, some would say He was a rabbi. Others, a wise man on the same level as mystic or guru. Those who would hold to this view would typically be the less religious (or secular) Jewish person.
If a Jewish person is very religious (like the Orthodox) then the views tend to be quite negative. To them, Jesus was an apostate Jew and an archenemy of the Jewish people, the founder of a destructive religion that has brought untold hardship and persecution on them through the generations. These are usually shaped from Talmudic tales about Jesus and not at all from them actually reading the New Testament writings.
You might imagine that it was actually the atrocious behavior of so-called Christians which really helped shape these views about Jesus during the dark ages and more recent persecutions as well. These persecutors were the followers of Jesus, so why would we ever want to follow Him?
Jewish people might vary in their views about Jesus, but the majority would say He was not the Messiah and definitely not God. To the Jewish mind, the thought that God could visit us in human form is anathema. From their point of view, any Jew who accepts Jesus is an oxymoron. Like a black man for the KKK or a chicken for KFC.
Thankfully, it is the Holy Spirit who can break through this veil. He does open the hearts of a small minority of Jewish people to search the scriptures. These Jewish people whom the Lord draws are called Messianic Jews meaning they (we) DO accept Jesus as Messiah and God visiting us. One day, the scriptures tell us, the veil will be removed and “..all Israel will be saved.” (Romans 11:26).
Robert Specter writes:
We had a wonderful 17 days at the Washington State Fair, September 11-27. This was our second year at this fair which draws over one million attendees! Over 3,000 gospel tracts and gospel bookmarks were handed out. We talked to religious Jews, secular Jews, atheist Jews, Israelis, and Praise God, truth seeking Jews!
I had a great encounter with Stacy. She is Jewish and seeking truth. I told her I would pray that God would reveal the truth through a dream or give her some sign that Jesus is the Messiah. She had tears in her eyes as she walked away. Here are some other names of Jewish people to pray for: Beryl, Bonny, Samuel, Miriam, Adam, Jimmy, Edwin, Valerie, Nolan, Eli and many others.
We also talked with many Christians who were surprised to find out that there were some Jewish people who believed in Jesus. We reminded them that there have always been Jewish believers since Yeshua’s first disciples, who were Jews. We also gave them literature and books to help them share their faith with their Jewish friends and family. Special thanks to Nathan Grapes, Brook Kittle, Rachel and Michael Bielefeld, and other volunteers who helped us man the booth. The hours were long, especially the weekends (9am to 11pm!) and we couldn’t have done it with out help.