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!
â€œJESUS CHRIST. Iâ€™m Jewish and Jews donâ€™t believe in JESUS. Why am I thinking about Jesus at this moment?â€ A few minutes earlier I was riding my Harley Davidson motorcycle as fast as it could go. As I raced though the streets of my neighborhood I looked back and smiled at my friend thinking I had won the race. Without warning, a full size station wagon ran a stop sign and was directly in my path. I tried to stop but it was too late. I hit the station wagon with such force that my body hurled over a hundred feet in the air, doing a complete flip before landing. When I hit the ground, I slid another twenty feet down the dark street before coming to a stop. The sound of crunching metal was so chilling from the impact that people came running out of their houses to see what happened. As I walked back in the direction of the accident, I heard a man calling, â€œDo you need help?â€ After meeting me in the street, he pleaded with me to go into his house to check for injuries. Half dazed, I agreed. Once inside the house, he insisted that I go into the bathroom and remove my clothing thinking I was seriously injured. After removing most of my clothes, we discovered a small cut on my right elbow. The man could not believe I was not more seriously injured.
IT WAS A MIRACLE! I was alive; no broken bones, very little pain, and only a small cut on my right elbow. To give you a better idea as to how hard I hit the car, here are some of the facts. I was traveling between 45-55 miles per hour at the point of impact. The front end of my motorcycle folded under the bottom like a jackknife. Sixteen of the thirty-two spokes in the rear wheel pulled through the rim, some breaking at impact. I was holding the handlebars so tight, that when I was catapulted into the air, my momentum and weight bent the handlebars nearly together. After flying thorough the air, I hit the ground with such force that I ripped a new pair of Leviâ€™s jeans starting at the rear center belt loop, down my left leg, stopping at my knee. After bouncing twenty more feet, I jumped up to my feet and my foreword momentum carried me as if I was running down a steep hill. When I stopped and realized I was alive, the name JESUS CHRIST clearly came to my mind. At that moment I questioned myself saying, â€œwhy am I thinking about Jesus? Iâ€™m a Jew and Jews donâ€™t believe in JESUSâ€
God told Moses in Exodus 19:33; â€˜I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you; I will proclaim my name, the name of the Lord in your presence. I will have mercy, and compassion on whom I will have compassion.â€ I did not realize it at the time but Godâ€™s goodness passed in front of me that night and like Moses, HE proclaimed HIS name in my presence. I now proclaim His name to all who will listen
I was born into a Jewish family living in a suburb of Los Angeles called the San Fernando Valley. My parents are first generation Americans. Like many Jewish immigrants, my grandparents came to America fleeing the growing Anti-Semitism spreading across Europe. By the 1930â€™s, Nazi Germany had become the driving factor of Jewish persecution. Many of my extended family fell victim to Hitlerâ€™s â€œfinal solutionâ€ to exterminate the Jewish people. For this reason, my parents taught me to stand up for my Jewish identity and to fight against any form of Anti-Semitism.
Though I did not grow up in a predominately Jewish community, I did receive some Jewish training. My family went to Sabbath services sporadically, while observing most of the Jewish holidays. I began Hebrew school at age eleven and at thirteen had my Bar mitzvah (the Jewish right of passage to spiritual manhood).
Around the time of my Bar mitzvah, my life began to change. By fourteen years of age, I was introduced to drugs and alcohol. Shortly thereafter, I got involved with small time gang at school.
As a senior in high school, I had grown to 5â€™11â€ and 190 lbs. During that time, I discovered I was stronger than most kids my age. This led me to sign up for a weight lifting class offered at my high school. After a few months of weight training, I was able to bench press as much as my coach, 365 lbs. My ability to lift large amounts of weight gave me a sense of power. This power motivated me to continue lifting weights and get as strong as possible.
I learned one more behavior during my high school years. I learned to be a tuff guy. I was strong and I knew it. People were afraid of me and I began to like that feeling. To further my tough guy image I purchase a 1953 Harley Davidson motorcycle. My goal was to build a chopper. For those of you who are not familiar with the term chopper, it was used in the 1970â€™s to describe the type of motorcycles associated with motorcycle gangs like the Hells Angles. Peter Fonda rode a chopper in the motion picture Easy Rider. What I didnâ€™t realize was that my drug and alcohol use combined with a growing violent behavior was taking me on a one-way road to HELL.
For the next four years, I continued to live as a tough guy; a lifestyle of extreme self-indulgence. If it felt good I did it. If I wanted something I bought it. If I couldnâ€™t buy it I schemed for it. If that didnâ€™t work I took it by force.
Proverbs 20:17 says; â€œBread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. (NKJV)
After four years of living the biker lifestyle. I had become more violent than I thought I could be. The values my parents taught me as a child were no longer important. Womanizing had corrupted my understanding of a healthy male â€“ female relationship, leaving me empty and wanting to be loved. My drug and alcohol use had taken me places I did not know existed and put me in circumstances I never thought possible. Self-indulgence had hit its mark; I was living a life filled with fear, despair, and unhappiness. My sins had become my own punishment; life had lost itâ€™s meaning and at 22 years old, I was contemplating suicide. For a few short years the biker lifestyle was sweet, but as Proverbs 20:17 says, it left my mouth filled with gravel.
Eighteen months earlier, I was introduced to a beautiful gentile girl named Susan. She was not like the other girls I had known. She made it immediately clear that if I were interested in furthering our relationship, I would have to treat her like a lady. Susan knew I wasnâ€™t an angel, but around her I had better be a gentleman. After a year of dating, we fell in love and I asked her to marry me.
Shortly after announcing our engagement, Susan accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Almost immediately I noticed a change in her. She began talking more and more about Jesus. When I couldnâ€™t find her at home she was at church. I soon realize something very powerful was taking place in her life. This became very clear when she told me she loved God more than me. How could she love God more than me? I was tangible and could be communicated with. God was distant, living somewhere beyond the universe.
Over the next few months Susan began to tell me about Jesus. She said, â€œJesus and God are one; and He is the Jewish Messiah spoken about in the Old Testament. God loved me and died for all menâ€™s sin, Jew and Gentile alike. Through Jesus, I could experience the forgiveness of my sin and have a personal relationship with the God of the universe.â€ She reassured me that the God she was talking about was the same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; my forefathers.
All this was more than I could handle. From my youth, I was told that Jesus was my enemy. History reveals that the Jewish people who refused to covert to Christianity were persecuted while millions were killed in the name of Jesus. Under Hitlerâ€™s regime, being Jewish was a crime punishable by being sent to the death camps. Now Susan is telling me that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and through Him I could have a personal relationship with the God of my forefathers.
â€œHOW COULD THIS BE?â€
During the same time, I began to experience flashbacks. I would begin to hallucinate, followed by overwhelming fear and anxiety. At first, the flashbacks would come when I was drinking so I quit drinking alcohol and taking drugs. For about a month everything was fine. Then, without warning, I experienced another flashback while I sober. I thought I was loosing my mind, which augmented my feelings of helplessness. One night, while eating dinner with my mother at our favorite Chinese restaurant, I began to have another flashback. I tried to keep my composure, but it became increasingly more difficult as time went on. Fearing I was going to â€œloose itâ€, I finished my dinner and told my mother I was going to see Susan. By the time I parked my truck at Susanâ€™s house I was in a full-blown panic attack. I told Susan I could not go on living this way any longer. I had thoughts of hurting someone or committing suicide. With boldness and love, Susan turned to me and said, â€œJESUS is the answer to your problem.â€ She asked me if her mother could come out to the truck where we were sitting and pray with me. I was so desperate I agreed.
It seemed like an eternity until Susan returned with her mother. Without saying more than a gentle hello, her mother began to pray. The moment I heard the name â€œJesusâ€, a supernatural presence filled the cab of my truck. This presence was accompanied by an authoritative peace of God that continues to fill my heart today. To my surprise I began to cry uncontrollably. I had not been able to cry for years and did not understand what was happening to me. Through the tears I asked Susan what was going on. She told me it was the presence of God; Jesus loved me and was revealing Himself to me. After twenty minutes, I was able to regain my composer. Something very powerful had happened to me that night. God not only softened my hard heart, he filled me with the peace and love I was longing for.
Colossians 3: 15 â€˜â€And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful. (NKJV)
Susan then asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus Christ as my Messiah. Everything I had been taught from my youth told me no, but the peace I was experiencing in my heart screamed yes. Susan then led me in a prayer to accept Jesusâ€™ forgiveness for my sin, and make HIM Lord and Savior of my life. I accepted my Messiah
Jesus said in John 14:27, â€œPeace I leave with you. MY peace I give to you; not as the world gives I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (NKJV)
From that moment to the present, I have walked with Jesus. His peace is not like the peace of the world. His peace is steadfast and sure, giving me strength for each day. I have lived inside that peace for over twenty-seven years now. He has never failed me.
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).