BEHOLD THE KING OF THE JEWS
by Rabbi Dr. Yosef ben Haggai and Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu ben Abraham
While the messianic figure of the Rabbis has covered a plethora of ideals and personas, the two outstanding figures representing messiah are David and Yosef. While there are scholars, who postpone the two concepts until after the Bar Kokhba revolt, the “Gabriel Revelation”39 reveals the truth that the idea predates the first century C.E. by as much as 200 years. As Messiah ben Yosef, Yeshua was to suffer rather than reign, as pictured in the Davidic prototype. However, the Davidic son established the primary prototype for the messianic persona.
1Ki 1:39-40 Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 And all the people went up after him; and the people played the flutes and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
1Ki 2:1-4 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. “And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; “that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, `If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, `you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
G-d’s promise to King David is most profound, “If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me (G-d) in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,” He said, “you will not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” The Messiah must be faithful to the Torah, its Chuqot (statutes), mitzvot, (commandments) eduyot (testimonies), mishpatim (judgments) and Derek HaShem (ethics).
All the accounts we have of Yeshua’s life demonstrate him as a man of great piety.
We are so accustomed…to make Jesus the object of religion that we become apt to forget that in our earliest records he is not portrayed as the object of religion, but as a religious man. Thomas Walter Manson, Teachings of Jesus (1935), 10140
As Geza Vermes points out, Yeshua is pictured from the accounts of his life and contents of his “Mesorah” as wrapped within the confines of a pious Pharisaic Jew of the late second Temple period. Judaism of the late second Temple period saw the Torah as the absolute maxim for life. Furthermore, it was the application of Torah and the Oral Torah, which governed the religious life of the pious Jew. Temple worship played a vital part in the role of the general populace of this era. However, it appears not to have been the primary concern for those Jews who lived in the distant locations of Eretz Yisrael. Geza Vermes seems to believe that the mandate found in our present Torah Seder41 was more idealistic than practical.42 Therefore, we would surmise that the Jewish people who actually “appeared before the LORD” three times a year were the more pious Jewish people. The picture portrayed of Yeshua in the Nazarean Codicil matches the image of Yosef. When the Sages of blessed memory, want to portray a man of piety, they use Yosef as their prototype. Consequently, Yeshua the son of Yosef is a fitting messianic title.
While the Biblical prophecies, which tell us that Messiah would intervene in the affairs of humanity, are somewhat cryptic, the Oral Torah contains a plethora of materials, which explain his role in redemption. Rabbi Akiva, with the failure of Bar Kokhba looked to the future for redemption. His parallel taken from the words of Rabbi Tarfon, taught that the first redemption from Egypt would lay the foundation and precedent for the final redemption in the distant future.43 We must assert that the Jewish view of redemption does not match the typical western view of “salvation.” Judaism saw the redemption as the end of exile. The analogy presented above clearly demonstrates that desire for Jewish autonomy. However, redemption is not merely autonomy. The Rabbis looked to the end of the age when the Jewish people would be the kings and priests of the earth. Therefore, the final phase of redemption would include the subjugation of the Gentiles by the Messianic redeemer. The violent abuse of Rome during the first century was intolerable. Hence, the Jewish people of that era longed for the appearing of this messianic figure.
REFUSAL OF ROME44 TO ACKNOWLEDGE YESHUA AS MESSIAH
Not only did Pilate refuse to acknowledge Yeshua as the Messiah, his cohort of nearly 600 men incessantly mocked Yeshua by placing a robe of purple and crown made of thorns on him. Then to show their disdain for the Messianic concept they spat and struck him repeatedly with a reed as it is written “6 I gave my back to the smitters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (Isa 50:6)”. As we will see the refusal of Rome to accept and acknowledge Yeshua as the Messiah is not relegated to a few Roman soldiers from Pilate’s militia.
THE ESPOUSAL OF ROME
ROME HAS REFUSED TO ACCEPT YESHUA AS THE MESSIAH, ESTABLISHING A PSEUDO-MESSIAH. REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY HAS RELEGATED MESSIAH TO A MOCKERY OF HIS TRUE CHARACTER AND MISSION
The Tz’dukim of the late second Temple period established the mindset for the coming Roman “priesthood.” The defunct priesthood of the late second Temple period espoused Rome. This defunct priesthood surrendered a Jewish Messiah to the Roman hoard in order to become a new priesthood. The Tz’dukim who disappeared with the destruction of the second Temple reappears as the priesthood of “Christianity.” The “out of work” priests looked for new occupational territory and employment, which they find in Rome. Regardless, we see that the espousal of Rome as inevitable when one abandons true normative Judaism. We must concur with the above cited thesis and further that we see the Tz’dukim’s espousal of the Roman government as an analogy of what was to come. The Roman cohort of Pilate derided Yeshua through vicious behavior and conduct against a pious Jew as if he were a slave or a criminal. This behavior is nothing new for Rome. Nor should we be surprised at their conduct. Historically Rome has been the instigator for many of the atrocities leveled against the Jewish people. However, we must note that Rome’s treatment of Yeshua has yet to change. Consequently, we must restate that Rome has yet to accept Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah. By this statement, we mean that Rome and all of it siblings have NEVER accepted Yeshua as Jewish Messiah, albeit they have deified “Jesus” as their Christ. Accordingly, we have pseudo- priesthood with a pseudo-messiah. Messiah divorced from normative Judaism is not a Jewish Messiah but a Roman Christ.
One of the most heinous crimes perpetrated against Yeshua and the Jewish people is the crime of “replacement theology.” However, we must assert that this idea was not the brainchild of a later Christian strategist. The Tz’dukim and Samaritans developed this notion long before Christianity. Nonetheless, the idea of our present pericope, as found in the Nazarean Codicil is of Roman origin. Herod had the legitimate priests of Levitical lineage assassinated only to “replace” them with a pseudo-priesthood that would follow Roman rules and serve the interests of Roman authorities. Consequently, Judaism’s battle with Rome and replacement theology has existed for millennia. Furthermore, its Roman origins remain intact to this very day.
YAAKOV AND EASU
The world has survived these thousands of years in the midst of a struggle, brother against brother. Ya’aqob and Esau were not the first brothers with these troubles. The very first brothers of Biblical mention demonstrate the difficulties of rivalries between brothers. However, it is Ya’aqob and Esau, which the Sages use to depict the present Diaspora.
Mal 1:2-3 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, `In what way have You loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” Says the LORD. “Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.
Hakham Shaul cites this prophetic passage in his letter to the Roman talmidim of Yeshua.45 The Prophet speaks of the demise of Rome (Edom – Esau – Christianity).46 The “mountain laid waste” can only be understood as an analogy for the “government” of Rome. We will not delve into the imagery except to say that we must expect the Roman system and rule to crumble in the final redemption just as the Egyptian régime toppled under the leadership of Moshe Rabbenu. Our mention of the Roman government must be understood as the system, which has incessantly tried to strip Yeshua of his Jewish persona and Rabbinic profession. Like the Romans of Pilate’s cohort, they dress Yeshua in Roman garb mockingly honoring him as “King of the Jews.” However, before they placed him on the tree they redressed him in his Jewish apparel to show disdain and contempt for a Jewish Rabbi and Messiah. The death of a Jewish Prophet and Rabbi allowed them to resurrect a Roman god in his place. Their mental perspective of Messiah has yet to change. And, they have yet to accept a Jewish Messiah.
We have noted that Hakham Shaul wrote a letter to the community of believers in Rome. In short, Hakham Shaul sums up his requirements in the initial paragraph of his letter.
Rom 1:5 Through him (Yeshua) we have received chesed and a commission to bring into obedience47 among all gentiles, living in faithfulness to the Torah under his authority…48
Please note that the Gentiles are called to obedience and faithfulness to the Torah under the authority and Mesorah of Yeshua the Jewish Messiah. The letter of Hakham Shaul lays down the prototypical acceptance for the Messianic community. Those who follow Yeshua Must observe the Torah!49 I HAVE ACCEPTED YESHUA AS THE MESSIAH
Common nomenclature among Christians, as noted, is the acceptance of Yeshua as Messiah. The difficulty being, Christianity (Rome) has yet to accept a Jewish Messiah! The “Jesus we believed in in our youth was a blond- haired hippie type rebel, who was in rebellion against the “establishment,” which at the time we thought was the Jewish religion. Much to our surprise Yeshua turned out to be a pro – Torah Rabbi of the first century promoting rabbinic halakhah. Only after embracing the Jewish interpretation of Messiah could one say that he accepted Yeshua as the Messiah! There is no such thing as a Gentile Messiah!
Acts 10:1-2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people (of Yisrael), and prayed to God appropriately.
Act 10:47-48 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be immersed who received the Divine Presence just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be immersed…
Cornelius demonstrates the profile for a genuine Gentile follower of Yeshua. While Cornelius appears here in our initially cited text as a “pious” man (Gentile) who “fears G-d” he converts to Judaism in verse 47. It is a fallacy to believe or purport that Cornelius became a “Christian.” In other words, the true path of Any follower of Yeshua is sooner or later to convert to Judaism. However, we have juxtaposed Cornelius against the Roman cohort of our present pericope to demonstrate the appropriate response to Yeshua by a Gentile. The passage cited above from Hakham Shaul’s letter to the Romans clearly instructs Gentiles to “live in faithfulness to the Torah under his (Messiah’s) authority.”
HAS ROME FALLEN?
If the “First Redemption” can be pictured in the initial Pesach and “Yetsi’at Mitzrayim” (Exodus from Egypt) we must realize that there will be another redemption, a final redemption, which overturns all Roman rule in the earth. The demise of the Roman system will find masses themselves embracing a true Jewish Messiah rather than the false Christ they have worshiped for millennia.
Subjugation by Rome not only brought Yisrael to its departure, sending them into Diaspora, it infiltrated and plagiarized its religious aspects instituting a pseudo-Judaism, which mimicked nearly every aspect of this ancient religion. This plagiarism has wearied the soul of the Jewish people. G-d through His agent, Messiah will exact the appropriate vengeance upon Rome, Edom and those who have espoused their doctrines.
Targum Pseudo Yonatan Yesha’yahu 62:1 He is about to bring a stroke upon Edom, a strong avenger upon Bozrah, to take the just retribution of His people, just as He swore to them by His Memra. He said, Behold I am revealed – just as I spoke – in virtue, there is great force before Me to save.
We have cited this passage in the recent past. However, it suffices to cite it again for the present materials.
The prophet prophesies concerning what the Holy One, blessed be He, said that He is destined to wreak vengeance upon Edom, and He, personally, will slay their heavenly prince, like the matter that is said (supra 34:5), “For My sword has become sated in the heaven.” And afterward, (ibid.) “it shall descend upon Edom,” and it is recognizable by the wrath of His face that He has slain [them with] a great massacre, and the prophet is speaking in the expression of the wars of human beings, dressed in clothes, and when they slay a slaying, the blood spatters on their garments, for so is the custom of Scripture; it speaks of the Shekhinah anthropomorphically, to convey to the ear what it can hear. Comp. (Ezek. 43:2) “His voice is like the voice of many waters.” The prophet compares His mighty voice to the voice of many waters to convey to the ear according to what it is possible to hear, for one cannot understand and hearken to the magnitude of the mighty of our God to let us hear it as it is.
“The heavenly prince of Edom is destined to commit two errors. He thinks that Bozrah is identical with Bezer in the desert, which was a refuge city. He will also err insofar as it affords refuge only for inadvertent murder, but he killed Israel intentionally.”50
Rashi’s comments make clear that there will be a war waged against Edom (Rome – Christianity who has failed to embrace Yeshua as a Jewish Messiah). Messiah our Go’el, “Kinsman redeemer” will exact punishment on those who have been involved in intentional crimes against the Jewish people.
THE PROPHET YERMIYAHU RECORDS THE EVENTS OF THOSE DAYS.
Jer 16:19-21 O LORD, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.” 20 Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? 21 “Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD.”
Note that the Prophet reiterates the justice, which G-d will pour out on those who refuse to accept the true path to G-d in the words “Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might.”
Messiah’s death in the present pericope of Mordechai is not so strange when we stop to count the millions of Jews destroyed by senseless malice and hatred. Why did the Romans crucify Yeshua? Rome crucified a Jewish Rabbi in order to replace him with a gentile god. No self-respecting Jew could accept such a messiah. The demise of a Roman god is at hand. And, the footsteps of a Jewish Messiah are echoing in the near distance.
35 Believing that you are mentally aloof
36 Those who have true humility of the soul
37 Verbal connection to D’barim 17:5
38 Verbal connection to D’barim 17:18
39 BAR 34:05, Sep/Oct 2008 “Messiah the Son of Joseph”
40 Vermes, G. (1993). The Religion of Jesus the Jew. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. p. 184 41 D’barim 16:16
43 Cf. m. Pesachim 10:6
44 Here I use “Rome” as the people, and the religion developed from Rome. I further the understanding that “Rome” is Edom. It must also be stated that Rome is Catholicism and all of it siblings, i.e. Protestant Christianity, which fails to accept a JEWISH messiah and the Torah, written and Oral.
45 Cf. Rom 9:13
46 For an in-depth presentation of the relationship of Easu with Edom and Rome, see… Harry Sysling, Teḥiyyat ha-metim: the resurrection of the dead in the Palestinian Targums of the Pentateuch and parallel traditions in classical rabbinic literature. Mohr Siebeck, 1996
47 Note: It is G-d’s grace, if I may use the term, to bring Gentiles into faithful obedience of the Torah and Oral Torah through the agent of Yeshua our Messiah.
48 My rendition
49 Mt assertion is that they must accept the Torah Written, Oral along with the Mesorah of Messiah. The Mesorah of Messiah will take us to deeper levels of commitment in some areas which may not be comfortable for some of his followers.