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No peace – no Messiah                                                               Back to Menu

 

In the prophecy of Daniel mentioned in our article ‘The Fall of the Second Temple’ it says that Messiah will come before the destruction of the second Temple and that following his coming there will be wars and desolations.  This of course does not square with the majority view of Messiah in the Jewish community today.  In discussion with a Jewish friend, he said to me, ‘Your Jesus can’t be the Messiah, because there is no peace in the world.’

 

I told him that Jesus came the first time to save us from our sins in fulfilment of the prophecies in the Bible of the Suffering Servant and that he is coming again to judge the world in righteousness and bring in the promised age of peace and justice.

 

‘Where did you get this idea of a ‘second coming’ from?  Was it because Jesus did not succeed the first time that he’s got to have another go?  It doesn’t say anything in the Bible about the Messiah coming twice.’

 

Maybe he had been reading this in Rabbi Kaplan’s book, ‘The Real Messiah?’ which states: ‘The main task of the Messiah was to bring the world back to God and to abolish all war, suffering and injustice from the world. Clearly, Jesus did not accomplish this.  In order to get around this failure on the part of Jesus, Christians invented the doctrine of the ‘Second Coming’.  All the prophecies that Jesus did not fulfil the first time are supposed to be taken care of the second time around.  However the Jewish Bible offers absolutely no evidence to support the Christian doctrine of a ‘Second Coming.’ (1)

 

He may also have read the ‘Operation Judaism Fact Pack’ compiled by Rabbi Arkush, which is designed to give the answer to Christian claims that Jesus is the Messiah.  This is what he says the Messiah will do when he comes.

 

  1. Messiah will bring universal peace.  Isaiah 2:4   
  2. Families will live together in perfect harmony.  Malachi 3:24  
  3. Even the animals will live together in peace.  Isaiah 11:6  
  4. There will be no more illness.  Isaiah 35:5-6  
  5. There will be no more sorrow.  Isaiah 65:19  
  6. There will be no more death.  Isaiah 25:8  
  7. The exiled of Israel will return to their land.  Ezekiel 39:25-28  
  8. The ten lost tribes will also return.  Isaiah 27:13  
  9. Even the dead will rise up and return.  Ezekiel 37:12  
  10. The nations will be gathered for judgement.  Joel 3:2  
  11. No sin will be found in Israel.  Jeremiah 50:20  
  12. The cities of Israel will be rebuilt with precious stones.  Isaiah 54:11-12  
  13. Even Sodom will be rebuilt.  Ezekiel 16:55  
  14. The Divine Presence will dwell among Israel.  Ezekiel 37:27-28  
  15. Joy and peace will reign in Jerusalem.  Isaiah 65:18-23  
  16. All Israel will keep the Law.  Ezekiel 36:27  
  17. Sacrifices will again be offered in the Temple.  Malachi 3:3-4  
  18. There will be no more idolatry.  Isaiah 2:18  
  19. All nations will be united under one rule.  Daniel 2:44  
  20. There will be only one faith and all nations will worship the God of Israel.  Isaiah 66:23 (2)

 

Clearly there has not been universal peace since Jesus came, and if you put the average lion in a cage with the average lamb there would not be a very bright future for the lamb.  So does this mean that Jesus is not the Messiah prophesied in the Bible?

 

A Problem for Rabbinic Judaism

 

 

Before we go on to consider the answer to this, we have to say that the Rabbis too have a problem over this issue.  Even if we accept that all twenty passages listed above are Messianic prophecies, this list is far from complete.  While the prophets did give a clear picture of the Messiah reigning with power on the earth, bringing about the redemption of Israel, the end of war and universal knowledge of God (Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11:1-9, Ezekiel 40-48, Daniel 2:44, Zechariah 14), there is another set of prophecies which speak of the Messiah suffering as an atonement for sin which I have already referred to in this book (Psalm 22, Isaiah 52:13-53.12, Daniel 9:25-26, Zechariah 12:10).  It would seem that Rabbi Arkush would like to delete this portrait of Messiah altogether, but this has not always been the case.  

 

As we have already seen in Chapter 6, Alshech the Chief Rabbi of Safed, Upper Galilee, in the 16th century said of Isaiah 53, ‘Our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is speaking of the king Messiah, and we shall ourselves also adhere to the same view.’   

 

Commenting on Zechariah 12:10, where the prophet says Israel will ‘look upon me whom they have pierced’, Rabbi Alshech writes:  “For they shall lift up their eyes unto me in perfect repentance when they see him whom they have pierced, that is Messiah, the Son of Joseph.  For our rabbis of blessed memory have said that he will take upon himself all the guilt of Israel, and then shall be slain in the war to make an atonement, in such a manner, that it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced him, for on account of their sin he has died, and therefore in order that it may be reckoned to them as a perfect atonement, they will repent, and look to the Blessed One, saying that there is none beside him to forgive those that mourn on account of him who died for their sin; this is the meaning of ‘They shall look upon me.’”  (3) That this passage (Zechariah 12:10) refers to the Messiah is admitted by Aben Ezra and Abarbanel, and also by Rashi in his commentary on the Talmud.

 

Rabbi Alshech’s mention of ‘Messiah, the Son of Joseph’ is a reference to the view held within Judaism that there are two Messiahs, one called Messiah son of Joseph who suffers and dies and one called Messiah son of David, who rules and reigns. On this subject David Baron writes:  ‘The doctrine or theory of two Messiahs – a Messiah ben Joseph who should suffer and die and a Messiah ben David who shall reign in power – can be traced back to the third or fourth century AD and very probably originated in the perplexity of the Talmudists at the apparently irreconcilable pictures of a suffering and yet a glorious Messiah, which they found in the scriptures.  Instead of finding a solution in two advents of the one person they explained the scriptures as referring to two different persons.’  (4) The suffering Messiah is given the name ‘Son of Joseph’ because he suffers rejection and humiliation like Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 37-41).  The reigning Messiah is given the name ‘Son of David’ because he reigns in triumph like King David.  

 

In the Talmud we read of the identity of the person in Zechariah’s prophecy:

 

‘What is the cause of mourning mentioned in the last cited verse (Zechariah 12.10).  Rabbi Dosa and the Rabbis differ on this point.  One explained, The cause is the slaying of the Messiah the son of Joseph, and the other explained, The cause is the slaying of the evil inclination.  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 that mourns for his only son;’ but according to him who explains the cause to be the slaying of the Evil Inclination, is this an occasion for mourning?  Is not this rather an occasion for rejoicing?  Why then should they weep?’ (5)

 

The argument here is over whether the cause of mourning in Zechariah 12.10 is the slaying of the Messiah or the slaying of the evil inclination (a phrase used in Judaism to describe what is wrong in human beings).  The rabbi concludes it must be the slaying of the Messiah, because the slaying of the evil inclination is a cause for joy not mourning.   Taken together with the view expressed by Rabbi Alshech in which Messiah son of Joseph is killed to make atonement for the guilt of Israel, this shows that the Rabbis have interpreted Zechariah 12.10 to be about the death of the Messiah.  Although this view is different from the New Testament concept of Jesus as the atoning sacrifice these quotations show that there is a rabbinic view of a suffering Messiah who dies as a sacrifice for the guilt of Israel.  

 

Another interesting quotation is to be found in the Talmud where we read: ‘Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi noted the apparent contradiction in the following two verses.  It is written: ‘…and behold one like a son of man (Moshiach / Messiah) comes with the clouds of heaven’ (Daniel 7.13).  But it also says: ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem.  Behold, your king shall come to you, righteous and saviour is he, a pauper and riding on an ass’ (Zechariah 9.9).  The verses may be reconciled:  If they are worthy, Moshiach will appear with the clouds.  If not, he will be a pauper and ride on an ass.’ (6)

 

In other words whether the Messiah appears in glory or in humiliation depends on the spiritual condition of the generation when he comes.  Again this contradicts the view we are presenting, but it does point to the fact that Rabbinic Judaism has to try to explain the reason for two quite different portraits of the Messiah, one as a Suffering Servant and one as a Conquering King.

 

An alternative view

 

So are there two Messiahs?  Does it depend on the spiritual state of the generation when Messiah appears as to whether he comes in humility or triumph?

 

Or do the prophets describe the same Messiah who is coming on two different occasions with two different aims?   Let us now examine this view.

 

The Gospel account in the New Testament is obviously mainly concerned with things that happened during the life of Jesus and points to the conclusion that he is the Messiah fulfilling prophecy.  The New Testament writers also teach that the same Jesus will come again in person at some unspecified date in the future.  Therefore we can conclude that the New Testament teaches two comings of the same Messiah.  This is not just an incidental doctrine but is integral to the whole message of the New Testament.  Apart from several passing references to the second coming in each Gospel, a whole section of each of the Synoptic Gospels is devoted to it (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21).  John tells us the purpose of this event in his Gospel:

 

“And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”  John 14:3

 

The hope of Messiah’s return was the subject of the preaching of the Apostles (Acts 3:19-21, Acts 17:30-31) and was taught by all the writers of the Epistles:  Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5.11, 2 Thessalonians 2, also in James 5:1-8, in 2 Peter 2-3, in 1 John 3:2 and in Jude 14-15.  It is the subject of most of the book of Revelation.  This, by no means an exhaustive list of references to the second coming in the New Testament, shows that this has been an integral part of the Christian faith from its origin and is not some new fangled idea cooked up to explain to Jews how Jesus can be the Messiah while we live in a world where universal peace is far from being the condition.  It has also been a historic doctrine of believing Christians throughout the Christian era, enshrined in the creeds of all major denominations and something Christians are told to remember every time they take the Lord’s Supper or communion, when they are to remember the death of Jesus until he comes again.

 

Messiah’s reign begins with Judgement

 

Of course if you don’t believe the New Testament is inspired by God the fact that it teaches that Jesus comes twice does not cut much ice.  The question now has to be asked, ‘Do the Messianic prophecies in the Tenach (Old Testament) speak of two comings of the Messiah?’

 

One interesting fact which emerges when we study the Messianic prophecies referred to by Rabbi Arkush is that the important ones all have to do with God’s judgement of mankind.  Isaiah 2:1-4, with its glorious vision of the word of the Lord going forth from Jerusalem and universal peace resulting from this is followed by a passage dealing with the Lord’s judgement on human arrogance and idolatry (Isaiah 2:10-21):

 

 “For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high…And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled and the pride of men shall be brought low; and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.  And the idols shall utterly pass away.  And men shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground from before the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.”

 

The picture of the wicked hiding from the presence of the Lord ‘in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains’ is also to be found in Revelation 7:15-17, describing what will happen before the second coming of Jesus.

 

In Isaiah 11 the one who will cause the wolf to dwell with the lamb and the earth to be full of the knowledge of the Lord will also enter into judgement with humanity:

 

“He will not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.”  Isaiah 11:3-4.

 

The verse spoken of by Rabbi Arkush in Joel 3:2 clearly speaks of the nations being gathered for judgement:

 

“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgement with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.”

 

Ezekiel 20:33-38 teaches that Israel too will have to submit to judgement before being allowed into the Messianic Kingdom:

“As I live, says the Lord God surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out, I will be king over you.  I will bring you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgement with you fact to face.  As I entered into judgement with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgement with you, says the Lord God.  I will make you pass under the rod, and I will let you in by number.  I will purge out those rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

 

In this the Prophets are in perfect harmony with the Gospel where Jesus taught that the nations will be gathered for judgement at His second coming:

 

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.”  Matthew 25:31-46.

 

How will humanity be judged?

 

Since there is a unity of belief between the Old and New Testaments on the necessity of judgement preceding the age of peace and justice in which the nations will be united under the rule of the Messiah, the question now has to be asked:  ‘On what basis will this judgement be made?’

 

Most of modern Judaism teaches that ‘the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come’ and that you should do your best to keep whatever religion you are born into.  According to this view God requires the Jews to keep 613 commandments which are derived from the Torah and the Gentiles to keep the 7 laws of Noah.  A leaflet put out by the Lubavitch organisation states that ‘These seven laws provide a basic minimum for the maintenance of moral civilisation.’ They are:

 

1. Do not worship idols.

2. Do not blaspheme.

3. Do not murder.

4. Do not steal.

5. Do not commit immoral sexual acts.

6. Do not be cruel to animals.

7. Maintain justice.

 

The problem about these laws is that most Jews I have spoken to as well as all Gentiles, except a handful who have specifically studied this subject, are totally ignorant of their existence, which makes it difficult to see how people can be judged on this basis.  To say on this basis that you should keep whatever religion you were born into also raises some problems.  While most religions do condemn murder, theft and sexual immorality, a number of major world religions (Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism) allow practices which the Bible would consider idolatrous.  Cruelty to animals is not a big deal in Islam as any visitor to the Middle East will soon discover.  So in practice it is hard to see how the so-called 7 Laws of Noah can be a basis for judging humanity, especially as most people have never heard of them.  

 

I have never met any Jewish person who feels under any obligation to tell Gentiles that they should keep the 7 Laws of Noah.  In practice Judaism teaches the kind of universalism which is in keeping with the general trend in inter-faith religious circles today.  Writing in the Jewish journal ‘L’Eylah’ Rabbi Arye Forta contrasts this way of thinking with the Christian belief in one way of salvation through Jesus Christ:

 

“Judaism is not evangelical, but not out of insularity or parochialism.  Judaism does not actively proselytise because it does not see the need to do so.  “The righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come,” said the Rabbis.  The Jew can say to mankind, “You don’t have to be Jewish to enter into a relationship with God; you just have to live a righteous life.”  Judaism defines righteousness in terms of the seven laws of Noah and sees these as the basis of a moral and spiritual life.” (7)

 

If the Rabbi is correct in saying ‘You just have to live a righteous life’ to have a share in the world to come, then heaven is going to be a very empty place because the Bible shows that even the best of us fail to live a completely righteous life. As we read in Ecclesiastes 7.20:

 

‘There is not a just man on the earth who does good and does not sin.’  

 

Our attempts to make ourselves righteous are not good enough for God:

 

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.’  Isaiah 64.6.

 

Paul agrees with this verdict, and writes in Romans 3:10-12, quoting Psalm 14,

 

“None is righteous, no not one; no-one understands, no-one seeks for God.  All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no-one does good, not even one.”

 

Paul goes on to show how it is through our identification with the righteousness of the Messiah who died as a sacrifice for our sins that we are made righteous and receive eternal life.

 

Are all religions acceptable to God?

 

Is this idea that all religions are acceptable to God in harmony with the teaching of the Prophets?  What about ancient pagan religions which involve witchcraft and human sacrifice which are still practised in some places today and resurfacing in western nations?  The Tenach teaches that the ‘gods of the nations are but idols’ and contrasts the vanity of pagan worship (Isaiah 44:9-20) with the glory of the Lord who is seen as the Redeemer to whom Israel is to bear witness to the nations:

 

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:  “I am the first and I am the last; beside me there is no God.  Who is like me?  Let him proclaim it, let him declare and set it forth before me…Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declare it?  And you are my witnesses!”  Isaiah 44:6-8.

 

According to Isaiah salvation is offered not through the Babel of conflicting religious systems saying and doing things which contradict each other, but through the God of Israel:

 

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”  Isaiah 45:22.

 

The God of Israel has a message for the whole of mankind:

 

“By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return:  To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”  Isaiah 45:23.

 

Is there any group of people seeking to make known this message to the whole of mankind today?  Yes, the whole of the Bible has been translated into 405 languages, all the major languages of the world, the New Testament into 1034 languages, and portions of the Bible into a further 864 languages.  The Wycliffe Bible Translators (who supplied this information) are working hard to translate the Bible into the remaining minority languages of the world.  As a result there are people all over the world who look to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for salvation, which they have received through the Messiah to whom the Prophets bore witness before he came in the flesh.  This has happened because of the faithful witness of the first Jewish disciples in Jesus who obeyed his command to ‘Go into the world and preach the Gospel.’  Matthew 28:18-20.

 

World Evangelism and the Second Coming

 

What does this have to do with the first and second comings of the Messiah?  A great deal.  The New Testament belief is that the Messiah came the first time to bear the sins of the world and offer himself as the atoning sacrifice for all mankind. Through him both Jews and Gentiles may partake of the promises given by God to Israel and be reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:11-18) and join the believing church.  In the original Greek of the New Testament the word for church, ‘ekklesia’, means ‘the called out ones’, in other words people who have been called out of the world to believe in Jesus as Messiah.  It never means a building or a religious organisation.  It always means a group of people.  The purpose of the true church in this age is to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth as Jesus told them to before he departed into heaven:

 

“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the So and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always even to the end of the world.”  Matthew 28.18-20.

 

This does not mean that all will receive it.  The conditions of tribulation at the end of this age make it clear that the majority will reject it.  Jesus taught that this message will bring division between those who accept it and those who reject it:

 

“And this is the judgement that light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does what is true comes to the light that it may clearly be seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.”  John 3:19-21.

 

Those who do accept the Lord through coming to the point of genuine repentance and faith in him experience the ‘new birth’ which Jesus spoke about to Nicodemus:

 

“Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3.

 

As a result of this new birth the believer receives the Holy Spirit who begins the process of sanctification which aims at reproducing in us the character of the Lord:

 

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  Galatians 5:22.

 

Since the whole process is voluntary the extent to which we show the character of the Holy Spirit depends on the extent to which we submit our lives to him.  It also needs to be pointed out that there are multitudes who profess to be Christians who have never experienced this ‘new birth’ and are therefore not Christians at all in the true sense and do not represent the true church.

 

This period of free will come to an end at the second coming of Jesus when he will judge mankind on the basis of how we have responded to his offer of salvation.  As we have said this offer has first to be given to all nations which is now being done by the evangelistic work of the believing church.  The rejection of this offer by the majority will lead to days of tribulation which will bring this age to a close as Jesus told the disciples when they asked him, “What will be the sign of your coming and the close of the age?”  His answer told of wars, famines, earthquakes, plagues, persecutions and deception and said that the age would end with ‘great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.’ Matthew 24:21.  This again is in perfect harmony with the words of the Prophets who also taught that there will be tribulation in the end of times:

 

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was seen there was a nation, even to that time.  And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.”  Daniel 12:1.  See also Isaiah 24, Jeremiah 30, Ezekiel 38-39, Zechariah 12-14.

 

The time span between the two comings of the Messiah

 

Although the Prophets did not make it clear that there would be a long time span between the first and second coming of the Messiah, there is no reason why this should not be the correct interpretation of the two Messiahs problem.  It also makes sense for God to work it out this way, as it involves us in making a free will choice and taking responsibility for our eternal destiny.  

 

God could have sent the Redeemer immediately after the entry of sin into the world in Genesis 3 if he had chosen to. Indeed Eve’s response to the delivery of her first born child, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord’ (Genesis 4:1) suggests she may have mistakenly believed Cain to be the promised ‘seed of the woman’ who would bruise the serpent’s head.  The Targum of Palestine paraphrases this verse: ‘And Adam knew his wife and she conceived and brought forth Cain, and she said; ‘I have obtained the man, the Angel of the Lord.’  This hope was dashed when Cain killed his brother Abel, but when Eve later bore Seth, she exclaimed, ‘For God appointed me another seed’ (Genesis 4.25).  The rabbis comment on this as follows: ‘She (Eve) hinted at that seed which would arise from another source … the king Messiah.’  (8)

 

The disciples of Jesus were also impatient for an immediate resolution of God’s plan for the redemption of Israel when they asked Jesus after the resurrection, ‘Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? Acts 1:6.  They understood that Jesus had fulfilled the role of suffering Messiah.  They now looked to him to fulfil immediately the role of reigning Messiah, bringing national redemption to Israel and peace to the world in fulfilment of Isaiah 2:1-4.  Jesus’ reply shows that he did not rule out the ultimate goal of establishing the Messianic kingdom as foretold by the Prophets but that the immediate priority for them and for all true followers of Jesus in this age is to spread the message of the Gospel:

 

“It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Sprit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:7-8.

 

According to Jesus’ own words world evangelism has to be accomplished in the time between his first and second coming.  Therefore there must be an extended period of time involved, a much greater period than that anticipated by the early church which looked for the Lord’s return in their lifetime.  Since the sad history of the church includes periods of great unfaithfulness to the original message of the Gospel this period of time has been extended to our own day.

 

The significance of our own day is that despite the continuing unfaithfulness of much of the visible church, the message of the Gospel is going out into all the earth.  The effect of world evangelism is the only division which has eternal significance - not the division of Jew and Gentile, black and white, male and female, rich and poor – but the division of lost and saved:

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which when it was full they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels but threw the bad away.  So it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just and cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 13:47-50.

 

Those who are saved receive new spiritual life which begins now and goes on into eternity.  This new life is required to bring in the age of peace and justice promised in the Messianic age, and why there has to be judgement first.  You cannot have a new kind of society without new people.  The dismal failure of communism to produce the better society it promised is a clear witness to this.

 

Jesus did not fail – nor is he going to fail!

 

Therefore the Christian doctrine of the second coming does not imply that Jesus failed the first time and is coming back down to have another go.  Anything but.  Jesus succeeded completely when he came the first time, opening up a fountain for cleansing from sin for Jew and Gentile alike through his sacrifice for the sins of the world.  he fulfilled the Messianic prophecies to the letter.  He was born to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  He preached a message of good news to the poor bringing release to those in captivity to sin and sickness (Isaiah 61:1-2).  He laid down his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, was executed as a transgressor, although without sin himself, prayed for those responsible for his death, was buried in a rich man’s tomb and rose again from the dead on the third day (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 16:8-11).  

 

All this happened before the destruction of the second temple as prophesied in Daniel 9:25-26.  This prophecy in Daniel actually says that ‘Messiah will be cut off but not for himself’ (speaking of the sacrificial death of Jesus) and that following this ‘the people of the prince to come (i.e. the Romans) shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Temple)’.  The fall of Jerusalem will be followed by wars and desolations.  As we have seen in the previous chapter this is a specific prophecy showing that the first coming of the Messiah is followed by the destruction of the Temple and wars and desolations.  This counters the argument that the Messiah will cause the Jewish people to return to Israel, the Temple to be rebuilt and there to be an era of world peace and that since the opposite happened when Jesus came, he cannot be the Messiah.

 

Jesus will not fail when comes again either.  At that time prophecies as yet unfulfilled will be fulfilled.  He will come in the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13, Mark 14:62) and every eye will see him (Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 1:7).  He will come with the ‘holy ones’ or saints (Zechariah 14:5, Revelation 19:14).  The point of His return to earth will be the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4, Acts 1:11).  He will bring an end to the world conflict which will be raging over Jerusalem and will threaten the world with the final holocaust (Zechariah 12-14, Revelation 16-19).  He will destroy the ‘Babylon’ world system responsible for all corruption and wickedness on earth and for the end time tribulation (Jeremiah 51, Revelation 18).  He will set up godly rule from Jerusalem bringing peace and justice to the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:1-4, Revelation 20:4-6).  Following the Millennium (1000 years rule of Messiah) the world will end with one final satanic rebellion against the Lord after which God will create the new heavens and new earth which will last for eternity (Isaiah 66:22-24, Revelation 20:7-21).

 

Footnotes:  (After reading the footnote click the Back button)

 

  1. The Real Messiah? By Aryeh Kaplan page 71.
  2. Operation Judaism Fact Pack compiled by Rabbi S Arkush.  Pages 13-15.  
  3. Rabbi Alshech lived in Safed in Upper Galilee in the second half of the 16th Century.  This passage is quoted in ‘Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah’ by David Baron page 442.  
  4. ‘Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah’ by David Baron page 441.  
  5. Sukkot 52a   
  6. Sanhedrin 98a  
  7. ‘The New Christian Missions to the Jews – How should we respond?’ by Rabbi Arye Forta in L’Eylah – A Journal of Judaism Today published by the Office of the Chief Rabbi.  Issue 25 page 22.  
  8. J.W. Etheridge, ‘The Targum of Onkelos and Jonathan Ben Uzziel’ page 166-170.

 

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