The view of Asher Norman which we find in our article Six tasks of the Messiah sees the Messiah as a Reigning King who will restore Israel and bring peace to the world. To remind us again of what he says, these are the six tasks which the Messiah has to accomplish:
- Have the correct genealogy by being descended from King David and King Solomon.
- Be anointed King of Israel.
- Return the Jewish people to Israel.
- Rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
- Bring peace to the world and end all war.
- Bring knowledge of God to the world.
He says that anyone who has not done these six things cannot be the Messiah. Therefore Jesus is not the Messiah. He says that we will know when the Messiah has come when someone has succeeded in doing all of this.
This view overlooks another view of the Messiah which is present in the Hebrew scriptures and in a number of Jewish interpretations of the scriptures. This view is of a Suffering Servant Messiah who will redeem humanity from the power of sin and death.
While the prophets do 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 (Psalm 22, Isaiah 52:13-53.12, Daniel 9:25-26, Zechariah 12:10). On this page we will look at the evidence for the Suffering Servant Messiah and how these scriptures apply to Yeshua / Jesus.
Asher Norman’s view is based on the writing of Maimonides (‘Hilchos Melachim 11.1, 4 from the Mishneh Torah’), the greatest Torah scholar of the Middle Ages who wrote in the 12th century. We would accept that these are Messianic signs and that they will be fulfilled in the Messianic Kingdom, after the Second Coming. But there are other signs which are ignored by Asher Norman, which Jesus did fulfil at His first coming.
At the time of Jesus’ first coming however the signs given by Asher Norman would not have been considered as signs of the Messiah, because the Jewish people were in Israel (albeit under Roman occupation) and the Temple was still standing. For reasons given below there were expectations that the Messiah would come during the days of the Second Temple. What were the Messianic expectations at the time of Jesus? Certainly they could not be summed up in the six signs Asher Norman has drawn up.
Messianic expectations in the First Century Judaism are found in a number of Jewish writings which are summed up on a website www.christian-thinktank.com. These writings testify to an expectation of a Messianic deliverer coming but there are quite widespread differences about what kind of Messiah to expect. Some did see a great leader who would deliver Israel from the Romans as the Maccabees had delivered Israel from the Greek oppressors in 164 BC. Others saw a Messiah who would follow a very different programme. The messianic figures range from king to priest to prophet. Some were purely human kings like David (e.g. Psalms of Solomon, 2 Baruch, Sibyl 3), others were pre-existent, divine Saviour Kings (e.g. I Enoch, Sibyl 5, Testament of Judah).
The Targums are paraphrases of the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic written or compiled from the Second Temple period until the early Middle Ages. They contain over 60 references to the Messiah including a number which are based on significant texts of the Hebrew Bible like Isaiah 53 (The Suffering Servant) and Micah 5.1-3 (Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem). In the original Hebrew text of these passages the word ‘Messiah’ does not appear, but it does in these Jewish writings showing that they were considered to be about the Messiah.
The Targum of Isaiah 52.13-53.12 contains these words: ‘Behold, My servant the Messiah shall prosper; he shall be exalted and great and very powerful…It is the will of the Lord to purify and to acquit as innocent the remnant of his people, to cleanse their souls of sin, so that they may see the kingdom of their Messiah.’
The Targum of Micah 5.1-3 reads: ‘And you, O Bethlehem Ephrath, you who were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth before Me the Messiah, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from before, from the days of creation.’
There is a fascinating passage in the Talmud which states: ‘The world will exist 6000 years. 2000 years of desolation, (meaning from Adam to Abraham); 2000 years of the Torah (meaning from Abraham to somewhere around the beginning of the Common Era – this coincides with the birth of Jesus) and 2000 years of the Messianic era (roughly the last 2000 years). But because our iniquities were many, all this has been lost.’ Sanhedrin 97a-b. According to this Jewish tradition the Messiah was supposed to come about 2000 years ago and we should now be in the Messianic era. The Medieval Jewish commentator, Rashi, explains this by saying: ‘After 2000 years of Torah it was God’s decree that the Messiah would come and the wicked generation would come to an end and the subjugation of Israel would be destroyed.’ The reason Messiah has not come according to Rashi is because Israel’s sins were many.
The alternative view is that the Messiah did come about 2000 years ago as the Suffering Servant. He laid down his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world and rose again from the dead to give eternal life to all who accept him as Saviour and Lord. In doing this He fulfilled the prophecy of the ‘seed of the woman’ who would bruise the head of the Serpent (Genesis 3.15) and be a sacrifice for the sin of the world as Isaiah 53 prophesies: ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone from his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53.6.
He will come again at the end of this age and fulfil the prophecies of Messiah which Asher Norman refers to in his signs of the Messiah given at the beginning of this article.
There are a number of prophecies in the Bible which are relevant to this subject and point to the following as the alternative Messianic programme:
- Messiah to bring salvation from sin and death.
- Messiah to be born in Bethlehem.
- Messiah to come before destruction of 2nd Temple.
- Messiah to perform signs and wonders.
- Messiah to be rejected and to suffer.
- Messiah to be raised from the dead.
- Messiah to be a light to the nations.
Let us look at these prophecies.
1. Messiah to bring salvation from sin and death.
The earliest Messianic prophecy in the Bible is found in Genesis 3.14-15:
So the LORD God said to the serpent: “ Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go; and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
This prophecy of redemption was given after the great disaster took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The cause of this disobedience was the Tempter who promised them ‘You shall be like God’ if they ate of this fruit. The Tempter appears as the Serpent in Genesis 3 and is identified with Satan who misled humanity and caused separation from God, sin and death to enter the world.
‘The Seed of the Woman’ here is seen as one who will bruise the head of the Serpent and in the process the Serpent will ‘bruise His heel.’ This means that the promised Seed will inflict a fatal wound on the Serpent / Satan (bruise his head), while receiving a non fatal wound himself. The Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures, Targum Jonathan, relates this prophecy to the Messiah appearing: ‘But they will be healed in the footsteps in the days of King Messiah.’ Rabbi David Kimchi gave support to this scripture as a prophecy of Messiah’s redemption of mankind. He recognized that salvation is by the hand of the Messiah ‘who would wound Satan, the head, the king and prince of the house of the wicked.’
There is evidence in Genesis that Eve understood this prophecy to be about a child who would be born to a woman who would bring deliverance when she said concerning her first son, Cain, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord.’ (Genesis 4.1). The Targum of Palestine elaborates on 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.’ She was to be disappointed in this because Cain turned out to be of the Evil One and killed his brother Abel. However when she then gave birth to Seth, she said, ‘God has appointed another seed to me’ (Genesis 4.25). Midrash Rabba Genesis 23.5 comments on this, ‘She (Eve) hinted at that seed which would arise from another source … the king Messiah.’
From this point onwards the line of the Seed is traced through the Tenach. It goes from the godly line of Seth through to Noah and his son Shem, then on to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through Judah to David and his descendants. Through this ‘Seed of the Woman’ God would bring blessing and redemption to all who receive the salvation he is offering. In Genesis 22.18 we read of God’s promise to Abraham concerning his seed: ‘In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.’
The New Testament teaches that the fulfillment of this promise of the Seed of the woman is Yeshua, Jesus, of the line of David, who came in the fullness of time, to fulfil the prophecy of the Suffering Servant Messiah by dying as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Messiah suffering as an atonement for sin is a concept which is largely deleted from modern Judaism. The main passage which speaks of this is to be found in Isaiah 53 which we have looked at in our article The Suffering Servant.
In Isaiah 53 we read:
‘Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53.5-6
‘For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken.’ Isaiah 53.8
Who is this prophet speaking about? The majority view of modern Judaism, following the line of Rashi is that this passage is about Israel suffering on behalf of the Gentiles. However within Judaism there is a line of interpretation which says that this chapter is a prophecy of Messiah suffering for our sins.
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.’
Rabbi Eliyyah de Vidas wrote in about 1575 that not only is Isaiah 53 about the Messiah, but those who refuse to believe this must suffer for their sins themselves: ‘But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the meaning of which is that since the Messiah bears our iniquities which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer for them himself.’
These Rabbis are not saying that this Messiah is Jesus but they are acknowledging that Isaiah 53 is about Messiah suffering for sin. Generally those who take this line believe that there are two Messiahs, one called Messiah ben Joseph who suffers and dies, and one called Messiah ben David, who rules and reigns.
This comes out in this quotation from Rabbi Alshech. Commenting on Zechariah 12:10, where the prophet says Israel will ‘look upon me whom they have pierced’, he 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.’”
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 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.’ 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.
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.’
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.
The alternative to the two Messiahs view is the one we hold, that there is one Messiah, who comes on two different occasions, firstly as a Suffering Servant to die an atoning death for the sins of the world and to rise again from the dead, and secondly as a Reigning King, to judge the world in righteousness and to rule and reign over a restored earth during the Messianic Kingdom or Millennium. At the present time we are in the period between these two comings of the Messiah who is Yeshua or Jesus.
In the New Testament Yeshua explained to his disciples that He would go to Jerusalem and suffer and die as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, then rise again from the dead. See for example Matthew 16.21 ‘From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.’
Following the resurrection He appeared to the disciples and said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’ Luke 24.44-47
Jesus related His death and resurrection to the Tenach showing how this fulfilled the prophecies of the Suffering Servant Messiah. The result of this is that ‘repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations’. This means that forgiveness of sins is available to all nations to those who repent and believe in the name of Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15.3-8: ‘For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.’
The scriptures which Paul refers to here are the Hebrew Scriptures which point to Messiah dying for our sins and rising from the dead.
2. Messiah to be born in Bethlehem.
The Gospel of Matthew records the visit of the Magi from the east, who came seeking the ‘King of the Jews.’ Arriving in Jerusalem they enquire where such an event should take place. Herod interprets this as a sign of the coming Messiah (which troubles him!) and gathers together the chief priests and scribes to ‘inquire of them where the Messiah was to be born.’ Matthew 2.3-4. The response is ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet, ‘But you Bethlehem in the land of Judah are not the least among the rulers of Judah for out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ Matthew 2.6.
This is a quote from Micah 5.2 (5.1 in the Jewish Bible) which also contains the information that His ‘goings forth’ or origins are ‘from of old from everlasting’. The Hebrew phrase for this is ‘me yemei olam’ which means ‘from ancient times’ or ‘from eternity’. In Psalm 90.2 God’s existence is described as being ‘me olam ve ad olam’ – from eternity to eternity. The prophecy of Micah implies that the one to be born in Bethlehem would have his origins in eternity. This ties in with Jesus’ words ‘Before Abraham was, I am’ (John 8.58) – that He had come from eternity. This means He did not begin His existence at His conception, but in the days of eternity. Since only God exists from eternity it is a sign of His divinity.
Rashi agreed that Micah 5 is about the origin of the Messiah. In his commentary on this verse he wrote: ‘And you Bethlehem Ephrathah whence David emanated … You should have been the lowest of the clans of Judah because of the stigma of Ruth the Moabitess. From you shall emerge for Me the Messiah, son of David … and his origin is of old.’
It is interesting that in John 7 we have a dispute about whether or not Jesus is the Messiah. ‘Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ / Messiah.” But some said, “Will the Messiah come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” So there was a division among the people because of Him.’ This passage is almost ironic because here we see Jesus being rejected as a candidate for being the Messiah because he does not come from Bethlehem, when the Gospels of Matthew and Luke show that He was born in Bethlehem as the prophet Micah foretold.
Today it would seem unlikely for the Jewish Messiah to be born in the Arab town of Bethlehem!
3. Messiah to come before destruction of 2nd Temple.
There are prophecies which indicate that the Messiah would come before the destruction of the Second Temple (which took place approximately 40 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus). We will look at three of them here:
1. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Genesis 49.10.
In the context of this verse Jacob is blessing his sons. The most significant word comes not for Reuben, his oldest son, nor for Joseph or Benjamin, his favourite sons, but for Judah, his fourth son. Judah’s record in the Bible is actually the worst of the 12 brothers. He conspired to kill Joseph and then suggested selling him for 20 pieces of silver. He was not morally upright and had illicit sexual relations with his daughter in law, Tamar, whom he mistook for a prostitute. Yet it was to him that Jacob conferred rulership and through his line that ‘Shiloh’ would come.
Rabbinic writings agree that ‘Shiloh’ is a term for the Messiah. Possible meanings of the word are ‘peace’ or ‘the one sent.’
Rabbi Yohanan taught that all the world was created for the Messiah. What is his name? The School of Sheeloh taught: His name is Shiloh as it is written (Genesis 49.10) ‘Until Shiloh come and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.’ Sanhedrin 98b.
‘Until Shiloh shall come; He is called by the name of Shiloh because all the nations are destined to bring gifts to Israel and to King Messiah, as it is written, ‘In that day shall the present be brought to the Lord of hosts.’ Yalkut 160.
The sceptre in this verse is the Hebrew word ‘shebet’, the tribal staff which belonged to each tribe as an ensign of their authority. Thus the tribal identity of Judah would not pass away, as happened to other tribes, until Shiloh or Messiah comes. It was from the tribe of Judah that the line of kings descended from King David came. Even after the Babylonian captivity, Judah continued to have lawgivers (see Ezra 1.5 – 8).
In the early years of the Roman occupation of Judea, the Jewish people still had a king in their own land. Moreover they were to a large extent governed by their own laws, and the Sanhedrin exercised its authority. But in the span of a few years in around AD 11, Archelaus, the king of the Jews was dethroned and banished. Coponius was appointed Roman Procurator, and the kingdom of Judea, the last remnant of the former nation of Israel, was formally debased into a province of Syria:
‘But in the tenth year of Archelaus’s government, both his brethren, and the principal men of Judea and Samaria, not being able to bear his barbarous and tyrannical usage of them, accused him before Caesar, and that especially because they knew he had broken the commands of Caesar, which obliged him to behave himself with moderation among them. Whereupon Caesar, when he heard it, was very angry, and called for Archelaus’s steward, who took care of his affairs at Rome, and whose name was Archelaus also; and thinking it beneath him to write to Archelaus, he bid him sail away as soon as possible, and bring him to us: so the man made haste in his voyage, and when he came into Judea, he found Archelaus feasting with his friends; so he told him what Caesar had sent him about, and hastened him away. And when he was come [to Rome], Caesar, upon hearing what certain accusers of his had to say, and what reply he could make, both banished him, and appointed Vienna, a city of Gaul, to be the place of his habitation, and took his money away from him. … And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Coponius, one of the equestrian order of the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar!’ Josephus (Antiquities 17:13).
At this time the Sanhedrin lost its power of passing the death sentence (see John 18.31). Rabbi Rachmon said, ‘When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took hold of them; they covered their heads and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming, ‘Woe unto us, for the sceptre has departed from Judah and the Messiah has not come.’’ (Talmud, Bab., Sanhedrim, Chapter 4, fol. 37, recto). This would have been about the time that Jesus appeared in the Temple as a 12 year old boy (Luke 2.41-50). The Messiah had come!
The Jerusalem Talmud also taught that the right to try capital cases was taken away from the Sanhedrin: ‘It is taught: Forty years before the Temple was destroyed, the right to judge capital cases was taken away from Israelite courts’ (Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 31a).
In 70 CE all semblance of Jewish national sovereignty disappeared when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the armies of the Roman General Titus.
If we accept that Jacob was making a prophecy about Messiah when he spoke of ‘Shiloh’ coming, then Yeshua fulfilled this prophecy in a remarkable way. The Messiah came before Judah lost its national identity, just as Jacob foretold.
2. Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Daniel 9.26.
This prophecy was given to Daniel after his prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple at the end of the Babylonian captivity. The Angel Gabriel came to him to tell him what was to befall ‘your people’ and ‘your holy city’ (i.e. the Jewish people, Jerusalem and the Temple). This passage prophesies the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple. What must have been rather shocking to Daniel was the information that the Temple and the City would again be destroyed by ‘the people of the prince to come.’ Sometime before this event the Hebrew text says ‘Messiah will be cut off but not for himself.’ What does this mean?
The term ‘mashiach’ (Messiah) used in Daniel 9.26 can apply to an anointed king or High Priest. On this basis Rashi claimed that the prophecy was referring to King Agrippa, the last Jewish king at the end of the Second Temple period. However it is hard to see how Agrippa who was a carnal wicked king and a descendant of Herod, the Edomite, could be seen as an ‘anointed one.’ Moreover his death was of no significance for the redemption of the Jewish people, for Jerusalem or for the Temple, who were the subject of the prophecy being given to Daniel by Gabriel.
Was there another who came before the destruction of the Temple who could lay claim to the title of Messiah and who would be ‘cut off’ – die an atoning death – ‘but not for himself’ – not for his own sins but for the sins of others? Obviously those who believe in Jesus have no problem answering this question in the affirmative! We could add to this the scriptures (Psalm 22, Zechariah 12.10) which imply that the Messiah would be ‘pierced’ – die by the Roman means of crucifixion. This means the event must have happened before the destruction of the Temple when the Romans were in power in Judea. On the issue of Psalm 22 and whether the translation of verse 16 as “they pierced my hands and feet” is correct, please go to our article http://messiahfactor.com/page65.html
Since the goal of Daniel’s prophecy is ‘to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity’ (verse 24), it is clear that neither Agrippa nor the High Priest can be considered as candidates for its fulfilment. If Jesus is not the Messiah, then Daniel’s prophecy is a false one.
3. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2.7 -9.
The context of Haggai’s prophecy is the rebuilding of the Temple after the return of the Jewish people from Babylon. He says that the glory of the latter house (the Second Temple) will be greater than the glory of the former house (Solomon’s Temple).
This raises the question, ‘In what sense did a greater glory come into the Second Temple than that which came into the First Temple?’ 1 Kings 8 records that as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Holy of Holies in the First Temple ‘the cloud filled the house of the Lord.’ The cloud was the Shekhinah, ‘the glory of the Lord,’ the sign of God’s presence. Solomon responded: ‘The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud.’ The word for ‘dwell’ in Hebrew is ‘shakhen’ from which the noun ‘Shekhinah’ is derived meaning the dwelling presence of God.
The books of the Bible written after the return of the Jews from Babylon do not have any reference to the glory cloud coming into the Second Temple. The Talmud acknowledges this saying that 5 signs of the glory of God were absent from the Second Temple, namely the Ark of the Covenant, the divine fire, the Holy Spirit, the Shekhinah and the Urim and Thummim.
The Gospel of Luke records the witness of Simeon: ‘It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah (Christ)’. Luke 2.26. When Joseph and Miriam brought the baby Jesus into the Temple ‘to do for him according to the custom of the Law’ Simeon took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: ‘ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.’
Jesus described himself as ‘one greater than the Temple’ (Matthew 12.6) and when He came into the Temple the glory of God was coming into it in a greater way than ever came into Solomon’s Temple. He came into the Temple and healed the sick (Matthew 21.14, John 9) and taught the people (John 8-10). He made the way for sinners to find peace with God through repentance and faith in the sacrifice He made for our sins. At the time of His death on the cross the veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom by God, symbolising that the way is now open for anyone to come into the presence of God through His once and for all sacrifice for the sin of the world. All this happened before the desolation of the Second Temple which Jesus also prophesied in Matthew 23.39 and Luke 19.41-44.
If Jesus is the Messiah then there is a fulfilment of these prophecies. If not there was no fulfilment nor can there be any future one.
4. Messiah to perform signs and wonders.
For information on this subject go to our article: Did Jesus perform signs and wonders?
5. Be rejected by his own people and suffer before his exaltation.
For information on this subject go to our article: The Suffering Servant – who is this prophet talking about?
6. Rise from the dead.
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7. Be a light to the nations.
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