The following study will be a comparison between the concept of Messiah as outlined in the Hebrew Scriptures and that of the Christian New Testament documents. The purpose of this
exposition will be to expound upon the Jewish teaching on Messiah in contrast with that of Christianity. The Hebrew Bible gives a clear outline as to who, what, where and how the Messiah
will appear. For this reason, we begin with an examination of the Hebrew Scriptures in order to see if whether the Tanakh supports the fact that the Messiah of God is both divine and human,
one Person having two natures. We will also examine the Hebrew Bible for the evidence that the Messiah would not only reign as king, but also die a substitutionary death on behalf of
sinners, making atonement for sin. As this is being done, we will see if Jesus fits the outline of Messiah presented to us in the Hebrew Bible.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."
This verse points out the inescapable fact that the Messiah is God Almighty appearing in human form. That this passage was considered Messianic is evident from the fact that verse7 says
that the Child would sit on the throne of David forever, a description which only fits the Messiah.
In the Targum of Isaiah we read: "His name has been called from old, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (Messiah), in whose days peace
shall increase upon us."
Pereq Shalom: R. Yose the Galilean said: "The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, "Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Midrash Mishle, S. Buber edition: The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinnon, Tzemah, Pele ["Miracle"], Yo'etz ["Counselor"], Mashiah ["Messiah"], El ["God"], Gibbor
["Hero"], and Avi 'Ad Shalom ["Eternal Father of Peace"]
Whoever this Child is one thing remains certain - This Child must shine forth from Galilee according to Isaiah 9:1:
'Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali but in the future He will honor Galilee
of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea along the Jordan...'
NOTE: In an attempt to avoid the impact of this passage's significance to the divinity of the Messiah, certain Jewish Publications have translated it in a way as to suggest that
the divine titles are not messianic in nature. Rather, they are descriptions of God:
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us, and the dominion will rest on his shoulder; the Wondrous Adviser, Mighty God, eternal Father, called his name Sar-shalom
[Prince of peace]. (This appears as Isaiah 9:5 in the Stone Edition Tanakh, Arts Scroll Series, published by Mesorah Publications Ltd.; Brooklyn, NY, 1998)
The great rabbi Ibn Ezra responds: There are some interpreters who say that 'wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father' are the names of God, and that only 'prince of peace' is
the name of the child. But according to my view, the right interpretation is that they are all the names of the child. (Walter Riggans, Yeshua Ben David [Wowborough, East Sussex;
MARC, 1995], p. 370)
Jeremiah 23:5-6 'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'When I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a king who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His
days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called; The Lord our Righteousness (YHVH Tseidkeynu).'
The Targums concluded that this passage was speaking of Messiah.
For instance, the great Rabbi David Kimchi wrote in reference to this verse, 'By the righteous Branch is meant Messiah.' The compilers of the Targum agreed with Kimchi since
they introduced Messiah by name in this passage. (David Baron, Rays of Messiah's Glory: Christ in the Old Testament [Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 1886], p. 78)
Hebrew scholar Alfred Edersheim quotes other Rabbinic writings in reference to this passage:
On Jer. xxiii, 5, 6 the Targum has it: 'And I will raise up for David the Messiah the just.' This is one of the passages from which, according to Rabbinic views, one of the names of
the Messiah is derived, viz.: Jehovah our Righteousness. So in the Talmud (Babha Bathra 75b), in the Midrash on Ps. xxii.1, Prov.xix.21, and in that on Lamentations I 16.
(Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah [Grand Rapids, MI; Eerdmans, 1972], pt. 2, p. 731).
Hence, we find the Hebrew Scriptures testifying to the fact that Messiah would be the Lord Himself. (Hebrew YHVH / Adonai)
Psalm 2:7-8 "I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, 'You are My Son; Today I have begotten thee. Ask of me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the
earth your possession.' "
The above passage tells us that the Messiah would be the Son of God.
This fact is also related in the Talmud, Sukkah 52a, Soncino translation:
"Our Rabbis taught, the Holy One blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the Son of David (may He reveal Himself speedily in our days), 'Ask of Me and I will give to Thee,'
as it is said [Psalm 2:7-8]: 'I will tell of the decree; the Lord hath said unto Me, "Thou art My Son; This day I have begotten Thee, ask of Me and I will give the nations for thy
inheritance." ' "
The Midrash reaffirms the view that Messiah is God's Son when commenting on another messianic Psalm:
Rabbi Nathan said that God spoke to Israel saying, 'As I made Jacob firstborn, for it is written Israel is My son, even My firstborn" (Exodus 4:22), So also will I make Messiah
My firstborn as it is written, " I will make Him My firstborn.' (Commentary on Psalm 89:27 taken from Midrash Rabbah Shebot )
Micah 5:1 "But thou Bethlehem Ephratha, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall One come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings
forth are from old, from Ancient of Days."
This verse emphatically states that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem while also having been existing from eternity.
The Targum Jonathan (second century A. D.) :
And You 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.
Zechariah 3:8-9 NIV 'Listen, O high priest Joshua (Heb.- Yeshua) and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the
Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of
this land in a single day.'"
Zechariah 6:9-13 NIV "The word of the LORD came to me: 'Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah
son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says:
"Here is the man whose name is the Branch and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be
clothed with majesty and will sit on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two." '"
Joshua is portrayed as a type of the Messiah who was to come. Hence, just as Joshua is pictured as being both a priest and king, the Messiah would also be a priest who reigns on God's
throne as king. In fact, the name "Joshua" is the same Hebrew name for "Jesus", Yeshua!
The fact that these passages are clearly messianic in nature can be seen in the title given to the one to come, i.e. the Branch.
The rabbis universally have held that this title refers to the Messiah-King.
Another passage indicating that the Messiah would be both priest and king is Psalm 110:1, 4:
"The LORD said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'… The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever, in
the order of Melchizedek.' " NIV
In fact, David's sons were also called priests:
"David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehosphat son of Ahilud was recorder; Zadok son of Ahitud and
Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; Beniaha son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David's sons were priests (cohanim)." 2 Samuel
Since the Messiah is David's son, this would indicate that he too would be a priest much like his ancestors that preceded him.
While the Hebrew Scripture portrays the Messiah as a glorious King as well as both a human and divine figure, the Bible also indicates that He will suffer and be put to death only to rise
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 "See my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was disfigured
beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness - so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will
see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to
attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men
hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and
afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We
all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his
mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak
of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich
in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a
guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be
satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the
spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Amazingly, this passage declares the fact that the suffering servant is being crushed for the sins of Isaiah's people, eventually being put to death. Yet, vv. 10-11 emphatically state that
this servant would once more see "the light of life" and reign in order to justify "his offspring and prolong his days," and that "the will of the LORD" will "prosper in his hand". This
seems to imply a bodily resurrection. The only way for the servant to be "assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death" and then "see the light of life" is if He were to
be miraculously raised from the dead!
NOTE: That this too was considered a messianic prophecy becomes obvious when one reads the rabbinic commentaries. However, in order to avoid the obvious Christian implications,
rabbis such as Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Izaak, circa 1040-1105 A. D.) referred this passage to the sufferings of the nation of Israel, despite the fact that rabbis such as the great Maimonides
thought it was wrong to apply this to Israel. They rather maintained the belief that this passage of Scripture was about Messiah. The reason for Rashi's attempt to make Israel the central
focus of this passage was due to his seemingly anti-Christian bias, a fact to which he freely admitted:
"Since Christians interpret Isaiah 53 as being a prophecy concerning Jesus, we maintain that this is a prophecy concerning the people of Israel." (Steve Schwarz, "Dear Rabbi," p.15)
Rabbi R. Elyyah de Vidas sights, "The meaning of 'he was wounded for our transgressions, ... bruised for our iniquities' is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities,
which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whoever will not admit that the Messiah suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer for themselves."
Ninth century poet, Eliazer Hakalir, paraphrases Isaiah 53 in a prayer that comprises a part of some Jewish sects' traditional liturgical prayers recited on Yom Kippur (the Jewish
Day of Atonement). The prayer begins: "We are shrunk up in our misery even until now! Our Rock hath not come nigh to us; Messiah our righteousness, hath turned from us; we are in
terror, and there is none to justify us! Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions He will bear, for He was wounded for our transgressions; He will carry our sins
upon His shoulder, that we may find forgiveness for our iniquities; and by his strips we are healed ..." (Baron, Rays of Messiah's Glory, pp. 225-230)
Midrash Tanhuma and Yalkut, vol. 2, par. 338 on Isaiah 52:13 states that the expressions "exalted, and extolled and be very high" indicates that, "Messiah shall be more exalted than
Abraham... more extolled than Moses... and be very high; that is higher than the ministering angels..."
This again demonstrates that Isaiah 52:13-53:12 was viewed by rabbis as a messianic prophecy.
Also: "… the weight of Jewish authority preponderates in favor of the Messianic interpretation of this chapter… that until recent times this prophecy has been almost universally
received by Jews as referring to Messiah is evident from Targum Jonathan who introduces Messiah by name in chp. LII.13; from the Talmud (Sanhedrin vol. 98b); and from the Zohar...
In fact, until Rabbi Rashi [Rabbi Solomon Izaak (1040-1105)], considered the originator of the modern school of Jewish interpretation], who applied it to the Jewish nation, the
Messianic interpretation of this chapter was almost universally adopted by Jews..." (Baron, Rays of Messiahs Glory, pp. 225-229)
Interestingly, Isaiah 53 is almost never read in the synagogues, as it is consistently neglected during the Haftorah readings. This is amazing in light of the fact that the chapters
preceding and following Isaiah 53 are recited during these special readings. The following list illustrates this point:
Haftorah for Ekeb - Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Haftorah for Shofetim - Isaiah 51:12-52:12
Haftorah for Noah - Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Haftorah for Sephardi ritual - Isaiah 54:1-10
Haftorah for Hi Tetze - Isaiah 54:1-10
Haftorah for Re'eh - Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Herbert Lowe, a Cambridge University Rabbinics Professor notes: "Quotations from the famous 53rd chapter of Isaiah are rare in the Rabbinic literature. Because of the Christological
interpretation given to the chapter by Christians, it is omitted from the series of prophetical lessons (HAFTORAH) for the Deuteronomy Sabbaths. The omission is deliberate and
striking." (Schwarz, "Dear Rabbi," p.16)
It should also be pointed out that the Haftorah readings are the same throughout synagogues and temples all over the world.
NOTE - There is evidence that the servant of Isaiah 53 was believed to be referring to national Israel by the Jews even before Rashi. The Church Father Origen writes:
"I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these prophecies. At this the Jews said that these prophecies referred to the whole people as though
of a single individual, since they were scattered in the dispersion and smitten, that as a result of the scattering of the Jews among other nations many might become
proselytes." [Origen, Contra Celsum, I., p. 55 A.D. 248]
Hence, Rashi was seemingly not the first rabbi that tried to apply Isaiah 53 to national Israel.
Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Israel a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look to Me, the One they have pierced, and
mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn Son."
An astonishing prophecy indeed! God claims that they will personally pierce Him. Yet, at the same time God refers to the pierced One as someone that is personally distinct from Him for
whom the nations mourn and weep as for a firstborn Son.
This prophecy is confirmed by the Rabbis to be referring to the other "Messiah" which the Talmud calls Messiah Ben Joseph, the suffering Messiah. (T.V. Moore, Zechariah,
Haggai and Malachi [Carlisle, PA; Banner of Truth Trust, 1974], p.199)
Edersheim states that this prophecy "is applied to the Messiah the son of Joseph in the Talmud (Sukk.52a) and so is verse 12…" (Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the
Messiah, [one volume edition], p.737)
T.V. Moore substantiates Edersheim's statement by declaring: "… the later interpreters explaining it of Messiah Ben Joseph, or the suffering Messiah, whom they invented to meet the
passages of Scripture that speak so clearly of this characteristic (i.e.,… the sufferings) of the promised redeemer. But as they believed that this Messiah son of Joseph was a mere
man, the difficulty met them that Jehovah declared 'they shall look on ME whom they have pierced', so that if it refers to the Messiah he cannot be a mere man, but must be
divine." (Ibid., pp.199-200)
Rabbi Moshe Alshekh also confirms the messianic overtones of this prophecy:
"I will do yet a thing, and that is, that 'they shall look unto me 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 shall then be slain in the war to make
atonement in such 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.'" (Schwarz, "Dear Rabbi," p.10)
The only person who ever claimed to be both God and the Son of God, as well as being the only self-professed Messiah that was pierced, was Jesus Christ. (cf. John 10:30; Mark 14:61b-62;
He is the only self-professed Messiah to be born in Bethlehem and to come forth from Galilee. (cf. Matthew 2:1,22; Luke 2:4-7; Mark 1:9) The life of Jesus the Messiah is the only one
that bears an amazing correlation to the Hebrew passages being studied. An examination of Psalm 22 and the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament
solidifies this point:
Old Testament Prophecy - Psalm 22
New Testament Comparison
v. 1: "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27:46: "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi lama sabacthani?,' which means, 'My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?' "
6-8: "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by people. All who see me mock me. They hurl insults shaking their heads; 'He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord
rescue Him. Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.'"
Matthew 27:41-44: "In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the Elders mocked Him. 'He saved others.' they said, 'But He can't save Himself! He's the King of
Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God, let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said "I am the Son of God." ' In the same
way the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him."
14-15: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my
tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death."
(NOTE - This is a precise description of the crucifixion process where the hanging weight of a person's body would eventually cause his bones to come out of joint, and would
make him as one lying in the "dust of death")
John 19:34: "Instead one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."
(NOTE - Medically the flow of blood and water would mean that the heart of the person had literally burst , i.e. had "turned to wax" and "melted away", in complete
fulfillment of this verse of the Psalm!)
John 19:28: "Later, knowing that all was completed, and so that the scripture may be fulfilled, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.' "
16: "Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men have encircled me; they have pierced (kaaru) my hands and feet."
(NOTE - This prediction was made when crucifixion did not even exist at the time!)
17-18: "I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They have divided my garments and cast lots for my clothing."
John 19:23-24: "When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was
seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 'Let's not tear it,' they said to one another, 'let's decide by lot who will get it.' "
Even more amazing still is the fact that the Psalmist indicates that after suffering all this pain and torture which eventually causes the sufferer to lie in "the dust of death", the
sufferer will then be able to proclaim the name of God in the sacred assembly:
"I declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise You" (v. 22)
The only way for the sufferer to die and yet give glory to God in front of his brethren is if he were to be resurrected! Jesus Christ is the only man in history to have been raised from
the dead to immortal glory. In fact, upon rising from the dead Jesus proceeded to declare God's name to His unbelieving brethren who became the Apostles that helped evangelize the world!
Therefore, He is the only one who has fulfilled this prophecy.
The Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 36: 1-2: affirms that Psalm 22 was viewed as a messianic prophecy:
"(At the time of the Messiah's creation) the Holy One, blessed be He, will tell Him (Messiah) in detail what will befall Him: There are souls that have been put under My throne, and
it is their sins which will bend Thee under a yoke of iron and make thee like a calf whose eyes grow dim with suffering... During the seven year period preceding the coming of the
Son of David, iron beams will be brought and loaded upon His neck until Messiah's body is bent low... It was the ordeal of the Son of David that David wept, saying, 'My strength
is dried up like a potsherd.'"
In refutation of certain Jewish claims that Psalm 22:16 should more correctly read as lions (kaari), instead of pierced (kaaru), we find this passage in the Yalkut Shimoni (687):
"'Many dogs have encompassed me'- this refers to Haman's sons. 'The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me'- this refers to Ahasuerus and his crowd. 'Kaari my hands and feet'-
Rabbi Nehemiah says, 'They have PIERCED my hands and feet in the presence of Ahasuerus.'"
(NOTE- It should be stated that the early Greek Septuagint [compiled nearly three centuries before the birth of Christ], Syriac and Latin versions of the Hebrew Scriptures
all read "pierced.")
Alfred Edersheim observed a remarkable comment in Yalkut on Isaiah 60 which applies this passage in Psalm 22 to the Messiah, and uses almost the same words as the Gospel
writers in describing the mocking behavior of the surrounding crowds. (Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p. 718)
This is a clear indication that certain rabbis viewed Psalm 22 as a messianic prophecy.
This apparent paradox has puzzled the Jews from the very beginning, since they could not understand how a triumphant King-Messiah could suffer and die. As noted earlier, this paradox led
to the belief that there would be two distinct Messiahs to fulfill two distinct roles; the Suffering-Messiah Ben Joseph, and King-Messiah Ben David. Yet the truth is that there is only
Messiah, Yeshua ha-Mashiach whose mission has been to fulfill both these roles. The first mission was to fulfill the role of the Suffering Servant, while his role as reigning King is to
be fulfilled at his Second Coming. (Cf. Matthew 24:27-35).
Through the prophet Daniel we receive a timeline of when Messiah would appear:
(Daniel 9:24-26) "Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and the Holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting
righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy. Know and understand this; from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the
Anointed One (Messiah), the Ruler comes, there will be Seven sevens and Sixty-two sevens. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.
The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. "
Daniel is given the allotted time for a) the decree of the rebuilding of both the city and the temple, b) the time it would take for the Messiah to appear after this decree, as well as c)
the destruction of the temple and the termination of the Messiah's life. Several dates have been given as a starting point for the period of time stated in the book of Daniel (7 * 7 = 49 +
62 * 7 = 434 - total = 483).
One such date is King Cyrus's decree to rebuild the temple in 539 B. C. Yet, none of these dates are correct since the dates that are commonly given refer to the rebuilding of the temple,
not the city. The prophecy clearly states that the time frame would begin only when the decree goes forth for the rebuilding of the city and its walls. The only decree that fits the context
of the prophecy is that of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 B. C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8), since this decree included the restoration of the city and the city gates as well as its walls.
The following quotation from the book "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell, helps illustrate Daniel's amazing timeline:
The Hebrew and Babylonian calendar at that time used a 360 day year. The use of this 'prophetic year' in these prophecies is confirmed by comparing the 1,260 days (Rev 11:3, 12:6)
with the 42 month (Rev 11:2, 13:5) and with the 'time, times, and half a time' or three and a half years of Dan 7:25, 12:7, Rev 12:14).
"If Daniel is correct, the time from the edict to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Nisan 1, 444B.C.) to the coming of the Messiah to Jerusalem is 483 years (69 * 7), each year equaling the
Jewish prophetic year of 360 days (173,880). The terminal event of the 69 weeks is the presentation of Christ Himself to Israel as the Messiah as predicted in Zechariah 9:9. H. Hoehner,
who has thoroughly researched this prophecy in Daniel and the corresponding dates, calculates the date of this event:
'Multiplying the sixty-nine weeks by seven years for each week by 360 days gives a total of 173,880 days. The difference between 444B.C. and A.D.33 then is 476 solar years. By multiplying
476 by 365.24219879 or by 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45,975 seconds (there are 365 ¼ days in a year), one comes to 173,885 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes, 44 seconds, or 173,885 days. This
leaves only 25 days to be accounted for between 444B.C. and A.D.33. By adding the 25 days to March 5 (of 444B.C.), one comes to March 30 (of A.D.33) which was Nisan 10 in A.D.33. This
is the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.'" (McDowell, p. 173)
This prophecy once again predicts Messiah's brutal death:
"After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off (yikaret) and have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary (temple)." (cf.
The Hebrew term, yikaret, implies a sudden, violent death. This is a precise description of Jesus' brutal death on the cross. Another astonishing aspect deals with the fact that the
Temple was destroyed some forty years after Christ's crucifixion; clearly fulfilling Daniel's prediction of the "sanctuary" being demolished right after the death of the Messiah! Hence,
Jesus must be the Messiah since the prophecy clearly states that the Messiah must appear before the destruction of the second Temple. The only person who fits the bill is Jesus
Christ, since He is the only one who claimed that his death was essential in providing the atonement that was both necessary to usher in God's everlasting righteousness and to eradicate
Furthermore, any denial of Jesus' Messiahship is essentially a denial of Daniel's authenticity as a prophetic book since the condition of the prophecy rests upon the arrival of the
Messiah before the Temple's destruction. Yet, if Jesus is not Messiah then Daniel is proven to be a false prophet since the Temple has been destroyed and the Messiah has not come. Hence,
once the weight of historical occurrences and mathematical calculations is thrown behind the prophecies of the Bible, it becomes increasingly impossible to deny the fact that Jesus is the
Additional confirmation of the messianic overtones of Daniel 9:25-27 comes from the Talmud itself:
"In Daniel is delivered to us the end ['the time of His appearance and death' - Rabbi Jarchi] of the Messiah." The Talmud also records that about the time of the Roman
general Titus' destruction of the Temple (70 A. D.), the Messiah was believed to have already come, yet His identity was concealed from the Jews until they were rendered more
worthy of His appearance!" (Frank Delitzch and Paton Gloag, The Messiahship of Christ / The Messianic Prophecies of Christ [Minneapolis, MN; Klock & Klock, 1983 rpt.], pt.
2, p. 226)
Rabbi Moses Abraham Levi stated: "I have examined the Holy Scriptures, and have not found the time for the coming of the Messiah, clearly fixed, except in the words of Gabriel to
the prophet Daniel, which are written in the ninth chapter of the prophecy of Daniel."
Rabbi Azariah states in the words of Daniel: "To seal the vision and prophecy, and to bring in Messiah our righteousness."
Rabbi Nachmonides claims: "This Holy of Holies is the Messiah who is sanctified more than the sons of David."
Finally, in the words of Jonathan ben Uzziel: "That the 'vision and prophecy' may be fulfilled even unto Messiah, the Holy of the Holies."
This again strengthens the case for the Messiahship of Jesus since He is the only person that both claimed to be the suffering Messiah that was to die and who appeared before the
year 70 AD.
In fact Rabbi Nehumias, who lived 50 years before Christ, is cited as saying that the time given by Daniel for the Messiah's appearance could not go beyond fifty years!
LOOK: Another amazing fact is that the Talmud admits that forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, God refused to accept the high priestly sacrifices:
"Our Rabbis taught that throughout the forty years that Shim'on the Tzaddik served ... the scarlet cloth would become white. From then on it would sometimes become white and
sometimes not ... Throughout the last forty years, before the Temple was destroyed ... the scarlet cloth never turned white." (Yoma 39a-39b)
Is it then a mere coincidence that approximately forty years prior to the Temple's destruction, Yeshua the Messiah offered himself as the final and perfect sacrifice, making void all other
sacrifices offered up by the cohen ha-gadol (the high priest)? The Talmud alludes to the reason why God allowed the Temple to be destroyed:
"Why was the Second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they occupied themselves with studying Torah, obeying mitzvot and practicing charity? Because in it prevailed hatred
without a cause." (Yoma 9b)
This echoes Jesus' very own words as recorded in the Gospel of John:
"But now they (the Jewish ruling council) have seen these miracles and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me
without reason.'" John 15:24b-25
Thus, the evidence from the rabbinic commentaries points to the same inescapable conclusion. Namely, that Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Jewish Messiah. To make the case for the
Messiahship of Jesus that much stronger, we provide the additional prophecies and their fulfillment in the life of Jesus.
Genesis 49:10: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a Law-giver from between His feet until Shiloh come."
Targum Onkelos states: "He who excerciseth dominion shall not pass away from the house of Jehuda, nor the saphra from his children's children until the Messiah come."
Additionally, the Targum Jerusalem declares that, "Kings shall not cease from the house of Jehuda… until the time that the King Meshiha shall come… How beauteous is the King
Meshiha who is to arise from the house of Jehuda."
Finally, the Targum Palestine indicates: "Kings shall not cease, nor rulers from the house of Judah ... nor sapherim teaching the Law from his seed, till the time that the King
the Messiah shall come, who will arise from Jehuda."
In fact one of the names of Messiah is Shiloh, a name derived from this very passage: R. Johannan asked what was the name of the Messiah; they of the school of R. Schilo answered,
"His name is Shiloh, according to that which is written, 'until Shiloh come.'" (Sanhedrin 98b)
Thus, according to this passage, two things would take place following the appearance of the Messiah:
1. Removal of the scepter or identity of Judah.
2. Suppression of the judicial power.
NOTE: Although Israel suffered 70 years of captivity under Babylonian rule, it never ceased from having its "tribal staff," since they still had their own lawgivers and judges.
(cf. Ezra 1:5, 8) The removal of Judah's scepter came during the reign of Herod the Great who, having no Jewish blood, succeeded the last reigning Jewish leaders in Jerusalem; the
Maccabean princes of Judah. Secondly, the legal right of pronouncing death upon criminals was stripped away from the Jews in 7 AD., approximately 23 years before Christ's crucifixion.
This nullified their judicial authority to execute lawbreakers.
The Talmud itself admits this: "… a little more than forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentence was taken away from the
Jews." (Sanhedrin, Fol. 24, recto.)
The fact of the matter was that the Messiah had already arrived and was a young 12 year old Jewish boy living in Nazareth whose name was Jesus! (For further reading see Evidence That
Demands a Verdict, vol. 1, pp.168-170)
Jewish Scriptures & Thought
New Testament Comparison
Other quotations taken from the Jewish Scriptures include the promise of Isaiah 42:1-9 that God's Spirit would dwell on the Messiah. One Targum state "Behold my Servant Messiah, I
will draw Him near, My chosen One, in whom my Memra (Aramaic- "word") is well pleased."
The identification of God's Word with the Messiah is similar to what the Apostle John states in his prologue:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." John 1:1, 14
Another tradition states that the world was created for Messiah:
"Rabbi Yohanan taught that all the world was created for Messiah. What is His name? The school of Sheeloh taught; His name is Shiloh as it is written (Gen. 49:10)." Sanhedrin
This also agrees with what the New Testament states:
"For by Him (Jesus) all things were created: Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were
created by Him (Jesus) and for Him (Jesus)." Colossians 1:16-17 (cf. John 1:1-4; Hebrews 1:2)
The Yalkut states:
" 'And God saw the light and it was good.' This is the Light of the Messiah... to teach you that God saw the generation of Messiah and His works before He created the
universe, and He hid the Messiah... under His throne of Glory. Satan asked God, Master of the Universe: 'For whom is this light under your throne of Glory?' God answered him, 'It is
for... [the Messiah] who is to turn you backward and who will put you to scorn with shamefacedness." (Sanhedrin 99a; Berachot 34b; Shabbat 63a)
Compare this with Jesus' statements:
"While I (Jesus) am in the world, I am the Light of the world." John 9:5 (cf. John 1:4-5)
Finally, the Rabbis confirm that the prophets wrote only in regards to the future advent of the long-awaited Messiah:
"Rabbi Chiyya ben-Abba said in Rabbi Yochanan's name: 'All the prophets prophesied [the good things] only for the days of the Messiah…'" (Sanhedrin 99a; B'rakhot 34b)
In the words of Jesus Christ himself:
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have
life." John 5:39-40
From the preceding examples and prophecies one thing remains certain. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. As the High Priest himself found out when questioning Jesus at His
"Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?"
To which Jesus replied:
"I AM, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming with the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:61b-62
He's coming back! Are you prepared to meet Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ha Adonai, Ben Elohim? We pray that you are.
Isaiah 53: Of Whom Does The Prophet Speak?
We present additional Jewish references that uphold the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53.
According to an ancient Jewish tale, God asked Messiah if he wanted to take upon himself the suffering for Israel's sins. The Messiah replied,
"With gladness in my soul and with joy in my heart I accept it, so that not a single one of Israel should perish; and not only those who will be alive should be saved in my days,
but even the dead who have died from the days of Adam the First man until now." (Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts, citing Pesikta Rabbati, pp. 161a-b)
Sanhedrin 98b:The rabbis say: "The Leprous of the House of study is his name, as it is said, verily he has borne our diseases and our pains - he carried them and we thought him
stricken, smitten of God and afflicted."
According to another legend, Elijah will take the head of the dead Messiah Ben David, placing it on his lap and say: "Endure the suffering and the sentence of your Master who
makes you suffer because of the sin of Israel."
The story then concludes with a quotation from Isaiah 53:5: "… he was wounded for our transgressions." (Patai, The Messiah Texts, p.115)
Midrash Rabbah on Ruth 2:14: He is speaking of the King Messiah: "Come hither" draw near to the throne and "dip thy morsel in the vinegar," this relates to the chastisements as it
is said, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities."
Midrash Tanhuma, Parasha Toldot, (end of section), states: "Who art thou, O great mountain?" (Zech. 4:7) This refers to King Messiah. And why does he call him the "great mountain?"
Because he is greater than the patriarchs, as it is said, "My servant shall be high, and lifted up, and lofty exceedingly." He will be higher than Abraham who said, "I raise
high my hand unto the Lord" (Gen. 14:22), lifted up above Moses, to whom it is said, "Lift it up into thy bosom" (Num. 11:12), loftier than the ministering angels, of whom it is
written, "Their wheels were lofty and terrible" (Ezek. 1:18). And out of whom does he come forth? Out of David.
Jewish educator Herz Homberg (1749-1841) states: According to Ibn Ezra, it relates to Israel at the end of their captivity. But if so, what can be the meaning of the passage, "He
was wounded for our transgressions?" Who was wounded? Who are the transgressors? Who carried out the sickness and borne the pain? The fact is that it refers to the King
Nachmanides (R. Moshe ben Nachman) (13th c.) notes: "The right view respecting this Parasha is to suppose that by the phrase 'my servant' the whole of Israel is meant... As a
different opinion, however, is adopted by the Midrash which refers to the Messiah, it is necessary for us to explain it in conformity with the view there maintained. The
prophet says, The Messiah, the son of David of whom the text speaks, will never be conquered or perish by the hands of his enemies. And, in fact the text teaches this clearly... And
by his stripes we are healed - because the stripes by which he is vexed and distressed will heal us; God will pardon us for his righteousness, and we shall be healed both from
our own transgressions and from the iniquities of our fathers." (S. R. Driver and A. Neubauer, ed., The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters [2
volumes, NY; Klav, 1969], p. 78 f.)
The Karaite Yefeth ben Ali (10th c.) states: As to myself, I am inclined, with Benjamin of Newahend to regard it as alluding to the Messiah, and as opening with a description of his
condition in exile, from the time of his birth to his ascension to the throne: For the prophet begins by speaking of his being seated in a position of great honour, and then goes
back to relate all that will happen to him during the captivity. He thus gives us to understand two things: In the first instance, that the Messiah will only reach his highest
degree of honour after long and severe trials; and secondly, that these trials will be sent upon him as a kind of sign, so that, if he finds himself under the yoke of
misfortunes whilst remaining pure in his actions, he may know that he is the desired one... (Ibid., pp.19-20)
Again from Ali: By the words "surely he hath carried our sicknesses," they mean that the pain and sickness which he fell into were merited by them, but that he bore them instead...
And here I think it necessary to pause for a few moments, in order to explain why God caused these sicknesses to attach themselves to the Messiah for the sake of Israel... The
nation deserved from God greater punishment than that which actually came upon them, but not being strong enough to bear it...God appoints his servant to carry their sins, and by
doing so lighten their punishment in order that Israel might not be completely exterminated. (Ibid., p. 23, f.)
And, "And the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all." The prophet does not say avon meaning iniquity, but punishment from iniquity, as in the passage, "Be sure your sin
will find you out." (Num. Xxxii. 23) (Ibid., p. 26)
Maimonides himself affirmed the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53. (Ibid., vol.1, p. 322)
Finally, the idea that God would place the sins of Israel upon an innocent man is alluded to in this Midrash: Moses spake before the Holy One, blessed be he, 'Will not a time come
upon when Israel will have neither Tabernacle nor Temple? What will happen to them (as regards atonement)?' He replied, 'I will take a righteous man from amongst them and
make him a pledge on their account, and I will atone for their iniquities.' (Midrash on Exodus 35:4)
Hence, there can be not one single doubt remaining as to whom Isaiah speaks of: namely, the Messiah whose name is Jesus. Another attempt to avoid the messianic overtones of these biblical
passages is the argument that the passages in question speak of these events as having already been transpired. These prophecies are in the past, and therefore cannot be referring to the
future advent of the Messiah. The problem with this argument is that biblical Hebrew does not have a past tense since it is not a "tense" language. Hebrew scholars have come to recognize
that biblical Hebrew is an "aspectual" language. This implies that the same form of the verb can be translated as past, present, or future depending on the context and various grammatical
Hence, it is simply wrong to argue that because these prophecies are spoken of as having already transpired that it does not refer to the Messiah. In fact, there are many examples in the
Hebrew Bible where the "past tense" form (called "the perfective" or "perfect") is used for future time. In support of this, we quote the following Rabbis and Grammarians:
David Kimchi on the prophets' use of the perfect tense for future events: "The matter is as clear as though it had already transpired." (Kimchi, Sefer Mikhlol as cited in Bruce K.
Waltke and Michael Patrick O'Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax [Winona Lake, IN; Eisenbrauns, 1990], p.64, n. 45)
Rabbi Isaac Ben Yedaiah (13th c.): [The rabbis] of blessed memory followed, in these words of theirs, in the paths of the prophets who speak of something which will happen in the
future in the language of the past. Since they saw in prophetic vision that which was to occur in the future, they spoke about it in the past tense and testified firmly that it
had happened, to teach the certainty of his [God's] words- may he be blessed- and his positive promise that can never change and his beneficent message that will not be altered.
(Marc Saperstein, "The Works of Rabbi Isaac b. Yedaiah." Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1977, pp. 481-82 as cited by Robert Chazan in Daggers of Faith [Berkeley; UC Press,
1989], p. 87)
Contemporary Jewish commentator Nahum Sarna on Exodus 12:17: "This is an example of the 'prophetic perfect.' The future is described as having already occurred because God's
will inherently and ineluctably possesses the power of realization so that time factor is inconsequential." (Exodus: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation
[Philadelphia; Jewish Publication Society, 1991], p. 59)
Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (sec. 106n, pp. 312-3113): More particularly the uses of the perfect may be distinguished as follows:-... To express facts which are undoubtedly imminent,
and therefore in the imagination of the speaker, already accomplished (perfectum confidentiae), e.g., Nu 17:27, behold we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. Gn 30:13, Is. 6:5
(I am undone), Pr 4:2... This use of the perfect occurs most frequently in prophetic language (perfectum propheticum). The prophet so transports himself in imagination into the
future that he describes the future event as if it had been already seen or heard by him, e.g. Is 5:13 therefore my people have gone into captivity; 9:1ff., 10:28, 11:9...;
19:7, Jb 5:20, 2 Ch. 20:37. Not infrequently the imperfect interchanges with such perfects either in the parallel member or further on in the narrative.
The Messiah and the Second Temple
As we have already indicated, the Hebrew Bible in such passages as Daniel 9:26 clearly place the appearance of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple. This fact is
clearly brought out in the following two passages:
Zech 2:1-9 "On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 'Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of
Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, "Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you
like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel," declares the LORD. "Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land," declares the LORD, "and
work. For I am with you," declares the LORD Almighty. "This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear." This is what the LORD
Almighty says: "In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come,
and I will fill this house with glory," says the LORD Almighty. "The silver is mine and the gold is mine," declares the LORD Almighty.
Haggai 2:1-9 NIV "The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house," says the LORD Almighty. "And in this place I will grant peace," declares the LORD
God declares that the second temple would be greater in glory than that built by Solomon. This is due to the coming of the one who is called "the desired of the nations." Some translators
view the statement in v. 7 as not referring to the Messiah, but rather the splendor in which the second temple would be adorned with, i.e. the gold and silver of the nations. The only
problem with this view is that this in no way would make the second temple greater than the first. The reason is that Solomon's temple was also arrayed with the finest and most precious
materials. Furthermore, the visible manifestation of the glory of God appeared in the form of a cloud and filled the entire sanctuary. (Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-11)
Yet, God specifically states that the glory of the second temple would be greater than the first. What could possible be greater than the cloud descending on Solomon's temple than God
appearing as man in the person of the Messiah at the second one? In the words of Yeshua:
"I tell you that one greater than the temple is here." Matthew 12:6
That Haggai 2:6-9 was viewed as a messianic prophecy can be seen in this citation from Sanhedrin 97b:
"Rabbi Akibah made the inference, from the verse, 'Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land' (Haggai 2:6), that
Simon Bar Koziba was the Messiah, though he reigned only for two and half years."
In spite of Akibah's error that Koziba was the Messiah, his usage of Haggai 2:6 clearly affirms that at least one rabbi understood this passage as messianic.
The prophet Malachi predicted that God would personally appear at the second temple:
"See I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire will
come, says the LORD Almighty." Malachi 3:1
According to this prediction, the Lord himself was to come and enter his temple.
Rabbi Mosheh ben Maimon applied this to the Messiah: "What is to be the manner of Messiah's coming, and where will be the place of his first appearance? He will make his
first appearance in the land of Israel, as it is written, 'The LORD whom ye seek will come suddenly to his temple.'"
In fact, some rabbis were of the opinion that the Messiah had even been born during the destruction of the second temple:
"Rabbi Shemuel bar Nehmani said: On the day when the Temple was destroyed Israel suffered much for their sins... And from whence do we know that on that day (when the Temple was
destroyed] Messiah was born? For it is written, 'Before she travailed, she brought forth [the Messiah].' " Bereshit Rabbati 133 (Isaiah 66:7)
The Talmud of Babylon declares: "R. Hillel says there will be no Messiah for Israel, because they have enjoyed him already (fol. 99, col. 1) in the days of Hezekiah. Said Rav.
Joseph, may God pardon R. Hillel. When was Hezekiah? In the first house, but Zechariah (9:9) prophesied in THE SECOND HOUSE Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout O
daughter of Jerusalem; Behold thy King cometh unto thee; He is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding on an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.' " (Sanhedrin fol.
99, c. 1)
The only person who claimed to be the divine Messiah and appeared while the second temple was still standing is Yeshua Messiah:
"When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… Now there was a man in Jerusalem
called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that
he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was
the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen
your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel.'" Luke 2:22, 25-32
"After the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on
for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in
the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents
saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, 'Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.' 'Why were you searching for me?'
he asked. 'Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?' But they did not understand what he was saying to them." Luke 2:43-48
"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging
money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who
sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!' His disciples remembered that it is written: 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'"
Hence, if Jesus is not the Messiah there will be no Messiah. This is based on the testimony of the Hebrew Bible that the Messiah had to come before the destruction of the second
temple. We are thankful to God that he did arrive before the temple's destruction, as was predicted.
AMEN, COME LORD JESUS.