9. The King Messiah
A shoot shall come from the stock of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the spirit of the L-rd shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the L-rd.
I saw in the night visions and, behold, with the clouds of heaven came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days, and he was presented before Him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, in order that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
These passages are speaking about the Messiah, a human being who will teach mankind truth. Unrivaled in intellect, holiness, power, and dominion, he will rule the world as G-d's emissary. The Hebrew Bible foretells the accomplishments and attributes by which the Messiah will be recognized. Messianic events must occur during the Messianic Era. Nowhere does the Hebrew Bible even hint that the Messiah will die for the sins of his followers, only to return thousands of years later to fulfill the many prophecies he left unrealized.
The following Messianic prophecies have yet to be fulfilled:
1) All warfare will cease:
And He shall judge among the nations and decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
2) Knowledge of G-d will fill the world:
They shall neither hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the L-rd, as the waters cover the sea.
3) The Egyptian river will run dry:
And the L-rd will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt and wave His hand over the river with His scorching wind, and smite it into seven channels, and make men cross dryshod.
4) Death will cease:
He will swallow up death forever....
5) The dead will be resurrected:
Your dead shall live, my dead body shall arise; O dwellers in dust, awake and sing, for your dew is a dew of light, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
6) Eternal joy and gladness will characterize the Jewish nation:
And the redeemed of the L-rd shall return, and come to Zion in song; everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee.
7) The ruined cities of Israel shall be restored:
Your sisters, Sodom and her environs, shall return to their former state....
8) There will be an ingathering of the Jews to the Holy Land:
And say to them: "Thus says the L-rd, G-d: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, where they are gone, and gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land."
9) All weapons of war will be destroyed:
Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go forth and set fire to the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, handspikes and spears, and they will make fires of them for seven years....
10) The enemy dead will be buried:
For seven months the House of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land.
11) The Third Temple will be rebuilt:
Ezekiel 40 describes this in full.
12) Trees will yield new fruit monthly in Israel:
And on both sides of the bank of the stream, all trees for food will grow; their leaves will not wither nor will their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because their waters flow from the Sanctuary; their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.
13) Each tribe of Israel will receive its inheritance:
Thus says the L-rd, G-d: "These are the boundaries by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions. And you shall divide equally that which I swore to give your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance."
14) The Jews will be sought for spiritual guidance:
Thus says the L-rd of hosts: "In those days ten men out of all the languages of the nations shall take hold and seize the robe of a Jew, saying: `Let us go with you, for we have heard that G-d is with you.' "
15) All will worship the G-d of Israel:
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the L-rd of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
16) The nations will help the Jews materially:
Then you shall see and be radiant, and your heart shall fear and expand; because the abundance of the sea shall be overturned upon you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you....Men shall bring you the wealth of the nations with their kings led in procession. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste.
But you shall be called "priests of the L-rd," men shall say of you, "ministers of our G-d;" you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory.
It is interesting to note that these Messianic prophecies foretell the nations' subjugation to Israel. If Jesus was really the Messiah and the Jews persecuted and killed him, why is G-d going to reward them so greatly? Partly for not yielding to centuries of Christian persecution.
Behold, My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights; I have placed My spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will neither cry nor lift up his voice nor make it heard in the street. A bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.
This "servant" is not the Messiah. In fact, nowhere in the Hebrew Bible is the Messiah directly called "servant." However, the Jewish nation is, especially by Isaiah (see pp. 149--150). Indeed, further on in this chapter it becomes clear that the prophet is alluding to Israel:
Isaiah 42:22, 24
But this is a people robbed and plundered; they are all of them trapped in holes....Who gave up Jacob to the spoiler and Israel to the robbers?
In their zeal to turn the passage under discussion into a "prophecy" foretelling Jesus, the authors of the New Testament concluded it with "...and in his name will the Gentiles hope" (Matthew 12:18--21).
Yea, all kings shall bow themselves before him; all nations shall serve him.
King David is here referring to his son Solomon, as is evident earlier in this Psalm:
Give the king Your judgments, O G-d, and Your righteousness to the king's son. That he may judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice.
This request was granted:
I Kings 3:28
And all Israel heard of the judgment the king [Solomon] had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king because they perceived that the wisdom of G-d was in him, to render justice.
In contrast, Jesus denied being a judge:
One of the multitude said to him: "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him: "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?"
In his days may the righteous flourish and peace abound till the moon be no more.
During Jesus' life, the Jews suffered at the hands of the Romans, and saw the destruction of Jerusalem. Under King Solomon, however, Israel enjoyed immense peace and tranquility:
I Kings 5:18
But now the L-rd, my G-d, has given me [Solomon] rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune.
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.
Jesus did not have dominion over anyone, including his disciples, who deserted him at the first sign of trouble:
...then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
It was different with Solomon:
I Kings 5:1
And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt; they brought presents and served Solomon all the days of his life.
The kings of Tarshish and the isles render him tribute....
This was fulfilled:
I Kings 10:22--23
For [King Solomon] had at sea a ship of Tarshish with a ship of Hiram: once every three years the ship of Tarshish came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. Thus, King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches, and in wisdom.
...the royalty of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts.
This, too, was fulfilled:
I Kings 10:1--2, 10
Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon because of the Name of the L-rd, she came to test him with riddles. And she came to Jerusalem with a great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones....Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones; never again came such an abundance of spices as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
Yea, all the kings shall prostrate themselves before him; all nations shall serve him.
Again, this was fulfilled not in Jesus, but in Solomon:
I Kings 10:24--25
And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon [in order] to hear his wisdom, which G-d had put in his mind. Every one of them brought his present: articles of silver and articles of gold, and garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules; and so it was year by year.
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and his shall be the obedience of the nations.
Throughout the Hebrew Bible, a sceptre is the emblem of rulership:
When the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she found favor in his sight and he held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand, so Esther drew near and touched the top of the sceptre.
Your throne, which is of G-d, shall stand for ever and ever; your royal sceptre is a sceptre of equity.
The L-rd has broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers....
The verse under discussion foretells that once a descendant of Judah reigns over the kingdom of Judah, all subsequent legally elected Judean kings shall be of this tribe. The fulfillment of this promise began with David, a descendant of Judah:
The sons of Judah according to their families were:...Perez....
Ruth 4:18, 22
Now these are the descendants of Perez....Jesse, the father of David.
Ever since King David, all Judean kings have indeed been of Davidic extraction:
II Chronicles 13:5
Shouldn't you know that the L-rd, G-d of Israel, gave kingship over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons by a covenant of salt?
The Messiah is to be a descendant of David as well, for "until Shiloh comes" means "up to and including Shiloh" (the Messiah); compare:
Behold, I am with you [Jacob], and will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.
...and no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them.
Missionaries claim that a sceptre symbolizes political independence, which they say was lost when the Roman Empire first taxed the Jews in 7 C.E. Jesus is said to have been born about thirteen years prior to this levy. Therefore, they conclude, the sceptre and the ruler's staff did not depart from Judah until the Messiah (i.e., Jesus) came.
But this was not the first time the Jews had been subject to foreign rule. If liberty is really what a sceptre represents, then it was taken away centuries before the common era:
And the children of Israel served Eglon, the king of Moab, for eighteen years....The children of Israel sent tribute by [Ehud] to Eglon, the king of Moab.
And the children of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the L-rd; and the L-rd delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
II Kings 15:29
In the days of Pekah, king of Israel, Tiglath Pileser, king of Assyria, came and captured...and he carried the people away captive to Assyria.
II Kings 25:21
And the king of Babylon smote them and put them to death at Riblah, in the land of Hamath-thus Judah was exiled from its land.
Rather, a sceptre refers exclusively to rulership, not political independence, as seen in the following passage.
I [Balaam] see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: A star shall step forth out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel and smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the sons of Seth.
This verse is speaking about the Messiah, who will conquer "all the sons of Seth," i.e., the world, since all the nations are descended from Noah (Genesis 9:19), himself a descendant of Seth, Adam's third son (Genesis 5:6--29). We see that this is a Messianic prophecy, because just before it we read:
And now, behold, I [Balaam] go to my people; come, and I will announce to you [Balak] what this people [Israel] shall do to your people [Moab] in the end of days.
After the Messiah subjugates all the Gentile nations, the following prophecies depicting peace and security for the Jewish people will be fulfilled:
And they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the L-rd of hosts has spoken.
And [the Messiah] shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the L-rd, in the majesty of the Name of the L-rd, his G-d; and they shall dwell, for then shall he be great to the ends of the earth.
The opposite occurred in Jesus' lifetime: the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed. More than one million Jews died in the fighting, and the rest were exiled. Furthermore, Jesus was obviously not this conquering Messiah, for instead of defeating his many enemies, he was easily captured and executed.
The L-rd swore to David in truth, from which He will not deviate: "One of the sons of your body, I will set on your throne."
When your [David's] days are fulfilled and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall come forth from your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to Me: when he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with plagues of the children of men.
These verses are speaking of David's son Solomon, for when David repeated G-d's promise he said:
I Chronicles 22:8--10
The word of the L-rd came to me, saying:....Behold, a son shall be born to you; he shall be a man of peace. I will give him rest from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My Name; he shall be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him; and I will establish his royal throne over Israel forever.
Solomon was indeed the builder of this House (the Temple):
I Kings 6:2
The House King Solomon built for the L-rd was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high.
Even when he permitted his foreign wives to erect altars to their idols Solomon did not forfeit his eternal claim to the throne:
I Kings 11:13
However, I [G-d] will not take away all the kingdom; rather, I will give one tribe to your [Solomon's] son for David My servant's sake, and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.
Indeed the kingship was transferred to his son, and afterward it remained in his family:
II Chronicles 9:31
And Solomon slept with his fathers; they buried him in the city of David, his father; and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.
The New Testament (Hebrews 1:5) quotes II Samuel 7:14 as foretelling Jesus, conveniently ignoring its conclusion-"when he commits iniquity, I will chasten him"-so as not to besmirch Jesus' sinless image:
I Peter 2:22
He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips.
Moreover, it was not even possible for Jesus to build the Temple, for it was standing throughout his life!
Nonetheless, to "prove" that Jesus is the King Messiah, the New Testament traces his ancestry to David through Solomon. Let us compare a section of this genealogy with the one given of Solomon in the Hebrew Bible:
Matthew's genealogy deliberately omits Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, and Jehoiakim, so as to "fulfill":
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
Yet Jehoiakim was the father of Jeconiah:
I Chronicles 3:15--16
And the sons of Josiah: the firstborn, Johanan, the second, Jehoiakim.... And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son....
Matthew's genealogy contains another major blunder: it includes the accursed Jeconiah:
Thus says the L-rd: write this man [Coniah] childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days; for none of his descendants shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah117.
Thus, none of Jeconiah's descendants would inherit the throne, including Jesus!118
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 37a) declares that the curse was annulled while Jeconiah was captive in Babylon. But Christians cannot accept this or any other part of the Oral Tradition, which rejects Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, including Jeconiah in this genealogy was a major mistake for the New Testament but not for the Hebrew Bible (as accompanied by the Oral Tradition).
Missionaries claim that Jesus is excluded from this curse for Joseph was not his real father. Therefore, he was not really a descendant of Jeconiah. But if Jesus had no human father, then he could not have been a direct descendant of David, either. This alone would disqualify him from being the Messiah:
II Chronicles 13:15
Shouldn't you know that the L-rd, G-d of Israel, gave kingship over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons by a covenant of salt?
[David's] seed shall endure forever, and his throne shall [last] like the sun before Me.
Missionaries counter that the genealogy listed in Luke 3:23--38. traces Jesus to King David through his mother, Mary. But this argument is ludicrous for several reasons:
1. A Jew's ancestry is patrilineal. Hence, in the Hebrew Bible, one's family line is traced only through the males. Likewise, Moses was explicitly commanded to count the Israelites in the desert "according to their fathers' houses" (Numbers 1:2).
2. Mary is not even mentioned in Luke's genealogy.
3. This genealogy traces Jesus back to David through his son Nathan rather than his son Solomon. Not only does this contradict the genealogy given in Matthew, but it renders Jesus ineligible for the kingship, for only Solomon's descendants were to inherit it (see pp. 116--117).
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, out of you shall come forth to Me he who is to be ruler in Israel, and his origins are from of old, from ancient days. Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel.
This passage is referring to the Messiah, a descendant of David, who was an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah:
I Samuel 17:12
Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, whose name was Jesse....
"Out of you shall come forth" does not mean that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, as the fathers of Christianity misinterpreted, but that he will descend from David, who was born there.
"His origins are from of old, from ancient days"-This denotes the great time span from David, who lived 2,900 years ago, until the Messiah comes.
"Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in travail has brought forth"-The Jewish people will remain in exile until the Land of Israel repopulates itself with them. Compare:
Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she had delivered a son. Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth at once? [Yet] as soon as Zion was in labor, she brought forth her children.
"...then the rest of his brethren shall return with the children of Israel"-The tribe of Judah, to which both David and the Messiah belong, will return to the Holy Land along with the ten lost tribes of Israel (see glossary). Compare:
And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together and appoint themselves one head, and they shall go up out of the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
The tribe of Judah could not have returned to the Holy Land in Jesus' lifetime because they were already living there. They were exiled among the nations forty--one years after his death, when the Romans destroyed the Temple.
Nonetheless, the New Testament says Jesus is the Messiah referred to in our passage under discussion:
Matthew 2:1, 4--5
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea...[Herod] inquired of them where the Christ [Greek for "Messiah"] was to be born. They told him, in Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:...[our passage is quoted here in full].
However, once again, the New Testament contradicts itself, for it also has Jesus born in the Galilee, the northern section of Israel, whereas Bethlehem is in the south!
Others said: "This is the Christ." But some said: "Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was born?" So there was division among the people over him.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your king comes to you; he is triumphant and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war--horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.
This passage is referring to the Messiah's entry into Jerusalem, which will occur when he exercises his authority over the entire world, and when all war implements are destroyed. Compare:
And on that day I [G-d] will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the fowls of heaven, and the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and make them lie down safely.
Micah 5:9, 14
And on that day, says the L-rd, I will cut off your horses from among you and I will destroy your chariots....And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the nations such as they have never heard.
Jesus was not this triumphant and victorious world conqueror: he was crucified by the Romans. Josephus attests to how common this fate wasAntiquities book 17, chapter 10, section 10 :
Upon this, Varus sent a part of his army into the country, to seek those that had been the authors of the revolt; and when they were discovered, he punished some of them that were most guilty, and some he dismissed, now the number of those that were crucified on this account were two thousand....
So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest; when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodiesWars book 5, chapter 11, section 1.
Nor did he speak peace to the world, but the opposite:
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division....
Jesus, and the New Testament in general, displayed nothing but contempt for Gentiles. He was not interested in befriending them and bringing them peace, nor in living as one people:
These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel."
In response to a Gentile woman's plea for help:
[Jesus] answered: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying: "Lord, help me." And he answered: "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Therefore, do not be anxious, saying: "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the Gentiles seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
I Peter 4:3
Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.
Jesus did not have dominion over the world, Israel, his neighbors, or even his own family:
He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
Because of these discrepancies, most of the passage under discussion was omitted from the New Testament. The only Messianic requirement Jesus was able to "fulfill" was that of riding a donkey:
And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt."
Yet even here Jesus fulfilled nothing, since everyone rode donkeys in those days.
The chariots of G-d are myriads, even thousands upon thousands; the L-rd is among them, Sinai in holiness. You ascended on high, you have taken captives, you have received gifts for man, in order that even rebels may dwell with G-d.
These verses, written in the past tense, refer to the revelation at Mount Sinai:
The "gifts" for mankind were the Ten Commandments given to Moses:
The L-rd said to Moses: "Come up to Me on the mountain and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction."
He received them among the "rebels" who made the golden calf:
Exodus 32:15, 19
And Moses turned and descended from the mountain, and the two Tablets of the Testimony were in his hand....As soon as he came near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing....
"Dwell with G-d" echoes:
And I will dwell among the children of Israel and be their G-d.
Other verses in Psalms chapter 68 confirm that the subject of the passage under discussion is indeed Moses on Mount Sinai:
O G-d, when You went forth before Your nation, when You marched through the wilderness, Selah. The earth quaked, the heavens dropped at the presence of G-d; even Sinai [trembled] at the presence of G-d, the G-d of Israel.
This is alluding to:
And the L-rd went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; in order that they might travel by day and by night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night did He remove from before the people.
And Mount Sinai smoked in every part because the L-rd descended upon it in fire; and the smoke of it ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
Ignoring these allusions, the New Testament paraphrases the passage under discussion as a prophecy foretelling Jesus:
But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore, he said: When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.