The title for this study opens stating, “Judaism teaches we will know the Messiah when He makes peace in the world!” and then asks the question “Is Yeshua really the Messiah?” This is a very important question as it is related to “why we should be involved in studying the Rabbinic literature.” The reason being there are many anti-missionaries who use this as a means for dissuading men and women from faith in Yeshua as the Messiah of the Lord God of Israel. The “messianic” idea in Judaism may be understood according to Rambam’s 13 principles and the Shemoneh Esrei (prayer recited three times daily) which speak of the coming and hopeful expectation of Mashiach as a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism. Judaism’s concept of Mashiach in relation to His coming is that He will be involved in the ingathering of the exiles (Isaiah 11:11-12, Jeremiah 23:8, 30:3, Hosea 3:4-5), the restoration of the religious courts of justice, and the end of wickedness, sin, and heresy. The Mashiach will reward the righteous, rebuild the Temple, restore its services (Jeremiah 33:18), and establish the line of King David as a means for a central world government for both the Jew and gentile (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:10, 42:1). According to the rabbis in Judaism, the Messiah (Mashiach) will do all of these things. So the question presented for us is “If Yeshua is the Messiah, why did he not do all of these things?” This is the major presupposition of the anti-missionaries in their polemic against Christianity and against Yeshua as the Messiah of God. As we have been studying in the last few introductory parts, in this present age, and according to antiquity (1 Maccabees 1) there has been great assimilation and emancipation away from the traditions of the Jewish faith that has occurred and is continuing to occur today at unprecedented levels. The rabbis believe that when Mashiach comes, he will lead His people to true Torah values as the “baal teshuvah” paving the way for the messianic era. So the question again, “Is this the Jesus that we have come to know over the last 2000 years?”
This Judaic understanding of the Messiah appears to be at odds with the Christian and the NT descriptions of Yeshua as has been traditionally taught for the last 2000 years. Therefore, bearing these things in mind, “why is it important to study the rabbinic literature?” While considering these things, the one thing we must be mindful of is not to get angry when presented with the orthodox teaching on the Messiah. Anger is one of the tell tale signs of fear and maturity in the faith not properly handling ourselves when presented with opposing opinions and ideas and illustrates not having a thorough understanding of our faith and of Judaism. It is good to question, to seek, to practice and to attempt to step out of the theologies that may lead to deception and this may be accomplished only by taking as an objective a view as possible. The modern theologies presented both by orthodox Judaism and by Christianity can be quite daunting and confusing when attempting to harmonize the two. An important point to remember here is that there is no systematic theology found in the rabbinic literature. The rabbis simply take an expository approach to the scriptures. Therefore, it is very easy to fit a particular personal opinion or belief into the rabbinic thought and so while studying the rabbinic literature, we must be very objective in our approach. We must step back and think! Do not simply take what is said by the rabbis at face value, in many instances there is a deeper meaning the rabbis are trying to convey.
While studying the rabbis, according to the Talmud, the Mishnah, the Midrashim, and the commentaries, the most important point to consider is to understand what exactly the rabbis are trying to say. The first approach is to begin with a list of questions which should function as a starting place, not as an end, but as the beginning to our journey in understanding the Talmud, the Hebrew Scriptures, and the Jewish mind-set. Studying Talmud requires a lot of thought and insight into the Scriptures beyond what most of us are used too, and especially how the rabbis process and think about the Scriptures. It is only after years of studying the rabbinic literature that we will be able to begin to grasp how the rabbis are thinking and this occurs by our own minds beginning to take on similar thought patterns, as compared to the rabbis. The more we study the rabbinic literature, looking back at the Apostolic Writings (NT), it is apparent the New Testament Scriptures are written with a rabbinic point of view, especially the writings of the Apostle Paul. When studying the rabbinic literature, the important point is to ask questions for the purpose of fully understanding the rabbinic discussion.
- What is the broad topic of the discussion?
- What does the author intend to say?
- Is the statement obvious?
- Is it plain
- Is it a statement of fact or a concrete instance?
- What underlying principle does it involve?
- Is it a broad generalization?
- What exactly does it include?
- Is it a general exclusion?
- What exactly does it exclude?
- Under what circumstances is the statement true?
- Under what qualifications is it permissible / forbidden?
- Is there a subsequent statement that modifies or invalidates the statement under consideration?
The harmonization of apparent contractions and interlinking of apparent irrelevancies are two characteristic features of the Talmudic method of text study.
- Why does the Author use one word rather than another?
- What need was there for the mentioning of a specific instance as an illustration?
- How does the contrast between the illustrations influence the interpretation and application of the Scripture?
- Do certain Authorities differ? If they do, why do they differ?
The classical rabbinic literature comprises all of the ancient Jewish literary compilations which transmit the traditions of the tannaitic (70–200 ce) and amoraic (third-to fifth-century ce) periods of rabbinic thought from Israel and from Babylonia (Bavli). For example, the Mishnah, the Tosefta, the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, and the various midrashim contain the thoughts and halachic decisions from those time periods. The rabbinic literature is to be taken as a “collection” rather than an “authorial” literature. The reason being, these texts are transmitting a wide variety of partly divergent and contradictory views and teachings rather than providing a linear systematic outline of a particular individual’s point of view. Therefore, a critical study of rabbinic literature is necessary in order to understand the historical, philological, and philosophical methods which are used by the rabbis to understand Scripture. The critical study of the rabbinic literature, the idealogies, methods, theories, homilies, parables, and all of the related fields of rabbinic literary theory will help us to not only see the rabbis from a new perspective, but also provide for us a greater understanding of how the New Testament works together with the Torah of God.
The question remains however, and scholars have asked, “How much can we really learn about the Jewishness of Jesus from Jewish sources?” The reason this question is asked is because we do not want to be anachronistic in our approach to applying the rabbinic literature to the first century Judaisms. This also becomes a fundamental question for these studies, and helps to bring into perspective the rabbinic opinions from an objective point of view for understanding the Jewish background of Christianity. Jacob Neusner, put forth the theory that Judaism completely reinvented itself after the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Based upon the Talmud and the Mishnah we can see how this is true and therefore it is very important in our approach to approach the rabbinic literature from an objective point of view.
A common approach I have found that others take to studying Yeshua based on the rabbinic literature is to use two major Jewish sources that were written a couple centuries following the destruction of the second temple and Yeshua’s time, the Mishnah and the Talmud. The Mishnah is a record of the oral debates and decisions of the rabbinic teachers that were written down around 200 CE, where the assumption is that the rabbinic sayings from the first century were preserved all the way back to 200 BCE. The Talmud (in two editions, Bavli and Jerusalem) contains the Mishnah along with an expansive commentary that was published between 200-300 years after the Mishnah. Many who write about Yeshua’s Jewish context quote the Mishnah and the Talmud extensively. We however will also look at all of the Jewish commentaries, and the related responsa, such as Rashi, Rambam, and Sforno. Jacob Neusner also claimed that everything written in the Mishnah was very late, all the quotes from rabbinic teachers who were supposed to have lived before the time of Yeshua, like Hillel and Shammai, were fabricated later. However, in the past few decades researchers have asked the question of how trustworthy is the Mishnah, and can it tell us about the first century time period? Researchers today are saying that with care, the Jewish sources may be used to gain a greater understanding of First Century Judaisms; Jacob Neusner is one of those who claim so today.
Answering the Anti-Missionaries
In the opening paragraphs of this study, we were presented with a differing view on the Messiah as has been traditionally taught according to the Christian understanding and what we find written in the Apostolic Writings. Looking at the rabbinic understanding of Mashiach, we do find parallels in the descriptions of Yeshua according to the Apostolic Writings. However Judaism provides a differing interpretations on what the Messiah will do when he comes. I believe within the rabbinic literature (Mishnah and Talmud) it is possible to find a direct correlation to what Yeshua did according to the Apostolic Writings which will be presented here in the following pages.
The Jewish community’s opposition to Yeshua as the Messiah of God is multifaceted which includes the Jewish leaders refusal to accept the fact that a Jew who believes in Yeshua can and does remain Jewish. Jewish leaders feel threatened by Messianic efforts equating the outreach to Jewish communities for Yeshua as promoting the destruction of the Jews. This is related to a Jewish person who turns to faith in Yeshua the Messiah while at the same time giving up his ethnic identity and leaving obedience to the Torah, as a result of the modern Christian theologies. I do not believe giving up Jewish ethnic identity and leaving obedience to the Torah is a prerequisite of faith in Yeshua as the Messiah. This is the result of a Gentilized Church having an anti-Torah teaching as we had seen according to the historical accounts in the last couple of studies.
Now according to the Jewish teachers, for example, Maimonides (Rambam), he states in his Mishneh Torah Chapters 11 and 12, that Yeshua is not the Messiah, saying the following:
“—a compendium of the entire halachic tradition—that Moshiach will first rebuild the Temple and then gather in the exiles. Jerusalem and the Temple will be the focus of divine worship, and ‘from Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of the L‑rd from Jerusalem.’”
These are very significant statements, and very important for our understanding of what the Messiah will do first according to Judaism, and our being able to recognize the Messiah according to the Apostolic Writings. Note within this premise, is the idea that the Messiah when he comes will makes peace in the world, he will restore the religious courts of justice, end wickedness, sin, and heresy. The Mashiach will reward the righteous, rebuild the Temple (Jeremiah 33:18), and the establish a central world government for both the Jew and gentile (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:10, 42:1). Modern teachers and anti-missionaries in Judaism ask “If Yeshua is the Messiah, why did he not do all of these things?” The surprising fact is, Yeshua is the Messiah, and he did do all of these things according to the Rabbinic opinion as found in the Mishnah. The rabbinic expository comments on Bereshit / Genesis 4:10 are very enlightening when taking into the context of Judaisms understanding of Mashiach. This seminal interpretation of Mashiach comes through the Mishnaic understanding of the struggle between two brothers, Cain and Abel. The reason may be this struggle between two brothers, the one brother raising up and behaving as an adversary, leads us to the concept of the Lord God of Israel coming to our help by raising up for Himself and for us a Messiah to save His people. The rabbis look at Bereshit / Genesis 4:10 which states the following.
Bereshit / Genesis 4:10
4:10 Then He said, “What have you done? Hark, your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground! (NASB, י וַיֹּאמֶר מֶה עָשִֹיתָ קוֹל דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ צֹעֲקִים אֵלַי מִן-הָאֲדָמָה:)
In Bereshit / Genesis 4:10, we read of the story of Cain and Abel where Cain is angry with his brother and kills him. The Lord speaks to Cain asking him what he has done, the blood of his brother cries out from the ground. This is an important story, it details how the heart of man is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We are all capable of having murder in our hearts and as we will see in Part 6 next week of the introduction, this verse illustrates the grace of God towards Cain, indicating the Torah shows forth the grace of God from beginning to end. The most important point according to the rabbis is related to the death of Abel and Cain’s actions as it is related to future generations and its effect upon the world. The Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 provides us with the following interpretation.
Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5
How do we press the witnesses in a capital case? We bring them in [to the court’s chambers] and press them: “Perhaps what you say [isn’t eyewitness testimony] is but your own assessment, or from rumors, or your witnessing an actual witness testify, or your reporting what a trustworthy said. Or perhaps you were unaware that by the end we’d interrogate you, with examination and inquiry. Know that capital cases are not like monetary ones. In monetary cases, [a false witness] can return the money and achieve atonement. But in capital cases, the blood of [the victim [and all his future offspring hang upon you until the end of time. For thus we find in regard to Cain, who killed his brother, “The bloods of your brother scream out!” (Genesis 4:10) – the verse does not say blood of your brother, but bloods of your brother, because it was his blood and also the blood of his future offspring [screaming out]! [Another explanation of the verse: for his blood was splattered over the trees and rocks [there was more than one pool of blood]. [The judges’ speech continues] “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.” And also, to promote peace among the creations, that no man would say to his friend, “My ancestors are greater than yours.” And also, so that heretics will not say, “there are many rulers up in Heaven.” And also, to express the grandeur of The Holy One [blessed be He]: For a man strikes many coins from the same die, and all the coins are alike. But the King, the King of Kings, The Holy One [blessed be He] strikes every man from the die of the First Man, and yet no man is quite like his friend. Therefore, every person must say, “For my sake the world was created.” [The judges’ speech continues:] “Maybe you [the witnesses] will now say, ‘What do we need this, and all this anxiety for [let’s not come forward even with true testimony]!’ But Scripture has already spoken: “If he be a witness – having seen or known – if he does not express it, he shall bear his sin.” (Lev. 5:1) Maybe you will now say, ‘What do we need this, to be responsible for another man’s death?’ But Scripture has already spoken: “When the wicked are destroyed there is rejoicing.” (Prov. 11:10)” כיצד מאיימין את העדים על עדי. נפשות. היו מכניסין אותן ומאיימין עליהן. שמא תאמרו מאומד. ומשמועה. עד מפי עד ומפי אדם נאמן שמענו. או שמא אי אתם יודעין שסופינו לבדוק אתכם בדרישה ובחקירה. הוו יודעין שלא כדיני ממונות דיני נפשות. דיני ממונות אדם נותן ממון ומתכפר לו. דיני נפשות דמו ודם זרעיותיו תלוין בו עד סוף העולם שכן מצינו בקין שהרג את אחיו. שנאמר (בראשית ד, י) דמי אחיך צועקים. אינו אומר דם אחיך אלא דמי אחיך. דמו ודם זרעיותיו. דבר אחר דמי אחיך שהיה דמו מושלך על העצים ועל האבנים. לפיכך נברא אדם יחידי ללמדך. שכל המאבד נפש אחת מישראל. מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו איבד עולם מלא. וכל המקיים נפש אחת מישראל מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו קיים עולם מלא. ומפני שלום הבריות. שלא יאמר אדם לחבירו אבא גדול מאביך. ושלא יהו מינין אומרים הרבה רשויות בשמים. ולהגיד גדולתו של הקדוש ברוך הוא. שאדם טובע כמה מטבעות בחותם אחד וכולן דומין זה לזה. ומלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא טבע כל אדם בחותמו של אדם הראשון ואין אחד מהן דומה לחבירו. לפיכך כל אחד ואחד חייב לומר בשבילי נברא העולם. ושמא תאמרו מה לנו ולצרה הזאת. והלא כבר נאמר (ויקרא ה, א) והוא עד או ראה או ידע אם לא יגיד וגומר. ושמא תאמרו מה לנו לחוב בדמו של זה. והלא כבר נאמר (משלי יא, י) באבוד רשעים רנה:
The rabbis say, according to the Mishnah, that in the case of the murder of Able, the blood of Abel cried out unto the Lord, but not just the blood of Abel, the blood of all his future offspring also cried out unto the Lord. This is based upon the interpretation of the words דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ using the plural construct form for blood in reference to his brother. The rabbis go on in their interpretation saying that the blood was splattered on the trees and rocks, there were spots (pools) of blood everywhere, not just one pool of blood but many, and this is interpreted as, “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.” The Mishnah describes one man as an entire world of peoples, based upon Bereshit / Genesis 4:10. The interesting thing is that one of the great commentators (Rambam) states that not only will Mashiach bring peace to the world, he will also build God’s Temple. As we had seen earlier, most of the anti-missionary questions about Mashiach when He comes will facilitate peace in the entire world, work in the hearts of men to bring back the exiles, restore the religious courts of justice, end wickedness, end sin, and end heresy. The Mashiach will reward the righteous, rebuild the Temple (Jeremiah 33:18), and establish a central world government for both the Jew and gentile (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:10, 42:1). Note the NT parallels, our body being the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and the Lord Mashiach making peace in our hearts by His entering into our hearts, bringing peace to our world. He establishes his government over our lives for both the Jew and Gentile. He establishes His presence in our world, in our hearts, and we are the ones who must allow him to do so on an individual level. Based upon the Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 Yeshua did all of these things exactly as Judaism teaches. The interpretation is however, which world was he making peace? Rashi states the following in his commentary saying,
Rashi on Bereshit / Genesis 4:10
דמי אחיך THY BROTHERS BLOOD — דמי is plural — bloods” — his blood and the blood of his possible descendants (Genesis Rabbah 22). Another explanation of why the plural is used: he inflicted upon him many wounds, because he knew not whence his soul would depart (i. e. which blow would prove fatal) (Sanhedrin 37b).
Rashi references the Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 37a-37b which states,
Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 37a-37b
ושלש שורות של תלמידי חכמים יושבין לפניהן כל אחד ואחד מכיר את מקומו הוצרכו לסמוך סומכין מן הראשונה אחד מן השניה בא לו לראשונה אחד מן השלישית בא לו לשניה בוררים להן עוד אחד מן הקהל ומושיבין אותו בשלישית ולא היה יושב במקומו של ראשון אלא יושב במקום הראוי לו: גמ׳ מנא הני מילי א”ר אחא בר חנינא דאמר קרא (שיר השירים ז, ג) שררך אגן הסהר אל יחסר המזג וגו’ שררך זו סנהדרין למה נקרא שמה שררך שהיא יושבת בטיבורו של עולם אגן שהיא מגינה על כל העולם כולו הסהר שהיא דומה לסהר אל יחסר המזג שאם הוצרך אחד מהם לצאת רואין אם יש עשרים ושלשה כנגד סנהדרי קטנה יוצא ואם לאו אינו יוצא: (שיר השירים ז, ג) בטנך ערימת חטים מה ערימת חטים הכל נהנין ממנה אף סנהדרין הכל נהנין מטעמיהן: (שיר השירים ז, ג) סוגה בשושנים שאפילו כסוגה של שושנים לא יפרצו בהן פרצות והיינו דאמר ליה ההוא מינא לרב כהנא אמריתו נדה שרי לייחודי בהדי גברא אפשר אש בנעורת ואינה מהבהבת אמר ליה התורה העידה עלינו סוגה בשושנים שאפילו כסוגה בשושנים לא יפרצו בהן פרצות ריש לקיש אמר like the seeds of a pomagranite are the empty ones, even the people you think aren’t s religious are full of mitzvos like a palmagranite ר’ זירא אמר …… …there were things in r’ zayras town and he befriended them so that ultimately he can help them be better people …the rabanon were not happy about this …when r’ zayra died the people would say …until now r’zayra was davening for us? whats going to protect us now? …so they had a change of heart and did teshuva שלש שורות כו’: אמר אביי ש”מ כי ניידי כולהו ניידי ולימא להו עד האידנא הוה יתיבנא ברישא השתא מותביתו לי בדנבי אמר אביי דאמרי ליה הכי הוי זנב לאריות ואל תהי ראש לשועלים: מתני׳ כיצד מאיימין את העדים על עידי נפשות היו מכניסין אותן ומאיימין עליהן שמא תאמרו מאומד ומשמועה עד מפי עד ומפי אדם נאמן שמא אי אתם יודעין שסופנו לבדוק אתכם בדרישה ובחקירה הוו יודעין שלא כדיני ממונות דיני נפשות דיני ממונות אדם נותן ממון ומתכפר לו דיני נפשות דמו ודם זרעותיו תלויין בו עד סוף העולם שכן מצינו בקין שהרג את אחיו שנאמר (בראשית ד, י) דמי אחיך צועקים אינו אומר דם אחיך אלא דמי אחיך דמו ודם זרעותיו Therefore a singular man was created– to teach you that anyone who causes one Israelite life to be lost, the text accounts to him as if he caused a whole world to be lost. And anyone who sustains one Israelite life, the text accounts to him as if he sustained an entire world. And for the sake of peace among the creations–so that no man can say to his friend, “My father is greater than your father.” And so that heretics will not claim “There are multiple powers in the heavens.” And to testify to the greatness of the Holy Blessed One. For a man forges many coins from the same mold and each one is identical. But the King of kings of kings, the Holy Blessed One forges each man from the same mold of the original man and no one is like his fellow. Therefore each and ever person is obligated to say, “For me was the world created.”
Again, the Talmudic interpretation is that a singular man was created to teach the significance of the life of one man. Does this sound familiar in the Apostle Paul’s comments to the Romans?
5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 5:16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (NASB)
Paul illustrates the significance of one man who led the world into sin and of the one man through whom has led the world into righteousness and truth by the mercy (grace) of God. Note how Ein Yaakov explains the Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 3.
Ein Yaakov on Sanhedrin 3
MISHNAH : How were the witnesses awestruck in criminal cases? They were brought in and warned : Perhaps your testimony is based only on a supposition, or on hearsay, or on that of another witness, or you have had it from a trustworthy man; or perhaps you are not aware that finally we will investigate the matter by examination and cross examination. You may also be aware of the fact that there is no similarity between civil and criminal cases. In civil cases one may repay the money damage and he is atoned ; but in criminal cases the blood of the person executed, and of his descendants to the end of all generations, clings to the instigator of his executions, for thus do we find in the case of Cain, who slew his brother, concerning whom it is said (Gen. 4:10) The voice of the blood of thy brother is crying unto me from the ground. Blood is not mentioned in the singular, but in the plural (bloods), which means his blood and the blood of his descendants. According to others, the bloods of thy brother — i.e., his blood has scattered over all the trees and stones. Therefore the man was created singly, to teach that he who destroys one soul of a human being is considered by Scriptures as if he had destroyed the whole world, and he who saves one soul of Israel, Scripture considers it as if he had saved the whole world. And also in order to preserve peace among creatures, so that one should not say: “My grandfather was greater than yours;” and also that the heretic shall not say: “There are many creators in heaven.” And also to proclaim the glory of the Holy One, praised be He! For a human being stamps many coins with one stamp, and all of them are alike ; but the King of all the kings, the Holy One, praised be He! has stamped every man with the stamp of Adam the first, and nevertheless not one of them is like the other. Therefore every man may say: “The world was created for my sake, hence I must be upright, just,” etc. Should the witness say: (Ib. b) “Why should we take so much trouble upon ourselves?” Behold it is written (Lev. 5:1) And he is a witness, since he hath seen or knoweth something; if he do not tell it, then he should bear his iniquity. And should you say: “Why should we testify to the disadvantage of that man’s blood?” Behold, it has been said (Prov. 11:10) When the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.
Ein Yaakov states that “blood of the person executed, and of his descendants to the end of all generations, clings to the instigator of his executions, for thus do we find in the case of Cain.” Note also how he parallels who we are in the sense that we are to be imitators of our Father in heaven, and this is illustrated in stamping of a coin and all of them look alike, and that the Lord God of Israel has stamped everyone into the likeness of Adam, and therefore everyone may claim that “The world was created for my sake, hence I must be upright, just.” The Apostle Paul writes that by faith, we are stamped into the likeness of Yeshua the Messiah, and hence Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (NASB) Are you able to see the rabbinic parallels here?
The Mishnah describes one man as an entire world of peoples saying, “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world,” based upon Bereshit / Genesis 4:10. Judaism teaches when the Messiah comes, he will facilitate peace in the entire world and that when He comes, he will lead His people to true Torah values as the “baal teshuvah” paving the way for the messianic era. Can this be by any other way than with the help of the Lord God of Israel to work in the hearts of men to bring all men to repentance (bring back the exiles), to restore the religious courts of justice in our hearts, and to end wickedness, sin, and heresy. Rambam states the Mashiach will first rebuild His Temple (Jeremiah 33:18), where our interpretation within the context of all of these things must be by the Temple of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And he establishes a central world government for both the Jew and gentile (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:10, 42:1) by bringing peace to our worlds so that we may live at peace with one another. Can you see the significance of studying the Rabbinic literature, how these interpretations build up our faith and support the writings of the apostles and the life of Yeshua the Messiah? The Torah states that the Lord will raise up a prophet from amongst His people. Yeshua was a Jew, lived as a Jew, obeyed the Torah, leads us to repentance, and makes peace in our world, should we not listen and believe in Yeshua?
Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:15-19
18:15 ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 18:16 ‘This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 18:17 ‘The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18:18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 18:19 ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. (NASB, טו נָבִיא מִקִּרְבְּךָ מֵאַחֶיךָ כָּמֹנִי יָקִים לְךָ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵלָיו תִּשְׁמָעוּן: טז כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר-שָׁאַלְתָּ מֵעִם יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּחֹרֵב בְּיוֹם הַקָּהָל לֵאמֹר לֹא אֹסֵף לִשְׁמֹעַ אֶת-קוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהָי וְאֶת-הָאֵשׁ הַגְּדֹלָה הַזֹּאת לֹא-אֶרְאֶה עוֹד וְלֹא אָמוּת: יז וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָֹה אֵלָי הֵיטִיבוּ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּרוּ: יח נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶּרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָּמוֹךָ וְנָתַתִּי דְבָרַי בְּפִיו וְדִבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּנּוּ: יט וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יִשְׁמַע אֶל-דְּבָרַי אֲשֶׁר יְדַבֵּר בִּשְׁמִי אָנֹכִי אֶדְרשׁ מֵעִמּוֹ:)
Moshe speaks of the implications of listing or not listening to his words. We are given a choice, to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah of God, or to walk away and go in our own way. Judaism teaches when the Messiah comes, he will bring peace in our world and lead His people to true Torah values as the “baal teshuvah” paving the way for the messianic era. According to the Apostolic Writings and the Rabbinic literature, Yeshua is the Messiah of God! And it is by the mercy of God that we have this present day opportunity to believe and receive God’s Messiah. Paul calls this the grace of God which leads men to repentance, with the Lord calling His people back to righteousness, justice, and truth. Paul says in Romans 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (NASB) Yeshua is the Messiah, do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Finally, the question may be asked “what about the world we live in?” This may be answered according to the Prophets in the Tanach. Isaiah 2 speaks of a future time when all of the nations will come to Israel and to Jerusalem to seek the counsel of God. Throughout all of the Tanach, the Apostolic Writings, and in the Rabbinic literature, we are called the Servants of the Living God, the Servants of the Lord God of Israel. The significance of this and the prophecy in Isaiah 2 speak of the Lord using us, His people, to bring His message unto all the world. The Lord and His Messiah makes peace on our hearts, and draws us to Himself. We are called to go out into the nations and speak of the goodness, mercy, and grace of God!
Next week we will discuss the topic of the grace of God. BTT_Introduction-05-2016