Posts made in December, 2013

What Happened to G-d’s Promise? (Part 1)

Posted by on Dec 21, 2013 in Bible Study, Torah & Life |
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The scriptural context for our conversation today will be Luke 1:26-38, with our focus mainly on the following verses:

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. And the L-RD will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.    Luke 1:31-33

Have you ever stopped to wonder what life was really like for Mary,  our Master’s mother? I’m guessing you have. Especially if you’ve been to many church services around Christmas time. It seems to be a topic the routinely comes up.

This last Sunday our pastor read Luke 1:26-38 with us and asked what lessons we could walk away with. Most of the lessons which were volunteered were along the lines of “Mary was obedient” or “Mary was humble”, or “Mary accepted the great task she had been assigned without doubting”. And I think I agree with all those lessons. But what occurred to me was something that I’ve never seen before. Something a little further beneath the surface.

Before I head into it, though, I need to fill in some background. I will delve a little into the Jewish idea of two messiahs and discuss why this is important before concluding with why the verses quoted above should bear so much significance to Mary (Miriam), our Master’s mother, and to us as well.

In the Christian church there is a basic understanding of the concept of a godly messiah. And with good reason – it’s what the entire religion is based on. The idea that G-d sent His only Son to live a perfect life and die an atoning death for the forgiveness of the sin of the world. In some cases, this understanding runs deeper than others, but one thing is certain: we Gentiles didn’t come up with this idea on our own.

The idea of a godly messianic redeemer is a Jewish one. And without that source, the Gentile (non-Jewish) world would not know the concept of the godly messianic redeemer. This is especially important to keep in mind because the Jewish world is the context for the passage we’re examining today, and it is the context for Yeshua (Jesus) Himself. To try to match that context with our modern western world one-to-one would be a mistake.

One thing about the Jewish context that most believers are unaware of is that in Judaism there is an expectation of not just one, but two messiahs: Mashiach ben Yossef (Messiah son of Joseph) and Mashiach ben David (Messiah son of David).

Mashiach ben Yossef is the suffering servant. According to Judaism, Mashiach ben Yossef is generally understood to precede Mashiach ben David as His forerunner, preparing the world for the coming of the final redeemer, Mashiach ben David, and to put them into the proper condition in order to clear the way for him to come. Mashiach ben Yossef is said to endure many hardships and trials. It is also understood that His coming will also bring trials for the nation of Israel. The principal and final function ascribed to Mashiach ben Yossef is of political and military nature. He shall wage war against the forces of evil that oppress Israel. He is also expected to die in His role.

Mashiach ben David is the actual (final) redeemer who shall rule in the Messianic age. He is the ruling and reigning King. He fulfills G-d’s promise to King David to always have a descendant on the throne of Israel. He is the “Messiah” we all generally think of when we are reminded of the promised one, the Redeemer of Israel. There will be no end to His rule and reign (see Daniel 2:36-44).

What is the significance of these two roles in Yeshua’s life, especially in light of the verses above? Why should this have mattered to Mary? Why is this important to us today? We’ll take a look at those issues in the next post.

Stay tuned!

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