MESSIAH - PART 7
MESSIANIC FIGURES AND IDEAS
(Last updated 5/25/01)
As mentioned in an earlier section there was and are many ideas within Judaism
regarding the characteristics and functions of the Messiah. (i.e., the "two messiah
theory" of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David, being one branch of thought.)
The reason for this wide variety of opinion is that the Bible does not give a
simple, definitive explanation of who Messiah is.
Although the word mashiach, (simply meaning "anointed"), appears many
times in the Tenakh, the actual term "The Messiah" (haMashiach),
referring to one particular and significant individual, does not appear
anywhere in the Tenakh. Yet, Jewish tradition as well as Yeshua Himself, make clear that the Torah and Prophets all testify to "the Messiah."
In this section we will examine several ideas concerning attributes of the Messiah, as
well as specific individuals (aside from Yeshua) who have been given some type of
In Matthew chapter 16, we see Peter as the recipient of blessing, for understanding
something about Yeshua that seemingly was not apparent to that point. This revelation is
said to have been given to Peter from God Himself:
Matthew 16:13-17 - When Yeshua came into the region of Caesarea
Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man,
am?" So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah
or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Yeshua answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and
blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
The above text mentions three aspects of Yeshua:
- Yeshua refers to Himself as "the Son of Man"
- Peter says He is "the Messiah"
- Peter says He "the Son of the Living God."
The concepts of "Son of Man" and "Messiah" were linked in Judaism
by time of Yeshua. It would seem that Peter and the others believed Yeshua to be Messiah
in some sense:
John 1:40-41 - One of the two who heard John speak, and followed
Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his own brother Simon,
and said to him, "We have found the Messiah."
As Peter's words receive praise for revealing something not readily seen, it would seem
that the latter part of his statement, referring to Messiah Yeshua as "the Son of the
Living God" is signficant.
Later in the same discussion, we see Peter chastised, for making the following
Matthew 16:20-23 - Then He commanded His disciples that they
should tell no one that He was Yeshua the Messiah. From that time Yeshua began to
show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders
and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took
Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not
happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are
an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of
This second part of the coversation begins with Yeshua curiously telling his disciples
not to reveal that He is the Messiah (more on this below), and revealing to them His role
of a suffering, dying and resurrecting tzaddik. As we have discussed earlier in this sudy,
the concept of Messiah ben Joseph is closely related to the idea of the Tzaddik
(and thus the Sephirah of Yesod). Further, the term used by Peter, "Living
God" (El Hai) is also associated with Yesod, the foundation of the lower seven
Peter's later comment that he was rebuked for, shows that he had in mind a "kingly
Messiah" of the the "Messiah ben David" type (who will
triumphantly usher in the Kingdom and restore Israel to greatness). As seen by the
words and actions of his disciples, the prevalent view of the Messiah among them was one
of a conquerer, and not humble, suffering tzaddik:
Acts 1:6 - So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord,
are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
Returning to the original comment that he was praised for, Peter had linked the
(kingly) Messiah with the Tzaddik, "Son of the Living God," who is a "Messiah
ben Joseph," that suffers for the sake of atonement for his brethren. Thus, we
might say that Peter was right about what he previously said about the Messiah, but he did
not truly know what he was saying.
From what the Bible and extra-Biblical sources tell of John the Baptist, he seems to
have been from an Essene background as opposed to Pharisaic. Interestingly, Andrew, the
brother of Peter, was one of John's disciples:
John 1:35-41 - Again, the next day, John stood with two of his
disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of
God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then
Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They
said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where
are You staying?" He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where
He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of
the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He
first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah."
Note John's early comments about his cousin Yeshua:
John 1:29 - The next day John saw Yeshua coming toward him, and
said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:35-36 - Again, the next day, John stood with two of his
disciples. And looking at Yeshua as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb
It would seem that John held a different image of Messiah than did Peter (and most of
the people - see below). John's chief concern is with the forgivensss of sin, not the
restoration of the Kingdom.
As we have discussed, the theme of "forgiveness of sin" is associated with
the Passover theme (i.e., the "Lamb of God"), and victory over the demonic
realm. This is reflected in one of Yeshua's own comments in John's account, which ties
victory over haSatan to the idea of the Tzaddik being "lifted up from the
earth," as mentioned in an earlier study. Note the people's expressed view of a
Messiah who does not die (i.e., Messiah ben David), and how this causes confusion in their
minds regarding the "Son of Man":
John 12:30-34 - Yeshua answered and said, "This
voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of
this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And
I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This
He said, signifying by what death He would die. The people answered Him, "We have
heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever; and how can You say, "The Son of
Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"
John's view is further demonstrated in Luke's account where we have what is often
considered by critics to be a contradictory passage. Here we have John, who already
testified to Yeshua being "the Messiah," asking his disciples to find out if
Yeshua is the Messiah:
Matthew 11:2-3 - And when John had heard in prison about the works
of Messiah, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, "Are You the
Coming One, or do we look for another?"
Luke 7:18-21 - And the disciples of John shewed him of all these
things. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Yeshua, saying, Art
thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they
said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look
we for another?
On the surface it would seem John's memory has failed him, but in reality, John knows
perfectly well that Yeshua is the Messiah - that is the Messiah who comes to deal with
sin. What he is seeking to find out is if Yeshua is also the Messiah coming to
restore all things, as associated with the Yovel (Jubilee) year.
It would seem that John was considering whether there was one or two Messiahs to come.
This is a very critical point, as it is in the writings of the Qumran community (the Dead
Sea Scrolls) that we find hints at an understanding that there may be one Messiah who
fulfills "both roles." (This idea is discussed further in this section.)
Also important is Yeshua's "coded response" to John. Rather than giving a
straight yes/no answer, He replies in terms of the Yovel Year (Jubilee), as prophesied by
Isaiah - a time of restoration:
Matthew 11:4-6 - Yeshua answered and said to them, "Go and
tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk;
the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the
gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of
Luke 7:22-23 - And in that same hour he cured many of their
infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
Then Yeshua answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen
and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear,
the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
What is interesting about Yeshua's reply lies in the details. The ideas of Messiah
causing the lame to walk, lepers to be healed, deaf to hear, and the gospel to be preached
was a common understanding taken from passages in the Tenakh, particularly Isaiah. What is
unusual is the mention of the dead being raised. This was not such a familiar or accepted
concept at that time. As we will see the missing piece to this puzzle may come from
In summation, it could be said that the Pharisees, being the party of the "common
man" were more concerned with a Kingly, conquering Messiah, who would bring back the
Kingdom. This was found in the figure of Messiah ben David. This would also
suggest a reason that the Pharisees wanted to kill Yeshua. If they could accomplish this,
it would proved He was not the Messiah.
The Essenes (originating from the Saducees, who once held firm control over the Temple
and Priesthood), did not "mingle" within society as the Pharisees did, and would
most likely have been concerned with the atoning/priestly aspects of the Messiah.
Yeshua's reason for not telling His Jewish brethren that He was the "Messiah"
may have had something to do with their view of who the Messiah was. The common people
would most likely have held to the popular Pharisaic view (see notes to John 12:30-34
above), and when He did not establish the Kingdom, and was killed, they would have been
To review, the following were the basic expectations of the "two Messiah"
- Messiah ben Joseph would suffer, fight and die, for His people.
(Kabbalistically, He also brings tikkun.)
- Messiah ben David would arrive to usher in the Kingdom and (possibly) resurrect
the dead, but would not Himself die.
One of the peculiar aspects of Yeshua's ministry is His unwillingness to make clear who
He was to His Jewish brethren (other than to His immediate followers):
Matthew 16:20-23 - Then He commanded His disciples that they
should tell no one that He was Yeshua the Messiah.
It would seem that this tactic was effective:
John 10:24 - Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him,
"How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly."
This is not to say that Yeshua denied being the Messiah (as seen in his comments to
Peter above). Despite cautioning His disciples and other Jews not to reveal that He was he
Messiah, when speaking to a non-Jew, He made it very clear that He was just that:
John 4:25-26 - The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is
coming". "When He comes, He will tell us all things." Yeshua said to her,
"I who speak to you am He."
This woman was not the only non-Jew that He informed of His identity:
John 4:39-42 - And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in
Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever
did." So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with
them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of
His own word. Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of
what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is
indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the world."
Yeshua thus cloaked His Messiahship from His Jewish brethren, but not from those
outside of the faith of Israel. This "double standard" would seem to be based on
the idea that those of Israel had no excuse for not recognizing Him (if they were
following Torah correctly), whereas to those who did not have the Torah, He made Himself
As He said to the leaders of the people:
Matthew 16:3 - You know how to interpret the appearance of the
sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
As mentioned earlier in this study, by the time Yeshua arrived, the lack of Torah study
at the deeper (kabbalistic) levels, had cause this confusion and error within Judaism
regarding the characteristics and complete role of Messiah.
This was something that only Messiah Himself could rectify, as is written:
Genesis Rabbah 98:9 - When he,
about whom it is written, "Lowly and riding upon an ass" (Zechariah 9:9) will
come ... he will elucidate for them the words of the Tora ... and elucidate for them their
MESSIAH AND RESURRECTION
The relationship between Messiah and the resurrection of the dead is unclear throughout
Jewish writings. Some texts simply link the resurrection to the time of Messiah, while
others indicate that he is directly involvoed. Later Jewish literature associates the
figure of Messiah ben David with this theme.1
The following text clearly links Messiah directly to the resurrection, and presents him
as a human, being of the children of the children of Adam:
Pirqe Mashiah, BhM 3:73-74 - In that hour, the Holy One blessed be
He, will crown the Messiah and place a helmet of salvation on his head, and give him
splendor and radiance, and adorn him with the clothes of honor, and stand him up on top of
a high mountain in order to bring glad tidings toIsrael. And he will let it hear with his
voice: "Salvation is near!" And Israel will say: Who are you?" And he will
say: "I am Ephraim." And Israel will say: "Are you the one whom the Holy
One blessed be He, called 'Ephraim, My firstborn, Ephraim is a darling son to me'?"
And he will say, "Yes." And Israel will say to him: "Go and bring glad
tidings to them that sleep in (the Cave of) Machpela, that they should rise first. In that
hour he goes up and brings glad tidings to those who sleep in Machpela, and says t othem:
"Abrhama, Isaac, and Jacob, rise! Enough have you slept!" And they reply and
say: Who is this that removes the dust from over us?" And he says to them: "I am
the Messiah of the Lord. Salvation is near. The hour is near." And they answer:
"If it is really so, go and bring the tidings to Adam the first man, so that he
should rise first." In the hour he says to Adam the first man: "Enough have you
slept." And he says: "Who is this who drives the slumber from my eyes?" And
he says: I am the Messiah of God from among the children of your children."
Of special interest in the above citation is the reference to Messiah being Ephraim, the
"first born." In the Zohar we that Metatron is called "first begotten
of all the creatures of Elohim" and is appointed to resurrect the dead:
Zohar, Genesis p.126, Amsterdam Edition - And Abraham said to his
oldest servant of his house" (Gen. 24:2) Who is this of whom it said "his
servant?" In what sense must this be understood? Who is this servant? R. Nehori
answered: "It is in no other sense to be understood than expressed in the word
"His servant," His servant, the servant of Elohim, the chief to His service. And
who is he? Metatron, as said, He is appointed to glorify the bodies which are in
the grave. This is the meaning of the words "Abraham said to His
servant" that is to the servant of Elohim. The servant is Metatron, the
eldest of His [YHWH's] House, who is the first-begotten of all creatures of Elohim,
who is the ruler of all He has; because Elohim has committed to Him the government over
all His hosts.
As mentioned earlier, Kabbalistic teaching associated the "First born" with
the divine Sephirah of Yesod (i.e., Righteous One/Tzaddik - Foundation):
Several Kabbalistic traditions recognize "the Righteous One" as being the
first "created being," and associate this with the primordial light
made on the first day of creation, which was then "hidden away" for a later
time. God saw that the world could not exist without this Foundation, which is called
Messiah is also seen as having the power of resurrection in the following document:
Yemenite Apocalypse, pp. 326-327 - In the future, all the nations
of the world will come to the Messiah and say to him,: Have we not heard about you that it
is in your power to slay and to bring back to life?
Another text implies Messiah's role in the resurrection by making a connection between
his arrival and this event. What is interesting here is the comment that, "all
who have fallen asleep in hope of him shall rise again," - establishing a
connection between eternal life and "faith in Messiah" himself. (See comments to
John 11:20-27 below):
2 Baruch 30:1-5 - And it shall come to pass after these things,
when the time of the advent of the Messiah is fulfilled, that he shall return in glory.
Then all who have fallen asleep in hope of him shall rise again. And it shall
come to pass at that time that the treasuries will be opened in which is preserved the
number of the souls of the righteous, and they shall come forth, and a multitude of souls
shall be seen together in one assemblage of one thought, and the first shall rejoice and
the last shall not be greived.
The power of resurrection being in the hands of Messiah ben David is seen in
the following text, which speaks of the end times where Messiah ben Joseph is killed by
the anti-Messiah (known in Jewish legend as "Armilus"):
Hai Gaon, Responsum - When Messiah ben Joseph is killed, his body
will remain cast out (in the streets) for forty days, but no unclean thing will touch him,
until Messiah ben David comes and brings him back to life, as commanded by the Lord.
Other Jewish writings reserve the resurrection of the dead to "the Holy One
blessed be He," (i.e., Tipheret - see previous studies), and not the Messiah:
Pes. Hadta, BhM 6:58 - In the future, the Holy One blessed be He,
will resurrect the dead.
Seder Eliyahu Rabba, 5, p. 22 - The resurrection of the dead will
be brought about by the Holy One blessed be He, in this world in order to sanctify His
great name in the days of the Messiah, and in order to give rewards to those who love Him
and fear Him in the World to Come.
Midrash Alpha Beta diR. Akiba, BhM 3:31 - And how does the Holy
One blessed be He, resuscitate the dead in the World to Come? We are taught that the Holy
One blessed be He, takes in His hand a great shofar, which is a thousand cubits of the
cubits of the Holy One blessed be He, and blows it, and its sound goes from one end of the
world to the other.
What we therefore see in the Jewish writings is both the Messiah as Tzaddik (Yesod) as
well as the Holy One blessed be He (Tipheret), being given credit/responsibility
regarding the resurrection of the dead. As we have discussed previously in this study, the
Sephirot of Yesod is in the image of Tipheret. The two are closely linked, as has also
been mentioned regarding the role of Metatron, who is described in terms associated with
both Yesod and Tipheret.
In John's account we see Martha displaying an understanding of the relationship between
the Divine Tzaddik, God (i.e., Tipheret) and the resurrection of the dead. She links
Messiah's power of resurrection as coming directly from His relationship with God. She
further associates Messiah as the "Son of God" who "came into the
world," establishing a Divine connection. (See previous studies on the descent of the
Divine Tzaddik). Yeshua in turn links resurrection to "believing in Him" as seen
in 2 Baruch 30:1-5 above:
John 11:20-27 - Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Yeshua was
coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to
Yeshua, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But
even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Yeshua said to her,
"Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he will
rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Yeshua said to her, "I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And
whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to
Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come
into the world."
Martha's last comment is interesting as there was a great deal of mystery surrounding
the Messiah's origins. This is seen elsewhere in John's account:
John 7:25-27 - Now some of them from Jerusalem said, "Is this
not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing
to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Messiah? However, we
know where this Man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one knows where He is
The idea of the Messiah's origins being shrouded in mystery is found in various Jewish
writings, that states that several things preexisted our world, including; Torah,
Repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, God's Throne of Glory, the Fathers, Israel, the
Temple and the Messiah.
Of these concepts, the teachings surrounding Messiah are the oldest, with Messiah
appearing preexistent in the Book of Enoch, dated around 150 BCE. Subsequent
ideas include the name of Messiah preexisting as well as his spirit or soul, and even He
Himself (along with His throne), being fashioned before the world was created.3
ESSENE (QUMRAN) IDEAS
There was one expectation that the various views of Messiah shared -- the Messiah would
come from the lineage of Judah. This of course creates conflict with regard to the idea of
a "priestly aspect" to Messiah (as presented earlier in this study), as the
priesthood comes via Levi and not Judah. To solve this "conflict" the writings
of the Essenes (Dead Sea Scrolls) is invaluable, along with our prior teachings on the
Supernal Torah and unity of things in the higher heavenly realms.
The Essenes were dedicated to living sanctified lives and studying the Torah. What we
find in their writings is not only the idea of a priestly Messiah, but als the union of
Priest and King in one Messiah. This is found in the figure of Melkizedek.
Perhaps the most important thing we know from Tenakh about Melkizedek (whose name means
"righteous king"), is that he is associated with a type of priesthood:
Psalm 110:1-7 - The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right
hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool." The LORD shall send the rod of Your
strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers,
In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You
have the dew of Your youth. The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are
a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." The Lord is at Your
right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the
nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many
countries. He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; Therefore He shall lift up the
Among the Dead Sea Scrolls is one document, commonly called "the Coming of
Melkizedek," that gives great detail into the Essene's view of the aspects
and roles of this mystical figure.4
These include concepts such as:
- The Yovel Year (Jubilee) having to do with more than just forgiveness of secular debt,
but also the forgiveness of sin
- God's agent of salvation is Melkizedek who performs actions associated directly with
God, such as the atoning for sin and executing judgment upon the world
- By the power of Melkizedek, haSatan's power is taken away
- Melkizedek is presented as a divine figure, including substitution of his name for the
divine name of YHWH in a citation of Isaiah 61:2
The Qumran text follows. Missing fragments are indicated by a (...):
11Q13 Col.2 - (...) And concerning what Scripture says, "In
this year of Jubilee you shall return, everyone f you, to your property" (Lev. 25;13)
And what is also written; "And this is the manner of the remission; every creditor
shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who
is a member of the community, because God`s remission has been proclaimed"
(Deut.15;2) the interpretation is that it applies to the Last Days and concerns the
captives, just as Isaiah said: "To proclaim the Jubilee to the captives" (Isa.
61;1) (...) just as (...) and from the inheritance of Melchizedek, for (... Melchizedek) ,
who will return them to what is rightfully theirs. He will proclaim to them the Jubilee,
thereby releasing them from the debt of all their sins. He shall proclaim this decree in
the first week of the jubilee period that follows nine jubilee periods. Then the "Day
of Atonement" shall follow after the tenth jubilee period, when he shall atone for
all the Sons of Light, and the people who are predestined to Melchizedek. (...) upon them
(...) For this is the time decreed for the "Year of Melchizedek`s favour", and
by his might he will judge God`s holy ones and so establish a righteous kingdom, as it is
written about him in the Songs of David; "A godlike being has taken his place in the
council of God; in the midst of divine beings he holds judgement" (ps. 82;1).
Scripture also says about him ; "Over it take your seat in the highest heaven; A
divine being will judge the peoples" (Ps. 7;7-8) Concerning what scripture says;
"How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality with the wicked? Selah"
(Ps. 82;2) the interpretation applies to Belial and the spirits predestined to him,
because all of them have rebelled, turning from God`s precepts and so becoming utterly
wicked. Therefore Melchizedek will thoroughly prosecute the vengenance required by God`s
statutes. Also, he will deliver all the captives from the power of Belial, and from the
power of all the spirits destined to him. Allied with him will be all the "righteous
divine beings"(Isa. 61;3). (The ...) is that whi(ch ...all) the divine beings. The
visitation is the Day of Salvation that He has decreed through Isaiah the prophet
concerning all the captives, inasmuch as Scripture says, "How beautiful upon
the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who
announces salvation, who says to Zion "Your divine being reigns"." (Isa.
52;7) This scriptures interpretation : "the mountains" are the prophets, they
who were sent to proclaim God`s truth and to prophesy to all Israel. "The
messengers" is the Anointed of the spirit, of whom Daniel spoke; "After
the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed shall be cut off"(Dan. 9;26) The
"messenger who brings good news, who announces Salvation" is the one of whom it
is written; "to proclaim the year of the LORD`s favour , the day of the vengeance of
our God; to comfort all who mourn" (Isa. 61;2) This scripture`s interpretation:
he is to instruct them about all the periods of history for eternity (... and in the
statutes) of the truth. (...) (.... dominion) that passes from Belial and returns to the
Sons of Light (....) (...) by the judgment of God, just as t is written concerning him;
"who says to Zion "Your divine being reigns" (Isa. 52;7) "Zion"
is the congregation of all the sons of righteousness, who uphold the covenant and turn
from walking in the way of the people. "Your divine being" is Melchizedek, who
will deliver them from the power of Belial. Concerning what scripture says, "Then you
shall have the trumpet sounded loud; in the seventh month ..." (Lev. 25;9)
Another important text from Qumran gives deeper insight into the statements made by
Yeshua to the disciples of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:4-6 and Luke 7:22-23) as mentioned
above. Here we have a single Messiah who will rule heaven and earth. The resurrection of
the dead during the time of this Messiah is also key:
4Q521 - [the hea]vens and the earth will listen to His Messiah,
and none therein will stray from the commandments of the holy ones. Seekers of the Lord,
strengthen yourselves in His service! All you hopeful in (your) heart, will you not find
the Lord in this? For the Lord will consider the pious (hasidim) and call the righteous by
name. Over the poor His spirit will hover and will renew the faithful with His power. And
He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal Kingdom. He who liberates the
captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the b[ent] And f[or] ever I will
cleav[ve to the h]opeful and in His mercy ... And the fr[uit ...] will not be delayed for
anyone. And the Lord will accomplish glorious things which have never been as [He ...] For
He will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor
... He will lead the uprooted and knowledge . . .
What is important to note in the above text is the idea of resurrection of the dead,
being one of the roles of the Messiah. This is not explicitly mentioned in the Tenakh, yet
both the scroll at Qumran and the "New Testament" accounts of Matthew and Luke,
add this to His function. This would show a definite Qumranian influence in the teachings
of Yeshua and His disciples.
MESSIAH AS PRIEST AND KING
A key theme we have discussed throughout this study is the mystery of the relationship
between Yesod and Tipheret. This may be compared to the affinity between Messiah ben
Joseph (the suffering tzaddik type) and Messiah ben David (the "heavenly" type,
who arrives to "crown" the tikkun performed by the former (and resurrects him),
followd by ushering in the Kingdom.
As we have seen, Melchizedek plays the dual role of priestly-tzaddik and judgmental
Messiah. Our analysis of the figure of Metatron also plays an important role here, as we
have seen that he has aspects of both Tipheret and Yesod in his function. Metatron so
closely resembles God Himself that he is even called "the Lesser YHWH," much as
Melchizedek is substituted for God in the above Qumran text.
As might be expected, there is also an association between Metatron and Melchizedek in
Metatron, legend says, has manifested throughout history as various great teachers,
one of whom may have been Melchizedek, the king without father or mother, who initiated
Abraham into the line. 5
It is in the "New Testament" book of Hebrews (where he is mentioned nine
times), Melchizedek is given a very mysterious countenance. It is said of him that he has
no parental lineage. The priesthood mentioned in Psalm 110 is said to be the Supernal
Priesthood (as discussed earlier).
Speaking of Yeshua, the book of Hebrews says:
Hebrews 5:5-11 - So also Messiah did not glorify Himself to become
High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten
You." As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever, According to
the order of Melchizedek"; who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up
prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him
from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet
He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been
perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called
by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," of
whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
Note that the understanding of these (kabbalistic) mysteries concerning Melchizedek had
been lost to the recipients of this letter. This results in a rebuke from the author as
seen in the last sentence.
Hebrews associates Melchizedek with aspects of High Priest and the Tzaddik, who effects
the tikkun of the heavenly Holy of Holies and whose characteristics we have already
discussed in detail:
Hebrews 6:19-20 - This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both
sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the
forerunner has entered for us, even Yeshua, having become High Priest forever according to
the order of Melchizedek.
In the next series of verse, Hebrews clearly links the ideas of kingly and priestly
Messiah, tying these to "the Son of God" (i.e., Tipheret). Here we also see the
theme of "levels of Torah" (as discussed in an earlier section), whereby the
priesthood of Levi (as part of the historical Torah of Sinai) is subordinate to the
Supernal priesthood of Melchizedek.
The idea of a "change in the Priesthood" as presented in the book of Hebrews,
cannot be viewed as an "abrogation of the Torah." Nothing in Yeshua's work does
away with one jot or tittle of the Torah (Matthew 5:17-21), yet Scripture clearly presents
a radically different priesthood in the Millennial Temple as discussed in a previous
section of our study.
The following text intensely combines Kabbalistic principles with Qumranian concepts:
Hebrews 7:1-28 - For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of
the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed
him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated
"king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of
peace," without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither
beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains
a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch
Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of
Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people
according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins
of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes
from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction
the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there
he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who
receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in
the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Therefore, if perfection were through
the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was
there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be
called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of
necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are
spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is
evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning
priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek,
there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly
commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies:
"You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." For on the one
hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and
unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is
the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as He
was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an
oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The LORD has sworn and will not
relent, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek"), by so
much more Yeshua has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests,
because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He
continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to
save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make
intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless,
undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who
does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins
and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For
the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which
came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
SIMEON BEN YOHAI
Another "Messianic figure" in Jewish literature is found in the Zohar. Rabbi
Simeon ben Yohai, along with his associates (who lived about 100 years after Yeshua), is
said to have brought about a tikkun of the world. This process, stemming from the efforts
of benYohai and his companions, effected the highest realm of the heavenlies (Arikh
Anpin) from which then flowed blessings, which decended throught the Godhead back
down to man. (This principle was discussed in the previous section.)
The idea that a flaw in the "Divine world" could be rectified by a tzaddik
such as Rabbi benYohai, is addressed in the Zohar by associating him with the Sephirah of
Yesod itself, as he is also said to have been called by God from the first day of creation
(i.e., the "foundation" of the world). This would therefore give a measure of
divinity to ben Yohai:
Soncino Zohar, Vayikra, Section 3, Page 61b-62a - We have learnt
that all the truly virtuous before they come into the world are prepared above and called
by their names. And R. Simeon ben Yohai from the first day of Creation was stationed
before the Holy One, blessed be He, and God called him by his name, happy is his portion
above and below! R. Abba took as his text the verse: "While the king sat at his
table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance" (S.S. I, 12). This has been
applied by the Companions to the children of Israel when at the giving of the Law they
sent forth a sweet fragrance which will bestead them in all generations by saying "we
will do and we will hear". Or we may translate "my spikenard forsook its
fragrance", applying the words to the making of the calf. There is, however, also an
esoteric allusion in this verse. It says "A river went forth from Eden to water the
garden" (Gen. II, 10). This stream first issues in a path which none knoweth. Then
Eden joins with it in perfect union, and then fountains and streams issue and crown the
holy Son, who thereupon assumes the inheritance of his Father and Mother, and the supernal
King regales himself with royal delights. Then "my spikenard gives forth its
fragrance": this is Yesod, who sends forth blessings at the union of the Holy King
and the Matrona, and so blessings are dispensed to all worlds and upper and lower are
blessed. And now the Sacred Lamp is crowned with the crowns of that grade, and he and the
Companions send up praises from earth to heaven wherewith She is crowned. Now blessings
must be brought down from heaven on to the Companions through that grade.
Interestingly, Rabbi Simeon refers to himself as a "first-born" in support of
For it is written, "With the loss of his first-born he shall lay its
foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son shall he set up its gates." (Joshua
As seen in the above section of this study (re: Pirqe Mashiah, BhM 3:73-74 and Zohar,
Genesis p.126, Amsterdam Edition), the title of "first born" or "first
begotten" is associated with Messiah and/or Metatron.
Yehuda Liebes states that the Zohar goes as far as suggesting that the death of Rabbi
Simeon ben Yohai effected a tikkun upon the Shekinah itself, as his soul arrived in
Paradise (which is the Shekinah), and through a mystical union (devekut) effected the
tikkun. Liebes states that the idea exists in Kabbalistic teaching, that when there is a
"great flaw" in the Godhead, the surrender of the soul on the part of the
tzaddik is not enough, in such as case, his actual death is necessary to bring tikkun
above. He further points out that the "surrender of the soul" to the Shekinah,
atones for man's spiritual sins in the same fashion as his death does, something Malkut
(the Shekinah) "derives pleasure from." This devotional surrender of
the soul to the Shekinah, first brings about tikkun to the supernal world of the Sephirot,
and through this, the terrestrial world.7
This is reminiscent of David's words in Psalm 116, who was servant to the
"handmaid" of God:
- Psalm 116:15-16 - Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of
his saints. O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine
handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.
The aspect of divinity being present "within a human being" is perhaps the
single biggest issue concerning the Messiah, and specifically Yeshua. Outside of a
Kabbalistic understanding of the Scriptures, such an idea has no valid justification.
However, with the knowledge of God as revealed through the Sephirot, and the associated
Kabbalistic teachings, one can make an argument (as the Zohar does with Simeon ben Yohai),
of a divine presence within a person.
In the book of 2 Chronicles, we see Solomon contemplating the idea of "God
existing" within a the Temple:
2 Chronicles 6:18 - But will God indeed dwell with men on the
earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this
temple which I have built!
Solomon's question is a valid one. After all, how could "God" be
"contained in any "structure," especially one made by sinful humans (as
opposed to being "built" by God Himself)?
Yet, Solomon and the people of Israel believed this to be possible and dedicated the
Temple, where indeed "God did reside" in a form that could be "seen and
heard." Jews and others today, believe this to have occured. This is foundational to
The decisive question comes to this: If God, (not Eyn Sof, but as we can know
Him through the Sephirot) can "exist" in a physical form in this world within a
structure made my man (the Temple), how possible is it for Him to "exist" in a
structure that He Himself "fashioned," in the form of a "human
1. The following citations regarding Messiah and resurrection in Jewish
literature, are taken directly from, The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne
State University Press, Detroit, 1979.
2. On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, Gershom
Scholem, Schocken Books, New York, 1991, p. 100-101.
3. The Messiah Texts, Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press,
Detroit, 1979, p. 16.
4. Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, Wise, Abegg & Cook,
HarperSanFrancisco, 1996, p. 455.
5 The Way of Kabbalah, Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi, Samuel Weiser, Inc.,
York Beach, Maine, 1976, p. 16.
6. Studies in the Zohar, Yehuda Liebes, SUNY Press, Albany, 1993, p. 52.
7. ibid, p. 52-54.