THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Jesus the Jewish Messiah, Part 1
A Rod of Jesse, born of a Virgin
By Rabbi Robert
The SeriesPart 1: A Rod of Jesse, born of a Virgin
Part 2: The Suffering Servant
Part 3: The Salem of Melchizedek
Why does a nice Jewish boy like me know that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah? I wasn't raised this way. My grandparents were Orthodox Jews and my father is an atheist. But as I read and studied the Scriptures and the writings of the rabbis, something didn't make sense between what the Scripture said and what I was being told.
It started when I asked, "How did Abraham know who God was?" Why did Abraham just follow this voice that told him to leave his family? And then I looked in Genesis 18:1 where it says that the Lord appeared to him — the word Lord is the tetragrammaton, the same word spoken to Moses at the burning bush, the I am that I am name. Genesis 18:2 says that when Abraham looked he saw three men, and Tanakh goes on to say that two of those men were angels who went on to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. So Genesis 18 says that God appeared to Abraham as a man with two angels who appeared as men. And it dawned on me that if God could create this entire universe by speaking mere words then certainly he could come into our time and space continuum as a man, his holy essence clothed or tented in human flesh.
The prophet Isaiah tells us two very important things about the Jewish Messiah. First Isaiah says he will come as a shoot from the stump of Jesse. The shoot or stump is a metaphor for a birth. Isaiah follows up saying that an alma will give birth, but it will not be any regular baby that this woman will give birth to. This baby will have four names that have very specific meanings. Now I know what you are thinking — the Jewish objection that there is no virgin birth mentioned in the Scriptures. But let me explain just how very perfect and prophetic Isaiah was when he used the term alma and not betulah. Then I can explain the four names of the baby.
It is interesting that many times in the Scriptures when the word for virgin, betulah, is used, it is followed by the words "that no man had known" or "who had never laid with a man." It's interesting because we assume that a young woman in that time, in that Jewish culture, would be chaste, would be virginal. But Isaiah does not use the word betulah, which always means virgin, but more precisely chose the word alma, which means a young woman. Alma has also been used in the Scriptures to refer to an old widow, but the inference is clear: an alma is someone who is not having sexual relations. But truthfully if Isaiah had use the word betulah in reference to the mother of the Messiah Jesus, he would have been incorrect. Don't misunderstand, Mary was a virgin, but she was not a betulah. And this is why Isaiah's prophecy is so accurate that only God could have given it. A young woman of marriageable age under her father's care and guardianship would in fact be a betulah. But Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph which changed her status from betulah to alma because she was under the care and guardianship of her fiancé. If Isaiah had use the word betulah then the prophecy would have been incorrect.
Now let's look in Isaiah 11:1 verses one and following: "And there shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse and a Branch will grow out of his root." The term "Branch" we know is a messianic title. And on this messianic stem will rest the Spirit of the "I am that I am": God's Spirit of wisdom and understanding, God's Spirit of counsel and of might, God's Spirit of knowledge and a fear of the Lord. And in Isaiah 9:6 it says that this child is born, unto us a son is given and the government will be upon his shoulders. But look at the names he's going to be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. These are the names of God in His totality and in His three essences.
First, Wonderful Counselor is also known as the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that when he departs to return to the Father he will send the Counselor and this Counselor will testify to the things of God. This Counselor is the Holy Spirit who dwells in those who trust in the Jewish Messiah.
This baby is also going to be known as Everlasting Father. The Everlasting Father is God our Father, the Father of Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people, the Father of Creation, our Abba. And that is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray to, "Our Father who art in heaven..."
And the child will also be called the Prince of Peace, the Sar Shalom. We know that God is the King of Peace and therefore the only person who could be the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace would have to be his Son, the very Son of God. And this baby is also going to be called Mighty God, this is our El Shaddai. Each of these names shows the attributes of God as He relates to his creation as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer and King.
So, the Jewish Scriptures describe the Messiah as being born of a young woman not under the care of her father. And goes on to say he will have the spirit of the Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace — Son of the King of Peace and the mighty God. In other words, the Trinity.
Next Week: The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53
Image Credit: katiew; "life | grafitti"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Jesus-Christ | Other-Religions
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