Today, when we speak of Y’Shua being the Messiah, we have a clear view of what that implies. We understand the significance of what He did for us when He offered His life for us. Most of us already know that this was not the Messiah that the Jews of the Second Temple period expected and thus, were not able to see Y’Shua for who He really was. However, when we look into the details of the ministry of Y’Shua, we see that almost nobody knew the real mission of Y’Shua on earth.
As part of our recent study into the spiritual realm, we also started seeing a lot more interesting facts that are recorded for us in Scripture. This new found awareness of the spiritual dimension of the Scriptures has opened up some new insights into the mission and actions of Y’Shua. A number of things that we simply skimmed over, now suddenly become a lot more interesting once our eyes have been opened to this dimension. Let us see what Y’Shua mission on earth included.
Nobody knew the real plan
Today, when we read the Bible, we often wonder why the Jews did not see that Y’Shua was the Messiah they had all been waiting for. How could they have missed it? It is all over the writings of the prophets. Really? What if I tell you that there exists no single verse in the Tanach that speaks of a dying and resurrected Messiah? Those of you that have studied this will most likely point me to Isaiah 53. However, the word “messiah” does not appear in Isaiah 53. We can make the connection because we have the famous 20:20 hindsight vision. Judaism today, takes a different view on this part of the text by stating that the fourth song of the servant (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12) refers to the nation of Israel. There exists a lot of proof that this was not always their interpretation.
This discussion brings us back to the primary question – who did they expect the messiah to be in the second temple period? To get clear insight into this, we need to get a good understanding of what exactly a “messiah” is. In Hebrew the word is ×žÖ¸×©Ö´××™×—Ö· (mÄÂ·Å¡Ã®aá¸¥). The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) 1 defines the word as follows:
a person having sacred oil poured ceremonially on oneâ€™s head, and so become a person with special authority and function, with the implication of one having the choice and approval of God
Thus, we see that this is a fairly general description of any person that have been anointed. We know that in Scripture a number of people were anointed including the High Priest and the king. The Jews of the Second Temple period were awaiting a person that was anointed by YHVH for a specific task. For them this task was the redemption of Israel. In their eyes redemption simply meant the removal of the yoke of Roman rule from their shoulders and making them a free nation again. Then they would be able to keep all of YHVH’s commandments without anybody interfering. In their view, this mission did not include a death and resurrection, simply somebody from the house of David that would stand up and lead them against the gentile oppressors.
In the heavenlies
It was not only the Jews who had a wrong expectation of what the messiah was supposed to do on earth. Even satan did not understand the real mission of Y’Shua. Paul tells us this.
1 Corinthians 2:6â€“8
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak YHVHâ€™s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which YHVH predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Master of glory;
Paul makes the statement that if satan knew what killing Y’Shua would do, he would never have done it. It is clear that the powers of darkness were not aware of the real mission of Y’Shua. It was exactly His death and resurrection that destroyed their power. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he notes that it is after His resurrection that Y’Shua is placed far above every ruler and authority in the heavenly places.
20 which He brought about in Messiah, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Satan had seen himself as the ruler of all the earth. It was his domain and it had been handed over to him. He was free to give it to whomever he wanted. Satan most likely believed that this is what Y’Shua really came for – dominion over all the nations.
6 And the devil said to Him, â€œI will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 â€œTherefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.â€
From the response of Y’Shua we see that His purpose was a lot more than simply getting dominion over the earth and all the nations. He had a much bigger plan.
Satan was not alone in his ignorance. Even the angels do not always know all of YHVHÂ´s plans that were being executed by Y’Shua. Peter makes it clear to the believers that the insights of the real gospel are something that the angels longed to look into. This implies to us that even the angels did not clearly understand the real gospel message.
1 Peter 1:12
12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heavenâ€”things into which angels long to look.
The disciples did not understand that He would die
It was not only in the spiritual realm that people were blind towards the real mission of Y’Shua. Even His own disciples did not know exactly what He had come to do until after the fact. If you carefully read the gospels again, you will see that the disciples most likely also still had the saviour of the Jewish nation in mind. We know that the disciples considered Y’Shua to be the Messiah. He was the Anointed and sent by YHVH. Peter’s confessions are most likely the best known:
27 Y’Shua went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, â€œWho do people say that I am?â€ 28 They told Him, saying, â€œJohn the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.â€ 29 And He continued by questioning them, â€œBut who do you say that I am?â€ Peter answered and said to Him, â€œYou are the Messiah.â€ 30 And He warned them to tell no one about Him.
68 Simon Peter answered Him, â€œMaster, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69 â€œWe have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of Elohim.â€
We see that Y’Shua also tried to explain to His disciples what was about to happen when Peter acknowledged Y’Shua as the Messiah. He told them that He would suffer, die and then be resurrected on the 3rd day. Thus, they received a first-hand prophecy of what was about to happen in the next couple of days.
15 He said to them, â€œBut who do you say that I am?â€ 16 Simon Peter answered, â€œYou are the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim.â€ 17 And Y’Shua said to him, â€œBlessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 â€œI also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My assembly; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 â€œI will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.â€ 20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Messiah. 21 From that time Y’Shua began to show 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 up on the third day.
But this was not a part of their expectation. They did not see the need for the physical saviour of Israel to die. The Scriptures record for us that He tried to explain it to them, but they did not understand.
31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, â€œBehold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 â€œFor He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.â€ 34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.
They were so fixed in their expectations that Peter even rebuked Y’shua for saying that He would die and be resurrected. Peter, and the other disciples, simply did not have the insight yet to understand what the prophets were really telling them about the Messiah. His Bible did not yet tell him this.
3 But He turned and said to Peter, â€œGet behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on YHVHâ€™s interests, but manâ€™s.â€
Even after His death and resurrection, His followers still did not understand what had happened.
Two men on the road to Emmaus
After His death and resurrection, Y’Shua also had to explain it to the two men He met on the road to Emmaus. The Scriptures record for us that they would most likely have recognized Him, which implies they knew Y’Shua and were familiar with His ministry.
But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.
Their expectation was that He would redeem the nation from the oppression of the Romans. He did not save them from the Romans, and now their messiah had died. It sounds like they were still in shock. Y’shua must have heard the disappointment in their voices.
â€œBut we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened.
Y’Shua had to take their Bible and explain to them what He had come to achieve. He used the Torah and the prophets to show them the message that had been hidden in plain sight for so many years. He could show them how the events of the last three days had been foretold by the prophets.
25 And He said to them, â€œO foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 â€œWas it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?â€ 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Eventually these two men understood what Y’Shua had come to do. During the breaking of the bread they also realized who exactly it was that had explained it all to them.
32 They said to one another, â€œWere not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?â€ 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, â€œThe Master has really risen and has appeared to Simon.â€ 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Their immediate response was to rush back to Jerusalem to share with the disciples what had happened. However, the disciples were still not convinced.
The disciples did not believe that He was resurrected from the dead
It is simply amazing to read this. Even though Y’Shua had specifically told His disciples that He would be killed in Jerusalem and that after three days He would be resurrected, they still did not believe when it happened. They had heard the testimonies of several people that had had personal contact with Y’Shua after His resurrection, but still they refused to believe.
11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. 12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. 13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either. 14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.
When Y’Shua did reveal Himself to the eleven, He reproached them for this unbelief. He had sent them witnesses, but they refused to see what He had already explained to them before their last trip to Jerusalem. Thus, like the two men on the road, He had to show the eleven disciples how these events were prophesied in Scripture by Moses and the prophets. Luke records for us that Y’Shua had to open their minds before they could understand the Scriptures that they had known from their early days.
44 Now He said to them, â€œThese are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.â€ 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, â€œThus it is written, that the Messiah would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 â€œYou are witnesses of these things.
After He had opened their minds, they could see that His death and resurrection from the dead were recorded in the Tanakh. They simply had to look at these words from a different viewpoint. He was not the warrior messiah that would free them from the Romans. He had a much more important role to play.
What did He come to do?
So, If the Messiah was not the prince who would lead them into battle with the oppressing Romans, what did He actually come to do? Once again, with our current hindsight, we can now compile a much clearer list of achievements. We now know that the salvation that Y’Shua brought was not a salvation from the oppression of the Romans. It was much, much bigger. He came to bring salvation, but it was a salvation from more than the Romans, it was a salvation from the dominion of satan. It was also much wider than simply for the Jews.
Redeem us from the curse of sin
The most important part of the mission of Y’Shua was to set us free from the control that this world and its ruler have on us. The control that satan has come from the fact that the result of sin is everlasting death. Satan knew this and he used this to put people under his dominion. This was the first thing that Y’Shua came to change. This was the main purpose for YHVH sending us the Messiah.
Y’Shua was sent by YHVH and His heavenly council to return all the nations to Him. At the tower of Babel, the nations were assigned to different elohim and territories. These elohim lead the people away from worshipping YHVH, the true Elohim. Thus, YHVH had tried to return these nations to Him via Israel, His people and also via the prophets that He had sent. But the people did not obey. Their free will made them chose against YHVH. Thus, YHVH decided that He Himself will manifest as human, in order to return all the nations to Him. He would start by setting those that had used their free will to choose Him, free from the dominion of satan. He would take them out of the system that was operating in the physical world. This plan was not widely known, as we had seen already.
One person that did know what the purpose of Y’Shua was, was John the Baptist. We need to look at the words that have been recorded for us, to see what John really understood. When the Pharisees asked John the Baptist who he was, he quoted Isaiah 40:3.
22 Then they said to him, â€œWho are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?â€ 23 He said, â€œI am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, â€˜Make straight the way of YHVH,â€™ as Isaiah the prophet said.â€ 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
What is interesting about this quote from Isaiah, is that it again shows us that YHVH is speaking to more than one heavenly being at the same time. From verse 1 we see that it is YHVH, that is speaking. However, all the instructions that He gives (comfort, speak, call) are given in the plural form in the original Hebrew. This indicates that YHVH is addressing more than one being. We know that the group being addressed is not Israel, as they are the object of the comforting.
1 â€œComfort, O comfort My people,â€ says your Elohim. 2 â€œSpeak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of YHVHâ€™s hand Double for all her sins.â€ 3 A voice is calling, â€œClear the way for YHVH in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our Elohim. 4 â€œLet every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, And the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of YHVH will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of YHVH has spoken.â€
The link that John the Baptist is making, becomes clear in verse 5. Like Isaiah, John the Baptist is making the people aware that the glory of YHVH has been revealed to them. It is also significant that Isaiah mentions that the scope of this revelation will be to all flesh, not only to Judah, in the case of Isaiah, or only to the Jews, in the case of John the Baptist, but to all flesh. This includes the people from all the nations that declare YHVH as their Elohim. The next day John revealed this “glory of YHVH” to them.
The next day he saw Y’Shua coming to him and said, â€œBehold, the Lamb of YHVH who takes away the sin of the world!
Did John mean to say that Y’Shua would stop all sin from happening in the world when he stated “who takes away the sin of the world?” By simply looking around, you will know that this is not the case. But what Y’Shua did accomplish was to remove the stranglehold that sin had on humankind. The result of sin is everlasting death. By the fact that Y’Shua, Elohim in the flesh, sacrificed His life for our sins, made Him our kinsman redeemer, who paid the full price for our sin.
Set His people free from slavery
YÂ´Shua also came to lead His people out of slavery. He became a prophet like Moses.
â€œThis is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, â€˜YHVH will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.â€™
With the death and resurrection of Y’Shua a Second Exodus had begun. Instead of the nation being led out of Egypt, now those who choose YHVH as their Elohim are being taken out of the system (kosmos) that we have in the world. His people are in the world, but no longer of this world. This world is the dominion of satan, where he keeps people because of their sin. The death, resurrection and ascension of Y’Shua removed this hold and set the people free.
In his gospel, Mark uses references to point people to the Exodus. He also had the exodus in mind when He spoke of what Y’Shua came to do for us. An example of this is found in Mark’s recording of the baptism of YÂ´Shua.
9 In those days YÂ´Shua came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: â€œYou are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.â€
If we look at the Greek source text we see the correlation. The Greek lemma for the heavens opening is the same as the Greek verb (schizo) in the Septuagint when the sea opened up for the people to be delivered from slavery in Exodus 14:21. After the baptism (coming through the waters), Y’Shua goes into the wilderness. This is the same pattern as with the first exodus from Egypt, going through the water the nation went into the wilderness. As the nation was tested in the wilderness for forty years, and failed, Y’Shua was tested for forty days in the wilderness, but He succeeded.
Train a group of disciples to spread this message to the world
Y’Shua’s death, resurrection and ascension did not complete the process of returning the nations. It simply started the process. In order for this process to continue, there had to be a group that would continue the work in the physical realm. To ensure this, Y’Shua spent a lot of time training a group of disciples. Y’Shua trained twelve disciples, but also sent out another seventy. These two numbers are not random numbers. As we know, twelve is typically associated with the twelve tribes of Israel and seventy is the number associated with the nations mentioned in Genesis 10. Thus, it seems logical that this indicates that Y’Shua had not only prepared men to go to the twelve tribes of Israel, but also a group that could take the gospel message to all the nations.
Y’Shua had to train these people in order for them to be able to continue His mission of returning the people to their true Elohim. In order for them to continue with His mission, they also had to know the true Elohim. Thus, Y’Shua had shown them the real essence of YHVH. Before Judas betrayed Y’Shua in the garden, He had prayed. In this prayer, Y’Shua prayed to YHVH and mentioned that all His work on earth had been completed. Part of this work, was revealing the name of YHVH to the people that YHVH had entrusted to Him.
3 â€œThis is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true Elohim, and Y’Shua the Messiah whom You have sent. 4 â€œI glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 â€œNow, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. 6 â€œI have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 â€œNow they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;
Surely this did not mean that Y’Shua had actually taught them the name of YHVH. This was already recorded in the Scripture. What Y’Shua had shown them was the true nature of YHVH – His essence. This is why YHVH had warned the people of Israel to fear the Angel of YHVH that He sent before them.
20 â€œBehold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 â€œBe on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him. 22 â€œBut if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
The people were warned to obey the angel, because the essence of YHVH was in this manifestation of YHVH. The angel was given the right to decide if transgressions were to be pardoned. We see that Y’Shua also pardoned transgressions while He was on earth. This is exactly what the author of Hebrews also concludes about Y’Shua.
1 YHVH, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
Thus, the disciples had been shown the real essence of YHVH, which was represented to them by Y’Shua. The essence of YHVH was in the physical person of Y’Shua of Nazareth. It was also very important that His disciples understood, that He was to be their source of truth. They were to take care not to be confused by the teachings of men.
The seven and twelve baskets of bread
Part of preparing the disciples to carry the message of the gospel to all nations, was to ensure that the message does not get diluted or contaminated with the teachings of men. We know that during Y’Shuaâ€™s time on earth, He had many disagreements with the teachings of the Pharisees and scribes. I think that this went much wider than this specific group of men. We read about so many encounters with the Pharisees, simply because they were the majority at the time. In Mark 12:18â€“27, we also see a specific incident where Y’Shua had a discussion specifically with the Sadducees. Thus, the mention of the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes, indicate to us that Y’Shua disagreement was not specific to the Pharisees.
And Y’Shua said to them, â€œWatch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.â€
It was crucial for Y’Shua that His disciples understood that He was the true representation of the essence of YHVH. Other groups would simply lead them away from the true essence of YHVH, that they had to convey to the nations that have strayed from YHVH. This is the main point that Y’Shua explained when He asked His disciples:
And He was saying to them, â€œDo you not yet understand?â€
The context of this question was the discussion of the disciples regarding bread. They felt that Y’Shua was reprimanding them for the fact that they had forgotten to take bread with them. In the mean time, Y’Shua was actually warning them of the impact of the teachings of men. Y’Shua was simply using the bread as a symbol of being fed. He was teaching them that they should not look towards the Pharisees, Sadducees or the leaven of Herod. As we had explained in the article on the Essenes, the “leaven of Herod” may have been pointing at the teachings of the Essenes.
17 And Y’Shua, aware of this, said to them, â€œWhy do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart? 18 â€œHaving eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember, 19 when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces you picked up?â€ They said to Him, â€œTwelve.â€ 20 â€œWhen I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?â€ And they said to Him, â€œSeven.â€ 21 And He was saying to them, â€œDo you not yet understand?â€
What Y’Shua was trying to ensure was that His disciples knew that they should look only at Him for the truth. No other group had the real gospel that had to go to all the nations. Y’Shua was the only one that could give them the true bread of life.
We now know that Y’Shua came with a specific mission and this mission was not only happening in the physical world. Y’Shua’s ministry on earth was also part of the battle in the spiritual realm. We need to look again at the Scriptures we think we know. Now we put on our new glasses that also reveal the spiritual dimension to us.
If we diligently search the Scripture, it becomes clear that YHVH had kept the real mission of His Messiah a secret. He had not revealed it clearly to His people via the prophets. His people, Israel, were still expecting a warrior that would save them from the Romans. This is exactly what His disciples expected. Even though Yâ€™Shua spelled it out to them, they still did not get it. After it had happened and they had received eyewitnesses of the resurrection, they still did not believe. But it was not only people that did not get the real intent,even satan and the angels did not really grasp it.
Yâ€™Shua had come to start the second exodus. He had come to set those who chose to follow YHVH free from the dominion of satan. His death, resurrection and ascension broke the stranglehold that satan had over all mankind. By being the kinsman redeemer, He allowed all the nations, scattered at Babel, to return to the true Elohim. They could come out from under the false elohim that had been placed over them at Babel.
His death, resurrection and ascension was not the final step in this plan. It was the beginning. The real gospel still had to go out to all the nations. For this purpose He had revealed the true essence of YHVH to a group of men. These men would become the core of the people that would spread the true gospel to all the nations. After His resurrection, Yâ€™Shua spent the time with His disciples to make sure that they got it. He put all the puzzle pieces in the Tanah together for them. Only then did they get it! How privileged we are to have this wonderful hindsight.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Heiser, M.S., 2015. The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible First Edition., Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.