September 2010 Yavoh

The Expected One Part 2

In Part I of this article, we looked at the first 16 specific expectations concerning the coming of the Messiah.  It turns out that the Israelites had many expectations about the coming of the Messiah based on Scriptural prophecies.  Yeshua came to fulfill the prophecies, although He did not fulfill all the prophecies regarding the Messiah’s return. Also, He did NOT meet all of their expectations because He completed some prophecies in ways they never imagined.  Even the disciples who believed in Him were amazed how Yeshua fulfilled some of the prophecies.  John, the writer of the Gospel, explained that the Holy Spirit later revealed what really happened and why.

We are another generation with expectations of the returning Messiah.  Do our expectations match the prophecies of His second coming?  Or, do we have expectations that will not be met by the Messiah when He returns?  Let us examine more fully what they were expecting the first time.  It could well temper our own expectations and help us to see how God fulfills His own word.

Some have said that the Jews expected a Messiah that would be a military leader like King David who would lead Israel out from under foreign oppression such as the ancient Romans.  Some have said that the Messiah is not a person but more of a “golden age” for Israel where everyone would prosper and men would be at peace with one another.  Part II of this article will examine the final 17 of 34 specific expectations of the people in the day when Yeshua came based on the prophecies as they understood them at that time.  Let us consider those expectations and compare them to what Yeshua did and did not do.

17.  They expected that the Messiah would ascend to heaven and descend to earth.

When the children of Israel camped at the base of Mount Sinai they watched Moses ascend and descend the mountain several times. The encounter at Mount Sinai is really the birth of the nation of Israel. Moses served as the mediator of God’s covenant (the Torah, Law of God) with Israel. This was by design. The Apostle Paul explains the mediation roles of Moses and the Messiah.

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator [Moses], until the seed [the Messiah] should come to whom the promise had been made.  GAL 3:19

It was a picture of the ultimate mediator between God and the whole world. This is the work of the Messiah.

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua,  1TI 2:5

Therefore, the Messiah was to be the One who ascended and descended just as Moses had done at Mount Sinai, only the Messiah’s ascension would be between heaven and earth. This concept of the Messiah’s movements is shared in the following prophecies.

Who has ascended into heaven and descended? PRO 30:4a

This was also the basis of Yeshua’s answers to Nicodemus’ questions when he didn’t understand the concept of being born again. Yeshua referenced the prophecy of the Messiah ascending and descending.

Yeshua answered and said to him [Nicodemus], “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things? If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.”  JOH 3:10,12-13

18. They did not expect He would first minister to those in the Galilee.

Jerusalem is the focus point of Israel.  The Scriptures refer to Jerusalem as the center of the Earth and the city of the King.  Surely, the Messiah would establish His ministry in Jerusalem as it the very place where God had placed His Name and established the temple for all of mankind to worship the God of Israel.

However, the Messiah did not come to just set up His throne; He came to repair some damage – to redeem and start the process of restoration.  This is what Isaiah the prophet was referring to when he spoke of the Light (the Messiah) coming first to a particular region of Israel.

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.  The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.  ISA 9:1-2

The religious leaders in Jerusalem saw themselves and the temple as the focus of the Messiah and not the tribes that had been taken into captivity nor the land of Israel itself.  This attitude was primarily caused by haughtiness and conceit on the part of the religious leaders themselves, resulting in immediate conflict as soon as Yeshua began to minister.

19. They expected the Messiah would gather the scattered exiles of Israel.

Historically, the majority of the prophets of Israel came to either the Northern or Southern kingdoms of Israel.  For example, Isaiah prophesied to the Southern kingdom while Hosea and Micah were prophets to the Northern kingdom.  Virtually, all of these prophets also prophesied that God would punish the two kingdoms with worldwide captivity into other nations.  The House of Israel (the Northern kingdom) went into captivity first by the hand of the Assyrians.  The House of Judah (the Southern kingdom) went to Babylon for 70 years, returned to the land, and ultimately were scattered to other nations by the Romans; however, these same prophets also prophesied of a time of restoration when God would bring back all the scattered exiles to the land of Israel.

Moses spoke first of the future captivity and of God’s promise to bring back the outcasts.

You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. . . .  But you will perish among the nations, and your enemies' land will consume you. . . . Yet in spite of this, when they [Israel] are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God.  LEV 26:33,38,44

...then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.  If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.  And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.  DEU 30:3-5

The prophet Jeremiah compares the return of the scattered exiles to the exodus of Egypt saying that the return of the exiles will be even greater when the Messiah brings them back.

First, the captivity and then the restoration are foretold.

So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I shall grant you no favor.  JER 16:13

“Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’  For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.”  JER 16:14-15

This is the basis for the primary expectation concerning the Messiah. 

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’  Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”  JER 23:5-8

This is the passage that caused many people of Israel in Yeshua’s day (including His disciples) to expect that the mere appearance of the Messiah would cause the scattered exiles return and His earthly kingdom to be established. 

And so when they [the disciples and Yeshua] had come together [at the Mount of Olives], they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”  ACT 1:6

The disciples could not quite understand how the Messiah had come but had not established His kingdom by gathering the “scattered exiles.”

20. They did not expect that the Messiah would do the work of redemption (priest) and then later restore the people (king).

Why didn’t the Messiah bring the scattered exiles back to the land when He came the first time?  Everyone, including the disciples, thought the appearance of the Messiah in Israel would result in the establishment of His earthly kingdom and the return of those scattered.

Redemption and restoration are separate prophecies about the Messiah.  Redemption is a priestly task, whereas restoration is a kingly task.  They are also separated by hundreds of years in prophetic fulfillment.  The common expectation of the Israelites then (and of Jews today) was that the Messiah would redeem and restore all at the same time, but they failed to consider two important facts in the prophecy.  First, the House of Judah was to be in captivity in the nations as well as the House of Israel.  The Babylonian captivity had not satisfied that prophecy.  When Yeshua did come, the House of Judah had not yet been scattered to the nations.  The House of Judah went into worldwide captivity after 70 A.D.  (40 years after the resurrection).  Second, the prophet Jeremiah said that the Messiah would use an unusual method to gather them from the nations.

“Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will fish for them;”  JER 16:16a

Yeshua commissioned His disciples to become those fishermen.  This is how Israel was to be a Light to the nations with the Gospel.  It was the Apostle Paul who, examining the prophecies, realized that the Gospel was for all peoples.  God is not just the God of Israel, He is God of the whole world.  God’s redemption is for all people; God’s restoration is for all of creation.

When Paul explained his own calling to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, he used the prophecies of the restoration of Israel and the definition of the remnant of Israel.  Read below as Paul quotes first from Hosea a prophecy about the House of Israel and then from Isaiah, a prophet to the House of Judah, explaining how the scattered exiles would be numerous and from every nation of the earth.

...even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.  As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God.”  And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute His word upon the earth, thoroughly and quickly. ROM 9:24-28

Paul knew that he was one of the fishermen sent by the Messiah with the message of redemption and was to start the process of restoring and gathering the exiles.  This is the good news to the exiles of Israel.  Little did he or the other Apostles know that the process would involve hundreds of years.  He only knew that it would be at the conclusion of the age of the Gentiles.

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”  ROM 11:25-26

Yeshua had answered the first century disciples of when the kingdom would be restored by saying. . .

"It is not for you to know times [years] or epochs [seasons] which the Father has fixed by His own authority;”  ACT 1:7

Judaism has this powerful expectation about the Messiah.  He is to gather the scattered exiles and establish His kingdom based in Israel.  Since Yeshua of Nazareth did not do this in the first century of the common era they dismiss Him from being the Messiah.  They refuse to consider the prophecies of redemption and restoration to be separate concepts of time.

Interestingly enough, the Christian Church has spiritualized the scattered exiles prophecy and used it to establish the idea of replacement theology, i.e., the church has replaced Israel.  They believe that Yeshua did the work of redemption and fulfilled the prophecies of the restoration in the establishment of the church (the replacement for Israel).

But in this generation, since Israel has become a nation in 1948, the prophecies of the two houses of Israel returning to the land have come to the forefront.  The House of Judah appears to have physically returned to the land of Israel in our days.  The emergence of evangelical Christianity and the modern Messianic movement has yielded voices looking for the restoration of the House of Israel.  While the two-house teaching is controversial, it is gaining acceptance and is no stranger than the Apostle Paul taking the good news to the Gentile world.

21. They expected He would teach Torah (God’s laws) to all nations.

One particular prophecy of the Messiah is uniquely shared by Isaiah and Micah.  In fact the exact words of the prophecy are repeated by both prophets (Isaiah 2:2-4 and Micah 4:1-3).  Here is Micah’s rendition.

And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains.  It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it.  Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.”  For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations.  Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.
MIC 4:1-3

This prophecy says that the Messiah will teach the Torah (the Law of Moses) to the whole world.  When Yeshua came the first time He addressed this prophecy in the context of a well known disagreement between the Sadducees and Pharisees and their expectations of the Messiah.  The Sadducees believed that the Messiah would be so great in His teaching that He would effectively replace Moses and the Torah.  The Pharisees argued that the Messiah would teach exactly what Moses had given us.

Yeshua answered the controversy and addressed Isaiah and Micah’s prophecy this way.

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished.  Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  MAT 5:17-19

The remainder of Matthew chapter 5 consists of Yeshua teaching some of the key passages of the Torah.  Again, it is interesting to me that the church advocates that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah and did fulfill the messianic prophecies yet it argues that He came to abolish the Law (Torah).  They say this despite the Messiah’s warning against any annulment or failure to teach the Law and the Prophets.  Obviously, they also don’t know what the Messiah will be teaching when He returns and establishes His kingdom.

22. They did not expect He would teach using parables and riddles.

The Israelites expected the Messiah to teach Torah to all peoples; therefore, they expected Him to teach in a simple and understandable way so that all peoples of the world, from child to foreigner, would properly understand the commandments and instructions.  They did not believe, since they were believers of God, that He would come teaching them specifically in a way that would cause them have any questions at all.  Whether this was based on the haughtiness of their hearts or more on their own ignorance, we don’t know, but it is apparent that even the disciples were not expecting the Messiah to speak in parables and riddles.  This becomes apparent in the Gospel of Matthew when the subject of teaching parables was addressed.

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”  MAT 13:10

Yeshua explained His purpose.

Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  MAT 13:13

This answer seems to suggest that the Messiah was addressing those who thought they had God all figured out.  This is actually a very powerful teaching technique called “disequilibrium.”  It uses logical imbalance and sharp contrast to force the learner into a reconciliation mode of thinking.  As the learner tries to rebalance (make sense out of it) the learner takes concepts already understood, expands them, and attaches even greater concepts to them.  Yeshua used earthly things to explain heavenly concepts.

All these things Yeshua spoke to the multitudes in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable, so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.”  MAT 13:34-35

This is an utterly fascinating point made by the Apostle Matthew.  Examine the prophecy from the Psalm that is quoted here.

(A Maskil of Asaph.) Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.  PSA 78:1-4

Verse 2 is the actual quote by Matthew, but the power of this prophetic word is actually what the Messiah did, speaking in parables and dark sayings (riddles) and did not conceal them.  He spoke of things we knew to explain that which we did not know.  Here we are today testifying of how powerful His teaching was.

What follows further in Psalm 78 is a commentary on how parables and riddles were a part in the Messiah’s work of redemption. 

For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children, that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.  PSA 78:5-8

Messiah came and taught us to put our trust in God and that if we are to love God then we must keep His commandments.  This was the purpose of Yeshua ushering in the New Covenant – to write the Law (His commandments) on our hearts.

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  JER 31:33

Once your heart is right before God and you are on the path of obedience the parables and riddles of Yeshua are clear and understood.

23. They expected He would be a judge, a priest, a king, and a prophet.

The Messiah was expected to fill four profiles of leadership.  As a judge, the Messiah was to be wiser than Solomon in rendering judgments for mankind.  Ultimately, He was to render eternal judgment deciding who would receive eternal reward or judgment.  As a priest, He was not to be a Levite or a descendent of Aaron.  Instead, He was to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek whose name meant the King of Righteousness.  Melchizedek was the priest of the Most High to whom Abram paid tithes.  As a king, the Messiah was to be the King of Israel as the son of David.  And finally, as a prophet, He was to be raised up from among our countrymen and be like Moses, bringing the Word of God directly from God down to us.

We saw the Messiah come as a prophet and a priest to accomplish the work of redemption.  He spoke to us as a prophet and completed the Lamb of God sacrifice as a priest.  He specifically stated that He had not come to judge.  When He comes to complete the restoration of things, He will come as Judge and King, completing the judgment.  This is why He quoted the prophet Daniel and warned the High Priest Caiaphas and the other leaders that the next time they saw Him He would come as a King.

I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.  And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.  DAN 7:13-14

24. They expected He would reign as King forever.

This expectation was dominant in the minds of all Israel.  From the moment the wise men of the East came inquiring about the birth of the Messiah, everyone was expecting a king to be born.  At His death He was charged with sedition because He did not deny that He was King of the Jews; however, Yeshua said that His kingdom was different from what men saw as a kingdom.

Some expected the Messiah to be like an earthly king who would lead armies of Israelites in defeating other nations.  Many have suggested that if Yeshua was the Messiah He should have kicked the Romans out of Israel.  This apparently was the vision of the Messiah if you were a zealot.  Zealots had a very political slant in their messianic view. 

The Sadducees had the idea that the Messiah would rule from the temple in Jerusalem and everything would be centralized around that one place.  You would go see the King there after passing through their gates.  Even more so, they believed that He would be so great a King that all things previous, even the teaching of Moses, would diminish because of the greatness of Messiah kingdom.

The Pharisees saw Messiah as not only King of Israel but of all peoples and tribes of the world.  Therefore, He would be King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.  They did not see His greatness causing anything previous, such as the Torah, to be diminished.  Instead, they believed that He would cause all previous truths, specifically the Torah, to be made even greater, to the extent that the Torah would be taught by the Messiah to all people, thus one law for the whole world.

But there was one other expectation that everyone agreed with and anticipated.  The Messiah would rule for forever and into eternity.  They saw and anticipated that He would be eternal, a kingdom with no end based on their understanding of the prophet Daniel. . .

His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.  DAN 7:14b

25. They expected He would be filled with the seven spirits of God (Holy Spirit).

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Messiah and His anointing based on the Spirit of God.  He defined the seven spirits of God and explained why the Messiah’s leadership and judgment would be above any man because the Messiah had all of the spirits of God.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse [the father of King David], and a branch [the Messiah] from his roots will bear fruit.  And the Spirit of the Lord (1) will rest on Him [the Messiah], the spirit of wisdom (2) and understanding (3), the spirit of counsel (4) and strength (5), the spirit of knowledge, (6) and the fear of the Lord (7).  And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.  Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.  ISA 11:1-5

The Messiah renders His judgments based on the Spirit (the inward things of the heart), not on the outward things as men judge.  When other men have been anointed by the Spirit of God they have not received all seven Spirits.  Typically, they have received one or two.  For example, it was understood that a wise man received the Spirits of “Wisdom” and the “Fear of the Lord.”  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  A man of understanding (such as Daniel the prophet) received the Spirits of “Knowledge” and “Understanding.”  A king was anointed with the Spirits of “Counsel” and “‘Strength/Might.”  This is why Solomon’s kingship was unique.  He requested and received the Spirit of “Wisdom” in addition to the previous two.  However, the Messiah was to receive all seven.  This is also why He can give us the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This anointing of the Spirit must come directly from God or from another who shares their anointing.

26. They did not expect the Messiah to be “a suffering servant.”

The Messiah was expected to be a King who would rule forever.  A suffering servant is the other end of the spectrum.  To this day, many religious Jews dismiss Yeshua as the Messiah because he did suffer, whereas Christians proclaim His Messiahship because He suffered for us.  The disconnect in this expectation comes from the interpretation of the prophet Isaiah.

Who has believed our message?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.  He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.   Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.  ISA 53:1-6

This is one of the most powerful prophecies of the Messiah.  It clearly describes the manner of harm that Yeshua suffered at His crucifixion and death.  In fact, it is so powerful in its prediction that Jews reading this passage think it must be Christian material or part of the New Testament.  It shocks Jews to discover its existence in the Tanach.  Therefore, Rabbis have tried to explain away the suffering servant as being “Israel.”  This explanation is an embarrassment to those putting it forth.  The problem is that the Jews cannot reconcile how a Majestic Messiah King who reigns forever can possibly be the suffering servant of this passage.  Therefore, the disciples themselves weren’t sure what the Messiah was saying when He said He would have to suffer and die before He could come to them again.

Some of His disciples therefore said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me;’ and, ‘because I go to the Father?’” And so they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while?’ We do not know what He is talking about.” Yeshua knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not behold Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me?’”  JOH 16:17-19

Even the disciples of Yeshua had no expectation that Yeshua the Messiah would have to suffer first.

27. They did not expect He would be betrayed and valued for 30 pieces of silver.

In the same manner as the suffering servant neither the disciples nor any in Israel expected the Messiah to be betrayed and valued for 30 pieces of silver in the exchange.  It is commonly understood that there was a prophecy of sorts referring to a valuation but no one had put it together until the events unfolded in front of the disciples.  Here is the specific prophecy.

And I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.  Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.  ZEC 11:12-13

Judah Iscariot betrayed the Lord.  In all likelihood, he never saw himself in the prophecy of Zechariah.  It was only afterward that the disciples realized who the prophet was speaking of.  Judas did accept payment of 30 pieces of silver.  In his remorse (but it was too late) he threw the money back at the elders of the temple.  They could not use it in the temple because it was blood money so they purchased a potter’s field (a burial place for the poor).

By the way, the prophecy in Zechariah chapter 11 goes on to say many things about the antimessiah who is to come.  I wonder if the end time believers will learn a lesson here and expect those things of him.

28. They did not expect He would be “cut off” prior to 50 years of age.

The book of Daniel almost did not make it into the Old Testament Scriptures, the controversy stemming from his prophecy about the Messiah.  It is the prophecy where the word Messiah is first used and it says that the Messiah will be “cut off” and the temple with Jerusalem will be destroyed.  So adverse and contested were these two predictions that the entire book was questioned as to its inspiration.  Here is the prophecy in question.

Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.  DAN 9:26

Because of the rest of the text, the book of Daniel was made a part of the Tanach; however, the idea that the Messiah would be killed and temple destroyed with Jerusalem was completely contrary to any Israelite’s thinking. 

In Hebrew thinking, the term “cut off” means that death occurs prior to the age of 50.  It is said of a man who dies prior to 50 that his life was “cut off.”  If he lives to 70, he had a “full life.”  If he dies after 80, he had a “long life.”  Therefore this prophecy spoke of the Messiah’s death being prior to 50 years of age.

So, what did they expect would happen when the Messiah did come.  Answer: nothing.  They simply ignored the prophecy.  In describing the death of Yeshua and His description of the temple and Jerusalem to be destroyed even the disciples never spoke of it.  Only Matthew repeated what Yeshua said on the Mount of Olives when He quoted the prophet Daniel about the Abomination of Desolation.  Daniel 9:26 is embedded in the prophecy about the Abomination of Desolation and the 70 weeks.

29. They did not expect He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey.

The expectation of the Messiah to come was of a champion on a white horse with trumpets heralding a fanfare.  The idea of the Messiah riding a small donkey in Jerusalem with widows and orphans cheering was not consistent with a triumphal entry; however, the prophecy spoke to this very point.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  ZEC 9:9

30. They expected He would show Himself to be the Redeemer at the Feast of Redemption (Passover).

If you were to ask a first century Israelite when he was expecting the Messiah to come, he would not hesitate to say, “The Redeemer will come at the Feast of Redemption.”  This is why Yeshua frequently lamented that His time was not yet when given the opportunity to clearly say that He was the Messiah.  It was at the Passover, the Feast of Redemption, when He said that His time had come.  It was at the Passover that Yeshua fulfilled the vast majority of the prophecies of the Messiah from Abraham’s promise that “the Lord will provide the Lamb Himself in that place” to Moses’ instruction to be passed from death to life by the covering of the Lamb’s blood.  The Passover is the centerpiece of Messianic prophecy.  The Gospel testimony of the Passover seder meal (the last supper) with the disciples spells out all of the details of the work of redemption and how it guided the Messiah in His last hours with the disciples.  In particular, Judas left to fulfill his betrayal just after dipping in the bitter herbs together with the Messiah.

Yeshua did meet the expectations of the Passover.  This is why the Gospels devote multiple chapters to the immediate days leading up to and the actual night of Passover.

As a side note:  Today, the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) serves us just as the Passover did then to explain His soon return.

31. They expected the Messiah would inaugurate a New Covenant.

The prophecy had said that there would be a new covenant made with Israel.  The prophet Jeremiah explained that it would be like the covenant that God made with Moses.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.  “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”  JER 31:31-34

When God made the covenant with Israel and Moses it established the nation of Israel.  It was more than an agreement with the fathers.  It was expected, therefore, that the Messiah would make this new covenant, one even greater than the one with Moses.  Jeremiah’s comparison to the writing of God’s law on our hearts instead of tablets of stone only serves to re-enforce this expectation of the Messiah.

32. They did not expect He would be lifted up like Moses staff and be crucified.

The death of the Messiah by being raised up like Moses staff in the wilderness was not understood or expected.  Crucifixion was so egregious that a Roman citizen never suffered it as punishment.  It was reserved for foreigners and the worst of non-citizen criminals.  However, the prophecy of Moses’ staff with the serpent wound around it was mentioned by Yeshua several times.  Here is one example as He explained to others

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  JOH 3:14

33. They did not expect He would be a sacrifice for sin for all of mankind.

The law of sacrifices given to the priests was a profound picture of substitution.  God established this substitution system by use of an altar and a priest to sacrifice animals brought by those who wished to make amends for unintentional mistakes.  Intentional sins, willful and defiant sins did not have animal sacrifices specified.  Instead, the penalty of the law was death.  So, what was a man to do if he intentionally sinned?  This is clearly an area that the Messiah would have explain further.  Moses had only taught us about mercy.  The Messiah would have to teach us about God’s grace, but did Israel expect this?  Apparently not.

Even when Abram was instructed to take Isaac up to Mount Moriah and offer him back to God, the Israelites did not understand how the Messiah would be offered in place of all men.  This was despite Abram’s promise that God would provide the lamb.  It just didn’t seem to sink in that calling the Messiah the Lamb of God would mean that He would be ultimately sacrificed for our sins.

John the Baptist seemed to have this expectation.  Maybe this is why he introduced the Messiah to us all as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

The Law of Moses required an acceptable sacrifice to be a substitute for willful sin, one that could pass one from a death sentence to eternal life.

34. They did not expect He would be raised from the dead Himself.

Even the disciples did not believe it, but he Messiah had said that He would go away for a while and then return to them.  He had shown that He had the power over death by raising Lazarus.  But it was hard to believe something that wonderful.  It is only logical.  If the Messiah was to raise all the past saints from the grave, then He must have the power to raise Himself as well.  This was the concern of the religious rulers who had condemned Him to Pilate.  They too had heard of this expectation and they requested Roman guards to watch over His tomb.  They justified it as a precaution against His disciples stealing His body and then saying He had been raised.  Like Joseph’s brethren who pulled him out the pit and sold him, they never imagined that one day Joseph would be in charge of their world.  In the same way, those who put Yeshua in the grave (everyone’s sins) don’t realize that He left that grave and will one day be in charge of the entire world.

One thing is clear, no one had perfect expectations to match the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming.  Many, especially in leadership, therefore rejected Yeshua’s testimony and deeds because He did not meet their expectations, but in the end Yeshua did fulfill the prophecies and continues to do so to this day.