88. “Who is Causing this Shadow?”

Dr Karl Coke

Jesus said to the Jews, “For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:36-40)

This verse reveals a most important point in the on-going dialogue between Jews and Christians over Jesus being the Messiah (Christ). Jews study the Torah assuming that they are already saved. They study the Torah looking for insights into a better life. Christians, on the other hand, read the Bible looking for the way leading to eternal life. They are predisposed to look for the Messiah on every page of the Old and New Covenants.

In John 5:39, Jesus tells all people to study (not just read) the Scriptures looking for testimony about Messiah. Rabbi Neusner in his book Jews and Christians says in his preface, “Christianity reads the Bible, Judaism studies the Torah.” Here, he is correct. On page 15, however, he is totally wrong. The entire book attempts to prove that there is no need for Jews and Christians to dialogue. Says he, “Jews and Christians have, in fact, nothing in common, at least nothing in common that matters very much.”

Jews and Christians have in common the belief of God’s Messiah. It is their most important common belief. It was God Himself who made the first prophecy concerning His Messiah. He said to the serpent (Satan – Rev. 20:2), in Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head (2nd Coming), and you will strike his heel (1st Coming).” God’s own prophecy concerning His Messiah will be fulfilled! His Messiah will seem to be “stricken” (at the Cross) by the anti-Messiah, but His Messiah has resurrected and will utterly destroy the head of Satan (Rev. 20:1-10). Additionally, according to God’s own prophecy, His Messiah will be born of a woman, and there will be hatred between Messiah and anti-Messiah. I ask, “Who caused this first shadow?”

One must ask, “Where did Christians get the idea of a Messiah in the first place. Did they get it from the Japanese? The Inuit? The Mayans? No! The idea of a Messiah came from the Jews. The Jews got the idea from God. God revealed His Messiah first to the Jews from His Word (Torah, Prophets and the Writings). An expert in the Torah, Paul, said of it, “These (items in the Old Testament) are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Messiah.” According to Paul, Jesus the Messiah, was the one causing the “shadows” known to Jews in their TaNaK (Bible) as “the written code,” “regulations,” “festivals,” “celebrations” and Shabbatim.”

It should be noted here that a shadow is caused by a light source (God – I John 1:5) and a person (Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15; II Cor. 4:4). A shadow may seem unclear when it is a long distance from its cause. However, as a shadow gets closer to its cause it becomes clearer. Shadows are cast forward away from their cause. The Messiah predates Creation, therefore His shadow is cast forward through the Old Testament. Remember also that a shadow looks similar to its cause. Since Paul is correct in Colossians 2:17, one can reasonably expect to find exact shadows of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, in the Torah. We must however, depend upon God’s Holy Spirit to bring the shadows of Messiah closer to Him in order for us to see He and they more clearly. Jesus told his talmudim (disciples), “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

Since the idea of a Messiah comes from the Jews, all of the information concerning the Messiah must be contained in the Torah, Prophets and the Writings (Old Testament). None of the Apostles or Jesus preached the Gospel from the New Testament. Their messages about salvation and the Messiah came exclusively from the Hebrew Scriptures. This means that all of the details concerning the identity and activity of the Messiah are contained in the Hebrew Scriptures (TaNaK).

There is a myth about how many times the Messiah would come to earth. The myth holds that Jews believe He has not yet come and when He does it will be His “first” coming. The myth also teaches that Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah and that He has come one time and will come to earth a “second” time. The recent past Mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollech, would always greet our tour groups. He would say, “I have the best job in the world. I must prepare Jerusalem for the coming of Messiah! For some, the ‘first’ time, and for others, the ‘second.’” Then he would wink at the crowd. He was obviously playing to both groups. However, he perpetuated the myth.

The truth is that the Messiah should come twice is a Jewish idea. Christians got this idea from the Jews. In Matthew 24, Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, is here on earth sitting on the Mt. of Olives and talking to Jews. He has obviously come once (the first time) because he is sitting with His disciples. In verse 3 they ask Him, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming …?” These Jews are not asking the Messiah about the time and conditions of His “first” coming! They are asking about the timing and conditions of the Messiah’s “second” coming! Jews know about the “second” coming of Messiah. In the letter written to Jews in the Diaspora we find these words, “So Messiah was (first coming) sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin; but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28) I find it particularly interesting that the only New Testament usage of the exact term “second” coming of Messiah appears in the letter to Jews.

Deuteronomy 19:15 requires that a matter be established in the “mouth of two or three witnesses.” Therefore, there must be at least two or three witnesses containing the shadow of Messiah in the Torah, Prophets and Writings. We can no longer abide the two or three false witnesses written about Messiah contained in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 11, p. 1407. It reads, “The ‘Immanuel prophecy’ in Isaiah is completely irrelevant, … The title ‘Messiah’ (Mashiach) as a designation of the eschatological personality does not exist in the Old Testament … However for ancient Judaism the idea of eschatological salvation was more important than the concept of Messiah.” It is time for truth to play out. There must be an end to Jews having two Messiahs (Messiah ben-David and Messiah ben-Joseph) to explain away God’s Messiah coming twice to earth. It is time for all to look and see Who cast the Messianic shadows found in the Old Testament.

Moses is the first big shadow who revealed that Messiah would come down twice. Moses came down from God (Exodus 32) with God’s Word the “first” time and was rejected by the Jews. They were worshipping an Egyptian god because Moses had taken so long in coming to them with God’s Word. After breaking the Tablets, Moses returned to God and came down to the people a “second” time with God’s Word restored (Ex. 34). It is the same Moses who twice came down from God. It is the same Moses whom the Jews accepted the “second” time to form the community of God. Likewise, it is the same Messiah, Jesus, Who came down from God twice. As an added note, David records in Psalm 14:2 that God (at Mt. Sinai) spoke to all mankind. What made the Jews unique is that they accepted and obeyed God’s Word the “second” time Moses brought it down.

God’s timing concerning the second coming of Messiah is revealed in the story of Moses’ “second” coming. Moses ascended Mt. Sinai on the first day of the Jewish 40-days of Awe, Av 30. He remained there the 29 days of Elul and the 10 days of Tishri, totaling 40 days. He descended on Tishri 10. Tishri 10 is God’s Feast called Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). 10 days earlier (Tishri 1), is God’s Feast of Trumpets. Therefore, a trumpet blasting must precede the “second” coming of Messiah (Zech. 9:14; I Cor. 15:52). The Messiah will have His Day of Judgment (II Peter 2) called Yom Kippur. Next, following “Trumpets” and “Judgment” will come “Tabernacles” where the Messiah will come and “tabernacle” with His people (Rev. 21:3).

This Mosaic “shadow” of Messiah is exquisite in every detail! The One causing this shadow in the Torah can be known! He preexisted the Torah and cast His Messianic shadow forward into the life of the second greatest prophet, Moses. This Moses said, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” At Hanukah, the Jews (John 10:24) gathered around Jesus on the Temple Mount and asked Him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” In verse 25, “Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe.’” Both Peter (Acts 3:22) and Stephen (Acts 7:37) quote Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15) regarding Jesus being God’s Prophet Messiah. As in the case of Moses, it appears that the Jews did not accept the Word-bearing Messiah the “first” time he came down from God (Zech. 9:9). However, they will when He comes the “second” time (Zech 12:10)!

A second large shadow revealing details of the “second” coming of Messiah is cast in the life of Joseph. Joseph has more details recorded about his life in the Bible than anyone except Jesus. His story contains so many details about Messiah that this article cannot describe them all. Even Jewish scholars concede the name of the Messiah to be Messiah ben-Joseph!

Joseph was the first-born of Jacob and Rachel, not the first-born of Jacob. According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17, Joseph’s “richly-ornamented” (first-born) coat belonged to Reuben, Jacob’s (and Leah’s) actual first-born. The actual first-born, Reuben (and all the older brothers), had a serious problem accepting a younger brother’s (Joseph the 11th born) authority over him (see Gen. 37 and Num. 16). The Jewish rejection of their younger brother Jesus as Lord will be overcome. It is resolved in the final prophecy of the Old Testament. Malachi 4:6 says God “will turn the hearts of the fathers (Jews?) to their children (Christians?) and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Regarding this prophecy, one thing is certain today. Christians the earth over are having their hearts turned to the Jews. It will not be long before the Jews turn their hearts as well.

Joseph (Gen. 37) had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. The first was about sheaves of grain (earthly lordship at his first coming) bowing down to him. The brothers did bow down to Joseph even though they did not recognize them. Even with that, Joseph provided grain for their survival and even secretly returned their grain purchase money. Why? Ephesians 2:1-10 makes it clear that the Messiah provides for all who will one day accept Him. Joseph’s second dream was about the sun, moon and stars (heavenly lordship at his second coming) bowing down to him. Like Jesus, Joseph was rejected by his own at his first coming. Like Jesus, Joseph was sent to the Gentiles to save them as well (Gen. 45:5). As a shadow of Messiah, Joseph was sent by God to make the nations obedient to Him (Gen. 49:8-12) until He would be revealed the second time to His brothers. But also like Jesus, Joseph’s brothers accepted him at his second coming.

Judah set the price to sell Joseph to the Gentiles at 20 shekels of silver (Gen. 37:28) because of the law of dedicating persons to the LORD. Leviticus 27:5 says the price of a man between the ages of five and twenty is to be 20 shekels of silver. Joseph was 17 at the time. Judah Iscariot set the price to sell Jesus at 30 shekels of silver because the law of recompensing one for the death of one’s servant was 30 shekels of silver (Ex. 21:32). Both sellers were named Judah and both knew the requirements of the Torah.

Like Jesus, Joseph (Gen. 39) is falsely accused and imprisoned not having committed any sin. Like Jesus (Matthew 27:62-66 & Matthew 28:11-15), Joseph’s Jewish brothers tell a two-part lie about his death, burial and resurrection (Genesis 37:20 &31-33). There is even a blood-stained robe common to both. In both cases, someone other than their Jewish brothers tells the lie. In Joseph’s case the blood-stained robe leads other Jews to believe that Joseph was dead. In Jesus’ case, the Roman guards led other Jews to believe that His disciples had stolen His body, implying Jesus was really dead. In both cases, some Jews (a remnant) knew the truth about the Messiah’s death, burial and resurrection. From Genesis 3:15 onward, Jewish prophets knew the Messiah must first suffer (Acts 3:18), be rejected and then rule and reign. Isaiah says of Messiah (50:6), “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” David says of Messiah (Psalm 69:8), “I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s sons.” Zechariah says of Messiah (14:4-5), “On that day his feet will stand on the Mt. of Olives … and all the holy ones with him.”

His Jewish brothers came to Joseph to be saved the “first” time (Gen. 42) but they did not recognize him. He looked and talked “Gentile” as does the Jesus of today’s Church. He was no longer 17 years of age. At 30 he had become savior of the world through a wise provision of storing grain. Joseph was nearing 40 years of age at the “second” coming of his Jewish brothers to be saved (Gen. 45). It is at this “second” coming that Joseph could no longer control his desire to reveal himself. He cleared the room of all Gentiles (Gen. 45:1 compare with Romans 11:25-26) and instantly revealed himself to his Jewish brothers. Following his revelation they confessed, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all …” (Gen. 45:26). Shortly thereafter, Joseph asked his Jewish brothers to live together with all the Gentiles who had already accepted him as lord of their lives! God was in Messiah making of the two, Jew and Gentile, one new man (Eph. 2:15).

Note that the Messiah says in Zechariah 8:3 that He will “return” to Zion to dwell in Jerusalem. You cannot return to a place if you have never been there before. Also note that He has “chosen” Jerusalem as His dwelling (Moshav – Psalm 132:13). Even so, Lord, come quickly and fulfill Romans 11:25-27. “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob, and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

(This article was first published on the Tishrei Web site “familyrestorationmagazine”)