At this holiday season (Chanukah and Christmas), we get a special glimpse of the marvelous way God chooses to reveal Himself through His word and through history.
Prior to the twelfth century, Judaism believed in two different Messiahs. The Messiah who would come, suffer and die was termed the suffering Messiah or Mashiach ben Yoseph. The other Messiah who would come to reign as King was known as Mashiach ben David. Looking at the New Testament, one sees the revelation of the first Messiah, or Mashiach ben Yosef, in the angel’s announcement of the birth of Yeshua to Miriam and Yosef.
When the angel appears to Yosef to direct him not to divorce Miriam because she was with child, the angel instructs him to name the child Yeshua “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The revelation of the suffering Mashiach also appears in Isaiah 53. The prophet describes the man of sorrows who “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53: 4) and who would ultimately save His people from their sins through His suffering, death and resurrection.
Yosef’s obeyed and accepted of Yeshua as his earthly son. Therefore, Yeshua became literally the son of Yoseph in the natural! We also know that Yeshua was Mashiach ben Yoseph as He suffered just like the Yoseph of Genesis did. Yeshua was not only figuratively the Mashiach ben Yoseph, but quite literally as well.
But there is more! What did the angel say to Miriam about Yeshua’s birth? He said that her child, who by way of blood line would be a literal son of David, would sit on His father, David’s, throne and reign over the House of Jacob forever. Among other passages, this takes us back to Daniel 6 where Messiah would come from heaven, destroy Israel’s enemies and set up a kingdom that would never end.
Through Mary’s lineage, Yeshua literally became the Mashiach ben David. And because Yeshua is Mashiach ben Yoseph, He would rule over the House of Jacob just as his forefather Yoseph ruled over his family after being mistreated by his family.
The angel spoke to Yoseph only about the suffering aspect of the Mashiach, thus describing Yeshua as Mashiach ben Yoseph literally and figuratively according to Jewish tradition. Coincidence? The angel spoke to Miriam about only the kingly aspect of the Mashiach, thereby describing him as Mashiach ben David. Is this by chance? Yeshua was and is Mashiach ben Yoseph in the literal and figurative sense. And He will literally come again as Mashiach ben David to reign over the whole earth from his throne in Jerusalem. Halleluiah!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop wondering about how perfectly God wove His plan into the whole narrative of the Bible ultimately to reveal the Savior and Light of the world who is also the king whom we long to see return!
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