Yeshua... Who Is He?
Dr. Michael L. Brown, who received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the director of the Coalition of Conscience, president of Fire School of Ministry, host of The Line of Fire radio show and is an author and international speaker.
As for Messianic Judaism, the Judaism that believes in Yeshua the Messiah, the facts are as follows: The sole authority for faith and practice is the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Covenants. Rather than the New Covenant being a late Gentile book, all its authors, save one, were Jews, who lived in the days before the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E. Many other traditions and customs added in the following centuries by the church have had nothing to do with the Bible and therefore have absolutely no connection with Messianic Judaism. Although some people may call them “Biblical” or “Christian”, they are totally devoid of scriptural authority.
The writers of the New Covenant were Jews who recognized that Messiah had come to atone for the sins of His people. They based their beliefs on the Hebrew Scriptures, and on the Hebrew Scriptures alone. Thus, they knew that Yeshua was the Jewish Messiah because He fulfilled the Old Covenant prophecies. If He did not fulfill the prophecies then they would not have followed Him. They recognized Him because He fit the description perfectly.
Then why didn’t the other Jewish leaders of the day acknowledge that Yeshua was in fact the Messiah? The answer again is simple: They weren’t looking for him. They were looking for another. The Messiah of the rabbis was not the Messiah of the Bible. And yet the thing they longed for most was the very thing they missed, for Messiah had come to save them from their sins.
So in 30 C.E., as Yeshua “approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. For you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you,’” (Luke 19:41-42). Forty years later Jerusalem was destroyed, and tens of thousands of her inhabitants were dead.
“But wait one second,” you say. Weren’t these rabbis the very ones who studied the Law day and night? And weren’t these the men who were responsible for some of the most beautiful prayers and teachings that were ever written? How did it happen, then, that some of the most scrupulous and zealous Jews who ever lived missed the Messiah? It is to this question that we now must turn.
There is no more important word in the Hebrew Bible than this if we are to understand God’s holy love for us - substitution
It is the key that unblocks the door to our redemptionl And it is the rock that makes men stumble. It alone can fully explain why Yeshua's own people missed Him, and it alone can open their eyes again. Substitution. Without this word Yeshua’s death is a farce.
The rabbis of the Talmud debated about how to be made right with God. While some recognized that “there was no atonement without the blood,” they didn’t all agree on the rest. Some said, “For certain sins, the Day of Atonement alone is sufficient,” while for other sins they argued, “There must be repentance as well.” For more serious offences they claimed that only the Day, plus repentance, plus suffering would do the trick, while for the worst sins of all they taught, “The only hope for forgiveness is in the Day of Atonement and death!”
And yet they missed the point of the Day, and they missed the point of the blood. They failed to grasp the lesson that was before their eyes.
Day after day, the Sadducees offered their sacrifices at the Temple. Thousands upon thousands of animals were slain, and gallons of blood were poured out on the altar. Lambs and goats and rams and calves were offered up to a holy God. Yet the people could not see.
The Pharisees studied the Torah day and night. They added new regulations to old laws, and they developed the most detailed system of ritual purity that the world has ever known. They taught that study of the Law was more loved by God than even the offerings themselves. Yet they failed to see the heart of the matter. They failed to grasp the fundamental meaning of it all.
For it was not the blood of bulls that God wanted for Himself; it was not the fat of rams that He desired. It was not a people of outward holiness that He sought; He did not require a new code that would keep men clean. No. He wanted a substitute, a righteous lamb who would bear His people’s sins. He wanted a spotless sacrifice who would purify the people within.
Over and over again, a thousand times ten thousand, the offerings were brought before the altar. And over and over again, in numbers too great to count, their innocent blood was spilled. And over and over again, the message of God was crying out “A substitute must come! A substitute must come!