Clearing Up Confusion About
A "Mashiach ben Yosef" and a "Mashiach ben David"
A "Mashiach ben Yosef" and a "Mashiach ben David"
(This article last revised 6-1-2014)
First, this is not about Jesus of Nazareth, even though Jesus was called Mashiach Yeshuah ben Yosef by many of his followers. It is about the modern Messiah (Mashiach) and about the son of Man Jesus spoke of, saying the future son of man would "first be rejected by his generation and suffer many things." (Luke 17:20-25)
Jesus was not speaking of himself when he said that, and he said it knowing about the prophecy of Isaiah, saying the Mashiach would be rejected so long he would fear his work had been in vain and for naught (Isaiah 49:1-7).
Of course, Jesus of Nazareth was known as Mashiach ben Yosef by multitudes of Jews in his generation who recognized that he was a Mashiach, a spiritually anointed son of Man. And, since Jesus' father Joseph was of the genealogical line of David, some called Jesus by the title of Mashiach ben David -- the "son of David" by lineage.
However, being the prophesied "branch of David" does not necessarily indicate genetic heritage. The servant-messenger of God is not chosen by men, nor is his mission inherited from a man. He is chosen by God.
However, Christians theology and canon was established on the assumption that Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of Judaism (or will, upon a so-called "second coming"), even though that assumption is incorrect. For Jesus himself said that he had to go away and would be seen no more, and that another son of Man would come at the end of the age Jesus ushered in.
Within scholarly messianic Judaism it is understood that Jesus was not the Mashiach (Messiah) that fulfilled all the prophecies, nor did he establish The New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah. Furthermore, nothing in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) mentions anything about a Mashiach being killed and then magically "coming again." Therefore, Jewish scholars in the rabbinical, talmudic, midrash and kabbalistic traditions are confident that Christian assumptions and expectations are misguided.
Fortunately, this article is one of many in this message that reveals how and why all the different theories, assumptions and expectation Jews and Christians have about the Messiah are not accurate and are based on misinterpretation and misunderstanding -- best guesses, if you will.
There is now an ample amount of evidence revealing that the modern Messiah fulfills the actual prophecies of Jesus and the preceding prophets of Judaism, but not as Jews and Christians or anyone else expected. For some of the crucial prophecies he fulfills have either gone unnoticed or been misunderstood and misinterpreted by religious leaders and scholars.
The modern Messiah does not favor any particular religion, or any particular people. He regards all religions, nations, races and cultures as equal in the sight of God. And even though Jews expect their own Mashiach (Messiah), Christians expect their Messiah, Muslims expect their Mahdi, Hindus expect their Avatar, Buddhists expect their Buddha, and other religions have other titles and names for their expected messianic figure, the truth is that there is but one person who fulfills all world prophecies about a messianic figure.
Granted, there have been and are many enlightened individuals who were blessed with the revelation of what God is and realized the Spirit of truth within, and some of them have assumed that they were or are that one. However, just as there is but One God, (called Brahman, Yahweh, Jehovah, The Supreme Universal Consciousness, The Absolute Tao, Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit-Parent, and many other names for The Holy One), so there is but one modern servant-messenger of God who delivers the promised judgment, counsel, and intercession that will ultimately liberate and empower the people of earth and ultimately produce lasting peace, freedom, and justice.
That person is not what anyone expected, though. And part of the reason why the world still rejects him even as an old man and does not know him yet, is because so many people have become disgusted with religion, and most religious people have been led to believe in myths and erroneous interpretations of prophecies.
Judaism is as divided over the issue of a Messiah as Christianity and Islam are. In fact, there is much confusion among Jews about their Mashiach (Messiah), and some Jews believe there will be no such individual. They believe that the "servant of God" who fulfills prophecies according to the book of Isaiah, for instance, is the nation and people of Israel collectively, not an individual.
However, most religious Jews do believe there will be one individual Mashiach. And even though the beliefs about such a one differ vastly, messianic Jews generally believe that during his lifetime Jews from all over the world would be able to “return” to the homeland of their ancestors; that the Mashaich will set judgment in the earth so that all the nations will honor the judgment and consent to serve the Lord Our God; and that God's servant, the Mashiach, will establish global peace throughout the world so that the people of earth may finally transform their “swords into plowshares.”
However, while those beliefs are true, they are complicated by cultural and ethnocentric Jewish expectations regarding beliefs about such issues as Jerusalem, "Zion," a "third temple," the "house of the Lord" and other issues raised by misunderstood symbolic prophecies. And that prevents some Jews from seeing the global big picture, because they misunderstand what those terms really mean.
Those issues are discussed in other articles, but this one focuses on one Jewish messianic belief, which is about a Mashiach ben Joseph and a Mashiach ben David ("ben" meaning "son of"), which they believe will be two different individuals.
Making this issue more complicated, many Christians have been led to believe that Jesus of Nazareth was both the Messiah ben Joseph and the Messiah ben David (since his father Joseph was a descendant of King David). And certain erroneous Christians beliefs are held deeply even though Jesus meant what he said when he said that he had come to bring not peace but division; that he must go away and be seen no more on earth; and that the promised judgment would come at the end of the age he ushered in.
So, you can see why all these different beliefs are problematic and have caused much confusion, which is why it is important that we understand how and why they were established.
However, we should perhaps first discuss what a Mashiach or Messiah really is, especially for the benefit of Christians who await a magical "second coming" of Jesus of Nazareth. And, since they have been led to believe that Jesus was both a Messiah and The Savior, the issue about the meaning and the difference between a Mashiah/Messiah and God The Savior should be addressed and clarified.
What a Mashiach (Messiah) Really Is
Mashiach, or Messiah in English, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe chief priests and kings who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25. However, the anointing that actually qualifies a Mashiach is not actually physical or determined by men and clerics. The most important anointing is spiritual, and it is not determined by ineritance or genealogy. It is determined and given only by God.
For example, Cyrus the Great, the king of ancient Persia, though not a Hebrew, is referred to in the book of Isaiah (45:1) as one of God’s “anointed,” which is what the title of Mashiach or Christus or Messiah or Christ actually means. And, as Isaiah wrote, Cyrus did not even know God had anointed him.
Furthermore, Christians do not recognize the difference between a Messiah and The Savior God. As is written in the book of Isaiah, besides the eternal omnipresent God, there is no Savior, and a Messiah is in fact a servant of God.
That was actually made clear by Jesus when he said "God is greater than I," and "You have not heard the voice of God or seen God's shape at any time." It was also made clear throughout the book of Isaiah, and it couldn't have been written more specifically than when writing in the voice of God's word Isaiah wrote that the Lord Our God said: "I am the Holy One. Before me there was no God formed, and neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord God, and beside me there is no Savior." (Isaiah 43:10-11)
In fact, Isaiah repeated that in Isaiah 45:21-22 speaking in the voice of God’s word, which says: “I am a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is none else.” For only in the eternal, omnipresent God is redemption and salvation, and, as King David wrote: "There is no salvation in the son of man."
The Pauline theology of Christian Apologetics conveniently ignores such statements. But, as is discussed in the article titled A Messiah Is Not the Savior, in the Jewish tradition the distinction between a Mashiach (Messiah) and the Savior God he serves is made very clear, and Hebrew scriptures make it even more clear that we should not compare or even liken any man to God.
That distinction was blurred by those who produced the texts of the official Christian church canon (Bible) and the Nicene Creed, which declares that Jesus was "God Incarnate." And even though Jesus knew better, his followers apparently did not understand and instead claimed Jesus was "Lord God and Savior." And that has been very problematic, to say the least.
The problem is that the official church canon and Bible reveals that its writers lacked any understanding that when Jesus said "I and my Father are One," he meant it in the sense that he was not merely a Mashiach, but also an Avatar who realized his oneness with God, as we all can. Therefore he spoke as and for the Holy One, which is why he said "Before Abraham was, I am," because the Lord God is, was and shall always be, and is realized from within.
Fortunately for us, Jesus knew and understood the book of Isaiah, which helped him prophesy about a son of man who would come at the end of the age, who, unlike Jesus, would be first rejected by his generation.
He is known by many different names and titles by different religions, but he accepts only the title of counselor and servant-messenger of God and the Spirit of truth. For the son of man is not "God Himself" or a "God-Man" or even a holy man, contrary to what many have been led to believe. In fact, as the book of Isaiah reveals, he is a man contrite of spirit, having been stricken and afflicted for his covetousness and willfulness, and he is a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief.
Why the World Does Not Recognize the Messiah and Son of Man
Regardless of his name or title, he represents or expresses the universal Spirit of truth and delivers the crucial, promised judgment. But, because there are so many different interpretations of prophecies and so many different expectations, the world does not know who or what he is, which is partly why he is rejected by his generation as Isaiah and Jesus predicted.
The main reason the world does not know or recognize him is because Hindus, Buddhists and others are unaware of what form, role and path the counselor and principal teacher of righteousness will take. And, he is rejected by most other people because the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures have been grossly misinterpreted and misunderstood, not only by Christians and Muslims, but by Jews as well.
In fact, if you polled religious Jews, Christians and Muslims, today most would probably say they believe the Mashiach or Messiah or Mahdi will be a mighty warlord king who rises up in Jerusalem to conquer their enemies. And again, there are a wide variety of other beliefs.
As mentioned above, the assumption of Christians was and still is that Jesus was called the Messiah ben Joseph and was therefore the Messiah ben David by genealogical lineage. And, since Jesus obviously did not fulfill the most crucial messianic prophecies (such as uniting nations, establishing equal rights and social justice, international peace, and transforming "swords into plowshares"), Christianity is built around the erroneous idea that Jesus will "come again" in person to do so.
In the articles like The Second Coming Story you will see that such an expectation is contradictory to the words of Jesus himself, and it is also based on an assumption that is incompatible and inconsistent with Hebrew scriptures. In fact, the Hebrew Tanakh (Bible) contains no indication that a certain son of man will come, be killed, and come again. And, as this and related articles reveal, most of the Hebrew prophecies are not about Jesus.
Knowledgeable Jews are well aware of that, which is part of the reason why in certain Jewish messianic traditions within Talmudic Judaism and Midrash writings, messianic prophecies will be fulfilled by a Messiah ben Joseph who is imagined to be a great warrior, who will be followed after the wars by a Mashaich ben David, who will be the “final redeemer.”
Ironically, the legendary expectation of two Messiahs has a significant element of truth to it. In fact, that may have been why the story and myth of a "second coming" of Jesus was established, because Jesus was a son of Joseph (see the article about The Virgin Birth Myth), and the story of a second coming would then enable a "returned" Jesus as the Messiah ben David or "son of David" to be the "final redeemer."
However, such myths and legends were based on guesses and assumptions, because the actual modern Messiah represents many figures. For example, he "brings Jacob again," and he is the "son" of both Joseph and David, as well as the son of "Nun" (like the original Joshuah), as you will see.
The world does not know that because, again, the Messiah who now fulfills prophecies is not who anyone expected. After all, his mission is not to elevate any particular religion above others, and it is certainly not to perpetuate and escalate the militant and malicious activity of those who practice "holy war." Instead, it is to show humanity how we can and why we should practice the ways of peace, and love one another regardless of religion, race, nationality or culture.
The modern son of man and Messiah is a counselor and servant-messenger. He is not a warrior king, nor is he like Jesus was according to Christian writings. Moreover, he is not literally a "son of" Joseph or David, nor is he literally born in the genealogical line of David. He was called and chosen by God, not by Man, nor by biological inheritance. He serves as the "root of Jesse" and a "branch of David" because he serves in the Spirit of truth realized by all true servants of the eternal, infinite, omnipresent Holy One we call God.
Because Judaism has such an impact, because Christianity and Islam are the two biggest religions in the world, and because he fulfills the Judeo-Christian prophecies, he tells you how and why. But another reason he is not partial to any particular religion is because as as the Founders of America knew, God, by any other name, is the Creator and Nature's God, the God of the Universe and the Great Spirit-Parent of all human beings.
Even the ancient Hebrew prophets realized that, even though they spoke in rather ethnocentric and nationalistic terms in those times. Today, however, we need to rise above and advance beyond the tribal, ethnic, racial, cultural and nationalistic distinctions that have divided us and caused such conflict. For we need to advance, and progress toward a brighter future for all.
The Story of "Two Messiahs"
A discussion of the Jewish stories or legends of Messiah ben Joseph (or Mashiach ben Yosef) and Messiah ben David will be of great help in understanding the true meaning of the prophecies in the Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, knowing the Jewish stories that have developed over time makes it easy to see why somewhat similar Christian stories and legends developed (like Jesus dying, being physically "resurrected" and then later someday "coming again"). And knowing all the stories helps us finally come much closer to understanding the actual truth.
Since Judaism is the foundation of both Christianity and Islam, it should be said again that according to certain traditional beliefs within Judaism, Messiah ben Joseph is imagined to be a great warrior who will be followed after the wars by Mashaich ben David.
In that interpretation and scenario, the Messiah ben Joseph is depicted as a political and military warrior who leads the wars against the evil forces — notably the forces of an “Armilus,” a strong king and enemy of Israel, as well as the forces of “Gog, of the land of Magog” mentioned in the beginning of chapters 38 and 39 of the book of Ezekiel and also mentioned in John's book of Revelation as "Gog and Magog."
Now, while some Rabbinical scholars have concluded that Messiah ben Joseph will be victorious, according to certain interpretations and scenarios, Joseph “dies” fighting the war but his efforts pave the way for a Mashiach ben David. And the idea that a Messiah ben Joseph “dies” is usually based on a prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 which states: "they shall mourn him as one mourns for an only child."
However, Zechariah Chapter 12 does not speak of a Joseph, but of one who is “like David” but who is “feeble” (12:8) and is wounded. And Jeremiah 30:17 says God will "restore" his health and "heal his wounds,"" which coincides with Isaiah 57:13-19 which says God will "heal him and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners."
Even so, the idea that a Messiah ben Joseph dies and is succeeded by a Messiah ben David, while not literally true, is ironically appropriate, metaphorically. For as an old man, the actual modern Messiah and modern son of man has gone through many stages and suffered many "wounds" and many other things, as both Isaiah and Jesus prophesied. But, while he is now feeble and depends on God for any physical strength he can muster, he grows and changes in spirit.
The actual Messiah is first stricken and afflicted and suffers many things as he delivers his work and judgment before him. He has waged a “war of words” by delivering the promised judgment against the leaders of the world who have become corrupt, and he has made sure people are aware of it.
But then, finally, as an old man, he realizes why he suffers so many things, why he has faced death so many times, and why he still faces death, so he gives up his judgmental mission and ultimately becomes the compassionate but firm counselor that he was destined to become. And he is thus spiritually reborn or spiritually “resurrected,” and perhaps further "healed" and kept alive as he has been repeatedly for the last 32 years since he was first stricken and afflicted.
That coincides with the description of the Messiah in Isaiah Chapters 48 and 57, which describe him as one who is "stricken and afflicted" not only for the iniquity of his people, but also for the "iniquity of his covetousness and willfulness" (Isaiah 57:15-21, and Isaiah 48:10-11).
Moreover, Jeremiah 30:11 also speaks of God's "correcting" him, and "punishing" him. And that is consistent with Isaiah 49:2-5 which says he is like Jacob (who was renamed or was also called Israel, since the name Israel means “he who struggles with God").
In reality, the modern son of man knows he should not judge but he knew he must, and he knows he should love even his enemy but he doesn’t. Like Jesus, he hates the "Nicolaitans" and greedy hypocrites. Thus he struggles with that dilemma and the struggle between hate and guilt until it nearly kills him -- which is consistent with Isaiah 53:12 which says he is numbered with the transgressors and bares his soul and is faithful to his mission even if it might lead to his death.
Even so, Isaiah 53:10 states: "Yet it pleased the Lord to crush him by disease to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see results, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the Lord might prosper by his hand." (Quoting the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible)
But again, Jeremiah 30:17 says God will "restore" his health and "heal his wounds,"" which coincides with Isaiah 57:13-19 which says God will "heal him and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners." And that speaks to the modern Messiah who has been stricken and afflicted, wounded numerous times, suffers many things, and is a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief, as Isaiah describes.
The Names of the Messiah, and His Mission
Regarding names of the Messiah in the official Hebrew canon, certain prophecies mention his being a “branch of David” and a “servant Israel” who “brings Jacob again” (since Jacob was renamed Israel because he struggled with God). But, the name of Joseph is mentioned in ancient Essene Hebrew texts that were not discovered until 1947 in Qumran near the Dead Sea, and Joseph is also mentioned in the Talmud and Midrash writings, which are scholarly commentaries and interpretations of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
Joseph is most notably mentioned in Dead Sea Scrolls Qumran fragments 4Q372 (c. 200 BCE) and 4Q175 (c. 100 BCE), as well as in the Babylonian Talmud Suk. 52a,b. And it is likely that all of those texts were fairly well known during the first century BCE (BC) and the first and second centuries CE (which is why Christian thought Jesus was Messiah ben Joseph).
The Dead Sea Scrolls, like the Nag Hammadi Library and other non-canonical religious texts, were probably not hidden until the late fourth century when the "official" Pauline Christians began burning religious texts that were not included in the official church canon. After all, some of the Qumran scrolls have been dated to about 318 CE (AD), and the book burning started in 391 CE at the Great Library of Alexandria, where misguided Christians caused about 400,000 valuable scrolls from all over the known world to be destroyed in flames.
However, even though we now know much more about the origins and development of Judaism and Christianity, we should understand that the modern Messiah is sent by God to help explain the meaning of the prophecies in scriptures. For all the first and second century interpretations of scriptures, as well as all the modern interpretations of scriptures, have been based on best guesses, conjecture, and assumptions.
That is why it helps to understand prophecies as the modern son of man and Messiah has come to understand them, because while part of them are literal, part of them are symbolic or metaphorical.
For example, Zechariah 12:8 is symbolic where it says “and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.” Another example is in Jeremiah 33:15-17: "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely. And this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord of our righteousness. For thus says the Lord: ‘David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.’"
Of course Judah will not be saved until after the judgment corrects "Judah" and Israel. And notice that David shall never want any man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel, which is why Jesus did not, and why the modern Messiah will not.
In fact, according to the book of Isaiah the modern Messiah is hidden as he sends his work before him. And he will not even speak as an orator in public as Jesus did, but instead tells the world in writing that we shall all share the "thrones" of our nations as equal joint heirs to the new "kingdom" of God wherein only the Lord Our God reigns in Spirit.
Furthermore, Zechariah and Jeremiah are symbolic regarding the "tribes" of Judah and Israel, because the historic record shows that Judah was actually conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. And, when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity having been freed by Persian King Cyrus, tribal affiliations were abandoned.
Therefore, "Judah" in terms of the fulfillment of prophecy means the "House of Judah" and is like the "House of Jacob," signifying not actual groups of people or any particular nation, but what the names Judah and Jacob represent in a spiritual sense. For in that sense, we are all of the house of Judah, the house of Jacob, and the house of our God. Thus, all nations shall come under God's umbrella, and tribal, ethnic and racial distinctions will become far less significant.
Now, regarding the Messiah's mission, he is not a warrior who uses carnal, deadly weapons, because the weapons of the Lord's warfare are written words of truth. And there has been nothing magic or supernatural about his coming. In fact, it has been painstakingly real.
Religious people are unaware of that, though, because they've been led to believe otherwise. Many like the idea of a warrior king, and religious myths are obvious examples of that. And, in some circles of Rabbinical Jews who have been influenced by what was written in the ancient Hebrew texts among The Dead Sea Scrolls, they think a Messiah ben Joseph is not only depicted as a righteous warrior who is mortally wounded and suffering. It is also said that he also cries out to God citing Psalms 22 and 89 of King David.
That is rather odd, though, because Psalm 22 is not consistent with a heroic warrior scenario:
Psalm 22: 1-9: “To the leader, upon Aijaleth Sha-har, a psalm of David: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, and ignored my cry for help? O my God, I call but you do not answer, and there is end to my suffering. Yet you are Holy, you that are enthroned. In you did our fathers trust, and you delivered them. Unto you they cried, and in you did they trust. But I am a worm, and no man, chided by men, and despised by the people. All they that see me laugh at and scorn me. They shake their head and say: 'Let him commit himself unto the Lord! Let the Lord God rescue him. Let God deliver him, seeing that God delights in him.'”
That prophecy is a translation from the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. In most Christian versions 22:1 starts with “My God, ...” but they leave out “To the leader, upon Aijaleth Sha-har,” which Jews interpret as “upon the hind of the morning,” or “upon the dawn of the day.” However, it could also be interpreted as “upon the dawn or first light of the new age,” or olam or aeon.
Anyway, all those who believe that it refers to Messiah are correct. It does indeed. But it's not about a warrior and leader of an army. It's about the same servant of God depicted in Isaiah 49:1-7, who "is despised of men and abhorred of nations," who is wounded and says he has "spent my strength for naught and vanity." It's about the servant of God described in Isaiah 57:13-19, who is "of a contrite and humbled spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble [and meek], and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
It's about the modern Messiah who does not live by the sword, but is described in many other chapters of Isaiah as the servant who is "stricken and afflicted, bruised, wounded and crushed by disease" (see the article on the Masoretic Hebrew text of Isaiah Chapter 53, and explanations below).
It is also about the son of man that Jesus of Nazareth said would "first suffer many things and be rejected by his generation," because Jesus was not talking about himself in that instance. After all, even though Jesus was rejected by the chief priests and scribes, he was accepted by multitudes in his generation, and he suffered not "first" or beforehand, but only on the last day of his life. So he was talking about the son of man to come at the end of the age or aeon.
Granted, regarding Psalm 22, when Jesus was dying on the cross he may well have thought and asked why God had forsaken him, which would show how he himself came to face facts and reality he was not prepared for. However, David's Psalm 22 actually refers to the modern son of man, the modern Messiah who serves in many names. For he is God's principal servant messenger, and God is the God of the whole world -- not of just one nation or one religion.
The modern Messiah is the badly suffering servant of God who wages a “war” of words by delivering “his work before him” (Isaiah 62:11-12). He will be contrite of spirit, not rise up or cry out or speak as an orator, nor seek personal power from behind a pulpit or podium or “in the streets” (Isaiah 42:1-4). Thus he is rejected so long that he feels as if “all his work is in vain, and for naught” (Isaiah 49:1-7) And also see the articles on Isaiah Chapter 53, and Prophecies Re: He Who Fulfills Them.
The modern Messiah says what Messiah ben Joseph would say: “How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself for ever? How long shall your wrath burn like fire? O remember how short my time is.” — Psalm 89:47-48
That is consistent with (Isaiah 57:13-19) where God says “I hid me, and was angry,” and it is in the context of God being angry not only with the people but also with the son of man for being “covetous and willful,” but then understanding his ways and forgiving him as he becomes “contrite of spirit.”
Further proof that Psalm 22 is more about the modern son of man than it is about Jesus is the fact that the speaker in Psalm 22 considers himself a “worm,” and “no man.” That is consistent with Isaiah’s prophecy that he would be "contrite of spirit." And after all, according to Jesus’ canonical biographers he said he was “greater than Solomon” and said “I am the truth and the Light.” Therefore Psalm 22 would certainly not apply to Jesus, who said he was the greatest.
Psalm 22 is about the son of man and suffering servant of God, because he is scoffed at, chided, rejected, dismissed as a religious nut with a messianic complex. And yet his work will ultimately be recognized and accepted for what it is.
It is clarified by Isaiah 42:1-4: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him, he shall make the right to go forth to the nations. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the dimly burning wick shall he not quench. He shall make the right to go forth according to the truth. He shall not fail nor be crushed, till he have set the right in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his teaching."
Many Christians believe that too speaks of Jesus because Matthew 12:19 claims it does. But it clearly does not.
Isaiah 42:1-4 speaks of the modern son of man whose “wick” is burning dimly as an old man. For by contrast, Jesus did rise up as a teacher-orator. He did cry out to make his voice heard on many occasions, and he certainly did cause his voice to be heard in the street, speaking to the multitudes of Jews and Greeks who accepted him as a Mashiach/Messiah/Prophet (as even the impartial first century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus reported).
All that is to say that in many ways the modern son of man and Messiah is not at all like Jesus was reported to have been. In fact, the modern son of man is somewhat like Messiah ben Joseph in terms of his physical and mental state. For he has been severely stricken and afflicted, first with with a disabling disease that left him a paraplegic in a wheelchair. He has been literally wounded and pierced by many scalpels in many surgeries necessary to save his life (including open heart surgery), and he has suffered the "slings and arrows" of denigrating, cruel criticism (and self-criticism).
Additionally, he is hidden and sends his work before him but he is rejected so long that he fears his work has been in vain, a mere exercise in vanity, all for naught. He is contrite of spirit. He was stricken and afflicted with paraplegia, and as an old man he consequently undergoes a slow "death" and he very nearly dies from heart disease, numerous surgeries, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema and COPD. He is utterly spent, and yet he goes on trusting and rather miraculously realizing that God is his strength.
Thus he fulfills the actual prophecies in the Hebrew Bible, and the prophecies of Jesus, and he has become Messiah ben Joseph. And yet, he is (or will be, whether still alive or dead) also the same man known as Messiah ben David as well, not because he himself is the redeemer, but because he is a counselor and serves God, who alone is the Holy One, Savior, and Redeemer.
After working on the message since he was 30 years old and especially since he was 40, at age 72 (almost 73) he finally understands that he must let go and let God.
He understands why Isaiah 11:10 states that “In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek. And his rest shall be glorious.”
You see, while that “rest” does not mean inactivity, it does mean resting in the knowledge and confidence of God’s mysterious powers and abilities. For Isaiah 30:15 states: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength,” and the Messiah is trying to understand that and take that advice.
Whatever is in store for him, the fact is that we all shall overcome. It may not seem like it now, with so many people going through torment and turmoil and tribulation. But the day of our liberation and empowerment is coming.