The Principal Messenger for the Spirit of Truth
It is a messianic figure that fulfills prophecies. However, the world awaits a Savior, not knowing that a Messiah is not the Savior, and not knowing that besides the eternal omnipresent God there is no Savior.
As is discussed in A Messiah Is Not the Savior, in the Jewish tradition the distinction between a Mashiach (Messiah) and the Savior God he serves is clear, and it is even more clear that we should not compare or even liken any man to God. However, that distinction was blurred by those who produced the texts of the official Christian church canon and the Nicene Creed, which declares that Jesus was "God Incarnate." And even though Jesus knew better, and actually said so, his followers apparently did not, and that has been very problematic.
Fortunately, Jesus actually prophesied about a son of man who would come at the end of the age. And it is actually the modern son of man that could be given the title of Avatar or Mashiach or Buddha or Messiah or Imam Mahdi that most religious people in the world wait for and expect.
However, he doesn't want such titles. 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.)
Regardless of his name or title, which is different according to different religions, 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, and he is rejected by his generation.
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 all over the world you would find they have many different beliefs about a Mashiach (Messiah). Some believe there will be none at all because they think the "servant of God" who fulfills the prophecies of Isaiah is the nation of Israel collectively. But other Jews believe the Mashiach will be a mighty warlord king who rises up in Jerusalem to conquer the enemies of Israel. And, while there are a wide variety of other beliefs about a Jewish Mashiach, among them is a belief that there will be two Mashiachs or Messiahs -- a "Messiah ben Joseph," and a "Messiah ben David." (The word "ben" means "son of.")
Christians, on the other hand, have been led to believe that the one and only Messiah was the son of man called Jesus, whose original name was Yeshuah ben Yosef (Joshuah ben Joseph). And because Jesus was the son of Joseph and therefore of the line of David, the assumption of Christians was and still is that Jesus was the Messiah ben Joseph as well as the Messiah ben David by genealogical lineage. And, since Jesus obviously did not fulfill the most crucial messianic prophecies (such as uniting nations, establishing peace and transforming "swords into plowshares"), Christianity is built around the 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 based on an assumption that is incompatible and inconsistent with Hebrew scriptures. They contain 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. That is probably why the story and legend 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 "son of David" to be the "final redeemer."
However, such legends were based on guesses and assumptions, because the actual modern Messiah represents many figures, including Jacob, the "son" of both Joseph and David, and the son of Nun (like the original Joshuah), as you will see.
The world does not know that because, as several other relevant articles on this site explain, the Messiah who now fulfills prophecies is not who anyone expected. For one thing, he is not Jesus. And most importantly, his mission is not to perpetuate and escalate the militant activity of those who practice war. 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 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 he fulfills the Judeo-Christian prophecies, he tells you how and why. But it does not mean he is partial to any particular religion. For 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 ethnic, racial, tribal, cultural and nationalistic distinctions that have divided us and caused such conflict. We need to advance, and progress toward a brighter future for all.
This article is to discuss the Jewish stories or legends of Messiah ben Joseph (or Mashiach ben Yosef) and Messiah ben David, because they are 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 and then later "coming again"). And knowing all the stories helps us finally come much closer to understanding the actual truth.
Since Judaism is the foundation of Christianity and Islam, the two largest religions in the world, it is helpful to know 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 “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, 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” who is “feeble” (12:8) and is wounded. 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 metaphorically appropriate. For the actual Messiah and modern son of man grows and changes in body, mind, and spirit, and he has gone through many stages and suffered many things, as both Isaiah and Jesus prophesied.
The actual Messiah is first stricken and afflicted and suffers many things as he delivers his work and judgment before him. He wages a “war of words” by delivering the promised judgment against the leaders of the world who have become corrupt, and he makes sure people are aware of it. But then, finally, as an old man, he realizes why he suffers so many things and faces death, 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 “resurrected,” and perhaps further healed.
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 knows 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.
Regarding names of the Messiah in the official canon, certain prophecies mention the names of David, Israel and Jacob in terms of 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, a Joseph is mentioned in ancient 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 highly likely that all of those texts were fairly well known during the first century BCE (BC) and the first and second centuries CE (AD). The Dead Sea Scrolls, like the Nag Hammadi Library and other religious texts, were probably not hidden until the late fourth century when the "official" 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 about 400,000 scrolls went up in flames.
However, even though we know much more about the origins and development of Judaism and Christianity, we should understand that the Messiah is sent by God to 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 we should understand prophecies as the modern son of man and Messiah has come to understand them, because while part of them are literal and 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.’"
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 and 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 because the historic record shows that Judah was actually conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity, 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, Jacob, and our God, and all nations shall come under God's umbrella.
Now, regarding the true 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. Apparently they like the idea of a warrior king. Christian myths are obvious examples of that. But some circles of Rabbinical Jews are similar. 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, because Psalm 22 it 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, ...” 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.” (But 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 refers to Messiah are correct. It does. 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 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 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 he wasn't 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 one to come at the end of the age or aeon.
Granted, 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 also 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), but is “first rejected by his generation” (Luke 17:20-25). As the prophet Isaiah foretold, the servant of God will first be "stricken and afflicted" (even by disease, as Isaiah 53:3-5 states in the original text of the Hebrew Bible).
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.” (Isaiah 57:13-19)
Actually, Psalm 22 is much more about the modern son of man than it is about Jesus. For 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 was “the truth and the Light,” so Psalm 22 would not apply to Jesus.
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 historian Flavius Josephus reported).
All that is to say that in many ways the modern son of man and Messiah is not like Jesus was reported to have been. In certain ways the modern son of man is somewhat like Messiah ben Joseph (as is fully explained in the relevant articles on the menu to the right).
The modern Messiah 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). 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 consequently "dies" an ego death going through a very long process of spiritual rebirth, and he very nearly dies from heart disease, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema and COPD. He is spent, and yet he realizes God is his strength.
Therefore, he fulfills the actual prophecies in the Hebrew Bible, and in those respects, he fits the description of 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 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.” For 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 finally understands that.
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.