Jewish Messianic Expectation Revealed in the Intertestamental Period
Powerful evidence both overlooked and ignored by Jewish scholars for twenty centuries points to Yeshua ben Yosef as the fulfilment of first century CE widespread Messianic expectation. Astonishingly, this remarkable evidence comes not from pagan secular sources, but from their own sacred writings of the Intertestamental Period (circa the conclusion of the prophet Malachi’s ministry to the arrival of Yochanan, the Essene baptiser). Indeed, the truth included in these largely forgotten documents is staggering! Its time for Jewish rabbis to repent of their ignorance about (and hostility toward) the carpenter Rome crucified, and the Jews stoned to death, 2000 years ago.
Its high time for all people to reappraise Yeshua the Nazarene.
The Chinese Expected the Appearance of the “Holy One”
The Chinese philosopher, K’ung Fu-Tze, better known to us as Confucius, predicted the coming of the God-Man but knew he would not be found in China. The Chinese recognised that He would come from the regions west of China. They also knew that He would be due around the period (in their historical assessment) of the Roman Occupation of Judaea. They hoped He would make His appearance in India. Notice what the sage had to say: “The Holy One must be sought in the West.” Verbally handed down from father to son, “by the year 64 after the Christian Era, the Emperor Mimti, we are told, under the influence of this expectation sent messengers westward into India, that there they might enquire for the long-predicted Holy One of Confucius” (Du Halde’s China, Vol. I., 360,361; Le Compte’s China, 118,200).
The Pagan Romans Expected His Appearance
Referring to the siege of Jerusalem the royal historian writes, “Prodigies had occurred, which this nation [the Jews], prone to superstition, but hating all [non-Jewish] religious rites, did not seem it lawful to expiate. There had been seen hosts joining battle in the skies, the fiery gleam of arms, the temple illuminated by a sudden radiance from the clouds. The doors of the inner shrine were suddenly thrown open, and a voice of more than mortal tone was heard to cry that the Gods were departing. At the same instant there was a mighty stir as of departure. Some few put a fearful meaning on these events, but on most there was a firm persuasion that in the ancient records of their priests was contained a prediction of how at this very time the East was to grow powerful, and rulers, coming from Judaea, were to acquire universal empire“
(Tacitus, Histories, V., 13).
Consider the pagan poet Virgil. His Eclogues were composed as “pastoral poems, which had been commenced at his home in the country [and] were completed and published in Rome when he was about thirty” or circa 40 BCE (James Rhoades, The Poems of Virgil, 1952, v). InEclogue IV, Lonsdale and Lee translate his remarkable prophecy of Roman desire for Messiah in these words, “A god-like child shall be born… come quickly to receive your power for all the world awaits you. Oh that I may live to see so noble a subject for my verse!” (Works of Virgil).
Virgil based his Eclogue IV on a previous prophecy by the Sibyl of Cumae, given in 63 BCE She had said, according to Suetonius, “Nature is about to bring forth a king to the Roman people…” If nature was to usher in such a ruler, it would (it appears), be an event of some prominence. Suetonius has much more to add, “Throughout the whole East, an ancient and constant opinion had familiarly prevailed;that they who proceeded from Judaea were fated to obtain the sovereignty of the world” (Suetonius, Life of Vespasian, IV). Nero was even advised by astrologers to set up his headquarters in Jerusalem as it was to become the centre of world rule (Suetonius, Nero, 40).
The Magi Astrologer-Priests Expected Him
The Magi (magician-priests) of the Gospel account, numbering very probably twelve, went to great pains “to follow [the
king’s] star” to Bethlehem. In 3/2 BCE writes Ernest Martin, “the whole heavens seemed to burst forth with astronomical signs in the constellations of Leo (Judah) and Virgo (the Virgin), associated with Jupiter (the king-planet) and Regulus (the king-star)” (E.L. Martin, The Birth of Christ Recalculated, 1978, 115). The Magi were found at that time in Babylon, Parthia, and Armenia (Strabo, Geography, XI, 9, 3; Pliny, Natural History, XXX, 6, cf Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, 1975). They were, according to the ancient historians, originally one of the tribes of the Medes.
“Thus Deioces collected the Medes into a nation, and ruled over them alone. Now these are the tribes of which they consist: the Busae, the Paretaceni, the Struchates, the Arizanti, the Budii, and the Magi” (Herodotus, The History, I, 101; also Pliny, Natural History, V, 29).
A priestly caste, they controlled the temple of Belus in Babylon (Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica, II, 31; Ephraem Syrus II,488). They were astrologers of the first rank, and their influence was known over the ancient world. Providing occult information to the Medo-Persians and Babylonians at a kingly level (Strabo, XVI, 762; Cicero, De Divin., 1, 41) the Magi even made inroads into areas of Kashmir where ancient Israelites had established a colony. By the sixth century BCE they had acquired power to overturn governments (Herodotus, III, 61 sq.).
Not only the Romans, but also the Parthians and Armenians looked for the coming Messiah!
The Kushite Indians Expected Him
While Chinese and Indian Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy of life, the Buddhists most assuredly were evangelistic. Long prior to Christian history, Buddhists had schools in Alexandria in Egypt and these were known as Viharas. The Sanskrit Chinese Dictionary defines a Vihara as “an academy or a school… and serves the study or practice of Buddhism.” We know that the ruler of India sent scouts into Palestine, very nearly coinciding with the actual birth of Yeshua, “to know whether the predicted royal child had actually made his appearance” (Jones, Asiatic Researches, Vol.X., 27,28).
Some speculate that the Indians received this knowledge of the expected appearance of the Messiah from the Magi, and this may have some ground of proof. But it should be recalled that Israelites were making voyages around the world at the time of King Solomon which were taking three years and more to complete (1 Kings 10.22-24; James Bailey, The God-Kings and the Titans: The New World Ascendancy in Ancient Times, 1973; Rene Noorbergen, Secrets of the Lost Races, 1977; John Philip Cohane, The Key, 1969, 1973; Cyrus H. Gordon, Before Columbus. Links Between the Old World & Ancient America, 1971).
The ancient Magi, like the Buddhists, and the Jewish sect of the Pharisees, believed in the doctrine of the transmigration of the soul (reincarnation), and the teaching of the cyclic Avatars — men who were great religious reformers and who were caught in a cosmic cycle of rebirth at various stages of world history, making their appearance with “good news” in turbulent or climactic periods which would usher in the end of one age, and introduce the beginning of another. A “great cycle” of an expected Avatar, who would usher in a glorious world rule of love and peace, was expected in the period which gave birth to the Nazarene. Even today, Buddhist priests, looking for the reincarnation of such an Avatar or Dalai Lama will travel the globe with gifts with which to identify “the Child of Promise.”
The Magi, we are reliably informed, brought such gifts to Yeshua and presented them with enormous awe and a profound sense of gratification that they had found the One for whom they were searching.
And the Jewish People Expected Him
“…But what more than all else incited them [the Jews] to war [against Rome] was an ambiguous oracle, likewise found in their sacred Scriptures, to the effect that at that time one from their own country would become ruler of the world. This they understood to mean someone of their own race, and many of their wise men went astray in their interpretation of it”
(Josephus, Wars, VI, 5, 4).
John the Baptiser, called by Our Lord Yeshua the greatest of all the prophets, was an advocate of violent revolution in the
existing social order. Notes Yoder, in his comments on the Magnificat (Luke 1.46ff, 68ff; cf 3.7ff), “The Jewish contemporary would likely have heard in this song the echoes of the song of Hanna (1 Samuel 2), whose imagery is not only revolutionary (‘Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger’) but also military: ‘the bows of the mighty are broken… the adversaries of Jahweh shall be broken to pieces…’ Winter holds that this was a Maccabean battle song, embedded in an earlier document circulating among the disciples of John the Baptist, which Luke took over. To posit such a borrowing would make Luke’s assumption of political meaning in the text all the more conscious” (John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 1972, 26,27).
Yoder continues, “‘Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees; Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… His winnowing fork is in his hand, To clear his threshing floor, To gather the wheat into his granary, But the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ This is the language with which John ‘preached good news to the people.’ Too hastily we have passed all of this language of annunciation through the filter of the assumption that, of course, it is all to be taken ‘spiritually.’ … We could… have followed further than we do the theme of Jesus’s relation to John the Baptist, as being of evident political import. John’s ministry had a pronounced political character, and to some extent Jesus took up his succession (note the time linkage in Matthew 3:12). The instruction John gave his hearers called for an immediate community of consumption (Luke 3:11); the only categories of listeners indicated by Luke in addition to the ‘multitudes’ (Matthew names Pharisees and Sadducees) are the socio-politically slanted publicans (Matthew 3:12) and soldiers (3:14)” (ibid., 27-29).
John’s message consisted of violent repentance, violent change, violent and radical apocalypticism was the keynote of emphasis in his ministry in preparing The Way for the expected King of Glory (Matthew 11:7-12). Six thousand Pharisaic Jews refused to swear an oath to Caesar on the basis of “Him who would some day be set over the people with the title of King, for all power would belong to him” (Josephus, Ant., XVII, 2, 4).
John the Baptiser was the Essene “Teacher of The Way” from Qumran. Essene Messianic expectation was fueled even further with the birth events surrounding the coming into the world of John. For, the Essenes expected two Messiahs — a Messiah from Joseph, and another from David. Both would enter the world within months of each other. Their texts even included a description of the Davidic Messiah so he could be easily identified. With regret time has destroyed some fragments.
“…of his hand: two… a birthmark. And the hair will be red. And there will be lentils on… and small birthmarks on his thigh. [And after t]wo years he will know [how to distinguishand small birthmarks on his thigh. [And after t]wo years he will know [how to distinguish]] one thing from another. In his youth, he shall be like… [like a m]an who knows nothing until the time when he knows the three Books. And then he will acquire wisdom and learn und[erstanding]… vision to come to him on his knees. And with his father and his ancestors… life and old age. Counsel and prudence will be with him, and he will know the secrets of man. His wisdom will reach all the peoples, and he will know the secrets of all the living. And all their designs against him will come to nothing, and (his) rule over all the living will be great. His designs [will succeed] for he is the Elect of God. His birth and the breath of his spirit… and his designs shall be forever…” (4Q186).
The Documents of the Intertestamental Period
There can be little doubt that certain literature that helped fuel Jewish Messianic expectation originated at Qumran, at the very height of popular Essene apocalyptic vision, given public expression through the medium of zealot financial resources. [The Zealots were the military arm of the Essene Movement.]
Among these ancient documents, popular in the Intertestamental Period and most certainly predating Rav Shaul, is the
remarkable The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. This document, derived in final written form from oral stories and testaments, comprises twelve individual volumes bearing the names of the sons of Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel), viz., Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin. What is contained within these Testaments is so startling that Jewish (and some Christian) “higher critics” claim they have been tampered with and rewritten by early Christian writers during the period of the primitive church. Needless to say, these same critics also reject both the early dating and the inspiration of the Messianic Scriptures (the so-called “NT”) themselves.
According to the Introduction to The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs “When you look beyond the unvarnished – almost brutally frank – passages of the text, you will discern a remarkable attestation of the expectations of the Messiah which existed a hundred years before Christ. And there is another element of rare value in this strange series. As Dr. R. H. Charles says in his scholarly work on the Pseudopigrapha: its ethical teaching ‘has achieved a real immortality by influencing the thoughts and diction of the writers of the New Testament, and even those of our Lord. This ethical teaching, which is very much higher and purer than that of the Old Testament, is yet its true spiritual child, and helps to bridge the chasm that divides the ethics of the Old and New Testaments.’
“The instances of the influence of these writings on the New Testament are notable in the Sermon on the Mount which reflects the spirit and even uses phrases from these Testaments… Paul appears to have borrowed so freely that it seems as though he must have carried a copy of the Testaments with him on his travels.
“Thus the reader has before him, in these pages what is at once striking for its blunt primitive style and valuable as some of the actual source books of the Bible” ([Ed] Rutherford H. Platt Jr, The Forgotten Books of Eden., 1980 reprint of the 1927 edition).
The Testament of Reuben
“26… I command you to hearken to Levi, because he shall know the law of the Lord, and shall give ordinances for judgment and shall sacrifice for all Israel until the consummation of the times, as the anointed High Priest, of whom the Lord spake. 27. I adjure you by the God of heaven to do truth each one unto his neighbour and to entertain love each one for his brother. 28. And draw you near to Levi in humbleness of heart, that you may receive a blessing from his mouth. 29. For he shall bless Israel and Judah, because him has the Lord chosen to be king over all the nation. 30. And bow down before HIS SEED, for on our behalf IT WILL DIE in wars visible and invisible, and will be among you an eternal king” (Reuben 2.26-30).
Reuben prophesies that a “seed” will come descended from both Judah and Levi who will be the Messianic “Eternal King.” Scholars readily acknowledge that Yeshua was a descendent of Judah — of the tribal people of Judah, the Jews — but they forget that Judah and Levi largely intermarried over the centuries! Recall, too, that Miriam was the cousin of Elizabeth, a daughter of Aaron, who was married to a Levitical priest, Zechariah (Luke 1.5,36). The controversy relating to Yeshua’s Levitical connections raged for decades in the early church, as set forth in the arguments — and witnessed to — in the Letter to the Hebrews. According to Reuben Yeshua was to die “on our behalf” in an “invisible” cosmic conflict (Reuben 2.30) with haSatan, the Dark Lord of the Invisible Empire.
The Testament of Simeon
“5. Then shall all the earth rest from trouble, and all the world under heaven from war. 6. Then the Mighty One of Israel shall glorify Shem [the Semite Jews]. 7. FOR THE LORD GOD SHALL APPEAR ON EARTH, and Himself save men. 8. Then shall all the spirits of deceit be given to be trodden under foot, and men shall rule over wicked spirits. 9. Then shall I arise in joy, and will bless the Most High because of His marvellous works, BECAUSE GOD HAS TAKEN A BODY and eaten with men and saved men.10. And now, my children, obey Levi and Judah, and be not lifted up against these two tribes, for from them shall arise unto you the salvation of God. For the Lord shall rise up from Levi as it were a High Priest, and from Judah as it were a king, GOD AND MAN. He shall save all the Gentiles and the race of Israel” (Sim 3.5-11).
The Messiah, eternal with God in the heavens, was to become a mere mortal (John 1.1-3; Philippians 2.5-10; Hebrews 2.14-18; 4.14-15; 5.7-8). As Simeon predicted the Messiah would be both High priest and King (Hebrews 5.5-6; Revelation 19.11-15). And, again according to Simeon’s Testament the Messiah would ultimately save all the Gentiles and the tribes of Israel (Romans 11.25-26 etc). The literature of the Intertestamental Period gave recognition to a Messianic universal salvation.
The Testament of Levi
“13. And when you have ascended thither, You shall stand near the Lord, and shall be His minister, and shall declare His
mysteries to men, and shall proclaim concerning Him that shall redeem Israel. 14. And by you and Judah SHALL THE LORD APPEAR AMONG MEN, saving every race of men. 15. And from the Lord’s portion shall be your life, and He shall be your field, and vineyard, and fruits, gold, and silver” (Leviticus 1.13-15).
“26. And the third shall be called by a new name, because A KING SHALL ARISE IN JUDAH, and shall establish a new priesthood, after the fashion of the Gentiles. 27. And His presence is beloved, as a prophet of the Most High of the seed of Abraham our father…. 44. And behold I am clear from your ungodliness and transgression, which you shall commit in the end of the ages against the Saviour of the world, Messiah, acting godlessly, deceiving Israel, and stirring up against it great evils from the Lord. 45. And you shall deal lawlessly together with Israel, so He shall not bear with Jerusalem because of your wickedness; but THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE SHALL BE RENT, so as not to cover your shame. 46. You shall be scattered as captives among the Gentiles, and shall be for a reproach and for a curse there. 47. For the house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as is contained in the book of Enoch the Righteous… 4,11. Therefore, my children, I have learnt that at the end of the ages you will transgress against the Lord, stretching out hands to wickedness against Him; and to all the Gentiles shall you become a scorn. 12. For our father Israel is pure from the transgressions of the Chief Priests who shall lay their hands upon the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD. 13. For as the heaven is purer in the Lord’s sight than the earth, so also be you, the lights of Israel, purer than all the Gentiles. 14. But if you be darkened through transgressions, what therefore, will all the Gentiles do living in blindness? 15. Yes, you shall bring a curse upon our race, because the light of the law which was given for to lighten every man this you desire to destroy by teaching commandments contrary to the ordinances of God… 18. You shall be puffed up because of your priesthood, lifting yourselves up against men, and not only so, but also against the commands of God. 19. For you shall condemn the holy things with jests and laughter. 20. THEREFORE THE TEMPLE which the lord shall choose, SHALL BE LAID WASTE through your uncleanness, and you shall be captives throughout all nations… 24. And now I have learnt that for seventy weeks you shall go astray, and profane the priesthood, and pollute the sacrifices. 25. And you shall make void the law, and set at nought the words of the prophets by evil perverseness. 26. And YOU SHALL PERSECUTE RIGHTEOUS MEN, AND HATE THE GODLY; the words of the faithful shall you abhor. 27. AND A MAN WHO RENEWS THE LAW IN THE POWER OF THE MOST HIGH, YOU SHALL CALL A DECEIVER; and at last YOU SHALL RUSH UPON HIM TO SLAY HIM, not knowing His dignity, taking innocent blood through wickedness upon your heads. 28. And your holy places shall be laid waste even to the ground because of Him. 29. And you shall have no place that is clean; but you shall be among the Gentiles a curse and a dispersion UNTIL HE SHALL AGAIN VISIT YOU, and in pity shall receive you through FAITH and water” (Levi 3.26,27,44-47; 4.11-29).
This astonishing account of oral tradition concerning the prophecies of Levi was committed to parchment over 150 years
before the birth of Messiah Yeshua and around 220 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE at the hands of Titus and Vespasian! Not only so, but the Man they called a “deceiver” was also scorned by the Qumran monks in their works — recently discovered in the caves overlooking the Dead Sea — referring to the “deceiver,” the “man of the lie” and the “Wicked Priest.” There can be little justification for the lies promulgated today in certain Christian pro-Jewish literature that the Sanhedrin — representing “the will of the people” (really, let’s be honest, “the will of Rome” and self-indulgence) — had unquestionable excuse for the trial, crucifixion and horrendous death of their Messiah! Not only did Yeshua tell them squarely over and over who He really was, but their own literature demanded that the Messiah to come WAS YESHUA HAMASHIACH — Yeshua the Messiah.
But this is not all! Levi (or the rabbi who committed his oral traditions into writing) went on to predict specific things about Yeshua that Matthew, Rav Paul and the priest-apostle John later recorded as having eventuated. Notice it now:
“20. The angels of the glory of the presence of the Lord shall be glad in Him. 21. The heavens shall be opened, and from the temple of glory shall come upon him sanctification, WITH THE FATHER’S VOICE as from Abraham to Isaac. 22. And the glory of the Most High shall be uttered over Him, and the spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon Him in the water. 23. For He shall give the majesty of the Lord to His sons in truth for evermore; 24. There shall none succeed Him for all generations forever. 25. And in His priesthood the Gentiles shall be multiplied in knowledge upon the earth, and enlightened through the grace of the Lord. In His priesthood shall sin come to an end, and the lawless shall cease to do evil. 26. HE SHALL OPEN THE GATES OF PARADISE, AND SHALL REMOVE THE THREATENING SWORD AGAINST Adam, AND HE SHALL GIVE to THE SAINTS TO EAT FROM THE TREE OF LIFE and the spirit of holiness shall be upon them. 27. Beliar shall be bound by Him, AND HE SHALL GIVE POWER TO HIS CHILDREN TO TREAD UPON THE EVIL SPIRITS. 28. And the Lord shall rejoice in His children, and be well-pleased in His beloved ones for ever” (Levi 5.20-28).
The binding of haSatan, the enlargement of God’s people, authority of that same people over demonic powers, the opening of the gates of Paradise, Adam’s salvation, the end of sin, the right to the tree of life — the events concurrent with Yeshua’s baptism in the Jordan… remarkable predictions fulfilled in the life of the One who became Man for you and for me.
The Testament of Judah
“17… the Lord shall bring upon you famine and pestilence, death and the sword, beleaguering by enemies, and revilings of friends, the slaughter of children, the rape of wives, the plundering of possessions, the burning of the temple of God, the laying waste of the land, the enslavement of yourselves among the Gentiles. 18. And they shall make some of you eunuchs for their wives. 19. Until the Lord visit you, when with perfect heart you repent and walk in all His commandments, and He bring you up from captivity among the Gentiles. 20. AFTER THESE THINGS SHALL A STAR ARISE TO YOU FROM JACOB IN PEACE, 21. AND A MAN SHALL ARISE FROM MY SEED, LIKE THE SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 22. WALKING WITH THE SONS OF MEN WITH MEEKNESS, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS; 23. NO SIN SHALL BE FOUND IN HIM. 24. And the heavens shall be opened unto Him, to pour out the spirit, even the blessing of the Holy Father; and He shall pour out the spirit of grace upon you; 25. And you shall be unto Him sons in truth, and you shall walk in His commandments first and last. 26. Then shall the sceptre of my kingdom shine forth; and from my root shall arise a stem; and from it shall grow a rod of righteousness to the Gentiles, to judge and to save all that call upon the Lord. 27. After these things SHALL ABRAHAM AND ISAAC AND JACOB ARISE UNTO LIFE, and I and my brethren shall be chiefs of the tribes of Israel” (Judah 4.17-27).
The coming of Messiah, and the foretelling of RESURRECTION blessing! What awesome revelation, what wonderful and rich spiritual insights are these. No wonder Nicodemus confessed “Rabbi, we KNOW that you are a Teacher come from God…” (John 3.2).
The Testaments of Issachar and Gad
In these particular Testaments, while there is much knowledge included on spiritual matters pertaining to conduct and the
development of character, no mention is given concerning the coming of Messiah. So, bearing this in mind, we will move right along to …
The Testament of Zebulon
“20… also IN THE LAST DAYS God will send His compassion on the earth, and wheresoever He finds bowels of mercy He dwells in him… 32. And after these things SHALL ARISE UNTO YOU THE LORD HIMSELF, THE LIGHT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and you shall return unto your land. 33. And YOU SHALL SEE HIM IN JERUSALEM, for His name’s sake. 34. And again through the wickedness of your works shall you provoke Him to anger. 35. Andyou shall be cast away by Him unto the time of consummation” (Zebulon 2.20,32-35).
Does any of this transcript need clarification? Small wonder the original apostles believed they were living in the end times
back then — 2000 years ago! Zebulon described the coming of the Messiah as the advent of the LORD Himself IN THE LAST DAYS and predicted that his (Zebulon’s) descendants would see the LORD Himself walking through the city of Jerusalem. He also prophesied that the Jews would be cast away by God but only until the end time. Israel has returned to Jerusalem and to their Land. We now await their return to God.
The Testament of Dan
“10. There shall arise unto you FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH AND OF LEVI THE SALVATION OF THE LORD; and He shall make war against Beliar. 11. And execute an everlasting vengeance on our enemies; and the captivity shall He take from Beliar the souls of the saints, and turn disobedient hearts unto the Lord, and give to them that call upon Him eternal peace. 12. And the saints shall rest in Eden, and in the New Jerusalem shall the righteous rejoice, and it shall be unto the glory of God forever. 13. And no longer shall Jerusalem endure desolation, nor Israel be led captive; FOR THE LORD SHALL BE IN THE MIDST OF IT LIVING AMONGST MEN, and the Holy One of Israel shall reign over it in humility and in poverty; and he who believes on Him shall reign amongst men in truth. 14. And now, fear the Lord, my children, and beware of Satan and his spirits. Draw near unto God and unto the angel that intercedes for you, FOR HE IS A MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MAN, and for the peace of Israel He shall stand up against the kingdom of the enemy. 16. Therefore is the enemy eager to destroy all that call upon the Lord. 17. For he knows that upon the day on which Israel shall repent, the kingdom of the enemy shall be brought to an end… 19. It will be in the time of the lawlessness of Israel, that the Lord will not depart from them, but will transform them into a nation that does His will, for none of the angels will be equal unto him. 20. His name shall be in every place in Israel, and among the Gentiles… 22… the things which you have heard from your father, do you also impart to your children THAT THE SAVIOUR OF THE GENTILES MAY RECEIVE YOU; for He is true and long-suffering, meek and lowly, and teaches by His works THE LAW OF GOD” (Dan 2.10-22).
Dan’s Testament becomes the bedrock of “New Testament” revelation as the apostles penned their letters and books that became known as the Christian Scriptures! And yet, for almost two thousand years Christian apologists have ignored these obviously inspirational writings.
The Testament of Naphtali
Straight to the point is Naphtali, predicting the advent of the Messiah, Our Lord Yeshua.
“32. The Lord shall scatter them [the Jews] upon the face of all the earth, until THE COMPASSION OF THE LORD SHALL COME, A MAN WORKING RIGHTEOUSNESS AND WORKING MERCY unto all them that are afar off, and to them that are near… 2:23 And, lo! my children, I have shown unto you the last times, how everything shall come to pass in Israel. 24. Do you also, therefore, charge your children that they be united to Levi and to Judah; for through them shall salvation arise unto Israel, and in them shall Jacob be blessed. 25. For THROUGH THEIR TRIBES SHALL GOD APPEAR DWELLING AMONG MEN ON EARTH, TO SAVE the race of Israel, and to gather together the righteous from amongst the Gentiles” (Naphtali 1.32; 2.23-25).
Did Yeshua come from Levi and Judah? Was He God actually dwelling among humankind? Did the sovereign LORD God enter His own creation — an awesome miraculous mind-boggling event — to SAVE humankind? Did He reveal His GRACIOUS BEING as He worked righteousness and mercy toward sinful mankind? You betcha.
The Testament of Asher
“40. [Israel would be destroyed and scattered among the Gentiles] UNTIL THE MOST HIGH SHALL VISIT THE EARTH, COMING HIMSELF AS MAN, WITH MEN EATING AND DRINKING, and breaking the head of the dragon in the water. HE SHALL SAVE Israel and all the Gentiles, GOD SPEAKING IN THE PERSON OF MAN” (Asher 1.40,41).
How clear can you get? Messiah was DIVINE — God becoming Man, living with sinful humankind — and thoroughly enjoying His time with us. The love of God came manifested in flesh for all the race. Yet despite this Testament the Jews rejected their Messiah, and handed Him over to the pagans to be brutally and horribly tortured and crucified. Why? Because the Work of salvation for the entire Gentile world had to be initiated. Without (temporary) Jewish rejection of Yeshua, the Gospel would never have gone to the nations.
The Testament of Joseph
“73. There were twelve harts feeding; and the nine were first dispersed over all the earth, and likewise also the three. 74.
And I saw that FROM JUDAH WAS BORN A VIRGIN wearing a linen garment, and FROM HER WAS BORN A LAMB WITHOUT SPOT; and on His left hand there was as it were a LION; and all the beasts rushed against Him, and THE LAMB OVERCAME THEM, and destroyed them and trod them under foot. 75. And because of Him the angels and men rejoiced and all the land. 76. These things shall come to pass in their season, IN THE LAST DAYS” (Joseph 2.73-76).
The twelve harts represented the 12 tribal nations of Israel. Nine were originally dispersed (the Assyrian captivity of 721-718 BCE) followed by the last remaining three tribes (Judah, Levi and Benjamin in the Babylonian captivity (circa 585/6 BCE).
Yeshua was indeed born of a virgin and He was referred to by His cousin Yochanon (John) as “the (Passover) Lamb who bears away the sin of the world” (John 1.29,36). Peter informs us that Yeshua was without spot or blemish, a man of perfect character (1 Peter 2.22-24). Quite apparently the “lion” in Messiah’s left hand is haSatan (1 Peter 5.8) — Yeshua IS Lord. He is not in Satan’s hand, and never has been. Satan is very much under Messiah’s control and authority — the Devil always has been (to the consternation of preachers of corrupt, erroneous Gentile theology). HaMashiach is LORD, He is LORD indeed.
The Testament of Benjamin
“19. Jacob cried out: My good child, you have prevailed over the bowels of your father Jacob. 20. And he embraced him and kissed him for two hours, saying: 21. In you shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven concerning THE LAMB OF GOD and SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, and that A BLAMELESS ONE SHALL BE DELIVERED UP FOR LAWLESS MEN, and A SINLESS ONE SHALL DIE FOR UNGODLY MEN in the blood of the Covenant, for the salvation of the Gentiles and of Israel, and shall destroy Beliar and his servants” (Benjamin 1.19-21).
With this particular Testament we have an amazing prediction that Yeshua would be “the (Passover) lamb of God” and the unqualified “Saviour of the world” — both theological aspects of the life of the Messiah that were accepted and preached for the first 300 years of the Common Era AS THE UNMITIGATED TRUTH OF ALMIGHTY GOD before being cast aside by the Gentile Constantinian church.
Yes, the original Messianic Community promulgated the truth of an ultimate universal salvation inherited from the inspired writers of the Intertestamental Period. Today the BRI is reinforcing the doctrine that the world is saved as a result of the shedding of the blood of Yeshua as the PASSOVER Lamb. The lost Jewish thoughtform is being restored at this end of the ages. Messiah died by shedding His precious life-saving blood for all humankind — a “sinless one” who took the place of “lawless” and “ungodly” men.
It also ought to be noted that in Benjamin “Beliar” (Qumran’s haSatan) is destroyed by the Passover Lamb. This is highly
significant. It reveals the truth about Messiah’s two separate advents and it throws light on the Messianic fulfilment of the TWO Messiah’s [Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David] expected by the monks of the Dead Sea. It therefore helps to explain the query by Yeshua’s cousin John the Immerser as to the legitimacy of the Messianic-claimant role of Yeshua. For, in prison John muses whether or not Yeshua really is the One expected from the Essene prophecies given in the Testaments (Matthew 11.2-3). Yeshua replies in the affirmative, adding (for the sake of his imprisoned cousin’s Qumran-sectarian disciples) that while John was not actually one of the expected Messiahs [the Essenes thought John was the expected “Light of the world” which John the apostle disallowed: see John 1.6-8] he was in reality the reincarnated Elijah — the prophet widely expected to reappear immediately prior to the advent of the “Son of Man” (Matthew 11.4-15).
The destruction of the Evil Empire’s dark legions by the Lamb thus signified a separate advent of the Messiah in the sphere of space-time — a fact the Jews could not at that time grasp. Benjamin describes to his descendants the activities of Messiah ben Yosef:
“5. Nevertheless the temple of God shall be in your portion, and the last temple shall be more glorious than the first. 6. And the twelve tribes shall be gathered together there, and all the Gentiles, until THE MOST HIGH SHALL SEND FORTH HIS SALVATION” [ Heb. YESHUA] “IN THE VISITATION OF AN ONLY BEGOTTEN PROPHET. 7. And he shall enter into the first temple, and THERE SHALL THE LORD BE TREATED WITH OUTRAGE, and HE SHALL BE LIFTED UP UPON A TREE. 8. And THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE SHALL BE RENT, and THE SPIRIT OF GOD SHALL PASS ON TO THE GENTILES AS FIRE poured forth. 9. And he shall ascend from HADES and shall pass from earth unto heaven. 10. And I know how lowly he shall be upon earth, and how glorious in heaven… 2:26. And there shall arise in the latter days one beloved of the Lord, of the tribe of Judah and Levi, a doer of His good pleasure in his mouth, WITH NEW KNOWLEDGE ENLIGHTENING THE GENTILES, 27. Until the consummation of the age shall he be in the synagogues, and among their rulers, as a strain of music in the mouth of all. 28. And he shall be inscribed in the holy books, both his work and his word, and he shall be a chosen one of God forever” (Benjamin 2.5-10,26-28).
With the essential background of the Essene Testaments we can better grasp the derivation of the major theological and
doctrinal positions of the earliest apostles (some of whom also had an Essene connection) and most certainly we can appreciate the dogmatic position taken by Paul as one qualified to be the Special Emissary to the nations [Gentiles].
A Final Word – What’s YOUR Testament?
The Testaments were popular documents of the Intertestamental Period. The people of God located at Qumran (the Dead Sea sectarians) believed in the authenticity of the Messianic prophecies contained within these scrolls including the predictions of the rending of the temple veil as God departed from the Holy of Holies in the corrupt Jerusalem temple, and the Spirit of God coming AS FIRE upon the Gentiles (Acts 10.44-47). The reference to Messiah Yeshua (“salvation”) crucified on a TREE (not a cross) and ascension into heaven from Sheol (Hades) helps to explain why so many enthusiastic Jews converted to Nazarene Christianity on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) in the year of Our Lord Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Two thousand years have past since that memorable day in Jewish (and subsequent Gentile) history. They acclaimed Yeshua as Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world then, and we as God’s Messianic Community and Invisible College have our opportunity to proclaim Yeshua KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS right now as “a strain of music in the mouth of all.”
The consummation of the ages is upon us. We have already entered the conclusion of this present evil age NOW. Civilisation could come to an abrupt end in about 20 years time. Are you prepared to meet your Messiah, Yeshua? Are you primed to meet your God face to face? Awesome prospect. Awesome reality. An awesome and spectacular future awaits those that are prepared. Let’s be about Messiah’s business today. Let’s be BUSILY engaged in sharing our Messiah with others.