Oasis Newsletter

Oasis Volume 12, Issue 4

Baruch HaBa –
The Messiah Approaches!

by Eitan Shiskoff
Messianic  expectation has been with the  Jewish people nearly as long as we have existed.

Throughout Israel there are still posters and banners with a photo of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, proclaiming him as the Messiah.    The caption boldly declares, “Baruch  HaBa  Melech HaMashiach”  (Blessed  is  He Who Comes, King Messiah).  The  Brooklyn rabbi,  whose aim  indeed  was  world redemption,  died  in  1994 and has not surfaced since.

Maimonides,  the  brilliant 12th century physician, author and rabbi, penned his famous thirteen principles of faith  to  encourage every  Jew to  remain  faithful  to  messianic  expectation.  Principle twelve states: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. And even though he may tarry, I will await His coming every day.  And he who doubts or diminishes the greatness of the Messiah is a denier in all the Torah for it testifies to the Messiah…And part of this principle is that there is no king of Israel except from the house of David and from the seed of Solomon alone.”

These  words  are  strikingly  reminiscent  of  2  Peter  3:3,4,8-9 in  which  the  apostle  exhorts  us  not  to  give  up  on  the  promise  of the  Lord’s  return.    Rather, he  indicates  that  through our  expectant  faith,  we  are  “looking for and hastening the  coming  of  the  day  of God” (2 Peter 3:11,12).

Yeshua’s words in Matthew 23:27, 38 stir in us a well-founded expectation of His coming. “You will not see  me  again  until  you  say ‘Blessed is He who comes in t h e  n a m e  o f  t h e  L o r d .’ ”   The  original  context  from  which Yeshua  is  quoting  is  found in  Psalm  118:19-26. This Messianic prophecy  includes the  remarkable  lines,  “The stone  which  the  builders rejected  has  become  the chief  cornerstone.  This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Here  we  are  introduced  to the  intriguing  feature  of  a rejected  Redeemer  who becomes  the  foundation  for the entire nation.

Messiah ben Joseph
This theme was taken up by generations of Jewish scholars who needed to resolve the dilemma of a Messiah who is described in the Hebrew Scriptures as both suffering and reigning.  Their solution was two messiahs.  One would come in the likeness of Joseph, the son of Jacob who suffered rejection at the hands of his brothers, hence the title Messiah ben Yosef.    The second would arrive as a triumphant king, conquering all of God’s foes, hence the title Messiah ben David.

In his book,  Messiah Texts, Dr. Raphael Patai, noted anthropologist and  author  of  more  than  25  books,  explores  the  ancient  myths located in numerous Jewish sources over many centuries.  For those of us who see in Yeshua of Nazareth the fulfillment of both Messiah ben Yosef and ben David, his findings are astounding.1 Chapter 17 is entitled “Messiah ben Joseph” and references Daniel 9, Psalm 2 and the Babylonian Talmud as evidence that the Messiah must suffer and die! Then, Messiah ben David “will come after him (in some legends will bring him back to life…) and will lead Israel to ultimate victory, the triumph and the Messianic era of bliss.” 2

The  Joseph  prophecy  includes  the  essential  role  played  by  his Gentile  sponsors.    He was not just hidden from his brothers, but elevated to Ruler of Egypt, saving the world from famine. Romans 11:11-15  matches  this  picture  of  a  latter  day  Jewish embrace  of  Yeshua  that  follows  an  initial  Gentile  ingrafting.    Paul even foresaw the temptation to which the Gentile church ultimately succumbed,  that  of  thinking  that  God  had  rejected  the  Jews  and shifted all their promises to the Church (See, Romans 11:18-24).

Messiah ben David
The  biblical  basis  for  the  Messiah  being  David’s  greater  son  is rooted in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and 1 Chronicles 17:7-14.  These passages contain God’s promise to establish the throne of David’s kingdom forever.    More dramatically, God states that the son of David who will sit on the throne forever will be God’s son. “I will be his Father and he shall be my son” (1Chronicles 17:13).

This unequivocal promise brings amplification to the disciples’ question, addressed to the resurrected Messiah in Acts 1:6:  “Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?”   Clearly  they were  expecting  the  risen  King  to  take  his  place  over  all  Israel  right then and there.  They understood that the Son of David had come to rule and reign over the earth from Jerusalem.

With the benefit of 2000 years hindsight, we know that Yeshua’s response  “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father  has  put  in  His  own  authority”   (Acts  1:7)  anticipated  a profound delay.  Yet with that same benefit of elapsed time, we can also  see  that  a  key  component  of  the  kingdom  being  restored  is NOW in place. That component is the restoration/resurrection of national Israel.

Israel’s Return to the Land & David’s Reign
Jeremiah  clearly  refers  to  the  Davidic  King/Messiah  when  he says  “But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their King” ( Jeremiah 30:9).  The prophet speaks in the context of God’s declaration  that  He  “will  bring  back  from  captivity  my  people Israel and Judah…and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers”  ( Jeremiah 30:3).  Ezekiel confirms Jeremiah’s words, “David my servant (who) shall be king over them” (Ezekiel 37:24, 25). Ezekiel makes this startling promise immediately following his prophecy about Israel rising out of the grave – the dry bones coming to life and being placed in our own land.

And  finally,  the  most  succinct  and  perhaps  literal  of  these prophecies  which  link  the  Messiah’s  return  as  the  King  of  Israel  to sit  on  David’s  throne  is  Hosea  3:4,5,    “For  the  children  of  Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or  sacred  pillar,  without ephod   or  teraphim   (all  the  service  and equipment of the temple).   Afterward the children of Israel will return and seek the Lord and David their King.  They shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.”    Incredible?    It’s right there in the text!    Without  a  doubt,  Messianic  Jews  living  in the reborn nation of Israel, worshiping the God of Israel as Yeshua’s disciples,  signifies  the  coming  of  the  King.    Let’s turn the Master’s words in Matthew 23:39 into a positive statement:  “You WILL see me again when you say Baruch HaBa, ba Shem Adonai.”

Returning to Schneerson’s followers – why do they put up signs saying “Melech HaMashiach” ? Because the Jewish expectation, based on these and many other passages, is that Messiah is King of Israel.  As quoted in the Gospels, Zechariah  9:9,10  states  “Behold  your  king  is  coming  to  you…lowly  and  riding  on  a  donkey.”    In Isaiah 9:6, 7 we read that the ultimate ruler will sit “Upon the throne of David and (rule) over his Kingdom!

Covenant, Intercession and a Jewish Wedding
The significance is huge.  If we are merely waiting for a world Savior, it is an event without a specific rooting in history, prophecy or geography.  But if the return of the King is in fact, the fulfillment of the ancient covenant between God and His people Israel, it alters the situation dramatically. Then, the role of the Church becomes one of assisting Israel to embrace her King, and primarily of linking in deep friendship with the portion of Israel that already takes part in His Kingdom, the Messianic Jewish community.

This is the meaning of the phrase “Baruch HaBa”. It also happens to be the opening blessing of the Jewish wedding ceremony.  As the bridegroom approaches the wedding canopy (chupah) the presiding Rabbi proclaims the words, “Baruch HaBa ba Shem Adonai.”  Indeed, as we declare these words, our Bridegroom Yeshua is already approaching the chupah.  We are so close to the wedding supper of the Lamb.  Yes Lord, Come!

1Patai, Raphael, Messiah Texts, Avon Books, New York, 1979

2 Ibid, p.166

Well over a year ago I received an email from a Pastor serving in Washington State.

Guy and Tali Cohen share a laugh with Andrey and Tina

Guy and Tali Cohen share a laugh with Andrey and Tina

Here is an excerpt from his note: “As we were praying through the Asher Intrater word concerning Matthew 23:39 and the key of Israel’s Cry,  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord’ for the second coming of Yeshua, it came to me that perhaps this might be a vision for the next Intercessory Prayer Conference. I am very sorry to presume to even suggest this, but I think it might be of the Lord…certainly ignore it as the Lord leads!

This  pastor  is  a  dear  brother  whom  we  deeply  respect,  so  we would never ignore his suggestion but we were still not quite ready to  make  a  decision  about  the  next  conference.  I  thanked  him  and said  we  would  consider  this  word  at  our  next  planning  meeting.

Youval, Ariel, and Asher speaking at Yad HaShmona

Youval, Ariel, and Asher speaking at Yad HaShmona

Two months went by and there I was with Leora and Eitan, seated in Eitan’s office. My laptop was open to this brother’s email – ready to put his suggestion forward. As is his custom, Eitan paused to pray and ask God for wisdom.  He continued to pray prophetically and declared it was time for Jews and Gentiles to cry out, “Baruch Haba” in preparation for Yeshua’s return.  It  was  as  if  Eitan  was  reading the  email  open  on  my  computer.  After he finished, beaming with excitement, I read the email out loud. Together, Eitan, Leora and I experienced that uncanny wonder of seeing the Lord’s unexpected, unforeseeable confirmation.  The theme of our next conference became the easiest of decisions.

Heaven’s guidance ensures a good start but it is the combination of  God’s  continued  grace  and  guidance,  matched  by  the  spiritual sensitivity of the participants that determines a successful conference.

Throughout the nine days of our conference I could see how the hand of the Lord brought us together. This was our fifth conference. Every one has been special, but there was an added element to Baruch Haba. Sometimes, Messianic Jews have experienced the frustration of being misunderstood.  Well  meaning  brothers  and  sisters  have  on  occasion viewed  us  with  suspicion  and  have  doubted  our  call  to  pursue  our discipleship  as  Jews  within  the  larger  Jewish  community.  For them, Jewish distinctiveness smacks suspiciously of separation and division.

Our hearts have been saddened because people, who we love for who they are in their own unique and distinctive way, have not reciprocated in kind.  On the other extreme, some have denied their own unique identity, as if Jewish identity was somehow intrinsically superior.

Baruch HaBa was a coming together of Jewish and Gentile believers from fifteen countries and every continent. There was no jealousy, there was no suspicion, and there was no insecurity.  Instead, there was love, kindness, and mutual appreciation.  This  truly  was One  New  Man  collectively  celebrating  our  unity  and  our  multi-ethnic diversity in Yeshua. Together, we joined in common purpose to declare, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai.” Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Surely, our unity together as One New Man hastens His return – it is Yeshua’s great request of His Father that we may be one, even as He and His Father are one. Unity in the Body of Messiah has been rife with division, in no small part to the failure of the Body to recognize the first breach in our unity, the unity of Jew and Gentile in Messiah. Baruch HaBa has been a sign to us that the breach is finally being repaired.

Eitan, Connie, and some Korean friends

Worshiping at Gethsemane

Hiking down the Mount of Beatitudes

Leon and Ephraim help Pastor Angela from Taiwan

Moshe and Eitan

Moshe and Eitan

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