The idea that the Messiah can be found in the first five books of the Holy Scriptures is outrageous to most Orthodox Jews. Nevertheless, He is there! Even believers in Yahshua sometimes have a hard time seeing Him in the torah, but once He is seen, He is understood in a deeper way.
The Torah leads us to Messiah with signs all along the way. In the Torah He is a stranger veiled from us, yet He is there. We feel His presence and we yearn for Him. It has been mentioned that these veils of Messiah’s appearing take many forms such as direct prophecy, symbols of things, symbols of events and actions, symbols of offices, types, implications… and others. I’d like to share my gleanings from scripture with you.
THE MESSIAH IN GENESIS
There are Messianic themes in the first book of the Torah that continue throughout the entire Bible. Some of these are:
1) Man has fallen, but salvation and blessings will come
2) Salvation will come through sacrifice
3) The sacrifice will be linked to a son
4) The power of the serpent will be crushed
5) Hope will come through the child of a woman
6) Salvation will come through Abraham
7) New life will come through death.
We can see Yahshua in “Joseph,” the beloved of his father, who suffered and was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery, but was later resurrected from this slavery and exalted to a place of Great power and glory. We can see Yahshua in Joseph, when he takes a gentile bride and when he welcomes home the same brothers who rejected him. Since the link between Joseph and the Messiah is rabbinical as well as evangelical (Jewish theory of two Messiahs, Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David) this particular shadow is one of the deepest and most beautiful shadows in the Torah. Yahshua can also be seen in the account of Jacobs ladder in Genesis 28. We read that a ladder comes down from Heaven, touches the earth and angels move up and down on it. Consider when Yahshua said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of YHVH ascending and descending upon the Son of man. John 1:51.
Messiah is our ladder! He came from heaven to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. He is the One who brings Israel to HaShem, and HaShem to Israel. In Him we climb up the ladder!
The Akedah (binding of Isaac) in Genesis 22 is perhaps the clearest reference to the Messiah in this book. YHVH asks Abraham to take his only son, whom he loves, and go to Mt. Moriah to offer him up as a sacrifice. This is the first time that the word love appears in the Bible. We see Isaac, the son, bearing the sacrificial wood, and think of Yahshua, carrying a wooden execution stake. Abraham tells Isaac in verse 8 of chapter 22 that “YHVH will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering,” and indeed He did on that very same spot (Mt. Moriah is Mt. Calvary) 2000 years later. YHVH and Abraham were in covenant and that in covenant, whatever one does, the other has to be willing to do. YHVH did! He took His only son on a donkey into Jerusalem, up to Mt. Moriah, and bound him there. YHVH spared Abraham’s son, but He let His own Son suffer death, as the final atonement for our sin to reconcile us with the Fahter. That is love! John 3:16)
THE MESSIAH IN EXODUS
The most obvious appearance of the Messiah in Exodus is in the Passover where a people enslaved in a foreign land cry out and YHVH sends a Redeemer to them. Applying the blood of a lamb on their doors saves them, and they follow the Redeemer through the wilderness and into the Promised Land.
We who believe in Yahshua have been saved and reconciled by the blood of YHVH’s Lamb. Picture the Hebrew homes with the blood on the lintel and two side door posts, forming a triangle pointing to Heaven. Now picture another piece of wood, the execution stake with three more spots of blood, this time forming a triangle pointing to earth. Put them together and you have a star of David – the star of Messiah – who reaches down to men in the bondage of slavery to sin and says: “Follow me!.
The “Wilderness” itself is a shadow of Messiah. It speaks of a people who are redeemed from a land of bondage, but not yet in the Promised Land. Their Redeemer leads them through; His presence dwells with them. In the day, He is the Cloud that guides them. In the night, He is the pillar of Fire. He gives them a new food to eat – MANNA – not from earth, but from heaven. This is to teach YHVH’s people that true life does not come from the wilderness but from heaven. Messiah said:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes (and I might add from other scriptures, obeys me) has everlasting life. (He continued and said) I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread, which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ” (John 6:47- 51)
The tabernacle or tent of meeting (MISHKAN in Hebrew) described in the book of Exodus is a beautiful portrayal of HaShem meeting with man through the Messiah. The Mishkan, plain on the outside, but rich in treasure and meaning on the inside is like Yahshua our Adonai who “Had no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). On the inside of the Tabernacle there was bread that sustained life, wine that gave joy, light from a golden menorah, sweet smelling fragrance, the blending of heaven and earth’s colors, and so much more! Truly, we see the One who John called THE WORD, who became flesh and tabernacled, or pitched his tent, among us!
THE MESSIAH IN LEVITICUS
The Message of the third book of the Torah is that salvation will come through sacrifice, a sinless life, innocent, dying for a sinful one. The guilty one must identify with the one who is dying, and as they become one, there is salvation. One of the most powerful verses in the Torah appears in Leviticus:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11.
There has been no blood sacrifice in traditional Judaism since the Temple was destroyed almost 2,000 years ago, and yet, blood sacrifices are central to Biblical Judaism. Some of you may not know that in the collection of Jewish writings called the Talmud, there is a place (Yoma 39B) which explains about a scarlet thread in the Temple that would supernaturally turn white each year to show that YHVH had accepted the Day of Atonement sacrifices. This stopped happening about 40 years before the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 CE. (Around the time of Yahshua’s death)
Re-read Leviticus and see Yahshua in the Sacrifice, in the sin offering, in the guilt offering, in the peace offering, in the cleansing of the leper, in the scapegoat, in Yom Kippur… He Is there!
Isaiah 53 decodes the Book of Leviticus. In this chapter we find the One who suffered outside the camp, who sprinkles many nations and whose soul should become an ‘Asham’ (guilt offering).” Perhaps some of you might be led to study this. (Please share it with your friends if you do)
THE MESSIAH IN NUMBERS
Yahshua is the Star (ZOHAR) that came forth out of Jacob (Numbers 24). One rabbinical writing says the following: In the week that Messiah will be born there will be a bright star – in the east -the “Star of Messiah. This did happen when Yahshua was born! And now He is the star that lights up our lives.
In Numbers Chapter 21 we see Messiah in the “brazen serpent.” The children of Israel had sinned, and YHVH sent serpents among the people, and they bit them. Many of the people repented, and asked Moses to intercede for them. Elohim told Moshe to make a serpent of bronze (symbol of judgment) and put it on a pole. When those who had been bitten looked upon the serpent (symbol of sin-evil) they would live.
Here we have a Picture of Yahshua – who became sin for us – and was lifted up on a stake. In beholding His suffering, there is healing for us. The Messianic Scriptures says it this way: “And as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)
THE MESSIAH IN DEUTERONOMY
Let me share with you one more insight on Messiah from the last book of the Torah. Most of you know that Moses, the lawgiver, died at the edge of the Promised Land. He never made it in. The Law speaks to us of a Promised Land where Adonai wants to bring us, but we can’t enter in. You can’t enter into the Promised Land by the Law alone, because we, no, not one of us, has kept the whole Law. We need the Messiah to reconcile us to YHVH, forgiving our sins and then with the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, we will obey and guard His commandments, and even if we fail by omission we can be reconciled to the Father by contrite confession and baal Teshuva (turning away from our sin).
Moshe’s successor Yehoshua (Joshua, a type of Yahshua) took the people into the Promised Land. As the Torah ends, Yehoshua (full of the Ruach ha Kodesh) is ready to lead YHVH’s people onward to all He has for them.
Today we have Yahshua who wants to take you into the Promised Land!