Seeing Messiah in Biblical
Types and Shadows
For the sake of this presentation, Yeshua is the Hebrew name of the Jewish Messiah. The Scriptural timeline presented here weaves into its conclusions the understanding that Yeshua and Jesus are one and the same. The following (with some minor editing) is reprinted from Chapter XVI in The Creator's Window.
'Yeshua is found in many of the verses of the Old Covenant. Are you surprised? This may not be obvious at first, but, if one uses both the Old and New together, a clear view reveals itself. Historically, individuals may have observed the presence of Messiah with the aid of the Old Covenant alone. When one discovers such truth, they still face a basic decision—believe or not.
For example, early on the Scriptures were not household possessions, thus only the priests during the first century could have anticipated the arrival of the Messiah. If anything, Yeshua only rebuked the educated who had access to Messianic prophecies. Even with relevant information in hand, they failed to believe and thus confronted Yeshua with their self-righteous ignorance.
As David Fuchs (cited earlier) notes, the Maccabees had access to Daniel's writings. Their act of consecration prepared the Second Temple for Messiah's first appearance. I suspect they were aware of the riddle—of 70 weeks—and acted accordingly. They must have calculated the Messiah was yet to come in less than 200 years. As indicated in the next chapter, there appear to be still others within the Jewish population who awaited the Messiah's arrival—even as he walked the earth. Today's presence of well preserved scrolls—Daniel and Isaiah—are enough to make a complete case for prophecy concerning Messiah. In this regard, evidence for the 'covenant bridge' existed long ago. Beyond that, there are other examples which take a special perspective to see.
I begin by asking: Are there other clues that identify the Messiah? The answer comes in what are called types and shadows. Essentially, these are symbols or parallel figures describing the character and events associated with Yeshua's appearance in the first century CE. Beyond this, other symbols and events identifying Yeshua, his presence, and his Ascension into heaven are described in Messiah's timeline. Here, I will focus on symbols or types foreshadowing the Messiah's first appearance on Earth.
OLD COVENANT TYPES AND SHADOWS
THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC
When I think of biblical types, I remember the story of Abraham and Isaac at the altar of sacrifice. God told Abraham to place Isaac, his son, upon the altar. The thought of one human sacrificing another is understandably detestable. But why did God ask Abraham to go through the motions? Abraham was prepared, by faith, to follow God's will. In the moment of truth—before Abraham could cause harm to Isaac, his son and first born—God tells Abraham that he will provide a sacrifice in place of Isaac. Isaac is replaced by the type, or symbol, representing Messiah:
'Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.' (Genesis 22:13, NIV)
Messiah comes as the 'Son of Man'—in other words the first born Son of God, God's arm in the flesh, who places himself in the role of the sacrificial lamb—Yeshua is the Lamb of God (foreshadowed by the Passover lamb). The crucifixion of Messiah has a special purpose and thus comes to us as early as the very first book of the Hebrew Tanach. If one is faithful, God provides for every need. What the crucifixion offers is not blame for those who performed an execution—for this event was expected by Yeshua before the fact. The act of death allowed the Messiah to offer three things.
First, the Messianic figure bore sins of believers and thus released those burdened by the monumental task of following the Law without fail. The Torah assumes man can keep the Law, but reveals humanity's unwillingness to do so. The Torah aims for perfection, but man is not perfect—he is, after all, in an asymmetric Universe.
Second, in place of sin and guilt the Messiah provides atonement and grace. Remember, as Jeremiah stated, a New Covenant God will forgive and remember sins no more.
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Third, the death of the Yeshua was absolutely required to demonstrate victory over death. Remember, once dead the Messiah was wrapped in a cloth, left to rest hidden in a tomb, and was later risen from the dead. So many argue over who was the killer—who was to blame. That's not the point! Yet, some still fail to see the Creator's message is bigger than all the actors present on the stage at that time.
There are many types for the Messiah in Passover, but I will very briefly allude to only two. In the Scriptures the description of the Passover lamb is given much detail (see Exodus 12). What touches my heart most is how each lamb lives for a short time with each Hebrew family before it is slain. The family's intimacy with the lamb reminds me Messiah's presence was brief, but up close and personal, during Yeshua's ministry on Earth. Then, when slain, the lamb goes very meekly. Messiah suffered without complaint. This image is also observed in verses of Isaiah 53 (see below: Yeshua's Shadow in the Torah). The image of this lamb is made complete in that Yeshua's birth occurred in Bethlehem, which is the town where lambs were raised specifically for the Temple sacrifice.
The second example is a contemporary practice that Gentiles will find interesting and Jewish Passover observers will find revealing. In the Passover Seder there is the practice of putting three matzot in a bag—the Unity Bag. The fact that the bread is unleavened presents a symbol of an identity or entity free of sin (for bread with yeast, the leaven, symbolically is sin). The middle matzah is broken in half and one half is removed and placed in a napkin. The wrapped matzah is hidden, and later is found by a child. The child is traditionally given a gift for finding the half matzah which is called Afikomen—strangely a Greek word used in this all Hebrew ritual—which means: the dessert or "what is anticipated last with great expectation." A loose interpretation of this symbol equates Afikomen with one who will come —the Messiah himself. The relation is complete because in former times the last to be eaten was the lamb, which as I described in the previous type is a symbol for Messiah. In fact, prior to the destruction of the Second Temple there were two different Passover Seders. Each practice was similar up to the point of sharing the third cup of wine—which itself was a symbol for redemption. In Messiah's presence the lamb of the former Passover becomes the symbol as described for unleavened bread.
The matzah is removed from the cloth, then broken into pieces, and shared by those sitting around the Passover table. The parallel is the Messiah's body—the middle matzah—is 'broken' for us. Remarkably, Yeshua had no broken bones at death, but the typical reference is that his body was broken for us. When dead, the Messianic figure was placed in a cloth shroud and put away—hidden—in a tomb for three days. On the third day it was discovered he had arisen. Afikomen represents a type for the Messiah, the one who comes out of the buried or hidden state and is shared by everyone, for his life represents something to celebrate—victory over death. The Unity Bag may symbolize God's unity in the form of Heavenly Father, the Messiah, and God's Spirit. These three, like the plural presence in Elohim, seen at the moment of creation, draws together a symmetry existing within the complete Creator.
The Temple contains many objects all of which are symbols interwoven into a larger meaning. The lampstand, first described in Exodus 25, gives light which is a symbol for life. To see light is to have life! Messiah is represented in the lampstand in many ways. First, his presence kept the lamps lit during the time of the Maccabean Temple consecration—Hanukkah! His absence, as indicated later, prevents lamps from shining. Second, the lampstand itself speaks of great value, because it was constructed of solid gold weighing one talent. This amount of gold today values from nearly a half to well over one million dollars. The lamps themselves number seven—which is the biblical number for completeness or perfection. The center most lamp stood over all the others. In fact the shammash joins the remaining six lamps attached to a single main center support. The number six, again in biblical terms, represents the number of man, or incompleteness. Thus, there is a picture of Messiah, who supports all of humanity, who are joined to him! In his future role as King, the Messiah is the head of the government, and thus his lamp is both in the center and set above all the rest. In total, the seven lamp supports make a complete unity. There is more to the example of the lampstand, but by first examination one can see how the lampstand is a type representing Messiah and all congregations of believers are joined to him. And this type stood firmly within Israel's Temple walls. At all times, the lamps were attended by the priests who made certain each lamp contained oil and remained lit 24 hours a day, each day of the year.
A story, related to the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, describes the impatience of the people and the anger which they vented by speaking against Moses and God. I know I am not well preserved after a few hours in a desert, but these folks had endured manna and sand for 40 years! In Numbers (21:4-9) the complaints of the Israelites are answered by venomous snakes sent by God. Many died because they had sinned—simply by speaking against God. As a response to others who admitted their sin, God instructed Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who was inflicted by a snake bite lived only if they looked at the bronze serpent on the pole. This symbol, held high upon a pole, is a type representing the Messiah—who at his execution was placed on an execution stake—and he likewise forgave those who looked upon him for salvation and forgiveness of sin.
THE SMITTEN ROCK
Twice in the desert, again during the exodus period, Moses struck a rock to bring forth water for the Hebrews to drink (Exodus 17:5,6 and Numbers 20). The first time Moses was told, by God, to strike the rock with his staff. The rock is a type for the Messiah. On his first appearance the Messiah was struck—executed—thus the act of striking the rock was a foreshadow of an event. Moses symbolically represented Messiah's first coming by following God's command. Later, on a second occasion, Moses was told by God to speak to the rock (Numbers 20:8). Instead of speaking to the rock Moses struck it, again, with his staff. But in parallel to biblical teaching, the Messiah will not be struck a second time. In fact, the Messiah will come as victor. Thus, Moses disrupted the parallel construction representing the first and second appearance of the Messiah. For his mistake, which did not please God, Moses was not allowed to enter the holy land.
THE RED HEIFER
There are also types and shadows represented by the sacrifice of the Red Heifer (in Numbers 19 and corresponding reference in Hebrews 10:22). The sacrifice of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19:2-17) occurs outside the camp—as was the scene for the crucifixion; outside the city walls—leads to a purification from sin, which is also given by grace through Yeshua's personal sacrifice. Psalm 22 foreshadows the crucifixion; with David's prophetic words vividly describing the events associated with Yeshua's death. This psalmist's words are as graphic as any prophetic description could give prior to the accounts by Mattityahu (26:17-27:61), Mark (14:12-15:47), Luke (22:7-23:56), and Yochanan (13:1-19:42).
YOM KIPPUR - THE TWO GOATS
This foreshadow of Messiah is detailed in the Window View feature article: An End to Terrible Days
YESHUA'S SHADOW IN THE TANACH
Without introduction, I include the next set of verses from Isaiah for your reading. An interpretation follows the Scriptures.
Messiah as Suffering Servant
Isaiah 52:13 'See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness—so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.'
Isaiah 53:1-12 'Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.'
Messiah as Revealed by Isaiah
What does the Scripture really say? You have read one of the most controversial pieces of text, often ignored by rabbis and often unexplored by Gentiles.
This section of Scripture is often interpreted to depict Israel. With some study it becomes clear that the passage speaks of a person—the Messiah as suffering servant—and not of a people. Evidence for the proper interpretation follows:
'The Pronouns In Isaiah 53:1-9, there is a clear distinction in pronouns. The speakers uniformly identify themselves in the first person plural (we, us and our), while the Servant is consistently described in the third person singular (he, him and his). Isaiah the prophet, a Jew, in speaking of himself and his own nation Israel, uses the pronouns we, us and our. He describes the Servant as Someone other than himself and his people in using the pronouns he, him and his. Since the speakers are plainly Isaiah's people Israel (we), the servant whom they describe (he) must be Someone other than Israel. They both cannot be Israel.
'The People In Isaiah 53:8, Isaiah declares that the Servant was put to death "through the transgressions of my people." Obviously, Isaiah's people are the Jewish people. If the Servant died for the children of Israel, the Servant cannot also be the children of Israel.
'The Sufferer's Innocence. The passage repeatedly claims the innocence of the Servant. Isaiah 53:4-6 says that his suffering was not for his own sin but for the sins of others. Verse 9 specifically states, "He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." However, the prophets, especially Isaiah, never characterize Israel (or any nation) as perfectly innocent. Isaiah says of Israel, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;..." (Isaiah 64:6). Since Isaiah affirms the Servant's innocence while at the same time affirming Israel's guilt, Israel cannot be the Servant.
'The Servant's Willingness. Isaiah 53:7-12 describes the Servant as a voluntary and unresisting Sufferer. He is characterized as willingly accepting his suffering (verse 7), rendering himself as a guilt offering (verse 10), and laying open his soul unto death (53:12). Certainly the Jewish people have suffered immensely at the hands of anti-Semites, who must still answer to God for their awful deeds. But despite the enormity of Jewish suffering they never received it willingly.
'The Servant's Death. The passage says that the Servant was "cut off out of the land of the living," (53:8) and that "he hath laid open his soul unto death" (53:12). Were the Jewish people ever, as a whole, put to death? No, we joyfully sing, "Am Yisrael Chai!" ("The People of Israel Live!"). In fact, in Jeremiah 31:34-36, God promises that the children of Israel will exist forever. Thus, since the Servant was "cut off," it is impossible to say that Israel is the Servant.
'The Servant's Substitution. One of the main points of the passage is that the servant died as a substitute for the sins of others. Nowhere do the Scriptures teach that Israel would suffer for the sins of others, only at the hands of others. For this reason, Israel is not the Servant in Isaiah 53.
The evidence is clear. The characteristics of the Servant cannot and do not apply to the Jewish people. The only One who fits the description is the Jewish Messiah, Messiah Yeshua."
I am told that Isaiah 53 is often, or always, avoided in synagogue services. This text has been deleted from some, or all, Israeli military Bibles—with a footnote stating the verses are deleted because they cause confusion. Ironically, this is part of an entire Isaiah scroll text which is clearly on display at the Shrine of the Book, in Jerusalem. How many, each and every day, have read the lines in the original Hebrew but still miss the meaning?
Messiah at His Second Coming
Beyond the previous examples, there are many other biblical references, types, allusions, or scriptural identifications of Messiah. In preparation for the discussion in the next chapter, I offer one additional reference—one leading to a connection with the Dead Sea Scrolls. The verses from Zechariah's writings describe the appearance and recognition of the Messiah at a time of conflict and confusion. The context of this writing presents the fact, even until he reappears during future events, many Jews remain unaware of the Messiah's identity. When the connection between a crucified figure and Messiah is made, the whole of the Jewish peoples—from every tribe—will mourn because of a long lost understanding. The debates and disbelief in present time testify to confusion masking his identity. Perhaps scholarly activity and translations of the scroll texts will begin to clarify the principle of one Messiah who appears twice. Certainly, the words you are about to read strongly suggest this to be the case. In this regard, Zechariah provides a keyword (pierced: identified below by bold text), which occurs in like fashion in Psalm 22 and again in the New Covenant scriptures (see footnote). Furthermore, presented in the next chapter, a recent translation of a small fragment of Dead Sea Scroll text alludes to a Messiah who is pierced.
Zechariah 12:3, 9-11 'On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. ... On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, ...' (NIV, emphasis added)
Isaiah 11:11 'In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.' (NIV, emphasis added)
Zechariah and Revelation both use the image of a pierced Messiah. Psalm 22 and John (19:34,37) describes how this is done. The manner in which Yeshua was pierced at the time of crucifixion is also discussed in a Special Communication that appeared in the March 21, 1986, Journal of the American Medical Association. The concept of a crucified man's wounds is also illustrated by descriptions of a burial shroud—known as the Shroud of Turin. Technically, piercing or pricking the side of a crucified person served to confirm death because blood and bodily fluids separate and thus exit the wound accordingly. In a purely objective sense, neither the events associated with crucifixion, nor shroud evidence, either taken alone or together, prove that Yeshua is Messiah. No singular proof should be sufficient and the multiple references, including the futuristic confirmation of his identity by this wound and Daniel's timely calculation must be linked to complete multiple sources of evidence. The multiplicity of sources reduces the odds of any single reference being made simply by chance. Obviously, as Zechariah reveals, some remain ignorant of Yeshua's dual appearance—or simply refuse to believe—until the very end of the present age. Lastly, the pierced Messiah is a critical component of a key promise given by the Creator. Yeshua died and arouse from the dead. His victory over death is sealed by a testimony given by the puncture in his side. The second appearance of the Messiah presents a threshold from the life humanity knows—in a secular physical sense—to life everlasting in a cosmic and divine sense. The cosmic connection leading to a resurrection life is explored further in Part Four.
The preceding connections help orient a new reader who digs into the Scriptures for the first time. Reading a verse or two, here or there, may never convey the impact of the full synthesis one encounters when text, history, and timelines come together. For example, Stan Telchin, a Jew, who had never before studied the New Covenant, writes of his experience when he first invested personal time exploring this biblical text. [ Stan Telchin, Betrayed (Lincoln: Chosen Books Publishing Company, Ltd., 1981), page 126.] He recognized the Messiah, who Isaiah (11:1) refers to as the 'a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,' must be a descendent of King David. Upon turning to the first pages of the books of Mattityahu (Chapter 1) and elsewhere in Luke (Chapter 3), he encountered the lineage passing through Yishai (Jesse), then David, and 28 generations to Yeshua. What intrigued Stan Telchin, and what seemed to solidify Yeshua's identity, is the fact that the Second Temple—the very building where Jewish genealogical records were kept—no longer stands. This historical fact interrupts the genealogy and prevents any possibility for another person to claim, or verify, they are a descendent of Jesse. Historically speaking, without the genealogical records, no one living after the rebellion of 70 CE can rightfully demonstrate they are the Messiah. The coincidental loss of the former temple locks another puzzle piece into place and adds to this window's view.
For footnotes and references, see PDF version of Chapter XVI of The Creator's Window.