The Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah: A Look at the New Covenant
Over the years I have talked to many Jewish people about whether Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Whenever I bring up the resurrection of Jesus as an attempt to show that Jesus is most certainly the Messiah, I usually get the response that a resurrected Jesus is not really anything that special. While there have been a variety of
1. The Messiah will enable the Jewish people to dwell securely in the land of Israel (Is.11
2. The Messiah is supposed to put an end to all oppression, suffering and disease (Is.2
3. The Messiah will spread the knowledge of the God of Israel to the surrounding nations (Isa.11
Or, with many Jewish people, the Maimonides view of Messiah is what matters. Maimonides was a medieval Jewish philosopher whose writings
1. The Messiah will be a king who
2. He helps Israel follow Torah
3. He builds the Temple in its place
4. He gathers the dispersed of Israel
The Resurrection of Jesus and the New Covenant
So in relation to the qualifications of the Messiah, how might we show the importance of the resurrection? There is something that can be overlooked here. If we look at the Torah, we see God promised Moses something that would happen in the future for the Jewish people:
“These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb. And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land
Here we see that God gave Moses the informing theology in
God repeats it to Moses in Deut:30:6 when he says, ” The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.”
Let’s now look at a couple of New Covenant Passages:
“Behold, the days
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your
So here we see the Promises of the New Covenant:
1. God promises regeneration (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26).
2. God promises the forgiveness of sin (Jeremiah 31:34; Ezekiel 36:25)
3. God pledged the indwelling Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27).
4. God promises the knowledge of God (Jeremiah 31:34).
5. God promises His people would obey Him (Ezekiel 36:27; 37:23-24; Jeremiah 32:39-40).
6. The fulfilling of this covenant was tied to Israel’s future restoration to the land (Jer. 32:36-41; Ezek. 36:24-25; 37:11-14).
Each of these promises has a historic, partial fulfillment beginning in the 530’s
Remember, the people of Israel were again forced out of their land again (by the Romans in 135 AD) and scattered
Why the Resurrection Matters
Before Jesus rose from the dead, he made a promise that was related to the New Covenant passages:
Just like the giving of the Torah (with Moses), the New Covenant needs someone to inaugurate it. As Jesus says:
“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be
Also, after Jesus rose from the dead, he promised something related to the New Covenant passages:
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit
Also, it could not be more evident that the New Covenant passages were written to both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. So what about the Gentiles? How do we fit into the picture? In response, we probably can note that the word “mystery’ (μυστήριον) plays a key role here. It does not mean “mysterious” as in “strange.” It
So we can conclude with following syllogism:
1. If Jesus rose from the dead, He can send the Spirit and inaugurate the New Covenant.
2. Jesus rose from the dead
3. Therefore, Jesus is the initiator of the New Covenant.
In asking whether Jesus really is the Jewish Messiah, one of the most important criteria to meet this requirement is to have the ability to inaugurate the New Covenant. Only a resurrected Messiah could fulfill such a task.
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