Book 6, Appendix 9, Part 3

To the above passages we add some from the Apocryphal Books, partly as indicating the views concerning the Messiah which the Jews had derived from the Old Testament, and partly because of their agreement with Jewish traditionalism as already expounded by us. These passages must therefore be judged in connection with the Rabbinical ideas of the Messiah and of Messianic days. It is in this sense that we read, for example, the address to Jerusalem, Tobit 13:9 to the end. Comp. here, for example, our quotations on Amo_9:11.

Similarly Tobit 14:5-7 may be compared with our quotations on Ps 90, Isa_60:3, and especially on Zec_8:23, also on Gen_49:11.

Wisdom of Solomon 3:7, 8 may be compared with our remarks on Isa_61:1.

Ecclus. 44:21 etc. and 47:11 may be compared with our quotations on Psa_89:22-25; Psa_132:18; Eze_29:21.

Ecclus. 48:10, 11. See the comments on Isa_52:7, also our references on Mal_3:1; Mal_4:5; Deu_25:19 and Deu_30:4; Lam_2:22. In Sotah ix. 15 Elijah is represented as raising the dead.

Baruch 2:34, 35; 4:29 etc.; and 5 are so thoroughly in accordance with Rabbinic, and, indeed, with Scriptural views, that it is almost impossible to enumerate special references.

The same may be said of 1 Macc. 2:57; while such passages as 4:46 and 14:41 point forward to the ministry of Elijah as resolving doubts, as this is frequently described in the Talmud (Shekalim ii. 5; Men. 45a, Pes. 13a; and in other places).

Lastly, 2 Macc. 2:18 is fully enlarged on in the Rabbinic descriptions of the gathering of Israel.

Perhaps it may be as well here to add the Messianic discussion in the Talmud, to which such frequent reference has been made (Sanhedrin, beginning at the two last lines of p. 96b, and ending at p. 99a). The first question is that asked by one Rabbi of the other, whether he knew when the Son of the Fallen would come? Upon which follows an explanation of that designation, based on Amo_9:11, after which it is added that it would be a generation in which the disciples of the sages would be diminished, and the rest of men consume their eyes for sorrow, and terrible sorrows so follow each other, that one had not ceased before the other began. Then a description is given of what was to happen during the hebdomad when the Son of David would come. In the first year it would be according to Amo_4:7; in the second year there would be darts of famine; in the third year great famine and terrible mortality, in consequence of which the Law would be forgotten by those who studied it. In the fourth year there would be abundance, and yet no abundance; in the fifth year great abundance and great joy, and return to the study of the Law; in the sixth year voices (announcements); in the seventh wars, and at the end of the seventh the Son of David would come. Then follows some discussion about the order of the sixth and seventh year, when Psa_89:51 it referred to. Next we have a description of the general state during those days. Sacred places (Academies) would be used for the vilest purposes, Galilee be desolated, Gablan laid waste, and the men of Gebul wander from city to city, and not find mercy. And the wisdom of the scribes would be corrupted, and they who fear sin be abhorred, and the face of that generation would be like that of a dog, and truth should fail, according to Isa_59:15. (Here a side issue is raised.) The Talmud then continues in much the same terms to describe the Messianic age as one, in which children would rebel against their parents, and as one of general lawlessness, when Sadduceeism should universally prevail, apostasy increase, study of the Law decrease; and, generally, universal poverty and despair of redemption prevail – the growing disregard of the Law being pointed out as specially characterising the last days. R. Kattina said: The world in to last 6,000 years, and during one millennium it is to lie desolate, according to Isa_2:17. R. Abayi held that this state would last 2,000 years, according to Hos_6:2. The opinion of R. Kattina was, however, regarded as supported by this, that in each period of seven there is a Sabbatic year – the day here = 1,000 years of desolateness and rest – the appeal being to Isa_2:17; Psa_92:1, and Psa_90:4. According to another tradition the world was to last 6,000 years: 2,000 in a state of chaos, 2,000 under the Law, and 2,000 being the Messianic age. But on account of Israel’s sins those years were to be deducted which had already passed. On the authority of Elijah it was stated that the world would not last less than eighty-five jubilees, and that in the last jubilee the Son of David would come. When Elijah was asked whether at the beginning or at the end of it, he replied that he did not know. Being further asked whether the whole of that period would first elapse or not, he similarly replied, his meaning being supposed to be that until that term people were not to hope for the Advent of Messiah, but after that term they were to look for it. A story is related of a man being met who had in his hands a writing in square Hebrew characters, and in Hebrew, which he professed to have got from the Persian archives, and in which it was written that after 4,290 years from the Creation the world would come to an end. And then would be the wars of the great sea-monsters, and those of Gog and Magog, and the rest of the time would be the times of the Messiah, and that the Holy One, blessed be His Name, would only renew His world after the 7,000 years; to which, however, one Rabbi objects, making it 5,000 years. Rabbi Nathan speaks of Hab_2:3 as a passage so deep as to go down to the abyss, reproving the opinion of the Rabbis who sought out the meaning of Dan_7:25, and of Rabbi Samlai, who similarly busied himself with Psa_80:5, and of Rabbi Akiba, who dwelt upon Hag_2:6. But the first kingdom (Babylonian?) was to last seventy years; the second (Asmoraean?) fifty-two years; and the rule of the son of Kozebhah (Bar Kokhabh, the false Messiah) two and a half years. According to Rabbi Samuel, speaking in the name of Rabbi Jonathan: Let the bones of those be broken who calculate the end, because they say, The end has come, and the Messiah has not come, therefore He will not come at all. But still expect Him, as it is said (Hab_2:3), ‘Though it tarry, wait for it.’ Perhaps thou wilt say: We wait for Him, but He does not wait for it. On this point read Isa_30:18. But if so, what hinders it? The quality of judgment. But in that case, why should we wait? In order to receive the reward, according to the last clause of Isa_30:18. On which follows a further discussion. Again, Rabh maintains that all the limits of time as regards the Messiah are past, and that it now only depends on repentance and good works when He shall come. To this Rabbi Samuel objected, but Rabh’s view was supported by Rabbi Eliezer, who said that if Israel repented they would be redeemed, but if not they would not be redeemed. To which Rabbi Joshua added, that in the latter case God would raise over them a King whose decrees would be hard like those of Haman, when Israel would repent. The opinion of Rabbi Eliezer was further supported by Jer_3:22, to which Rabbi Joshua objected by quoting Isa_52:3, which seemed to imply that, Israel’s redemption was not dependent on their repentance and good works. On this Rabbi Eliezer retorted by quoting Mal_3:7, to which again Rabbi Joshua replied by quoting Jer_3:14, and Rabbi Eliezer by quoting Isa_30:15. To this Rabbi Joshua replied from Isa_49:7. Rabbi Eliezer then urged Jer_4:1, upon which Rabbi Joshua retorted from Dan_12:7, and so effectually silenced Rabbi Eliezer. On this Rabbi Abba propounded that there was not a clearer mark of the Messianic term than that in Isa_36:8. To which Rabbi Eliezer added Zec_8:10. On this the question is raised as to the meaning of the words ‘neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in.’ To this Rabh gave answer that it applied to the disciples of the sages, according to Psa_119:165. On which Rabbi Samuel replied that at that time all the entrances would be equal (i.e. that all should be on the same footing of danger). Rabbi Chanina remarked that the Son of David would not come till after fish had been sought for the sick and not found, according to Eze_32:14 in connection with Eze_29:21. Rabbi Chamma, the son of Rabbi Chanina, said that the Son of David would not come until the vile dominion over Israel had ceased, appealing to Isa_18:5, Isa_18:7. R. Seira said that Rabbi Chanina said: The Son of David would not come till the proud had ceased in Israel, according to Zep_3:11, Zep_3:12. Rabbi Samlai, in the name of Rabbi Eliezer the son of Rabbi Simeon, said that the Son of David would not come till all judges and rulers had ceased in Israel, according to Isa_1:26. Ula said: Jerusalem is not to be redeemed, except, by righteousness according to Isa_1:27. We pass over the remarks of Rabbi Papa, as not adding to the subject. Rabbi Jochanan said: If thou meet a generation that increasingly diminishes, expect Him, according to 2Sa_22:28. He also added: If thou seest a generation upon which many sorrows come like a stream, expect Him, according to Isa_59:19, Isa_59:20. He also added: The Son of David does not come except in a generation where all are either righteous, or all guilty – the former idea being based on Isa_60:21, the latter on Isa_59:16 and Isa_48:11. Rabbi Alexander said, that Rabbi Joshua the son of Levi referred to the contradiction in Isa_60:22 between the words ‘in his time’ and again ‘I will hasten it,’ and explained it thus: If they are worthy, I will hasten it, and it not, in His time. Another similar contradiction between Dan_7:13 and Zec_9:9 is thus reconciled: If Israel deserve it, He will come in the clouds of heaven; if they are not deserving, He will come poor, and riding upon an ass. Upon this it is remarked that Sabor the King sneered at Samuel, saying: You say that the Messiah is to come upon an ass: I will send Him my splendid horse. To which the Rabbi replied: Is it of a hundred colours, like His ass? Rabbi Joshua, the son of Levi, saw Elijah, who stood at the door of Paradise. He said to him: When shall the Messiah come? He replied: when that Lord shall come (meaning God). Rabbi Joshua, the son of Levi, said: I saw two [himself and Elijah], and I heard the voice of three [besides the former two the Voice of God]. Again he met Elijah standing at the door of the cave of Rabbi Simon the son of Jochai, and said to him: Shall I attain the world to come? Elijah replied: If it pleaseth to this Lord. Upon which follows the same remark: I have seen two, and I have heard the voice of three. Then the Rabbi asks Elijah: When shall the Messiah come? To which the answer is: Go and ask Him thyself. And where does He abide? At the gate of the city (Rome). And what is His sign? He abides among the poor, the sick, the stricken. And all unbind, and bind up again the wounds at the same time, but He undoes (viz. the bandage) and rebinds each separately, so that if they call for Him they may not find Him engaged. He went to meet Him and said: Peace be to Thee, my Rabbi and my Lord. He replied to him: Peace be to thee, thou son of Levi. He said to Him: When wilt Thou come, my Lord? He replied to him: To-day. Then he turned to Elijah, who said to him: What has He said to thee? He said to me: Son of Levi, peace be to thee. Elijah said to him: He has assured thee and thy father of the world to come. He said to him: But He has deceived me in that He said: I come to-day, and He has not come. He said to him that by the words ‘to-day’ He meant: To-day if ye will hear My voice (Psa_95:7). Rabbi José was asked by his disciples: When will the Son of David come? To this he replied I am afraid you will ask we also for a sign. Upon which they assured him they would not. On this he replied: When this gate (viz. of Rome) shall fall, and be built, and again fall, and they shall not have time to rebuild it till the Son of David comes. They said to him: Rabbi, give us a sign. He said to them: Have ye not promised me that ye would not seek a sign? They said to him: Notwithstanding do it. He said to them: If so, the waters from the cave of Pamias (one of the sources of the Jordan) shall be changed into blood. In that moment they were changed into blood. Then the Rabbi goes on to predict that the land would be overrun by enemies, every stable being filled with their horses. Rabh said that the Son of David would not come till the kingdom (i.e. foreign domination) should extend over Israel for nine months, according to Mic_5:3. Ula said: Let Him come, but may I not see Him, and so said Raba. Rabbi Joseph said: Let Him come, and may I be found worthy to stand in the shadow of the dung of His ass (according to some: the tail of his ass). Abayi said to Raba: Why has this been the bearing of your words? If on account of the sorrows of the Messiah, we have the tradition that Rabbi Eliezer was asked by his disciples, what a man should do to be freed from the sorrows if the Messiah; on which they were told: By busying yourselves with the Torah, and with good works. And you are a master of the Torah, and you have good works he answered: Perhaps sin might lead to occasion of danger. To this comforting replies are given from Scripture, such as Gen_28:16, and other passages, some of them being subjected to detailed commentation.

Rabbi Jochanan expressed a similar dislike of seeing the days of the Messiah, on which Resh Lakish suggested that it might be on the ground of Amo_5:19, or rather on that of Jer_30:6. Upon this, such fear before God is accounted for by the consideration that what is called service above is not like what is called service below (the family above is not like the family below), so that one kind may outweigh the other. Rabbi Giddel said, that Rabh said, that Israel would rejoice in the years of the Messiah. Rabbi Joseph said: Surely, who else would rejoice in them? Chillak and Billak? (two imaginary names, meaning no one). This, to exclude the words of Rabbi Hillel, who said: There is no more Messiah for Israel, seeing they have had Him in the time of Hezekiah. Rabh said: The world was only created for David; Samuel, for Moses; and Rabbi Jochanan, for the Messiah. What is His Name? The school of Rabbi Shila said: Shiloh is His Name, according to Gen_49:10. The school of Rabbi Jannai said: Jinnon, according to Psa_72:17. The school of Rabbi Chanina said: Chaninah, according to Jer_16:13. And some say: Menachem, the son of Hezekiah, according to Lam_1:16. And our Rabbis say: The Leprous One of the house of Rabbi is His Name, as it is written Isa_53:4. Rabbi Nachman said: If He is among the living, He is like me, according to Jer_30:2. Rabh said: If He is among the living, He is like Rabbi Jehudah the Holy, and if among the dead He is like Daniel, the man greatly beloved. Rabbi Jehudah said, Rabh said: God will raise up to them another David, according to Jer_30:9, a passage which evidently points to the future. Rabbi Papa said to Abaji: But so have this other Scripture Eze_37:25, and the two terms (Messiah and David) stand related like Augustus and Caesar. Rabbi Samlai illustrated Amo_5:18, by a parable of the cock and the bat which were looking for the light. The cock said to the bat: I look for the light, but of what use is the light to thee? So it happened to a Sadducee who said to Rabbi Abahu: When will the Messiah come? He answered him: When darkness covers this people. He said to him: Dost thou intend to curse me? He replied: It is said in Scripture Isa_60:2. Rabbi Eliezer taught: The days of the Messiah are forty years, according to Psa_95:10. Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Asariah, said: Seventy years, according to Isa_23:15, ‘according to the days of a King,’ the King there spoken of being the unique king, the Messiah. Rabbi said: Three generations, according to Psa_72:5. Rabbi Hillel said: Israel shall have no more Messiah, for they have had Him in the days of Hezekiah. Rabbi Joseph said: May God forgive Rabbi Hillel: when did Hezekiah live? During the first Temple. And Zechariah prophesied during the second Temple, and said Zec_9:9. We have the tradition that Rabbi Eliezer said: The days of the Messiah are forty years. It is written Deu_8:3, Deu_8:4, and again in Psa_90:15 (showing that the days of rejoicing must be like those of affliction in the wilderness). Rabbi Dosa said: Four hundred years, quoting Gen_15:13 in connection with the same Psalm. Rabbi thought it was 365 years, according to the solar year, quoting Isa_63:4. He asked the meaning of the words: ‘The day of vengeance is in My heart,’ Rabbi Jochanan explained them: I have manifested it to My heart, but not to My members, and Rabbi Simon ben Lakish: To My heart, and not to the ministering angels. Abimi taught that the days of the Messiah were to last for Israel 7,000 years (a Divine marriage-week), according to Isa_62:5. Rabbi Jehudah said, that Rabbi Samuel said, that the days of the Messiah were to be as from the day that the world was created until now, according to Deu_11:21. Rabbi Nachman said: As from the days of Noah till now, according to Isa_54:9. Rabbi Chija said, that Rabbi Jochanan said: All the prophets have only prophesied in regard to the days of the Messiah; but in regard to the world to come, eye has not seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him (Isa_64:4). And this is opposed to what Rabbi Samuel said, that there was no difference between this world and the days of the Messiah, except that foreign domination would cease. Upon which the Talmud goes off to discourse upon repentance, and its relation to perfect righteousness.

Lengthy as this extract may be, it will at least show the infinite difference between the Rabbinic expectation of the Messiah, and the picture of Him presented in the New Testament. Surely the Messianic idea, as realised in Christ could not have been derived from the views current in those times!