There is a man called Asher Norman who wrote a book called ‘26 reasons why Jews don’t believe in Jesus.’
I’ve written some answers to his questions which are put on the Messiah Factor website. So, if you want to know some of the answers go to Messiah Factor look up answering Asher and you’ll find some of my answers.
I’ve said to him before, ‘Do you want to talk about this?‘ He answered: ‘Not really, I’ve made up my mind and I don’t want to discuss it with you.‘ Which I thought was a bit lame. That is how it was.
He responded to one thing which I wrote about to show that the Talmud and the idea of the oral Torah doesn’t add up to the scriptures. But, apart from that, he didn’t want to know.
Never mind, there are Jewish people who do want to know, and there are people who we need to give the answer to because what he said was not true at all.
What he does say is that there’s no Messianic prophecy about the Messiah being pierced. He says that Psalm 22 is about David’s sufferings, it’s not Messianic. He says Christians have inserted the verse about ‘hands and feet being pierced’ into this psalm when they should have translated as: ‘like a lion, his hands and his feet’.
12 Many bulls have surrounded Me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
13 They gape at Me with their mouths,
Like a raging and roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded Me;Psalm 22.12-18
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
17 I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
18 They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
I’ll come on to why they say that in a moment but Asher Norman says the psalm is the lament of David as he finds himself surrounded by bitter foes and that it has no Messianic significance at all.
Is he right or wrong?
He is wrong. But he is also right. Psalm 22 is a psalm of David. It is a psalm about David telling us about his sufferings, about how he feels. He has been let down and it is illustrative of many things.
When you look at Messianic prophecy, if you study the whole subject of Messianic prophecy, you’ll find it often deals with events which take place in time and space to do the person being referred to in the Old Testament. Then, into that event, God injects some reference to what will eventually come about and has to do with Jesus.
One of the most obvious ones of these is what Jewish people call the עֲקֵידַת יִצְחַק, ʿAqēḏaṯ Yīṣḥaq / The Binding of Isaac in Genesis chapter 22 where you have the story of God telling Abraham to take his only son Isaac, to offer him as a sacrifice which involves putting him to death.
6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
We see that Isaac carries the wood for this offering to the mountains of Moriah which are in Jerusalem and, on the way, Isaac asks, ‘Where is the Lamb for the burnt offering?‘ And Abraham replies, ‘God Himself will provide a lamb for the offering.‘
When they get to the point of the offering, God intervenes and stops Abraham from killing his son Isaac, and so, figuratively, God gives Abraham’s son back to him as a type of the resurrection from the dead which is how the book of Hebrews interprets this event.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.Hebrews 11.17-19
They, then find a ram caught in a thicket and offer it as a sacrifice, fulfilling the word about God providing.
However, God provides a ram not a lamb, and God providing a lamb is in fact looking forward to the provision of Yeshua / Jesus as His only Son, the Lamb of God who will take away the sin of the world.
And the whole story of Abraham and Isaac parallels God giving His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins.
There are other parts in the Bible which show the same principle. That is, you have an event which takes place but it also has a Messianic significance.
If you look at the whole story of Joseph and his brothers, Joseph is the favourite son of Jacob who is taken by his brothers to be killed and is then sold as a slave into Egypt. While he is in Egypt, he is humiliated – taken to the lowest place – put in prison for a crime he hasn’t committed and then exalted to the highest place after he correctly interprets Pharaoh’s dream about the coming seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.
Pharaoh promotes Joseph to the highest place in the land so that he can look after it and then Joseph acts as a type of saviour to the people giving them bread in the time of famine. His brothers then come down to get bread. They don’t recognize him and he then reveals himself to them, they repent for their sin and are reconciled to Joseph.
It’s a parallel of Jesus dealing with his brothers and his people, being taken down to the lowest place and exalted, and finally being reconciled to his brothers as they repent and believe.
You could look at the most famous Messianic prophecy of all Isaiah 53, a prophecy of the suffering servant of the Lord.
Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
When you look at it in the context of its time, it is about Israel’s captivity and its redemption from Babylon. Israel then returned to the Promised Land.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
You have previous references in Isaiah to Israel as the servant of the Lord but then it goes on to a deeper message about the Messiah coming as a servant of the Lord.
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,Isaiah 42.1
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
2 He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
“And now the Lord says,Isaiah 49:5
Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
And My God shall be My strength),
This is Messiah bringing redemption to His people and setting them free from spiritual captivity in Babylon, bringing them into the Promised Land of a relationship with God through the Messiah.
In these incidents (and there are more of them in the Bible), you have Messianic prophecies that are set into events which take place in the history of the time when they are narrated.