Messiah in the Talmud
An incredible statement is made in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 97a-97b. It reads:
The Tanna debe Eliyyahu [Academy of Elijah] teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;37 two thousand years the Torah flourished;38 and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era,39 but through our many iniquities all these years have been lost.1 [Brackets mine]
The footnotes read:
37. I.e., no Torah. It is a tradition that Abraham was fifty-two years old when he began to convert men to the worship of the true God; from Adam until then, two thousand years elapsed.
38. I.e., from Abraham's fifty-second year until one hundred and seventy-two years after the destruction of the second Temple. This does not mean that the Torah should cease thereafter, but is mentioned merely to distinguish it from the next era.
39. I.e., Messiah will come within that period.
1. He should have come at the beginning of the last two thousand years; the delay is due to our sins.
This is very revealing. The Jews believed that world history would be divided roughly into three two thousand year periods. The first period was from Adam to Abraham. The second period was from Abraham to Messiah. The third (last) period would be the era or days of Messiah. In other words, the Messiah would come at the start of the fifth one thousand year period.
They also believed that a one thousand year period would follow the third (last) two thousand year period as we see below.
R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.32 Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.33
It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,' and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day,34 meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath 35 and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.36
33. Hosea VI, 2: the 'two days' meaning two thousand years. Cf. Ps. XC, 4. quoted below.
Just as our week is comprised of six work days and one rest day, so too, will man’s time on earth consist of six days of work (one day = 1,000 years) and one day of rest (the 1,000 year millennium or anti-typical Sabbath). One of the sources the Jews used to arrive at that belief was the Book of Hosea. It is believed Hosea wrote his book between 755–725 BCE. In it he prophesied about three “days” in Israel’s future which they understood as three one thousand year periods. Using the week as a type of the history of man on earth, that would mean four one thousand year days would precede the three one thousand year days of Hosea 6:2. That meant Hosea was writing in the middle of the fourth thousand year day. At the end of the fourth day, the era of Messiah would begin.
However, since the Jews were not delivered from the Romans by their expected King Messiah, they assumed he did not come when expected because of their sins (see the quote above from Tractate Sanhedrin 97a-97b).
Here is a visual to help you understand the timeline.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7|
|2,000 years from Adam to Abraham||2,000 years from Abraham to Messiah||2,000 years of the era of Messiah||1,000 year millennial rest|
The Messiah did indeed come at the expected time, but because the Jews rejected him, they were blinded by Yahweh.
Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry you out, and cry: they are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For Yahweh has poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers has He covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he said, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he said, I am not learned. Wherefore Adonai said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, evena marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isaiah 29:9-14)
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10)
But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Adonai, who has believed our report? and to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again, He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (John 12:37-40)
What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded(According as it is written, [Elohim] has given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David said, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recompense unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back always. (Romans 11:7-10)
The Apostle Paul wrote that their blindness would be temporary.
For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away wickedness from Jacob: (Romans 11:25-26)
The Jews believed it was their sins (wickedness) that prevented the Messiah from coming when they expected him, but, in reality, he did come. He came to take their sins upon himself and bear their iniquity as Isaiah 53 states.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; He has put him to grief: when you shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath 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. (Isaiah 53:5-6; 10-12)
The generation of Jews alive at the time Messiah came were indeed a wicked and sinful generation as we read in several Brit Chadasha (New Testament) passages. Messiah himself gave the Jews of his day a scathing rebuke in Matthew 23:13-39 culminating in these words:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (Mat 23:37-38)
Stephen rebuked the Jews of Messiah’s day for their evil deeds as well.
You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. (Acts 7:51-53)
The greatest sin the Jews of Messiah’s day committed was the sin of unbelief in Yeshua as Messiah. Had they believed that Yeshua was the Messiah, they would have been saved and received eternal life. However, they rejected him and his teachings. Yeshua said to them:
You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I amhe, you shall die in your sins. (John 8:23-24)
Prior to the Jews final rejection of Yeshua by crying out for his death, he said the following to his disciples concerning the temple:
See you not all these things? Truly I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (Matthew 24:2)
The Talmud makes another revealing statement as to why the temple was destroyed.
“Why was the Second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they occupied themselves with studying Torah, obeying mitzvot and practicing charity? Because in it prevailed hatred without a cause.” (Yoma 9b)
That statement was very true as the words of Yeshua forty years earlier show.
But now have they [the Jews] both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (John 15:24b-25)
The Jews did not know Yeshua said that to his disciples in a private gathering. Therefore, their quote in the Talmud was most likely taken from the Psalms.
Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause. (Psalm 35:19)
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored thatwhich I took not away. (Psalm 69:4)
They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. (Psalm 109:3)
The Prince of Peace had come to save the world, but a particular generation of Jews fought against him with a vehement hatred that stirred Yahweh’s wrath and brought destruction upon the temple and themselves. Their hatred and wickedness also caused a blindness to fall upon all Jews until the fullness of the Gentiles come to salvation through Yeshua. Once that predetermined number of Gentiles is saved, Israel’s blindness will be lifted and they will look upon him who they pierced and mourn for him (Zechariah 12:10). They will then receive him as Yahweh’s Messiah and their own Master and Savior. So shall all Israel be saved.
Micah prophesied about the coming of Messiah, Israel’s blindness, and Israel’s salvation. My comments are in brackets.
But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he [Messiah] come forth unto me [Yahweh] that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [family descent] have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he [Messiah] give them up [Israel via blindness and then turning to the Gentiles], until the time that she which travails has brought forth [until Zion gives birth to the resurrected saints in Messiah (Revelation 12:5)]: then the remnant of his brethren [those that are alive and remain on earth after the resurrection (Revelation 12:17)] shall return unto the children of Israel. [The remnant will preach the good news to the Jews after Yahweh lifts their blindness. They will realize their terrible error in fighting against Yeshua for roughly two thousand years and repent and receive him as Yahweh’s Messiah]. And he [Messiah] shall stand and feed in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh his Elohim; and they [Israel] shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:2-4)
It is only a matter of time before the fullness of the Gentiles is complete and Messiah Yeshua returns to the children of Israel. Their blindness will be lifted and they will bow their knees to Yahweh’s appointed Messiah. May it be so.