Holiday Blessings in Messiah,
The Name of Messiah
At this time of year, believers in Yeshua (Jesus) throughout the world, hear in sermon and song a verse from the prophet Isaiah that mentions the “name” of the Messiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6).
The comma between Wonderful and Counselor is absent in many translations, making the first name “Wonderful Counselor” (Hebrew: Pele Yoetz—Pe-LE Yo-ETZ יועץ פלא). “Mighty God” in Hebrew is El Gibbor—El Gee-BOOR גבור אל. “Everlasting Father” is Aviad—Avi-AHD אביעד, and “Prince of Peace” is Sar Shalom—Sar Sha-LOME שלום שר.
This central Messianic verse ascribes four very powerful names to a child who would be born as Davidic king, indicating the deity of that king. Yeshua is that King of the House of David. Even a traditional Jewish Midrash understands Isaiah 9:6 to refer to the Messiah. It states (according to Dr. Michael Rydelnik in The Messianic Hope), “I have to raise up the Messiah, of whom it is written, ‘For a child is born to us.'” The Midrash does not, however, address the meaning of the Messiah’s supernatural throne titles. These titles or names are problematic for traditional Jewish scholars.
There is often confusion about “names,” when referring to the Messiah. Besides the four “names” mentioned in Isaiah 9:6, there are other Messianic names such as “Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). Yet, we know that the Messiah’s given name is Yeshua, proclaimed to Joseph by an angel (Matt. 1:21). The other “names” are descriptive titles, identifying characteristics, attributes and different ways to express a Messiah who, like the Father, is so multi-faceted, so Wonderful, that no simple name or title can adequately express who He is.
What is His Name?
The important question is found in Proverbs Chapter 30:4: “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?”
We think it is fairly obvious that the One referred to in these questions is Elohim, The Creator, The Lord, HaShem, Master of the Universe. He has more names as well: El Elyon, El Shaddai, יהוה, Adonai Tzvaot, Elohai Avraham, and many more! Proverbs 30:4 affirms that the Creator has a Son! We are asked if we know His name! We do! His name is Yeshua, which in Bible times was a common alternative form of the name Yehoshuah (Joshua). The Hebrew spelling Yeshua—ישוע—is generally used in translations of the New Testament into Hebrew, and also used by Hebrew speaking believers in Israel. [We, therefore, find no basis for the name Yahshuah, used by some believers who erroneously attach the prefix Yah that is not present in Hebrew.]
A Rabbi Reveals Messiah’s Name
Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri, one of Israel’s most esteemed rabbis, known for his photographic memory and memorization of the Bible, the Talmud, Rashi, and other Jewish writings, shocked his followers with a note left to them, to be opened a year after his death. On this note, written by the 108 year old rabbi, was the name of the Messiah!
According to an article in Israel Today Magazine (April 2007), Rabbi Kaduri surprised his followers by telling them that he had met the Messiah. He even gave a message in his synagogue on Yom Kippur, teaching them how to recognize the Messiah. In addition, Rabbi Kaduri mentioned that the Messiah would appear to Israel after Ariel Sharon’s death (Sharon died on Jan. 11, 2014).
Rabbi Kaduri’s grandson, Rabbi Yosef Kaduri, said that his grandfather spoke frequently about the coming of the Messiah and redemption through the Messiah during his last days. The following comments by the Rabbi were made public on the website Kaduri.net: “Will all believe in the Messiah right away? No, in the beginning some of us will believe in him and some not. It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the Messiah than for Orthodox people…It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”
What about the NAME? The Rabbi, who was also a Kabbalist, described the Messiah using six words and hinting that the initial letters form the name of the Messiah. The secret note said: “Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, he will lift the people and prove that his word and laws are valid.” The sentence in Hebrew with the hidden name of the Messiah reads: Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim. The initials spell out the Hebrew name of Jesus יהושוע— Yehoshua. As we mentioned, Yehoshua and Yeshua are basically the same name, derived from the same Hebrew root of the word “salvation.” The “ho” in Yehoshua adds the holy abbreviation of God’s name (הו) to Yeshua.
This was a shocking revelation to many! While the ultra-Orthodox Jews from Rabbi Kaduri’s yeshiva in Jerusalem argued that their master did not leave the exact solution for decoding the Messiah’s name, the Kaduri.net website insisted that the Messiah note was authentic, with the name Yehoshua in it. Rabbi Kaduri’s son did not accept what had appeared in his father’s official website, but did admit that in his last year, his father had talked and dreamed almost exclusively about the Messiah and his coming. “My father has met the Messiah in a vision,” he said, “and told us that he would come soon.”
We believe that Rabbi Kaduri met Yeshua the Messiah in that vision. We also believe that Yeshua gave him revelation of the nation as a whole receiving Him (Zech. 12:10), the simple, non-religious welcoming Him (Matt. 11:25), and the ultra-religious finding it hard to believe in Him (again).
His Name is “Light”
This is the Season of Lights. Hanukkah and Christmas coincide this year. Hanukkah begins on the night of Tuesday, December 16 and ends on the night of Wednesday, December 24. We know that Yochanan, John, the disciple whom Yeshua loved, said that Yeshua was the “true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (Jn. 1:9). Yeshua said of Himself, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12).
In a fascinating book, The Concealed Light by Dr. Tsvi Sadan, a native Israeli with more than twenty years of research into both Jewish and Christian understandings of the Messiah, the reader is introduced into the rich background and meaning behind the names of the Messiah. There are many more names for the Messiah in Jewish sources than we find specifically addressed in the Scriptures—most of which confirm and expand our understanding of Him. Not surprisingly, one of these names of Messiah is Or (אור) “Light.”
In Jewish tradition, Light (Or) to describe Messiah comes from Genesis 1:4: “And God saw the light, that it was good.” What was this light that was created before the sun and moon? (created on the fourth day Gen 1:14-19). The rabbinic sages, puzzled by this “good light,” make a connection with another unique light, spoken of by David in Psalm 36:9: “For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” This light within a light, according to one traditional teaching, is the light created on the first day, which David recognizes as King Messiah.
In the Talmud (Pesikta Rabbati 36), the following comment is made on “Light” as a name of Messiah: “For what light is Israel waiting? This is the light of Messiah as it says, ‘And God saw the light that it was good.’ This teaches us that the Holy One, blessed be He, observed Messiah and his deeds before the creation of the world, and concealed his Messiah under his throne until his generation.”
Messiah as a “concealed light” (Or ganuz—Or gaNUZE), according to traditional teaching, is waiting to be revealed when the right time arrives. He is a “primordial light,” present at creation—hidden for a time. The rabbis considered “Light” to be one of the secret names of the Messiah, not only because of the Genesis allusion, but because of Daniel 2:22, Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 60:1-3. We think it is safe to say that just as “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn.1:1), in the beginning was the Light (Yeshua)…called in the Book of Hebrews “…the brightness of His (God’s) glory” (Heb. 1:3).
If the Light (Messiah) was once concealed, and was to be revealed in God’s timing, we see Yeshua, Or HaOlam, The Light of the World, making His famous declaration at Sukkot in the midst of the ceremony of Illuminating the Temple (Jn. 8:12). He proceeded to prove His claim as The Light by opening the eyes of the blind (Jn. 9:1-7). Yeshua as Light was made manifest to all. Even though He had come up to the Feast in secret (Jn. 7:10), He came out of hiding to reveal His Light. Perhaps Yeshua’s exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount refers to concealed vs. revealed light in our lives: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).
His Name is “Lion”
Lion (aryeh) is a traditional name for Messiah and also Neil’s father’s name. This name for Messiah is derived from the blessing that Jacob gave to his son Judah: “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him?” (Gen.49:9). Verse 10 continues with: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
Shiloh, in Jewish tradition, is also one of Messiah’s names, but the focus of Jacob’s blessing is on the Messiah as a Lion (in character attributes, not in essence). The word lion is mentioned three times in Genesis 49:9. Judah is first a cub or whelp (gur aryeh). Next he is a lion (aryeh), then a fully mature lion (lavi). Tsvi Sadan comments in his book that this picture of a cub growing to maturity fits well with the Jewish understanding of the way in which Messiah will come: first as the “Son of Joseph,” then as the “Son of David.” The “Son of Joseph” (like Joseph, Jacob’s son who was sold into slavery) is premature or “killed.” Then the Messiah as “Son of David” will be as a fully-grown lion, and king over all. Messiah at first has authority like a lion’s cub, but in the end like a lion king.
One rabbinic commentator, Abravanel, says of the phrase, “From the prey, my son, you have gone up,” that Messiah removes Himself from all prey and cruelty, since his instruments are not ‘instruments of cruelty.’ Therefore, the Lion of Judah does not seek to devour Israel, but to protect them from other predators.
What about Yeshua? “For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah…” (Heb. 7:14) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
Yeshua, born in Bethelem, of the tribe of Judah, came as a Lamb at His first coming (like the suffering Joseph), but is returning as a Lion at His next coming (which, according to Rabbi Kaduri is SOON!). Yeshua is returning as the REAL LION KING (not the Disney version!) The definitive verse on Yeshua as Lion is Revelation 5:5: “But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Yeshua is the only One Worthy to open and read the scroll. He is the Messiah, HaMashiach, Ben David! Strong. Powerful. Authoritative. Majestic. King of kings and Lord of lords.
His Name is “Majesty”
The rabbis ascribe the name Majesty (Ga’on in Hebrew) to Messiah, based on Isaiah 2:10: “Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust; from the terror of the LORD and the glory of His majesty.” In Hebrew, there appear to be two distinct entities in the verse—”the LORD” and “His majesty.” “His majesty” is interpreted as referring to the Messiah, given the last-days prophetic setting of Isaiah Chapter two.
This name of Messiah, in Jewish tradition, helps to create a fuller and deeper picture of Him. According to Tsvi Sadan: “Majesty identifies Messiah as the fierce and divine warrior who will single-handedly defeat the great international coalition that will gather to annihilate Israel. Majesty is portrayed as the ultimate protector of the Jews who will judge the nations according to how they have treated Israel.” Sound familiar? See Matthew chapter 25:31-46. When Yeshua said, “…Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me,” (25:40), the “brethren” He was referring to may very well be His brothers in the flesh—the Jewish people! (Traditional interpretations identify the “brethren” with believers in Messiah). Will nations, and individuals, be judged according to their treatment of the Jewish people? We certainly want to be on the side that has blessed Israel! We also want to make sure we bless our fellow believers!
King Messiah—coming to judge the earth—is “Majesty.” Yes—and Amen! “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.” (Jn. 5:22-23)
Worship His Majesty this month. Let your light shine. Be bold as a lion in proclaiming His matchless worth!
Rejoicing in His Wonderful Names,