The Hidden Saviour In Heaven

The Messianic Secret against its Jewish background (Part 2): 

“Before these things Enoch was hidden,

And no one of the children of men knew where he was hidden” 

(I Enoch 12.1)


In the next two posts, we will  show that referring to the coming of the Messiah as hidden and revealed may be taken as representative of first century (A.D.) Palestinian Judaism.  In order to prove this statement, we are going to look at the evidence from different streams and representatives of this Judaism.

Dead Sea Scrolls – If we turn to the Qumran library, the different texts from this library testify to the powerful presence of the “hidden and revealed” motifs in the community of Qumran. The distinguished Dead Sea scholar Michael O. Wise writes in his book, The First Messiah, that Judah (this is his name, according to Wise) was the first hidden messiah and that his life helped to lay the foundation for Jesus as the hidden messiah.  Judah’s key phrase, wondrous mysteries, (רזי פלא), contains the most prominent term for “mystery” in the Qumran writings – the word raz –  which is generally regarded as a Persian loanword taken over into Aramaic and Hebrew. The biblical Greek translation of raz is mysterion, and two Hebrew terms associated with raz are sod and nistarot – the latter is often translated as hidden. All these terms convey the idea of the essential heavenly knowledge known only to God and granted to humans by revelation. Members of the community were expected to “walk perfectly together, each with his neighbor, in everything revealed to them” – while remaining hidden was seen as an an essential part of messianic consciousness and messianic behavior. “He who nurtures the Holy Shoot to become a Tree of Truth is himself hidden, without esteem, unknown, his secret sealed up.[1]

Apocalyptic Literature – In the Second Temple Period, the apocalypse turns out to be the main carrier of eschatological ideas and messiah concepts. Why? What was so special about this literature? An explanation should be sought in the history. The Hebrew Scriptures teach the concept of God reigning visibly and tangibly in the history of His people. A king was God’s anointed one. If the king was righteous, God would bless the people and this blessing, as well as the kingdom itself, was a very tangible, earthly reality. However, what happens if the king is unrighteous? Gradually, the vision of an “anointed one to come” who would rectify the wrongs perpetrated by the ruling king and remedy the ill of the present situation, is emerging within the framework of actual history,.  The worse the current historical situation became, the stronger would be a hope for the reverse order that the messiah would bring. Thus, in the post-biblical age the transcendent motif began to ring very clearly: As things on this earth were bad and the unrighteous were winning, for the first time the clearly cut-out concept of the transcendent kingdom and transcendent last-day savior made its way into Jewish thought. The Messiah would become a fully transcendent figure, a heavenly counterpart of the righteous on the earth. While they are oppressed and lowly, he is enthroned and exalted, but hidden. However, when he is manifested at the eschatological judgment, they will also be exalted. In the center of this process of reinterpretation and rethinking stands ‘One like the Son Man’ of Daniel 7: I saw in the night visions, and, behold, One like the son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days…

Thus, the hidden and revealed Messiah occurs many times in the apocalypses, especially in the Book of Enoch, where we see the heavenly Son of Man being hidden in heaven till the appointed time comes: For the Son of Man was concealed from the beginning, and the Most High One preserved him in the presence of his power; then he revealed him to the holy ones and the elect ones.”[2]   The Ezra Apocalypse (4th Ezra) – composed, says scholarly consensus, in the late 1 CE in Hebrew, also played on the theme of the hidden and revealed Messiah. In this work, God explains to a visionary who writes in the name of Ezra: “For my son Messiah shall be revealed with those that be with him.”[3] There is no way, however, that anyone could find and see the Messiah by his own efforts – “the anointed one whom the Most High has kept unto the end”[4], has to be revealed when the appointed time comes: “Just as no one can explore or know what is in the depth of the sea, so no one on earth can see My son or those who are with him, except when his time and his day have come.[5]  The same terminology is found in the Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch), a composite Jewish work written in the latter half of the first century of the Christian era: “And it shall come to pass when all is accomplished … that the Messiah shall then begin to be revealed[6].  In all these writings, the Messiah is the pre-existent being, who will be revealed by God Himself; and even if men do see the Messiah before he is revealed, they will not see him as he really is – as the Messiah – until he is revealed to them by God. The crucial moment here is timing:  then, in those days, his time – these words appear again and again in the apocalyptic texts.

With this transcendent Messiah hidden in the heaven till the appointed time comes, we come to the turn of the era. Of course, all these texts are of human origin and are not the Word of God – but the writings of the NT should be seen against the background of these texts, and no NT scholar can ignore them. I personally believe that  in these texts, we can see the human reflection of God’s plan for Israel: The Messiah was to be hidden till the appointed time comes. If we know these texts, if we know this plan.  we can better understand how important it was for Jesus to keep his messianic identity hidden and concealed – until the appointed time comes.


[1] 1QH 8.

[2] 1 Enoch 62.7

[3] 4 Ezra 7.28

[4] 4 Ezra 12.32

[5] 4 Ezra 13:52

[6] 2 Baruch 39.5

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

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  1. jane z mazzola

    I have pondered, not just recently, this subject: the idea of the “hidden” Messiah or of God’s revelation to some but not to others. Are we not all creations of the same God? Should not everyone have that same opportunity of knowing? Should some be included but others, cast aside, even if God is making that decision? And finally, then, where is “free will” if one is not even given the “eyes to see”? I realize God’s answers to Job’s questions, more like a non-answer than explanation, but I’ve never been overly smitten w/it, IMHO! I realize I can’t/won’t have all the deep answers, maybe not even the right questions. But I do find it perplexing.

    OTOH, I received your books, Julia, that I ordered from Amazon, IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD & THE ONE WHO SEES ME LIVES. I hope these may shed some light on our discussion. Blessings to all, Jane

    1. Julia Blum

      I hope so, Jane. Like you, I had many questions ((still have some), but I myself received a lot of answers through this book, while writing it (I mean, IF YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD), – and I know than many other people did . I hope, it would be a blessing to you too.

  2. Eric Schwartzbaum

    It seems to me that Matthew 11:25-27 is relevant to this discussion, since it seems that Jesus is tying his relationship to with the Father to the idea of the hidden and revealed Messiah. If we consider that these ideas were in the minds of the Jews that Jesus ministered to then this gives insight into his motivation for saying them. He was identifying himself and mission to those with eyes to see,

    “At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

    1. Julia Blum

      Yes, Eric, you are absolutely right: this verse is very relevant for this theme, and I am using it in my study of the “Hidden Messiah ” in NT. In a week, a first article of this study will be published on this blog.

  3. Gustavo Perera

    Hi Julia and Dorothy:

    I am so sorry I missed last week’s class. I have been out of town a lot these past two weeks. I really enjoy the classes and the Hebraic insights that you add to scripture interpretation. I will try to share some more.

    1. Julia Blum

      Don’t be sorry, Gustavo! I’ve been missing you and your comments – but it’s nice to be missed, right? 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you in the class!

      1. Gustavo Perera

        Thank you so much Julia. A tropical storm is expected to directly impact us tomorrow; hopefully, the internet does not go down. Shalom.

  4. Todd

    Your sign off comment is very poignant, “The Messiah was to be hidden till the appointed time comes. If we know these texts, if we know this plan. we can better understand how important it was for Jesus to keep his messianic identity hidden and concealed – until the appointed time comes”.

    I would like to comment on the phrase, “if we know this plan”. Whether Messiah’s first or second coming, all the signs were/will be present, however it always seems that there is ‘one thing lacking’ as far as our awareness of how things will unfold i.e. what &/or how this plan will play out? In Daniel it notes, the ‘wise will know’ (Daniel 12:10). We also see it is the 5 wise maidens who are ready. There are many other examples to choose from.

    Yes, wisdom is given to those that ask, but what we may be missing is the context or path by which wisdom comes. James 1 helps paint a broader picture of how this unfolds. Yeshua rightly said He is the Way, yet He didn’t explicitly note the Way & yet He did. Additionally, the narratives throughout the bible paint the picture of what this Way looks like. It isn’t always pretty, in fact, it is very humbling, & it has been downright distressing, but it is worth it.

    This is where the ‘one thing we lack’ comes into play. That one thing is trust/faith, such that when things are not playing out as we expect, we have His voice, trusting in Him & His Way, esp when it looks like a dead end – stuck between an advancing army & the deep blue sea. The thing that was lacking is now brought to fullness – what matters is trust expressed through love (Gal 5:6b). This is then what is hidden is revealed – something we could never have anticipated (Deut 29:29). He can entrust to those He trusts, because their love, trust & hope is full, tested, proven & found faithful to the end, no matter the ‘sugar’ or ‘chilli’ thrown at them. He is at work to find those in whom He has perfect assurance that they will forever be perfect.

    Hindsight is wonderful. There are many gems as we examine how things unfolded at Yeshua first advent. There are shadow pictures of what to expect, but our God is also a God of surprises. Unsurprisingly, wisdom seems to always surprise us. In the most fearfully reverential way, God is a ‘trickster’. To us it looks like a trick or a surprise, but to Him, it is & He is wisdom.

    I say all this, for the more I learn, the more I am becoming convinced that all of creation will be surprised or tricked in/at the when, & how Messiah will return. About three years ago, I was awoken by a booming voice, asking the question, “ARE YOU READY TO RECEIVE THE KING”? This was followed by three loud resonating knocks on a door. It rocked me to my core, for my honest answer was a resounding No! Since then, I have been furiously at work, working out my salvation, listening & learning from Him, getting ready to receive my King. Many are consumed with interpreting the signs of Yeshua’s second advent, & that has it’s place. But as I am sure it is for many of us, I saw that my love, trust, hope tank was empty & dry. I & many family are working together with Ruach haKodesh to fill that once empty tank, so that we are ready for when He returns, however that may unfold, whether I am alive or sleeping at that moment. It hasn’t been as we expected, but it has been better than we could have hoped for.

    So, wrapping back to the start of this commentary, you have done wonderful work in unraveling & unfolding yet more facets to Yeshua’s first advent, & some of these are no doubt shadow pictures of what is to come. And yet I hope we are found ready when He surprises us, just like He did the first time, & I hope we are found full, complete, blameless & perfect, such that He recognizes us because we are just like Him.


    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Todd, for your wonderful and deep insight! Yes, there were many surprises in Yeshua’s first coming – in a sense, the whole Hidden Messiah series is all about it. When we look back from here, when we know already how the things unfolded – it seems to us that it was so overwhelmingly easy to recognize Him and that He came exactly as he had been expected. It’s very different when you are in the middle of the story, when everything happens in real time. Together with you , i think that we all will be surprised at “when &how Messiah will return”.

  5. Paul Herman

    I never knew that the Apocalyptic Literature had the wealth of meaning that you have shown. When I think of the term, “appointed times,” I think of the feasts of Israel and their hidden prophetic meanings. They point to Messiah. For believers, the Messiah is Yeshua who fulfilled the prophetic meanings of the first four, and He will come back to fulfill the last three.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Paul, it’s wonderful to hear. This is the main point of this blog and these articles – that the readers could learn something, that they could say: I never knew. And you are so right regarding the feasts: they are so prophetic, the whole story of Messiah is in these feasts!

  6. Gustavo Perera

    Julia’s thoughts are like the knitters needle and Dorothy Healy’s insights are like the knitters wool. All the other comments are like weaves into an unfolding ball of knowledge…I can only behold!!! And learn!!

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Gustavo, for your so kind words and so expressive (and flattering 🙂 ) comparisons! so glad you are enjoying the blog!


      What beautiful creative language Gustavo! Thank you. (by the way, I miss your comments in our DHB course. Please speak up more.)

    3. Julia Blum

      Gustavo, I completely agree with Dorothy’s comment: both regarding beautiful language and regarding missing your comments in our class!

  7. Peter K. O. Adeyemi

    Thanks Julia, for unveiling from some of the inter-testamental literatures, interesting insights into the hidden Messiah. I find the article quite revealing. Thanks for the good work.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Peter. I hope you will keep finding the articles on this blog helpful or even “revealing”. Blessings!

  8. tom englehart

    very interesting. Shows there is a lot to learn

  9. Edith Powney

    Though he was walking alongside them on the road to Emmaus the identity of the Messiah was hidden from the disciples but beginning with Moses and the prophets he explained to them all the things found there concerning himself.
    After he left them their eyes were opened and they understood who he was in that all he had done was in fulfillment of Torah and they said ‘Did not our hearts burn ?

    1. Julia Blum

      I was really touched by your comment, Edith, because this whole study started from “the road to Emmaus”. We will deal very soon with amazing and very profound lessons of this story. Stay tuned for my “Emmaus” post! 🙂

  10. Therese Baca

    Thank Julia for sharing your insights, knowledge and humble approach toward unity. JESUS blesses the FATHER for having revealed to the little ones (Lk 10:21 & Mt 11:25) speaks of His nature of being hidden, until the FATHER reveals. It is a constant reminder to be humble, simple, pure of heart. He is the “Mystic One”, so very close.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Therese, you are so right: it is a constant reminder to be humble and to remember that only by His mercy and through His revelation we are able to recognize Messiah.