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. Iathane Cromwell


    My name in Anglit is “Iathane” being Jewish (also gaelic scottish/Irish so i find)
    Can you tell me what this name translates to in Hebrew please e.g. i am led to understand it means “Y’israel”
    I know that ALL JEWS (Y’israelis) have the birth right through Jacob to have this precious name, but i am interested.
    I am also informed that Iathane also translates to “YARDEN” in Hebrew, this being a boys and girls name. Not sure what this means also please.


    Shalom Iathane a messianic judean jew living in England

  2. Michael Krainak

    Julia: I am interested in your thoughts on the coming of the hidden and revealed Messiah in the context of the two first and second Jewish Wars. 1) The Great Revolt: 2) The Bar-Kokhba Revolt (132 – 135 CE)

    Thank you

  3. Jose Geraldo Mendonça

    não sou letrado ,não tenho curso superior, não sei uma palavra em hebraico ,mas minha alma se alegra quando leio suas explicaçoes e os comentarios aqui registrados .grato a todos por tudo isso.

  4. Anita Tadeuszow

    I find the words of Shaul offer clarity to the situation … why so few of the tribe of Yehudah have recognized Ye’shua as the promised Messiah down through the ages …Romans 11 (NASB)
    Israel Is Not Cast Away

    ” I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

    7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written,

    “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
    Down to this very day.”

    9 And David says,

    “Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
    “Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
    And bend their backs forever.”

    11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! 13 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

    17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

    25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,

    “The Deliverer will come from Zion,
    He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
    “This is My covenant with them,
    When I take away their sins.”

    28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

    33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory [n]forever. Amen.

    1. Julia Blum

      This is an amazing chapter, Anita! Thank you for referring to it and quoting it here! The words “enemies for your sake” (verse 28) are absolutely crucial for understanding God’s plan with Israel.I am talking about these words in my article “Lock Number three: “as though” reality”, maybe you will be interested to have a look.

  5. Dr. Edoardo S. Recanati

    Somewhere else I read about your explanation on the Sons of God and the Nephilim. I could not find a place to put my comments, so I try here.
    In the beginning G-d created most of the world, under His qualification of Elochim. He then gives order to the aretz to produce all living creatures, including human beings. Then, He forms Adam, from the adama. But, He did not intend them to cavort together, the Sons of Elochim and the daughters of Adam. So He became very furious and decided to send the flood. He also induced the fruits of these bad alliances in many, many miscarriages, nephilim, from modern Hebrew Apalot.