As Though Hiding His Face From Us: Finale

My Dear Reader! I can’t believe that I am writing the last post of this series.  It has been a long journey: I published my first article on this blog on July 14, 2016. It was called “As though Hiding His Face from us” and it was the opening article of the series. I wrote then: “I would like to begin with my favorite topic – one that I spent many years researching, writing and praying over: The Hidden Messiah”.  I thought I was starting a short series of several posts; honestly, I was not sure that this topic would hold my readers’ interest even for that long.  Little did I know that it was going to be a half-year journey, supported all along by your keen interest and by your wonderful and profound comments.

So, what have we done during this half-a year? First, we examined the “Messianic Secret” of the New Testament against its Jewish Background. Then, we followed the idea of the ‘hidden’ and ‘revealed’ Messiah through the two volumes of Luke’s writings. We saw that a significant change happened between the Gospel and Acts, after Yeshua’s death and resurrection: During His earthly life, in the Gospel, Yeshua had been hidden, concealed, and only after His resurrection, in Acts,  did His messiahship become, not only well-known to His disciples, but also openly and loudly proclaimed to all from the housetops. This means that, although He had been visible while He walked on the land of Israel, His true identity was hidden from His countrymen, because their eyes were restrained.

Why and how were their eyes restrained? To answer this question, we studied the profound lessons – the ‘Keys’ and the ‘Locks’ – of the transitional chapter of Luke’s Gospel (Luke 24). The story of Emmaus from Luke 24 showed us very convincingly that the eyes of the two disciples were restrained by the sovereign God alone – because nobody else can restrain the eyes. Thus, the story of Emmaus provides an excellent transition from the first volume to the second volume of Luke’s writings – from one era to another –from the Messiah visible, but concealed and therefore not recognized, to the Messiah invisible, but revealed.  This transition became the most important lesson of this story. Luke makes it very clear that, not only do things visible not accord with inner truth, but moreover, the visible can actually conceal the invisible truth. In other words, the inner truth only becomes clear when the appointed time comes and the visible is gone.

 In speaking about the hidden Messiah as part of God’s plan for Israel, we then turned to the story of Joseph and his brothers in the book of Genesis. We likened the revealing of the Messiah to Israel prematurely, to Joseph’s steward finding the cup in Benjamin’s sack and, at that point, telling them how and why the cup got there. The test created by Joseph could yield the desired effect only because neither Benjamin nor his brothers knew the truth at that moment. Similarly, the plan of the Lord was possible only because Israel did not know this plan. Joseph needed the set-up with Benjamin in order for the brothers to repent and be transformed – but the testing of the brothers was possible only because Joseph’s love for Benjamin was hidden from them. In the same way, all the nations are tested with what is nearest and dearest to God’s heart:  all those who have received salvation, thanks to Israel being “enemies for (their) sake”, are being tested by Israel today. And, as in the story of Joseph, the recognizing’ of the ‘unrecognized’ will become possible only after this test is complete. However, as we saw last week, in order for Joseph to release his ‘restrained’ tears, there must be a Judah who will be ready to step in and approach Joseph, and be willing to lay down his own life for the sake of his brother and his father.  

Before we close this topic, I would like to remind you of something very intriguing that we discovered in the story of Joseph’s first meeting with his brothers:  The verb for ‘he knew them’, hikir (וַיַּכִּרֵם), and the verb for ‘he made himself strange unto them’, hitnaker, (וַיִּתְנַכֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם) are derived from the same root! This interplay between hikir and hitnaker, between “recognized” and “made himself strange”, although completely lost in translation, is incredibly profound. We all know the story: we know the brothers could not, and were not supposed to, recognize him, and yet this common root – this common essence – tells us that the mystery is even deeper than we thought. Joseph was hidden, but he was “as though” hidden. He made himself a stranger, he  did not want the brothers to recognize him, –  yet their hearts perceived what their eyes did not.

To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?[1]  We spoke a lot about the mystery here: the mystery of the Messiah being hidden – disguised – recognized – revealed.  The mystery of the Messiah who was – and sometimes still is – “as though hiding His face from us”. This mystery can be hidden or revealed.  We read in Songs of Solomon: My beloved is like a gazelle.[2]  A Jewish commentary to this verse says: As a gazelle appears and then disappears, so the first Messiah appeared to Israel and then disappeared from them.[3] Does it ever feel as though He appeared to you and then disappeared from you? I believe, this is the message of this Hidden Messiah topic to each one of us personally: we need to always remember that ‘disguise’ and ‘hiddenness’ of the Messiah come from the same root as ‘knowing’ and ‘recognition’ – hitnaker and hikir .

I am now working on a book about the Hidden Messiah. Everything that has been published here on this blog, as well as more that has not been published here, will be in this book. Stay tuned, in just a couple weeks you will be able to order it from my website; meanwhile, you can check out my other books there: http://readjuliablum.com/

Finally, I would like to finish this series with a poem that I wrote some years ago as an Epilogue to one of my books (If you are the Son of God):

THE WORD TO JERUSALEM

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;

Your walls are continually before Me.     

                                 Is. 49.16

When the tumult was stilled across the land,

Silent tears the only trace of her wails,

Your walls, forever engraved on My hands,

Prepared to be pierced by the nails.

Muffled cries break through the morning calm:

Blood streamed down that Passover Eve;

And the nail that was thrust into My living palm

An eternal imprint would leave…

In the sun’s blackened glare, sightless man could not see,

To the blind to perceive was not given,

That in pounding that nail to the cross first through Me,

Into your walls it was driven.

*       *       *

Having now risen, I still bear the stain

Of those marks bestowed then by mankind;

On the palms of My hands your walls yet remain:

With those old rusty scars you’re aligned.

Full of envy and spite, and indifferent to them,

No wounds the blind world recalls,

Driving those same ancient nails, O Jerusalem,

Fearlessly into your walls.

And once again, they know not what they do

To Me, Who sees all whence I stand:

Every time that they target your walls, they renew

The pain in the palm of My hand.

 

[1] Isa 53:1

[2] Songs of Solomon  2:7

[3] Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 15.10

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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Join the conversation (31 comments)

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  1. Susan Adamson

    Mozel Tov, Julia. Ani ohevet meod, ha lomed shel The Hidden Messiah. Tov Meod.

    I am sharing your study as a Bible study with the ladies in my church. They are enjoying it very much.

    Be Blessed!

  2. jane z mazzola

    WOW! Mr. Westgeest, that is a question that I have wanted to ask Dr. Eli (I recommend his book, THE JEWISH GOSPEL OF JOHN, esp., Chapt 13 on this subject), but just couldn’t bring myself to broach that subject. I too, have been a catechist for MANY years (more than most of you all are old!) & still have questions & do researches. Some answers come only through one’s particular faith, but it also needs to be grounded in accurate, true Biblical interpretation, hence more study into Biblical Hebrew, the disciples, & early Church Fathers, & all history through the present thought IMHO.
    Blessings,
    Jane Mazzola

  3. Gary Westgeest

    I have just read through the first one-half of this blog on the hidden Messiah. Man, it is out of the park. I’m a Christian catechist; I simply can’t say how much I appreciate these insights into Yeshua from our Israelite brethren. But, Julia, do you have any thoughts on the Catholic belief that the bread which Yeshua blessed then became his Risen body (and blood) given to his mathetai?

    Thank you.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Gary, for your very kind and encouraging words! As for your question, it’s definitely not my area of expertise: I don’t think I have done enough research or have enough knowledge on the subject in order to express a “scholarly” opinion. I think, these questions might be answered only “through one’s particular faith” as Jane wrote here. Sorry that I could not be more helpful.

  4. jane z mazzola

    Thank you, Julia, for this insightful odyssey you have shared w/us & the closing w/ your sensitive, moving poem.

    Blessed Shalom for your new book, & all the wonderful visions the Lord imparts to you.
    Jane M.

  5. e.f. sachs

    And a final comment…Amos Oz figured it out, what about you, Julia?

  6. Douglas Agnew

    I have not commented before on your blog, Julia, but I have been silently reading and learning so much about the Lord Jesus from the Jewish perspective. Thank you, and keep up this important interpretive work. I look forward to the availability of your book.

  7. Antwi Felix Twum

    The scripture says that; He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become children of God.
    Joseph was with his brothers and they sold him out.
    Ms. Blum, I enjoyed greatly all the series, I’ve even added them to my home screen, I still need them.
    Here’s what I think; Israel had a good reason to have rejected the Messiah who supposed to be an offspring of Israeli great King David.
    I or all of us would have been expected the Messiah to be born in the palace not in a manger to one carpenter called Joseph, an nonentity. Don’t we accept the fact that this alone could turn blind eye to every prophecy and even His physical presence? All these were done by the ARMS OF HIS LOVE. Some where in the book of the prophet Isaiah, it reads: “Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him”
    All things work together for good for them that love God.

  8. Norman Kotze

    Hi Julia, thank you for your wonderful blog. Please don’t go away – start something new.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you, Norman! I am not going anywhere – I am starting a new series this Thursday. So – stay tuned! 🙂

  9. Samuel Premkumar

    Thank you , Madam for your valuable insights , it was indeed an eye opener in more than one ways. looking forward to more insights
    Shalom
    Samuel Premkumar
    India

  10. Brad James

    Hi Julia,

    Your series on the Hidden Messiah was timely for me. I have always been a strident supporter of Israel and Jerusalem but as of late wondered if perhaps God has indeed forgotten it and his people in favor of only those who are “believers.” The words Yeshua spoke have replayed in my mind “a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

    Was the Messiah saying that a time was coming when Jerusalem and Israel would no longer figure into God’s greater plan? I hoped this was not true yet experientially, Israel and the chosen people have endured so much abuse, malignment and far worse for so long. Maybe the replacement theologians were correct after all and I have been wrong all these years. Is it possible some sort of cosmic transition had taken place I could not see in God plan for Israel or now lack thereof.

    Thankfully your series has helped me understand perhaps what is going on. Once again a pattern is repeating itself and unless we see it we will miss the opportunity to be like Judah.

    Thanks again, Brad James

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you for sharing, Brad. I am really glad that all these parallels have helped you – they helped me enormously, because I also asked Him a lot of questions about Israel suffering. My whole book, If you are Son of God, was for me His answer to these questions. The parallels between the story of Joseph and the story of Israel are in this book. Like the testing of the brothers was possible only because Joseph’s love for Benjamin was hidden from them, – in the same way, the attitude of the nations toward Israel can be tested because, on the level of visible circumstances, nothing is coercing them to believe that God loves His people: the innumerable tragic facts of our history are at the service of those who claim that God has rejected His people. But this is the test, like with Benjamin, – and I am very grateful if my articles have helped understand that!

  11. Cathy Bergeron

    Wow!! I just read this blog to my husband. I have goosebumps and butterflies!! Thank you!

  12. Dorothy Healy

    Wow! What a journey this has been Julia. Thank you so much for unravelling the mystery of this story. Indeed ‘God’s thoughts and ways are far above ours’ – and sometimes His ways are unfathomable to us, but as we walk in total ’emunah’ – faith in His faithfulness – we can know that all things work together for good to them that love Him…
    I believe this study is a ‘word in season’ that every Christian should read (so glad you are making it into a book. We can surely see the test taking place in the world today. May we be blessed to see it come to its conclusion – to see Israel embrace her Messiah and be fully embraced by Him. It has surely been a long and often bitterly hard journey for the ‘apple of God’s eye’.

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you Dorothy! Thank you for this comment – and thank you for all your priceless, invaluable help! This journey would be impossible without you , and I am extremely grateful for your help and your support and for you always being there for me! Thank you so much!

  13. Stephen Funck

    Students learn from those before. The Church learned from the Church, deaf by choice to the voice of those who also chose not to hear, the “Jews”. Flashes of light occurred. This is a new day, working of the Spirit, revealing what was always there, but hidden. Now our task is to share this with all the Children of God. My attempt is on my web page http://thesignofconcord.com fiction of the background of the Gospels attempting to be faithful to what we know of those times and culture. Many do not pay attention to the scholars but do read and learn from stories. May the Lord continue to bless you with His Spirit, wisdom, courage, joy, love, concord. Shalom.

  14. eric sachs

    Sorry, you’re taking leave, but since you are, might as well leave one last comment that you no doubt not will be in agreement with. Yes, Mashiach has been hidden, but it’s only our lack of insight and imagination that keep us from seeing him, for clues of him are everywhere. You mentioned Joseph, of whom it has been told that he shall receive a double portion. Subtly translated this could very well be indicating the arrival of a second Joseph, or Joseph-like figure. Yeshua had twelve disciples, and like Joseph, one of them became separated from his respective group of a dozen ‘brothers’. Is it not possible then that all this was done for a purpose, so that he too might have the evil which his brethren had thought to do him turned to good by God in order to bring about a mighty salvation, as in the case of Joseph? Your interlocutor here is convinced this will happen, and imminently, too. No one is obliged to agree, but once it’s realized that this indeed is the case, one will truly experience the sensation that Saul of Tarsus experienced when it was as if scales fell from his eyes…at the house of Judas. Shalom.

    1. Julia Blum

      Hi Eric, I am not taking a leave, I’ve just finished the “Hidden messiah” series – and even though you didn’t expect me “to be in agreement with” your thoughts, I’ve happened to agree with many of them, especially regarding “the arrival of a second Joseph, or Joseph-like figure”.

  15. Cara hanson

    Thank you! I have always equated His appearing and then disappearing as Him turning away His face from me, due to my lack of prayer or allowing the mundane to block him. I am striving to be as earnest as you after reading your words, thank you again!

  16. V.R. Peterson

    I love this entire teaching. Wonderful exposition of the Word.

  17. David Russell

    Dear Professor Blum and Others,
    I too share the sentiments expressed by Henrietta.
    Thank you for such an excellent, painstaking study, and in the process for minimizing the us and them divide that seems to come up unwittingly perhaps when we discuss faith delivered unto the saints down through history. You have a unique gift to present a Hebraic perspective that is understandable when not read in haste, and quite frankly is welcomed by this reader and perhaps several others! I hope our thanks to you is well-taken.
    David Russell

    1. Julia Blum

      Thank you David for your kind words, they’ve really touched me: I do believe that this “minimizing the us and them divide” is on God’s heart today, and I am so happy that you’ve felt it in my writings.

  18. Maria Ruth Gomez Lozano

    Sorry, I meant: enjoying instead of enoying

  19. Maria Ruth Gomez Lozano

    My dear Julia Blum; I’ve followed all our writting with much interest. To be honest, I didn’t like them very much at the beginning but soon I changed my mind.
    I was used to Dr.Eli Lizorskin-Eyzenberg’s writtings and your works shocked me.
    I said first that I followed the writtings with much interest because I’m the person who translate them into Spanish and I try to do it as near as posible to your way of expression.
    Now, I’ve the pleasure to congratulate you; I enoyed every word, every thought, every comparison. You tought me so much about subjects I never thought about before during this half a year time.
    In this last post, you’ve given me a real chalenge, I don’t know if I’ll be fit to translate the last poem, my goodness! But be sure I’ll do m best.
    May the Lord bless you so much!!!
    Mª Ruth Gomez

    1. Julia Blum

      Dear Maria Ruth, I am so glad you wrote this comment! I’ve always wanted to thank you, from the depth of my heart, for the wonderful job you are doing: I don’t read Spanish , but I’ve observed the steady stream of the comments, and I am very , very grateful for your amazing work! Thank you so much for your kind and generous words here – now, after this comment, I appreciate your work even more: even though you didn’t like my writings, you still faithfully translated them – and I so admire your faithfulness and your commitment! I am so glad you like my writings now, I suppose it makes it much easier for you, to translate them, – and I believe, the Lord will bless you in an amazing way with the translation of this poem! Many, many blessings!

  20. Henrietta Wisbey

    Julia The unravelling and unveiling of this hidden mystery has been unrivalled.
    Without price and without cost to us but I am sure not so for you.
    I am deeply indebted. Thank you.

    Reading todays reminds me of the words from the prophet Isaiah
    For a small moment I have forsaken you
    but with great mercies I will gather you. Is.54:7

    A small moment by comparison to the chesed everlasting kindness.
    Be Blessed
    Henrietta

    1. Marc Mercury

      Julia,
      Your article above is great and so much more insightful that i am use to reading here. You are a rare , loving and insightful lady. I feel the female side of you gives so much insight that the male psyche misses. I can now respect the views of Catholicisms view on the importance of the Mother of Jesus. I bet you could write something from her perspective that would blow everyones mind , if your have not already done so. I guest it is already apparent in your writings.
      Thanks so much for sharing. I just sent this above article to a restaurant named Haifa here in las vegas Nv. One of the help who oversees Kosher food thinks Jesus is just a fairy tale but loves to study biblical concepts and Torah. He just talks and i listen and try to understand. I think his faith is very weak because he does not allow me to make comments for the most part. I sent your whole article to their website contacts comments % Moishe. keep him in your prayers that He may some day realize and open himself up.
      Hugs Marc Mercury

      1. Julia Blum

        Thank you, Marc. Please keep me updated, regarding this guy from Kosher restaurant.

    2. Delores Christofferson

      Thank you for this revealing and spirit filled truth. Had to share this to Facebook. Blessings abundantly !!!!

      You have inspired me to write more. On my blog, thank you.

    3. Julia Blum

      Thank you so much Henrietta, for your very generous words! I absolutely treasure my readers and their comments: as I wrote, this entire journey has been possible only because of support and interest of my readers! And it is always a huge personal blessing to me, to see your response and to read your comments! Thank you!