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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  1. JANICE M. BRENCICK

    Oh what beauty is in your poetry! Add my tears to your wall, Jerusalem.

  2. Joy

    Just found your holy sight. Looking forward to being enlighten by Holy Spirit.
    Joy