"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be..."
Judeo-Christian Research
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Guest Commentary:
May 27, 2000

 

The following is taken from the Midrash Rabbah on Ecclesiastes and Ruth where the Sages discuss Moses as the proto-type for the future Messiah.  "There is nothing new under the sun" and therefore all future events to be associated with their "second" Redeemer has thus occurred in the past with Moses, their "first" redeemer.  The Rabbis, of course, used the Tenach (Old Testament) as their proof texts for this belief.  I, in addition, have inserted New Testament texts which I believe lend support to their argument, although I doubt the Rabbis would agree with or approve of my additions.  

(Eccl 1:9) The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

"The Rabbis say: In the Hereafter the generations will assemble in the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, and say before Him, ‘Lord of the Universe, who shall utter a song before Thee first?' He will answer them, 'In the past none but the generation of Moses uttered a song before Me, and now none but that generation shall utter a song before Me.' What is the proof? As it is said, Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth; ye that go down to the sea (Isa. XLII,10)." (Ecc. R. I:28)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(Rev 5:9) And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

(Rev 14:3) And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

 

"R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Isaac: As the first redeemer [i.e, Moses] was, so shall the latter Redeemer be. What is stated of the former redeemer? And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass (Ex. IV, 20). Similarly will it be with the latter Redeemer, as it is stated, Lowly and riding upon an ass (Zech. IX, 9)." (Ecc. R. I:28)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(John 12:14-15) And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, {15} Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

 

"As the former redeemer caused manna to descend, as it is stated, Behold, I will cause to rain bread from heaven for you (Ex. XVI, 4), so will the latter Redeemer cause manna to descend, as it is stated. May he be as a rich cornfield [Soncino footnote: "pieces of bread"] in the land (Ps. LXXII, 16)." (Ecc. R. I:28)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(Rev 2:17) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

 

"As the former redeemer made a well to rise, so will the latter Redeemer bring up water, as it is stated, And a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim (Joel IV, 18)." (Ecc. R. I:28)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(Rev 7:17) For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

(Rev 21:6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

(Rev 22:1) And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

(Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

"R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Levi: The future Redeemer will be like the former Redeemer [Soncino footnote: i.e., Moses]. Just as the former Redeemer revealed himself and later was hidden from them (and how long was he hidden? Three months, as it is said, And they met Moses and Aaron (Ex. V, 20,1), so the future Redeemer will be revealed to them, and then be hidden from them." (Ruth R. V:6)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

The Messiah, at his first coming, was revealed to those who would see...
 
(Mat 11:25) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

(Luke 2:25-26) And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. {26} And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

The Messiah, at his second coming, will be revealed to all...

(Luke 17:29-30) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. {30} Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

(2 Th 1:7) And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

 

"And how long will he be hidden? R. Tanhuma, in the name of the Rabbis, said: Forty-five days, as it is said, And from the time that the continual burnt offering shall be taken away... there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Happy is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days (Dan. XII, 11-12). What are these extra days? R. Isaac b. Kazarta said on behalf of R. Jonah: These are the forty-five days during which Israel shall pluck saltwort and eat it, as it is said, They pluck salt-wort with wormwood [see footnote] (Job XXX, 4)." (Ruth R. V:6)

[Soncino footnote: This verse is applied to the period immediately preceding the Messianic age, when owing to the great scarcity of food the faithful will eat salt-wort.]  

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(Mark 13:14) But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains. (cf. Dan. 11:31; also see a study by Charles Baker, "Daniel 12:11-12 and End Time Events.")

 

"Where will he lead them? From the land of Israel to the wilderness of Judah, as it is said, Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness (Hos. II, 16); while some say to the wilderness of Sihon and Og, as it is said, I will yet again make thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed season (ib. XII, 10)..." (Ruth R. V:6)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(Rev 12:6) And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

(Rev 12:14) And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

 

"He who believes in him will live, and he who does not believe will depart to the Gentile nations and they will put him to death. [see footnote] R. Isaac b. Marion said: Finally the Holy One, blessed be He, will reveal Himself to them, and He will rain down manna upon them, And there is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. I, 9)..." (Ruth R. V:6)

[Soncino footnote: Perhaps meant in a religious sense. There he will die to Judaism.] -- It has been suggested that this phrase was in response to Christian claims somehow. The statement, it is believed, however, is not to be taken literally, but in a religious sense, meaning that the Jew who does not believe in the future Redeemer "will die to Judaism." [Shulam, p. 206]

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be...

(John 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(John 14:1) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

(John 20:31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

(Rom 10:9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


References:

The Soncino Midrash Rabbah, Judaica Press Inc., cd-rom edition, (c) 1983.

Shulam, Joseph. A Commentary on the Jewish Roots of Romans, Messianic Jewish Publishers, (c) 1997

 

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