To Foresee Yeshua the Messiah
Avraham and Mosheh foresaw Yeshua the Messiah. Yeshua said Avraham was happy to see Him and Mosheh wrote about Him. But when and how did they foresee the Messiah?
Yeshua the Messiah said to His disciples,
“These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me.” (Luk 24:44)?
When did Mosheh (Moses) see Yeshua the Messiah in the wilderness to write about Him? Did Mosheh not tell Israel to look forward to a prophet like him and do everything the prophet would tell them to do?
It appears in Luk 24:44 that Yeshua was referring to that prophetic statement of our teacher Mosheh, but is there anything more to it than that?
Is it possible that Yeshua told His disciples more than what we know today about the Messiah?
Is it possible that we have been lost in translations and have missed the point Yeshua made in Luk 24:44 about Himself?
How Abraham foresaw the Messiah
In order to find the answer to these questions, we need to go back in the past, in the Book of Genesis.
And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. (Gen 22:13 KJV)
How could Avraham (Abraham) have seen anything behind him without having turned back? In KJV the word him is in italics meaning it is not in the Hebrew text, but inserted. The KJV translators added the word him, because that was how they saw it fit. It is not uncommon for the translators to add words in their translations in order “to fix” the text for us.
Sometimes some words have to be added, but as it is the case in our verse, they changed the entire meaning of the text. We need to know that when we read a translation, we read the personal opinion of the translator, and very often fortfied by denominational bias. That is why the present author’s responsibility is to make as literal as possible translation supported by textual criticism of two or three witnesses in the Scripture.
Let us start!
There are no vain words in the Torah. If something is said in a certain way, it must be for a reason.
Let us begin to do a textual criticism of verse 13. Firstly, we should notice that Gen 22:13 does not say that Avraham turned back and then he saw the ram caught in a picket. The Hebrew text simply does not say it. If that the intent of the author, it could have been said plainly, as it was the case when Mosheh had to turn aside to see the burning bush, as we read in Exodus.
And the Messenger of Yehovah appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. And he looked and saw the bush burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. And Mosheh said, Let me turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn. (Exo 3:2-3)
But in Gen 22:13 we do not find this simple detail in the Hebrew text. To further understand what is conveyed to us in one of the most dramatic story in the Bible, we need to examine the text of this passage from Hebraic perspectives.
In the Greco-Roman culture the future is before and the past is behind us. However, in a Hebraic mind, it is just the opposite: the past is before the Hebrew, because he knows it and therefore he can see it, while the future is behind him, because he does not know it and he cannot see it, namely the future is hidden from him.
Below is the word-for-word translation of verse 13:
וישׂא And lifted up אברהם Avraham את עיניו his eye וירא and looked והנה and saw איל a ram
אחר afterwards נאחז caught בסבך in a thicket בקרניו by his horns וילך went אברהם Abraham
ויקח and took את האיל the ram ויעלהו and offered him up לעלה for an ascension תחת in the stead of
בנו his son.
The word in question traditionally translated behind is the Hebrew word אַחַר achar. Achar can mean behind, as clearly seen in Gen 18:10 as Sarah was behind the tent door when she laughed, but it can also mean after, afterwards, for instance, as an event to come after another event, time, person or thing that follows after. And this is the full definition of the Hebrew word achar per Brown-Driver-Briggs Dictionary: after the following part, behind (of place), hinder, afterwards (of time), from following after.
Therefore, the word achar, can be a space but also time related word. So, what did Avraham see afterwards? And afterwards what?
Yes, there was a physical ram that Avraham saw, but the context will show how to understand the Hebrew word achar in Gen 22:13.
When Avraham took the knife to sacrifice his son Yitzchak (Isaac), something happened after that moment. He did not turn to a specific direction, because the text simply does not say he did, but he could have turn to time afterwards, that is in the future, and he saw something. And what he saw afterwards changed the story of the sacrifice of Yitschak in a dramatic way.
A derivative of the Hebrew word achar is the word אחרית%acharit, which always refers in the end-time prophecies to the latter time as coming after everything else. Brown-Driver-Briggs Definition: after part, end issue, event, latter time (prophetic for future time), posterity as one generation comes after another one. After all, the saying “Back in the future” does make sense.
For more insight on this story of Avraham and his son, please, refer to the article “Take Your Son, Your Only Son! What did YHVH Ask Avraham for?“
So, Avraham saw something afterwards. But what did he see afterwards on that hill?
YHVH is giving us the clue to find the answer by telling us that there was a substitutional ram that Avraham offered on the altar instead of his son Yitschak. A ram that replaced his son on the altar.
Let us move forwards to the Exodus story and see another picture.
How Mosheh foresaw Yeshua the Messiah
I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. … And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. (Exo 33:18-23 KJV)
In Exo 33:18-23 Mosheh beseeched Elohim to show him His glory. YHVH told Mosheh to go to the cleft of the rock where he would see His “back parts” as found in the KJV translation. This is again the same Hebrew word אחר achor, which can be spelled in its full form אחור and is a noun of achar. It means “what comes afterwards.”
We should notice that Mosheh did not ask to see “the back parts” of the invisible Creator, but His glory. To his earnest request YHVH replied, “You are unable to see my face.” But, Mosheh did not ask to see the face of the invisible Elohim, either.
In this case the proper translation would be “my presence” not “my face.” The Hebrew word panim (plural form) literally mean faces but used in plural form more properly means “presence” or “countenance.” Therefore, we see that the glory of Elohim is paralleled with His presence, and indeed, and it is so: YHVH is glorious in His presence.
What Mosheh saw was what would come afterwards. But what was it Mosheh saw that would come afterwards? Notice that the dialogue between YHVH and Mosheh occured after the golden calf sin, as we read in Exodus 32.
And he (Aharon) took this from their hand, and he formed it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. And they said, This is your mighty one, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt! And Aharon saw and built an altar before it. And Aharon called out and said, Tomorrow is a festival to Yehovah. (Exo 32:4-5)
For more insight on the golden calf sin of Israel, refer to the article “Why did Moses Have to Break the Tablet of the Covenant?“
Mosheh was devastated as to what would happen to Israel afterwards and the answer did not delay. The merciful YHVH showed Mosheh His glory in the future, His countenance at Mount Sinai.
The merciful YHVH showed Mosheh His glory in the future, His countenance, a prophet like Mosheh, who would take the place of the sinful Israel, as Israel made a false countenance of YHVH at Mount Sinai. Mosheh did foresee the glory, the presence of Elohim in the future as his father Avraham foresaw Him.
Avraham saw the substitutional lamb of YHVH, His anointed One, the Messiah in the time to come that would take the place of the sinful world just as the ram took the place of his son on the altar.
This act of obedience was reckoned to Avraham as righteousness. Here is the place to say that according to the Rabbinical teachings, Avraham believed in his heart that Elohim would raise his son Yitschak from the dead and he would live again.
Or, after we translate correctly Gen 22:13, we may see the shadow picture:
And Avraham lifted his eyes and looked and saw afterwards in a time to come a Lamb caught in its crown of thorns, offered up for Ascension instead of his son.
Without this understanding of Gen 22:13 we do not know what Yeshua meant in Joh 8:56, when He said to His disciples,
Your father Avraham was glad that he should see My day, and he saw it and did rejoice.
And we may recall the very words of Yeshua the Messiah concerning Mosheh,
For if you believed Mosheh, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me. (Joh 5:46)
And now everything is coming into place, as we read,
Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Mosheh and all the Prophets, He was explaining to them in all the Scriptures the matters concerning Himself. (Luk 24:26-27)
Philip found Nethane‘l and said to him, We have found Him whom Mosheh wrote of in the Torah, and the prophets: Yeshua of Natsareth – the son of Yosef. (Joh 1:45)
Unlike us, the disciples read the Scripture in Hebrew and understood what the father Avraham and Mosheh our teacher foresaw in the future: Yeshua the Messiah. And they did not need anything more to understand the Messiah.
If we do not see the matters concerning Yeshua the Messiah in the Torah and in the prophets, we have seen too little.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.