Rabbi Schneider - Jesus: How, Who, and Where
One of the most foundational prophetic books in the Old Testament is the book of Isaiah. In fact, the gospel writer, Matthew, He uses the Old Testament more than any other gospel writer to show that Jesus is the Messiah. Matthew's primary audience was the Jewish people. And Matthew quotes the Old Testament more than any of the other gospel writers, once again, to prove to his Jewish audience Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. He is the Messiah. And the Prophet that Matthew quotes most is Isaiah.
So with that said, once again, I want to encourage you to get the previous two episodes that lay our foundation. With what I just said said, we're going to go directly now to the book of Isaiah, and we're going to begin to examine some of these Messianic prophecies. The primary prophecy that we're heading for is Isaiah chapter 53. But before we get to Isaiah 53, I want to show you how fully Isaiah reveals the Messiah. This is why Matthew quotes him so much. Let's begin today as a starting point with the book of Isaiah 7:14. Isaiah says this: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she shall call His name Immanuel".
Of course, many of you associate this Scripture with Christmas time. But this is a messianic prophecy about the Messiah. In fact, Christmas really is the celebration of Messianic prophecy being fulfilled-that God did what He said He was going to do. He caused a virgin to conceive. Now I just should maybe educate some of us that aren't aware of this that, of course, traditional Judaism rejects that Jesus the Messiah. Myself, of course, I'm Jewish. I believe Jesus is the Messiah, but I am a huge minority. Very few Jewish people believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Although there are many and it's growing. But as a whole, those of us Jewish people that believe in Jesus the Messiah, we are ostracized by the larger Jewish community. They did not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
And so when I or another Christian person would quote to a Jewish person this verse from Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be a child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel," what a traditional Jewish person would say is that the Hebrew word there for "virgin," remember it says, "Behold, a virgin, she'll be with child and bear a son, and she shall call His name Immanuel, meaning God is with us," a traditional Jewish person that knows the Bible, and many Jewish people do not know the Bible, but someone that does know the Bible would say, well, the Hebrew word there for "virgin," which is "Almah" does not necessarily mean a virgin. It can mean a young maiden. But the truth is, is that the Hebrew word "Almah" that is translated in here in this verse of Scripture as "virgin," it can mean a virgin. It is translated as "virgin" in other portions of Scripture. And Isaiah 7:14 wouldn't make sense unless it was a virgin rather than a young maiden.
In other words, if the verse was translated this way, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign, a young maiden will be with a child and bear a son," a young maiden bearing a son isn't really a sign. It doesn't make you pay attention. Signs, get your attention. So if just a regular young maiden bore a son, that's not something that's going to get your attention. But if a virgin bears a son, that's going to get your attention. That's why Isaiah says it's a sign. Now I want you to think about this. Remember we said that messianic prophecy, in addition to predicting the future, is also about Jesus fulfilling Israel's history by reliving its history by repeating the same patterns. And I pointed out in the previous broadcast that Jewish history begins with Abraham. And that Jewish lineage is traced from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. I want you to think about the birth of Isaac.
Remember, God made a promise to Abraham. He said to Abraham, "Through your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed". So Abraham is waiting his whole adult life for this seed to be born. He knew that the seed was going to be a child that would come from his own body. But nothing's happening and his wife, Sarai, Sarah, can't conceive. And Abraham gets so desperate. We all know the story. He ended up having relationships with his maid Hagar. Hagar gets pregnant. But God says to Abraham, He said, "Abraham, it's not through Hagar that the child is going to be born. The seed is not coming through Hagar, Abraham. It's going to come through Sarai, through Sarah, your own wife". So now, Abraham and Sarah are about a hundred years old.
Now a hundred years old? Somebody having a child at a hundred years old? Let's face it. You know, a person is past their ability at a hundred years old to have a child. So God appears to Sarah at a hundred years old, and says to Abraham and Sarah, "At this time next year, you're going to have a child". Sarah laughed because it was impossible. She said, "Can a woman that's a hundred years old, that's way past the age of childbearing have a child"? And yet sure enough, the same time next year, she bore Isaac. So I want you to think about it. God's supernatural destiny promised to Abraham was fulfilled through a seed that began with Isaac and continued down the lineage. And this seed of Isaac, his birth came into the world, get it now, church, very supernaturally. His mother, Sarah conceived, get it now, at a hundred years old when she was well past the age of childbearing.
How much more supernatural should the birth of Jesus be, the most unique being that has ever come into the planet? So God takes this concept of a supernatural birth process one step further. Rather than having someone bear a child at a hundred years old, He brings it up to the highest level by having a virgin bear a child. And so Jesus comes into the world in the most unique way possible. Because Yeshua is the most unique being that's ever been born into the planet. So we see, once again, that Jesus' birth is prophesied in the book of Isaiah. In fact, Matthew quotes it in the book of Matthew 1:23. Hear the Word of God. Matthew says this. He says, "'Behold, the virgin will be with child and shall bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, 'God is with us.'" So from the very beginning of Jesus coming to the world, we see revelation coming to us thousands of years ago in this prophetic book that we call Isaiah.
Let's continue on in this work. As we come to the book of Isaiah 9, verses 1 and 2, hear the Word of God. "But there will no longer be gloom, no more gloom for who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious," get it now, "by the way of the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them". This is a messianic prophecy. Remember, once again, I spoke in an earlier broadcast that Jesus after He'd been crucified, when His disciples were completely downcast because they thought that Jesus, you know, His plan had failed because the Romans had crucified Him.
So the disciples are walking totally downcast on the road to Emmaus. Jesus comes up to them, opens their mind to understand the Scriptures, and He shows the disciples all the things that were written about Him in the Hebrew Bible. He opened their minds to perceive what couldn't be perceived naturally. Knowing what I just said then, I want you to understand what I'm referring to here in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah is a messianic book. And Isaiah is talking about something supernaturally happening along the Sea of Galilee in the region of Galilee. It doesn't say much. It's there. It's hidden if you don't have revelation to see it. Now, look what happens as I go to the book of Matthew, once again, and see how Matthew brings up this Scripture from Isaiah that I just quoted you and he quotes it identically.
Now, I know this is very intense on the teaching; just stay with it, because God is laying nuggets in your heart. You might feel lost in all the details, but I'm telling you, you're going to take something heavy and weighty away from you when you see how God the God of Israel gave us His plan all the way back in the prophetic writings of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. Here we go. Matthew 4:12-17. "Now, when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea". Remember the last scripture that I just read to you from the book of Isaiah pointed out this thing happening by the sea. That the people that live by the sea...And then he's going to quote the same cities here. "In the land of Zebulun and Naphtali," he said, "they saw a great light".
So once again, Matthew continues, quoting Isaiah's prophecy. "He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:" And what does Matthew do? He quotes the portion from Isaiah that I just read to you. And what is happening here is that Isaiah prophesied that Messiah's primary ministry would be around the Sea of Galilee in the Galilee area, which it was. And so Matthew quotes from Isaiah and he says, "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who are sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned". And then we read, "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
Many times when we think about Israel, we really are so romantic about Jerusalem. And we should be because Jerusalem is the city of the Great King. It's so beautiful. I mean, Jerusalem is just so awesomely gorgeous. Of course, it's the land of prophetic destiny, past, present, and future. But I want you to understand this. Most of Jesus' ministry did not take place in Jerusalem; His ministry took place in the Galilee area. I love the fact that in Isaiah we not only have prophesied the birth of Jesus, but we just saw that His primary ministry would take place in Galilee. And what's interesting is in the gospels themselves, we have the record of Jesus' birth. We have a record of Him going to the temple for Passover with His parents. But then other than that, the next thing that happens is we go to His ministry that begins with Him being baptized in the Jordan and ministering in the Galilee area.
So the stage or the platform through which Isaiah launches his prophecy correlates exactly with what the timeline is in terms of recording for us the life of Jesus in the Gospels. Listen to this section, once again, of Scripture from Isaiah, once again, bringing the light of the Messiah to the Hebrew people long before Jesus was ever born. Isaiah 9:6-7. "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of His peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of Yahweh the Lord of hosts will accomplish this".
Isaiah 9, once again, verse 6 and 7. Here we see a messianic prophecy of the Messiah coming to earth to establish truth and government and His reign in the world. Listen, the only person that could do this is God Himself. That's why the Scripture says in Isaiah chapter 7 that a child will be born to us and His name will be Immanuel, God is with us. Listen to me, church. I want you to understand this. We as believers in Jesus understand that the Messiah is God in the flesh, right? Immanuel: God is with us. It's God in the flesh. Remember John told us, in the Gospel of John chapter 1, these words. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God," get it now, "and the Word," listen, "was God".
So John tells us the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And then John continues, and he says, "And the Word became flesh". So who became flesh? The Word who was God became flesh. So we that know Jesus know that Jesus is God clothed in humanity. We understand that the Messiah is God in the flesh. But in traditional Judaism, they don't traditionally believe that the Messiah is God in the flesh. They just believe that the Messiah is someone that will have a very charismatic personality, that will be anointed to be able to lead Jewish people back to Torah observance. But they reject the notion that the Messiah is God in the flesh.
But the Hebrew Bible itself tells us that when Messiah comes, He will be God in the flesh. He will be called, once again, "and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace". God in the flesh. No one could be called Wonderful Counsellor, Eternal Father, Mighty God except God Himself. Jesus has fulfilled these ancient prophecies. Not just a man that is anointed, that brings people back to observe Torah again. No. The Messiah is God in the flesh. Let's go to one more Scripture today. I'm reading now from the book of Isaiah 11:1-10. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God abides forever. Hear the Word of God.
"Then a shoot will spring from the land of Jesse, and a branch from the roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips, He will slay the wicked. Also, righteousness will be a belt around His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also, the cow and the bear will graze, the young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the Cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Then in that day, the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious".
Isaiah 11:1-10. Of course, this is a messianic age in which Messiah will reign over the earth. And this brings us, beloved, to fruition. And we read about that in the book of Revelation. The Book of Isaiah is extraordinary in how it brings forth for us Messiah's coming, His birth, His ministry, and what happens when He executes His glory over the earth.