Rabbi Schneider - The Ultimate Mediator
I'm talking about types and shadows in the Hebrew Bible and how Yeshua fulfills Israel's history by living out their same history in His own life and ministry. Last week I talked about the blood and the importance of the blood as it related to Israel's redemption, as recorded in the Tanakh or the Old Testament and why it is so important that when Yeshua was on the cross, they took the spear and put it in His side so the blood came out. When you understand how the blood played the role that it did in Israel's redemption, in atonement in the Hebrew Bible, you can so appreciate why Jesus had to die on the cross and why it was so important for His blood to be shed. But that was last week's episode, I encourage you to go back and watch that.
Today we're gonna begin by looking at the concept of Messianic prophecy being fulfilled, to what I call the principle of a mediator. Again, much of Messianic prophecy is not about Jesus fulfilling some long awaited future prediction, but rather much of Messianic prophecy is about how Yeshua filled Israel's past history up with meaning. And so by that I mean this, when we look at the way the Lord was able to relate to His people, Israel, in the Tanakh, in the Hebrew Bible; He did it through a mediator. He did it through the priesthood. In other words, an individual Israelite, an individual Hebrew, could not just offer their own sacrifice anywhere. They had to bring their sacrifice to a Levitical priest and the priest could not just offer the sacrifice anywhere. He had to offer the sacrifice in the temple.
Now this is important to understand in our culture today, because we're living in a culture, as I shared last week, that is putting a lot of pressure on believers to conform to political correctness. And political religious correctness is to take a posture that basically says, "You know what? Jesus is good for me, but I'm not insisting that you need to believe in Jesus". That's the attitude of political correctness, that my faith is no better than your faith, your faith although it's a completely different kind of faith in another world leader or some type of eastern religion; that path is just the same as my own. You're just taking a different way. That's political correctness. But the Bible is very exclusive and Jesus said, "Unless you believe that I am He, that I'm the Messiah, that I am who I say I am, you will die in your sins".
My point is that when you understand how Yeshua fulfilled Messianic prophecy and when you then look at the claims of Jesus, you're not gonna be able to take a position like that, because you're gonna know either Jesus is the only way or He's no way at all; because He claimed to be the only way. He's either who He said He was, He's crazy, or He was a liar. C.S. Lewis said, "Liar, lunatic, or Lord". Messianic prophecy grounds us to believe, "Yes, He is who He said He is", because it's obvious that the one God is the God of the Jewish people. When you look at Israel, when you look at the supernatural quality of the nation of Israel, of the amount of Nobel Prizes that Jewish people have won, the amount of medical breakthroughs, scientific breakthroughs, how they've risen to the top of every field; and you look at the fact that they're only one fifth of one percent of the world's population.
How can you explain that? Other people groups have come and gone. The Babylonians have come and gone. The Medes have come and gone. The Persians have come and gone. And I could go on and on and on, but the Jewish people are still here today in their own nation, speaking Hebrew. And so the fact that this has happened, shows us that what the Bible tells us about the God of Israel and about the Jewish people is true. And what the Bible tells us is that the Messiah of the Jewish people is Jesus. Even though right now traditional Judaism rejects Him, we're gonna find out that the Hebrew Bible predicted that as well; that it predicted that they would.
So when you see how Yeshua fulfills the Messianic prophecies of the Bible, knowing that the God of the Hebrew Bible is the one true God, it will give you faith to be able to stand with Jesus and to be able to say, "He is the only way to God", even when there's so much cultural oppression against your position. Beloved, we can't back down. The Bible says we need to hold on to our confidence and if we endure with our confidence, there's a great reward for us. But the scripture also says, "To him whose soul shrinks back," the Lord says, "I have no delight in him". And so my prayer for you is that this study on Messianic prophecy will gird you, will strengthen you, will give you the spiritual equipment that you need to stand as a bold and a strong witness, even when most of the culture tells you that you have no right to claim that Jesus is the only way.
And so I'm talking about the principle, getting back to my point, of a mediator. In the Hebrew Bible anybody could not just come to God anyway they wanted to. They could not just present their own sacrifice anywhere they wanted to. They had to present their sacrifice to the one true God, the God of Israel, Yod Hey Vav Hey, the Hebrew letters of His name, through the mediator of the priesthood, the Levitical priesthood. And when people just offered sacrifices anyway they wanted to, any place they wanted to, judgment came upon them. And so Yeshua fulfills this concept of the mediator, because the scripture says in the Brit Chadashah, the New Testament, that there's one mediator now between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. In other words, Israel, who is a shadow of how all humanity can relate to God, could only relate to Hashem, to the Creator, through a mediator.
I want to really stress this today, because we're living in a culture that believes that anybody can come to God their own way. But what the New Testament teaches and what the Hebrew Bible showed us, is that we can't all just come our own way. We have to come through a mediator. In the Hebrew Bible the Lord told the children of Israel to build a tabernacle, a mishkan. And all around the mishkan there were walls. And there was only one way to enter the mishkan, where the presence of the Lord dwelt. And it was a door and Yeshua said, "I am that door", that door into the mishkan, into the temple; that led ultimately to the priest going to be able to go through into the Holy of Holies. There was only one door in and Yeshua said, "I am the door".
Beloved, Yeshua is the mediator. If people wanted to meet with God in the Hebrew Bible, they had to come to the mishkan. They had to come to the tabernacle. They had to come to the temple. They had to present their offering through a priest. It had to be a blood sacrifice, a few people could afford the animal. And so it is in the person of Yeshua. He is prophetically fulfilling all those types and all those shadows. So again, let me say finally and once again, to a culture that is teaching that everybody has their own path to God; one believes in Jesus, one believes in Mohammad, one believes in Buddha, one believes in the New Age, one believes in some guru, one believes in some rabbi, they're all the same. Everybody has their choice. They're all leading to the same place. We say emphatically, no! No! No! Yeshua said, "I am the way, He who enters through me shall be saved. He that tries to come in another way is a thief and a robber and will be cast out".
The Hebrew Bible taught us the principle that there needs to be a mediator, the priesthood was the mediator and that the sacrifices had to be offered by the Levitical priests, the mediators, in the temple. So too, Yeshua fills these two shadows up with meaning by saying, "I have become the ultimate mediator. The Levitical priesthood is fulfilled in Me". This is by the way what the book of Hebrews, beloved ones, in the New Testament is all about; how Yeshua fulfills the Levitical priesthood, how He fulfills the blood sacrifices. And finally in relation to this, Yeshua said as He pointed to the temple, to His hearers 2,000 years ago. He said, "You see the temple"? He said. And then He said, "In three days," He said, "I'm gonna rebuild it". "It's gonna be destroyed," He said, "And I'm gonna rebuild it". And they said, "This man thinks he can rebuild the temple in three days"?
And the scripture says they didn't realize that when Yeshua said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I'll rebuild it," they didn't realize that Yeshua was talking about His own body, that Yeshua has become the temple. He has become the place. He has become the person. He has become the One that we must go to and go into if we're gonna have fellowship with Hashem, with Father God. Even as Israel of old had to come to the temple three times a year during the Pilgrim Feast to meet with Hashem to offer their sacrifices there, to have fellowship with Him; Even as the children of Israel came to the ancient temple, which has now been destroyed and it's been destroyed for about 2,000 years; So too now, in order to have fellowship we need to come, not to bricks and stone, but to the One who is the temple, in the spirit, Yeshua Hamashiach, beloved.
Now one of my favorite Messianic foreshadows in the Hebrew Bible is the binding of Isaac, the Akedah, the Ha-Akedah, the binding of Isaac. We read about in Bereshit, or Genesis, chapter 22. And I want to point out several themes in this Biblically epic story that point to and are fulfilled in Father God and in Yeshua. First of all, I'd like to point out that often times when we look at the story of Abraham offering up Isaac his only son and we think about that story. The hearer of the story in many of our minds, first of all is Abraham, Abraham, who in complete obedience offered up his only son Isaac to Father God; an act of total dedication, an act of total surrender. And this is where the story begins. Even as Abraham withheld nothing, so Father God withheld nothing and He sent to us His only Son. But I want to share with you now another layer to the story, that perhaps some of us have not considered.
When you and I have seen portraits or pictures of this event where Abraham offers up Isaac as a sacrifice, the paintings or the portraits, the prints that we've seen usually show Isaac as a young boy, maybe 11 years old or less. But did you know, beloved ones, according to Rabbinic Judaism, when Abraham offered up his son, Yitzchak, Isaac; Isaac was actually, listen, not a little boy, but rather he was 37 years old. And when you consider that Isaac, a full grown man at 37 years old, willingly laid on the wood to be offered up to the God of Israel as a sacrifice, about to lose his life in obedience and in trust. When you consider that Isaac willingly did that at 37 years old, you can see how Isaac is also the hero of the story.
And so you think about Isaac's total willingness to give his life unto his father, at his father's direction, you can see there Jesus Himself, foreshadowed in Isaac. Like Isaac willingly offered up his life to the father in obedience, his father being Abraham, so too Yeshua, a full grown man at 33 years old, willingly offered His life on the execution stake to be put to death for our sins in obedience to the Father. It's also very critical to understand that according to rabbinic tradition, this act, the binding of Isaac, it opened up a channel for God's grace to come to all of Israel's future generations. The rabbinic teaching is that before the Aqedah, before the binding of Isaac, God's grace was shut off from the world in a very significant way.
But Abraham's act of obedience and Isaac's act of surrender, opened up a channel in spiritual space for the grace of God to now flood the earth and to come in to the nation of Israel. You see this concept of an innocent one dying for the guilty and through the innocent one's death atonement is made, is very much a part of the rabbinic tradition and we see this evidenced in the Brit Chadashah, in the New Testament. Let me say it again, I'm really talking about two things. Number one, I'm talking about this act of the father offering up his son, Isaac and how this event opened up a channel for God's grace to come into the nation of Israel, number one. And number two, the fact that the concept of an innocent one dying in the guilty one's place; a righteous man, because Issac was considered a righteous man. The concept of a righteous man, a tsadik, dying in the place of the guilty, has for many, many ages been in the mindset of Rabbinic Judaism.
And we see this evidenced even in the Brit Chadashah, even in the New Testament, in John chapter 11. I'm gonna go there with you now and you're gonna see how this Rabbinic mindset of how a righteous tsadik, a righteous man who dies in the place of the guilty, of the nation. In the account we just looked at it was Isaac dying in the place of Israel, even though Isaac didn't actually die. He was willing to die and Abraham was willing to surrender him. So God counted it as though Isaac did die and in that a channel of God's grace was opened up to all of Israel's future generations. We see the same mindset, the same type of rabbinic thinking in the Brit Chadashah, in the New Testament, in the Gospel of John chapter 11, verse number 49. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord abides forever.
Hear the Word of God. "But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you,'" listen to this now, "'that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish'. Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being the high priest that year, he prophesied that Yeshua was going to die for the nation".
So do you understand this concept? This concept that a tsadik, a righteous man, could die on behalf of the nation; that a righteous man's death atoned for the people. We see this first of all in the binding of Isaac, because even though Isaac didn't actually die, because they were both willing, Abraham and Isaac, to go through with the act, Hashem counted it as if it did happen. And as a result of this, the rabbinic mindset has been that when this happened, a channel of God's grace opened up to the entire nation of Israel. And in fact they teach that the grace of God was shut off until this event, the binding of Isaac. And in a similar way where we see a righteous one getting ready to die for the people of Israel and the whole world.
We see the high priest prophesying the same concept that we just read in John 11, where he was saying to the other priest, "You guys don't know anything. You don't understand, it's expedient that one man," meaning Yeshua, "die on behalf of the whole nation, so that the whole nation doesn't have to perish". The concept, beloved, in Rabbinic Judaism and in the Torah, of how one man can die for a whole nation, for a whole people, in Yeshua's case, for the whole world, it's called propitiatory sacrificial atonement, an innocent one can die in the place of the guilty. And by virtue of that, the guilty are made righteous. You see beloved, Messianic prophecy is ultimately about how King Jesus fulfills the entire Torah and beyond the Torah, the Psalms, and the Prophets as well. This is Rabbi Schneider saying I love you and I look forward to being with you again, God willing, next week. Baruch Hashem and shalom.