Chol hamoed Pesach

It is Pesach again. Opportunity to grow spiritually in order to become a mentsch. On Shabbat Chol Hamoed, the Shabbat in the middle of the Pesach week, it will be the third day of Pesach. There is something about the third day and about the number three. Sarah the wife of our father Avraham, was asked to bake three matzot when three visitors came at their tent in the forest of Mamre. It was Pesach avant la lettre. It was the third day of Israel’s encampment on which Adonai would come down on Mount Sinai to give Torah to Israel. When someone is contaminated with Tzara’at it is the third day on which he will have to cleanse himself. The third day is cleansing day from death.

Our prophet Hoshea tells us that Adonai has beaten us. The beating is because He acts like a father who cares for His children. And He will heal us as well. After two days He will revive us. One day being a thousand years can we say that two thousand years after Yeshua’s first coming to us the Land of Israel is ours again. On the third day He will raise us up (Hosea 6:1-2). That time of full restoration is about to take place.

It was in this same line of third day events that the Messiah of Israel – in His role as suffering servant, Mashiach ben-Josef, read Sanhedrin 98B – was raised from the dead on the third day. His name is Yeshua, not Jesus neither Yeshu or Joshke. The Roman soldiers crucified Him like so many Jews were killed by the same torturing method. Crucified but not killed. When they came to break His legs to end the torture and speed up the death process they found out that He has died much sooner than expected. The blood and plasma which came from the wound proved it.

After having been in the grave for three days He was raised from the dead. By not being killed by others He had performed the unique human sacrifice that only Messiah was going to bring according to our Jewish prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah). And by being raised He fulfilled Yeshayahu’s prophesy that this Messiah would have a long life after His sacrifice and see many whose sins He would bear (chapter 53:10-11, Septuagint).

A human sacrifice is non-occurring in the Bible. Life is precious. Animal sacrifices are instituted at a certain point in time, but that’s about all. The question you can ask is, how can Yeshua present himself as a sacrifice. First, there are hints in the Bible. Avraham sacrifices his son, because he thinks that the Eternal asks him to. Adonai intervenes and that sacrifice does not go through.

The prophet Isaiah mentions a human sacrifice, but only of the Messiah: “When his soul shall make itself a trespass offering, he shall see descendants. And He will prolong His days. The will of the Eternal shall prosper by His hand” (Isaiah 53:10). But that too is not a real human sacrifice, for: “No man can ever redeem a brother, nor pay his ransom to the Eternal. For too high is the price of their lives, and forever insufficient, that a man should live forever and not see the grave.” (Psalm 49:7-9, NL; 8-10, HB). An ordinary person cannot do what the Messiah can do. Hence His sacrifice plays an indispensable and unique role in it.

Yeshua is the great prophet promised by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18-19. Yeshua was the one who suddenly disappeared at the time of the destruction of our Temple, as the prophet Daniel foretold in chapter 9:26. But He rose from the dead indeed. In order to come again on the Mount of Olives according to our prophet Zachariah (chapter 14:3-4). And in order to restore His Jewish people and its soul mates.

Shabbat shalom and Pesach kasher vesameach,
Lion S. Erwteman, Rosh Kehilla of Beth Yeshua
Amsterdam, Holland