The Promised Messiah – “Mashiach” – A Book Review
“Mashiach” by D.A. Osterman
A Unifying Hope
“A unifying hope of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is the coming of Mashiach (Messiah) and the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d among humanity. One purpose of this book is to review with an open mind and discuss the contents of these prophecies about Mashiach. Let’s start with a quote from a passage about Mashiach in the Tanakh book of Malachi 3: 1-6:
Look! I am sending my messenger to clear the way before me; and the L-rd, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple. Yes, the messenger of the covenant, in whom you take such delight — look! Here he comes, says Adonai-Tzva’ot (The Lord Of Hosts). But who can endure the day when he comes? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire, like the soap maker’s lye. He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly.
Then the offering of Y’hudah (Judah) and Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) will be pleasing to Adonai, as it was in the days of old, as in years gone by. ‘Then I will approach you for judgment; and I will be quick to witness against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers; against those who take advantage of wage-earners, widows and orphans; against those who rob the foreigner of his rights and don’t fear me,’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot. ‘But because I, Adonai, do not change, you sons of Ya‘akov (Jacob) will not be destroyed.’ — Malachi 3: 1-6 (CJB)
I originally was studying the Jewish view and expectations of the coming Messiah during the days of our Lord’s first coming. I had often wondered why those wise in the writings of the Jewish Scriptures had failed to see that the Promised Messiah had indeed arrived as promised. It was this quest that led me to Mashiach by D.A. Osterman. My expectations were that I would be reading exactly what I had been hoping to find. Osterman starts off fulfilling my expectations. He starts out by defining the importance of the coming Mashiach or Messiah as conveyed to the Jewish people throughout their Scripture. “While most would agree the central doctrine of the Torah and Tanakh Holy Books is G-d and his oneness as stated in the first commandment, the coming of Mashiach and the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d among the Jewish people is certainly an essential theme throughout these books.”
As Osterman points out, the establishment of the Kingdom of God is a central theme for the Jewish people. Osterman emphasizes the Promised Messiah is central to this theme and the very hope that the Promised Messiah gave to the Jewish people.
“Adonai will save the tents of Y’hudah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of those living in Yerushalayim will not appear greater than that of Y’hudah. When that day comes, Adonai will defend those living in Yerushalayim. On that day, even someone who stumbles will be like David; and the house of David will be like G-d, like the angel of Adonai before them. When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim; and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced.” — Zechariah 12: 10 (CJB)
Osterman then proceeds to outline the Messianic verses that defined for the Jewish people who the Mashiach would be. This was a most interesting sequence in the book and I was now wondering where he was going to take what he seemed to leading up to. He covered the various views of Messiah in Jewish society. He clearly defines the interrelation of the Messiah with His Coming Kingdom.
- The first tradition states that the Mashiach will bring universal disarmament and worldwide reign of peace with a complete end to war (Micah 4: 1-4; Hoseah 2: 20; Isaiah 2: 1-4, 60: 18).
- On that day Adonai will raise his hand again, a second time, to reclaim the remnant of his people who remain from Ashur, Egypt, Patros, Ethiopia, ‘Eilam, Shin‘ar, Hamat and the islands in the sea. — Isaiah 11: 11 (CJB)
- See how my servant will succeed! He will be raised up, exalted, highly honored! Just as many were appalled at him, because he was so disfigured that he didn’t even seem human and simply no longer looked like a man, so now he will startle many nations; because of him, kings will be speechless. For they will see what they had not been told, they will ponder things they had never heard. — Isaiah 52: 13-53: 12 (CJB)
- Adonai will save the tents of Y’hudah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of those living in Yerushalayim will not appear greater than that of Y’hudah. When that day comes, Adonai will defend those living in Yerushalayim. On that day, even someone who stumbles will be like David; and the house of David will be like G-d, like the angel of Adonai before them. When that day comes, I will seek to destroy all nations attacking Yerushalayim; and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced. — Zechariah 12: 10 (CJB)
He goes into much more detail but then he writes the following. “Most noticeable in the above passage is the last phrase: ‘They will look to me, whom they pierced.’ This verse indicates a future time when the Jewish people will plead for the mercy of G-d. This will happen when they see “the one they already pierced.” Interestingly, this correlates with the discussion in the Brit Chadasha when Yeshua, hanging on the cross, was pierced with a spear by a Roman soldier.”
The reference to Brit Chadasha, so you don’t need to consult a Hebrew translator, is to the New Testament. I have a feeling though that you already picked up on that. Reading from here on out now has a different trajectory. He continues to develop the Jewish concept of Messiah from various Jewish religious perspectives of the first century. The Messianic concept of the “suffering servant” and the “conquering king” which he also refers to as the “returning king”.
I had previously studied the various views of first century Judaism. The Pharisees believed in a Messiah but had a problem reconciling the “suffering servant” and their desire for a “conquering king”. The Sadducees were more political than religious and actually feared that messianic claims would bring the wrath of Rome upon them. I had always thought that the Essenes did believe in both a “suffering servant” and a “conquering king” but saw them as two separate individuals. Osterman, however, introduces the Dead Sea Scrolls to indicate that there were within the Essene community those who believed there was one Messiah that would make two appearances. From here on it becomes not just an interesting read but a very interesting read. The final chapters bring together his detailed description of Mashiach in the Old Testament and his view that Jesus is Mashiach. I highly recommend this book to any who would like a fully developed study of the Old Testament revelation of Messiah and how Jesus Christ fulfills the Promise that God gave that He would send Him to consummate His plan of salvation.