Let him who is convinced that his views are true and right express them . . . at every opportunity . . . without considering how much support or how much opposition he will encounter. Only falsehood is in need of many supporters in order to win the day; falsehood must have the authority of numbers to make up for what it lacks in justification. Truth, by contrast, will always prevail, even if it takes time. Noble, courageous and pure, expressed with all the fiery zeal and conviction and with all clarity of sure awareness, stated again and again at every opportunity, truth will ultimately gain respect and admiration even of those who do not accept it. The only truth that can be lost beyond recall is that truth whose adherents no longer have the courage to speak up candidly on its behalf. Truth has never gone down in defeat as the result of opposition, it has done so only when its friends are too weak to defend it. - R' S.R. Hirsch

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How is He His Son?

"When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.   (2 Samuel 7:12-13)

The line of the Messiah has now been narrowed to Jesse's son David.  Shortly before his death, David expressed a desire to build a house for the L-rd, a desire which he communicated to the prophet Nathan.  However, G-d's answer later expressed through the prophet was "No."  David had shed an abundance of blood during his lifetime and instead it would be David's son Solomon who was selected to build G-d's house.   What is important to understand is that Nathan's prophecy extends much further than just building an earthly edifice which would house the Ark of G-d:

"He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men . . . And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." ' " (2 Samuel 7:13-14; 16)

This is a prophecy that was clearly not fulfilled in David's son Solomon for the simple reason that Solomon did not reign forever.  The eternal throne spoken of here would be secured by the Messiah Himself as One Who will establish eternal peace. David is the name that the prophets often use to reference the Messiah:

 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the L-RD their G-d and David their king. They shall fear the L-RD and His goodness in the latter days.  (Hosea 3:5)

It should be obvious that Hosea is speaking of a "greater David" - i.e. the Messiah.  Ezekiel, Amos and Jeremiah speak in similar fashion:

"I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them -- My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.  "And I, the L-RD, will be their G-d, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the L-RD, have spoken.   (Ezekiel 34:23-24)

"On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old;  (Amos 9:11)

"Behold, the days are coming," says the L-RD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

Ethan the Ezrahite also understood that the throne referenced in Nathan's prophecy was no mere earthly throne:

Also I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.  My mercy I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall stand firm with him.  His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.   (Psalm 89:27-29) 

My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.  Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me;  it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky." Selah (Psalm 89:34-37)

The Midrash comments on this Psalm:

Rabbi Nathan said that G-d spoke to Israel, saying, "As I made Jacob firstborn, for it is written 'israel is my son even my firstborn (Exodus 4:22), so I will make Messiah my firstborn as it is written, 'I will make him my firstborn (Psalm 89:27)  (cf. Exodus Rabbah 19).

Therefore, the Messiah is both David's descendant and G-d's begotten Son.  Many Scriptures reveal the sonship of the Messiah:

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the L-RD and against His Anointed [i.e. Mashiach], saying . . . "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion." "I will declare the decree: The L-RD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You.   (PSalm 2:1-2; 6-7)

Agur ben Yakeh in the Proverbs poses this riddle:

Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, If you know?  (Proverbs 30:4)

The prophet Isaiah also speaks of the Son of G-d Who would ascend the throne of David:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty G-d, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the L-RD of hosts will perform this.  (Isaiah 9:6-7)

The Messiah would be the Son of David and the Son of G-d, a concept which has puzzled the Sages and rabbis from the first century until now:

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Y'shua asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David."  

He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'L-rd,' saying:  'The L-RD said to my L-rd, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '?  

"If David then calls Him 'L-rd,' how is He his Son?"  And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.  (Matthew 22:41-23:1) 

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