ex-south-african cohen finds messiah through psalm 22 – 48min

Posted: December 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Geoffrey Cohen went to school in Johannesburg, at King David Linksfield, at times wondering about the rote prayers he was taught and if there was more to serving & knowing God.

He experienced anti-semitism in the South African army (and mentioned this is the same spirit that is behind racism also). He spent some time in Israel & now lives in Texas. You can see some of his messages & his personal story here.

Growing up thinking that Jesus was the son of Mr & Mrs Christ he was shocked, years later, by Psalm 22 that eventually pointed him to the real Messiah, quoted below (even given the “like a lion” translation ‘issue’ that anti-missionaries often raise). He never even knew or considered that Jesus was actually Jewish … and the anti-semitism he encountered from ‘church people’ didn’t give him much reason to think so either.

Is Psalm 22 a messianic prophecy? We would need to consider, among other things, how the Jewish sages of old interpreted this Psalm before the influence of the ‘Christian era’ was felt by many Jewish commentators to review ancient interpretations in a more “non-Christian” light … and yes, there is support for the “Christian interpretation”, from Rashi, no less (among others) as mentioned at the bottom of the post.

Audio extract from Line of Fire Radio. Listen to full audio here.

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.[b]

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say,
“let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”

9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 22:1 In Hebrew texts 22:1-31 is numbered 22:2-32.
  2. Psalm 22:2 Or night, and am not silent
  3. Psalm 22:3 Or Yet you are holy, / enthroned on the praises of Israel
  4. Psalm 22:15 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text strength
  5. Psalm 22:16 Dead Sea Scrolls and some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Septuagint and Syriac; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text me, / like a lion
  6. Psalm 22:25 Hebrew him

Messianic Prophecy Or Not?
Quote: For example, at the outset of his comments on this psalm, Rashi says, “They [meaning the people of Israel] are destined to go into exile and David recited this prayer for the future.” Commenting on the words “I am a worm” in 22:6[7], Rashi notes that David “refers to all Israel as one man,” and he interprets specific verses with reference to later historical figures such as Nebuchadnezzar (22:14[15]). How then can Rabbi Singer claim that the psalm does not “speak of any future event”? Jewish tradition says that it does! In fact, Rashi explains verse 26[27] with reference to “the time of our redemption in the days of our Messiah,” then interprets verses 27-29[28-30] with reference to the Gentile nations turning to the Lord, the end of the age, and the final judgment. These certainly are future events, also underscoring the worldwide redemptive implications of this psalm.

It is very interesting to see how Pesikta Rabbati, the famous eighth-century midrash, put some of the words of this psalm on the lips of the suffering Messiah (called Ephraim, but associated with the son of David), citing Psalm 22:8, 13–14, and 16 in the context of Messiah’s sufferings. In fact, the midrash explicitly states that “it was because of the ordeal of the son of David that David wept, saying My strength is dried up like a potsherd (Ps. 22:16).” Did you catch that? According to this respected Rabbinic homily, David described the Messiah’s sufferings in Psalm 22!

From: Answering Jewish Objections To Jesus, Volume 3.

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