The death and resurrection of Yeshua is parallel to the destruction and restoration of Jerusalem – And vice versa. The book of Lamentations is read by religious Jews on the 9th of Av. In it Jeremiah weeps over the destruction of Jerusalem much in the way Yeshua did (Luke 19).
Lamentations has much spiritual symbolism about the crucifixion:
- Spreading forth hands (Lam. 1:17)
- Receiving wrath of God (Lam. 2:5; 3:1)
- Drinking sour wine (Lam. 3:15; 19)
- Carrying the cross (Lam. 3:27; 5:13)
- Struck on the cheek (Lam. 3:30)
- Descending into pit (Lam. 3:55)
- Bleeding and pierced (Lam. 4:9) [The Hebrew is “yazubu”, flowing out (like blood), “m’dukarim”, having been pierced]
- Spirit of Messiah in the nostrils of those being killed (Lam. 4:20)
- Suffering for sins of others (Lam. 5:7)
- Hanged by their hands (Lam. 5:12)
The prophetic images of the destruction of Jerusalem, the distress of Jeremiah and the death of Jesus overlap one another.
Modern Zionist rabbis say that the exile contained within it the seed promise of the re-gathering and restoration. I agree. “Restore us unto You O Lord and we will return. Renew our days as of old (kedem)” – Lam. 5:21. The exile and re-gathering were planned by God for a purpose. “The Lord did what He devised. He has executed His decree which He commanded from days of old (kedem)” – Lam. 2:17. The destruction and restoration of Israel was pre-destined just as the death and resurrection of Yeshua was (I Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8).
The Talmud states that Jerusalem was destroyed because of “hatred without cause” (Yoma 9:2) and the disagreement of Kamtsa and Bar Kamtsa (Gittin 55:2). Another reason was for judging legalistically (Baba Metsi’a 30:2). Jeremiah states it more simply: “Jerusalem has sinned sin; therefore she has been defiled” – Lam. 1:8.
Sometimes we Messianic Jews, along with religious and secular Jews, say that the exile was primarily because of anti-Semitism. The unequivocal biblical position is that the exile was a punishment by God for our sins. We must stop making excuses and simply repent.
However the prophets then give a second reason that is connected to anti-Semitism.
I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped – but with evil intent (NKJ)
I was only a little angry but they added to the calamity (NIV).
The exile of the Jewish people was punishment from God for our sins. However the mistreatment and cruelty toward the Jews by the Gentiles was NOT from God. They added more punishment than He intended. He was angry enough with Israel to exile them. However that anger was little in comparison to His anger at the Gentiles now for persecuting the Jews.
I was angry with My people, I destroyed My inheritance, and I gave them into your hand. You showed them no compassion.
God says, “I was angry with MY people; I gave them into YOUR hands; and YOU showed them no compassion.” God’s rebuke to Israel is for rejecting Him. His rebuke to the Gentile nations is for mistreating Israel.
Isaiah says that the nations missed an opportunity to show compassion. Shaul (Paul) speaks of the exile as an opportunity for the Gentiles to “provoke them to jealousy” – Romans 11:11, 14. This is a positive kind of jealousy provoked by compassion, love and good deeds.
The two-fold mystery of the exile is:
The first-century Messianic Jewish apostles and evangelists were scattered along with the rest of the Jews, and thus brought the gospel of salvation to all the Gentile nations (Acts 8:1; Romans 11:11; 15).
During the 2,000 year exile, Christians from every nation had an opportunity to show compassion to the Jewish people and share the gospel with them in return.
It is no coincidence that most of the Jews in exile have lived in countries where there has been the most Christian influence; for better or for worse.
End times prophecies point to a massive attack by the nations of the world against Israel (Isaiah 13, 50, 51; Ezekiel 38, 39; Zechariah 12, 13, 14). This attack will be the ultimate expression of both anti-Semitic and anti-Christ spirits. This pressure will be one of the factors causing the people of Israel to turn to the Lord with all their hearts, resulting in a national revival right before the return of Yeshua.
Yet it will also be a sign to the nations, a plumb-line, a stone of offense. The attack against Jerusalem will be an opportunity for all the nations of the world either to side with the God of Israel or against Him. It will be the ultimate moral test to stand for evil or for righteousness.
The crucifixion of Yeshua demands a moral choice of every individual. The apocalyptic war against Israel will demand a moral choice of every nation. Israel will be placed “on the cross” and fulfill her priestly role by being a dividing line for either redemption or judgment of the nations.
[Note: The rabbis say that Isaiah 53 refers not to Yeshua but the Jewish people. However, that is not true because the righteous servant suffers “for the transgressions of My people” – Isaiah 53:8. On the other hand, half of the references to the suffering servant in Isaiah do refer to Israel. While the primary meaning is the Messiah, the secondary reference is to the Jewish people.
Yeshua is THE redeemer. Every true Christian is destined to be conformed to His image and be a demonstration of His sacrificial love. Similarly the exile and suffering of Israel reflects the crucifixion and redemptive sacrifice of Yeshua as well.]
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.