THE MESSIANIC RESTORER

THE MESSIANIC RESTORER

HEARING THE STEPS OF THE RETURNING MESSIAH!…

MY NAME
My shem ha-qadosh, videlicet, my “holy name” is Michael Reinhardt. This is not my real name, though; Michael is a forename I chose due to its significances. Its translation from the Hebrew Micha-El shows it means “Who is like EL?”, where EL stands for “God”. This question, inasmuch as it refers to YHWH, is obviously rhetorical, for, indeed, nobody in Heaven, on Earth or in the lower regions can compare themselves or be compared to YHWH (baruch-Hu!).
Then, the Holy Writ presents an archangel, Michael (Jude, 1:9). Among his multiple functions, he is also the protector of Israel, “the watchful guardian of the people of God against all foes earthly or devilish”, as the article “Michael” from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 7, says. Years ago I perceived that the God of the Scriptures was calling me to love the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I began to study about the people of Israel as much as I could: language, history, culture, manners and customs, religious beliefs, literature, civilization. I also tried to strengthen the personal relationships I had with the very few Jews living in my city and, on the other side, I would share my love for the Jews with other people, whether church-goers or not. In a sense, my actions have been similar, though on a much smaller ken, as those of Michael, the archangel protector of the Jews.
“Reinhardt” was the maiden-name of my paternal grandmother, who was of Austrian extraction. I wear it in her blessed memory.

MY SPIRITUAL IDENTITY
I am a Messianic Restorer. In order to clarify this, I endeavour to explain the meaning of each of the terms and, at the end, to show why I delimitate myself from other biblical and theological persuasions, churches and communities of faith.
Firstly, what does it mean “messianic”? This adjective comes from the noun “Messiah”, but its semantic realm is much greater. The term “messianic” applies, usually, to the warm hope that, one day, in a yet uncertain future, on Earth will be set up a glorious golden age of universal peace, prosperity and happiness. The central element of this golden age is a figure who, in Judaism, appears under the title of Messiah.

“Messiah” in the psychology of religions

What does “Messiah” mean in the discourse of the psychology of religions? Here, Messiah means, actually, an archetype, a role-model. He may be the civilizational Hero, id est, the one who lays the foundations of a certain civilization, giving the people (the tribe, the ethnic group etc.) the prescribed ways to do certain elementary, central things (fishing, hunting, gathering harvest, work, the sacred realm), or he may be the Wiseman, the Teacher, the Mentor, the Guru. What are the abysses of the human soul that birthed this archetype that is to be found so abundant in literature and art and reached its fullness especially in movies (see “The Star Wars” or the famous trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”)? The explanation of the psychology of religions is, simultaneously, simple and complex: in life, ever since he is a toddler, the human being meets evil people who, usually, are stronger than him, he is mocked, abused, suffers violence, experiences pain and injustice. These are the human experiences lived infinitely and fuller than restfulness, quiet, peace. As such, the human individual unconsciously forges in his mind a civilizational Hero, a King that he expects for, in order to come and save him form the ones stronger than him. By doing this, the human individual glides to mythogenesis.
But life is complicated and the human individual bumps into many unknown situations, he has questions, he frets and wants to obtain answers to his questions. Whom should he ask? Who should counsel and lead him? Could there be somewhere, anyone, a Sage, a Teacher, a sensible Counselor? In short, this is how it is birthed the archetype of the Wiseman, triggered by the need of the human individual who needs counseling.
As a conclusion, the psychology of religions says that Messiah is an archetype concocted by a series of “soulical” needs: the need of safeness and even the need of “experiating” the sacred, the transcendence, the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that Rudolf Otto would write about.
The messianic archetype the psychology of religions speaks about, applied to concrete populations would say, for instance that the Archetype par excellence of the Roman civilization is the Hero, the Warrior, who perpetuated during the centuries until today, when we find him embodied in the muscular actors from Hollywood. The archetype of the Hebrews, on the other side, was the Sage, the Wiseman, the Rabbi who, with his mind, rather than his sword, would cut in pieces the darkness of the ignorance and would bring in the light of the sacred knowledge…

“Messiah” in the major world religions

Several of the major world religions contain the concept of Messiah, and it is useful to cast a comparative glance on them:

Many religions have a messiah concept, including the Jewish Messiah, the Christian Christ, the Muslim Mahdi and Isa (Islamic name for Christian Jesus), the Buddhist Maitreya, the Hindu Kalki and the Zoroastrian Saoshyant. The state of the world is seen as hopelessly flawed beyond normal human powers of correction, and divine intervention through a specially selected and supported human is seen as necessary.

This “specially selected and supported human” is a human redeemer and Saviour. He will restore the world and make it a better, a purer, a more beautiful place to live in. Messiah acts accordingly, making his followers better, purer, more beautiful; since he himself has a nimbus of sacredness, of holiness, he can sanctify his adepts. When a large number of people believe this and manifest it, it is triggered a messianic movement, a mass “Messianism”.
When such a messianic movement, such a mass “Messianism” is set out, Moshe Idel remarked that sociologists will hurry to study its diverse social manifestations, psychologists will be interested in its psychical life, in its both collective and individual aspects, emphasizing the exceptional qualities of the messianic personality, and theologians will examine the ensemble of the religious concepts and the way this idea integrates in a certain theology or the history of the ideas. Simply said, Messianism is the faith in a Messiah and the religions mentioned above can be generically called “messianic”.

Jewish and Christian reactions

How do Judaism and Christianity relate to, one side, the statements of the psychology of religions regarding the “Messiah” archetype and, on the other side, the character expected for by the other major world religions? Firstly, we begin from the fact that both Judaism and the militant Christianity believe that the Bible is inspired by God and says the truth. (What Jews and Christians understand by the Bible, i.e., the canon of the Sacred Writings, is discussed later.) Thus, founding on the Bible, Judaism and the militant Christianity declare that Messiah is not a concoction coming from the soul of the man who needed a Saviour, a Redeemer, and made himself one who would relief his soulical needs and lighten his burdens but, on the contrary, God Himself is the One who put in man the awareness of the fact that there is a Saviour. After the Fall in sin, as man would depart from his Creator, the Proto-Evangel from Genesis, 3:15, that would promise the coming of a Seed of the woman, began to fall into oblivion, but since man has eternity in his heart, as the Ecclesiastes would say, he is a deeply religious being, who wants to worship, all within his nature yearns for worshipping… People can’t get rid of the element of sacredness within them… Mircea Eliade, the illustrious historian of religions, put very well in words this anthropic need, saying: “Sacredness is an element within the structure of consciousness, and not a stage in the history of this consciousness.” Accordingly, people have forged systems of worship and religions in which the sacredness, the religious or even reminiscences of the original promise concerning salvation are clearly seen. Therefore, the assertions of Judaism and the militant Christianity contradict the statements of the psychology of religions. Moreover, being founded on the revealed truth of the Bible, Judaism and the militant Christianity charge the other major world religions frontally and state: “You have only reminiscences of God’s promises regarding the Messiah, but we theologize coherently about him.” As a consequence, Judaism and the militant Christianity can meet, appropriate, melt down and re-model the messianic intuitions of other religions.

The Messiah in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible

But what does the concept of Messiah mean in the Hebrew Bible? The noun mashiyach comes from the verb mashach, whose participle is mashuach. In the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, this term occurs 39 times and, with two exceptions (Isaiah, 21:5 and Jeremiah, 22:14), the idea contained is that of consecration or making sacred, of putting aside certain things or men with a view to sacred purposes. The noun mashiyach (Strong H 4899), though, refers to an “anointed one”, a man anointed or smeared with a holy oil (a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the Ruach ha-Qodesh from Isaiah, 61:1), a man set apart, sanctified, consecrated in order to serve as a prophet, navi (Deuteronomy, 18:15; I Kings, 19:16; Isaiah, 55:4), or High Priest, Cohen Gadol (Leviticus, 4:5,16; Psalms, 110:4), or king, melech (I Samuel, 24:6,10; Ps. 2:6; Zachariah, 9:9). In the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, made in Alexandria around 250 before common era (BCE) done by 70-72 Hebrew scholars for Ptolemaeus Philadelphus, the concept is rendered by christos, „the anointed” (Strong G 5547).
Thus, based on the Scriptures and the rabbinical discussions, the Judaism of the Second Temple would assert that a Messiah would come, and he would be either a prophet, or a High-Priest, or rather a king. In very special cases Judaism would accept the fusion of two of these dignities in just one man. After all, Melchitsedeq was a king and a priest, David was a king and a prophet and, in a special occasion, he dressed himself with the priestly ephod (II Samuel, 6:14).
The Jewish Scriptures would speak rather in an enigmatic way about the nature of this Messiah, saying that he would be a man gifted with multiple inborn qualities (or, perhaps, acquired virtues?), totally superior, very elevated, a Saviour of, probably, a royal origin. Why was it believed that Messiah would be of a royal origin? Passages as I Samuel, 2:10,35, Psalms, 2:2; 20:6; 28:8; 84:9, Habakkuk, 32:13, Daniel, 9:25,26 portrays a king anointed by YHWH to reign, but the figure of this king is better seen in the title “The Servant of the LORD” (ebed-Yahu). The first king “anointed of the LORD” (mashiyach YHWH) was Saul (I Samuel, 24:6/7,10/11; 26:9,11,16,23; II Samuel, 1:14,16), and, beginning with I Samuel, 16:13, David would be “the anointed of the LORD”. The prophecy the LORD utters in II Samuel concerning David and his descendants the so-called “Davidic covenant”, exposes the fact that their kingly reign was promised for ever, as well as the fact that they would have a kingdom or, rather, an empire unlimited in time and space. Psalm 89 is a commentary on this grand promise made in II Samuel, chapter 7, clarifying the concept of covenant YHWH made with David, this being “the chosen one”, “the servant of the LORD” (Psalms, 89:3/4, 4/5, 35; 132:10), His “first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth” (89:27), whose father was to be God Himself (89:26). This is the royal messianic prototype.
But the same Scriptures which seemed to speak about the Messiah as being a man, some other times would speak as if he was YHWH Himself. In another work we began to discuss the way some of the passages in which the identity and the work of YHWH would overlap with those of the Messiah, as well as the passages that the identity and work of YHWH would clearly coincide with those of the Messiah.

The Messiah in the Christian Bible

As it is widely known, some of the early followers of Yeshua Notsri, Jesus of Nazareth, years after meeting Him, wrote about Him, His words, actions, background, etc. They birthed a movement that claimed that Yeshua was the Messiah promised in the Tanakh, the long expected for Saviour. This movement spread fast in the Mediterranean world, and, shortly said, became the Christian ekklesia, the Church. We do not go into details of who was considered a genuine Christian and who a heretic. It suffices to say that in the 4th century, some important Christian theologians got together and canonized the literary corpus left from the apostles (the Gospels and the Epistles), as well as some texts written of people who were not apostles (the Epistle of James), or who had become apostles without having met Yeshua when He was alive on Earth (Paul), or were just members of the apostolic entourage (Luke). So, the Christians added this literary corpus to the Hebrew Tanakh, considering both of them as holy and revealing the same God and the same Messiah. Among the main characteristics of the so-called New Testament, there were few that were outstanding, like the declaration that the promised Messiah had come, being Yeshua, the carpenter from Nazareth, that He was not only the Messiah, but also the Son of Most High, and that He would come again to usher in His Messianic Kingdom, with various aspects.
Today, one can be a Jew without being Messianic, for Judaism is shattered in many pieces, religious persuasions, schools of thought etc, but one can not be a Christian without being Messianic, that is, without believing in the Messiahship of Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth.

The today’s Jewish Messianic movement

The modern history of religions noticed a movement whose beginnings were very discreet, taking place, to the best of my knowledge, at the end of the 19th century: the Jewish Messianic movement. (When I say this, I do not refer to Sabbatai Zvi, who was a false Messiah, in the 17th century.) For several decades, it consisted of Jewish individuals who came to believe that Jesus, Yeshua, was the Messiah promised in the Tanakh. Many of them joined different churches and have not kept their Jewishness, their ethnic specificity; spiritually, they accommodated to their theological environment. (Notice I wrote “theological”, not “biblical”.) They were Hebrew Christians, rejected by the rest of the Jews, as being considered as being “cut off” from the Jewish olive-tree and the commonwealth of the Israelites.
But some others, especially after WWII, chose to preserve their God-given ethnicity, continued to observe the brit milah (the circumcision), the observance of the Sabbaths and the Feasts, the wearing of the talith and the kippah, would eat kasher and would strive to understand the Holy Scriptures of the Tanakh and the New Testament reading them with the belief that Yeshua, Jesus, is the promised Messiah, the prophet, the High-Priest, the King of kings to come and, more than that, the Son of God. Their biblical, theological and anthropological efforts were aiming to finding and asserting their specific identity. They would continue to affirm their Jewishness, but for a good while, neither the streamline Israelites, nor the churches would accept them, putting pressure on them in different forms.
As if this all wasn’t enough, more and more non-Jewish believers came to join this fresh but immature Jewish religious movement. The self-called Messianic Jewish believers had to find the biblical ways to relate to the believing Gentiles, and that was quite a challenge. What were the Messianic Jewish believers to do? If they believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, the streamline Jews would reject them. If they do not accept to betray their Jewish forefathers and ethnicity, the churches would try to allure them, or would grumble at them. Now, seeing the hoards of the Christian believers entering their synagogues (or “churchagogues”?), quite many of the leaders would feel as they were witnessing the fulfilment of the dictum “If you can’t defeat them, unite with them”. Considering that, usually, in a Messianic Jewish community or congregation the ratio is 90% of the members are non-Jews and only in the best cases the Jews are utmost 10%, solving this situation was challenging indeed.

My understanding of Messianism

In my opinion, biblically and theologically, the genuine Messianism is neither Rabbinical Judaism, nor Christianity. In my article Biblical Messianism versus Judaism versus Christianity I wrote about the similarities and differences between these three branches of faith stemming from the same root-system.
In spite of the fact that I love the Jews, regardless of them being Messianics or not, I am not called to join them and to worship with them on a regular basis. The reasons I have for not doing this are several, but here I bring up just the ethnic identities: I believe in the value attributed by God to of each of the various ethnic groups extant; all the ethnic groups that surround me have different legacies, but the same ethnological and anthropological value. I do not consider the Jews superior to the non-Jews: when I read Romans, 1:16, I understand there the anteriority of the call addressed to the Jews in time, not that they are better than the non-Jews or superior ontologically. I believe the salvation of the Jews and non-Jews is accomplished in the same way: the objective vicarious sacrifice of the Messiah in my place and for my sins, the faith in it being imparted to me by God, as this is true also for a Jew who is to be saved: both of us are sinners by nature, saved by the same grace, upon the sacrifice of the same Saviour. So, I take a step aside and see that the Messianic Jews today worship being based on the Bible, and mix elements of their own ethnicity and history in their faith and worship, and the Goyim who joined them do the same, but the risk the non-Jews have is that, in time, they would come to idolise a great deal of the Jewish culture and civilization, denying their own God-given culture and civilization. I, a Transylvanian, a Romanian with some Austrian blood, a speaker of several languages, have not been called to promote them. The true Messianism is not the dances the so-called “Davidic”, is not the obligation of wearing of talith and kippah in the community of faith, is not lighting candles in Sabbaths. The value of all such elements is for the ethnic group who performs all these as part of their cultural heritage and ethnic identity, but these acts do not have a biblical value in themselves.
As I perceive it, the today’s Jewish Messianism, in different communities of faith, in its various theologies and practices, is rather a call to a certain culture and civilization.
The real significance of the Messianism is not a cultural one, it does not reside in joining a Jewish Messianic community of faith, but in understanding the Person, the life, the words and actions of the Messiah not only within His time and Jewish and Graeco-Latin culture, but also outside of His time and Jewish and Graeco-Latin culture. And, if one understands all these, if one understands that the Messiah has come to make peace between the rebellious Creation and its Creator, and to restore to its former state of being – and, yea, even to a superior one – all there is, the corollary would be that he or she would begin to live them, to practice them in his or her life. By understanding and practicing the biblical truths, doing one’s best to restore the world around them, one ushers in the Messianic times and the Messiah himself:

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
The Second Epistle of Peter, 3:11,12 (NAS).

In my opinion, then, this is the genuine Messianism, and this is how one becomes Messianic.

Restoration: a forgotten notion?

I believe both in the Tanakh and the New Testament. And, for me, Messianism is what I shared above, i.e., understanding the Person, the life, the words and actions of the Messiah, both then and there, as well as now and here, and the living of a life that honours Him and restores the Creation to its Creator.
At this point, we bump into this word, the verb “to restore”. Its meaning has to be clarified before my readers would understand what I mean by “Messianic Restorer”.
Generally speaking, the verb “to restore” means “To return or to bring back from a state of ruin, decay, injury, disease, mutilation or the like, to its original or usable and functioning condition or position; to replace a part or putting together what is torn or broken; to return to life; get or give new life or energy.”
Now, I clarified the meaning of the verb “to restore”, but what is the significance of this expression, “Messianic Restorer”?
Obviously, the first meaning of this expression would be, according to the discussion shared above, that the Messiah or someone acting in a messianic way restores… Restores what?…

The end of our trip is the beginning of your trip…

My most honourable reader, at this point I am drawing near the final part of our theological trip; if you truly want to find out who a Messianic Restorer is and what he does, I warmly invite you to make use of your wisdom, strength and resources to continue the trip. In order to find the answer to the above question, you are to kindly urged to study the Bible and understand the Godhead, the Creation, the Messiah, the Restoration and the Messianic Restorer following these landmarks:
I. Elohim – the Creator God.
II. The Creator and His Creation:
A. The visible Creation;
B. The invisible Creation.
III. The Creator and His Providence.
IV. The purposes of the active creation.
V. The destroying of the passive Creation:
A. Satan’s antecedent sin and his part in the destroying of the passive Creation;
B. Adam’s original sin and his part in the destroying of the passive Creation.
VI. Interlude: the present Global Crisis.
VII. YHWH – the Restoring God.
VIII. The Messiah: the Restorer of the destroyed passive Creation:
A. The Messianic prophecies and fulfillments:
1. The “enmanning” and the birth of the Messiah;
2. The ministry of the Messiah;
3. The crucifixion and the atonement of the Messiah;
4. The vicarious death of the Messiah;
5. The glorified resurrection of the Messiah;
6. The Ascension of the Messiah.
IX. The Holy Spirit: His Hypostasis and functions.
X. How and what is the Messiah restoring?
A. The time.
B. The passive Creation:
1. The inanimate Creation;
2. The animated Creation.
C. The human being: the individual:
1. The spirit of the human being;
2. The soul of the human being;
3. The body of the human being;
4. The maleness of the man;
5. The femaleness of the woman;
6. The means of living of the human being.
D. The human being: their environment and community:
1. The human being and the restored language: the new means of communication;
2. The human being and the restored culture and ethnicity;
3. The human being and the restored Community of faith, worship and biblical living;
4. The human being and the restored government:
a. The Kingdom of the Messiah;
b. The Constitution of the Messianic Kingdom;
c. The Legislations of the Messianic Kingdom.
E. The genuine Zionism: the spiritual return of the Jewish people to the Messiah and their physical return to Eretz Yisrael.
XI. The Messianic Restorer:
A. Who is the Messianic Restorers?
B. What are the functions of the Messianic Restorer?
XII. Stepping into the eternity.
And if you ever feel that these landmarks are incomplete for the purpose of identifying the Messianic Restorers or you feel uncertain about the road, let me know. Sometimes I might be able to help you.
And, perhaps, in the end, you will exclaim: “I am a Messianic Restorer, too!”…
Blessings/Berakhot!

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