“They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.” (Zechariah 12:10-11)
The rabbis are not yet at that point of realization. Instead they look for a unilateral repentance of the Jewish people worldwide. As there’s as much likelihood of this happening as the Pope converting to Judaism, then it’s the other scenario the rabbis are looking towards. The passage they refer to here is in the Talmud:
“The Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a ruler over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman’s, thus causing Israel to repent, and thereby bringing them back to the right path.”
So, the view of these religious Jews is that the Son of Joseph (The Suffering Servant) will figure in some way in end-time events. But there are further options, in the grey area between these two main scenarios. The severity of the tribulations depends on how the Jews respond to the Son of Joseph. If they respond well, then perhaps a minor flood and border skirmish or two. If his efforts are in vain then perhaps a major earthquake or two and the nuclear option.
Ironically, this title, “Messiah Son of Joseph” speaks far more of Jesus than it does of this future warrior Messiah. They were referring to the Joseph of the (supposed) multi-coloured dream-coat, son of Jacob, sold into slavery by his brothers but who became Pharaoh’s right hand man. Many ancient rabbis saw in the life of Joseph a picture of the ‘suffering servant’, so much so that this first Messiah was to be named after him. So why the comparison?
It’s very useful to look at the life of Joseph and, by doing so, see how it mirrors not just the ‘suffering servant’ of Isaiah 53, but, more interestingly, the Life of Jesus.
Both were loved by their fathers …
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, …” (Genesis 37:3)
“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” (Matthew 3:17)
But both were hated by their brothers …
“When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” (Genesis 37:4)
“… But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’” (John 15:24-25)
Both were victims of a conspiracy by their enemies to put them to death …
“But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.” (Genesis 37:18)
“Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” (Mark 3:6)
Both went to Egypt in their youth …
“Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt.” (Genesis 39:1)
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,” (Matthew 2:14)
Both began their ministry at the age of thirty …
“Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:46)
“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.” Luke 3:23
This is just a taster, but it is very possible to find more and more startling similarities, the closer you look. Read the story of Joseph again through ‘Gospel eyes’ and see what I mean.
Jesus and his multi-coloured dream-coat?