The Revived Woman paired with the Resurrected Son

We have gone through portraits of Jesus presented in the Gospels by looking at Jesus through his Jewish lens.  In doing so we have seen two over-riding themes.

  1. The Jews have led in making contributions to mankind in many fields of activity.  However, their story is mixed with immense suffering and sorrow.
  2. Jesus has participated, even headed, this totality of Jewish experience. We see this in the numerous parallel patterns.  We look at a few more, including the modern revival of Hebrew.

Jewish Contributions to Mankind’s Progress

Consider the following in light of the fact that the total Jewish population is  15.2 million, 0.19% of the 8 billion worldwide population.  

We have surveyed Jews who have significantly impacted modern society:

We learned how Jews led in the initial development of the first alphabet.  Innovation on many fronts continues to overflow from them.

Jewish Sorrows

Holocaust historians face verdict in Poland defamation trial | The Times of  Israel
Jews during the Holocaust

But it is not as though Jews have had an easy time riding the wake of success.  The stories of Anne Frank, Simon bar Kochba, the Maccabees, Richard Wurmbrand, Natan Sharansky, and the repeated expulsions of Jews across Europe in the Middle Ages into modern times culminating in the Holocaust illustrate this. They are the only people for which a term for unsuppressed hatred and persecution specifically against them needed creating (anti-Semitism).  Along with their propensity for innovation, an adversarial principle seems to continually confront them.   

In fact, Jewish success often raises the fears of others that they control society, harbouring sinister intentions to take over.  These fears, though unfounded, seem to spread through many social sectors. Many times they have been the cause of anti-Semitic outbreaks.

On other occasions, success for certain Jews has raised questions resulting in backlashes against Jews as a whole.  The Russian oligarchs associated with Russian President Putin serve as an example.  Of the 210 Russian oligarchs worth more than $1 billion, 20 of them, or 10%, are Jewish. This is far above the per capita Russian Jewish population at 0.16% of the Russian population.  Prominent among these Russian-Jewish oligarchs are Roman Abramovich, Petr Aven, Boris Berezovsky, Mikhail Fridman, Vladimir Gusinsky, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and Alexander Smolensky.  Six of the top seven Russian oligarchs are Jewish. This weighting has started creating the impression that the oligarchs are all Jewish.  Here again, Jewish talent has exerted a disproportionate influence, and with the scrutiny of the oligarchs some fear a coming anti-semitic backlash.

The Power Shaping Jewish Destiny

So how to explain Jewish ability as well as their history of sorrows?  

The Bible provides an explanation for the unique trajectory of the Jewish people.  At the call of Abraham 4000 years ago, the One Calling him declared:

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 12: 2-3
Abraham and Moses in Historical Timeline with Jesus

Then five hundred years later (15oo BCE) this Same Presence, through Moses, pronounced Blessings & Curses. Moses predicted these would shape global history going forward, and they have.

Isaiah in Historical Timeline

Later (750 BCE), Isaiah, also in the name of that Same Power, predicted repeatedly that 

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
    I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light for the Gentiles,

Isaiah 42:6
Was Christ the Messiah? Christians and Jews Disagree -
Light to the Nations

Nations will come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Isaiah 60:3

These pronouncements line up with what we see recorded in history, and also happening in the world today.  History did not have to follow the path of these decrees after Isaiah wrote them down thousands of years ago.  

But it did.

It still does.

We should take note.

This shows a single-minded Intent, Purpose and Power behind these statements demonstrating itself through history.  Intent and purpose come only from persons. Since this intent and purpose spans thousands of years it cannot come simply from human purposes.  God shows His Hand through these Promises.

Jesus leads the Jewish Experience

We also saw that Jesus participated with his fellow Jews in the totality of their experience, both in the heights and the depths.  It is not just that, as we saw, Jesus’ career has similarities with that of some well-known Jews. But his experiences match that of the Jewish nation.  He typifies national Israel.

Jesus’ Resurrection & the Jewish Hebrew Revival

Revolution in the Divided City: The Struggle of the Orders in Ancient Rome  – Brewminate: A Bold Blend of News and Ideas
Jews expelled by the Roman Empire

For example, the Jews underwent a national death when the Romans expelled them from the Biblical land and exiled from it for 1900 years.  During that time their national language, Hebrew, died.  For hundreds of years Jews ceased to speak Hebrew in everyday conversation. Without their own native language a nation of people cannot live.  But the Hebrew language recently revived.

List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts - Wikipedia

The revival of Hebrew began when the Russian-born Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, self-taught in Hebrew, chose to speak Hebrew with fellow Jews in Paris on October 13, 1881. This recorded the first time in hundreds of years that Hebrew had been spoken in everyday conversation.  Shortly afterwards, moving to Jerusalem, Ben Yehuda tried to persuade other Jewish families to speak Hebrew.  He developed dictionaries, wrote plays for children in Hebrew, published a Hebrew newspaper.  

His efforts met with limited success since after ten years only four families spoke Hebrew conversationally.  Obstacles loomed. Parents were reluctant to educate their children in Hebrew, an impractical language. Hebrew schoolbooks did not exist.  However, by the early 20thcentury Hebrew began to gain traction. Today over 9 million people speak it.  As Wikipedia says of the revival of Hebrew.

The process of Hebrew’s return to regular usage is unique; there are no other examples of a natural language without any native speakers subsequently acquiring several million native speakers,

Jesus died and then rose from the dead, a one-of-a-kind event. In the same way, Israel died and then came alive again as a nation with the one-of-a-kind revival of Hebrew. 

Jesus and the Torah Festivals

Festivals and Feasts in Ancient Judaism
Jewish Festivals

Jews, as a nation, celebrate the festivals prescribed through Moses 3500 years ago. As a nation they celebrate Passover, Sabbath, First Fruits and Pentecost.  These festivals partly embody and define them as Jews.  

Jesus underwent his:

Thus, Jesus embodies and represents these festivals as no other Jew, Moses included, has ever done.

Jesus’ career did not embody the remaining Feasts prescribed by Moses. These occur in September-October: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  However, Jesus announced that he would return again, and that the time of his coming would be precisely planned.  His First Coming precisely matched the timing of the spring festivals. So it stands to reason that his Second Coming will precisely match the timing of these fall festivals.  

Revived and Returning

Here again, in the mere expectation of his Second Coming, we see Jesus’ career, viewed through the span of history, typifying that of national Israel.  During their long exile from the Biblical land they celebrated annually the Passover in exile with the phrase that became tradition: “Next year in Jerusalem“. As a nation they anticipated a return to the Land. As a nation they have returned within our lifetimes.  Jesus likewise has left the Biblical land and has been absent for over 2000 years. But, like his nation, has promised his return.  He said that the return of the Jews to the Biblical land was a sign that his return was ‘near’.  So he linked the two returns.  

Reach Out to the Presence at Work

Many think of Jesus solely through the stained-glass window of Christendom’s history in Europe and the Americas.  Therefore he is often seen simply as a dusty, (somewhat) historical figure who lived long ago. Perhaps he is a cultural relic that has perhaps some traditional value, but no potent relevance to our lives today.  

But the Bible, from its beginning and right to its end, written thousands of years later, presents him as the Offspring of the Woman (Israel). It also presents him as the Christ, destined to return and reign. 

From the Beginning…

And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 3:15 (in writing as far back as we know, more details here)

To the last pages in its final book…

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth…

Revelation 12:1-2
mary pregnant – barchenkecil
The Woman pregnant with The Son

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

Revelation 12:5 (written 1st Century CE)

We can see in the news headlines today that the ‘Woman’ is reviving. Since the Son is hers, tangibly linked to her, then we would not be foolish to reach out to Him. If we do, even without complete understanding, then we can experience his promise that

…he is not far from any one of us.

Acts 17:27b


The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3: 9

For Further Reflection

Jesus as Israel: Pursued & Hiding from Herod the Great

Anne Frank in school 1940

Anne Frank is known for her diary, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, which she wrote while hiding from the Nazi regime during the Second World War.  Her flight from pursuit had begun years before she hid behind a bookcase with her family in Amsterdam.  She was originally born in 1929 to a Jewish family in Germany. Her father, Otto Frank, decided it was best to flee the country when the Nazis came to power in 1933. Consequently, Anne grew up as a foreigner in the Netherlands.

However, in 1940, the Nazis overran the Netherlands, making it no longer safe.  When the Nazis ordered Anne’s sister to report to their work camp in 1942, the family went into hiding.  They remained hidden behind a bookcase until their discovery in 1944.  During this period of hiding, Anne wrote in her diary.  Tragically, all the members of the Frank family except for Anne’s father died in the Nazi camps. But her diary remained hidden and her father published it after the war.

Other Jewish Holocaust Diarists

Other Jews also penned diaries while pursued and hiding from the Nazis.  Keep in mind that the following stories are emotionally disturbing.

  • Etty Hillesum (1914 – 1943) kept a diary describing her perilous life as a Dutch Jew under Nazi rule.  She died in Auschwitz.
  • Miriam Chaszczewacki  (1924–1942) was a 15-year-old Jewish Holocaust victim, who in 1939, began writing a personal diary about her life in the Radomsko ghetto; ending just before her death in 1942.
  • Rutka Laskier (1929–1943) was a Jewish Polish diarist chronicling the three months of her life during the Holocaust in Poland. The Nazis murdered her in Auschwitz at the age of fourteen.
  • Věra Kohnová (1929 – 1942), a young Czechoslovakian Jew, wrote a diary about her feelings and events during the Nazi occupation before her deportation and murder in the Nazi extermination camps.

Pursued – an Historic Jewish Reality

Having to flee pursuers who seek to harm was not just experienced during the holocaust, but has been a part of the Jewish experience throughout history. It began in the earliest days of the nation when Jacob fled from Esau who threatened to take his life. Over the following centuries, fleeing from pursuers was an ever imminent reality for Jacob’s descendants.

Jesus’ Childhood: Pursued & Hiding

In this regard, it is not surprising to find that in the Gospels, shortly after his birth Jesus, had to flee to another country just as Anne Frank’s family did. 

Matthew records how the Magi from the East had visited Jesus and created consternation for Herod the Great.

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Matthew 2: 12-23

Matthew records how King Herod, feeling threatened by Jesus and furious that the Magi had outwitted him, orchestrated the killing of all baby boys in Bethlehem. He hoped to kill Jesus in the bloodbath.  But Jesus’ parents had fled in the middle of the night and lived in hiding in a foreign country, like Anne Frank, to escape a murderous threat. 

… From Herod the Great

Herod the Great, the brilliant, but ruthless king of Judea, ruled under the Roman Emperor from 37 – 4 BCE.  Herod’s father, Antiper, had seized the initiative when the Romans conquered Jerusalem in 63 BCE, earning Roman favour and becoming the vassal king over Judea.  Herod inherited the throne from his father and shrewdly navigated many intrigues to strengthen his position.  He sponsored magnificent building projects, many of which are now among the ruins of great tourist attractions in Israel today.  Masada and Caesarea are examples of two popular Israeli tourist attractions that survived as historical landmarks of his building activities. But, his most grandiose project was the re-building of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. He built it to rival all structures across the Roman Empire.  Whenever the New Testament mentions a ‘Temple’, it refers to this temple built by Herod.

Herod’s ruthlessness was well documented by the historian Josephus, included the murder of several of his wives and children when he suspected their disloyalty, and he never hesitated to spill the blood of his subjects.  So though Matthew, of all who recorded Herod’s atrocities, is the only one who mentions his murder of infants in Bethlehem, these actions are entirely consistent from what we know of him.

The Audacious Hypothesis: Jesus as Israel

Herod the Great was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau; the brother of Jacob/Israel.  Thus, Matthew records an Edomite threat against Jesus’ life.

This opens the door for Matthew to reveal how he understood these events. He does so by setting forth the framework, or lens he uses to make sense of Jesus.  We see this in his brief quote (underlined above) of the prophet Hosea (700 BCE).  The complete quote from Hosea is:

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Hosea 11:1

Hosea wrote this sentence to recall the Exodus of the young nation Israel that came out of Egypt under Moses.  He pictured Israel as God’s ‘child’ and ‘son’ since the Exodus occurred early in the nation’s history.  But Matthew sees fit to apply this to Jesus, when he likewise came out of Egypt.  In doing so, Matthew sets forth an audacious hypothesis that Jesus in some way embodies the entire nation of Israel.  In Matthew’s view Jesus is the archetype, master blueprint, fulfillment, or completion of Israel.  Jesus forms the pattern which molds the nation of Israel’s experiences.

An Exhibit Supporting the Hypothesis

Matthew exhibits Jesus’ coming out of Egypt in his youth as evidence of this since it correlates with Israel’s national exodus out of Egypt in the youth of its nationhood.  And the ever-present Jewish experience through history of having to flee and hide, exemplified in Anne Frank’s story, equates to Jesus’ experience of flight and hiding.

The correlation goes deeper – back to the dawn of the nation.  Jacob, also called Israel, became the first of Abraham’s seed forced to flee and hide (from his brother Esau).  Jesus had to flee from Herod the Great, an Edomite or descendant of Esau.  As Israel fled from Esau, so his Descendant had to flee Esau’s descendant.  From the point-of-view offered up by Matthew both Israels fled from Esau.

Historical Timeline

We saw that Jesus’ miraculous birth paralleled Isaac’s miraculous birth.  Here his fleeing Herod parallels Jacob’s fleeing from Esau, and his return from Egypt to the land of Israel parallels the Exodus under Moses to the Promised Land.

Assessing Matthew’s Claim

Is Matthew on to something? The entire project known as Israel began with God’s promise to Abraham that

all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you

Genesis 12:3

Since this offers you and me God’s blessing and since Jesus did come through Abraham, investigating further along this line of thought could be fruitful. We continue going through Jesus’ life with this in mind, looking next at the one who prepared the way before him – John the Baptist – through the lens of the Jewish revolutionary Simon Bar Kochba. We conclude our investigation here.