The Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah: Kindle deal

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.


The Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah by [Eric Chabot]

My book The Resurrection of the Jewish Messiah has a new reduced price on Kindle for 2.99. Here is a small excerpt from the book:

The resurrection of the dead (tehiyyat hammetim) is a core tenant of faith for every Orthodox Christian and Jewish follower of Jesus the Messiah. But to many well-meaning Christians, the resurrection of Jesus tends to be detached from its Jewish foundations. Jon D. Levenson and Kevin J. Madigan explain:

“Christian understandings of resurrection, along with the church’s appreciation of its religious depth, its historical richness, and its reverberations, would be much impoverished if Christians thought that the expectation of resurrection were merely theirs. In particular, and what is most crucial, they would lose sight of the extent to which resurrection is rooted in the belief and practice of Judaism. Indeed, it occurs already in the Old Testament, the only scriptures the church knew at the time of Jesus (when it wasn’t yet called the “Old Testament”). In fact, not only the notion of the resurrection of the dead, but the expression of God’s vindication of Jesus in the language of resurrection, owes its origins to its parent religion, Judaism-or, to be more precise, to Judaism as it stood late in the Second Temple period (about 515 B.C.E., when the Temple was rebuilt after its destruction in 586 B.C.E. by the Babylonians, to 70 C.E., when the Romans destroyed it). This was the world of thought and practice of which Jesus and his followers partook and by which their piety was essentially formed.”[1]

Building on Levenson’s comments, we need to be reminded that in the first century Judaism was not seen as a single “way.” Thus, there were many Judaism’s (i.e., the Sadducees, the Pharisees, Essenes, Zealots) at the time of Jesus. The followers of Jesus were referred to as a “sect” [2] “the sect of the Nazarenes.”(3] Hence, the first followers of Jesus were a sect of Second Temple Judaism.[4]

Human existence is dependent on communication. The abundance of methods to communicate attests to this. If there really is a creator behind the universe, it seems quite plausible that we can know very little about Him unless He communicates with His creation. Therefore, biblical faith rests on being able to know something about history. In God’s desire to make himself knowable to mankind, he selected a people group which he molded and shaped for His self-revelation. Though this process was filled with trials and suffering, Israel became the vehicle whereby the Messiah came into the world and humanity was given the Scriptures.[5]

The Jewish people knew the God of Israel as the only one who could raise the dead.[6] In the Jewish Scriptures, the resurrection terminology is seen in two places to show a national and spiritual restoration brought about by the return from the exile.(7] This is specifically seen in Ezekiel 37. After Ezekiel’s long lament in chapter 36 of national idolatry and the hope of renewal, the purpose of Ezekiel 37 speaks of the valley of the dry bones, i.e., the re-constitution of the ‘dead’ [8] and the molding together of two sticks, representing Judah and Israel, to become one. (9] At the outset, Ezekiel paints a vivid picture of hope of national restoration:

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.I will put My [f]Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’” [10]

Resurrection is also related to a personal vindication of an individual. [11] Sometimes it is debated whether Isaiah 53 teaches a prophecy about the resurrection of an individual.

But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. (12]

The late Jewish scholar David Flusser of Hebrew University said the following about Isaiah 53:

Although no Jewish interpretation of this passage, which would explain that the Servant will be a prophet or the Messiah who will be killed, is preserved, such an interpretation could have existed. If an interpretation of Isa. LIII in this vein ever existed in Judaism, this would have been important for the concept that the prophet will again come to life. Though the servant “was pierced for our transgressions, tortured for our iniquities” (v.5), he “shall enjoy long life and see his children’s children (v.10). So Isa LIII could be understood not only as speaking about the death of the Servant, but implicitly about his resurrection. (13]

There is also a relationship between resurrection and reward or punishment. For example, we this in the book of Daniel:

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12: 2-3).

Daniel’s description of those who “sleep in the dust” is a reference to the dead, Sheol, which is the underworld, and the grave. The verb “to live” appears paired with “to stand up,” and the causative form of “to wake up is there as well, emphasizing the resurrection theme. (14]

There are references in the Dead Sea Scrolls,[15] reviving the dead in the days of the Messiah. For example, we see a text that resembles Matt. 11:4-6.

The heavens and the earth will listen to His messiah, And none therein will stray from the commandments of the holy ones. Seekers of the Lord, strengthen yourselves in His service! All you hopeful in [your] heart, will you not find the Lord in this? For the Lord will consider the pious and call the righteous by name. Over the poor His spirit will hover and will renew the faithful with His power. And He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal Kingdom. He who liberates the captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the bent . . . . And the Lord will accomplish glorious things . . . . For He will heal the wounded and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor. (4Q521, fragment 2). [16]

In Matt 11:2, John sent word to Jesus when he “heard in prison what the Messiah was doing” But what caused John to doubt? According to the fragment above (4Q521) which alluded to Isaiah 61:1 and Psalm 146:7, prisoners were to be set free when Messiah came. But obviously since John had not been set free and since he was still bound in prison, he was beginning to doubt whether Jesus was really the Messiah. [17]

There are also extra-biblical passages that speak about the resurrection. For example, even though the writings in Enoch are not part of the Protestant Canon they are dated just before or around the time of Jesus. Thus, they help provide the historian with valuable information into the Jewish religious life and thinking patterns at the time of Jesus such as these texts in Enoch that speak to the resurrection:

Then the righteous one shall arise from his sleep, and the wise one shall rise; and he shall be given unto them (the people) and through him the roots of oppression shall be cut off. Sinners shall be cut off (Enoch 91:10).

The righteous one shall awaken from his sleep; he shall arise and walk in the ways of righteousness (Enoch 92:2).

2 Baruch, a Jewish text,[18] is thought to have been written in the late 1st century AD or early 2nd century AD and is attributed to the biblical Baruch.. For example, Baruch asks God the questions, “In which shape will the living live in your day? Or how will remain their splendor which will be after that? Will they, perhaps, take again this present form, and will they put on the chained members which are in evil and by which evils are accomplished?” [19] The answer to this question is that the “earth will surely give back the dead not changing anything in their form.” [20] In addition to what we see in the passages in Enoch, there is also a text that mentions both the Messiah with the resurrection:

And it shall come to pass after these things, when the time of the advent of the Messiah is fulfilled, that He shall return in glory. Then all who have fallen asleep in hope of Him shall rise again (2 Baruch 30: 2).

2 Esdras, sometimes called 4 Ezra,  is not part of the Protestant canon,  and its authorship is ascribed to Ezra. Here we see another passage about the Messiah and resurrection:

For my son the Messiah shall be revealed with those who are with him, and those who remain shall rejoice four hundred years. After those years my son the Messiah shall die, and all who draw human breath. Then the world shall be turned back to primeval silence for seven days, as it was at the first beginnings, so that no one shall be left. After seven days, the world that is not yet awake shall be roused, and that which is corruptible shall perish.The earth shall give up those who are asleep in it, and the dust those who rest there in silence; and the chambers shall give up the souls that have been committed to them. The Most High shall be revealed on the seat of judgment, and compassion shall pass away, and patience shall be withdrawn. Only judgment shall remain, truth shall stand, and faithfulness shall grow strong. Recompense shall follow, and the reward shall be manifested; righteous deeds shall awake, and unrighteous deeds shall not sleep. The pit[ of torment shall appear, and opposite it shall be the place of rest; and the furnace of hell shall be disclosed, and opposite it the paradise of delight.Then the Most High will say to the nations that have been raised from the dead, ‘Look now, and understand whom you have denied, whom you have not served, whose commandments you have despised” (2 Esdras: 7:28-37, New Revised Standard Edition).

Every Jewish person who celebrates Hanukkah is generally familiar with the stories of the Maccabean martyrs. 2 Maccabees 7 details Antiochus Epiphanes’ graphic torture and execution of seven Jewish brothers and their mother for their refusal to eat pork. Their response to their torture is hope in a resurrection. One of the brothers says to Antiochus who is their oppressor, “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us to live again forever, because we are dying for his laws.” [21]Also, it says, “When he was near death, he said, “It is my choice to die at the hands of mortals with the hope that God will restore me to life; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life.” [22]

In the Rabbinical literature, there are explicit teachings on the resurrection. There is a noteworthy reference in the Mishnah [23] to resurrection in Pirke Avot, the “Sayings of the Fathers.” There is a specific reference to resurrection in the entire tractate of Avot:

He [R. Elazar ha-Kappar] used to say: Those who are born [are fated] to die, and those who die [are fated] to be brought to life, and [the resurrected] are destined to be judged, that man may know and make known and understand that He is God, He is the Fashioner, He is the Creator, He is the One Who understands, He is the Judge, He is the Witness, He is the One Who brings suit, He is the one who in the future will judge, Blessed be He, before whom there is no wrongdoing or forgetfulness, nor favoritism, nor bribe-taking. Know that everything is according to its reckoning, and do not let your [own] inclination cause you to believe that Sheol is a refuge for you. For against your will you are formed, against your will you are born, and against your will you live, and against your will you die, and against your will you will have to give an account before God, the King of Kings, blessed be He.[24]

Also, Moses Maimonides, a Jewish rabbi and a medieval Jewish philosopher who has forever influenced the Jewish and non-Jewish world said, “The resurrection of the dead is one of the fundamental principles taught by Moses. A person who does not believe this has no faith, nor does he share any bond with Judaism.” [25] Finally, we find an important passage about the resurrection in the Amidah which is also called Shmoneh Esreh (“The Eighteen”). This prayer, among others, is found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book. The prayers in the Amidah are most likely dated from both before and after the destruction of the Temple (70 CE). In it we see the promise of the resurrection of the dead is part of the liturgy:

“You are Lord, are all-powerful forever. You resurrect the dead, You are mighty to save. You sustain the living with loving-kindness, resurrect the dead with great mercy, support the falling, heal the sick, release the prisoners, and uphold Your faithfulness to them that sleep in the dust. Who is like You, Lord of mighty acts, and who resembles You, O King, who orders death and restores life, and causes salvation to come forth? And You are faithful to resurrect the dead. Blessed are You, O Lord, who resurrects the dead.’ [26]


(1.) J.D.. Levenson and K. J. Madigan, Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews (New Haven, Yale University Press. 2008), 2.

[2]. Acts 24:14; 28:22.

[3]. Acts 24:5.

[4]. Second Temple Judaism refers to the period between the construction of the Second Temple  in Jerusalem, c. 515 BC, and its destruction by the Romans.

[5]. Rom. 9:1-5.

(6]. Job 19:26; Ps. 17:15; 49:15; 73:24; Is. 26:19; 53:10; Dn. 12:2; 12:13.

(7]. Ezek. 37:1-14; Hos. 6:2.

(8]. Ezek. 37: 1-14.

([9]. Ezek. 37:  15–23.

(10]. Ezek. 37: 11-14.

(11]. Is. 26:16; 53:10-12.

[12]. Is. 53:10

(13]. D. Flusser, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes. 1988), 423.

(14].  L.L.  Bronner, Journey to Heaven: Exploring Jewish Views of the Afterlife (Jerusalem, UrimPublications. 2011), 35.

[15]. The Dead Sea Scrolls refer to the Qumran Caves Scrolls which  are a collection of different manuscripts  discovered between 1946/47, 1956 and 2017 in  the Qumran Caves.

[16]. G. Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, revised edition (London: Penguin Books. 2004), 412–13.

[17].  C.A. Evans, Holman QuickSource Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls (Nashville, B&H Publishing. 2010), Kindle Locations 4648.

[18]. “Pseudepigrapha” typically refers to an assorted collection of Jewish religious works thought to be written c 300 BC to 300 A.D. These books are not part of the Protestant canon.

[19]. 2 Bar. 49:2-3.

[20]  2 Bar. 50:2.

[21] 2 Ma. 7:9.

[22]. 2 Ma.7:14.

(23]. The Mishnah is an edited r

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