Sunday, February 9, 2020

Belief In The Preexistence Of The Messiah Amongst The Scribes And Pharisees

The Messiah was pre-existent. Tanchuma, Nasso II reads: "Before God created the world he created in order the thora, the throne of holiness, the sanctuary, the patriarchs, Israel, the Messiah, and repentance." In the Book of Enoch' we read: "And before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were made, his name was named before the Lord of Spirits. .... And for this reason has he been chosen and hidden before Him before the creation of the world and forevermore."

 There has been considerable discussion as to whether the scribes of the time of Christ taught the actual or the ideal pre-existence of the Messiah. Weber says that by it an ideal pre-existence was meant, and illustrates his point by a reference to Ps. 72:17, "Thy name is eternal." He says:2 "The sense is that it was God's will from eternity to create the Messiah and send him into the world; just as those also who were named with him as pre-existent, the fathers, the people of Israel, and the sanctuary, were not actual but present in God's eternal counsel of salvation." But Weber does not carry his citation far enough; for Yalk 1":23, in the haggada upon this very passage, uses words that seem to preclude the possibility of the reference being only to an ideal pre-existence. After stating his view, as given above, he adds: "According to another view only the thora and the throne of glory were [actually] created; as to the other [five] things, the inten- tion was formed to create them."'3

So far as the Book of Enoch goes the evidence is clear; it is the actual pre-existence that is taught.

Edward A. Wicher, Ancient Jewish Views of the Messiah, p. 319
https://www.jstor.org/stable/3141950?seq=3#metadata_info_tab_contents

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