Preexistence of the Messiah

Preexistence of the Messiah, from the Jewish Encyclopedia: This includes his existence before Creation; the existence of his name; his existence after the creation of the world. Two Biblical passages favor the view of the preexistence of the Messiah: Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), speaking of the Bethlehemite ruler, says that his “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”; Dan. vii. 13 speaks of “one like the Son of man,” who “came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days.” In the Messianic similitudes of Enoch (xxxvii.-lxxi.) the three preexistences are spoken of: “The Messiah was chosen of God before the creation of the world, and he shall be before Him to eternity” (xlviii. 6). Before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were created, or ever the stars of heaven were formed his name was uttered in the presence of the Lord of Spirits ( = God; xlviii. 3). Apart from these passages, there are only general statements that the Messiah was hidden and preserved by God (lxii. 6-7, xlvi. 1-3), without any declaration as to when he began to be. His preexistence is affirmed also in II Esdras (about 90 C.E.), according to which he has been preserved and hidden by God “a great season”; nor shall mankind see him save at the hour of his appointed day (xii. 32; xiii. 26, 52; xiv. 9), although no mention is made of the antemundane existence either of his person or of his name (comp. Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 3).
Thus also the Rabbis. Of the seven things fashioned before the creation of the world, the last was the name of the Messiah (comp. Ps. lxxii. 17; Pes. 54a; Tan., Naso, ed. Buber, No. 19; and parallels); and the Targum regards the preexistence of the Messiah’s name as implied in Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), Zech. iv. 7, and Ps. lxxii. 17.
The “Spirit of God” which “moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. i. 2) is the spirit of the Messiah (Gen. R. viii. 1; comp. Pesiḳ. R. 152b, which reads as follows, alluding to Isa. xi. 2: “The Messiah was born [created] when the world was made, although his existence had been contemplated before the Creation”). Referring to Ps. xxxvi. 10 and Gen. i. 4, Pesiḳta Rabba declares (161b): “God beheld the Messiah and his deeds before the Creation, but He hid him and his generation under His throne of glory.” Seeing him, Satan said, “That is the Messiah who will dethrone me.” God said to the Messiah, “Ephraim, anointed of My righteousness, thou hast taken upon thee the sufferings of the six days of Creation” (162a; comp. Yalḳ., Isa. 499). The preexistence of the Messiah in heaven and his high station there are often mentioned. Akiba interprets Dan. vii. 9 as referring to two heavenly thrones—the one occupied by God and the other by the Messiah (Ḥag. 14a; comp. Enoch, lv. 4, lxix. 29), with whom God converses (Pes. 118b; Suk. 52a).

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