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We gather together weekly for Hebraic worship, Biblical teaching from the Hebrew perspective, Messianic Dance and caring fellowship.

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Rabbi Amnon & Lynette Shor

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WHY A CROWN OF THORNS?

By Ya’acov Ben-Israel, Native Israeli and Hebrew Scholar

A few years ago, a pastor I knew was going to be speaking on Israel’s Jubiliee. He was excited about speaking on an issue I had shared with hm. I had told him that the Crucifixion of Yeshua had taken place on ‘Rosh Hashanah for the Kings.’ He was very moved by this as it had a very meaningful theme. I explained to him that there are several Rosh Hashanahs each year. Rosh Hashanah means “Head of the Year” or “new year.” The Rosh Hashanah that most people are familiar with is the holiday that starts on the first of Tishrei, in the fall of the year. This is the traditional first day of the Jewish New Year. Also known as the Feast of Trumpets, it is well documented in the Torah (Lev. 23:24, Num. 29:1). The second one which we celebrate is the Rosh Hashanah for the Trees. It is the 15th of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat (January/February), known as Tu B’shvat, Rosh Hashanah or New Year for the Trees. When the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel, they were instructed not to take the fruit of the trees for the first three years (Lev. 19:23). Tu B’shvat is the New Year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees.

The Rosh Hashanah for the Kings

The third is called Rosh Hashanah for the Kings, the New Year for the Kings. That day the kings of Israel were crowned. This has great significance in the issue of the Crucifixion and the issue of the Messiah. To understand the full importance and meaning, you must realize that although He is called “Messiah” or Mashiach,” in Hebrew Machiach is not a detached word. In Hebrew we say “Melech haMashiach” – or “King Messiah,” Melech is “King.” Using this title immediately raises the thought, “How could someone be a king without being crowned?” A king must be crowned. A king is not a king without a crown. so it was with every king in the history of Israel and the world – the kings were always crowned. Therefore, the Messiah, as understood by Israel being Melech haMashiach, King Messiah. the Messiah needed to be crowned.

A few years ago, a pastor I knew was going to be speaking on Israel’s Jubiliee. He was excited about speaking on an issue I had shared with hm. I had told him that the Crucifixion of Yeshua had taken place on ‘Rosh Hashanah for the Kings.’ He was very moved by this as it had a very meaningful theme. I explained to him that there are several Rosh Hashanahs each year. Rosh Hashanah means “Head of the Year” or “new year.” The Rosh Hashanah that most people are familiar with is the holiday that starts on the first of Tishrei, in the fall of the year. This is the traditional first day of the Jewish New Year. Also known as the Feast of Trumpets, it is well documented in the Torah (Lev. 23:24, Num. 29:1). The second one which we celebrate is the Rosh Hashanah for the Trees. It is the 15th of the Hebrew month of Sh’vat (January/February), known as Tu B’shvat, Rosh Hashanah or New Year for the Trees. When the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel, they were instructed not to take the fruit of the trees for the first three years (Lev. 19:23). Tu B’shvat is the New Year for the purpose of calculating the age of trees.

Crucial Moments in History

At the moment of Crucifixion, something was missing in the history for Yeshua to be considered as the true King Messiah. And that was the crowning. If King Messiah departs from this world, and has not been crowned, we’ve got a big problem here.

This is the most important moment in the history of the world. Something very significant happens in crucial moments in the history of the world. The first time was when Israel was led out of Egypt and eventually into the “Promised Land.” Israel is not just a little Nation in the Middle East – Israel is the reason that the Christians and Muslims in the world today believe that there is only one God. It’s not just another nation. Israel brought the truth to the world that there is One God. There were two kinds of people in the world: idol worshippers, pagans who believed in multiple gods, and then there were the Jews. The people of multiple gods built statues, and the ‘People of the Book,’ the people of Israel, believed in One God. It was Israel’s purpose in history to bring the notion of One God to the world. Do you know how this happened? It was through Yeshua (Jesus).

This is an uncomfortable statement for a Jewish person to consider, but when I am teaching, I ask, “Do you like the Bible verse that says ‘Israel is a light for the Nations?’ Of course. Do you like Isaiah 2:3 – that ‘from Zion Torah comes forth, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem?'” “Yes, we love it,” say the Israelis. “Now, tell me.” I say, “Did the Word go out?” Realize, that everyone from Israel to Europe to the world accepts that there is One God. This cannot be doubted. By the means of whom did this happen? Isaiah? No. Moses? No. Jeremiah? No. Perhaps it was through Yeshua? It is unavoidable – it is a fact that must be acknowledged. Because of Him, people the world over came to believe that there is One God. Whether you like Him or not, you must admit that. You don’t need to be religious, it is historical fact.

The next crucial moment in the history of the world was upon entry to the Land of Israel. The people of Israel were in their tents about to enter the Land. We know from the Bible story that Balaam was a very powerful wizard that was hired by King Balak, son of Zippor. And he was hired to poise on a mountain overlooking the Israelites just upon their entry to the Holy Land, and cast a curse on them, to be destroyed. That was an act against God Himself, because

He chose them. Balaam was promised a lot of wealth and riches. After debates and offers of greater and greater riches, Balaam is poised upon the mountain, and there’s a struggle inside the heart of this man – his spirit cannot curse these people. So he is offered even more wealth. This is the first crucial moment in the history of the world. Balaam is poised upon the mountain, he sees Israel with their tents in the valley below. He raises his hand to pronounce the curse, and from his mouth comes a blessing instead: “Ma tovu ohalecha, Ya’akov, mishkenotecha, Yisrael!” – “How goodly are your tents, O’ Jacob, your dwelling places, O’ Israel!” What was to be a curse, became one of the most beautiful things ever said, the “Ma Tovu,” that every Jew says every morning. It’s part of the morning prayers and a great and wonderful blessing to Israel. If Israel had been cursed at that moment, all history would have been changed.

Where Is the Crown for King Messiah?

The second crucial moment in the history of the world was the moment of Crucifixion. At that moment Yeshua was about to be taken out of this world. But if we believe that He is the Messiah, then what happened with the crowning? Where is the crown? A crowning is a very formal act that must take place at the appointed time. It can’t be done at any arbitrary time, but the ‘appointed time.’ The time appointed in history that the kings are crowned is Passover, Rosh Hashanah for the Kings. The pastor I had shared this with called me asking for the Scripture reference before speaking on the subject. I said, “No problem.” I thought I would find it in two minutes, as I’ve known it all my life.

Well, I read the Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy, and couldn’t find it! How could this be? In the morning, I frantically called the Rabbi, “How do we know that Passover is Rosh Hashanah for the Kings?! I can’t find it!” The Rabbi explained that it is in the Talmud. I was still frantic: “Well, how can I tell this pastor that? Where is the authority?!” Ya’acov!” the Rabbi said, reprimanding me, “Do you think the writings in the Talmud are just out of the blue?! Do you remember Rav Mi-Bartenura? He dedicated his entire life studying the Talmud and connecting it back to the Torah and Tenakh. It is in the Tenakh, though somewhat hidden. How do we know that the Kings of Israel are crowned at Passover? In I Kings, it says this: “…in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the House of Adonai.” (I Kings 6:1) It is repeated in II Chronicles 3:2 as well. The second month of the reign of King Solomon – which means Solomon was crowned the month before! The month of Ziv is now known as the month of Iyar, which comes after the month of Nisan, when Passover is! So that’s how we know – it was somewhat hidden, but leave it to a man like Bartenura, who dedicated his life to finding the Bible source for the Talmudic traditions, to have found this! From this understanding, we can check it with the other Kings of Israel as well. There was a debate between the House of Hillel and the House of Shamai, whether it was on the 15th or the 1st of the month, but the 15th is Passover night, and this became the common understanding.

And Whom Shall Announce Him?

So now, how does the crowning relate to Yeshua, Jesus? If He is the Messiah, He cannot depart from this world without being crowned. So who does it? The Jews who believed in Him could not do it, so who does God pick this time? When He pronounced His blessing upon Israel, He used an idol worshipper by the name of Balaam to do it, who didn’t even know what he was doing. This time He picks the Roman soldiers. They don’t know what they are doing – they are ridiculing Him, but remember what they did? They fashioned a crown of thorns and placed it on His head to mock Him. And do you remember what else was done in this way? He was named and announced – remember the plaque that was placed above His head? It read in Hebrew, “Yeshua Hanotzri Melech Hayehudim” – Yeshua of Nazareth, King of the Jews! He was crowned on the day of the crowning of the Kings of Israel. That’s how He departed, fulfilling the Word, King Messiah.

The Rest of the Story

And yet, that is not the whole picture – there is more! It is known that Yeshua took upon Himself the sins of the world and removed the curse by His blood atonement. Now think of this crown – it is made of thorns. What is a thorn? The thorn was the curse on the earth! (Gen. 3:18) So Yeshua not only redeemed the curse upon mankind from the disobedience in the Garden of Eden, but with His blood upon the crown made of thorns – He also took away the curse of the earth!

Used by permission of the Author. Published in Jewish Voice Today — May/June 2004 Issue. www.jewishvoicetoday.org