Shoftim: Defining the Messiah

This week’s Torah potion is fascinating in that it offers several very clear pictures concerning our Moshiach.  We see pictures of Him as judge, king and the most famous and clear picture, as prophet.  There is a shadow of Him as priest as well…

Here are some thoughts and Scriptures to help tie them together.  I pray you find the time to ponder more deeply and be blessed by this post.


This Torah portion is Deuteronomy 16:18 to 21:9.  It is titled ‘Shoftim’ meaning ‘judges.’

Two passages in this portion as well as a few other verses contribute to the ‘judge’ image.  Consider:

You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 You shall not distort justice; you shall not be partial, and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous. 20 Righteousness, righteousness, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you.  Deut. 16:18-20

This passage sets the stage and shows a few requirements for a judge, but is not the direct pointer.  It does, however, warn against some of the common failing of a judge who has a sinful heart, common to man.

Isaiah 11:1-5 has some details on the Righteous Judge,

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.

More details about the ‘rod of His mouth’ can be found in Isaiah 2:1-5,

The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
And many peoples will come and say,
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the TORAH will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Here we find several things…  The basis for His justice and righteousness is the Torah!!  That IS the rod of His mouth.  Nations, not just ‘the Jews’ or ‘Israel,’ but NATIONS will STREAM to ‘the mountain of the house of Yahweh… that He may  teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths… And, this all happens ‘in the last days.’

Y’shua, the Moshiach, ‘will judge between the nations and will render decisions for many peoples.’

Does this torah portion support this?

If any case is too difficult for you to decide, between one kind of homicide or another, between one kind of lawsuit or another, and between one kind of assault or another, being cases of dispute in your courts, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses. So you shall come to the Levitical priest or the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall inquire of them and they will declare to you the verdict in the case. 10 You shall do according to the terms of the verdict which they declare to you from that place which the Lord chooses; and you shall be careful to observe according to all that they teach you. 11 According to the terms of the law (Torah) which they teach you, and according to the verdict which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the word which they declare to you, to the right or the left. 12 The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13 Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again. Deu. 17:8-13

‘The place which Yahweh your Elohim chooses’ is Yahrushlayim.  Zion.  The mountain of Yahweh Tsevaot (the LORD of hosts).  The judge who will be in office in those days is Y’shua haMoshiach!!  He it is who will handle those cases ‘too difficult for you to decide.’

Those who do not obey His voice will be acting presumptuously and it will be required of them by Yahweh…  More on this in a minute.

Here are a couple more passages before we move on to the next ‘office’ the Messiah holds, as pictured in this portion.  Matthew 25:31-46 (selected)

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left….Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  Rev. 20:11-15

[A quick aside here…  What is the Book of Life?  I have long thought that it was some book that contained the names of all who believed in Messiah.  Today as one of my sons read this passage to me I heard something different than what I had seen before.  If we are judged ‘according to our deeds’ and ‘faith without works is dead,’ and ‘by these commandments you shall live’ then, could the Book of Life actually be Torah and as some of the sages taught, everyone’s name who receives eternal life is encoded into the Torah?  Hmmm…

Scriptures do say, ‘If you love Me, you will keep my commandments’ and we know from recent studies that ‘keeping commandments’ is THE sign of ‘love’ which, in covenantal language means ‘loyalty.’  This thought deserves a post all by itself, but I thought I’d throw it out there for comments and thoughts…]

So, just a few Scriptures that identify Y’shua as THE judge that correlate to the Deuteronomy passages about a judge…


The next picture we have is that of a king.  Deut. 17:14-20 give multiple attributes that the king of Israel MUST encompass.

When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16 Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17 He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.

18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

The King of Israel has to fit and keep all of these parameters!!  He abides by His own Torah!

Certainly, Y’shua IS the King of YHWH’s choosing!  He is of the tribe of Judah…  of Israel.  Striking to me is the line, ‘you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.’  As I have written before, the ‘Jesus’ of the church is a foreigner, not of the countrymen of Israel.  Want a quick taste of how this happened?  Watch this short video.

Not multiplying horses is an obvious reference to trusting in YHWH rather than self…  again, an easy one.

Here is the one that struck me: ‘He shall not multiply wives for himself,’

Now, in the obvious/physical, this would seem not to apply, however, have you considered the HUGE importance to each of us, that Messiah NOT seek another bride and that He only has ONE bride?

See, the church teaches warped theology on this one, because they believe the Jews have some different arrangement, or the church has a special ticket….  I would recommend ‘The Error of Dispensationalism‘ by 119 Ministries as a started.  Secondly, consider, YHWH may have divorced the House of Israel, but He never did so with the House of Judah.  Look it up!!  He was strongly displeased with her and she still needs to find Messiah, but she certainly doesn’t have to come to us for her ticket to the wedding.

Bottom line: Y’shua has ONE bride and she is the one who has ‘washed her robes’/’kept the commandments.’  Look it up!  Rev. 12:17; 14:12; 22:14!

Notice also, the King will NOT lead us back to Egypt…  or, their false gods…  (Okay, so I put that part there.  But you will see why in a second!)

He WILL write for Himself a copy of the Torah, the Covenant, and abide by it as well as teach it rightly!  That is what He taught in His first coming and what He will teach in His second coming.  Remember, Torah will be written on our hearts?? Jeremiah 31:33!!  And, He will ‘fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,’… Of course, adding to the intrigue is the understanding that YHWH is ‘echad’ and Y’shua, the Judge is also the Lawgiver.... 

Hmmm…  all of that is FUN!!  Y’shua the Judge and the King.  Torah is the basis and we should not be surprised, because Scripture clearly teaches, as we have already seen, that Torah will go forth from Zion!

Another passage to confirm all we’ve seen thus far is in Ezekiel 37:24-28, which says,

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.

The King, David’s descendant, will be the Good Shepherd that will teach Torah, IN the land!


Perhaps the best known of the three images we see in this portion is the direct prophecy, by Moses, of ‘One like unto me…’  Let’s read Deut. 18:15-19,

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16 This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17 The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.

Several items here directly connect this prophecy with the previous two we looked at.

Notice, He will be

  • Chosen by YHWH
  • From among His countrymen
  • you shall listen to Him
  • ‘My words’ will be in His mouth
  • Those who don’t listen to Him will have to answer to the Father.

Each of those points appeared in one form or another in one or both of the previous passages from Deuteronomy.  YHWH chooses the king from among his countrymen.  The judge ‘you shall listen to (and be careful to obey) [shema?  Yep!] him.  ‘My words,’ or ‘Torah’ will be in his mouth…  Both the Judge and the king…  Y’shua said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me.”  Lastly, the one who does not listen to the judge will die for acting presumptuously.

Wow!  All of these fit together so nicely in one Torah portion, defining the Moshiach!

I did promise a slight allusion to Y’shua as the Priest, so let’s look back at Deuteronomy 17:12:

The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.

There it is.  Priest and judge in parallel.

Yes, many other places much more clearly teach Y’shua as our Kohen haGadol, High Priest, but we see the shadow right there in the midst of this great collection of Judge/King/Prophet images.

There are tons more verses racing through my mind, but this is long enough already.

I hope this has blessed you and opened some new door of understanding to explore!!

YHWH bless you, and keep you;

YHWH make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

YHWH lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.

B’shem Y’shua haMoshiach, Sar Shalom!! (In the name of Y’shua the Messiah, Prince of Peace!)


About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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1 Response to Shoftim: Defining the Messiah

  1. C says:

    Very good Pete. Hope more will read, study, contemplate, consider, meditate, seek Truth, ask, knock, and most of all be willing to give up all for that Scriptural Truth!


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