Posts Tagged ‘messianic movement’

M.History p.II – Willem Bilderdijk

May 4, 2010

After the in the Netherlands so called Further or Second Reformation (Nadere Reformatie, beginning in 1606 with the ministry of the father of the Nadere Reformatie, Willem Teellinck, and terminating in 1784 with the death of Theodorus Vander Groe), there came quite a new period. Troubling through the French Revolution which made everything upside down, the early 19th century brought an end to the well established Netherlands Reformed Church, also called the Netherlands Protestant Church. In 1834 the Secession began and faith ceased from the public more and more. Once so faithful, now we are the first country in the world legalizing abortion, gay-marriage and so on. Tears are in my eyes when I’m thinking of the past.

One person who saw very clear the developments of that time was Willem Bilderdijk (1756-1831). He was not a Jew, but I have to mention him. He is the spiritual father of the Jews Isaac Da Costa and Abraham Capadose. In his thinking he was quite a Jew. He is also called the father of the Reveil. And I would call him the last prophet of the Netherlands. And I think not only for the Netherlands, but also the broader community, the ecclesia of Christ. Hewas the one who alarmed the people of his time, from the aristocratic class to the common people for the systematic and rational thinking of the Enlightenment. But although a few heartily agree, many were against and raised hate to him. The age was changing and the spirit of unbelief perpetrated into all classes.

Bilderdijk was a genius. He was very clever and was the (yes I’ll say that) the greatest poet of the Netherlands. His spiritual son Isaac Da Costa is the second. They both called directly the Spirit of the Almighty and not the Greek Muses. I wish you could read Dutch, you would certainly agree.

A huge repository of him is to find online here. And here a biography of him written by Da Costa. (all in Dutch)

Bilderdijk was surely the greatest fighter in the world against the ideas of the Enlightenment. He wrote many poets on the subject.

Bilderdijk saw Judaism strongly connected to Christianity in contrary of his contemporaries.

He was a great thinker and it would be great to tell much about him, but that didn’t fit in a document of Messianic history. However I think it’s good to quote here some excerpts from the excellent book of Dr. L. Engelfriet: Bilderdijk en het Jodendom. It has an English summary in it at the end. Here are some quotes concerning Judaism to learn something about Bilderdijk. (It’s really just a bit about this very special person)


… In his view the insight into the Divine status of the Messiah is common to the Jews. Christ is in the centre of the prophets. Therefore Christianity is a specialization of Judaism, the Christian is an insider in the Old Testament writings.

… Bilderdijk, however, sees essential characteristics of classic Judaism in Jewish liturgy and prayers and in Jewish belief in the Messiah characteristics that may on no account be given up.

…Bilderdijk is certainly the most important sympathizer of the Jews in the early part of the nineteenth century. His point of view is religiously determined. On the basis of this view he has resisted Jewish assimilation. He highly esteemed the old and noble Jewish people because it has been chosen by God. It must never give up its Messianic hope. His rejection of the assimilation does not in the least aim at the continuation of the social discrimination of the Jews, as is the case with many of his patriotic contemporaries, but is concordant with the fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies that announced the coming of the Messianic kingdom in direct connection with the return of the Jews to Palestine.

… The poems which Bilderdijk addressed to the Jews, sometimes speak of Jewish guilt, but this is not directly related to the crucifixion. In the few instances that Bilderdijk establishes this connection elsewhere, he relativizes the Jewish share by calling the greater number of his Christian contemporaries and philosophers who adhere to the principles of the Enlightenment, much more guilty. According to him the most important misconception in the Jewish view of Jesus results from their inability to see the suffering and reigning Messiah united in one person. But in this misunderstanding he also sees a Divine decree. The Jews are still expecting the Messiah ben David. Strictly speaking the Christians have rejected this Messiah through having placed highest authority in the Roman principle of power (Boldness by me, JW. This is a core in his thinking.) which is concealed behind ecclesiastical power. Besides the church has arrogated to itself the lawful succession of Israel. Jewish origin and promise, however, remain in force. Through having failed to recognize Jesus the Jews have temporarily given up their birthright, but this will certainly retum to them. The Messianic secret remains the core of the Jewish people. Bilderdijk has great respect for Jewish exilian suffering because Israel’s God has made this subservient to the salvation of the nations. He continually encourages his Jewish contemporaries to cling to their Jewish hope, but wams them against the ideals of enlightened Christianity. Instead the Jews should widen their knowledge of their own tradition and should let themselves be guided by Moses, the prophets and the rabbins.

… In the decline of the visible church Bilderdijk sees a favourable circumstance for the breakthrough of Jesus’ Messianic rule. In this respect the Netherlands could become the centre of the invisible church. In his opinion Jesus’ way and kingdom avoid human unions and separations, but is prepared in the spirit.

… The Divine unity rules Bilderdijk’s thinking. This unity is expressed in the trinity. This is a mystery which is derived from Judaism. Jesus has instituted baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in conformity with the ideas which the right-minded Jews had about God. Jesus has respected the oral tradition, but has corrected what was misunderstood in this tradition. In the later Jewish tradition, which has been influenced by rationalistic views, Bilderdijk perceives resistance to the Christian thought of trinity, but in Jewish mysticism, in the Jewish prayers and in the liturgy he discovers this notion.

… Although Bilderdijk was friendly with several Jews as the enlightened lawyer J.D. Meijer, his contacts with Da Costa and Capadose are of decisive importance for the sounding of his view on Judaism. Just as Bilderdijk most Jews showed admiration for house of Orange and were opposed to assimilation. Bilderdijk has strengthened Capadose’s Jewish self-confidence. He thought that only the complete Jew can arrive at recognition of Jesus as Messiah. Messiah Jesus is the heart of the Jewish people. On the basis of the Old Testament prophecies Bilderdijk expected that the Jews would overcome the misunderstanding of the separation of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David. This recognition may lead to the Jews’ return to Palestine and the Messiah’s reign.

On the other hand Bilderdijk has drawn Da Costa’s attention by way of Jewish mysticism to the unity of Israel’s God and the Messiah. As a rule the rabbinical views are highly valued by Bilderdijk. This does not only apply to the old Jewish scholars but also to the later rabbins, though he sometimes differs from them in the application of prophetic pronouncements to Jesus as the Messiah. In his opinion the older Jews have recognized a plurality of persons in God’s inexpressible unity. Obviously Bilderdijk has not only spoken to Da Costa about the trinity according to the Christian tradition. He has especially attempted to trace back this artificial term to its original meaning. In doing this he draws attention to the Talmudic insight which speaks of three names to refer to God, consisting respectively of four, twelve and forty-two characters. This metaphysical connection between Judaism and christianity has made a deep impression on Da Costa. He thinks that the apostles have been acquainted with the cabbala, a Jewish form of metaphysics which contains an ‘infinity’ of Christian elements.

From a reference of Bilderdijk to the work of the rabbin Heydeck who had become a Catholic, it appears that he has at least wished to show Da Costa the truth of Christianity by way of the so-called Christian cabbala. Heydeck attempted to confirm Christian truth from Jewish sources. According to Bilderdijk true Christians are initiates in Judaism. (boldness by me) So Bilderdijk’s meeting with Da Costa is of a very special nature. It clearly differs from the pastoral contact between Da Costa and Egeling, who has guided him and Capadose to Christian baptism. Bilderdijk, who was not a communicant member of the Reformed Church, was very pleased at this. Bilderdi jk has honoured Da Costa as a kinsman of his Saviour and has impressed upon Da Costa the great weight of his descent from the old and noble people of Israel.

Together with Da Costa and Capadose he paid much attention to apocalyptical writings, to Daniel and the Revelation of John. In this connection also the mystical Jewish writings came up for consideration, especially the Zohar, and to a lesser extent, the Talmud. Egeling was not interested in this apocalyptical, mystical and eschatological way of thinking. Consequently his circle, according to Bilderdijk, was more limited. So Bilderdijk’s approach to his Jewish friends, properly speaking of Jews in general, clearly differs from the practice of the nineteenth century idea of mission.

Initially Capadose’s bond with Judaism is less strong. He is, to a greater degree than Da Costa, an advocate of mission to the Jews. However, Bilderdijk has not shown himself to be in favour of this mission and has made this clear to Capadose. He praises the courage of faith of Capadose’s ancestors, who were forced to secretly tum back to Judaism because of the iconolatry in Catholic Spain. Testifying to his great devotion to the ‘true’ Jews, Bilderdijk warned Capadose against breaking with his Jewish relations after his baptism. Bilderdijk has perhaps underestimated the resistance to baptism in Jewish circles, because in his view Jesus is the promised Messiah out of the Jews. At any rate Bilderdijk has fervently hoped for the unification of Jesus and the Jews. For David’s great Son has first of all come for Abraham’s descendants. With the Jewish believers he expected the coming of the Messiah, the assimilated Jews had been deceived by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

…[Bilderdijk sees] the ever returning manifestation of the ancient Roman principle, which resists the reign of the Messianic Deity. This principle reveals itself in various European powers and authorities. With this the Christian history of Europe completes Daniel’s prophecy. The repetition and the strengthening of the prophetic thinking shows itself also in this. Bilderdijk’s view is clearly theocratic in so far as he ascribes a prominent position in history to the Jewish people on account of God’s covenant with Abraham. In so far as the Jews are separated from Messiah Jesus, Bilderdijk has much regretted this, because the rise of the Messianic kingdom is dependent on this unity. But he has partly denied and put into perspective the separation between Jesus and the Jewish people, which in the history of the Christian church has been expressed and practised again and again, by pointing to his belief that most Christians are farther away from Jesus as Messiah than the believing Jews.

End Quotes

For me, Bilderdijk is an important person. He is my teacher. He taught me history, through him I learned the important age in which he lived. I saw the church, I saw the Jews, I saw the Moslims. I saw the beloved Person, the King of the world, the Messiah, His reign, His past and His future. And I saw myself. He gives me the building blocks of the age in which I live now. Without him, I probably couldn’t comprehend the age I live in.

His extremely high level of knowledge and understanding and yet his so minor feelings about himself and his confession to be the least before Gods face intrigues me. Bilderdijk gives the church of the Netherlands the ability to step out their sinful deviated way. But, too bad, nobody listened. In stead of, he was hatred. When he was born, a few hours later a brick was thrown through the glasses into his house. The world was against him. The truth was denied. That’s not exceptional: “they slew thy prophets” (Neh.9:26)


The Messianic Movement part I

April 29, 2010

This is a first part of a series to describe the history of the Messianic Movement. I would like to tell something about the Dutch messianics like Isaac Da Costa and Abraham Capadose.

If one would describe history of the Messianic Movement then the first question is where to begin. An easy manner is to put Yeshua at the beginning and from then drawing the line and highlight what fits for your purpose. Along that line there are a few marking points, main points which are necessary to mention.

One of these points in this two millennia of history is the international Reveil in the beginning of the 19th century. Some very interesting developments occurs in that period. It was the first time since the apostles that many Jews converted. It was a worldwide awakening and a new beginning of a worldwide missionary. This came as an answer on the world-changing Revolution along with the Enlightenment which mostly ungodly fruits bore and spread around the world until today. The Enlightenment and the French Revolution are quite remarkable in two millenniums of history. Not only it changed the world, but it also was the beginning of a new development which made up ultimately the re-establishment of the land Israel and the return of the Jewish people. At the same time a new branch of Messianic Jews evolved and grew up first within the church and later it became more independent and self employed outside the church.

This event stood not on its own but is to see in the broader perspective. I would tell something about the church. The Protestants tradition sees the Roman Catholic church as (the vessel of) the antichrist. It is seen that it has a time of a rise and a time of a downfall. The period between is 1260 years according to the prophecy of Daniel and the book Revelation. The beginning of the rise is about the year 337, after the dead of Constantine. According to that the downfall began with the time of the dead of the king Philip II of Spain and the Edict of Nantes in 1598. One point in its rise of several hundred years is the establishment of papacy in the remarkable year of 606[1] and became full with the reign of the Pope when he received its power both political and spiritual. According to this view many Puritans[2] and also some theologians of the Netherlands foresaw a further fall of the antichrist in about the year 1795. This happened with the French Revolution and it came to pass that the Pope lost his (political) power in the year 1870 when he lost his Italian state. Another important person, the great sir Isaac Newton expected a definite fall and end of the period of antichrist “not before” the year 2060. For me he is one with the best hermeneutics of the book of Revelation.[3]

Church history is dominated by the Roman Catholic church. It fits in two millenniums with a typical 1260 years of highest power. With the Enlightenment the religious power was fallen down. Along this development the Protestants came out of the church with new glory, but not completely clean of Roman practices as e.g. Sunday observance and Christmas. On the other side the Enlightenment brought an unclean liberal spirit which developed in evil powers as it is today. The church was injured by this spirit of unbelief especially since the French Revolution. However I believe (with Newton and many other Puritans) the power of the antichrist is downfallen more and more and the final end is near where after the Messiah appears in His mighty power as the King of the world.

In the 19th century when the Enlightenment effected the church, a new revival happened worldwide. And especially in Holland a remarkable thing happened. Here began this revival which is called the Reveil with two Jews: Isaac Da Costa and Abraham Capadose. Although the spiritual father was Willem Bilderdijk,  a very important poet of the Netherlands, Da Costa especially was the person who came out into the light of the Reveil. And this was typical for the international Reveil: many Jews came to believe that Yeshua was the Messiah.

[1] When Boniface III got himself declared universal bishop and head of the church and assumed the title of Pope. Quote from: French Revolution and the downfall of the antichrist, John Willison, p.29

[2] Based on this view several people expected the fall of papacy around the year 1795 which coincides the French Revolution. See: Prophetic Conjectures on the French Revolution, Philadelphia, 1794. With extractions from: Brown, Knox, Goodwin, Love, Usher, More, Jurieu, Fleming, Willison, Gill. Is to find on Google Books.

[3] A very interesting collection of many of his manuscripts, many not published until 2008, are to find here: Also the Jewish National Library in Jerusalem has very interesting documents, free accessible, even never published writings under the name Newton’s Secrets: Isaac Newton wrote far more on theology then on physics.

About the Messianic Movement

February 16, 2010

I am finishing a brief history of the Messianic movement. It was very interesting to do.

There was one thing I recognized more and more. The 20th century is one of the greatest events in history. Obviously G-d is enrolling his master plan, his master purpose: redemption and eternal righteousness in the world with restored mankind. This is what the prophets spoke about: the restoration of Israel and the Gentiles.

From the ashes of the world, through such a terrible times never was before, through the loss of millions of the chosen people, through two world wars following the advances of the Western Roman/Christian world, through a deceiving of the good, a State of Israel raised up with a Control of  Yerushalayim by the remnants of the chosen ones.

Right through this century believing Jews in Yeshua took more and more distance not only from the synagogue but also from the church. Along with the establishment of the State of Israel a more independent movement was born, the Messianics. Nowadays they hang over to the synagogue. A lot of problems arise like who is a Jew, how far would we embrace Judaism etc.

But the 20th century shows that it is not about Christianity and not about Judaism. Even not about Messianic achievements.  Its all about Israel and the Gentiles. That’s what we are facing. The great restoration has yet begun and now, what would it bring us? Now when we hear His voice… (He.3:7, Ps.95:7-8)

I would put this little study, a “messianic voice”, to my local church this Friday. I wonder how they will receive it. I’m sorry, its written in Dutch.