here is a short phrase in Psalm 118:26
that has taken on major significance both in the Jewish and Christian world. In Hebrew the phrase is – ברוך הבא
, baruch haba
, “Blessed is he who comes…”
Yeshua and his disciples refer to “Baruch haba” twice: once at His entrance into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9), and once at the end of His long rebuke of the religious leaders (Matthew 23:39).
At Yeshua’s entrance into Jerusalem, He rode on a donkey in fulfillment of the prophecy in Zecharirah 9:9. His disciples lined the streets as He rode in. This declaration was an invitation which was not fulfilled at that time – for Him to take His place as King Messiah in Jerusalem.
The crowd of people went before Him and after Him, crying, “Hoshana to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH.”
The second use of “Baruch Haba” was in Yeshua’s prophecy of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and its future rebuilding. Here Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees for rejecting Him, and also promised that He would return when the people cried out “Baruch Haba.”
O Jerusalem, …Your house is left to you desolate; …You shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH.’
The Verse They Missed
Amongst modern Jews, this phrase was made famous in the 1990’s by the Lubavitcher Hassidim in proclaiming that their rabbi, Menachem Schneerson, was the Messiah. He passed away in June 1994 (20 years ago last month). His followers continue to fill Jerusalem and Israel with posters of his picture and the title: Blessed is he who comes, King Messiah.
They interpret Psalm 118 as referring to the Messiah, just as it is understood in the gospels (except of course switching their “candidate” for messiah).
Religious Jews read Psalms during the biblical holy days. In Israel Psalms are also read out loud during times of crisis and special needs. Thus a public reading of Psalm 118 could be readily imagined at a future national crisis.
In the Matthew version, Yeshua refers to another verse in Psalm 118 during His entrance to Jerusalem:
“The stone which the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone”
Psalm 118 demands that whoever would be welcomed into Jerusalem as messiah must first become like a “stone” rejected by the “builders” (religious and political leaders). – First rejected–then welcomed.
Yeshua’s entrance into Jerusalem was only a partial fulfillment. There will come another day in which He will enter Jerusalem again. This is likely to occur in a time of national crisis on a biblical holy day with a public reading of the Psalms, crying out “Baruch Haba.”