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The Prophetic Connection Between John the Baptist, Jesus, and Messiah The Breaker (Poretz)

Updated: Jul 8

In Genesis chapter 38 we read the story of Judah and Tamar. Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah. After her husband dies she desires to bring forth a child to her dead husband and his lineage according to what would later be known as the Levirite law. Judah's second son refuses to comply to this request and so he also is considered evil and is killed by God. This leaves Judah with only one son left (Shelah) and he is too young to marry. Judah promises Tamar that when he is older that he will allow them to marry. However, Shelah grows up and Judah never keeps his promise so Tamar takes matters into her own hands.

With a desire to continue her dead husbands lineage, she dresses herself as a prostitute (covering her face) and waits for her father-in-law to pass by the street corner where she is waiting. Judah sees her, not knowing who she is, and the rest is history. From this union comes twins: Pharez and Zerah.

When it comes time for the twins to be born verses 28-30 record:

While she was giving birth, one stuck out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it to his hand saying, “This one came out first.” But as he was pulling his hand back in, behold, his brother came out. So she said, “How you have broken through! The breach is because of you.” And he named him Perez. Afterward his brother, on whose hand was the scarlet thread, came out. And he named him Zerah.

In Hebrew the word Perez (Peretz) comes from the word poretz meaning “breach, to break or burst out, to violently break out”. The word usually denotes something breaking through violently like a thief.

The word Zerah on the other hand means: rising, dawning, shining, a rising of light, to appear.

If you have studied the Bible for any length of time then you should be aware that in the Bible names are important as they describe the attributes of a person. The many names given for God describe His many different attributes and how an infinite and invisible God reveals Himself to mortal human beings. The very name Yeshua means “salvation” in Hebrew. Furthermore, names in the Bible often carried the destiny of the person. This is why it is so important that we choose the proper names for our children. I wish someone had given me this advice before I had children. Not that husband and I chose bad names but we could have done better.

So, what can we learn from these two twin boys, Perez and Zerah, and what does it have to do with John the Baptist, Yeshua (Jesus), and a Messianic promise? First let's get a little background into some genealogy and some ancient Jewish Messianic expectations.

First of all, when we explore the genealogy of Yeshua we will find that he came from the line of Perez.

Matthew 1:3;8- Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,......and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Miriam, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah.

In ancient Rabbinic writings it is stated that the Messiah when he comes is going to be known as a breaker/breacher and will appear suddenly and unexpectedly, like a theif. (Gill Commentary) Many of these ancient writings say that Peretz represents the Messiah and one of his attributes.

Let's take a look at a couple of these Rabbinic writings. After all, Yeshua was born as a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew, and He is coming back as a Jew to rule from a purely Jewish city, Jerusalem, so why should we not look to Rabbinic writings which expressed understandings of the Messiah who was to come. The Jewish authors of the Renewed Testament express themselves according to these understandings and expectations. This was the understanding of their day. By the completion of this article I will seek to show you New Testament writings that prove that the gospel writer understood that Messiah would be a peretz (breaker).

According to Rabbi Itzhak Shapira one of Messiah's names in rabbinic writings, dating back prior to the first century, was Ben Haporetz, meaning one who will “breach” or one who will “break out”.

In his book, The Return of the Kosher Pig, Rabbi Shapira goes on to state:

In Midrash Bereshit Rabbah, we read a humorous comment... on Genesis 38:1 - And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah.


The sons of Jacob were busy in the selling of Joseph, and Joseph was busy in his

mourning. Reuven was busy in his mourning, and Jacob was busy in his

mourning, and Judah was busy in taking a wife while the Holy One of Israel,

blessed be his name, was busy in bringing to the

world the light of the Messiah. [1]

Rabbi Shapira also states that Rashi, considered one of the most influential Jewish commentators in history, explained that the light of Messiah must come out of Peretz.

In his Commentary on Parashat Vayetzeh, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg, one of the greatest Jewish minds of the 20th century, further explains:

At the creation of the world, where it states, “These are the generations (toldot) of the heaven and of the earth when they were created” (Genesis 2:4), the Torah mentions the word toldot (generations) because there was no sin in the world. The same word where we read, “Now these are the generations of Peretz” (Ruth 4:18), speaks of the Messiah who will bring the complete restoration for the first sin of Adam. There is nobody who deserves the word “generations” except the Messiah who is the Poretz. [2]

The same word “generations” (toldot) is used both in Genesis 2:4 and Ruth 4:18 thereby making a connection by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg in his Torah study.

It is clear that an association has been made between a coming Messiah and this child Peretz; the name signifying that the Messiah to come will be a “breaker”, one who “violently breaks out”.

Messiah the “breaker” (Poretz) will go out in advance, on our behalf, to make a way for all of Israel and all nations to follow after him.

Now, let's tie this all together prophetically.

In Matthew 11:10-14 we read:

For this is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you. Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.(NKJV)

The phrase, “the kingdom suffers violence and the violent take it by force” has been debated and often misunderstood. It is actually quite easy to interpret. This expression is a reference to Micah 2:12-13:

I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open (poretz) will come up before them; they will break out (poretz), pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the LORD at their head. (NKJV)

Let's read this in some other versions:

I will assemble all of you, Ya`akov; I will gather the remnant of Isra'el, I will put them together like sheep in a pen, like a herd in its pasture—it will hum with the sounds of people." The one breaking through went up before them; they broke through, passed the gate and went out. Their king passed on before them; Adonai was leading them. (CJB)

I shall certainly gather all of you, O Ya‛aqoḇ, I shall bring together the remnant of Yisra’ěl, put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture, they being noisy because of men. “The breach-maker shall go up before them. They shall break out, and pass through the gate, and go out by it, and their sovereign pass before them, with יהוה at their head!” (TS2009)

I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is gone up before them: they have broken forth and passed on to the gate, and are gone out thereat; and their king is passed on before them, and Jehovah at the head of them. (ASV)

This is the meaning of the “violent taking it by force”. It denotes sheep being held in a pen and a breach (breaker – poretz) makes a hole in the pen and like a stampede they violently break out (poretz) of the pen following after their King and God. It is the “breaking” or “breaching” that suddenly and violently happens. This is exactly what the name Perez means.

Here we have three players: John the Baptist, Yeshua and the sheep (men).

The first twin of Tamar who stuck his hand out of the womb, Zerah, and had a scarlet thread tied around it was John the Baptist. John “made the way” first for Messiah the breaker to come. Just as Zerah withdrew his hand back into the womb, likewise John withdrew in his ministry and declared: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). He also declared “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.

John preached “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. As the name Zerah implies he was a “rising, shining, dawning light” that proclaimed that Messiah and the kingdom was coming. He started gathering sheep for the sheepfold. However, John was the last prophet to declare the coming of the Messiah and the coming kingdom because the Messiah suddenly showed up on the scene. John retreated and Messiah the Breaker (Peretz) violently and suddenly, like a theif, showed up on the scene. Yeshua continued building the sheepfold until the multitude was so great that it couldn't contain anymore. The sheep heard the voice of their shepherd, Messiah the Breaker, and violently break (peretz) through the opening that was breached and follow the shepherd (the breaker and God) at their head.

The kingdom has been breaking out after their Messiah the Breaker since His sudden appearance on the scene. He likewise states that He will come as a thief in the night – He will come suddenly and violently, splitting the eastern sky as lightning flashes from the east to the west.

Consider this: John's ministry was a water baptism for repentance. It represented a new birth. Messiah began His ministry by being baptized by John, and would later teach His disciples to baptize in His name. The twins, Perez and Zerah, were encased in the water of the womb. The twins had a physical birth but John and Yeshua brought a spiritual re-birth.



[1] page 141; copyright 2013

[2] page 142; The Return of the Kosher Pig; by Rabbi Itzhak Shapira; copyright 2013


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