For the past 2,000 years, there has been one famous name the top leaders of Judaism have been reluctant to talk about, let alone embrace or endorse.
That name, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth, the man who countless Christians believe is their Messiah and God of the Bible.
For most Jews, however, God's "Anointed One," which is what the word "Messiah" means, is still an unidentified figure.
But now, a man you might think would be perhaps the last person on Earth to champion the cause of Jesus as Messiah is doing just that, despite the fact he's a famous Jewish rabbi and is now deceased.
A brand-new book and DVD movie officially debuting Tuesday titled "The Rabbi Who Found Messiah" tells the eye-opening story of Yitzhak Kaduri, a lifelong legend in the Jewish community who, a year after his death at age 108, had a cryptic and startling declaration issued: that the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews is a man named Yehoshua, which is another way of saying Jesus.
Not only that, Kaduri, the most venerated rabbi in Israel, claimed he had personally met the Messiah in vision, and was given instructions by Him.
As the worldwide buzz about Kaduri and his revelation begins, some might wonder if God would use an ostensible enemy of the risen Christ to proclaim His glory to all nations.
But Carl Gallups, author of "The Rabbi Who Found Messiah," says there's already strong Bible precedent for it.
Gallups says the best example is that of the New Testament apostle Paul, who was originally called Saul, and was a persecutor of Christians when he was a leader in the ancient Jewish community.
That was until the Messiah personally got a hold of this "enemy" to straighten him out.
"Along the road to Damascus, Rabbi Saul, the teacher of the Law, was suddenly struck down," Gallups writes. "A light from heaven – like a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky – flashed, enveloping him in a shroud of brilliance. Its explosive sound was deafening; its radiance dazzling and blinding. Saul fell to the ground as though dead, his eyes clenched tightly, burning with pain."
Jesus, the Messiah, revealed Himself in vision to this high-ranking Jew, a top adversary of Christians, but Gallups notes others who were traveling with Saul did not hear the message given to the rabbi.
"Saul's companions did not hear those words; they heard only a rumbling. The message was meant for Saul's ears only," he writes.
The instructions given to Saul changed his entire outlook, prompting him to become a champion for Christ to the world.
Writes Gallups: "His new message was: I have had a revelation. I have spoken to the Messiah. I know who He is, and I know the signs that must accompany His return. He has given me a mission to fulfill, and I will embark upon this holy task even if it means the slandering of my name and my reputation among the Jews – even if it means my death."
"I ask you again, could the Messiah of God reveal Himself to a Jewish rabbi? Would He reveal Himself to a mere Hebrew sage, even if that leader were engaged in wickedness, murder, and other outrages against humanity? Would He actually place His hand of revelation and anointing upon a man who spent his life attempting to destroy the work of those who first claimed the Messiah? Would the Lord then use that same man to strengthen, and even build up, the very ones he used to attack? Of course He would. And according to the Bible, He did."
And the story of Paul is not the only example.
"Additionally, in Acts 18," says Gallups, "we read of a ruler of the synagogue – another respected Jewish rabbi – named Crispus, who had a revelation of the true Messiah through the preaching of Paul. This leader then acknowledged Jesus Christ as Savior and the Messiah of God. Yes, God has spoken time and time again to unbelieving people – some of whom had done wicked things in their lives prior to encountering the living God."
Another instance of a messianic revelation given to an elderly Jewish holy man is that of the experience of Simeon, recorded in chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke.
Joseph and Mary had arrived at the temple in Jerusalem to present the infant Jesus for His ritualistic dedication.
Gallups explains: "There, the man Simeon, described as one who had received a revelation from the Holy Spirit of God that he would literally lay his eyes upon the long-awaited Messiah before his own death, approaches the young parents. The account records that Simeon took Jesus in his arms and proclaimed, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel' (Luke 2:29–32)."
"To many of Simeon's day, it may have appeared improbable that the Lord of heaven would have made such a promise to an old man, much less fulfill the incredulous revelation. But the Lord always fulfills His word. He always keeps His promises. He never disappoints. Simeon had seen the Messiah."
The book and DVD suggest God could be repeating this biblical pattern, with Rabbi Kaduri, a celebrated figure for decades in Judaism, as a person you'd least expect to carry the torch for Jesus, proclaiming His name not only to Jews, but to others across the globe.
"I have met the Messiah," Kaduri told his followers on the Day of Atonement in 2005.
"He has appeared to me in a vision. He has attached his soul to a particular person in Israel. I will spend this day teaching you how to recognize the Messiah, for He shall appear soon. You must be ready for His coming. Many events of awe will take place before His coming ... but they will happen quickly.'"
As the rabbi commanded everyone's undivided attention and with all eyes in the congregation fixed on their beloved teacher, Kaduri somberly continued: "I must tell you something disturbing.
"I have no specific information to give you on the following matter other than what I am about to share with you now ... The Messiah has revealed to me that He will not present Himself until after the death of our prime minister, Ariel Sharon."
Just a little more than two months later, events took an eerie turn as Ariel Sharon, the 11th prime minister of Israel, suffered a massive stroke and lapsed into a coma, a state in which he remains to date.
Then 24 days after Sharon's medical calamity, Rabbi Kaduri himself died after a brief bout with pneumonia.
Before his death, the rabbi had left a mysterious letter, which he instructed was to be unsealed a year after his own death.
When it was finally made public, the name of the Messiah whom Kaduri met after years of praying and fasting was Yehoshua – the formal name for Yeshua, or Jesus in the Greek.