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Doctrine of Messiah

January 27, 2014

You may not realize it, but there have been dozens of Jewish messiah’s over the years. However, there is only one of them Whose name you know—Jesus. This is true for most Jews as well.
Most people have a very limited understanding of Messiah as presented in the Old and New Testaments. Most understand that there is the mention of Messiah in the Old Testament and that Jesus is the fulfillment of this; but few have actually studied the relevant passages.
For a person to use the phase Jesus Christ in the first century would be seen as a blasphemy by the pharisees. They knew the Man Jesus; and they knew of the Messiah (= Christ) to come; but they thought it blasphemy that Jesus would be so identified.

1.      The Hebrew word is Mâshîyach (מָשִיחַ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh], which means anointed, anointed one; and it is transliterated (more or less) to Messiah. We find this word several times in Leviticus 4 and 6, we mostly find this word in Samuel and in the Psalms.

2.      In the Old Testament, we find this word in Lev. 4:3, 5, 16 6:22, 1Sam. 2:10, 35 12:3 24:5-6, 10 26:9, 11, 16, 23 2Sam. 1:14,:16 19:21 22:51 23:1 1Chron. 16:22 2Chron. 6:42 Psalm 2:2 18:50 20:6 84:8-9 89:38, 51 105:15 132:10, 132:17 Isa. 45:1 Lam. 4:20 Daniel 9:25–26 Habak. 3:13

3.      The verbal cognate is mâshach (מָשַח) [pronounced maw-SHAHKH], which means to smear, to anoint. Strong’s #4886 BDB #602.

4.      The Greek equivalent of this word is Christos (χριστός) [pronounced krees-TOSS], which means anointed one, Messiah; and it is transliterated Christ. This word is found about 570 times in the New Testament. Strong’s #5547.

5.      The Greek also had a transliteration of Messiah: Messias (Mεσσίας) [pronounced mes-SEE-ahs], which is the Greek transliteration for Messiah. Strong’s #3323.

6.      Most of the uses of mâshîyach are in a non-technical sense.

1)      We can reasonably understand it to be mean anointed, as the verb means to anoint, to smear. The idea is, some oil is put on the head of the priest to identify him with God.

2)      We first find mâshîyach used out of the blue in Lev. 4:3, 5 where it speaks of an anointed priest who sins and then must offer an offering. In Lev. 4:16, the anointed priest is given a series of things to do with the congregation of Israel as a whole commits and error.

3)      When used in Lev. 6:22, it means about the same thing. Aaron and his sons are about to be anointed, and an offering is specified to be offered to God.

7.      We have mâshîyach used to refer to men as well:

1)      To Saul in 1Sam. 25:6, 10 where David refuses to raise his hand against Saul, the king of Israel, the anointed (messiah) of Jehovah. It is used in a similar fashion in 1Sam. 26:9, 11, 16, 23 2Sam. 1:14, 16. This identifies the king with Jehovah’s anointed (a parallelism which we find in the words of the prophet who speaks to Eli in 1Sam. 2). The idea is, the king is a type; he is both anointed and a king. Jesus is the antitype; a King in the Millennium and the Messiah—the Anointed One.

2)      David is also called Jehovah’s anointed in 2Sam. 19:21 22:51 23:1, which is a reference to his proper office as king. At the same time, this sets up David as a type of Christ.

3)      David refers to himself as anointed in Psalm 20:6. However, in the last verse of that psalm, his reference to the King is a reference to the King of God, the Messiah (although it is unclear whether he saw these as identical terms).

4)      We have a reference to the kings of Israel as well as to anyone sent by God in Psalm 105:15: Touch not my anointed, and do My prophets no harm.

5)      In a psalm of thanksgiving, we are adjured not to strike those who are anointed by God or His prophets (1Chron. 16:22).

6)      Cyrus is God’s anointed in Isa. 45:1.

7)      Zedekiah is called anointed in Lam. 4:20.

8.      In Isa. 89:38, it appears as though the anointed refers to Israel.

9.      However, in 1Sam. 2:10, this word is taken to a different level.

1)      Hannah offers a psalm about thanksgiving, about a reversal of fortune (she was a wife, but was unable to conceive; and God gave her a child after she prayed to Him). At the very end of her psalm, she tells us that God will give authority to His King and He will exalt the power of His Messiah. For the first time, we find this word used in the more technical sense of Messiah. Much of this is in anticipation of her child Samuel, who was born in response to her prayer and her vow to set him aside to God. In this way, Samuel becomes a type of Christ.

2)      Later, as Samuel grows, God sends a prophet to Eli and this prophet speaks disparagingly of Eli’s worthless sons, and then says: And I will raise up a faithful priest to Myself, one who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My Messiah forever (1Sam. 2:35). The priest that God would raise up would be Samuel (who is a shadow of the Messiah to come), and this priest will do as God asks. Building him a sure house means that Samuel will enjoy a great deal of security as priest, even though he lived in turbulent times. The passage ends with: …and he will walk before My Messiah forever. This clearly indicates that Samuel would have an eternal relationship with God and with God’s Messiah, Whom we know as Jesus.

3)      Unlike Moses, there is a lot which God tells Samuel which is not recorded. However, Samuel has a clear understanding of the Messiah, and tells the people of Israel: “Behold, here I am. Witness against me before Jehovah and before His Messiah. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose ass have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I received a bribe, to blind my eyes with it? And I will restore it to you.” (1Sam. 12:3). Jehovah is a reference to God the Father and Messiah refers to His Son. Throughout the Old Testament, there are many cryptic passages (cryptic at the time that they were written) which refer to members of the Trinity.

4)      For some, this ought to seem odd that a woman is announcing the coming of the anointed one (referring not only to her son Samuel but to Jesus); but we should expect this, as Jesus is the Seed of the woman.

10.    After this, the references are found chiefly in the psalms, which would have been written, for the most part, during the time of the book of Samuel, mostly by David.

1)      Psalm 2:1–2: Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate on a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers plot together, against Jehovah and against His Messiah. This would have two applications:

(1)     To whomever was ruling over Israel and this would be directed toward the nations who stood in opposition to Israel and her king. By taking a stand against Israel, these kings were taking a stand against Yehowah God. The anointed one would be whomever is king over Israel.

(2)     This also applies to the Messiah, where nations and groups of people all stand against Him as well. This tells us that there will be opposition to this Messiah (we find individual opposition in the 1st advent and national opposition in the 2nd).

2)      We find anointed in Psalm 18:49–50 next. David writes: Therefore I will praise [or celebrate, or give thanks to] You, Yehowah, among the nations; I will sing about Your name [God’s character and reputation]. He [God] gives great [lit., magnifying, making great] deliverances of His king; He manufactures grace to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever. This has the same sort of double application as we find in the previous psalm.

(1)     The first verb is the Hiphil imperfect of yâdâh (יָדָה) [pronounced yaw-AWH], which means (in the Hiphil): to profess, to confess; to show or point out [with the hand extended]; to give thanks, to praise, to celebrate. Strong’s #3034 BDB #392.

(2)     The king about whom David sings is a double reference: to himself, as God has given David great victories in battle; but also to the King-to-come, the Messiah. The Christ is given victory over sin; and then victory over all His enemies.

(3)     Deliverances is the feminine plural construct of yeshûwʿâh (יְשוּעָה) [pronounced yeshoo-ĢAW], which means deliverance, salvation. This is also the word transliterated Joshua in the Hebrew and Jesus in the Greek. Strong’s #3444 BDB #447. David has enjoyed multiple instances of being delivered by God; and Jesus has enjoyed the same. On many occasions, people sought to kill Him, and their plans were thwarted. Then, when Satan believed that he had the victory by executing Jesus, Jesus took that opportunity to pay for our sins. And then God raised Him up again, another deliverance.

(4)     David recognizes that on many occasions, God has given him great grace. But God the Father has also given great grace to His Son, Jesus, in His humanity. Again, there is that parallel reference, to David, but then also to the Messiah. Among David’s descendants is the Messiah, Jesus.

3)      There is another double reference in Psalm 89:38–45: But You have cast off and rejected us; You have been angry with Your Anointed [Messiah]. You have turned away from the covenant of Your servant; You have defiled his crown to the ground. You have broken down all his hedges; You have brought his strongholds to ruin. All who pass by the way plunder him; he is a curse to his neighbors. You have set up the right hand of his enemies; You have made all his enemies rejoice. You also have turned back the edge of his sword and have not made him stand in the battle. You have made his glory to cease, and have thrown his throne down to the ground. The days of his youth You have shortened; You have covered him with shame. Selah. This refers both to the rejection of Israel as well as to the rejection of God’s Messiah. This is covered in great detail in Psalm 89 (HTML) (PDF) (WPD).

4)      This psalm goes on, and we have the same double application: How long, Jehovah? Will You hide Yourself forever? Shall Your wrath burn like fire? Remember, I pray, how short my time is; why have You made all men in vain? What man lives and never sees death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah. O Lord, where are Your former gracious acts which You swore to David in Your truth? Remember, Lord, the scorn of Your servants; how I bear in my bosom the insult of all the mighty people, with which Your enemies have cursed, O Jehovah; with which they have cursed the footsteps of Your Anointed [Messiah]. Blessed is Jehovah forevermore. Amen and Amen (Psalm 89:46–52).

(1)     The Man who lives and never sees death is the believer in Jesus. We suffer physical death, but we enjoy eternal life.

(2)     The enemies of God curse His Messiah. Again, this is a twofold application to David and to Jesus.

5)      Psalm 132:10–17 is pretty clear by some of the verses that we are speaking of more than just some king that would come from David, but to the Messiah-King, Whose throne would be forever: For Your servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of Your Messiah. Jehovah has sworn to David in truth; He will not turn from it; Of the fruit of your body I will set on the throne for you. If your sons will keep My covenant and My testimonies which I shall teach them, their sons shall also sit on your throne forever. Jehovah has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling-place. This is My rest forever; here I will dwell; for I have desired it. I will greatly bless her food; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I also will clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy. There I will make the horn [= power, authority] of David to bud; I have prepared a lamp for My Messiah.

(1)     Zion is the mountain upon which Jerusalem sits, and God chose this for His dwelling place, both when the Ark was taken there and when Solomon built the Temple there. However, Jesus will also dwell there as King in the Millennium.

(2)     A lamp is used to guide a person in the dark. God would provide a lamp for His messiah; indicating that He would guide individuals like David through life; but that God also has a particular plan for His Anointed, Jesus.

11.    Daniel clearly references the Messiah in the end times (the Tribulation): Daniel 9:25–27: Know therefore and understand, that from the going out of the command to restore and to build Jerusalem, to Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in times of affliction. And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself. And the people of the ruler who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. And the end of it shall be with the flood, and ruins are determined, until the end shall be war. And he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease, and on a corner of the altar desolating abominations, even until the end. And that which was decreed shall be poured on the desolator.

(1)     See, this occurs long after David. David was a type of Jesus. But since this occurs long after David’s death, Messiah the Prince refers to Jesus.

(2)     This sets up a timetable of the Tribulation. The week refers to the shortened 7 years of the Tribulation. The middle of the week means that, after 3½ years, the evil one will stop the sacrifices and offerings which are being made in the new Temple (which we may see built in our lifetimes); and he will put up a statue of himself in the Temples.

(3)     This has a double fulfillment, and refers also to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.

12.    Unclear references:

1)      Psalm 84:8–9: O Jehovah, the God of Hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God, our shield, and look on the face of Your anointed. This does not appear to be a reference to the Messiah. This is David asking that God look upon him.

2)      Habak. 3:13: You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, to bare the foundation to the neck. Some see this as Joshua as God’s anointed early on, and others interpret this as the Messiah.

13.    We refer to Jesus Christ all of the time, as do unbelievers; but this is not a first and last name. Jesus is a name which means Savior; Christ is a title which means Messiah. The scribes and pharisees would cry blasphemy if someone used this name, Jesus Christ, to refer to Jesus. Since the word Christ is found nearly 600 times in the Old Testament, we will attempt to confine ourselves to the passages which are seen as a fulfillment of the Messiah prophecies.

14.    It is clear that Jews of all strata understood the coming of the Messiah of God.

1)      In John 1:41–42, Andrew goes to get his brother Simon (Peter) and take him to the Messiah: He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah;” (which is, being translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah; you shall be called Cephas.” (which translated is, a stone). Simon and Andrew were fishermen. They may have had a successful business, but they were not associated with the pharisees or the sadducees. How often they attended the synagogues before Jesus is unknown to us.

2)      Even a Samaritan woman knows that God would send His Messiah, as she tells Jesus: The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ. When He has come, He will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, “I AM, the One speaking to you.” (John 4:25–26). Jesus here confirms both His deity and his fulfillment as Messiah to Israel.

15.    Messiah was seen as the Son of David and the Son of Abraham: Matt. 1:1

16.    Sometimes it was stated that Jesus is the one known as the Christ (or the Messiah). Matt. 1:16

17.    At the time that Jesus was born, there were others in the ancient world who were aware that He would be born. Herod, the governor of Galilee, gathered priests and scribes together to ask them where the Messiah would be born. Matt. 2:1–6.

18.    God revealed to some individuals how they could find the Messiah or that they would see the Christ before they died (Matt. 2:8–13 Luke 2:25–34).

19.    The scribes and pharisees were fond of finding questions they thought that Jesus could not answer; so, now and again, Jesus turned the tables on them: Mat 22:42–46: Jesus said to them, “What do you think of Christ? Whose son is He?” They say to Him, “David’s.” He said to them, “How then does David by the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, ‘the LORD said to my Lord, Sit on My right until I make Your enemies Your footstool for Your feet?’  If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day to question Him any more. This indicates that the pharisees did not have a full understanding of the Messiah.

20.    When speaking of the end times, Jesus told His disciples that men would come claiming to be the Messiah (Matt. 24:4–5). Some of these would offer up false signs and wonders, in fact (Matt. 24:24).

21.    At one point in time, people were surprised that Jesus was not arrested; they suggest that maybe the rulers know that He is the Messiah. John 7:19–26: “Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet not one of you keeps the Law! Why do you seek to kill Me?” The crowd answered and said, “You have a demon!” “Who seeks to kill you?” Jesus answered and said to them, “I have done one work, and you all marvel. Because of this Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers,) and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath day. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath day so that the Law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry at Me because I have made a man entirely sound on the Sabbath day? Do not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgment.” Then some of those from Jerusalem said, “Is this not the One they seek to kill? But lo, He speaks publicly, and they say nothing to Him. Perhaps the rulers truly know that this is the Christ [= Messiah] indeed?”

22.    Some, in this same crowd, ask whether a different messiah would perform this many miracles (John 6:31). There was a lot of discussion with this group—some asked if the Messiah could come out of Galilee (John 7:41–42).

23.    Those who said that Jesus is the Messiah were put out of the synagogue (John 9:22).

24.    We have the great confession of Peter, when asked by Jesus who He is: And coming into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say Me to be, the Son of Man?” And they said, “Some say, John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.“ He said to them, “But who do you say I am?” And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ [the Messiah], the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are blessed, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but My Father in Heaven.” (Matt. 16:13–18).

25.    Jesus sometimes discouraged others giving the witness that He is the Messiah.

1)      Then we have the very interesting statement: Then He warned His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ (Matt. 16:20). When Jesus made it plain that He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, that is when He would be seized and crucified. From time to time, Jesus revealed this information; but it was not publically announced.

2)      When Jesus cast some demons out of a man, the demons knew He was the Messiah; but Jesus would not allow them to give witness to that for the same reason. Luke 4:40–41

3)      One reason that Jesus did not plainly reveal Himself is, the crowds would have gone crazy and tried to kill Him. John 10:24–36 Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish–ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?” “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You–being a man–make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, I said, you are gods? If He called those whom the word of God came to ‘gods’–and the Scripture cannot be broken–do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ to the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, because I said: I am the Son of God?” When they understood that Jesus made Himself equal to God, they would take up stones to stone Him.

26.    We appear to have a similar confession at another time when many of Jesus’ disciples deserted Him: John 6:66–69: From this time many of His disciples went back into the things behind, and walked no more with Him. Then Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Then Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

27.    Martha gives her confession in John 11:21–27 (her brother, Lazarus, had died before Jesus arrived): Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.” “Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her. Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die–ever. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (HCSB)

28.    Jesus was surrounded by Jews who asked Him to plainly state if He was the Messiah. When Jesus told them, “I and the Father are one,” the Jews took up stones to stone Him. John 10:24–31

29.    When Jesus had been seized, at the time of the Passover, he clearly admitted to the high priest that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Mat 26:63–68: But Jesus was silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I adjure you by the living God that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You said it. I tell you more. From this time you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of the heavens.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. What do you think?” They answered and said, “He deserves to be executed.” Then they spat in His face and beat Him with the fist. And others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ; who is the one who struck you?” This reveals just how angry man is with God. See also Luke 22:66–71.

30.    After Jesus was resurrection, He made it clear in His teaching that the Messiah must endure the suffering which he endured. Luke 24:25–27: And He said to them, “O fools and slow of heart to believe all things that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

31.    John’s confession at the end of his book: John 20:31: But these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ [= the Messiah], the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name.