The Hebrew word “hamashiach” means the anointed one. It is translated into Greek as “christos” from which we derive the English word Christ. Apart from Jesus The Christ, there are others mentioned in The Holy Writ who are anointed. Aaron The First High priest of Israel and his sons, the priests were anointed. The Kings of Israel were anointed, so also the prophets of Israel. There were others also who were anointed of God to perform various functions in the theocratic kingdom of Israel. There is a special usage here to convey the idea of a Saviour and redeemer of mankind from the shackles of the Law and the powers of darkness. The concept of the messiah has its origin in the Hebrew Old Testament. Immediately after the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden, God announced to Satan and Adam that the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent, and that the serpent shall bruise His heel(Gen.3:15). Both of them knew immediately that the redeemer would be born of the woman. If He would be the seed of the woman and not of the man, that would mean that the woman would be impregnated by God. That would also mean that the Messiah would be the Son Of God. That is indeed the case because God is our Saviour and salvation(1 Tim.1:1, 2:3, 4:10).
Satan attempted to prevent the birth of the Messiah by hybridizing the whole of humanity in order that there would be no pure human female through whom the messiah would come into the world. God promised to redeem man not fallen angels or transhumans or humanoids. To preserve a pure seed of humanity, God wiped out the whole dwellers on Earth in the deluge, sparing only Noah and his family who were not hybridized; for Noah was pure in his descendants(Gen.6:9). All the efforts of Satan is to prevent the coming of the Messiah who shall reclaim the rulership of the Earth which Satan usurped from The First Adam. After the deluge, Satan introduced idolatry through Nimrod in the form of mother-child worship. Once again God chose Abram and kept him from the pollutions of idolatry which was rampant in his day and native Ur of the Chaldees. God told Abram to leave his native land to a land which God promised to give him and his seed after him.
Abram first settled in Charan, and relocated to Canaan after the death of his father Terah in Charan. No sooner had Abram arrived in Canaan than Satan brought famine upon the land, forcing Abram into exile in Egypt. To prevent the birth of the promised son, Satan slapped Sara with barrenness. To circumvent Sara’s infertility, Abraham went in unto Hagai, Sara’s maid, and begat Ishmael, further complicating the matter. God cannot be deterred. When Sara was well over menopause she conceived and gave both to Isaac. Isaac begat Esau and Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs. The ten patriarchs moved with envy sold Joseph into Egypt. At the time appointed of God, when the opportunity presented itself, Joseph used His God-given wisdom to interpret dreams, first to Pharaoh’s servants, the chief butler and the baker and the later to Pharaoh himself. He became the prime minister of Egypt, next to Pharaoh, and moved from prison to palace.
There arose a severe famine in the whole Mideast, but there was corn in Egypt. Under the auspices of Joseph, Jacob and his whole family came to live in the land of Egypt. About four generations later, there arose a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph. And the children of Israel came under the burden and oppression of slavery in Egypt. Israelite slave labour built the pyramids of Egypt. But God raised up Moses who led his people out of the land of Egypt after God through his hands had performed mighty miracles and signs and wonders in the land of Ham.
For forty years the children of Israel wondered in the wilderness, slipping in and out of idolatry until the generation that believed not that God was able to lead them into the promised land was wasted, save Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephun(Num.14:20-24; Deut.2:14). On entry into the land of Canaan, Israel was bedeviled with frequent incursions into idolatry by copying its heathen neighbors and by marriage alliances with their gentile neighbors which God forbade them, and failure to observe the law of Moses which God gave them, especially the observance of the Shabbat. In order to be like the gentile nations around them, they rejected the rulership of God and opted for a king. This was one generation short of the allotted time within which a bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. The Lord said the scepter shall not depart from Judah nor the Law giver from between his feet, until His coming, unto whom shall the gathering of the people be(Gen.49:10). The Messiah who shall be king shall come from the tribe of Judah. But Judah inadvertently entered into incestous relation with his daughter-in-law. And a bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord unto the tenth generation(Deut.23:2).
David was chosen King, but fell into adultery with Bathsheba which brought the sin of sexual immorality and its attendant consequences into the royal family. Solomon’s sin of loving foreign women and the subsequent idolatry led to the division of the kingdom. The same sins led the northern kingdom of Israel into exile into Assyria in 722 BC and the southern kingdom of Judah into exile into Babylon in 586 BC. Shortly before king Nebuchadnezzar and his armies violated the precincts of the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, the glory of God that abode in the Holy Of Holies left the Holy Of Holies through the precincts of the Temple to the Eastern Gate of the Temple, and was gone. Ichabod, the glory is departed. After 70 years in exile following the babylonian captivity, the people of Israel were released by the Medopersian King, Cyrus the great in 538 BC. By 515 BC, the temple has been rebuilt by the returning exiles. But the glory did not return.
About 29 AD, Jesus went down the Mount Of Olives, crossed the Kidron valley, through the Eastern Gate unto the Temple Mount, into the Temple, the second Temple built by the returning exiles and refurbished by Herod the great. The glory has returned, but neither the rulers of Israel nor the “am haaretz”(the people of the land) knew it. Jesus’ conflict with the religious leaders of Israel led to His rejection, betrayal, arrest and crucifixion by the Roman authorities. He died. He was buried. He descended into Hell. He led captivity captive and received gifts for men. He rose again from the dead, and ascended into Heaven. He holds session at the right hand of the Father, angels and authorities being made subject unto Him.
We have heard that the antiMessiah shall shall come. Even now there are many antiMessiahs, wherefore we know it is the last time.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us”(1 Jon.2:18,19). “But we have an unction from the Holy One, and we know all things”(1 Jon.2:20). “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God in order that we may know the things that are freely given to us of the Spirit. He that is spiritual discerneth all things, yet he himself is discerned of no one. But who has the mind of God that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of The Christ”(2 Cor.2:12-16).
True wisdom is to know the only true God, and Jesus the Christ whom He had chosen. For this purpose, we have received the Spirit of God.
“Howbeit we speak wisdom amongst that perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, eye hath seen, nor the ear heard, neither had entered into the heart of man the wonderful things which hath prepared for that love Him. But God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searchers all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God”(1 Cor.2:6-16).
“And of His fulness have we all received and grace for grace”(Jon.1:16).
The Identity Of The Messiah.
There are numerous prophecies about the coming of the messiah. There are over 333 messianic prophecies. Both the first and the second advent of the messiah are spoken about, sometimes singly, and at other times both of them are spoken about in tandem in the same passage. Between the two peaks of His comings is a valley which has obscured the view of the unaided eye and befuddled the minds of the simple. Going into details of these prophecies is beyond the scope of this work. However, we shall give a broad outline of these prophecies in such a way as to cover the relevant aspects.
The Messiah will be the seed of the woman.
By the woman Adam fell. By the woman also shall man be redeemed. The first hint of the redemption of man was given in Gen. 3:15. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between her seed and thy seed. It shall bruise thy head and thou shall bruise his heel.” Thou shall bruise his head meant that the Messiah would die. The Messiah would not be the seed of Adam. If He would be the seed of Adam, He would have Adam’s sin nature which he acquired as a consequence of the fall. Although the Messiah will be human, He would not have the sin nature. For if He were to have the sin nature, He could not play the role of the kinsman redeemer, the “goel.” Both Adam and Satan understood that to mean that the woman would conceive of the power of God. As we have pointed out earlier, to counter this, Satan dispatched his fallen evil angels, to take human form and co-habit with human females, and reproduce humanoids. God in His infinite power and wisdom preserved Noah and his descendants.
The prophet Isaiah prophesied 700 years before the birth of The Messiah that a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, thou shall call His name Emmanuel(Is.7:14). That is God with us. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, of the house of David to give her the good news of her conception by the power of the Holy Spirit(Matt.1:18).
“When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman under the law, to redeem them that were under the law in order that we may receive the adoption of sons(Gal.4:5).”
In fulfillment of this prophecy, Christ was born between 6-4 BC when Israel was ruled by imperial Rome.
The Messiah Will Be Conceived Of God.
We have already hinted at this a bit previously. The fact that the messiah would be the seed of the woman not of the man meant that He would be conceived of God. And so indeed it was that the power of the God came upon Mary, and the the Spirit of God overshadowed her. She was conceived of the Holy Spirit. She gave birth to her first born Son, and called His name Jesus( Matt.1:21).
The Messiah Will Be God.
Numerous Scriptures abound which indicate that the Saviour is God(Is.43:3,11,15; Jer.14:8; Luk.1:47,2:11; 1 Tim.1:1;2:3; 4:10). Even though the Scriptures clearly indicate so, we can also arrive at this conclusion by simply logical reasoning. If Mary is impregnated by God, the offspring thereof must also be God; for like begets like. Reproduction is after its kind. Unto us a Son is given…(Is.9:6a). This statement speaks of His deity. There are those who believe that Jesus is their Saviour, but deny His deity. This is ridiculous; for Jesus could not redeem man unless He were God. The whole human race was tainted with the sin nature. There was no pure blood amongst those begotten of Adam, free from sin that could expiate the sin of humanity.
The Saviour must of necessity be God. If Jesus were not God, He could not save us. If He could save us, if He saved us, then He is GOD. Johannine christology deals with the deity of Jesus. God has no beginning and no end. Therefore the Fourth gospel has no genealogy.
“In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God”(Jon.1:1). “The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”(Jon.1:14). “And of His fullness have all received, and grace for grace”(Jon.1:16).
The Messiah Will Be The Son Of God.
We have already stated that the Messiah is God. Why do we have to distinguish it from the the fact that He is the Son Of God? There is a subtle nuance in meaning here. The fact that He is God establishes His eternality. He has no beginning. His going forth is from of old(Mic.5:2). But there is a point in time when Jesus became the Son of God the Father, the first person of the Trinity. Jesus is God alright, one in substance and co-equal with the Father. But as regards the salvation of mankind, there was a point in time at which the Father adopted Him, and He became His Son.
“Thou art my Son, this day I have begotten thee. I will be to Him a Father and He shall be to Me a Son”(Heb.1:5).
At that point in time, He became the first begotten of the Father. “When He bringeth the first begotten into the world, He said, let all the angels of God worship Him”(Heb.1:6).
It is an act of subordination whereby Jesus submitted Himself to the Father’s will. He became man. In becoming man, He emptied Himself of the glory He shared with the Father from the beginning. In His high priestly prayer in Jon.17: “He said, Father glorify me with the glory I had with thee from the beginning.” The Father responded, “I have glorified thee, and I will glorify thee again.” In becoming a man, He humbled Himself, and emptied himself of this glory, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Though God, He was crucified on the execution stake. This is one of the most cruel and humiliating style of execution.
“Therefore God the Father has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above any other name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of beings and things in heaven, and beings and things on Earth, and beings and things underneath the Earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father(Phil.2:6-11).
Theologians call this the “Kenosis” which means “emptying.” Here Jesus willingly devested Himself of the glory He shared with the Father from eternity past.
The Messiah Will Be Man.
As reproduction is after its kind, so is redemption after its kind. Man can only be redeemed by man, the kinsman redeemer, the “goel.” Therefore, for God to redeem man, He must become man. The Spirit of Jesus is of the Father, but His flesh came from Mary. Theologians call this the “hypostatic union.” The two natures are in perfect union in the person of Jesus. He is one person, but has two natures: the nature of God and the nature of man. Therefore Jesus is God.
The Messiah Will Be The Son Of Man.
We have already stated that the Messiah will be the seed of the woman, Eve and not of Adam. But what do we mean by the Messiah will be the Son Of Man. Does it mean that Mary was impregnated by man and gave birth to Jesus? No. There is subtle nuance in meaning implied. This title, the Son Of Man is Jesus’ must favourite appellative to Himself while here on Earth(Luk.9:22,56,58). It is an appellation that deals with the rulership of the Earth. The Jews understood it quite clearly, but they did not believe Him simply because they were looking for a conquering Messiah, Messiah Ben David, not a suffering messiah, Messiah Ben Joseph.
When God created Adam and Eve, God gave them dominion over the whole Earth and its appurtenances. He said, increase, multiply, replenish the Earth and subdue it, and have dominion over everything in it(Gen.1:28). God gave the title deed of the Earth to Adam. Adam was first formed then Eve. God leased the Earth to Adam. But Adam sold out to the devil. Adam was not deceived, but Eve being deceived was in the transgression(1 Tim.2:13,14). If Adam had not eaten the forbidden fruit, he would not have lost the tittle deed of the Earth to The Serpent. The sin of Eve was not sufficient for Adam to lose the tittle deed of the Earth to Satan, for the title deed was not given to the Eve but to Adam. Eve was diabolically deceived, but Adam sinned deliberately. He did not want to part company with the woman. Adam’s sin was more grievous because it was deliberate act of disobedience. He preferred the company of the woman to fellowship with God. Adam was God’s man or representative on Earth. God gave him dominion over the earthly realm of His universal kingdom. Adam is the first man. Jesus is the second man who is the Lord from the heavens.
“The first man is of the earth earthy, the second man is the Lord from the heavens”(1 Cor.15:47).
As the last Adam, Jesus decisively finished with Sin., As the second Man, He established a new Species of Humans, who like the angels in Heaven are locked in righteousness for ever. This is not instantaneous but a graded progression in time, which would culminate in the glorification of the saints. In the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels. If the Messiah is the Son Of Man, it means He will rule over the Earth. If He will rule over the Earth, it therefore means He is King. If He is King, He has a kingdom. Therefore the concept of the Messiah is linked up and includes, the Messianic Age and Messianic Kingdom.
The Messiah Will Be King.
The kingship of the Messiah stems from four aspects. First, He is the Son Of God. Because He is the Son Of God, He has the power and authority to represent God The Father in the earthly domain of His universal kingdom.
“Thou art My Son: this day have I begotten thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession. Thou shall rule them with the rod of iron, thou shall break them in pieces like the potter’s vessels. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way”(Ps 2:7-12).
The phrase, kiss the Son is an idiomatic expression that stems from the ancient Mideast practice of kissing the hand and ring of a monarch to indicate worship, subordination and submission to his authority.
“And when He bringeth the first begotten into the World, He said, let all the angels of God worship Him. Unto the Son, He said, thy throne oh God is for ever and ever. The scepter of thy kingdom is right scepter. Thou lovest righteousness and hateth iniquity, therefore, God, thy God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows”(Heb.1:7-9).
He is King because He is God. Thy throne O God is for ever. If God is the creator of the Earth, then, He has absolute right to be king over the Earth.
“Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth and the heavens are the work of thy hands”(Heb.1:10).
Here God the Father addressed Him as God, and the founder of the heavens and the Earth.
“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, that are in the Earth, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities and powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist”(Col.1:16,17).
“In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God. By Him were all things made, and without Him there was nothing made that was made”(Jon.1:1-2).
“By the word of God were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth”(Ps 32:8).
Jesus is the word of God, and by Him all things were made. He is king, because He is the Son Of Man. This is the Christ’s most favourite appellation for Himself. Though not the biological son of Adam, He is still the Son Of Man because He is biologically born of a woman. When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons(Gal.4:4). The woman is of and from the man, therefore the son of the woman is the son of man.
God the Father is Spirit. He has no physical body. So, He cannot rule the World directly. He must do so by proxy. When Adam sold out to the Devil, Satan became the god of this Age. When Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the Earth and the glory of them. He said, all these have been delivered to me, and I shall give them to whomsoever I will. Jesus did not refute it. It was so, because the transaction between Adam and Satan in the Garden was legal and therefore binding. What was wrong with that statement was that Satan did not indicate that it was a lease transferred to him, not a sale, and would end at the expiry of the sixth millennium.
When the first man Adam failed, God the Father had to send a Second Man, the Last Adam to regain the rulership of the Earth. To accomplish this, the second person of the trinity volunteered. God the Father adopted Him as His Son, and sent Him into the world as The Son of Man, to regain His rule over the Earth usurped by Satan, the archenemy of God.
He is king also because He is the son of David. God cut an unconditional covenant with David. The covenant is called the Davidic covenant. One of the terms of this covenant is that thine house and thine kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: and thy throne shall be established for ever(2 Sam.7:16). After repeated failure of the Kings from the line of David to keep the ordinances of the Lord, God promised to raise unto David a righteous branch.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the Earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”(Jer.23:5,6).
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I shall perform that good thing which I promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, the LORD our righteousness. For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel”(Jer.33:13-16).
“And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremaiah, saying, thus saith the Lord; if you can break my covenant of the Day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should be no day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites, the priests, my ministers”(Jer.33:19-21).
Mary was not from the line of Jeconiah who was pronounced childless with respect to the throne(Jer.22:29). Joseph was. But Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus. He was His foster father. So the curse was bypassed. Even prior to the Davidic covenant, Jacob on his deathbed prophesied that the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver from between his feet, until His coming, and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be(Gen.49:10). The scepter is the symbol of kingship. This is very interesting because God the Father used the same exact word in addressing the Son.
“Thy throne O God is for ever and ever, the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter; thou lovest righteousness and hateth wickedness. Therefore God thy God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy companions.” His companions are not angels but the sons whom God shall beget through Him. Jesus is the primus inter pares, the first amongst equals, the first amongst His brethren.
The Messiah Will Be A Prophet.
Moses spake unto the children of Israel saying,
“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken: according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord Thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, let me not again hear of the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not”(Deut.17:15,16).
Christ was a minister of the law. He was the last, and the greatest of the OT prophets.
“God, who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us in His Son, whom He had appointed the heir of all things, by whom also He mad the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance a more excellent name than they”(Heb.1:1-4).
And lastly He, God the Father sent His Son, the last of the prophets of the OT to give us the final revelation.
The Messiah Will Be Sinless.
We have already proven that the Messiah will be sinless. He will be sinless because He does not have the adamic nature not being conceived of Adam. He was conceived of God. He was born of God. He is God. It was not possible for Him to sin. He was tempted in all points like we are and yet without sin(Heb.4:15). Which one of you convinceth me of sin(Jon.7:46)? God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. When Satan tempted Jesus, Satan was soundly trounced(Matt.4:1-11). Jesus is the only one so far in this mortal body of ours, who reached the Age of consciousness, who had committed no sinful act. He never lied. He never had intentions to sin, and desisted in fear of human opinion or punishment from God or man. He was perfectly pure in heart. He loved many women but He never lusted after them. He was wholly Other.
The Messiah Will Be Born In Bethlehem.
According to the prophet Micah, the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting”(Mic.5:2).
Mary the mother of Jesus and her husband Joseph were residents of Nazzareth in the Galilee when she was pregnant with Jesus. When She was about to be delivered, there was a decree by Caesar Augustus that everyone in the Roman Empire should be numbered in his native village. Because Joseph and Mary were of the family of David in Bethlehem, they went there to be enumerated. Because of influx of people from the city to the village, there was no place for them in the inns. The only available space was in the animal farm where sheep were reared. There Mary was delivered of her first born son and laid Him in a manger(Luk.2:6,7).
The place where Jesus was born is called Migdar Edan, Tower of the flock. It was the place where sheep were reared to meet the requirements for animal sacrifice in the Temple in nearby Jerusalem. The shepherds have been expecting the birth of the Lamb that will take away the sin of the world.
“And thou, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem”(Micah 4:8).
These expectant shepherds were informed by the angel of the Lord of the birth of the Lamb. They came to Mary and saw the infant Jesus laid in a manger, and they glorified God(Luk.2:7-20). The Magi, the wise men from the East saw His star in the East and came also to worship Him. They gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, signaling His royalty, high priestly ministry and death and burial.
When they did not return to Herod, who was the puppet king of Palestine appointed by Rome, being warned in a dream, they returned to their own country another way. Herod who was a usurper to the throne was furious. He had no intentions of worshipping the new born king. It was he who informed the wise men Jesus was born in Bethlehem through the chief priests and scribes in Jerusalem. He sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the male children two years old and under, according to the time he ascertained of the wise men. There was weeping, wailing and loud lamentation;
“Rachel weeping for her children, she refused to be consoled because they were no more”(Matt.2:11).
It is likely that Rachel was the name of one or more of the mothers whose children were killed; for it was a common name in Israel. But it most likely signifies the mystical Mother of Israel. Rachel was the name of the beloved younger wife of Jacob, sister of Lear. Joseph was warned of this incident in a dream. Therefore he took the child Jesus and Mary his wife, the mother of the child, and escaped to Egypt, in fulfillment of the prophecy by Hoseah, out of Egypt have I called My Son(Hos.11:1).
After the death of Herod, Joseph returned from Egypt to his country, but because Achelaus who reigned over Judea was as wicked as his father Herod, and being also warned in a dream by God, he settled in Nazareth, in order to fulfill what was spoken by the prophets: He shall be called a Nazarene(Matt.2:19-23).
The Messiah Will Be The Son Of David.
We have already touched upon this a bit. It was this knowledge that gave rise to the concept of Messiah Ben David. Because David was the warrior king of Israel who never lost any battle. Under his rulership, the kingdom of Israel stretched from the river of Egypt to the entering in of Hamat which is by the Euphrates, including all Lebanon. So, the Jews were looking for a king from the family of David, who like his father David would lead Israel into victory over its enemies. This was not mere speculation, for God indeed promised David that one of his greater sons shall reign for ever and ever. There shall not fail thee a son to sit on the throne of Israel. This was one of the terms of the Davidic covenant which was unconditional( 2 Sam.7). Therefore, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass, the people shouted, blessed is the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord(Mark 11:10).
The Messiah Will Be A Priest
After the return from captivity in Babylon, Joshua the son of Josedech was the high priest. Under the OT, the Levites were priests, and the family of Aaron the High Priest. The king was from the family of David. Both offices were separate. Prior to that time no one person had held both offices. When king Uzziah trespassed the priest’s office, he became leprous. He remained so all the days of his life and was quarantined, and Jotham his son was over the king’s house judging the people of the land(2 Chron.25:16-20).
The prophet Zechariah performed a prophetic act in which he put a crown of gold on the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the High Priest, and began to prophesy about a man whose name is the BRANCH.
“He shall grow up out of His place and shall build the Temple of the Lord, and He shall bear His glory, and sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both”(Zech.6:9-14).
This was really very strange because both offices are held per time by two people from two different tribes as we have pointed out. The prophecy was looking forward to a time in the future when the priest shall be David’s greater son who shall reign over Israel. It is evident that Moses spake nothing about the priesthood in relation to the tribe of Judah and the family of David. It therefore meant that a new line of priesthood shall be established. This new Oder of priesthood is the Melchisedekian priesthood. Melchisedech was the king and priest of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. His name means king of righteousness. And he was the king of the city of peace. His identity is debated amongst scholars whether he was human or angelic. He had no father or mother. He had no beginning nor end. His priesthood was interminable. He met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of all the spoils of war. He blessed Abram saying, “blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of the heavens and the Earth.” He was the priest of the Most High God. He had no beginning and no end(Gen.14:17-24).
The Apostle Paul used this fact that the less is blessed of the greater to prove the superiority of the Melchisedekian priesthood to that of Aharon in his arguments in the Book of Hebrews, in that Levi whose tribe was chosen as priests paid tithes to Melchisedech when he was in the loins of Abraham. Without contradiction, the less is blessed of the greater.
The priesthood of Aharon had several weaknesses. The holders of the high priesthood of Aaron were human and mortal, and therefore limited temporally. The sacrificial system was inefficient in that it relied on the blood of animals which could not expiate sin. The suffering of innocent animals could not satisfy the anger of the Holy God toward sin. It was repetitious because of its inefficacy. The blood of those sacrificial animals temporally covered sin; they did not wipe them out. The Melchisedekian priesthood was eternal. The holder never dies. Jesus was made priest after this order: thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec(Heb.7:17). The priests from the family of Aaron were sinful men like anyone else. They could not die for anyone. They were not called upon to die for anyone. And they never died to save anyone. They needed the blood of animals to cover their own sins, therefore, they offered for their sins and then the people’s.
But in contrast, Christ by a single sacrifice has perfected for ever those that were sanctified. Jesus is a king from the family of David, and a priest after the order of Melchisedech. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David. He shall rebuild the temple. He shall be the priest upon the throne. He has also made us kings and priest like Himself and unto God(Rev.1:6;5:10).
The Messiah Will Rebuild The Temple
Every period of the kingdom of Israel has a corresponding temple. There are first, second, third and fourth temple periods. The first temple was built by Solomon. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and his invading armies in 586 BC. The second temple was built by the returning exiles. It was completed about 515 BC. It was later enlarged, extensively and lavishly refurbished and embellished by Herod the great. Herod the great was a convert to Judaism. His father Antipater was an Idumean. The Idumeans were forced to convert to Judaism when they were conquered by the judean king-priest, the Hasmonean John hyrcanus about 135 BC. Antipater originally came from philistine.
The second temple was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. After the destruction of the second temple, desolations followed(Dan.9:26). The Jews lived in Diaspora until 1948 when Israel became an independent state again. Although there is no temple yet, this period of the kingdom of Israel is called the third temple period or simply the third temple. During the Yom Kippur war in 1973, when Israel was almost annihilated, Moshe Dayan, the one-eyed general, the then Defense minister said, “the Third Temple is over.” Then, as at now, there is no physical structure called the third temple. The Temple Mount is presently under the administrative control of the Muslim Wafq. The Mosque of Omer and the Al Aqsa mosques sit on the Temple mount.
The Jews have made preparations for the rebuilding of the third temple. Priests of the house of Aaron and Levi have been identified through DNA testing. They are trained and are practicing. Search is being made for the red heifer. At the appropriate time, the temple shall be rebuilt and animal sacrifice resumed. It is this temple that shall be defiled by the antiMessiah(Rev.11:1,2; Dan.8:27; 2 Thess.2:4). So, General Moshe Dayan did not understand biblical eschatology: the Third Temple will NOT be over until the antiChrist is defeated by the Messiah of Israel.
There is a fourth temple, the millennial temple corresponding to the fourth temple or fourth kingdom period. This temple shall be built by the Messiah(Zech.6:12,13). The plan of the fourth temple was revealed to the prophet Ezekiel(Ezek. 40-43). This temple shall be built by the Lord on the elevated and renovated mount Zion in the new and renovated earthly millennial Jerusalem. It will contain the Throne Room of God. It will be the focal point of activity in the millennium. It will be the point of divine, human and angelic interaction in the new millennium. It will be the point where Heaven and Earth are in Holy Embrace and union. The stream from its Throne Room shall water the Earth and the new and heavenly Jerusalem(Ezek.47:1-12; Rev.22:1,2).
The Messiah Will Be A Servant
The thrust of the gospel of Mark is the servanthood of Jesus. Therefore the Gospel of Mark has no genealogy. Who is interested in the genealogy of a servant? By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities(Is.43:11b). He is the righteous servant of God. Behold my servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted, and extolled and be very high(Is.52:13). As a faithful servant, He was obedient even unto death. He endured untold hardship, suffering and persecution, humiliation, but He never complained.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth. His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. He was beaten, spat on, cudgeled, reviled, He answered not again. The Kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which has not been told them shall they see, and that which they have not heard shall they consider(Is.52:14). He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Because of this, God had so highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every other name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of beings and things in heaven, and things and beings on Earth, and of beings and things in heaven: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father”(Phil.2:6-11).
Though Lord of all, He was amongst His disciples as one who served. He washed the feet of His disciples. In the ancient Mideast, this is a very condescending act performed by the servant to the Master. But in the case of Jesus, there was a role reversal. He told His disciples, if I being your Lord and master have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.
“Verily I say unto you, the servant is not greater than His Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if you do them”(Jon.13:1-17).
On the way to Capernaum, His disciples debated amongst themselves who was the greatest. When they got to Capernaum, Jesus asked them what it was they debated about on the way. They held their peace. He told them, if any of you desire to be the greatest, let him be the servant of all(Mark 8:33-34).
James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and requested that they sit one on His right hand, and the other on His left in His kingdom. Not a bad request at all. When the other disciples heard it, they began to be displeased with James and John. Jesus called His disciples together and said to them, ye know that they who are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever shall be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you is the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many(Mark 10:35-45).
The Messiah Will Enter Jerusalem On A Donkey
This event is called the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In fulfillment of a prophecy given by the prophet Isaiah, prior to the crucifixion, in what is called the passion week, Jesus entered Jerusalem on an ass colt, the foal of an ass(Matt.21:1-9). As the lowly king that He is, He entered Jerusalem riding on the foal of an ass. They put their clothes on the donkey and He sat on it. They strewed palm branches and the branches of trees on the way. And they shouted Hosannah to the son of David. Blessed is The king of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord(Jon.12:12-16).
When the religious leaders urged Him to ask His disciples to desist, He told them that the stones would cry out if His disciples kept quiet(Luk.19:40). When He entered into Jerusalem, the city itself was moved. And they asked who is this? This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth(Matt.21:1-11). Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that cometh into the name of the Lord: Hosannah in the highest(Mark 10:11). Fear not thou daughter of Zion, thy King cometh riding on an ass’s colt, the goal of an ass(Jon.12:15; Is.62:11; Zech.8:9).
The Messiah Will Suffer And Die
The Messiah as The Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world will suffer and die. He is the sacrificial lamb. His blood would be shed to atone for the sin of all mankind. Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world(Jon.1:29). He would be a conquering Messiah, but He would also be a suffering Messiah. The Jews were expecting a conquering Messiah, being under Roman domination. Therefore, when Jesus came, speaking of suffering, crucifixion and death, He did not fit into their mold. He did not fit the bill of their concept of the Messiah. Judaism recognized a suffering and a conquering messiahs, Messiah Ben David and messiah Ben Joseph, they did not associate them with one person. They thought they were two different individuals. As time went on, under imperil Rome, the concept and person of messiah Ben Joseph, the suffering messiah was subsumed into the suffering nation of Israel. There is no gainsaying of the fact Israel as a people and national entity has suffered throughout its history, from the call of Abraham to the present day. But Isaiah 53 was not talking about a suffering nation but an individual. A nation and a people could not not be wounded for the transgressions of all mankind. Being a mixed multitude, a nation could not atone for the sin of humanity in general.
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His wounds we were made whole”(Is.53:5).
He suffered unto Pontius Pilate, and died(Luk.23). They striped Him naked. They parted His garments amongst them and cast lots for His vesture. And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, they parted my garments among them, and on my vesture did they cast lots(Matt.27:35; Ps 22:18).
The Messiah will Be Crucified.
The true messiah will not only die, but the method of death will be by crucifixion. They pierced My hands and My feet(Ps.22:16; Zech.12:10; Jon.18:34,37;rev.1:7). At the time this prophecy was given by David, crucifixion was not practised in the ancient Near East. It was a Roman invention. It was one of the cruelest ways of execution. There was no way any man no matter how wise could have imagined that without divine inspiration.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples in the absence of Thomas. When Thomas heard, doubted and disbelieved, saying, unless I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger in the print of the nails, and trust my finger into His side, I will not believe. After eight days, the disciples were within and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, peace be unto you. “
“Then said He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed”(Jon.20:24-29).
There is an Igbo song that says we shall known Him through the mark of the print of the nails in His hands and feet.
Anyi ga mara Ya,
Ee anyi ga mara Ya,
Ihe anyi ga eji mara Ya bu,
Apa ntu ahu di n’ukwu n’aka Ya.
Let me close with the lyrics of this song by Jim Reeves:
I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hands,
Than to be the king of a vast domain,
And be held in Sin’s great sway.
By His Knowledge The Sinner Shall Be Justified
“By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities”(Is.53:11).
He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. The blood of the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the World is the satisfaction for sin. There is no other name under the heavens given amongst men whereby we shall be saved(Acts 4:12). Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but by me(Jon.14:6). “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, the word of faith which we preach: that if thou shall believe in thine heart the Lord Jesus, and shall confess with mouth that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”(Tom.10:10-13).
They cannot believe without knowing. Faith begins where the will of God is known. They cannot know without hearing; for faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom.10:17).. They cannot hear without a preacher. And how can they preach except they be sent: as it written, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bring the gospel of peace, that bring glad tidings of good things(Rom.10:14-16). Countless numbers have confessed they have been freed from the burden of sin that weighs heavily on the heart and conscience of man by faith in Him.
The Messiah will Be Buried With The Rich.
The prophet Isaiah who lived 800 years before Christ prophesied: and He made His grave with the wicked and the rich in His death(Is.53:9a). Jesus was crucified with two common criminals, one on His right hand and the other on His left(Matt.27:38). But He was buried in a rich man’s tomb. Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus got permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus, and prepare Him for burial. They prepared it according to Jewish custom and buried Him in freshly hewn tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathaea(Jon.19:38-42; Luk.19:50-54).
The Messiah Will Come And Die Before 70 AD.
Every prophecy about the Messiah is remarkable, but one of the most remarkable prophecies about the Messiah is that He would come and be cut off before 70 AD. It is unbelievable that the Hebrew scholars have missed this for so long, or else, they know and do not want to acknowledge it, and are deliberately deceiving their followers, in which case they are guilty of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy. It is believed to be about ten years prior to the expiry of the 70 years allotted to Israel to be in exile in Babylon, about 548 BC that Daniel fasted and prayed. In response, God sent the angel Gabriel to reveal certain things to him concerning his people, their holy city Jerusalem and the Temple.
“Seventy sevens are determined upon thy people, and upon the Holy City, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto the messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall(breach, ditch, moat), even in troublous times. After threescore and two weeks shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself, and shall have nothing: and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war, desolations are determined”(Dan.924-26).
As we have pointed out earlier, the Hebrew word “Sheva,” translated week in the KJV is best better translated “seven.” Just as the English word dozen means 12. It could be 12 of anything. So Sheva means seven in Hebrew. It could be seven of anything. With regards to time, it could be seven of days, months or years. The context determines the content. In this context, biblical scholars are agreed that it is a seven of years. The Jewish calendar is lunar. Each month consists of 30 days. Here, the Lord God Almighty is dealing with Israel in units of sevens of years. Israel spent 70 years in exile. Here, seventy sevens are determined. Seven is the divine number of perfection.
The 70 seven of years are further divided into the first seven sevens and the second threescore and two or 62 sevens and the last one seven. The terminus-a-quo(starting point) of the 70 seven of years is the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The biblical scholar Sir River Anderson has pinpointed this to be the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus in 445 BC(Neh.2:5). After threescore and two sevens, that is, at the end of the 69th seven, the Messiah shall be crucified, but not for Himself. Between the 69th and 70th sevens is a gap called the timeless period. The 69 sevens are history. What is left unfulfilled is the 70th seven or the last seven years according to Hebrew calendar. The starting point of the last seven years shall be the signing of the seven year peace treaty with Israel by the antiMessiah.
Christ was crucified in 32( 33) AD. The temple was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. The messiah was cut off after the 69th seven, but 38 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. There was a narrow window within which the Messiah was to be born, between the end of the 69th seven and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. If the Messiah did not come within this period, then there would be no Messiah or else God’s word is false, both of which are enigmatic. There is no way to get around this. No one else with this impressive messianic credentials was crucified after the expiry of the 69th seven, before the destruction of the Temple by the People of the Prince that shall come. Any messiah who shows up after the 70 AD is a false Messiah. Any messiah who showed up before the end of the 69th seven is a false messiah.
Unfortunately, there had been an impressive list of false messiahs after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The Jewish religious leaders have not told the Jewish people this important fact about the Messiah. Daniel 9:24-27 is a passage of the Torah that the Jewish rabbis do not like to discuss alongside Isaiah 53, because they point to one and only one person Jesus, a fact and biblical truth they find intolerable and a very big stumbling block.
The Messiah Shall Die For Others
The concept of a messiah who is both human and divine, who is sinless, who would die for the sin of humanity is alien to modern day Judaism. The earlier concept of a suffering messiah, messiah Ben Joseph has Ben subsumed in the suffering nation of Israel. They now look for a messiah who is wholly human but not divine, who has the unique ability to deliver the Jews and Israel from their enemies and establish a worldwide millennial reign. But the Scriptures make it clear the true and genuine Messiah shall suffer and die, not for his own sins, for he is sinless; “
but for the sin of others. But after threescore and sixty and two weeks shall the messiah be cut off but not for Himself”(Dan.9:26a).
“He was made to be sin for us who knew no sin in order that we may become the righteousness of God in Him”(2 Cor.5:21).
Jesus did not possess the sin nature. Therefore, He could not sin, though tempted at every point just as we are, yet without sin( Heb.4:15). He was born of the woman, but not of Adam. If Mary had been impregnated by a man, he would have had the sin nature of Adam. But Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Therefore Jesus had not the sin nature. His flesh came from Mary but His Spirit came from God. Until sin was imputed on Jesus, He could not die. During His earthly ministry, several attempts were made on His life, but they could not kill Him.
In Nazareth where he came from, the leaders were angry when he read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue and claimed He was the Msssiah. Today this scripture is fulfilled in your presence. You shall say to me, what we have heard you do in Capernaum, do it here in your own country. A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and amongst his kinsmen. They took Him to the brow of the hill on which heir city was built to plunge headlong. But he passing through the midst of them and escaped. They understood that passage to be messianic. To claim that He fulfilled it mean He was the Messiah. And they got mad(Luk.4:16:30).
The same thing happened in the temple in Jerusalem, but He escaped unscathed( Jon.8:59). No man took His life from Him. He had power to lay it down, and He had power to take it up again( Jon.10:18). He was not mortal until sin was imputed unto Him. The collective iniquity of humanity was imputed unto Him; and the Lord had laid on Him the iniquity of us all(Is.53:6c). For the transgression of my people was He striken( Is.53:8c). It is therefore obvious that Jesus died not for Himself but for the sin of the whole world. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the whole world(Jon.1:39). He made His soul an offering for sin(Is.53:10b). The suffering of His soul was the satisfaction for our sin. He(God The Father), saw the suffering of His soul, and was satisfied(Is.53:11a). He poured out His soul unto death. He was numbered with the transgressors, and bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. He was not given a fair trial. He was taken from prison and from judgment: who shall declare His generation? He was cut out of the land of the living(Is.53:8b). His life was terminated prematurely. He died before His time. When accused under trial, He did not answer for Himself. He did not defend Himself, neither did He have any defense. He bore our grief, and He carried our sorrows(Is.53:4). By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for He shall bear their sins(Is.43:11b). Through the knowledge of Him, we are saved, justified.
The Hebrew words translated bear and carry are “makuv” and “saba,” and convey the idea of something being carried to a distance. Because from the cross, He descended into Hell. Our griefs and sorrows He bore and carried to Hell. We need not hear them any more. To bear them, we have to descend to Hell to retrieve them. How absurd? Jesus was a handsome man, in the fullness of manhood. After been manhandled, He had no form or comeliness. There was no more beauty left in Him for one to desire Him. He was despised, and we esteemed Him not(Is.53:3). He was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised fir our iniquities: the chastisement of peace was upon Him; and by His stripes, we were healed(Is.53:5).
Jesus was never sick. In His earthly life, He did not suffer from sickness or disease. The forty strokes save one He received were for the healing of our mortal bodies. He needed no healing, for He was never sick. He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree(execution stake), that we being dead to sin, shall live in the power of His righteousness, by whose stripes we were made whole(Matt.8:17; 1Per.2:24; Is.53:5). Having made us whole, we need not be sick any more.
The Messiah Shall Rise From The Dead
Prior to Jesus, there were some who died and came back to life. Elijah the premier prophet of Israel was the first of the writing prophets to raise someone from the dead. During the reign of Ahab, the king of the southern kingdom of Israel, Elijah prayed to God that there should be no rain in the land of Israel for three and one-half years because of the iniquities and the wickedness of the people of the land, aided and abated by the weak and wimpy King Ahab and his wicked and idolatrous wife, queen Jezebel, and it was so(1 Kin.17:1; Jam.5:17,18). During that period of famine, Elijah was led by the Spirit of God to a widow in Zeraphath in the land of Sidon following the desication of the brook Cherith by the Jordan where he was miraculously fed by the Ravens which brought him bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening. It came to pass in the process of time that the only son of the widow died. The widow was so distraught that she said to Elijah, what have to do with thee oh thou man of God? Are thou come unto me to call my sins to remembrance, and to slay my son? Elijah took her son from her bosom, carried him up into a loft where he abode, and laid him on his bed. He cried unto the Lord, and said, oh Lord my God, has thou brought evil upon the widow with who I sojourn by slaying her son? He stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord and said, oh Lord my God, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down out of the chamber into the house and delivered him to the mother. And Elijah said, see they son liveth. And the woman said, by this I know thou art a man of God, and the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.
Elisha who poured water on the hands of Elijah raised the son of the Shunammite woman from the dead(2 Kin.4:18-37; 8:1-6). The bones of Elisha brought a dead man back to life. In those days, the cemetery were outside the gate of the city. It came to pass as the Israelites were burying a dead man, they saw a band of the Moabites invading the land. They hastily cast the dead man into the sepulcher of Elisha. As soon as the dead man’s body touched the bones of Elisha, the dead man revived and stood up(2 Kin.13:20-21). These were outstanding miracles. Jesus in His own earthly ministry raised any number of the dead to life, viz: the son of the widow of Nain(Luk.7:11-17) , Jairus daughter(Mark 5:21-24,35-43). The most spectacular of them all was the raising of Lazarus from the dead four days after his death(Jon.11:38-44). The Apostle John, the author of the fourth gospel made it clear that not all the miracles performed by Jesus were recorded. That had all the miracles been recorded, all the world would not be able to contain all the books that would be written on them. This is obviously a hyperbole, but there is no doubt that the miracle performed by Jesus during His 3-year earthly ministry were impressive and enormous. It is also therefore most probable that not all the people He raised from the dead were recorded. Apart from raising the dead, Jesus gave His 12 disciples power to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and to cast out demons in course of their proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of God(Matt.10:7,8).
The twelve disciples if they raised the dead when Jesus sent them, they were not recorded. The focus of the gospel was not on the Aposles but on Jesus. After the ascension of Jesus into heaven and His session at the right hand of the Father in the Throne Room in the Temple in heaven, there were outstanding miracles performed by His followers in His Name. The Apostle Peter raised Dorcas, also name Tabitha to life from the dead in the city of Jaffa(Acts 8:36-43). In the city of Troas, Apostle Paul raised Eutychus from the dead when he fell to death in the glory of sleep from off the window in an upper chamber while Paul preached far into the night(Acts 20:6-12). These were outstanding and glorious events, but none of them is comparable to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. They all pale in comparison because all these died again sometimes later and were buried. When they were raised, they were raised in their mortal bodies, which were subject to sin, sickness, diseases and death. Flesh and blood doth not inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption(1 Cor.15: 50). They all await the resurrection of the dead. But when Jesus rose from the dead, He did so in style, in a glorified eternal immortal resurrection body. His was wholly other.
The transfiguration was a preview of His resurrection. At the transfiguration, there appeared unto Him Moses and Elijah, the premier prophet of Israel and its law giver. His two witnesses in the last days shall be two servants of His who will come in the power and anointing of Moses and Elijah. His transfiguration was a preview of His glorification. Jesus told His disciples, the hour is come that the Son of Man must be glorified.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of corn fall to the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it must bring forth much fruit”(Jon.12:23,24).
As they were on the way going up to Jerusalem, He told His disciples, “behold we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son Of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles: and they shall mock Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall kill Him: and the third day He shall rise again”(Mark 10:32-34).
In His own words, Jesus said He would die and rise again from the dead on the third day. His resurrection body is not subject to sin, sicknesses, diseases and death. It is not limited by the frailties of the mortal body. The glorified eternal immortal resurrection body can materialize and dematerialize. It is unaffected by physical factors like fire, water, walls and distance. Its motion is isotropic. It is capable of rotational motions. It can go up or down or sideways etc.
I read an account of a professor of theology who objected that there is a distinction between the raising of Lazarus from the dead and that of Jesus after the crucifixion. Well, when Lazarus was raised from the dead, did he not possess the same old mortal body? Was he not subject to sin sickness and disease? Did he not die again and was buried? Had he risen from the dead yet? Does his body not remain in the grave awaiting the resurrection of the dead? Jesus rose from the dead never to die anymore. Death has no dominion over his resurrection body. It is a glorified eternal immortal resurrection body. The Scriptures make it clear that now is Christ risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept(1 Cor.15:20). Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection. He is the first to rise from the dead never to die again because He now possesses a glorified eternal immortal resurrection body.
He is the firstfruits. The firstfruits is the first fruit to be harvested. As far as the resurrection is concerned, Jesus is the herald, our forerunner, the specimen, the prototype. His resurrection is one of kind, wholly other. All true believers look forward to when we shall see Him, and we shall be like Him(1 Jon.3:2).
The Messiah Is Coming Again To Reign
There will be two comings of the Messiah, the first and the second advent. The Jewish religious leaders were confused about the two advents of the Messiah. Because the Messiah would come come first to suffer and die, they referred to Him as messiah Ben Joseph, the suffering messiah. In the late 1st century BC and 1st century AD, the Jews were earnestly awaiting the coming of the messiah to deliver them from Roman domination. They were awaiting the coming of a conquering Messiah, Messiah Ben David. The split of the Messiah into two personalities was a Jewish misconception. The overwhelming desire and expectation for a triumphant Messiah who would lead them into rebellion and defeat of the Romans obscured the facts of the Messiah coming first to suffer and die for the people. It was the high priest who prophesied to them that it was expedient for one man to die and the whole nation perish not.
Over time, the prophecy of Isaiah 53, the servant of God who would die for the sin of His people became subsumed into the suffering nation of Israel. Till today, the Rabbis apply Isaiah 53 to the nation of Israel as the suffering servant of Jehovah or they totally ignore it. Some of them get angry when questioned about the identity of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Without contradiction Israel as a servant nation chosen of God had suffered, but Israel does not begin to fill the bill of the suffering servant of God. Israel as a nation, whether in the land of Israel or in diaspora, had suffered, but the servant of Isaiah 53 is a person. In the Judaism of today, Israel is no longer speaking of a suffering messiah, having subsumed that in the nation itself. Over time there has been a lot of metamorphoses in the concept of the Messiah in Judaism. Modern day judaists who believe in the concept of the Messiah are not looking for a superman or superhuman Messiah. They are looking for a messiah who like Theodor Herzl, David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin etc, with the frailties of human nature, who will lead Israel to victory over its temporal enemies.
But the biblical concept of the Messiah, both in the OT and NT, indicate there would be two comings. The Messiah would come first to suffer and die for the sin of His people. He would be buried and rise again from the dead on the third day with a new glorified eternal immortal resurrection body, never to die again. He would ascend into heaven and would be seated at the right hand of the Father until the time appointed of the Father for Him to return and take over the rulership of the Earth, after He has defeated the enemies of God.
“Jesus told His disciples: let no your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house, there many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place; and if I prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you unto myself, so threat where I am, there you may be also”(Jon.14:1-3).
At the ascension into heaven on the Mount of Olives, the angel told His disciples, this same Jesus shall come in the same way as you see Him go into heaven( Acts1:11b). John the revelator testifies,
“Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him: and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen”(Rev.1:7).
When the Jews regained control of Jerusalem in 1967, the then Defense Minister of Israel, in gesture of good will and conciliation, which was a bit over the top, gave the key to the Temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf. Till today, the Eastern gate to the Temple Mount is locked. The Arabs believe that as long as it is locked, the Jewish Messiah will not come. They also have some graves in front of the gate. The Jews believe one is defiled when one steps on or over a grave. They hope by so doing to deter the coming of the Jewish Messiah. They understand as it is recorded in the scroll of Ezekiel the prophet, that the glory of God will return in the the manner as it left the temple, through the Eastern or Golden Gate of the Temple. Shortly before the destruction of the Temple by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon in 586 BC, the Glory of God which was resident in the Holy of Holies of the Temple relocated to the thresholds of the Temple, and finally from the threshold of the Temple through the Eastern Gate, departed because of the sin of the children of Israel( Ezek.10).
In Jesus, the kingdom is re-offered to the children of Israel, but they rejected it. The glory of God, in the person of Jesus, the Son Of God, the Messiah of Israel and of all mankind, through the same Eastern Gate entered into the precincts of the Temple. They rejected Him. They questioned His legitimacy as the Son Of God, as the Son Of Man. He was cast out of the Temple Mount through the same Eastern Gate and crucified at the place of the skull. He is coming again on the Mount Of Olives, from where He ascended into heaven. Through the same Eastern Gate, He shall approach the Temple Mount unfettered by graves and physical barriers. He will cleave the Mount Of Olives in Twain from east to west. One half shall move up north and the other half down south, creating a roadway that shall reach up to Azel( Zech.14:4,5).
The Arab graves in front of the Golden Gate Of The Temple Mount shall be displaced. So, the Messiah cannot be defiled by the Arab cemetery in front of the Golden Gate Of The Temple Mount, nor His coming hampered by it. The Messiah Will Gather All Jews To The Land Of Israel.
Jacob and his family went into self-exile into Egypt as result of famine in the land of Canaan. Later on there arose a king over the land of Egypt who knew not Joseph. The children of Israel were oppressed. They cried unto God, and He raised Moses who led them out of bondage in the land of Egypt after 430 years in exile. The children of Israel were fogged into a nation in the wilderness. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel settled in the land of Canaan which God promised to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
In the wilderness, in the land of Canaan, Israel was prone to idolatry. As result of failure to keep the Shabbath, Israel went into exile. First, the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the ten northern tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria in 722 BC, settled in Hala, Habor by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes(2 Kin.17:6).
Between 606 and 586 BC, the southern Kingdom of Judah, the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin were carried away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Neobabylonian empire. The exile into Babylon was to last for 70 years. At the end of 70 years, in 538, the exile that began in 606 BC was terminated by the decree of Cyrus the great, the Persian king who was the overall ruler of the Medopersian Empire.
Not all Jews in exile responded to the call to return to the land of Zion. Nevertheless, the large majority returned, rebuilt their holy temple on Mount Moriah, and resumed temple worship and animal sacrifice. But the nation soon fell into idolatry. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the rejection of the Messiah and His crucifixion on the execution stake on Calvary in 32 AD. 38 years later, the Roman general Titus destroyed the temple in 70 AD, and the Jews were dispersed all over the globe. But God promised to regather the Jews from all over the globe where He has driven them back to the land of Israel. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the Earth. In those days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called. The Lord our righteousness.
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth who brought up and who led the seed of The house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven then; and they shall dwell in their own country”(Jer. 23:5-8).
Though Israel was deported several times, there had never been any time there were no Jews in the land of Israel. It was usually the nobles and the professionals that were taken away. The poor peasants were usually left in the land. My late brother-in-the-Lord and friend Hezie descended from a families of Jews who had never left the land of Israel.
Although the Jews faced persecution in and expulsion from almost every nation in Europe in the Middle Ages, the enlightenment brought a great deal of easing of persecution that many educated Jews in Europe became assimilated. What this meant was that these Jews saw themselves as citizens of the country in Europe in which they were living. Theodor Herzl was one of such Jews. But the trial of Richard Dreyfus in France turned things upside down. The first Zionist congress was held in Bersel in Switzerland in 1897, organized by Theodor Herzl and his friend Max Naudor. There began a series of movements and organizations to bring back Jews to the land of Israel. This was heightened by the Holocaust in which Adolf Hitler and the Nazis sent 6 millions Jews to the gas chambers and crematoria all over Europe during WW11. At the end of WW11, efforts were intensified to bring Jews into the land of Israel.
Earlier in 1906, the British offered Uganda to the Jews as a homeland which was soundly rejected. In 1947, the UN voted in favour of partition of British Mandate Palestine. The following year, on 14th May, 1948, Israel became an independent state at the expiry of the British Mandate. Since then, right to the present day, there have been several waves of aliyot to Israel. Most recently, members of the lost tribe of Menashe made Aliya to Israel from India after 2,500 years in exile. Is it not wonderful that they did not lose their identity. Till date, not all Jews in the Diaspora have been gathered. Quite frankly, not all Jews in the diaspora are willing to return to the land of Israel. But the recent increase in antisemitism in Europe America has increased the number of Jews in Europe willing to make Aliya to the land of Israel. Whatever is the case, all Jews will never be gathered until the Messiah returns. There are Jews who do not know they are Jews; for not all Jews are observant. There Jews who have just discovered their roots of late. At the end of the war of Armageddon, Jesus will command all the Kings of the Earth to bring the Jews in their land to the land of Israel.
“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations…., He that scattered Israel shall gather him, and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock. For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of him that is mightier he. And they shall come and shout for joy on the height of Zion”(Jer.31:10-12a).
“I will bring your children From the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to north give up, and to the south, do not hold back. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the Earth, everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created by my glory,…”(Is.43:3,5,6).
“They shall come with joy and singing: therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall he upon their heads”( (Is.51:11).
“In those days shall ten men out of all the languages of the nations lay hold on one man that is jew, saying, we shall go with you: for we have heard that God is with you”(Zech.8:23).
The Messianic Age And The Messianic Kingdom
Associated with the concept of the messiah is the Messianic Age and the Messianic Kingdom. The messiah will be king. Therefore He must have a kingdom. When God created Adam, He gave him dominion over the Earth and all its appurtenances. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth and subdue it: and have dominion…..(Gen.1:28). Adam was the god of this Age. He was king over the Earth. He had not the title deed of the Earth. God leased the Earth to Adam for six days. Each day was to last a millennium. “A thousand years is as a day to the Lord when it expires and a day like a thousand years when it expires”(2 Pet.3:8).
At the end of the sixth day, the lease to Adam shall expire, and the rulership of the Earth will revert back to God the real possessor of the Earth. The seventh day or millennium shall be the Shabbath of the Lord. In the rebellion in the garden of Eden, Adam sold out to the serpent, Satan who became the god of this this Age. The transfer of power and rulership of the Earth that took place in the garden of Eden was legal and therefore binding. Adam, being God’s representative on Earth had the legal right to engage in any transactions in the behalf of God. He did not have the moral right to transfer power to the devil, he had the legal right. Therefore the transaction was legally binding. So, Satan became the god of this Age(Jon.14:30). But Satan’s rulership of the Earth will expire at the end of the sixth day or sixth millennium. The seventh day or seventh millennium is the Shabbath of the Lord. In Judaism, there two Ages, The present Age(this Age), “olam haze” and the Age to come, “olam haba.” The present Age corresponds with God’s lease of the Earth to Adam which Satan usurped. The Age to come corresponds with the seventh millennium which is the Shabbath of the Lord. At the end of the sixth millennium, the rulership of the Earth shall revert back to God who is the actual Landlord of the Earth.
For any being to function on Earth it must have a physical body. God is a spirit being. Satan is a spirit being too. Man also is a spirit bring, but he has a physical body. God created man to dwell on Earth. If God created man to dwell in heaven for ever, he would not need a physical body. God has a universal kingdom, and He is the overall ruler of His universal kingdom. He is the sovereign Lord of the universe. Because God is a spirit being and has no physical body, He cannot directly rule over the earthly realm or domain of His universal kingdom. He must of necessity delegate the rulership of the Earth to an Adam who has the physical body to relate with the external physical environment. In Adam, God ruled the Earth by proxy. In like manner Satan has no physical body with which to relate with external physical environment. So, he too rules this Age by proxy. In order to deceive Eve, he had to possess the serpent. Like God, in order to rule this Age, Satan also has his representatives.
Seven beast empires have been identified in history through which Satan administered his programme on Earth in the present Age. These were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medopersia, Greece, Rome, and Nazi Germany. The 8th and final beast empire is yet to be constituted. That Satan is the God of this Age, does not mean that every ruler in the present Age is possessed of Satan. However Satan seeks to controls the rulers of the Earth either directly or through his minions, the principalities and powers in the harvenlies(Dan.10:13). There is no power but of God: all that be are ordained of God(Rom.13:1). Because Satan seeks to control the rulers of this Age, inasmuch as he is the god of this Age, there is need for us to pray for those in authority that we lead a quite and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth(1 Tim.2:1-4). So, it is established that God is not running this Age. But as the sovereign Lord of the universe, He has the veto power to prevent Satan from carrying out his plans to the fullest. Without the frequent intervention of God and His angels, the Earth in the present Age would be uninhabitable.
Satan knows his rulership of the Earth will expire at the end of the sixth millennium which is the end of God’s lease to Adam which he usurped. He wants to extend his rule over the Earth beyond the sixth millennium. The only way he can achieve that is to make every living dweller on Earth his obedient subject by given him the Mark Of The Beast, and exterminating all those who do not capitulate to his authority, mainly Jews and Christians and a few nonconformist nuts. To carry out his plan, he shall set up a ten nation confederation, the 8th and final beast empire to be administered by his earthly representative, the antiMessiah. It is at this point in the history of Earth and humanity that God Almighty shall set of a kingdom, through His rightful representative, the Messiah, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever(Dan.2:44).
Besides the 8th and final Beast Empire, there shall be other kingdoms in existence on Earth at that time. God’s man on Earth, the last Adam, the second man who is the Lord from the heavens, and His followers, the saints of the Most High, shall overrun Satan and his minions and take control of the Earth.
“And I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousands thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. And I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. I saw in the night vision, and, behold, one like the Son Of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him bear before Him. And there was given Him glory, and a kingdom, that all people, and nations, and all language, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed”(Dab.7:9-14).
We can see from the above passages in Daniel, the coronation of the Messiah, the Son Of Man, by God the Father, the Ancient Of Days, at the expiry of the sixth millennium. When the Messiah is coronated, He shall rule over the Earth with the saints of the Most High.
“But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever”( Dan.7:18).
But before Satan is evicted from the Earth’s premises, his Man, the antiMessiah shall make war with the saints, and prevail against them. “And I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them( Dan.7:21).”
And when the heavenly court sits, judgment shall be given in favour of the saints of the Most High.
“Until the Ancient Of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom”(Dan.7:22).
The time allotted to the Beast to reign shall be three and one-half years.
“And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hands until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him”(Dan.6:25-27).
We have pointed out earlier that the concept of a suffering messiah in Judaism has been subsumed in the suffering nation of Israel. In Judaism the Jews look forward to the arrival of a conquering messiah, Messiah Ben David. According to Jewish tradition, the Messiah shall come after a period of intense war and suffering( Ezek.38:16). They have outlined five things which the true and genuine Messiah must accomplish:
(1) the Messiah must gather all Jews to the land of Israel and restore Jerusalem. He must bring about spiritual and political redemption(Is.11:11,12; Jer. 23:8; 30:3; Hos.3:4,5; Zech.7:12-14; Ezek.37:23).
(2) The Messiah will rule the whole Earth from Jerusalem which will be the centre of His government over Jews and Gentiles(Is.2:2-4;11:10;42:1).
(3) The Messiah will rebuild the temple at the Holy Mount in Jerusalem and restore temple worship and the sacrifices(Jer. 33:18; Ezek.44:15).
(4) The Messiah will shall restore Jewish law as the rule of the land and establish a religious court system(Jer.33:15).
(5) The Messiah will bring peace to Israel and the whole World(Is.11:6-11).
Most Jews today do not accept Jesus as the Messiah because He did not fulfill any of these when He came. As a matter of fact, they see Him as a curse. His name is a taboo amongst orthodox judaists. We have pointed out however that His coming is twofold. He came first to suffer and die, not for Himself but for the sin of all mankind. He shall come again to reign, then He shall fulfill all these expectations and many more. The concept of a messiah who is both human and divine, who dies for the sin of the world is alien to modern day Judaism. They are looking for a messiah who has all the frailties of man, but possesses the unique charisma to unite all Jews and lead them in triumph over their enemies and usher in the messianic Age.