WHO IS MESSIAH?
Unless people truly need and want a messiah, is it really necessary to answer this question? In light of all the conflicts and wars throughout history and given the turmoil and doomsday mentality prevalent in today’s world, do we need a messiah? For that matter, just exactly what is a messiah? What is it that Messiah is supposed to do or be or be like?
Let’s begin by establishing common ground as to the origin or concept of messiah. Webster’s Dictionary is as good a place as any to define the term: “The expected king and deliver of the Jews.” Then in more general terms, Webster states: “a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.”
Certainly, it’s important to correctly classify certain words and terms (these meanings shape our thoughts and beliefs), but there’s more to it than mere definition. Because when it comes to the idea of a Messiah, mankind’s passionate quest for a benevolent ruler has continued unabated from the very dawn of history. People desperately long for someone who can and will deliver them from poverty, injustice, oppression, slavery, wars, and everything else that’s wrong with the human race. To that end, we’ve tried every form of government imaginable including the grandest ideal of all as found in the United States of America … government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Yet, even a republic that functions in the highest degree of all that it is intended to do and achieve, still needs a leader to articulate and establish the lofty aspirations that every nation strives to achieve; then to make the difficult decisions necessary to accomplish those objectives, such as the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. That’s why the United States has a President. That’s why someone in every nation on earth occupies the highest office/position created by that government, such as Prime Minister. However, this article and blog site is not the place to debate the optimum form of government and what it takes to maintain a quality of life or standard of living acceptable to all but the most discontented … those who will find something to complain about no matter how good things are.
Nevertheless, history clearly shows us that people from all races and ethnic groups respond most favorably to dynamic, magnetic, charismatic leaders that promise them a better way of life. Then this sense of loyalty and gratitude intensifies into adoration and even worship when the ruler follows through on his/her promises. The obvious fact of the matter: We long for someone who will save us from our enemies and even from ourselves … meaning the mess we can make of things despite the best of intentions.
Thus, the Jews have longed for a Messiah (a Savior and King) since the glory days of King David and King Solomon. This expectation increased after the fall of Jerusalem and utter destruction of Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC, reaching a passionate peak just before and during the time of Christ. From the Bible, from church history, and even from secular history, we find indisputable evidence that many Jews in the last century BC and first century AD fully expected Messiah to arrive. In fact, thousands of Jews eventually believed that Jesus of Nazareth was their Messiah. And not only their Messiah, but Messiah to the entire world.
In the last fifty years, a vast number of Jews in Israel and all over the world once again believe that Messiah’s arrival is very near. Once again they long for their deliverer, the only one capable of bringing true peace and safety to Israel and the nations. On a daily basis, you can read articles written by Rabbis, by religious and secular journalists, and even by Israeli politicians that include reference to the coming Messiah. Indeed, the very idea of a Messiah comes from the Jews, given to them by the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So, too, do 1.2 billion Muslims believe in a coming messiah, one that is known as the Mahdi, the 12th Imam of Islam. This belief is at a fever pitch, especially among those who follow the Shia sect of Islam, such as the leaders of Iran. In fact, to facilitate and hasten the appearance of the Mahdi, the most zealous of Muslims believe that they must take matters into their own hands, by initiating Jihad (holy war against the infidel Jews and Christians). Make no mistake … that is exactly what they will do when they believe the opportunity is right, such as manufacture of a nuclear bomb.
Hundreds of millions of Evangelical Christians and even a good many of the world’s one billion plus Catholics believe in the return or second coming of Messiah, who most agree is none other than Jesus Christ. Indeed, the very best form of government is that of a Divine Monarchy. No matter how good a representative form of government is or might be, there are still too many flaws and weaknesses when compared to a people/nation governed by a pure (true) Theocracy. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance” (Psalms 33:12, NASB).
Even if an individual or a nation is basically non-religious, they will put their ultimate hope and trust in someone, anyone who can lead them into whatever Utopia shaped society the people demand. Even if this ruler turns out to be a despot (such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini), many will still follow him with a reverence and obedience that affords a divine-like status to the ruler. That is exactly what will take place when those left behind at the Rapture (both secular and religious) yield their complete loyalty and trust to one man, the Antichrist.
With the exception of referring the reader to Psalms 22 and Isaiah 53, and quoting Daniel 9, this article will not attempt to prove that Jesus is the Messiah. These passages and dozens of others in Scripture—with historical records to confirm the many messianic prophecies fulfilled by one man only, Jesus Christ—are more than sufficient to establish the identity of Messiah.
“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One (Messiah) will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple….” (Daniel 9:26). This verse is quoted mostly for the benefit of God’s chosen people, the Jews, but also for Gentile believers and unbelievers. Even if you ignore or overlook the historical evidence of Jesus’s claims to be the Messiah (Son of God), his teachings, his miracles, and his awesome, miraculous resurrection from the dead, this prophecy in Daniel came to pass in its totality when the Roman Generals Vespasian and Titus attacked Israel and Jerusalem under the direct orders of Nero Caesar. Of equally profound significance: this passage tells us that the Messiah will be killed BEFORE Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed. If you have any regard for historical facts whatsoever; and especially if you are a Jew that believes that the Torah … for Christians what is called the Old Testament … is the Word of the true and living God, then you must agree that Messiah, himself, arrived on the scene of history before 70 AD.
Look Up, Redemption is Near
Despite the title of this article, the primary purpose is not to actually prove who Messiah is. Jesus Christ proved that beyond any doubt whatsoever, when he arose from the dead and affirmed what Peter said when Jesus asked his disciples, ‘”Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ Well, they replied, ‘some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.’ Then he asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you…’” (Matthew 16: 13-17).
Rather, this article is designed to individually and collectively refocus our attention on the fact that the glorious appearing of The Messiah (Jesus Christ for those who know him and believe in Him) or a messiah or messiah type is on the tips of tongues and pens throughout the world, particularly in Israel. People all over the world are fervently anticipating the arrival of one man who can literally save our planet from destruction and establish a rule of real peace and prosperity never before experienced in the annals of mankind. To establish a government that will last for a very long time, perhaps forever!
Why am I so sure that Jesus’s return is very near, right at the door? There are several reasons that have already been discussed in most of the previous 35 articles written for this Eye of Prophecy blog site. But the main reason (subject of today’s article) is based on the historical fact and precedent that Jesus Christ came to earth as God’s anointed Messiah and Savior pretty much in the same generation that fully expected his arrival, as well as all the signs that preceded his arrival. In our generation we are experiencing first hand and seeing up close and personal several signs that point to the return of our glorious Savior and King.
God works that way. Though his timing is different (better) than ours, and though we many times must wait for his plan to materialize in our lives individually and nationally; when specific signs of specific prophecies materialize, then the actual fulfillment of those prophecies quickly follow, i.e. in that or the following generation. This was true in Noah’s time; in the time of Moses when he led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage; in Joshua’s time when he led them into the Promised Land; in King Saul, King David’s time when God allowed the Jews to have a king; in Jeremiah’s time when he prophesied of the Babylonian captivity; in Jesus’s time when he proclaimed that salvation had come to the Jews and the whole world; in the first century when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in less than a generation after Jesus announced this ominous prophecy; and in our generation that has witnessed the rebirth of Israel and the gathering of certain nations against Israel.
Who is Messiah? Or, why a Messiah? How important is it to answer these questions? Does anyone really believe that a mere man can accomplish the ultimate dream of every man, woman, and child on this earth … a perfect government administered by a perfect ruler? Even the best of leaders throughout history have not achieved this goal. Even the greatest of kings, queens, princes, presidents, and prime ministers have made serious mistakes, no matter how honorable or benevolent their intentions and plans. For hundreds of millions of those redeemed by the Messiah, himself, the question is all too rhetorical. The answer is crystal-clear: None other than the God-man, Messiah Jesus.
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). To ignore this passage and many others that indisputably demonstrate that God’s Messiah is Divine, that he is the Son of God and God the Son, is to place their hope in a human being that, despite all the moral leadership they can muster, can do no better than the best of men and woman who have gone before us. Nearly all Jews believe in a messiah. But very few believe the coming Messiah is divine. How could he be divine, they ask; because God alone is divine? For me, this verse just quoted answers that question beyond any reasonable or unreasonable doubt. The passage is as clear as anything could possibly be: This child, this Son IS God! And he is also Sar Shalom … Prince of Peace.
The time is now, meaning the very near future. The coming (return) of Messiah to take his Church (Jew and Gentile alike who believe in Him) to Heaven, and then his majestic return to the earth is for this generation. I have no doubt. I believe in who he is and what he will do. He is not just a perfect King. He is the King of all kings. He is not just another Lord or benefactor. He is the Lord of all lords. There is no one like him. There is none beside him. To whom can he be compared? Whose counsel will he seek? Why would he allow fallen man and corrupt governments to rule the earth indefinitely, when he can and will reign with perfect justice?!
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Listen to the Son of Man, the Son of God when he says, “…Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17).
And hear the words of God the Father through his prophet, Jeremiah: “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: The LORD is Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33: 15-16). Don’t miss what was just quoted. It’s Christ, the Lord, who makes us right with God, because we have no righteousness of our own. He is our righteousness. Amen!
Who do you say is Messiah? If you say Jesus Christ, then look up for your complete redemption is near, right at the door. You are on the threshold of eternity. If you say another is messiah, or there is no messiah or no need for one, then sadly you have aligned yourself with people and nations that Messiah will judge upon his return. Choose now to believe and receive Christ as your Savior. Choose now to escape the judgment sure to come. Answer the question correctly and you will forever live in a place in which, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7, NASB).
Things to Ponder
Ponder His greatness, goodness, gentleness, generosity. Most of all think hard on his wonderful Grace.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord. How excellent is His name in all the earth!