How Many Messiahs Are There?
People everywhere are growing so very tired of incessant terrorism, mass murders, poverty, greed, oppression, inequality, deprivation, political corruption and ineptness, and other seemingly unsolvable problems that plague this worn-out weary world. To some extent or another, billions all over the world are fervently hoping for and expecting a Messiah or what many call a Messiah figure to usher in a Messianic Age.
What will characterize that Age, who the Messiah will be, and what he will do varies profoundly from one religion or world-view to another. What if a messiah or even two messiahs appeared from each belief system?! With instant global communication and rapid transportation, is our swiftly shrinking world big enough for multiple messiahs?
Actually, how can there be more than one Messiah? It begs a similar question: How can there be more than one God? When, for example, the God of the Bible unequivocally proclaims to be the one and only true and living God. As does Islam assert Allah to be the only god. How can you have more than one God or Messiah (or no God at all for the humanists and secularists) if each creed claims ultimate authority? Competition between messiahs defeats the very idea and purpose of one man uniting the world and establishing peace, liberty, and justice for all. More than one (true God and Messiah) means that the others are false gods or messiahs.
What kind of scenario would unfold if there was more than Messiah? The answer is self-evident: confusion and conflict between the messiahs and those that follow them.
Webster’s Dictionary defines messiah as, “1a: the expected king and deliverer of the Jews b: Jesus. 2: a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.” Even in a secular context, these three definitions are remarkably correct. Both Biblical and secular history confirm the chronological accuracy in which Webster defines messiah.
First, because the very word, messiah, comes from the Hebrew word, Mashiach, which is the term used in the Old Testament (anointed or chosen one) of the expected king and deliver of the Jews. All through the Old Testament, beginning with the first book of Genesis, the prophets wrote about Messiah and heralded his coming.
The second definition is simply one word: Jesus; because he is the author and cornerstone of the Christian faith. Because he fulfilled dozens of Messianic prophecies through his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven, he fully qualifies to be not just a messiah, but The Messiah.
The third and final definition of messiah is: “a professed or accepted leader of some hope or cause.” Which accurately describes a messiah mentioned in Islam’s Koran, but also all (false) would-be messiahs mostly typified by evil tyrants such as Hitler and Stalin. Both were adored by millions of their people, many of whom actually deified them; like the ancient Roman Emperors. Moreover, Islam’s messiah and his purported appearance in the near future has become a catalyst for rogue nations like Iran and Muslim terrorists groups to hasten his arrival through jihad and world upheaval.
We’re going to examine the intriguing Two-Messiah theory proposed by many (not all) Jews, especially the Orthodox among them. However, we need to first reestablish a premise that I have alluded to in some prior Eye of Prophecy articles:
Premise: There are many things that distinguish the Christian faith from all religions.
Religions, such as Islam or Judaism—which is (still) based on the Law of Moses but absent the Levitical sacrificial system. Although the God of the Bible is the same God for both Jew and Christian, there is a distinction between the two in the very nature of God. Most know that difference: Christians have embraced the New Covenant (of Grace) prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah, and believe in the Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
However, there are monumental, irreconcilable dissimilarities between the God and Messiah of the Bible and Allah—the god of Islam along with their Muslim messiah. With three components in particular that separate and elevate the God of the Bible infinitely above the god of Islam and other gods or messiahs of any belief system.
(1) The astounding miracles performed by God and by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, during his some thirty-three years on this earth. To wit: dozens of healings such as restoring sight to a man born blind, turning water into wine, walking on water, feeding thousands of people with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, and many more. The most astounding and significant of these supernatural miracles was Jesus rising from the dead … a historical fact confirmed by hundreds of witnesses.
(2) Biblical Salvation alone is based on God’s Grace demonstrated by the gift of His Son to die for our sins, as opposed to a system of Law and Works to gain God’s favor. The Gospel is freely offered to all (inclusive), but is available only to those who personally believe and receive the atoning redemption purchased by Jesus—Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man—on the cross (exclusive). Christianity is the only belief system that announces a Savior to bridge the otherwise irreversible and impassable gap between God and man caused by man’s rebellion (sin).
(3) Hundreds of prophecies: Some fulfilled during Old Testament times, others in and through Jesus of Nazareth, and still others in the last 100 years or so; including but not limited to the astonishing rebirth of Israel and return of Jews to Israel from all over the world.
The Lord is God … There is No Other
No other religion or cult or creed or religious leader, certainly not Islam nor Mohammed, did or can do what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and his divine Son, Christ Jesus has done and will do. Likewise with secular despots through the ages with a messiah-mindset claiming to be a god, or god-like, or messiah figure. Down through history, no religion, gods of that religion, or their religious leaders—or any who would feign to be a messiah—have dared to answer the challenge of the true and living God.
Read with me God’s declaration: “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols. Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens” (Isaiah 42:8-9).
Now let’s listen to the Lord’s reassurance to Israel and challenge to all religions and their man-made gods and false messiahs: “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!’” (Isaiah 44:6-8).
When the God of the Old and New Testament and his Messiah (Jesus) declares that the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is the only true and living God, it is crystal clear that this is an absolute, eternal statement. Unreservedly, the Lord backs up this claim with fulfilled prophecy, which categorically allows no room to consider that all religions are equal … that there are “many paths” to God.
In that context permit me to quote an excerpt from my second book. In italics, as follows:
…if a specific religion or religious leader asserts that their/his god is at least like the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God issues a challenge: “Let him step forward and prove to you his power.” Then God intensifies that challenge when he dares any other god, or man who is promoting that god, to step up to the plate and do as God has done, i.e. explained (foretold) the future. Essentially, the Lord is asserting: You want proof, check out that everything I say comes to pass.
Later in this same chapter (Isaiah 44) beginning in verse 26, God says: “But I carry out the predictions of my prophets! By them I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’ and to the towns of Judah, ‘You will be rebuilt; I will restore all your ruins!’ When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry. When I say of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd,’ he will certainly do as I say. He will command, ‘Rebuild Jerusalem;’ he will say, ‘Restore the Temple.’”
That is exactly what happened nearly two hundred years later, after a remnant of the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon and in Persia. The Persian ruler Cyrus authorized the Jews to return to Israel. Within a few decades the returning Jewish exiles restored the Temple and then rebuilt the walls and the city of Jerusalem. Remember when Isaiah made this prediction, Cyrus had not yet been born! (Out of the Abyss, pages 13-14).
Therefore, for sake of time/space, we’re going to dismiss out-of-hand these so-called messiahs (past, present, or future) such as the one found in the Koran or any number of other messiah-types as found in world governments or religious cults. Jesus, himself, said there would be false messiahs, particularly during the end-times. With the most appalling, audacious, and vehemently anti-Christ (false messiah) of all … the return of the (little horn) ruler prophesied by Daniel, the man of lawlessness spoken of by the Apostle Paul, and the beast-king of Revelation. None other than the revived Roman Emperor, Nero—the Antichrist, who will be the final false messiah.
Instead, we’re going to focus on a prevailing premise that comes from a long-standing Jewish belief that there will be two Messiahs appearing during the last days.
Why Two Messiahs in Judaism?
Last week’s Eye of Prophecy article (Messiah’s Arrival … On Whose Authority?) discussed the controversial edict recently issued by a large group of Jewish rabbis … that God is now obligated to bring the Messiah, the sooner the better. Included in my article were references to Jewish traditions and axioms unfortunately taking precedence over Scripture, itself.
There’s another ancient rabbinical tradition that has regained prominence in today’s exceptional enthusiasm for Messiah’s arrival. That of the two-Messiah theory. Why? Because the vast majority of Rabbis and many other Jews simply cannot and do not accept the Biblical evidence that one Messiah is both (1) the suffering servant who would die for the sins of Jews and Gentiles alike; and, (2) the same Messiah who will return as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to rule and reign from Jerusalem forever.
Consequently, from the first or second century B.C. and especially in the first couple of centuries A.D., observant Jews have postulated that there will be two Messiahs. The first to come from the lineage of Joseph, son of Jacob (a descendant of the tribe of Joseph). They speculate that this messiah will lead the armies of Israel against their enemies but will fall victim (die) during the battle with God/Magog of Ezekiel 38 & 39. He supposedly represents or depicts the staff of Israel from the house or family of Joseph.
The second messiah is the ultimate Liberator who will lead Israel to final victory and redemption, and will usher in the Messianic Age. He will be from the lineage of King David, one who represents the kingly scepter of Israel.
Once again, because time/space doesn’t permit in this article, but also because of many other Eye of Prophecy articles (and vast amounts of writings from other authors), I won’t elaborate on the many passages of Scripture as well as history to support overwhelming Biblical evidence that Yeshua is the one and only Messiah. And that he is indisputably both King David’s son (descendant) but also King David’s Lord, the Second Person of the Triune God. (See Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, Does God Really Have a Son? Part I & II, posted on 10-31 and 11-7-15).
We will, however, look at one passage that (like so many others), Jewish religious leaders have alarmingly and ill-advisedly overlooked, or minimized, or dismissed, or simply rejected outright; because it conflicts with their rigid refusal to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. Their first messiah dies but not for the sins of the people, nor would he be resurrected and return as the Jewish Savior-King. Accordingly, there must be two messiahs to fulfill and reconcile what seem to most Jewish rabbis as otherwise contradictory prophecies throughout Scripture. But the prophecy we are about to examine imposes a prophetic time-line on Messiah’s revealing that refutes any two-Messiah theory and also the prevalent Jewish belief that Messiah is still to be revealed … for the first time.
An Incredible Prophecy to Dispel the Two-Messiah Theory and/or Rejection of Jesus
In this absolutely amazing passage that I’ve occasionally quoted in certain Eye of Prophecy articles, with varying emphasis depending on each article’s main topic, we find a prophetic announcement of the actual time in history that Messiah would appear. Read with me the astounding prophecy given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel:
“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes … After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:25-26a).
As indicated, much has been written about this remarkable time-dedicated prophecy, including the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy, posted on 1-18-14. Yet, the primary purpose of that article was to serve as a lead-in to the subsequent Eye of Prophecy articles, Seven Times Seven to the 4th Power, Parts I, II, III. With the primary emphasis on the shocking (literal time-based) prophecies of God’s discipline of Israel—seven times over, four consecutive times, as foretold in Leviticus Chapter 26. The prophetic calendar began its countdown after the Jews returned from Babylonia captivity and ended in 1967 with the miraculous recapture of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. At that point in God’s providential plan, the Gentile domination of Israel and the Jews ended; because the Lord’s discipline of Israel had run its full course over the exact number of years foretold by God (7 x 7 x 7 x 7 translated to actual years on the Jewish calendar).
Likewise, this remarkable prophecy in Daniel that we just read can be converted into Jewish calendar years and days from the time that the Persian King Artaxerxes decreed the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 445 BC to the 483 years (sixty-nine sets of seven) when the Anointed One comes. This calculation leads us to the exact day in 32 AD when Jesus of Nazareth rode on a donkey (predicted by Zechariah) into Jerusalem and was hailed as King Messiah, the Son of David, exactly 173,880 days elapsed … 483 years. Thanks to the Christian historian/author Sir Robert Anderson, a Scotland Yard Detective, for explaining this incredible prophecy in his book, The Coming Prince.
Just as spectacular and significant is the part of this same prophecy that says the Anointed One (Messiah) will be killed and then (subsequently) a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the Temple.
In other words, the Messiah would appear BEFORE the Jewish Temple (the second Temple, because Solomon’s Temple had already been destroyed when Daniel received this revelation) was torn down (by the Romans). This took place less than forty years after Jesus was crucified, arose from the dead, and returned to heaven. Also, Jesus, himself, predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Temple.
(*Note: I refer to this passage, along with other passages, to also document and demonstrate that Nero is the Roman ruler who ordered his armies under General Vespasian and Titus to march on Israel and crush the rebellion that had begun in 66 A.D. Thus, he is the king and ruler of Daniel 7 and 9; the man of lawlessness in II Thessalonians; and the Antichrist beast of Revelation 13 & 17, who will reappear from the Abyss soon after the Rapture).
There is absolutely no ambiguity or question that the Messiah would come before the second Temple was destroyed. That’s exactly what Daniel Chapter 9 is telling us. Moreover, this could not possibly refer to the third Jewish Temple that will be rebuilt (hopefully in the near future), as there’s no indication, whatsoever, in Ezekiel, that this third temple will also be destroyed. Just the opposite; it will stand forever.
Not only is there only one Messiah, Daniel’s time-lapse prophecy convincingly predicted that the (2nd rebuilt) Jewish Temple would be destroyed by the armies—Roman, as confirmed by the sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD belonging to a ruler—(Nero ordered Vespasian and Titus to launch this campaign against Israel) who would orchestrate this calamity AFTER the death of the Anointed One … the Messiah.
Although this specific prophecy in Daniel Chapter 9 doesn’t disclose the fact that Messiah would also arise from the dead, many other passages of Scripture prophesy the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah; then confirm/fulfill those prophecies with the written historical account of Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament Gospels.
Later the Apostle Paul and other writers would consolidate the remarkable events during Jesus’s life on earth into epistles that further elaborate, explain, and defend the accuracy and validity of the prophetic fulfillment of Messiah’s first appearance to mankind … the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the world. Followed by the passionate anticipation for Messiah Jesus return to earth as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah whose second appearance will usher in the Messianic Age so desperately longed for by Jews the world over; and, of course, by believers in Yeshua … both Jew and Gentile.
Oh so many objections that Jesus is the Messiah, especially from God’s own people, the Jews; whom he calls his special possession … the very people to whom God originally revealed himself, his attributes, and his Word. Through whom all the nations of the world were to be blessed. Through whom the light of the world was to come, Messiah.
Here is an excerpt from last week’s Eye of Prophecy article:
I fully realize and sincerely appreciate the fervor that many Jews have toward God, particularly the observant among them and especially concerning the Messiah. But as the Apostle Paul said to the believers in Rome, both Jew and Gentile:
“Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God” (Romans 10:1-4).
It is no different today, with millions of God’s chosen people, the Jews, still holding onto good deeds, righteous conduct, and tradition after tradition to gain favor with God, and to hopefully be accepted by the Lord into and throughout eternity. To the tragic point that their traditions, especially the Rabbinical rulings or decisions (often with disagreements among rabbis, themselves), become more dominant and decisive than Scripture, itself.
It is good that so many Jews—the Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, and Liberal among them—are once again longing for their Messiah to come.
It is also so very tragic that so many still refuse to see the clear evidence found in the Torah and Tanakh (Old Testament) of who the Messiah is and when he would appear. To hang onto the Old Covenant of Law as their source of salvation, when the New Covenant is already here—has been for nearly two thousand years. The Covenant of Grace and Redemption authored and sealed by Messiah Jesus, by shedding his precious blood as a once for all payment and pardon for our sins … if we only believe and receive Christ as personal Savior.
But one day (soon) all that will dramatically change. It’s already changing, attested to by thousands upon thousands of Jews the world-over who have embraced Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. Because Jesus is Messiah!
And though many will mourn out of remorse and guilt (Zechariah 12) when Messiah Jesus returns in power and great glory (Matthew 24), Israelis in Israel and Jews in the nations will one day shout, Baruch haba beshem Adonai. “Blessed is he (Messiah Jesus) who comes in the name of the Lord (God the Father).”
Jesus proved beyond any doubt that he was/is the Son of God by rising from the dead, with a glorious eternal body. Who but God could do that? Who else but Jesus could possibly be the Messiah? The historical record of his birth, life, death, and resurrection were precise fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies from the Psalms and many of the Prophetic books, such as Isaiah, Micah, and Zechariah.
As one indication that our Jewish friends (most slowly, some more rapidly) are considering Jesus as Messiah is the increasing conciliation and friendship between Israelis and Christians who support Israel (such as myself). We’re not at all reluctant to be called: Christian Zionists.
Listen to the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commenting on the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) gathering of over 5,000 from many nations during their conference to celebrate Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) in Israel this past September:
“Israel has no better friends around the world.”
And Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat said about the event and the Christian Zionists:
“Not everyone in the world seeks the best for Jerusalem. There are people who challenge our history. Sometimes, we feel alone … Your friendship is warming our hearts. I want to thank you for your prayers and your unprecedented support and passion.”
Yet, all we who love Israel and the Jews are really saying is what the Jewish Apostle Paul said long ago, but still so very relevant today: “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved” (Romans 10:1).
Israel’s final redemption will come and it will come soon, but not like they expect. Not by or through good deeds or right thinking or obligatory observance of holy days. That is and will be a result of their salvation, not the source.
When Messiah returns, what a glorious time that will be for God’s chosen people. And equally wonderful for us Gentiles who have been branches grafted into the spiritual tree of Israel (Romans 11:17-24). Why? Because:
“Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:12).
Did you catch that? Not if, but when.
Things to Ponder
Nowhere in Scripture is there any indication, either direct or indirect, that there will be two messiahs. One obvious reason is that God’s many prophecies of the coming Messiah are, by default, meant to be logically and clearly understood as one Messiah. It’s a foregone conclusion that only one Messiah would appear; thus, no indication whatsoever that there is or could be more than one Messiah. Moreover, as mentioned in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, Scripture couldn’t be more clear that Messiah is indisputably Divine, i.e. Son of God and God the Son.
King David, himself, said so.
There are several Bible passages declaring the divinity of Messiah, while simultaneously demonstrating that there will be only one Messiah. But none more so than one of my all-time favorites:
“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, italics for emphasis). Grammatically and contextually, it is crystal clear that the child and the son are one and the same.
On whose shoulders will the government rest? Answer: His shoulders … the only one.
Who will be called Mighty God and Everlasting Father? Answer: He … the only one.
In this joyous time of the year when some celebrate Hanukkah (Festival of Lights) and others Christmas, and still others revere both holidays, we once again rejoice in the Good News of the Gospel. We remember the life-changing gift from heaven … a child born, the Son given.
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them … I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! … Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (Luke 2:8-14).
None months earlier another angel appeared to Joseph and said: “…Joseph, son of David … do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!
Praise, honor, glory, power, and majesty belong to our great God and to his majestic Son, Messiah Jesus!