"Portraits of Messiah"
There is much discussion and even controversy in the Jewish community today concerning the Messiah. There are those who would say there will be no personal Messiah, only a "Messianic Age" (Reform Jews), and there are others who say that there will indeed be a personal Messiah who shall deliver Israel and bring peace to this troubled world (Orthodox Jews). In the middle of these two groups are the Conservative Jews who may go either way.
Let me say first of all that the world owes a great debt to the Jewish people in many ways. Not only for their humanitarian efforts and their many contributions in the fields of science, medicine, the arts, etc.; but most importantly the LORD has used the Jewish people as His vehicle for blessing all the nations of the world. He has done this primarily by preserving His eternal written Word through His Chosen People, the Nation of Israel. All that we know about our LORD, about redemption, and about how we can have peace with Him has been revealed to us in His Word. It is because of this that the LORD has given me a love for the Jewish people and a desire to share with them the great truths of the Scripture.
That is what I would like to do now as we consider this important matter
of Messiah. The Scripture paints some very clear pictures of Messiah. It tells us WHERE
He will come from; WHY He will come; WHEN
He will come; and WHO He is. As we consider these blessed
Scriptures, let us ask the LORD to help us look at them honestly with an open heart and
mind. Let us be willing to put aside preconceived notions and prejudices so that the
LORD's Word can clearly speak to us about our Messiah. For it is not what I say, or what
the Rabbi says, or what anyone else says, but what the LORD says in His precious,
infallible, and eternal Word that will determine our eternal destiny.
WHERE IS HE FROM?
The Hebrew prophets of the Scripture tell us clearly about the lineage of the Messiah so there should be no mistake as to where He comes from and how to recognize Him. Jacob (Israel) prophesied,
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be" (Genesis 49:10).
The word "Shiloh" is rendered "he whose right it is" in the oldest translations and is in harmony with Ezekiel's prophecy.
"And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him" (Ezekiel 21:25-27).
A study of the chapter reveals that this time spoken of here by the prophet is when the king of Babylon is about to attack Jerusalem which took place in 586 B.C.E. Second Chronicles, chapter 36, tells us that the wicked king referred to here is Zedekiah. Therefore, Zedekiah was the last king to rule in Judah, and there will not be another king until Shiloh (Messiah) comes to rule and reign whose right it will be.
We see also from the Scriptures that Messiah is of the seed of David and His throne is eternal.
"I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations " (Psalm 89:3-4).
The prophet Isaiah tells us that He will be born (Isaiah 9:6), and the prophet Micah tells us where He will be born.
"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 GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN FROM OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING" (Micah 5:2).
Therefore, we see from the pictures painted thus far that Messiah
(Anointed One) will be from the nation of Israel, from the tribe of Judah, of the seed of
David, and will be born in Bethlehem of Judah.
WHY WILL HE COME?
In the pictures we have seen concerning Messiah's lineage, we can also see some glimpses of why He will come. We have seen that He is coming to be King and rule and reign from the throne of David. The prophets paint many pictures of Messiah and His characteristics which reveal to us the purpose of His coming. In Isaiah chapter 11, we see Him as the Kingly Branch upon Whom the Spirit of the LORD shall rest as He rules and reigns with righteousness during the Millennial era. "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11:10). We see the same picture in Jeremiah 23:5-6; as Messiah, the Righteous Branch, is called THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jehovah-tsidkenu). We can only find righteousness in our LORD. Zechariah portrays Messiah as the Servant Branch (Zechariah 3:8). Just why is this great King of kings portrayed as a servant? Isaiah paints a very vivid portrait for us showing how Messiah came to serve mankind by bringing redemption to a human race depraved in its wretched sin. Let's take a brief look into Isaiah, chapter 53, and see the Servant of the LORD there and His great work of redeeming mankind.
Let me say first of all that the One pictured here as the arm of the Lord, as the sin-bearer, as the intercessor, as the only Savior of mankind cannot be the nation of Israel. Israel needed redeeming as much as anyone else. Verse 8 tells us that this One was "stricken for the transgressions of my people" (Israel). The Scriptures are clear in presenting a picture of an individual (the Servant Branch) bearing the sins of mankind to redeem and justify.
"By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities...He hath poured out his soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (vss.11-12). That should cause great rejoicing in our hearts today to think that the LORD loved us so much that He allowed His Righteous Servant to bear our burden of sin. "ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the LORD hath LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL" (Isaiah 53:6).
Why did Messiah come? He came as the Righteous Servant of the LORD to
redeem us from our sins by taking them upon Himself as only He the Righteous One could do.
He is coming again to bring judgment as well as to rule and reign from the throne of David
in Jerusalem. A reign pictured as one of peace and righteousness abounding as the prophet
Isaiah has so clearly painted for us.
WHEN WILL HE COME?
As we consider when Messiah will come, we have seen from the previous pictures that there must be two advents of Messiah. We know that He has come to be the sin-bearer and Redeemer of mankind. But we also know that He is coming to rule and reign from Jerusalem. The prophet Daniel paints a picture for us concerning Messiah's first advent. Daniel was written around 586-530 B.C.E. and therefore after the destruction of the first Temple.
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy 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, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks (weeks of seven years):...And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary..." (Daniel 9:24-26).
We see here 70 weeks of 7 years or 490 years. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 5, 444 B.C.E. when the Jews were allowed to rebuild the city's walls. Daniel tells us that from the time of that decree until Messiah (Anointed One) is cut off is a period of 69 weeks or 483 years. Using the Jewish Calendar of 360 days per year we find that the 69 week period or 483 years is a total of 173,880 days which takes us to 33 C.E. We can get the same amount of days using the Gregorian Calendar. From March 5, 444 B.C.E. to 33 C.E. is 476 years. When you multiply the years by 365 and add the days for leap years (centennial years are not leap years) and the days in March you get 173,880 days. It is a historical fact that One named Yeshua, Who claimed to be the Anointed One, and Who proved His credentials by mighty signs and wonders, was crucified on a Roman cross at this time. Here we see the first advent of Messiah, the Servant Branch as He comes to be the sin-bearer and Redeemer of mankind. One other significant point here is that in 70 C.E., Jerusalem and the second Temple were destroyed along with all the lineage records that proved which tribe a Jew was from. Therefore, it is evident that Messiah had to come before 70 C.E.
We said previously that there are two advents of Messiah, and again
Scripture paints a picture for us of what it will be like when Messiah comes again.
Matthew, a Jew, records for us in the New Covenant that though no man knows the day
nor hour, we can see the signs for His return. The days will be like the days of Noah
when people carried on their activities without thinking of the LORD and scorned those who
warned of coming judgment (Matthew 24). Just as in the days of Noah, the day will come
when it will be too late, and many will be destroyed by the judgment of the LORD. We are
therefore commanded to watch and be ready for Messiah's coming.
WHO IS MESSIAH?
Is the picture clear yet who He is? Let the Word of the LORD speak and receive it into your heart. Messiah is the seed of the woman that shall crush Satan's head (Genesis 3:15). This was accomplished by the marvelous sign revealed through the prophet Isaiah. "Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). How could a virgin conceive? Only by the power of the LORD through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Remember, nothing is impossible with the LORD. That's what makes Messiah the LORD's Divine Son. That's what makes Him the spotless Lamb that can be the sacrifice for our sins. You say the LORD is one LORD. That is true, but we see from Scripture that He is one in unity. The Hebrew word echad used in the SHEMA (Deuteronomy 6:4) is the very same word used to describe the unity of Adam and Eve becoming one flesh. There is unity in plurality. The word Elohim used as another name for the LORD is a plural word, and plural adjectives are used with it. Listen to the LORD Himself as He speaks in Isaiah 48:16, "Come near unto me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I; and now the Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me." A very clear picture of the unity in plurality of the Godhead. Listen to the words of the Messianic Psalm 2; "I will tell of the decree: the LORD said unto me, Thou are my Son, this day have I begotten thee...Kiss the son...Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him" (vss.7,12). In Psalm 110 the LORD addresses Messiah as One Who is His equal. "The LORD said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (vs.1). Listen to the words of Isaiah as he foretells Messiah's birth. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). These are just a few of the Scriptures that point to Messiah as the LORD's Divine Son and Second Person of the Godhead, co-equal with the LORD.
Yes, Messiah has come to atone for our sins through His own Divine
blood. "For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul"
(Leviticus 17:11). All the sacrifices of the Mosaic law were only types of the
great sacrifice, the Messiah, on Whom the LORD has laid all of our sins (Isaiah 53:6).
What greater love and mercy could the LORD bestow upon us than by the giving of His only
begotten Son to redeem us and set us free from the bondage of sin? You see, sin must be
atoned for by blood. Has your sin been atoned for?
WHAT MUST YOU DO?
How can you be ready for Messiah's second advent? Though many rejected Messiah the first time He came, you don't have to. You can know Him as your own personal Messiah and Saviour.
You must be willing to accept by faith the testimony of Scripture concerning Messiah, the LORD's Divine Son, Who was Virgin-born, Who fulfilled all the Hebrew Bible prophecies about His first coming, Who shed His own blood and died on the Cross to atone for your sins, and Who was resurrected from the grave as David prophesied He would be (Psalm 16:10). Redemption has always been by the LORD's grace through faith.
You must personally repent of your sins and ask the LORD to forgive your sins through the blood of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Isaiah tells us to "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7). You must receive Jesus the Messiah as your own personal Lord and Saviour. He can save you right now if you will call upon Him and receive Him into your heart. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:11,12; New Covenant).
When you trust Jesus the Messiah personally, the LORD has promised to redeem you and make you His child and save you from the awful wrath that will be poured out during the seventieth week that Daniel speaks of in chapter 9. It is the time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30;). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus the Messiah" (I Thessalonians 5:9; New Covenant).
Friend, are you ready for Messiah's return? If not, will you believe on
Him today by faith and be redeemed from your sins through His atoning blood? Don't be like
the people of Noah's day who waited until it was too late to call upon the LORD. The LORD
stands ready to make you His child today (Second Corinthians 6:2 ) if you will but receive
His offer of salvation through His Divine Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. Trust
Him today! --SW
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16; New Covenant).
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