Who Is The Messiah
Who is the Messiah, the belief in a religious (and frequently political) savior figure who ushers in a new period and overthrows the status quo is referred to as the Messiah, which literally translates as “Anointed One.” A messiah in Judaism originally meant any person anointed by a prophet or priest of God, particularly a Davidic king (Hebrew: Mashiach).
The term “Messiah” can apply to any person who is viewed as a savior or liberator in modern English, but it is most frequently used to describe Jesus of Nazareth, who is widely believed to be the long-awaited savior of the Jews and of all humanity. In fact, the Greek word for Christ (X, Christos) is a direct translation of the Hebrew term mashiach, which means “anointed one.”
Many world faiths and contemporary religious movements share the idea of the Messiah. According to Islam, Jesus (Isa) is the Masih, or Messiah, and both he and the Mahdi, another messianic figure, are anticipated to make an earthly return at some point. According to some Buddhist traditions, Maitreya Buddha will come back as the Messiah.
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There have been people who have claimed to be the “messiah” throughout history. Some of them encouraged their followers to engage in military undertakings that went sour. Others were peaceful, but because the traditional leaders of their religion did not accept them, they eventually started their own sect or even a new religion.
As a result, Bahá’u’lláh (1817–1892), who created the Bahá’ Faith, declared himself to be the promised Messiah of all religions. The Shakers considered Mother Ann Lee, who founded the sect, to be the female Messiah and the wife of Christ.
The Ahmadiyya religion, which is regarded as a deviation from orthodox Islam, holds that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, is the Messiah and Mahdi (1835 – 1908). Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his wife are revered as the Messiah in the Unification Church.
Some academics contend that the idea of the Messiah emerged during the Babylonian exile of the Jews (between 597 and 538 or between 586 and 538 B.C.E. ), when the Zoroastrian concept of the Saoshyant—a teacher who would guide the good in the cosmos against evil—was combined with the Jewish idea of a Davidic deliverer.
From the earliest Jewish prophetic days until their exile in Babylon, the idea of the Messiah progressively evolved before acquiring more concrete shape in the post-exilic period. Jews began to understand their scriptures in the first century B.C.E. as expressly referring to a person chosen by God to save them from Roman persecution.
Christians eventually came to understand that the Bible spoke of a spiritual Messiah rather than a worldly political one, and they particularly identified Jesus as that Savior.
Bible of Hebrews
Numerous predictions about a future descendant of King David who will be chosen as the new leader of the Jewish people are found in the Hebrew Bible.
One of the first of these messianic prophesies was made by the prophet Isaiah in the ninth century B.C.E. He wished for a more potent and upright king than the existing heir to David’s throne. The phrase alludes to the advent of a new Davidic ruler who will unite Israel and Judah, subdue the surrounding peoples, and make it possible for the Israelites who were taken captive by the Assyrian Empire to return home:
The nations will rally around David’s father, the Root of Jesse, who will stand as a banner for the peoples on that day, and his final resting place will be magnificent.
In that day, the Lord will extend his hand once more to bring back the last of his people from Assyria. Judah’s enemies will be eliminated, and Ephraim’s jealousy will cease to exist. Neither Judah nor Ephraim will harbor animosity toward one another.
They will jointly pillage the people to the east while they swoop down on the Philistia mountain ranges to the west. The Ammonites will be under their control, and they will conquer Edom and Moab. (Isaiah 11:10–14).
Approximately a century after Isaiah but still in a period when Davidic monarchs ruled, the prophet Jeremiah echoed Isaiah’s prophecy:
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The Lord predicts that the time has come when He will give David a righteous Branch, a ruler who will rule wisely and uphold the law of the land. Israel will dwell in safety during his reign, and Judah will be preserved. He shall be referred to as “The Lord [is] Our Righteousness” by this name. (Jeremiah 23:5–6)
Therefore, the earliest messianic references, written when Davidic kings still ruled in Judah, anticipate a wise and righteous king descended from David, a militarily strong leader who will bring back the Israelites kidnapped by Assyria and unite the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah in victory over their adversaries in the region.
The first person to refer to the Messiah in terms of the restoration of the Davidic dynasty was the prophet Ezekiel, who was originally a native of Judah but wrote from exile in Babylon following the fall of the Davidic monarchy:
My sheep will be protected, and no longer will they be pillaged. Between one sheep and another, I shall decide. My servant David, who I will place in charge of them, will serve as their shepherd and provide for them.
They will worship me, the Lord, and my servant David will rule over them. Lord, I have spoken. (Ezekiel 34:22–24)
It’s interesting to note that Cyrus of Persia, a gentile ruler, is mentioned as one of the first people to whom the label “Messiah” as the deliverer of Israel is really applied. This prophesy, which is a part of “Second Isaiah” and is believed to have been added to the Book of Isaiah during the Babylonian exile, depicts Cyrus as a ruler appointed by God to bring the Jews back to their country and to make it possible for the Temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt:
I, the Lord, am who attributes to Cyrus the following qualities: “He is my shepherd and will carry out whatever that I wish; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be erected.” The Lord declares the following to Cyrus, whose right hand I seize (italics added) (Isaiah 44:24–45:1).
References made after Exile
The first and second generations of settlers who returned from their exile in Babylon to once again reestablish a Jewish civilization in Jerusalem and Judah are the authors of the predictions found in Third Isaiah (Isaiah 56–66). (520–480 B.C.E.).
They picture a wise and powerful king of divine might who will turn Israel/Judah into not just a strong regional empire but also a global force:
Nations and kingdoms will converge on your light as it shines brightly. Raise your eyes and take a look around you. Everyone is gathered and coming to you; your sons are coming from a distance and your daughters are being carried.
The richness of the seas and the riches of the nations will be brought to you at that point, and you’ll appear beautiful and your heart will pound with joy. (Isaiah 60:3–5)
In addition to bringing peace and prosperity to the Jewish people, the coming of the Messiah would benefit all of humanity greatly and even return the world to its original edenic state, where people might live for hundreds of years and predatory animals did not exist.
“There will never again be a newborn who lives for only a few days or an elderly person who does not live out their years; he who dies at a hundred will be regarded of as a mere youth…
The wolf and the lamb will share a meal, and the lion will consume straw like an ox, but the snake will only consume dust. On any part of my holy mountain, they won’t do any damage or destruction, declares the Lord (Isaiah 65:20–25)
As a result, the idea of the Messiah changed from that of a just Davidic monarch who would unify Israel and Judah and vanquish their enemies to that of a cosmic Prince of Peace who would turn the globe back into a figurative Garden of Eden.
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According to some academics, the messianic beliefs of the Babylonian Jews who returned from exile were influenced by the Zoroastrian concept of the “Saoshyant”—a leader who will propagate divine truth and guide humanity in the last conflict against the forces of evil.
The post-exilic prophets Haggai and Zechariah mention a specific messianic candidate in their writings during this time. They suggest that Zerubbabel, the governor of Jerusalem, who is the great-grandson of King Jehoiachin and who returned to Jerusalem with Cyrus’ support, might actually represent the Davidic “branch”:
The Lord declares in Haggai 2:23, “I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.” What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will flatten out, and you will hear shouts of “God bless it! God bless it!” as he removes the capstone (Zechariah 4:7).
Although the Temple was rebuilt, it appears that Zerubbabel did not fully live up to the prophets’ hopes because the dream of his ruling with God’s royal authority did not materialize. In fact, the throne was never to be held by another Davidic ancestor.
However, a number of Zechariah’s messianic prophecies were significant in subsequent times. Jesus tried to fulfill his prophecy in his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem (see below). A priestly Messiah (a son of Aaron) and a kingly Messiah (a son of David) are two additional “anointed ones” that Zechariah foresaw would arrive:
After then, I questioned the angel about the two olive trees that were to the right and left of the lampstand. …. “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth,” he declared. (Zechariah 4:11–14).
Apocalyptic visions were also reported by Zechariah and other prophets, continuing an ongoing trend started by Ezekiel that stoked people’s imaginations about the impending messianic “Day of the Lord” during this time. The emerging messianic thinking centered on these visions.
Despite not being one of the Hebrew Bible’s prophetic books and generally being thought to have been written much later, the Book of Daniel, with its vision of a supernatural “son of man,” became a significant influence on Jews in the second and first centuries BCE.
When I opened my eyes at night, I saw someone who appeared to be a son of man approaching in the clouds of heaven. He was led into the Ancient of Days’ presence as he drew near. All peoples, nations, and men of every language worshiped him; he was given authority, glory, and sovereign power. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his dominion is an everlasting kingdom that will not fade away.
Who Is a Messiah?
The Hebrew word for “Messiah” means “the anointed one” or “the chosen one.” It represents the Jewish expectation of a coming savior that was foretold in Old Testament prophecy and was realized in Jesus the Messiah.
Christmas is a season when the term “Messiah” is frequently used, yet Jesus is referred to as such all year long. You may have pondered the meaning of the word after hearing Handel’s Messiah or the Christmas narrative read aloud in church. Yes, it mentions Jesus, but why?
Thousands of years of history, hope, and prophecy are embodied in the term “Messiah,” which finally led to the birth of Jesus Christ.
What Does the Word “Messiah” Mean?
The Hebrew word mashiach, which means “anointed one” or “chosen one,” is the root of the English term “messiah.”
People were anointed with oil in Old Testament Israel to dedicate themselves to God for a particular function. This routine started out early. According to Leviticus 8:12, Aaron was chosen to serve as Israel’s first high priest.
Samuel anointed Saul and subsequently David, the first two kings of Israel, in 1 Samuel 10:1 and 1 Samuel 16:10. Prophets were also anointed; in 1 Kings 19:16, God gave Elijah the order to anoint Elisha as his successor.
Therefore, the Messiah would be someone set apart for God and selected for a particular task.
What Does the Old Testament Say About the Messiah?
As many prophets revealed words from God throughout the Old Testament, the concept of the Messiah grew.
Although many of the prophesies don’t use the word “Messiah” directly, they have come to be interpreted as alluding to this eventual savior.
The predictions date all the way back to the beginning. In Genesis 3:15, God states to the serpent that tricked Adam and Eve,
He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel, and I will sow discord between you and the lady, and between your progeny and hers.
It is acknowledged that the Messiah is the one who will break the head of the serpent, or Satan.
Deuteronomy 18:15–19 is another early scripture that was thought to allude to a Messiah. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, among your fellow Israelites,” Moses informs the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:15. He must be taken seriously.
One of the most well-known messianic passages is Isaiah 52:13–Isaiah 53:12. It contains a prophecy about a future savior who will save Israel by going through pain.
An “Anointed One” who will arrive is also mentioned in Daniel 9:25–27.
These are only a few of the most notable verses that refer to the Messiah; there are many more.
In the New Testament, who is the Messiah?
The Jewish people were anxiously looking for a deliverer at the time Jesus was born in the first century. In the decades following Babylon’s forced exile of the Jews, interest in prophecy and anticipation of the coming of the Messiah had increased.
The Promised Land no longer belonged to them, despite the fact that they had been permitted to return to Judah.
Judea was under Roman rule at the time of Jesus’ birth. The Jews regarded the Romans as cruel overlords, and the Romans saw Judea as a backward region populated by dissidents.
The Jews persisted in holding out hope for the promised Messiah, a prophet king who, they believed, would deliver them from Rome and establish a new and glorious kingdom of Israel. Despite the fact that freedom fighters, zealots, and men identifying themselves as messiahs led dispersed rebellions that were put down by Rome.
Not just Jews were aware of these prophecies. The birth of Jesus was announced by a star that the wise men from the East had followed. Matthew 2:2 describes him as the “king of the Jews,” and they traveled to find him.
They discovered his whereabouts thanks to other Old Testament predictions, which stated that a Messiah would originate at Bethlehem, as demonstrated in Micah 2:2:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are a little clan of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose beginnings are from of old, from ancient times,” the prophet said.
It turns out that Bethlehem was where Jesus was discovered. He was, however, in many ways not the Jewish people’s expected Messiah.
What Evidence Does Jesus Provide That He Is the Messiah?
The Jews didn’t expect a mighty king like Jesus. Rome wasn’t completely destroyed by him, at least not right away. While the Roman Empire fell apart just a few hundred years after Jesus lived on earth, Christianity has endured for more than two thousand years.
Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed in the Old Testament. The three positions were then distinct. They all came together in Jesus. The true Anointed One, he is.
The Bible was spoken by prophets. He was a prophet who taught the Word of the Lord and actually lived it (John 1:1–18; John 14:24; Luke 24:19).
The role of the priest was to act as a mediator between the people and God. They were designed to atone for the sin of the people and men and God. Jesus served as the supreme priest, offering the ideal sacrifice of Himself via the atoning act of His death.
According to Romans 8:34, “Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was resurrected to life — is at the right side of God and is also interceding for us,” he makes peace between us and God.
As the Son of God, Jesus is the supreme King of Kings and the supreme ruler of all of creation (Ephesians 1:20-23).
300 predictions may have been fulfilled by Jesus, according to estimates. We can’t discuss them all here due to space and time constraints, but a few are the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), the One from Bethlehem (Micah 2:2), the Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14), Riding on a Donkey into Jerusalem (Zechariah 9:9), and Being Pierced in the Hands and Feet (Psalm 22:16).
What Is the Meaning of Jesus the Messiah for Us?
In our Bibles, the Greek word for “Messiah” is rendered as “Christ.” Jesus is the Christ, the world’s awaited Saviour.
According to Genesis 3:15, God has been working on rescuing humankind since the beginning of time. He has been planning our salvation throughout all of history out of His love. Jesus is more than merely the Jewish people’s Saviour King. He is also our Savior.
When Andrew exclaimed, “We have found the Messiah,” what did he mean? The Jewish people had been waiting for God to send a Messiah—a chosen, anointed one—for thousands of years before Jesus came to earth to live with us and be our Savior. They had studied the Old Testament predictions that stated God will send a deliverer to save His people (Isaiah 42:1; 61:1-3; Psalm 16, 22; Daniel 9; etc.). Sadly, they were mistaken about what this Messiah would accomplish.
The Messiah would defeat God’s enemies, according to the prophecies they had read, and they took this to indicate that he would free them from their Roman oppressors. They anticipated that he would establish a kingdom on earth, one in which they, and not anyone else, would hold power.
He stated, “And truly, Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book; nevertheless, these are recorded that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ [the Messiah], the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”(John 20:30, 31).
Jesus The Messiah
Jesus is the Messiah, according to the Gospels, who has been chosen and anointed by God to redeem His people from their sins (Matthew 16:16; Luke 4:17-21; John 1:40-49; 4:25, 26).
The apostle Peter recalled to his audience, following Jesus’ resurrection, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Peter also emphasized that Jesus was resurrected. Peter said, “And we are witnesses of all that He did (Acts 10:38, 39).
Jesus Himself made the assertion that He was the Messiah. I know that the Messiah is coming,” the lady He spoke with at a well in Samaria stated (who is called Christ). “He will tell us all things when He comes,” He said. I who speak to you am He, Jesus said to the woman (John 4:25, 26).
Jesus is still the Messiah, the one whom God has chosen and anointed to free us from sin and the power of the devil. He offers you pardon for your sins as the Messiah. You are guaranteed eternal life and a seat in His upcoming kingdom. He implores, “Come to Me, and you will find rest for your spirits” (Matthew 11:28, 29).