The following essay was sent to a Messianic leader. He suggested that we exchange our respective views about the Messiah that was predicted by the prophets of the Jewish Scriptures. I sent him my point of view, but I never received any response from him. I do find it interesting that most of my correspondence with Messianics and Christians adhere to the same template. I write something based on Scripture, and the response I get is generally the same: silence. I wonder why?
As we agreed – here is my presentation of the Messiah from the perspective of the Jewish Scriptures.
Genesis 49:10 tells us that the Messiah will have the nations gather to him.
Numbers 24:17-19 tells us that the Messiah will achieve military victory over Israel’s enemies.
Isaiah 11:1-12:6 Describes a leader imbued with a spirit of God, wisdom, understanding, council, strength, knowledge and fear of God. He will be a righteous judge and he will smite the wicked dead. Here too, it speaks of the nations seeking him (11:10 – as in Genesis 49:10).
In this passage we get a description of the times of the Messiah. The prophet speaks of universal peace and universal knowledge of God (11:6-9). The prophet speaks of the ingathering of Israel’s exiles (11:11 -16) and Israel’s victory over her enemies (11:14 – as in Numbers 24:17-19).
The prophet then describes Israel’s song and exultation in praise of God (12:1-6).
Isaiah 55:3,4 speaks of God’s kindness towards David and how He has appointed Him a leader and a commander for the nations. My understanding of this passage is that it refers to David’s descendant; the Messiah. God’s promises to David are fulfilled through this descendant of his. This fits in with the other prophecies that refer to the Messiah (Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:10).
Jeremiah 3:15 speaks of shepherds after God’s heart implying that the Messiah will not rule alone but that there will be a plurality of leaders in that time. This concept is repeated in Obadiah 1:21and Micah 5:4.
Jeremiah 23:5-8 and 33:14-16 describe Messiah as a king who executes justice and charity and that there will be security for Israel in his days.
Jeremiah 30:9 refers to the Messiah as “David” – as does Ezekiel (34:23,24, 37:24) and Hosea (3:5). I want to talk about this point at length after I finish listing the Scriptural references.
Jeremiah 30:21 tells us that the Messiah will be one of us (the Jewish people at the end of time will consider him one of their own) and that God will have to bring the Messiah close to Himself – because who would dare approach God.
Ezekiel 34:23-31 speaks of the Messiah as a shepherd and a prince. The prophet describes the times as a period of peace, security and great bounty.
Ezekiel 37:22-28 also speaks of the Messiah and his times. It speaks of the Temple being rebuilt, Israel’s reconciliation with God, ingathering of the exiles, observance of the Law, and a covenant of peace.
Ezekiel 44:3 speaks of the privilege of the prince/Messiah to eat his offerings in a special area of the Temple (reminiscent of Jeremiah 30:21).
Ezekiel 45:7,8 speaks of the land that will be designated for the Messiah in the end-times.
Ezekiel 45:16,17 speaks of the messiah’s responsibility to pay for the communal offerings of the holidays.
Ezekiel 45:22 speaks of the Messiah’s responsibility to bring a sin-offering for himself and for the nation.
Throughout chapter 46 (Ezekiel) we learn of various privileges and responsibilities of the Messiah (verses 2,4,8,10,12,15-18).
Micah 5:3 speaks of the Messiah shepherding Israel with the might of God, Israel will return from the exile, and the fame of the Messiah will reach the ends of the earth. (Note that Micah 5:1 tells us that the Messiah will be from the Bethlhemite clan – in keeping with the promise to David).
According to many commentators, Zechariah 9:9,10 also refer to the Messiah. Here he is described as righteous and poor – riding on a donkey. He will rule with peace over the ends of the earth.
Zechariah chapters 12 and 13 refer to the house of David in a position of leadership in the end-times – also a Messianic reference (12:7,8,10,12, 13;1). Here too, we have a description of a military victory of Israel over her enemies.
I think that these are the Scriptural references of the man Messiah that are most explicit and clear. The picture we gather is that the Messiah will be a wise and righteous king of the Davidic dynasty who will rule over Israel in an era when all the nations recognize Israel’s role as God’s firstborn son. Thus all of the nations will be subject to the Messiah as part of their submission to Israel (Isaiah 60:12).
It is clear that the times of the Messiah are those glorious end-times that are so vividly described by the prophets (Deuteronomy 4:30, 30:1-10, 32:43, Jeremiah 3:14-18, 16:14,15,19, 23:3-6, 30:3,7-11,16-25, 31:1-39, 32:37-44, 33:6-26, 46:27,28, 50:4,5,19,20, Ezekiel 11:17-20, 20:40-44, 28:25-26, 34:9-16,22-31, 36:6-15,22-38, 37:1-28, 38:1-48:35, Isaiah 1:26,27, 2:2-4, 4:2-6, 10:33-12:6, 24:21-25:9, 30:26, 34:1-35, 40:1-11, 41:10-20, 43:5-10, 44:1-5 49:8-26, 51:11,22-52:12, 54:1-55:5, 56:7, 60:1-63:9, 65:17-25, 66:10-24, Hosea 2:1-3,16-25, Joel 3;1-5, 4:1-21, Amos 9:11-15, Obadiah 1:17-21, Micah 4:1-7, 5:1-13, 7:8-20, Zephaniah 3:9-20, Zechariah 2:9, 8:2-8, 14:3-21, Malachi 3:4,16-24, Psalm 51:20,21, 69:36,37, 98:1-3, 102:14-23, 126:1-6, Daniel 2:44, 7:18,22,27, 12:2,3,)
The fact that the prophets refer to the Messiah by the name; David, tells us that the Messiah will be like David. Of all of the characters in the Jewish Scripture, we know David best. His entire heart is open for all to read in the Book of Psalms. David loved God with all of his heart and his words reflect that love. David was totally self-effacing before God. He publicly recognized and acknowledged his failings and sins before God. The utter humility of David before God, and David’s all-consuming love of God touched the heart of Israel and continues to touch Israel’s heart to this very day. The prophet describes David as the one who gives pleasantness to Israel’s song (2Samuel 23:1). David is the ultimate human king. David was the man who had the ability to lead his people to spiritual victory as well as military victory without diverting the attention of the people to himself. David directed everyone’s devotion to God and to God alone. With David as our king the sovereignty of God is in no way eclipsed. This is what we look forward to. We look forward to a time when everyone is absolutely cognizant of God’s absolute sovereignty – under a king who continuously inspires us to increase and grow in our awareness of God’s absolute sovereignty and love
I think this sums up my understanding of the Messiah – I am looking forward to hearing your perspective.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal