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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

MESSIAH is the English word based on the Greek representation of the original Hebrew or Aramaic. The Gr. reproduction assumes the varied forms ?es?a?, ?ess?a?, and ?ese?a?, corresponding to the Hebrew ???????? and the Aramaic ?????????. The Heb. is the normal katŒl form, meaning ‘anointed,ì which is translation into Greek in the term which has become so familiar, ???st??, the agnomen of our Lord. The Heb. ???????? was a term applied pre-eminently to the king, who was designated to office by the ceremony of anointing (1Sa_9:16; 1Sa_10:1, 2Ki_9:2-3; 2Ki_9:6). Priests were consecrated to office in like manner (Lev_8:12; cf. Lev_4:3; cf. Lev_4:16).

i. Anointing of Kings .—The custom of anointing the king, from which his designation as ‘messiah’ arose, is connected with magical usages of hoary antiquity, based on the conception that the smearing or pouring of the unguent on the body endows the human subject with certain qualities. Thus the Arabs of Eastern Africa believe that an unguent of lion’s fat inspires a man with boldness, and makes the wild beasts flee in terror from him. Other illustrations may be found in Frazer’s Golden Bough 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , ii. 364 ff. The Tell el-Amarna inscriptions show that this custom of anointing the king with oil prevailed in Western Asia at least as far back as b.c. 1450. The passage to which we refer occurs in a letter from a certain Rammân-nirâri of Nuhašši in Northern Syria addressed to the king of Egypt, in which it is stated that a former king of Egypt [Thothmes iii.] had ‘poured oil on the head’ of Rammân-nirâri’s grandfather and established him as king of Nuhašši.* [Note: Winckler, Thontafeln von Tell el-Amarna (vol. v. in Schrader’s KIB), Letter 37 (p. 98).] Frazer’s great work has rendered us familiar with the supernatural endowments of a king who was regarded as a quasi -deity.† [Note: Golden Bough2, i. 137–156; cf. also his Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship (1905).] That ancient Israel also believed that the royal dignity involved supernatural Divine powers, and that the oil poured upon the king conveyed these powers (like the ‘laying on of hands’), can hardly admit of doubt. The oil, like the sprinkled blood in a covenant-rite‡ [Note: According to Westermarck, the blood shed possesses a magical power of conveying a curse (‘Magic and Social Relations’ in Sociological Papers, vol. ii. p. 160). In the case of a covenant the curse falls if the covenant be not fulfilled.] ( Exodus 24:6 ff.), possessed a magical virtue.§ [Note: Thus shields were smeared with oil to render them or their owners immune ( 2 Samuel 1:21, cf.  Isaiah 21:5. Saul’s shield was un-anointed, and so its owner perished).]

Like the priest, the king was regarded as a Divine intermediary, and assumed the supreme ritual functions of a priest in his own person. Among the ancient Semites, especially the Babylonians and Assyrians, the earthly ruler or king was considered to be the supreme God’s representative or viceroy. Sometimes he declares himself the ‘son of the deity’ ( e.g. in the opening line of Ashurbanipal’s cylinder-inscription he calls himself binutu Ashûr u Bêlit , ‘offspring of Ashur and Beltis’; cf. the language of  Psalms 2:7), or ‘favourite of the deity’ (cf. the name of the Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] monarch Naram-Sin , ‘beloved of SIN. [Note: Sinaitic.] ’ Sargon calls himself in the opening of his Nimrûd insc. ‘the favourite of Anu and Bel’). Further parallels in the case of Nebuchadrezzar may be found in Schrader, COT [Note: OT Cuneiform Inscriptions and the OT.] ii. 105 ff. See also Tiele, Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] —Assyr. [Note: Assyrian.] Gesch. 491 ff. Tiglath-pileser i. (b.c. 1100) calls himself iššakku (PA-TE-SI) of the God Ashur (Prism-Insc. col. vii. 62. 63), i.e. Ashur’s plenipotentiary. That in this sacred function priestly office was involved may be readily inferred. Thus Ashurbanipal (like Sargon) calls himself not only the šaknu or vicegerent of Bêl, but also the šangu or priest of Ashur. Similarly the Homeric kings offer sacrifice on behalf of the people. As Robertson Smith remarks (‘Priest’ in EBr [Note: Br Encyclopaedia Britannica.] 9 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ), the king in both Greece and Rome was the acting head of the State-religion. So also in ancient pre-exilian Israel, David and Solomon offered sacrifices ( 2 Samuel 6:17 ff.,  1 Kings 8:63) in accordance with the tradition of the age.

ii. Unique position of David in Hebrew thought .—Among the Hebrew anointed kings or messiahs, David came in course of time to have a special significance. His importance was enhanced by the history of the three centuries that followed his reign. No Israelite or Jew living in the year b.c. 730 could have failed to note the striking contrast between the unbroken continuity of monarchs of the seed of David sitting on the throne of Jerusalem and the succession of brief dynasties and usurping kings who followed one another on the throne of Samaria. The swiftly passing series of short reigns terminated by violence which filled the space of 15 years in Northern Israel from the close of the dynasty of Jehu (which lasted nearly a century) to the accession of Hoshea, Assyria’s nominee, to the dismembered kingdom, deeply impressed the prophet of Ephraim, who exclaims:—

‘They have appointed kings, but not from me ( i.e. Jahweh);

Have made princes, but I knew them not’ ( Hosea 8:4).

It is not surprising, amid the rapid changes of rulers and the disasters wrought by foreign invasion, that Hosea should have prophesied the discipline of exile for his faithless countrymen, and as its final issue that they should return and seek Jahweh their God and ‘David their king.’* [Note: There is not a shred of evidence to show that this clause is not genuine in  Hosea 3:5. It is difficult to see why, if the idea ‘had its roots in Isaiah’s time’ and not in that out or which  Ezekiel 34:23;  Ezekiel 37:24 f.  Ezekiel 45:8-9 and  Jeremiah 30:9 arose (Harper, ad loc.), we should follow Wellhausen in rejecting the clause. Nowack rejects the entire verse.] For amid all the vicissitudes of the last three centuries the seed of David had survived every peril. The ‘sure mercies of David’ to which the Jews still clung, though with feeble hope, in the dark days of exile ( Isaiah 55:3), began in the age of Isaiah to take root in the national imagination. Though Judah was destined to suffer terrible chastisements, yet as a result of the disciplinary trial ‘a remnant would return’ ( i.e. be converted) to Jahweh, and Jerusalem would be preserved from the onslaughts of the Assyrian foe. The Immanuel prophecy, which contained the assurance of God’s presence among His people, delivered to the doubting Ahaz and his unbelieving court during the dark days of b.c. 735, became the germ of a great series of Messianic passages which are found in  Isaiah 9:1-6 [English 2–7], which was probably composed soon after b.c. 701, in  Isaiah 11:1-9, and, lastly, in  Isaiah 32:1-3. In the first the Messiah is portrayed as a military conquering hero, ‘breaking in pieces the oppressor’s mace’; in the second, the sounds of discord cease, and He, sprung from Jesse’s stock, is the ruler of justice and peace in God’s ‘holy mountain’ of Zion, where even the powers of violence and injustice are turned into submission to a Divine authority. In the last He is again the King who shall reign in righteousness, ‘a hiding-place from the wind, a covert from the tempest.’

All these passages, as well as Is 2:2–4, are regarded by Duhm as Isaianic. On the other hand, Cheyne, Hackmann, and Marti hold that they are post-exilic,* [Note: Recently Prof. R. 11. Kennett has discussed Is 9:1–7 in JThSt (April 1906), and would assign it to the Maccabaean period. The epithets are referred to Simon the Maccabee.] but on what the present writer considers to be insufficient grounds. The subject is discussed by Cheyne in his Introd. to Isaiah , pp. 44 ff., 57 ff., and 173–176; also by Hackmann, Die Zukunftserwartung des Jesaia , pp. 126–156, and by Marti in his Commentary on the above passages: cf. also his Gesch. der Isr. [Note: Israelite.] Religion 4 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , p. 191 footn., 255 ff. On the other side, see the Commentaries of Duhm and Dillmann-Kittel (1898) on these passages, and the Century Bible , Com. on ‘Isaiah’ by the present writer. Kautzsch, in his elaborate art. ‘Religion of Israel’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (Extra Vol. p. 696a), admits the reasonableness of the view here advocated.

After the gleams of hope awakened by Hezekiah and the deliverance of Jerusalem, and after the glowing anticipations of an ideal Messianic King clothed with Divine powers, to which Isaiah in the early years of the 7th cent. gave expression, there followed a time of reaction when these high hopes suffered temporary eclipse. Men’s hearts became sick of waiting. The long reign of Manasseh, followed by the brief reign of Amon, was a period of religious as well as political decline. On the other hand, the reign of Josiah reawakened the hopes of the faithful adherents of Jahweh, and it is significant that Messianic expectation revives in the oracles of Jeremiah. In  Jeremiah 23:5-8 (cf.  Jeremiah 30:9) he foretells the coming days when a righteous branch or shoot shall be raised unto David, who shall reign prudently and execute judgment and justice. In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel dwell secure, and the name by which he shall be called is ‘Jahweh is our righteousness’ This fragment probably belongs to the earlier utterances of Jeremiah, and upon it Zechariah in the opening years of the post-exilic period bases his well-known prophecies ( Zechariah 3:8;  Zechariah 6:12), in which Joshua and his comrades are addressed as tokens of the coming of Jahweh’s servant ‘the branch’ ( Zechariah 3:8). In  Zechariah 6:12 it is made clear that Zerubbabel of the seed of David is meant, who is destined to complete the building of the Temple.† [Note: Duhm deals very arbitrarily with these passages.  Jeremiah 23:5-8 was not the genuine utterance of Jeremiah, but a post-exilic addition.  Zechariah 3:8;  Zechariah 6:12 are badly corrupted, and later editors have sought to eliminate the name of Zerubbabel from the original oracle, because Zechariah’s prophecies with respect to him were not fulfilled.

Probably  Micah 5:1-8, like  Jeremiah 23:5-8, may be assigned to the earlier years of the reign of Josiah, when the religious and political outlook of Judah appeared more hopeful, and the overthrow of Assyria seemed as probable as it did to Isaiah after b.c. 701 ( Isaiah 9:3-4 [Heb.]). We may assign  Nahum 2:2 to  Nahum 3:19 to the same period.] With the passage in  Jeremiah 23:5-8 cf. also  Jeremiah 30:9,  Jeremiah 33:15 as well as  Ezekiel 21:32;  Ezekiel 34:23-31;  Ezekiel 37:24. In Jeremiah less stress is laid on the personal and material features, more emphasis placed on the ethical. Also it appears from several passages that Jeremiah thought rather of a succession of rulers of Davidic descent than of a single ruler. But in determining this question the utmost critical caution is required. Thus  Jeremiah 33:14-24 is regarded by most critics as a later addition to the oracles of Jeremiah (see, e.g. , Giesebrecht’s Com., and Cornill in SBOT [Note: BOT Sacred Books of Old Test.] ). Certainly after the time of Jeremiah the personal features in Messianic prophecy became fainter. ‘There shall not be cut off from David one that sits upon the throne of the house of Israel’ ( Jeremiah 33:17), points to a succession of rulers at a time when the hopes of Israel still clung to the ‘sure mercies of David.’ But this utterance, as we have already seen, belongs to a later time than that of Jeremiah. Zephaniah and Obadiah make no reference to the Messianic King. When we consider their historic environment, this is not surprising. For royalty in Judah was rapidly declining in power and prestige. The last kings of Judah became mere puppets in the hands of foreign princes, who pulled the strings from the banks of the Nile or of the Euphrates. Under these circumstances the ideal of a Davidic ruler ceased to appeal as powerfully as it did a century earlier, and ultimately gave place to another. It is marvellous that it continued to survive after the rude shocks of a hundred years.

Its survival is probably due to Ezekiel , the priest-prophet, herald of restoration, of hope and of reconstructive effort. This prophet was an earnest student of Israel’s past, and read its records and its oracles. The influence not only of his great elder contemporary Jeremiah, but also of the earlier prophets Hosea and Isaiah, is unmistakable. The influence of the first and the last is clear in  Ezekiel 34:23-31 ‘And I will set over them a shepherd, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; … and I the Lord will be a God unto them, and my servant David a prince in their midst.’ Here, as in the case of  Jeremiah 23:5-8, David represents a succession of Davidic descendants sitting on his throne. When we turn to Ezekiel’s ideal scheme of the restored Jewish theocracy (chs. 40–48), we find that the secular prince of Davidic lineage falls into the background, and his functions are subordinated to the ecclesiastical routine. The same fate in the early post-exilic period befalls the somewhat shadowy, if stately, figure of Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4, 6 (cf.  Haggai 2:22), who was soon destined to subside into the background in the presence of Joshua the high priest, the natural and legitimate head of the newly constituted Church-nation. In truth, the Messianic King rapidly becomes a vanished ideal of prophecy. In the closing verses (14–20) of Zephaniah (obviously an addition belonging to the late-exilic or early post-exilic period) it is Jahweh who is Israel’s King in the midst of His people, their mighty Hero who wards off the nation’s foes ( Haggai 2:15-19).

When we turn to the Deutero-Isaiah (40–55), we find that an entirely new ideal, to which reference has already been made, had displaced the earlier and older one created by Isaiah. In place of the national-Messianic King we have the national-prophetic ideal of the Suffering Servant of Jahweh, through whose humiliation and sorrow the sinning nation shall find peace. God’s anointed king, who is not of Davidic descent at all, but the Persian Cyrus, is the chosen instrument for accomplishing the Divine purposes with respect to His servant Jacob ( Isaiah 44:28;  Isaiah 45:1-4). We shall have to note how profoundly the Deutero-Isaianic portraiture of the Suffering Servant came in later times to modify the Hebrew ideal of the Messiah, and to constitute an entirely new conception which the Hebrew race only partially and very slowly assimilated, and whose leaven worked powerfully in the Messianic ideal of the ‘Son of Man’ in the consciousness of Christ and His immediate followers.

When we pass to the Trito-Isaiah (56–66), which probably arose in the years that immediately preceded the advent of Nehemiah, we find that the old ideal of the Davidic Messiah, which Ezekiel and Haggai attempted with poor success to revive, has altogether disappeared. Not even in the lyrical collection (60–62) is the faintest note to be heard of a Messianic Jewish King. The prophecies of Malachi are equally silent. We have to wait for centuries—perhaps as late as the declining days of the Hasmonaeans—before the Davidic Messianic King definitely and clearly reappears.

Before we pass to the Greek period (b.c. 300 and later), it is necessary to refer briefly to a series of OT passages of a Messianic or reputed Messianic character. (1)  Genesis 3:15 (belonging to the earlier Jahwistic document, J 1) can only by a strained interpretation be regarded as Messianic at all. The seed of the woman and the serpent (representing the power of evil) are to be engaged in prolonged conflict, in which both suffer injury. In this struggle it is not expressly stated which side will triumph (so Dillmann). (2)  Genesis 49:10 is exceedingly obscure. The rendering, ‘as long as one comes to Shiloh’ (Hitzig, Tuch), is doubtful in point of Hebrew usage, and difficult to sustain historically. The Greek versions attribute to the phrase an obscure Messianic reference, but interpret שלה as a late Hebrew compound form with a relative, which can be accepted only after making violent assumptions.* [Note: LXX τὰ ἀποκείμενα αὐτῶ, ‘that which is reserved for him.’ The LXX in some variants has ἕως ἂν ἔλθῃ ὧ ἀπόκειται, ‘till there comes he to whom it (? the sceptre) belongs,’ which is the rendering of the Targ. of Onkelos and also of Jerusalem. This most clumsy and almost impossible construction is apparently due to the influence of  Ezekiel 21:32, where, however, we have a subject for the relative clause, viz. הַמִּשִׁפָּם.] Giesebrecht ingeniously proposed to read in place of שלה the form משְׁלֹה ‘his ruler.’ He rightly argues that to read שֶׁלּה as the LXX Septuagint presupposes, immediately followed by וְלוֹ, constitutes a very awkward and intolerable combination.† [Note: Beiträge zur Jesaiakritik, p. 29, footnote. It is difficult to understand the acquiescence of Gunkel in the construction pre-supposed in the alternative rendering of the LXX variant (cited in the previous footnote).] If we accept this emendation, the passage may be regarded as Messianic. But it is most probably an insertion moulded on  Ezekiel 21:32, for it stands in no immediate relation to the verses that precede or follow.‡ [Note: See Driver in Expositor, July 1885; EBi, art. ‘Shiloh’; and Bennett’s ‘Genesis’ (Century Bible), ad loc.] (3)  2 Samuel 7:4-17. Here  2 Samuel 7:15-16 are the expression, placed in the mouth of the prophet Nathan, of the sentiment of reverence to the House of David, which took its rise in the latter part of the 8th century. Budde refers this speech of Nathan and the following prayer of David to a later period than the other more primitive sections of the historical narrative, and we may reasonably follow him in ascribing this passage to the 7th cent.—not improbably the same period as that in which  Jeremiah 23:5-8;  Jeremiah 30:9 arose.§ [Note: Budde’s Com. on the Books of Samuel (J. C. B. Mohr), p. 233; cf. also his Richter u. Samuel, pp. 244, 247.] (4)  Numbers 24:17 ‘A star hath marched (? gleamed) out of Jacob, and a sceptre hath arisen out of Israel, and hath broken in pieces the sides (temples) of Moab, and hath destroyed all the sons of Seth’ (?). The text is here difficult, and many points are uncertain. The entire series of Balaam’s oracles are brought together by the redactor of the J [Note: Jahwist.] and E [Note: Elohist.] documents, and the reference of the lyric passage just cited may be either to David ( 2 Samuel 8:2) or to Omri (cf. insc. of Mesha, lines 4–8, and art. ‘Omri’ in Hastings’ DB. [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] || [Note: | The Com. of Dr. Buchanan Gray (ICC) should be consulted.] Its Messianic interpretation by early Christian writers (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus), as well as by Rabbi Akiba, who referred it to Bar Cochba in the days of Hadrian (cf. also the Targums of Onkelos and Jon.), need not detain us. (5)  Deuteronomy 18:15 ‘A prophet shall Jahweh thy God raise up unto thee from thy midst from thy brethren, like unto me. To him shall ye hearken.’ This passage is quoted in  Acts 3:22;  Acts 7:37 as having an individual Messianic reference. But the context (cf. the verses that immediately precede) clearly proves that the reference is general, and not individual. The Israelites are not to pay heed to the magician or soothsayer, but to God’s true prophet, like Moses, whom He will raise up in Israel from time to time (see Driver’s Com. in ICC [Note: CC International Critical Commentary.] ). (6) Lastly, we have a series of Psalm passages. Psalms 2 (esp.  Psalms 2:5 ff.). 72, 89, 110 may be taken as the most conspicuous examples of the revived Messianic expectation. They all belong to the Greek period. Psalms 2, like Psalms 1 (both without superscription), was evidently placed by the redactors at the head of the Psalm collection, and belongs to a late period. Psalms 2, like Psalms 110, originates from the Maccabaean days, when the old conception of the national deliverer from foreign enemies, which was created by Isaiah after Judah’s emergence from a desperate crisis, once more revived.

Before we come to deal with the later phases of Messianic expectation, we would here note the historic evolution of three distinct lines of anticipation respecting the human agency whereby Israel’s salvation and the establishment of a Divine and righteous rule would be effected. (1) The righteous Messianic warrior-king of Davidic descent. (2) The prophetic sufferer portrayed in Isaiah 40-55, and esp. in  Isaiah 52:13 to  Isaiah 53:12—a conception which may also underlie the obscure passage  Zechariah 12:10-11. (3) The prophetic ideal , based mainly on  Deuteronomy 18:15, which came to be identified with the heraldic prophet of ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord,’ the Elijah of  Malachi 4:4 f. [Heb. 3:22 f.], or was identified with the Messiah Himself ( Acts 3:22 f.). Cf.  Mark 6:15;  Mark 8:28,  John 1:21;  John 6:14;  John 7:40, and Wendt’s Teaching of Jesus , i. p. 67 f.

iii. Transformation of the Messianic ideal through Apocalyptic .—The kingdom of righteousness and the fear of the Lord, or what is expressed in the Biblical phrase the Kingdom of God , was not to be attained without a struggle against opposing forces political and moral, or without the instrumentality of a personal leader, sometimes an anointed king of Davidic descent, through whom the victory was to be won for Israel. For throughout we find that Israel, or a purified remnant, stands at the centre of the whole movement towards righteousness, and becomes more or less identified with it. Accordingly, the closest connexion subsisted between the national Messiah and that future state of blessedness, a restored theocracy, which became the steadfast expectation of the Jewish race since the destruction of Solomon’s temple in b.c. 587. At first it was believed that the desired consummation would not long be delayed. The existing generation and the earthly scene in which the prophet lived would behold the great day of the Lord and the advent of the salvation foretold. But ever since the days of Amos, and still more after the discipline of the Exile, the horizons of time and space expanded.

1 . After the Exile and the return of the Gôlah (exiled Jews), the advent of the fulfilled hopes of a Divine kingdom of righteousness was still delayed, and the Messianic age seemed as far off as ever, even after Nehemiah and Ezra had worked at their task of reform. As time went on, the disappointed expectations of post-exilic Judaism bred among the spiritual leaders a spirit of hopelessness as to the political outlook, and this is echoed in their religious hymns: ‘Does Jahweh cast off in abhorrence for ever; will he no more be gracious? Is there an end to his kindness for evermore’ ( Psalms 77:8-9 [Heb.]); cf. Psalms 22, 37, etc. Trust in Jahweh still survived, and His faithful followers clung to the Tôrah ( Psalms 19:8-12 [Heb.] and 119 passim ), but Messianic expectation languished. The outlook of the present time was hopeless. But amid the enlarged horizons of time as well as space to which we have referred, the thoughts of some of the most spiritual minds in Judaism were directed to the transcendental and ultimate. In that world God would finally vindicate Himself and His ways to the expectant faith of Israel. A distinction began to be established between the present and the future age or aeon. The former is corrupt, and hopelessly delivered over to Satan and the powers of darkness. Victory will come in the latter. As we approach the time of Christ, the distinction between the present age (עוֹלָםהַוָּה or αἰὼν οὗτος) and the age to come (עוֹלָםהַבָּא or αἰὼν μέλλων) becomes sharply contrasted, and the transcendental features and colouring which invest the latter, and the final conflict with the heathen or demonic powers (Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38, 39, attributed by some recent critics to a later hand than Ezekiel) characterize the new and later phase of Messianic expectation. This final agony or conflict, called in later times the ‘Messianic sufferings or pangs’ (חָבֽלֵיהַמָּשִׁיחַ), which was to usher in the new age, was no longer confined to earth. It was universal and cosmic. These apocalyptic features (which first meet us clearly in that latest addendum to the Isaianic oracles, Isaiah 24-27) now impress themselves on Messianic expectation, though by no means always; cf.  Mark 13:6-37,  John 16:11;  John 16:20-22.

2 . Another feature of equal importance, which begins to emerge in apocalyptic literature, left its impress on Messianic expectation, viz. the belief in the resurrection of the dead . The first clear intimations of this faith are to be found in  Isaiah 26:19,  Daniel 12:2. In the older apocrypha (Sirach, Judith, Tobit, 1 Mac.) it is absent. In the later ( 2 Maccabees 7:9;  2 Maccabees 7:14;  2 Maccabees 7:23;  2 Maccabees 7:29;  2 Maccabees 7:36;  2 Maccabees 12:43-44) it is obviously present. In the Wisdom of Solomon it takes the form of a happy life after death for the just ( Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9;  Wisdom of Solomon 4:7;  Wisdom of Solomon 5:16;  Wisdom of Solomon 6:20).* [Note: Schürer, GJV3 ii. 508.] It is hardly necessary to emphasize how profoundly this belief in the resurrection of the righteous (the most primitive form of the doctrine limited the resurrection to them) moulded the Christology of St. Paul. For to St. Paul, Christ is the Second Adam, endowed with the πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν ( 1 Corinthians 15:45), in whom all His faithful followers are made alive (v. 22); cf.  Romans 6:3-11. See Volz, Jüd. Eschatologie , pp. 237–248.

3 . The pre-mundane existence of the Messiah was another mode of the larger transcendental mould of thought which apocalyptic reveals. Belief in the ante-natal existence of the Messiah was only part of a general tendency of Jewish speculation. The new Jerusalem, the Temple, and Paradise existed before the creation of the world (Apocalypse, Apocalyptic Bar 4:3, 59:4, Assumpt. Mosis 1:14, 17). The Midrash on  Proverbs 8:9 even goes beyond this, and expressly mentions the Messiah among the seven things created before the creation of the world, viz. the Throne of Glory, Messiah the King, the Tôrah, ideal Israel, Repentance, and Gehenna.* [Note: Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, i. p. 175.] The pre-mundane existence of the Messiah is also certified in the Targ. [Note: Targum.] on  Isaiah 9:6 and  Micah 5:2. In these metaphysical conceptions, stimulated, as we may with considerable probability believe, through the Platonic doctrine of archetypal ideas which passed in the great stream of Hellenic influence over the Jewish Diaspora, we clearly discern what Charles aptly calls a Semitic philosophy of religion.† [Note: Book of Enoch, Introd.1 p. 23, in his description of Apocalyptic generally. It is quite possible that we have a trace of it in that profoundly speculative Psalms , 139 (note vv. 15, 16). With reference to the pre-existence of the Messiah (not His name only, as Volz seems to assume in Jüd. Eschatologie, p. 217), see Enoch 48:2–6, and cf. Charles’ notes (and 62:7). ‘Name’ here connotes existence as in the Babyl. Creation tablet (lines 1, 2). On the other side, as against the Jewish belief in Messianic pre-existence, see Dalman, Worte Jesu, p. 245.] By this doctrine of pre-mundane existence the things of God were lifted above the universal lot of change and decay, and brought into the realm of adamantine permanence. As Baldensperger acutely remarks, it became, in the minds of reflective and pious Jews, a guarantee against loss.‡ [Note: Selbstbewusstsein Jesu2, p. 89; Volz, Jüd. Eschatologie, p. 218.] We need not labour to set forth how profoundly it affects NT thought, especially Pauline and Johannine ( 2 Corinthians 8:9,  Philippians 2:7; cf.  2 Corinthians 4:4,  Colossians 1:5,  Hebrews 1:2;  Hebrews 2:10,  John 1:1-3).

4 . Messianic titles.

( a ) Among the most signiheant for students of the NT is that of ‘Restorer,’ which is probably involved in the epithet Ta’eb , which occurs in the apocalypse of the Samaritan liturgy for the Day of Atonement. In the day of Ta’eb it was believed that the sacred vessels of the Temple would reappear which had been concealed on Mount Gerizim,§ [Note: Bousset, Religion des Judentums2, pp. 258, 267, 274.] and it has been conjectured that this same idea of Restorer underlies the epithet Taxo (Greek τάξων) in Assumpt. Mosis 9:1. In the literature of the time of Christ we frequently meet with this conception of the Messiah. Thus in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (Test. Levi, 18), which may have originated about a century before Christ’s birth, the Messiah is regarded as the coming restorer of the Paradise lost by Adam’s transgression. In  Acts 3:21 the καιροὶ ἀποκαταστάσεως clearly reflect this tradition. This function of ‘restorer’ was evidently ascribed to the Messiah and not to God’s messenger Elias, referred to in  Malachi 3:1-18 f. [Heb.]

( b ) Other significant epithets, as ‘Son of a woman,’ prob. in allusion to  Isaiah 7:14, appear, if the text be sound, in the Book of Enoch ( Similitudes ) 62:5, 69:29.|| [Note: | Here, however, it should be noted, in both passages Charles adopts the reading ‘Son of Man.’] This is of interest when we compare the Pauline ‘son of a woman’ ( Galatians 4:4). On the other hand, the designation ‘horned,’ or ‘two-horned’ ( B e rçshîth Rabbâ , 99), based apparently on  Deuteronomy 33:17, belongs to Jewish literature subsequent to the 1st cent. and need not detain us here. Far more significant is the title which plays so large a part in the Synoptic Gospels, viz.:

( c ) ‘Son of Man.’ —The employment of this phrase as a Messianic title dates from the Maccabaean period, and in this specific sense meets us for the first time in  Daniel 7:13. Its earlier occurrence in the OT requires no exposition here. At the time when the Book of Daniel was written, Jewish apocalyptic was directed to the conception of a great final Divine judgment at the close of the present age, whereby the coming age was to be ushered in. We no longer see the figure of a Messianic King of Davidic descent. His place is taken by a mysterious symbolic portraiture which, as Volz correctly argues,* [Note: Eschatologie, p. 10 f.] is not angelic. It stands contrasted with the four animal symbolical shapes previously described, and especially with the last beast with the ten horns, ‘dreadful and exceedingly strong,’ which had ‘great iron teeth that devoured and brake in pieces.’ In sharp distinction from these monstrous and bestial world-powers which are finally to be destroyed, we have a mysterious figure in human shape.† [Note: On the element of mystery attaching to the use of the preposition כִּ (in כְּבַראֱנָשׁ), see Volz, ib.] In v. 27 its significance is explained. It represents ‘the people of the saints of the Most High.’ As H. J. Holtzmann correctly observes, it is intended to express ‘a world-empire which is human and not brutal, which is ethical and noble and not immoral, which is like man, stamped with the likeness of God’ ( Genesis 1:26). That this human and humane world-empire was to be Jewish and not Gentile, is obvious to the reader of Daniel’s apocalypse.

The ‘Son of Man’ has a yet more definite and distinguished rôle in the Similitudes of the Book of Enoch (chs. 37–71), written probably after b.c. 100. Here He is obviously a supernatural personality and not a symbolic figure, or indefinitely expressed as ‘like a son of man.’ The Son of Man is not mere man. This is clearly shown in ch. 39, where a cloud and whirlwind carry Enoch away and set him down at the end of the heavens. There he sees the mansions of the holy, and among these latter ‘the Elect One of righteousness and faith,’ which is another name for the ‘Son of Man’ (v. 6). Moreover, He sits on God’s throne (51:3), which is also His own throne (69:27, 29), possesses universal dominion (62:6), and all judgment is committed to Him (69:27). Various alternative titles are given to Him, viz. ‘the Righteous One’ (38:2, 3, 53:6), and ‘the Elect One’ (39:6, 40:5, 45:3f). We note meanwhile that the Son of Man is also Judge .

Accordingly, we conclude that while the term in Daniel is symbolical of the human rule of God’s people Israel, in Enoch it is the designation of a supernatural personality, who holds universal empire and wields the office of Judge.

When we pass from this apocalyptic use of the title ‘Son of Man’ to its employment in the Synoptic Gospels, we observe a great change. It was without question Christ’s favourite designation of Himself. It is noteworthy that in the Synoptics the term relatively occurs twice as often as it does in the Fourth Gospel. It occurs 30 times in Matthew , 14 times in Mark, and 25 times in Luke. In John it is found only 12 times.

Christ’s employment of the term is by no means uniform. Consequently we are in danger, as Bousset points out, of giving a one-sided interpretation to the expression, either by taking it predominantly in the eschatological sense of Daniel or the Book of Enoch, or as signifying ideal typical man (as Schleiermacher assumes).* [Note: Jesu Predigt in ihrem Gegensatze zum Judenthum, p. 112 f.] Probably Charles is on the right path when he interprets the Synoptic use of the phrase as involving a combination of two contrasted ideas—the transcendent conception of apocalyptic and the Deutero-Isaianic ideal of Jahweh’s Suffering Servant.† [Note: Book of Enoch, Appendix B, p. 315 ff.; cf. also Bartlet, Expositor, Dec. 1892.] It is certainly possible that the latter was the prevailing conception in Christ’s personal consciousness rather than the former or eschatological use of the phrase; while the former was the interpretation of the title which dominated the thought of the Synoptic writers, and came to be impressed on the utterances of Jesus. This view seems to be sustained by the fact that in Aramaic the term ‘Son of Man’ (ܒܱܪ ܢܳܫܳܐ) means simply ‘man.’ On the other hand, it is difficult to believe that Jesus could have employed so colourless and vague a designation of Himself; and Bousset is probably right in his contention, as against Wellhausen, that such a term, employed in Aramaic, could easily come to acquire a special eschatological significance.‡ [Note: Religion des Judentums2, p. 305, footnote.] In all probability, Jesus on certain momentous occasions so used it. How far it was weighted with the significance that the phrase conveys in the Book of Enoch, when the expression was actually employed by Jesus, it is difficult to say. It is hardly necessary to believe that in the personal consciousness of Jesus the superadded notion of pre-mundane existence was attached to the term, though  John 8:58 (‘Before Abraham was, I am’) would fairly point in this direction. We certainly have no clear right to infer it from  Mark 12:6. Moreover, there is some weight in the suggestion which a few scholars, including Bousset, have put forth, that the term ‘Son of Man’ has been placed in the mouth of Jesus in many cases when He simply used the first personal pronoun.§ [Note: Bousset’s Jesus (Eng. ed.), p. 188. Bousset thinks that it was not till the closing months of His ministry that this title was assumed; ‘in face of the threatening doom of final failure … only briefly and sparingly did He adopt the name’ (p. 192f.). Some colour is given to this view, that the Synoptic writers have frequently supplied the phrase in Christ’s discourses, by comparing ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ in  Matthew 5:10 with the parallel ἕνεκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου in  Luke 6:22. But in the extremely severe limitation imposed by Bousset on Christ’s employment of the term we are unable to concur.] That He did, however, employ the phrase in an eschatological sense of Himself, and with a full consciousness of the sublime dignity which it conferred, cannot be denied. Thus, in answer to Pilate’s question ( Mark 14:62; cf.  Matthew 26:64,  Luke 22:69), He quotes the well-known Daniel passage ( Daniel 7:13), declaring that men would see Him, the Son of Man, sitting at the right hand of power ( i.e. of God), and coming in the clouds of heaven. This utterance is certified by the three Synoptic Gospels; and all three agree in giving it a decisive influence in the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin. This testimony, however, carries us one step further. It is hardly possible to dissociate in the consciousness of Jesus the assumption of this high eschatological dignity without including in it the judicial function. The Oriental king was also judge. As King or Messiah, Jesus had, with full consent from Himself, been already acclaimed ( Mark 11:7-11), and, with the title of ‘King of the Jews’ placed on the cross by the Roman governor, He was crucified ( Mark 15:26; cf.  Mark 15:12; cf.  Mark 15:18; cf.  Mark 15:32). Moreover, His preaching of the Kingdom of God was closely bound up with the conception of impending judgment. ‘Just as He could not dispense with the ideas of the kingdom and the judgment, if He wished to make Himself intelligible to His countrymen, so He could not dispense with the Messianic idea if He wished to be intelligible to Himself’ (Bousset).* [Note: Jesus, p. 178. Bousset, however, refuses to include in Christ’s conception of the title ‘Son of Man’ the idea of His own judgeship (p. 194).] It is easy to draw the necessary corollary. In the designation ‘Son of Man’ applied by Jesus to Himself in an eschatological sense, there was involved the other conception which meets us in the Similitudes of the Book of Enoch, that of universal judge.† [Note:  Mark 13:26-27,  Matthew 25:31-32,  2 Corinthians 5:10. See also Friedländer. Die religiösen Bewegungen innerhalb des Judentums im Zeitalter Jesu, p. 325.]

But the eschatological side is not the only, nor is it the most important, aspect of the conception of ‘Son of Man’ in the mind of Jesus and the Synoptic writers. Far greater, viewed from the ethical standpoint, was the human aspect of the lowly Suffering Servant suggested by the Deutero-Isaiah. This certainly could never have been invented by the Synoptic writers. It is of the very essence of Christ’s thought respecting Himself. It is nevertheless remarkable that the locus classicus of the NT writers who reflected on the mystery of the Messiah’s crucifixion, viz. Isaiah 53, was never, so far as we can gather from the Synoptic writers, quoted by Jesus Himself, with the doubtful exception of  Luke 22:37. That this prophecy, however, must have been in His mind, seems fairly clear from  Mark 10:45;  Mark 12:6-10; cf.  John 13:12-17 and  Luke 24:25-26. Accordingly, the title ‘Son of Man’ had a twofold significance. It is employed when Christ’s claims to power and authority are asserted, both now and in His future Kingdom and glory. The ‘Son of Man’ has power to forgive sins ( Mark 2:10). He is Lord over the Sabbath  Matthew 12:8). He will appear clothed in power at the last day ( Mark 14:62). But the title is also used in immediate connexion with His human nature, lowliness, poverty, suffering, and death. ‘The Son of Man came eating and drinking’ ( Matthew 11:19,  Luke 7:34); ‘the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head’ ( Matthew 8:20,  Luke 9:58); ‘is betrayed’ ( Mark 14:21); ‘came not to be ministered unto but to minister’ ( Mark 10:45); suffers and is condemned ( Mark 8:31). The paradox of this twofold antithetic significance is solved by the positive truth which underlies it. The peculiar and special function of dignity and privilege which belongs to the ‘Son of Man’ rests on an ethical basis. He that has come to serve, suffer, and give His life a ransom for many, will pass through agony and death to His place of exaltation in the clouds of heaven (cf.  Acts 3:18;  Acts 8:32;  Acts 17:3;  Acts 26:23). Upon this basis St. Paul and his successors have built. We also are to suffer with Him, that we may share in His glory ( Romans 8:17). The Kenotic doctrine of  Philippians 2:6-7 is reared on this foundation of the teachings of Jesus respecting Himself as ‘Son of Man,’ whereby we learn that He was ‘made perfect through sufferings,’ and became ‘the leader of our salvation’ ( Hebrews 2:9-10).

( d ) ‘Son of God’ is a designation frequently applied to Jesus in the Gospels, and is applied by Jesus to Himself as the expression of His vivid consciousness of God’s presence in His life, and the intimate bond that united Him to the Father ( Matthew 11:27). In His native Aramaic, Abbâ was the mode of address in prayer that came most naturally to His lips, and became a tradition in the worship of the early Christian Church ( Romans 8:15). That the relation claimed by Jesus was a special one, is indicated by His use of the expression ‘my Father in  Matthew 11:27;  Matthew 18:35;  Matthew 20:23, whereas in  Matthew 6:32;  Matthew 10:29 God is spoken of to the audience before Jesus as ‘your Father.’ More significant still is the designation of Himself as ‘beloved Son’ in the parable of the Vineyard let out to Husbandmen ( Mark 12:6), and also by the voice which spoke to Him from heaven at His baptism ( Matthew 3:16-17,  Mark 1:10-11,  Luke 3:21-22). Upon this unquestionable basis of language employed by Jesus respecting Himself, the frequent application of this designation ‘Son of God’ to Christ in the Pauline Epistles, and of the same phrase with the epithet μονογενής in the Johannine writings, was obviously founded. In the memorable scene at Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus questioned His disciples as to their belief respecting Himself, Peter, according to the Matthew tradition, replied, ‘Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the living God ’ ( Matthew 16:16). This would seem to imply that the expression ‘Son of God’ was a Messianic title. But in this connexion two things should be noted: (1)  Mark 8:29 gives Peter’s reply in the briefer form ‘Thou art the Messiah.’ (2) There is scarcely any evidence in later Jewish literature to indicate that the phrase ‘Son of God’ was used as a Messianic title.* [Note: The passages where the term ‘Son’ occurs in 2 Esdras (7:28, 13:32, 37, 52, 14:9) as well as in Enoch (105:2) are all extremely doubtful. The Aramaic original is lost; and it is held by many scholars, including Drummond, Spitta (Zur Gesch. und Lit. des Urchristentums, ii. 9), as well as Charles, that Christian hands have worked over these texts and have inserted the expression ‘Son.’ See Volz, Jüd. Eschatologie, p. 213, who regards Drummond’s conjecture as probable, that the phrase ‘Son’ of God may sometimes have arisen from the Gr. rendering ταῖς for ‘servant’ (עֶבֶד). See also N. Schmidt’s art. ‘Son of God’ in EBi, col. 4694.] This is the more remarkable when we remember  Psalms 2:7 ‘Jahweh hath said unto me, Thou art my son, this day I have begotten thee,’ and the old Semitic conceptions of divinity which attached to kingship, reflected in Assyrian inscriptions (see above, p. 171). Probably the stern monotheism of later post-exilic Judaism tended to suppress language which seemed to attribute Divinity to an earthly human personality.

( e ) ‘Son of David’ is the most characteristic, as it is the most traditional and historic, designation of the Jewish Messiah. It expresses the most representative type of Messianic expectation, if we understand by that term an anointed Jewish king who was to be the national deliverer. This conception, as we have already seen, had its roots in the days of Isaiah of Jerusalem, and revived in the age of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and even survived in attenuated form to the early days of post-exilic Judaism. But in later Jewish literature belonging to the Greek period we notice a remarkable absence of any allusion to a Messianic king of Davidic descent who at the end of the ages will erect his throne. That the expectation still survived, and at times found expression, especially as we approach the period of the Maccabaean struggle, seems fairly clear from such Psalms as 2, 72, 110. On the other hand, we find no referen

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

MESSIAH. The ‘one anointed’ (Gr. Christos ), i.e . appointed and empowered by God through the impartation of His own spirit, to become the Saviour of His people. The conception of the Messiah is logically implicit in all the expectations of the Hebrew people that Jehovah would deliver Israel and turn it into a glorious empire to which all the heathen would be subjected. But it is not always explicit. The expectation of the coming Kingdom is more in evidence than the expectation of the coming King. But in the same proportion as the conception of the personal Messiah emerges from the general Messianic hope these elements appear within it: (1) the Deliverer; (2) the presence of God’s Spirit in His own personality as the source of His power; (3) His work as the salvation of God’s people, at first the Jewish nation, but ultimately all those who join themselves to Him.

1. The Messiah of the OT

In any historical study of the OT it is necessary to distinguish sharply between the Messianic interpretation given to certain passages by later writers, notably Christian and Rabbinic, and the expectation which, so far as it is recoverable, the writers of the OT actually possessed. A disregard of this distinction has been common from the point of view of theological statement, but is fatal to a proper understanding of that progress in the religious apprehension of God and the clarifying of religious expectations which constitutes so large a factor in the Biblical revelation of God. It is always easier to discover tendencies as one looks back over a historical course of events than as one looks forward into the future which these events determine. The proper method in the study of the Messianic hope is not to mass the sentences of the OT to which a Messianic interpretation is given by later Biblical or extra-Biblical writers, but to study them in their context both literary and historical. In such a tracing of the historical development it is necessary to recognize critical results as far as they are reasonably fixed, and thus avoid reading back into the original hopes of the Hebrews those interpretations and implications which were given to the early history by various redactors. These latter, however, constitute data for the understanding of the Messianic ideal in the age of the editors.

Unfortunately, in the present state of criticism it is not possible to arrange the material of the OT in strictly chronological order. This is particularly true in the case of that reflecting the Messianic hope. The following classification of OT references is, therefore, not to he taken as a chronological exposition of a developing hope so much as a grouping of material of similar character.

1. The national tendencies of Messianic prophecy . In the case of prophets like Elijah and Elisha the hope is hardly more distinct than a belief that the nation which worshipped Jehovah would he triumphant over its enemies. So far as the records of their teaching show, however, there was no expectation of any superhuman deliverer, or, in fact, any future contemplated other than one which presupposed a conquering Israel with an equally triumphant Jehovah. Eschatological conceptions were absent, and the new Kingdom was to be political in the truest sense. With the approach of the more tragic days of the fall of the Northern Kingdom, the threatened calamities served as a text for the foreboding of Amos. Hosea’s prophecies of prosperity which would come to the nation when it turned from idols and alliances with heathen nations to the forgiving Jehovah may, as current criticism insists, belong to a later period than that usually accorded them; but in them we find little or nothing of the noble universalism to be seen in the promised victory of the seed of the woman over the serpent (  Genesis 3:14-15 ). It is rather a hope of national glory, such as appears in the promise made to Shem (  Genesis 9:27 ), to Abraham (  Genesis 12:8 ), to Jacob (  Genesis 27:27-29 ), and, in particular, to Judah (  Genesis 49:8-12 ). The basis of this great expectation is the faith in Jehovah as interpreted by the prophets, whether earlier or later. It was inconceivable to them that the true God should be other than ultimately triumphant; cf. the prophecy of Balaam (  Numbers 24:17-19 ), Song of Moses (  Deuteronomy 32:6-10 ), the expectation of ‘the prophet’ (  Deuteronomy 18:16-19 ). This nationalism is to be seen throughout the Messianic hope of the OT, although occasional exceptions are to be found, as in   Genesis 3:14-15 , and in some passages of Ezekiel.

2. The Messianic hope of the great prophets . With Isaiah began a new development of the Messianic hope, primarily through the preaching of deliverance from the inevitable catastrophe of the Assyrian conquest. Out of the sorrows of the time, born largely, as Isaiah believed, from the sins of Jehovah’s people, was to arise deliverance. This seems to be the central teaching of the great passage,   Isaiah 7:10-17 . Deliverance was to come before the expected child could choose between good and evil, but by the time he reached maturity the greater misery of Assyrian invasion should break forth. But in the name of the child, Immanuel , was the pledge that Jehovah would ever he with His people and would ultimately save them; not impossibly through the child himself, although nothing is said of Immanuel’s share in the accomplishment of the deliverance. Whether or not the reference in   Isaiah 9:6-7 is to Immanuel, it is unquestionable that it is to the coming of a descendant of David, who should deliver Israel and reign with Jehovah’s assistance for ever triumphantly. In that glorious time, which was to he inaugurated by the Messianic King, would be prosperity hitherto unknown (  Isaiah 11:1-9 ). The ‘eternity’ of his reign is undoubtedly to he interpreted dynastically rather than personally, but the king himself clearly is a person, and Jehovah’s Spirit, which is to be within him, is just as plainly the source of his great success (cf.   Isaiah 33:14-24 ). In a similar spirit Micah localizes the new Kingdom established through Divine guidance in Zion (  Micah 4:1-5 ), and declares that the King is to come from Bethlehem, that is to say, shall be Davidic (  Micah 5:2-5 ).

Primarily national as these expectations are, the keynote is the deliverance wrought by Jehovah through a particular royal person, in whose days righteousness and peace are to he supreme in the world because of the Hebrew empire. This picture of the royal king became one controlling element in the later Messianic hope.

In this literature, whatever its date may be, there appears also the new note of universal peace to be wrought by Jehovah. In large measure this peace was conceived of as due to the completeness of Jehovah’s conquest of the nations in the interests of His people (cf.   Isaiah 9:1-5 ). But beyond this there can also be seen the hope that the very nature of the reign of the new King would conduce to an end of war. In such a passage as   Isaiah 11:1-10 there is struck the keynote of a nobler Messianic reign than that possible to the mere conqueror. The peace then promised was to come from a knowledge of Jehovah as well as from the glories of the Davidic ruler.

The reformation of Josiah finds an echo in the equally exultant expectation of Jeremiah that Jehovah would surely place a descendant of David upon the throne, a ‘righteous branch,’ and one who would deliver Israel ( Jeremiah 33:14-16 ). The glory of the restored kingdom was to he enhanced by a New Covenant to replace the broken covenant of Sinai. This covenant would be spiritual, and the relations which it would establish between Israel and Jehovah would be profoundly religious. Israel would be a servant of Jehovah, who would, on His part, forgive His people’s sins (  Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf.   Jeremiah 33:17-22 ). The restoration of Israel, which was thus to be accomplished by Jehovah, involved not only national honour, but also a new prosperity for the priesthood, and new immortality on the part of the individual and the nation. There is no reference, however, to a personal Messiah. Yet if such a passage as   Deuteronomy 18:16-19 belongs to this period, it is evident that the hope included the expectation of some great person, who would he even more sublime than Moses himself.

3. The Messianic hope during the Exile . The great catastrophe which fell upon both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms forced the prophets to re-examine the relations of national misfortune to the persistent hope of the glorious Kingdom of Jehovah. It would seem as if at the outset the exiles had expected that they would soon return to Palestine, but this hope was opposed most vigorously by Ezekiel, and the fall of Jerusalem confirmed his teaching. From the despair that followed, the people were rescued by the appearance of Cyrus, who became the instrument of Jehovah in bringing about the return of the remnant to their own land. It was from these dark years that there appeared a new type of Messianic hope, national and economic, it is true, but also profoundly religious. Jehovah would care for His people as the shepherd cared for his sheep, and the land to which they would return would be renewed (  Ezekiel 34:11-31 ), while the nations would support Israel and fear Jehovah (  Isaiah 49:22-23 ). Jehovah would make an everlasting covenant with His people (  Isaiah 55:1-6 ), but the new nation would not he composed of all those who had been swept into exile and their descendants. It would rather be a righteous community, purified by suffering. Thus the hope rises to that recognition of the individual which Ezekiel was the first to emphasize strongly.

At this point we have to decide whether the suffering Servant of Jehovah is to be interpreted collectively as the purified and vicarious remnant of Israel; or as some individual who would stand for ever as a representative of Jehovah, and, through his sufferings, purify and recall Israel to that spiritual life which would he the guarantee of a glorious future; or as the suffering nation itself. The interpretation placed upon these ‘Servant’ passages (  Isaiah 43:1-13;   Isaiah 49:5;   Isaiah 61:1-3;   Isaiah 52:13-15;   Isaiah 53:1-12 ) in Rabbinic thought was ordinarily not personal, but national. It was a suffering Israel who was not only to be gloriously redeemed, but was also to bring the knowledge of Jehovah and salvation to the world at large. And this is becoming the current interpretation to-day. Yet the personification is so complete as to yield itself readily to the personal application to Jesus made by the early Church and subsequent Christian expositors. A vicarious element, which was to prove of lasting influence, is now introduced into Messianic expectation. The deliverance was to be through the sufferings of the Deliverer. See, further, Servant of the Lord.

4. Messianic’ Psalms . While it is not possible to date   Psalms 2:1-12 with any precision, its picture of the coming King who shall reign over all the world because of the power of Jehovah, is fundamentally political. The same is true of   Psalms 45:1-17;   Psalms 72:1-20 . In these Psalms there are expressions which could subsequently be used very properly to express the expectation of a completed Messianic hope, but it would be unwise to read back into them a conscious expectation of a definite superhuman person. The hope at the time of the writing of these Psalms was national and political.

5. The attempt at a Messianic nation . With the return of the exiles from Babylon to Judah attempts were made to inaugurate an ideal commonwealth which should embody these anticipations. The one great pre-requisite of this new nation was to be the observance of the Law, which would insure the coming of the Spirit of Jehovah upon the new Israel (  Joel 2:28-29 ,   Haggai 1:13 ,   Zechariah 2:1-5 , etc.,   Isaiah 60:1-22 ). The coronation of Zerubbabel seemed to Haggai and Zechariah the fulfilment of the promise that the prince would come from the house of David (  Haggai 2:23 ,   Zechariah 3:8 ). But the new commonwealth was thoroughly inefficient, and the Messianic hope seems to have become dormant in the struggles of the weak State. The literary activity of the years between the re-building of the Temple and the Maccabæan outbreak was, however, if current critical views be correct, full of idealistic elements. These expressed themselves in a re-working of the older codes and prophecies of the Hebrews, under the influence of the faith in the coming triumph Jehovah would give His people. The personal Deliverer is not described, but the deliverance was assured. This genuinely Messianic hope was not killed even by other tendencies to replace prophecy by the philosophy of experience. Through all these years it is certain that the fundamental elements of the Messianic hope remained fixed; namely, the ineradicable belief that Jehovah would ( a ) make of the Jewish nation a world empire; ( b ) establish the house of David; ( c ) punish the enemies of His chosen people, whether Gentiles or Jews; and ( d ) that this glorious future would be established by the expression of the Divine power in the resurrection, not of the individual from Sheol, but of the nation from its miseries. These elements were subsequently to develop into the dominant characteristics of the later Messianic hope the Kingdom of God, the Davidic King, the Day of Judgment, and the Resurrection of the Righteous.

II. The Messiah of the Jewish literature

1. The rise of apocalypse . The attempt of Antiochus Epiphanes to crush out Judaism led to the appearance of a new type of religious literature the apocalypse. The origin of this literature is a matter of dispute. The influence of the Babylonian myth cycles is certainly apparent, but the apocalypses, as they stand, have no precise analogy in other literature of the period. For our present purpose, however, the importance of the apocalypse lies in the fact that it contributed to the development of a new Messianic conception. In the very nature of the case the misery of Syrian persecution forced ‘the Pious’ not only to renewed faith in Jehovah, but also to a new sense of the need of prophecy. In the absence of the genuine prophet, the triumph of Israel and the inevitable destruction of Jehovah’s foes were foretold by symbol. The pseudonymous literature, which thus arose in the course of time, however, came to be taken not simply as figures of speech, but as possessing an ill-defined literal character (see Apocalyptic Literature).

2. The Messiah of the later canonical books is not well defined. The apocalyptic sections of Daniel contain a pervasive Messianic element, and in the portrayal of this hope we find the first thoroughly elaborated apocalypse of Judaism. The international relations of Israel are traced, but the historical horizon is bounded by Antiochus Epiphanes. A most important element of the future as set forth by Daniel is to be seen in the triumph of the kingdom of the saints, whose symbol is a ‘son of man,’ over the oppressing kingdoms of Babylonia, Media, Persia, and Syria, symbolized by the four beasts. There is, however, no sharply distinct personal Messiah in these visions, and the expectation is primarily that of a genuinely political State established by Jehovah in Palestine. The ‘day of Jehovah’ (see Day of the Lord) is, however, now elaborately developed into a world-judgment, and the lines of future apocalyptic Messianism are clearly drawn. But it is now to some extent expanded by the belief that the righteous, both Hebrews and others, would be raised from the dead to join in the Kingdom (  Daniel 12:1 ff.). In this union of the idea of the resurrection of the nation with that of the individual we find material which was ready to grow into the pictures of the later apocalypse.

3. In the Sibylline Oracles the figure of the Messiah again is not distinct, but there is a picture (III. 652, 794) of a glorious time when under a Divinely supported king (doubtless a member of the Hasmonæan house) war was to cease and God was to bless the righteous and punish the wicked. The nations would then come under the law of Jehovah, and Jerusalem would be the capital of the world-wide empire to be established miraculously. The other literature of the inter-Biblical period is not so hopeful, although ben-Sira foresees an everlasting Jewish empire under a Davidic dynasty ( Sir 32:18-19; Sir 33:1 f., Sir 37:25; Sir 47:11; Sir 50:24 ).

4 . In the different strata of the Eth. Enoch literature the hope of a personal Messiah is presented in somewhat different degrees of distinctness. In the older sections (1 36) of the original groundwork (chs. 1 36, 72 104), the hope, though apocalyptic, is national. Here, however, as in the later literature, attention is centred rather on the punishment of the wicked than on the development of the new Kingdom. Very note worthy is the fact that both the punishment of the wicked and the rewards of the righteous were to be eschatological. But eschatology, though involving the resurrection, is still somewhat naïve. The righteous are to live 500 years, beget 1000 children, and die in peace (ch. 10). Still, the punishment of the wicked is to be in Sheol, which has been divided into four sections with varying conditions (ch. 22; see Sheol). It is obvious, however, that in this early Enoch literature the thought is poetic rather than precise, and in a way it marks the transition from the political religious hope of the prophets to the transcendental expectations of the later apocalypses.

In the dream visions (chs. 83 90) there is a more elaborate symbolical account of the sufferings of the Hebrew people under various oppressors. The new age, however, is about to be introduced by the Day of Judgment, when wicked persons whether men, rulers, or angels are to be cast into an abyss of fire. Then the New Jerusalem is to be established by God. The dead are to be raised, the Messiah is to appear, and all men are to he transformed into His likeness. These latter elements of the hope, however, are somewhat obscurely expressed. The Messiah seems to have no particular function either of judgment or of conquest. The new Kingdom is a direct gift of God.

In the later chapters of this early section (chs. 90 104) the thought becomes more eschatological. The resurrection comes at the end of the Messianic reign, which is to be one of struggle, in which the wicked are to be subdued. The Messiah is thus more distinct, and is at least once called by God ‘my Son.’

In the other group of Enoch visions (chs. 37 72) the transcendental has become to some extent literalized. The Messiah is now very prominent, being called ‘son of man,’ ‘elect,’ ‘righteous one.’ He is pre-existent, and co-judge with God over both the living and the dead. The punishment of the enemies of Israel is still as prominent as the establishment of the new Kingdom, and the latter is described in terms which make it evident that the Jews could not conceive of any Kingdom of God apart from Palestine. There men and angels are to dwell together and rule over a world freed from sin.

5. In the Book of Jubilees the Messianic hope is all but lacking. Angelology and demonology are well developed, but apparently the author of the visions conceived of the Messianic age as about to dawn, even if it had not already begun. Members of that age were to live 1000 years, and were to be free from the influence of Satan. The Judgment was to close this period, but there was to be no resurrection of the body. There is no reference to a Messiah, but rather to the conquest of the world by a nation that kept Jehovah’s law.

6. The best-drawn picture of the Messiah in the Pharisaic literature is that of the Psalms of Solomon . In the 17th and 18th of these the apocalyptic element is largely wanting, but there is nothing inconsistent with the view of apocalyptic Messianism. The Messiah, however, is given a position not accorded him elsewhere in pre-Christian Jewish literature. He is neither sufferer nor teacher, pre-existent nor miraculously born; he is a mighty king, vice-regent of God, strong through the Holy Spirit. He would conquer the world without weapons or armies, with the word of his mouth, i.e . miraculously. The capital would be at Jerusalem, which would be purged from all heathen, and his subjects would be righteous Jews, ‘sons of God.’

7. The literature of later Pharisaism became very strongly apocalyptic, but the figure of a personal Messiah is not always present. In the Assumption of Moses there is no personal Messiah mentioned, and God is said to be the sole punisher of the Gentiles. The sufferings of the faithful are treated as an incentive to faith in the Kingdom of God. The concrete king of the hostile kingdom should be overcome. The enemies of God were to be punished in Gehenna, and a glorious dispensation for united Israel was to dawn.

In Slavonic Enoch , likewise, there is no mention of the Messiah or of the resurrection, although the latter is doubtless involved in the doctrine of the millennium, which this book sets forth. It would appear that both in the Assumption of Moses and in Slavonic Enoch the central figure is God, the deliverer of His people and judge of His enemies, rather than the Messiah.

In the Apocalypse of Baruch and in Second Esdras , however, transcendentalism reaches its final form under the influence of the tragedy of the fall of Jerusalem. These two books are very probably the different forms of cycles of apocalyptic hopes that prevailed among the pious Jews. In one cycle a Messiah would slay those who had in any way injured the Jewish people, and make a Jerusalem already prepared in heaven his capital. In the other cycle there is no such glory in store for Israel, but there will be an end of corruptible things, and the establishment of a new world-age in which the dead shall be raised under the command of the Messiah. In Second Esdras the Christ is conceived of as pre-existent, raised from the sea in company with Enoch, Moses, and Elijah; and is addressed by God as ‘my Son.’ He destroys the enemies of Israel without war, with fire that proceeds from his mouth. The ten tribes of Israel return with their brethren to live in the New Jerusalem which had come down from heaven. Then the Messiah and all mankind die, remaining dead for an entire ‘week’; after that come a general resurrection and judgment, and the fixing of the destinies of eternity. God, however, rather than the Messiah, is to be judge.

In these later apocalypses the Christ plays a large rôle, but is manifestly to be subordinated to God.

III. The Messiah of popular expectation in NT times . Over against this Messiah of Pharisaic literature, so clearly increasingly superhuman in character, must be placed the Messianic hope of the people at large. It is difficult to discover this in detail, for the reason that it found its way into literature only as a hope that had been rejected by the writers. Yet it is possible in some passages of Josephus to trace its rise and its tragic outcome. The Messianic spirit is undoubtedly to be seen in the succession of so-called ‘robbers’ that disturbed the reigns of Herod I. and his successors; as well as in the conspiracies under ‘the ten men’ ( Ant . XV. viii. 3, 4) and the Rabbis Judas and Matthias (Ant. XVII. vi. 2, 4). With the death of Herod, however, the Messianic movement among the masses gathered headway, particularly after the erection of Judæa into a procuratorial province (a.d. 6). Judas of Gamala and a Pharisee named Zaduc organized a fourth sect coordinate with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, and incited the people to revolt, because of the census then established. There is no evidence, however, that this new sect, which is clearly that of the Zealots , had any distinct hope of a superhuman Messiah. According to Josephus ( Ant . XVIII. i. 1, 6), they said God was to be their only ruler and lord. To this new party Josephus attributes in large degree the fall of the Jewish State. Messianic movements are also to be seen in the attempted revolt of the prophet Theudas, in robbers like Eleazar, in the Sicarii (or Assassins), and in ‘the Egyptian,’ with whom St. Paul was momentarily identified by the chief captain (  Acts 21:33 ). Besides these were bands of fanatics like those mysterious men mentioned by Josephus ( BJ II. i. 2, 3). All these movements co-operated to bring about the destruction of the Jewish State, for the revolt of 66 must be regarded as distinctly Messianic a fact perceived by Josephus in the important passage BJ VI. v. 4, where it is said: ‘What most stirred them up to war was the ambiguous oracle that was found also in their sacred writings [doubtless Daniel; cf. Ant . X. x. 4] that about that time one from their country should become ruler of the world.’

It is greatly to be regretted that this Messianic hope of the people has not left larger traces of itself. It is, however, not difficult to see in it the more political and concrete hopes which the Pharisees expressed in terms of the apocalypse. The Zealots, like the Pharisees, expected the new Kingdom to be established by God or His representative the Messiah, but, unlike the Pharisees, they were not content to await the Divine action. They preferred rather to precipitate deliverance by political revolt. The fact that the Messiah is not prominent in such hopes does not imply that such a person was unexpected. A leader would certainly be involved in any revolt, but such a leader would not necessarily be superhuman. Yet it would be unsafe to say that the Messiah whom the people expected, any more than he whom the Pharisees awaited, would be without Divine appointment and inspiration. He might not be, strictly speaking, supernatural, but he would certainly be given the Divine Spirit and power to bring deliverance which, without the aid of God, would be clearly impossible. The chief difference between the Messianic hope of the Pharisees and that of the Zealots and people was probably the lack in the latter of the eschatological, transcendental element, such as the resurrection from the dead and the heavenly Jerusalem, which was so important in the hope of the Pharisees. How thoroughly social and political this folk-Messianism became is to be seen in the various abortive attempts to establish, during the revolt of 66, a peasant republic, as well as in the destruction of evidence of indebtedness and the massacre of the aristocrats. The Pharisaic expectation would never have led to violence, but rather involved the patient waiting of the faithful for the time set by Jehovah.

IV. The Messiah of the Samaritans . It would be exceedingly helpful, particularly for an understanding of   John 4:1-42 , if we knew the Samaritan Messianic hope with some precision. Unfortunately, there is no literature dating from the time of Christ which sets this forth. So far, however, as it can be recovered from later sources, and particularly from the present high priest of the Samaritans, it would seem that the expectation did not include the Davidic King of Judaism, but centred rather about the prophecy of   Deuteronomy 18:15 of the prophet God was to raise up like unto Moses. This prophet, according to the Samaritan belief, was to be ‘the Converter,’ who would bring moral and religious truth to light. At the same time, they believed that the Gentiles would be subjected to him, would believe in him and the holy Law, and in the sanctuary of Mt. Gerizim. There seems to have been no expectation of miraculous powers to be exercised by the prophet; but concerning this, as in fact about other particulars of the Samaritan hope, no statement can be made with absolute certainty.

V. The Messiah of Rabbinism . Subsequent to the destruction of Jerusalem, Pharisaism developed rapidly into its final stage of Rabbinism. The two tendencies which are so marked in Pharisaism one towards strict legalism, the other towards Messianicidealism were then codified and systematically elaborated. The development of the Messianic expectation, however, was to some extent shaped by the need of combating the Messianic interpretations of Christianity. Traces of this influence are undoubtedly to be found in the Targum on   Isaiah 53 , and in 2 Esdras, but they are also to appear in literature that was clearly subjected to Christian redaction. The Messiah was generally regarded as a descendant of David. He was to free Israel from the power of the heathen world, kill its emperor of the kingdom of evil, and set up his own Kingdom. He was regarded also as pre-existent, not merely ideally, but actually. For a merely ideal pre-existence is not to be argued from the well-known saying including the seven things created before the world was made. The name here undoubtedly implies personality, and in some of the later Jewish writings this pre-existent state is somewhat minutely described. He is to be hidden until he appears, but the obvious inconsistencies of view were never fully systematized.

Doubtless because of the Messianic arguments of Christians, based upon such passages as  Isaiah 53 , the Rabbis were forced to the recognition of the idea of the suffering Messiah. In this recognition, however, no change was made in the conception of the Messiah the son of David, but the belief came to involve a second Messiah the son of Joseph. His office and person are not described in detail, but later Rabbinic teaching held that he would appear before the coming of the Messiah the son of David, would gather faithful Jews to him, defeat his people’s enemies, and establish a great empire with its capital and temple at Jerusalem. Thereafter some one of the various transcendental enemies of Israel, like Gog and Magog, would defeat and slay him. Then the Messiah son of David would come and resurrect the Messiah son of Joseph, and establish the great and more permanent Messianic Kingdom. This conception of the Messiah son of Joseph, however, has never played a very large role in Rabbinic Messianism, and must be regarded in the light of a concession to Christian opponents rather than as a really formative influence. The older hope of the Messiah son of David is that dominant among orthodox Jews, who still await his coming, which is to follow the appearance of Elijah (  Malachi 3:1;   Malachi 4:6;   Malachi 4:6 ).

VI. The Messiah of the NT . As its very name indicates, Christianity centres about the belief that Jesus was the Messiah. The definition of that word as applied to Jesus is one about which there is some difference of opinion. Conceivably it might be ( a ) that of Pharisaic Messianism; ( b ) something altogether new; or, more probably, ( c ) the old conception modified by certain new elements.

In discovering what the Messianic conceptions of the NT are, it is necessary to avoid a dogmatic attitude of mind, and to come to the discussion from the historical-exegetical point of view. In such a method the point of departure is the presupposition that current beliefs and definitions were used by Jesus and His disciples wherever such thoughts and definitions are not distinctly changed or abrogated. A disregard of this primary principle in historical method has too frequently been the cause of false perspective and anachronistic conclusions as regards NT thought.

1. Jesus’ conception of Messiahship . That Jesus conceived of Himself as a Messiah seems to be beyond question, it the saying of   Mark 14:61-62 is regarded as historical. But such a conclusion does not rest wholly upon a single saying. His words concerning His conquest of Satan (  Mark 3:23-28 ) are altogether consonant with the conception of Himself as Christ; and His assent to the confession of the Apostles at Cæsarea Philippi is a practical acceptance of the title (  Mark 8:27-30 , which has been made more explicit in   Matthew 16:13-16 ,   Luke 9:18-20 ). His answer to the inquiry of John the Baptist as to whether He were the Coming One (  Matthew 11:2-10 ,   Luke 7:18 f.) can be interpreted only as affirmative. The question was genuinely Messianic, and the Scripture which He used (  Isaiah 35:5-6 ) was given a Messianic interpretation by the Rabbis. To give it any other than a Messianic implication is to render the whole episode unintelligible. It is to be noticed further that this saying is not exposed to the difficulties which inhere in some of the apocalyptic sayings attributed to Jesus, or in the repeated Messianic designations of the Fourth Gospel.

It is easy by a process of subjective criticism to remove such sayings from the field of discussion, but such procedure is arbitrary in view of the facts already adduced. It is true that in the Synoptic Gospels Jesus does not at the beginning of the Galilæan ministry go about the country announcing that He is the Christ, but neither does He undertake this sort of propaganda according to the Johannine source. And it should not be overlooked that in any case His words in the synagogue of Nazareth ( Luke 4:16-30 ,   Matthew 13:54-58 ,   Mark 6:1-6 ), which can best be interpreted as an exposition of His conception of His Messiahship, were uttered in the early part of His ministry. While some allowance may be made for the Johannine accounts of the early acceptance of Jesus as Christ, there is no reason why the ascription of the title to Him by the disciples might not have been made at the beginning of the ministry in the same futurist sense as is involved in the obvious Messianic definition implied in the questions of the sons of Zebedee in the Synoptic cycle (  Mark 10:35-45 ). The fact that Jesus accepted such interpretations of His future makes it plain that He regarded Himself as Christ, at least in the sense that He was to dn Messianic work in the future.

This, however, brings us face to face with the question as to how far Jesus applied to Himself the eschatological Messianic hopes of His people, and how far He developed an original Messianic ideal. As yet no consensus of scholars has been reached on this very difficult point. Certain things, however, seem to be established. ( a ) Jesus was not regarded generally as the Christ, but rather as a prophet and miracle-worker. He certainly refused to commit Himself to the Messianic programme of the Zealots. He rejected the title ‘Son of David’ (  Mark 12:35 ), and refused to be made a king, or to use physical force in bringing in the Kingdom of God (  John 6:15; cf.   Matthew 4:8-10 ,   Luke 4:5-8 ,   Mark 14:47;   Mark 14:58 ). ( b ) Unless all reference by Jesus to the future in terms of eschatology is to be denied (a decision impossible for reasonable criticism), He certainly thought of Himself as returning in the near future to establish a Kingdom that was eschatological.

Although it is probable that the writers of the Gospels have imported eschatological references into the sayings of Jesus, it is impossible to remove them altogether. If, as is probable, Jesus conceived of the Kingdom as the gift of God, for whose coming men were to prepare, it is inevitable that His Messianic career would have been regarded as future as truly as the Kingdom itself (cf.  Matthew 6:10 ,   Mark 9:1 ,   Luke 12:32 ,   Matthew 25:1-46 ,   Mark 14:51;   Mark 14:62 ,   Mark 13:1-37 ,   1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ,   Matthew 19:28 ,   Luke 22:30 ).

( c ) But although the coming of the Kingdom, with the attendant Judgment, was still in the future, Jesus cannot be said to have conceived of His mission wholly in terms of eschatology. He had broken with Pharisaism too completely to warrant our attributing to Him a priori complete subjection to any Pharisaic conception. If there is anything that stands out in the expression of Jesus’ self-consciousness, it is that His experience of God was superior to that of a prophet. While in the Synoptic Gospels He does not use explicitly the terms ‘Christ’ or ‘Son of God’ of Himself, His reticence in the use of terms is balanced by His conception of His own relation to the Kingdom of God. He was the ‘Son of Man,’ i.e ., in accordance with   Daniel 7:18 , He was the type of the coming Kingdom. If, as is undoubtedly the case, He maintained reserve in His preaching in making explicit claims concerning Messiahship, such reserve is easily explained as a preventive against those misapprehensions with which people would have been sure to regard His work. The spirit of the Lord was upon Him to enable Him to do certain deeds which it was expected the Christ would perform. He was gathering disciples who, as His followers, were to share in the coming Kingdom. In a word, because of the Divine Spirit embodied in His own self-consciousness, He was already engaged in the work of saving God’s people. ( d ) The connecting link between the Messianic career of service and the Messianic career of glory was His death. No fair criticism can doubt that Jesus saw in these two supreme experiences elements of His work as Saviour. Only thus can we interpret His saying at the Last Supper and His repeated prophecies to His followers (  Mark 14:24;   Mark 8:31 to   Mark 9:1;   Mark 9:30-32 ,   Matthew 12:40 ,   Luke 12:45-46 ). Thus He fulfilled in Himself the Messianic picture of the Suffering Servant of   Isaiah 53 . ( e ) In conclusion, it appears that Jesus’ conception of Himself as Messiah was that He was the One in whom God Himself was revealing Himself as the Saviour of those who would accept Him as the Father. The teaching of Jesus from this point of view becomes something more than theoretical ethics and religion, and is seen to be an exposition of His own Messianic self-consciousness. Even in His humiliation and in His sufferings He was the Divinely empowered Saviour. If His faith in the ultimate triumph of that salvation took the form of the eschatology of His people, it does not thereby lose any of its significance. By His sufferings God’s righteous Servant did justify many, and by His death on the cross He did draw men to Him. With His resurrection began a new era in religious experience, which revealed the realities of those pictures of that transcendental ‘age to come’ in which current Messianism clothed the glories of the Divine deliverance.

In short, Jesus modified the conception of the Messiah fundamentally: (1) by recognizing in His own experience vicarious suffering as a part of the Divine deliverance, but even more (2) by His insistence on the universal fatherliness of God, which transformed salvation from something ethnic and national into a salvation from sin and death of all those who accept Him as the Christ; i.e. who by faith reproduce in their lives that dynamic union with God, which was the source of the power which He Himself exhibited in His life and resurrection.

2. The conception of the Messiah among the Apostles . In general the Apostles may be said to have believed Jesus to be the Messiah in the sense that ( a ) in His earthly period of humiliation He was anointed with God’s Spirit; ( b ) that He had not done the strictly Messianic work during His earthly career; ( c ) that He had been declared the Christ by His resurrection; and ( d ) that, though now in authority in heaven, He would return to deliver His people, establish a Kingdom, and hold the world-judgment which was to be preceded by the resurrection of believers, if not of all men.

(1) In the primitive Church of Jerusalem expectation centred about the eschatological concept of judgment and deliverance. As appears from the speech of St. Peter at Pentecost ( Acts 2:14-42 ), as well as from other addresses from the early chapters of Acts, the disciples believed that the new age was about to dawn. They were living in ‘the last days’ of the pre-Messianic age. The Christ had appeared, but had been killed, had ascended to heaven after His resurrection, thence He had sent the Holy Spirit to those who believed that He was the Christ, thus fulfilling the prophecy of   Joel 2:28-32 (which, however, had not been thus interpreted by the Pharisees). The Resurrection had not made Him the Christ, but had decisively shown that He was the One whom God had made Lord and Christ (  Acts 2:36 ). In the primitive Church the Messianic deliverance was limited to the commonwealth of Israel. If the Gentiles were to share in the Messianic deliverance, they had need to be circumcised and join the Jewish community (  Acts 15:1 ).

Just how far disciples like St. Peter and St. John were committed to this strictly Jewish type of Messianic expectation it is difficult to say. It would, however, be unfair to hold that they represented the so-called ‘party of the circumcision’ which combated St. Paul in his removal of all conditions of salvation beyond faith in Jesus as Christ. It should not be overlooked, moreover, that even in the primitive Jerusalem Church the death of Jesus was regarded as a part of the Messianic programme of deliverance, though there is no distinct theory of the Atonement formulated.

(2) St. Paul’s conception of the Messiah, (i.) This is in marked advance upon that of the primitive Church. He was at one with the Jerusalem community in holding that the Kingdom had not yet come, and that Jesus would soon return from heaven to establish it. He built into his Messianic conception, however, a number of important elements, some of which were derived from Judaism. These elements were ( a ) the vicarious nature of the death of Christ; ( b ) the pre-existence of Jesus as Christ; ( c ) the doctrine of the second Adam, i.e . that Jesus in His resurrection was the type of the risen humanity, as Adam was the type of physical humanity; ( d ) the more or less complete identification of Jesus with the Spirit who came to the disciples, as distinct from having been sent by Jesus to the disciples.

(ii.) It is not difficult to see, therefore, why it was that St. Paul’s chief interest did not lie in the career of the historical Jesus as a teacher and miracle-worker, but rather in the Divine, risen Christ who maintained spiritual relations with His followers. To have made the teaching of Jesus the centre of his thought would have been to replace the legalism of the Law by the legalism of a new authority. St. Paul was evidently acquainted with the teaching of Jesus, but his message was not that of a completed ethical philosophy, but a gospel of good news of a salvation possible to all mankind, through faith in Jesus as the Messiah. The Pauline gospel to the unconverted (see  Acts 13:16-41;   Acts 14:8-17;   Acts 17:1-3 ) started with the expectation of Messianic judgment, presented the crucified Jesus as declared the Christ by His resurrection, proved it by the use of OT prophecy, and closed with the exhortation to his hearers to become reconciled to God, who was ready to forgive and save them. In his thought salvation consisted in the possession, through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, of the sort of life which the risen Jesus already possessed. Morality was the expression in conduct of. this regenerate life.

(iii.) The Pauline Christ is Divine, and His work is twofold. First , it is to be that of the Messiah of Jewish eschatology. The Apostle utilizes many of the elements of the Messianism of the Pharisees, e.g . the two ages, the world-judgment, the trumpet to raise the dead, the sorrows of ‘the last days.’ But he also made a distinct addition to Messianic thought ( a ) by his emphasis upon the relation of the death of Jesus to the acquittal of the believer in the eschatological judgment, and ( b ) in his formulation of a doctrine of the resurrection by the use of the historical resurrection of Jesus. The argument in this latter case rests on two foundations testimony and the implications of Christian experience. The Christian is to be saved from death, the wages of sin, after the manner of his risen Lord, who had borne death on his behalf. Thus the Pauline Christology is essentially soteriological. Its speculative elements are wholly contributory to the exposition of the certainty and the reasonableness of the coming deliverance. Clothed though it is in Jewish vocabularies and conceptions, the Pauline conception of Christ and His work has for its foci the historical Jesus and Christian experience. The concepts inherited from Judaism do not give rise to his belief in the resurrection, but his confidence in the historicity of that event gives rise to his Christology. Secondly , conceiving thus of Jesus as the supreme King of those whom He had delivered, the Pauline conceptions of His relations with the Church followed naturally. God was not to condemn those who had voluntarily undertaken to prepare for the Kingdom when it should appear. They were ‘justified’ through their faith in Jesus as Christ. But could the King of that coming Kingdom be indifferent to those who were justified, had already received the Holy Spirit as a first instalment of the future blessing, and were daily awaiting His reappearance? The Christ was the ‘Head’ of the Church in ‘the last days,’ just as truly as, in the ‘coming age,’ He would be King. His supremacy over the Church consisted not merely in that its original nucleus was composed of His disciples, but also in that He had instituted its simple rites, established the details of its organization by giving to its members varying gifts of the Spirit, oversees its affairs, and is present within it. In fact, so intimate is His relation with the Church, that Christians may be said to be in Him, and He is them.

From this union of the believer with his Lord (generally mediated in the Pauline thought by the presence of the Holy Spirit) comes the consummation of the salvation of the individual. Since He had triumphed over death, the believer in whom the Holy Spirit lived might also expect the gift of that spiritual body which was one element of the salvation wrought by Jesus in the case of the Individual.

(iv.) Yet St. Paul would not say that the Christ was to reign eternally. After He had completed His work of Messianic deliverance, had finally conquered sin and death, and had established His glorious age, He was to give up the Kingdom to the Father that God might be all and in all ( 1 Corinthians 15:24 ). Thus, while the Pauline soteriological thought is Christo-centric, his theology is Theo-centric. Jesus is Christ in the sense that through Him God accomplishes the salvation of His people with St. Paul no longer the Jewish nation, but individuals who, because of their relations with the Deliverer, have been wrought into a unity on earth and await an even nobler unity in heaveo.

(3) In post-Pauline Apostolic thought the Messianic concept is still central, but in its development we notice two tendencies. ( a ) There is the tendency, already present in primitive and Pauline Christianity, to find confirmation of the Messianic dignity of Jesus in the OT prophecies. With their recollections of the historical career of Jesus, the Apostles saw in the OT Messianic meanings which had eluded the Pharisees. They did not, it is true, disregard those passages which set forth the royal dignity of the Christ, but they were far more concerned in arguing for the Messianic significance of those passages which foretold the victory of God’s Anointed over death and the vicarious nature of His sufferings. Thus such passages as   Psalms 110:1-7 and   Isaiah 53 were seen to supplement each other in teaching the consonance of the Messianic dignity with suffering.

As Christian thought developed, this tendency to find Messianic references in the OT set practically no limits to itself. In the Epistle to the Hebrews the essential features of the entire Hebrew cult are viewed as foreshadowings of the career and the glories of the Christ. In the prophetic fulfilments noticed by the writer of the First Gospel, the prophecy of the birth of a son to ‘the virgin’ ( Isaiah 7:14 ) and the recall of Israel from Egypt (  Hosea 11:1 ) are also seen to be prophecies of the experience of Jesus (  Matthew 1:23;   Matthew 2:15 ). The same was true of more incidental matters, such as His name and His description as the Nazarene (  Matthew 2:23 ), while the experience of Jonah was regarded as a type of His burial and resurrection (  Matthew 12:40 ). Particularly was it seen that His vicarious character was foretold. In the Book of Revelation the Messianic future of Jesus and His Kingdom was still further elaborated by the copious utilization of apocalyptic thought. In the Apostolic Fathers the use of the OT as the basis for Christological thought involved an arbitrary exegesis which extended far beyond the limits of proper methodology; and events in the life of Jesus were found predicted in sayings and events quite unused by the Apostles.

( b ) The second tendency in post-Pauline Christological interpretation is to re-state the Messianic significance of Jesus in terms of current philosophy. The most pronounced illustration of this is to be seen in the Johannine literature. Here the Christ is identified with the Logos, and His entire career is viewed as an illustration of the great conflict between light and darkness, life and death, the powers of Satan and the powers of God. In the Epistle to the Hebrews a tendency is to be seen towards the metaphysical conception of Jesus as the Son of God a tendency which was to find its outcome in the theological formulations of the 3rd and 4th centuries.

But in both these tendencies the fundamental conception of Messiahship is maintained. God is in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing, their trespasses to those who accept Him, and already engaged in the work of their salvation. The elemental conception of the Messiah thus passed over into Christian thought. It carried with it, it is true, the figures of that interpretation which was born of the development of the Hebrew and Jewish thought. But these figures are not the essential element of Christianity. That is rather the message which the prophets themselves had applied exclusively to Israel, viz. that God would save His people through some personality in whom His spirit was particularly resident to empower Him for the work of salvation. Thus in the history of Jesus and in Christian experience this Divine salvation is set forth, not as ab extra , but as the result of the in-working of God in human lives, to which He comes through the mediation of faith in Jesus, His supreme revelation. To formulate and vindicate the message of this salvation is to exhibit the content of the gospel.

Shailer Mathews.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [3]

Signifies anointed, the title given by way of eminence to our Savior; meaning the same in Hebrew as Christ in Greek, and alludes to the authority he had to assume the characters of prophet, priest, and king, and that of Savior of the world. The ancient Jews had just notions of the Messiah, which came gradually to be corrupted, by expecting a temporal monarch and conqueror; and finding Jesus Christ to be poor, humble, and of an unpromising appearance, they rejected him. Most of the modern rabbis, according to Buxtorf, believe that the Messiah is come, but that he lies concealed because of the sins of the Jews. Others believe he is not yet come, fixing different times for his appearance, many of which are elapsed; and, being thus baffled, have pronounced an anathema against those who shall pretend to calculate the time of his coming. To reconcile the prophecies concerning the Messiah that seemed to be contradictory, some have had recourse to a twofold Messiah; one in a state of poverty and suffering, the other of splendor and glory.

The first, they say, is to proceed from the tribe of Ephraim, who is to fight against Gog, and to be slain by Annillus,  Zechariah 12:10; the second is to be of the tribe of Judah and lineage of David, who is to conquer and kill Annillus; to bring the first Messiah to life again, to assemble all Israel, and rule over the whole world. That Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, and actually come in the flesh is evident, if we consider (as Mr. Fuller observes) that it is intimated that whenever he should come, the sacrifices and ceremonies of the Mosaic law were to be superseded by him,  Psalms 40:6-8;  1 Samuel 15:22;  Daniel 9:27;  Jeremiah 31:31;  Jeremiah 31:34;  Hebrews 8:13 . Now sacrifice and oblation have ceased. They virtually ceased when Jesus offered himself a sacrifice, and in a few years after, they actually ceased. A few of the ancient ceremonies are indeed adhered to, but as one of the Jewish writers acknowledges. "The sacrifices of the Holy Temple have ceased." Let every Jew therefore, ask himself this question. Should Messiah the Prince come at some future period, how are the sacrifice and oblation to cease on his appearance, when they have already ceased near 1800 years. Again, it is suggested in the Scripture, that the great body of sacred prophecy should be accomplished in him;  Genesis 3:16;  Genesis 22:18; Is. 49:10; 53:1-13

1. The time when he was to come is clearly marked out in prophecy: Is. 49: 10;  Haggai 2:6-9;  Daniel 9:24 . He actually came according to that time.

2. The place where Messiah should be born, and where he should principally impart his doctrine is determined;  Micah 5:2; Is. 9: 2; and was literally fulfilled in Jesus.

3. The house or family from whom he should descend is clearly ascertained. So much is said of his descending from David, that we need not refer to particular proofs; and the rather as no Jew will deny it. The genealogies of Matthew and Luke, whatever varieties there are between them, agree in tracing his pedigree to David. And though, in both it is traced in the name of Joseph, yet this appears to be only in conformity to the Jewish custom of tracing no pedigree in the name of a female. The father of Joseph, as mentioned by Luke, seems to have been his father by marriage only; so that it was, in reality, Mary's pedigree that is traced by Luke, though under her husband's name; and this being the natural line of descent, and that of Matthew the legal one, by which, as a king he would have inherited the crown, there is no inconsistency between them.

4. The kind of miracles that Messiah should perform is specified; Is. 35: 5, 6. He actually performed the miracles there predicted, his enemies themselves being judges.

5. It was prophesied that he should as a King be distinguished by his lowliness; entering into Jerusalem, not in a chariot of state, but in a much humbler style;  Zechariah 9:9; this was really the case,  Matthew 21:1-46

6. It was predicted that he should suffer and die by the hands of wicked men; Is. 49: 7; 53: 9;  Daniel 9:26 . Nothing could be a more striking fulfillment of prophecy than the treatment the Messiah met with in almost every particular circumstance.

7. It was foretold that he should rise from the dead; Is. 53: 11.  Psalms 68:18;  Psalms 16:10 , his resurrection is proved by indubitable evidence.

8. It was foretold that the great body of the Jewish nation would not believe in him, and that he would set up his kingdom among the Gentiles; Is. 53: 1. 49: 4-6. 6: 9-12. Never was a prophecy more completely fulfilled than this, as facts evidently prove.

9. it is declared that when the Messiah should come, the will of God would be perfectly fulfilled by him, Isa 42: 1, 49. Is. 3-5. And what was his whole life but perfect conformity to him? He finished the work the Father gave him to do: never was there such a character seen among men. Well therefore may we say, Truly this was the Son of God.

See article Christianity, Jesus Christ

There have been numerous false Messiahs which have arisen at different times. Of these the Savior predicted,  Matthew 24:14 . Some have reckoned as many as twenty-four, of whom we shall here give an account.

1. Caziba was the first of any note who made a noise in the world. Being dissatisfied with the state of things under Adrian, he set himself up at the head of the Jewish nation, and proclaimed himself their long expected Messiah. He was one of those banditti that infested Judea, and committed all kinds of violence against the Romans; and had become so powerful, that he was chosen king of the Jews, and by them acknowledged their Messiah. However, to facilitate the success of this bold enterprise, he changed his name from Caziba, which it was at first, to that of Barchocheba, alluding to the star foretold by Balaam; for he pretended to be the star sent from heaven to restore his nation to its ancient liberty and glory. He chose a forerunner, raised an army, was anointed king, coined money inscribed with his own name, and proclaimed himself Messiah and prince of the Jewish nation. Adrian raised an army, and sent it against him. He retired into a town called Bither, where he was besieged. Barchocheba was killed in the siege, the city was taken, and a dreadful havoc succeeded. The Jews themselves allow, that, during this short war against the Romans, in defense of this false Messiah, they lost five or six hundred thousand souls. This was in the former part of the second century.

2. In the reign of Theodosius the younger, in the year of our Lord 434, another impostor arose, called Moses Cretensis. He pretended to be a second Moses, sent to deliver the Jews who dwelt in Crete, and promised to divide the sea, and give them a safe passage through it. Their delusion proved so strong and universal, that they neglected their lands, houses, and all other concerns, and took only so much with them as they could conveniently carry. And on the day appointed, this false Moses, having led them to the top of a rock, men, women, and children, threw themselves headlong down into the sea, without the least hesitation or reluctance, till so great a number of them were drowned, as opened the eyes of the rest, and made them sensible of the cheat. They then began to look out for their pretended leader, but he disappeared, and escaped out of their hand.

3. In the reign of Justin, about 520, another impostor appeared, who called himself the son of Moses. His name was Dunaan. He entered into a city of Arabia Felix, and there he greatly oppressed the Christians; but he was taken prisoner, and put to death by Elesban, and AEthiopian general.

4. In the year 529 the Jews and Samaritans rebelled against the emperor Justinian, and set up one Julian for their king; and accounted him the Messiah. The emperor sent an army against them, killed great numbers of them, took their pretended Messiah prisoner, and immediately put him to death.

5. In the year 571 was born Mahomet, in Arabia. At first he professed himself to be the Messiah who was promised to the Jews. By this means he drew many of that unhappy people after him. In some sense, therefore, he may be considered in the number of false Messiahs.

6. See Mahometanism

7. About the year 721, in the time of Leo Isaurus, arose another false Messiah in Spain; his name was Serenus. He drew great numbers after him, to their no small loss and disappointment, but all his pretensions came to nothing.

8. The twelfth century was fruitful in false Messiahs: for about the year 1137, there appeared one in France, who was put to death, and many of those who followed him.

9. In the year 1138 the Persians were disturbed with a Jew, who called himself the Messiah. He collected together a vast army. But he, too, was put to death, and his followers treated with great inhumanity. 9. In the year 1157, a false Messiah stirred up the Jews at Corduba, in Spain. The wiser and better sort looked upon him as a madman, but the great body of the Jews in that nation believed in him. On this occasion almost all the Jews in Spain were destroyed.

10. In the year 1167, another false Messiah rose in the kingdom of Fez, which brought great trouble and persecution upon the Jews that were scattered through that country.

11. In the same year an Arabian set up there for the Messiah, and pretended to work miracles. When search was made for him, his followers fled, and he was brought before the Arabian king. Being questioned by him, he replied, that he was a prophet sent from God. The king then asked him what sign he could show to confirm his mission. Cut off my head, said he, and I will return to life again. The king took him at his word, promising to believe him if his prediction came to pass. The poor wretch, however, never returned to life again, and the cheat was sufficiently discovered. Those who had been deluded by him were grievously punished and the nation condemned to a very heavy fine.

12. Not long after this, a Jew who dwelt beyond Euphrates, called himself the Messiah, and drew vast multitudes of people after him. He gave this for a sign of it, that he had been leprous, and was cured in the course of one night. He, like the rest, perished in the attempt, and brought great persecution on his countrymen.

13. In the year 1174, a magician and false Christ arose in Persia, who was called David Almusser. He pretended that he could make himself invisible; but he was soon taken and put to death, and a heavy fine laid upon his brethren the Jews.

14. In the year 1176, another of these impostors arose in Moravia, who was called David Almusser. He pretended that he could make himself invisible; but he was soon taken and put to death and a heavy fine laid upon his brethren the Jews.

15. Int he year 1199, a famous cheat and rebel exerted himself in Persia, called David el David. He was a man of learning, a great magician, and pretended to be the Messiah. He raised an army against the king, but was taken and imprisoned; and, having made his escape, was afterwards seized again, and beheaded. Vast numbers of the Jews were butchered for taking part with this impostor.

16. We are told of another false Christ in this same century by Maimonides and Solomon: but they take no notice either of his name, country, or good or ill success. Here we may observe, that no less than ten false Christs arose in the twelfth century, and brought prodigious calamities and destruction upon the Jews in various quarters of the world.

17. In the year 1497, we find another false Christ, whose name was Ismael Sophus, who deluded the Jews in Spain. He also perished, and as many as believed in him were dispersed.

18. In the year 1500, Rabbi Lemlem, a German Jew of Austria, declared himself a forerunner of the Messiah, and pulled down his own oven, promising his brethren that they should bake their bread in the Holy Land next year.

19. In the year 1509, one whose name was Plefferkorn, a Jew of Cologne, pretended to be the Messiah. He afterwards affected, however, to turn Christian.

20. In the year 1534, Rabbi Salomo Malcho, giving out that he was the Messiah, was burnt to death by Charles the Fifth of Spain.

21. In the year 1615, a false Christ arose in the East Indies, and was greatly followed by the Portuguese Jews, who were scattered over that country.

22. In the year 1624, another in the Low Countries pretended to be the Messiah of the Family of David, and of the line of Nathan. He promised to destroy Rome, and to overthrow the kingdom of Antichrist, and the Turkish empire.

23. In the year 1666, appeared the false Messiah Sabatai Sevi, who made so great a noise, and gained such a number of proselytes. He was born at Aleppo, imposed on the Jews for a considerable time; but afterwards, with a view of saving his life, turned Mahometan, and was at last beheaded. As the history of this impostor is more entertaining than that of those we have already mentioned, I will give it at some length. The year 1666 was a year of great expectation, and some wonderful thing was looked for by many. This was a fit time for an impostor to set up; and, accordingly, lying reports were carried about. It was said, that great multitudes marched from unknown parts to the remote deserts of Arabia, and they were supposed to be the ten tribes of Israel, who had been dispersed for many ages; that a ship was arrived in the north part of Scotland with sails and cordage of silk: that the mariners spake nothing but Hebrew; that on the sails was this motto, The twelve tribes of Israel. Thus were credulous men possessed at that time.

Then it was that Sabatai Sevi appeared at Smyrna, and professed himself to be the Messias. He promised the Jews deliverance and a prosperous kingdom. This which he promised they firmly believed. The Jews now attended to no business, discoursed of nothing but their return, and believed Sabatai to be the Messias as firmly as we Christians believe any article of faith. A right reverend person, then in Turkey, meeting with a Jew of his acquaintance at Aleppo, he asked him what he thought of Sabatai. The Jew replied, that he believed him to be the Messias; and that he was so far of that belief, that, if he should prove an impostor, he would then turn Christian. It is fit we should be particular in this relation, because the history is so very surprising and remarkable; and we have the account of it from those who were in Turkey. Sabatai Sevi was the son of Moredecai Sevi, a mean Jew of Smyrna. Sabatai was very bookish, and arrived to great skill in the Hebrew learning. He was the author of a new doctrine, and for it was expelled the city. He went thence to Salonichi, of old called Thessalonica, where he married a very handsome woman, and was divorced from her. Then he travelled into the Morea, then to Tripoli, Gaza, and Jerusalem. By the way he picked up a third wife.

At Jerusalem he began to reform the Jews' constitutions, and abolish one of their solemn fasts, and communicated his designs of professing himself tha Messias to one Nathan. He was pleased with it, and set up for his Elias, or forerunner, and took upon him to abolish all the Jewish fasts, as not beseeming, when the bridegroom was not come. Nathan prophesied that the Messias should appear before the Grand Seignior in less than two years, and take from him his crown, and lead him in chains. At Gaza, Sabatai preached repentance, together with a faith in himself, so effectually, that the people gave themselves up to their devotions and alms. The noise of this Messias began to fill all places. Sabatai now resolves for Smyrna, and then for Constantinople, Nathan writes to him from Damascus, and thus he begins his letter; "To the king, our king, lord of lords, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, who redeems our captivity, the man elevated to the height of all sublimity the Messias of the God of Jacob, the true Messias, the celestial Lion, Sabatai Sevi." And now, throughout Turkey, the Jews were in great expectation of glorious times. They now were devout and penitent, that they might not obstruct the good which they hoped for. Some fasted so long that they were famished to death; others buried themselves in the earth till their limbs grew stiff; some would endure melting wax dropped on their flesh; some rolled in snow; others, in a cold season, would put themselves into cold water; and many buried themselves.

Business was laid aside; superfluities of household utensils were sold; the poor were provided for by immense contributions. Sabatai comes to Smyrna, where he was adored by the people, though the Chacham contradicted him, for which he was removed from his office. There he in writing styles himself the only and first-born Son of God, the Messias, the Saviour of Israel. And though he met with some opposition, yet he prevailed there at last to that degree, that some of his followers prophesied, and fell into strange ecstacies: four hundred men and women prophesied of his growing kingdom; and young infants, who could hardly speak, would plainly pronounce Sabatai, Messias, and Son of God. The people were for a time possessed, and voices heard from their bowels: some fell into trances, foamed at the mouth, recounted their future prosperity, their visions of the Lion of Judah, and the triumphs of Sabatai. All which, says the relator, were certainly true, being effects of diabolical delusions, as the Jews themselves have since confessed. Now the impostor swells and assumes. Whereas the Jews, in their synagogues, were wont to pray for the Grand Seignior, he orders those prayers to be forborne for the future, thinking it an indecent thing to pray for him who was shortly to be his captive; and, instead of praying for the Turkish emperor, he appoints prayers for himself. He also elected princes to govern the Jews in their march towards the Holy Land, and to minister justice to them when they should be possessed of it. These princes were men well known in the sity of Smyrna at that time. The people were now pressing to see some miracle to confirm their faith, and to convince the Gentiles.

Here the impostor was puzzled, though any juggling trick would have served their turn. But the credulous people supplied this defect. When Sabatai was before the Cadi (or justice of peace, ) some affirmed they saw a pillar of fire between him and the Cadi; and after some had affirmed it, others were ready to swear it, and did swear it also; and this was presently believed by the Jews of that city. He that did not now believe him to be the Messias was to be shunned as an excommunicated person. The inpostor now declares that he was called of God to see Constantinople, where he had much to do. He ships himself, to that end, in a Turkish saick, in January, 1666. He had a long and troublesome voyage; he had not power over the sea and winds. The Visier, upon the news, sends for him, and confines him in a loathsome prison. The Jews pay him their visits; and they of this city are as infatuated as those in Smyrna. They forbid traffic and refuse to pay their debts. Some of our English merchants not knowing how to recover their debts from the Jews, took this occasion to visit Sabatai, and make their complaints to him against his subjects; whereupon he wrote the following letter to the Jews. "To you of the nation of the Jews, who expect the appearance of the Messias, and the salvation of Israel, peace without end. Whereas we are informed that you are indebted to several of the English nation, it seemeth right unto us to order you to make satisfaction to these your just debts, which if you refuse to do, and not obey us herein, know you that then you are not to enter with us into our joys and dominions." Sabatai remained a prisoner in Constantinople for the space of two months.

The Grand Visier, designing for Candia, thought it not safe to leave him in the city during the Grand Seignior's absence and his own. He, therefore, removed him to the Dardanelli, a better air indeed, but yet out of the way, and consequently importing less danger to the city; which occasioned the Jews to conclude that the Turks could not, or durst not, take away his life; which had, they concluded, been the surest way to have removed all jealousy. The Jews flocked in great numbers to the castle where he was a prisoner; not only those that were near, but from Poland, Germany, Leghorn, Venice, and other places: they received Sabatai's blessing, and promises of advancement. The Turks made use of this confluence; they raised the price of their lodgings and provisions, and put their price upon those who desired to see Sabatai for their admittance. This profit stopped their mouths, and no complaints were for this cause sent to Adrianople. Sabatai, in his confinement, appoints the manner of his own nativity. He commands the Jews to keep it on the ninth day of the month Ab, and to make it a day of great joy, to celebrate it with pleasing meats and drinks, with illuminations and music. He obligeth them to acknowledge the love of God, in giving them that day of consolation for the birth of their king Messias, Sabatai Servi, his servant and first-born Son in love. We may observe, by the way, the insolence of this impostor. This day was a solemn day of fasting among the Jews, formerly in memory of the burning of the temple by the Chaldees: several other sad things happened in this month, as the Jews observe; that then, and upon the same day, the second temple was destroyed; and that in this month it was decreed in the wilderness that the Israelites should not enter into Canaan, &c.

Sabatai was born on this day; and, therefore, the fast must be turned to a feast; whereas, in truth, it had been well for the Jews had he not been born at all; and much better for himself, as will appear from what follows. The Jews of that city paid Sabatai Sevi great respect. They decked their synagogues with S.S. in letters of gold, and made for him in the wall a crown: they attributed the same titles and prophecies to him which we apply to our Saviour. He was also, during this imprisonment, visited by pilgrims from all parts, that had heard his story. Among whom Nehemiah Cohen, from Poland, was one, a man of great learning in the Kabbala and eastern tongues; who desired a conference with Sabatai, and at the conference maintained, that according to the Scripture, there ought to be a two-fold Messias; one the son of Ephraim, a poor and despised teacher of the law; the other the son of David, to be a conqueror. Nehemiah was content to be the former, the son of Ephraim, and to leave the glory and dignity of the latter to Sabatai. Sabatai, for what appears, did not dislike this. But here lay the ground of the quarrel: Nehemiah taught that the son of Ephraim ought to be the forerunner of the son of David, and to usher him in; and Nehemiah accused Sabatai of too great forwardness in appearing as the son of David, before the son of Ephraim had led him the way. Sabatai could not brook this doctrine; for he might fear that the son of Ephraim, who was to lead the way, might pretend to be the son of David, and so leave him in the lurch; and, therefore, he excluded him from any part or share in this matter; which was the occasion of the ruin of Sabatai, and all his glorious designs.

Nehemiah, being disappointed, goes to Adrianople, and informs the great ministers of state against Sabatai, as a lewd and dangerous person to the government, and that it was necessary to take him out of the way. The Grand Seignior, being informed of this, sends for Sabatai, who, much dejected, appears before him. The Grand Seignior requires a miracle, and chooses one himself; and it was this: that Sabatai should be stripped naked, and set as a mark for his archers to shoot at; and, if the arrows did not pierce his flesh, he would own him to be the Messias. Sabatai had not faith enough to bear up under so great a trial. The Grand Seignior let him know that he would forthwith impale him, and that the stake was prepared for him, unless he would turn Turk. Upon which he consented to turn Mahometan, to the great confusion of the Jews. And yet some of the Jews were so vain as to affirm that it was not Sabatai himself, but his shadow, that professed the religion, and was seen in the habit of a Turk; so great was their obstinacy and infidelity, as if it were a thing impossible to convince these deluded and infatuated wretches. After all this, several of the Jews continued to use the forms, in their public worship prescribed by this Mahometan Messias, which obliged the principal Jews of Constantinople to send to the synagogue of Smyrna to forbid this practice. During these things, the Jews, instead of minding their trade and traffic, filled their letters with news of Sabatai their Messias, and his wonderful works.

They reported, that, when the Grand Seignior sent to take him, he caused all the messengers that were sent to die; and when other Janizaries were sent, they all fell dead by a word from his mouth; and being requested to do it, he caused them to revive again. They added, that, though the prison where Sabatai lay was barred and fastened with strong iron locks, yet he was seen to walk through the streets with a numerous train; that the shackles which were upon his neck and feet did not fall off, but were turned into gold, with which Sabatai gratified his followers. Upon the fame of these things the Jews of Italy sent legates to Smyrna, to enquire into the truth of these matters. When the legates arrived at Smyrna, they heard of the news that Sabatai was turned Turk, to their very great confusion; but, going to visit the brother of Sabatai, he endeavoured to persuade them that Sabatai was still the true Messias; that it was not Sabatai that went about in the habit of a Turk, but his angel, or spirit; that his body was taken into heaven, and should be sent down again when God should think it a fit season. He added, that Nathan, his forerunner, who had wrought many miracles, would soon be at Smyrna; that he would reveal hidden things to them, and confirm them. But this Elias was not suffered to come into Smyrna, and though the legates saw him elsewhere, they received no satisfaction at all. 24. The last falst Christ that had made any considerable number of converts was one Rabbi Mordecai, a Jew of Germany: he appeared in the year 1632. It was not long before he was found out to be an impostor, and was obliged to fly from Italy to Poland to save his life. What became of him afterwards does not seem to be recorded. This may be considered as true and exact an account of the false Christs that have arisen since the crucifixion of our blessed Saviour, as can well be given.

See Johannes a Lent's Hist. of False Messiahs; Jortin's Rem. on Eccl. Hist. vol. 3: p. 330; Kidder's Demonstration of the Messias; Harris's Sermons on the Messiah; The Eleventh Volume of the Modern Part of the Universal History; Simpson's Key to the Prophecies, sec. 9; Maclaurin on the Prophecies relating to the Messiah; Fuller's Jesus the true Messiah.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [4]

The term "messiah" is the translation of the Hebrew term masiah [מָשִׁיחַ], which is derived from the verb masah, meaning to smear or anoint. When objects such as wafers and shields were smeared with grease or oil they were said to be anointed; hence the commonly used term was "anoint" when grease or oil was applied to objects by Israelites and non-Israelites. The term "messiah" is not used to refer to "anointed" objects that were designated and consecrated for specific cultic purposes but to persons only. Persons who were anointed had been elected, designated, appointed, given authority, qualified, and equipped for specific offices and tasks related to these.

When the concept of messiah is considered from a specifically biblical-theological perspective, various questions come to the fore. The first concerns the origin of the concept. Various critically inclined scholars have searched Near Eastern documents for possible references or incipient thoughts that biblical writers borrowed and developed. A careful study of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Hittite, and Canaanite texts reveals various factors that could be related indirectly to the biblical concept. The Egyptian texts, for example, speak of a divine king who would bring deliverance and prosperity but this god-king and his work were totally different from the biblical concept of the messiah. The Mesopotamian, Hittite, and Canaanite texts also exhibit a common literary and historical background with the Scriptures, but the views concerning kingship and priesthood, the interrelationships between these, and their relationship to gods are radically different from the biblical explanations. Thus, while some formal similarities are present the messianic concept presented in the Bible is radically different. There is no possibility of considering the Near Eastern views to be the sources from which the biblical concept is lineally developed.

The biblical idea of the messiah and his work is divinely revealed. It did not originate in human thought. While the act of anointing was not foreign to non-Israelites, the intent and consequences of the act are not found in nonbiblical documents. God made his intent and the consequences of the anointing act progressively known in the course of his self-revelation to humanity.

A second question concerns the specific objects that were anointed and therefore had messianic significance. Not all anointing Acts had direct messianic significance. For example, anointing a shield (smearing it with oil) ( 2 Samuel 1:21;  Isaiah 21:5 ), while preparing and qualifying it for effective service, did not have messianic intentions; nor did men and women who anointed themselves for cleansing, beautifying, or preparing for participation in worship have messianic significance. Nor did the smearing or pouring of oil on wafers and cultic objects indicate a specific messianic purpose. What must be kept in mind, however, is that this anointing of shields, cultic objects, and men and women did convey ideas, such as qualification, beautification, and consecration, which are inherent in the anointing Acts and purposes that do have messianic significance. A further qualification to be kept in mind is that not all objects that had a messianic significance, for example, types of Jesus Christ the Messiah, his person and work, were anointed. Classic examples of this are the tabernacle, temple, and sacrifices.

A third question concerns the messianic concept as it is expressed most adequately and fully in an anointed person. The anointed person was chosen, designated, qualified, and consecrated to a position with correlated tasks. Some scholars have insisted that only an actual reigning king could be considered as the messiah. This view, however, is not consistent with the biblical revelation concerning the messiah. True, the messiah was to be considered as a royal person. This personal aspect has been referred to as the narrower view of the messianic idea. But the personal is not to be limited to royalty because the biblical messianic idea includes the priestly and the prophetic offices also.

The messianic concept also has a wider dimension than the royal, priestly, and/or prophetic person. Included in this wider view are the characteristics, tasks, goals, means, and consequences of the messianic person. Thus, a passage in Scripture should be considered to be referring to the messiah when reference is made, for example, to the character, task, and influences of the messiah even though there is no direct mention of the personal messiah himself.

The fourth question concerns the actual position and task of the messiah. The Near Eastern texts presented a divine-royal personage who would fight, kill, and plunder; this was especially true of the gods represented by the divine kings to gain advantage and thus set up their political organization, be it thought of in terms of a kingdom or empire. The biblical messiah, who was symbolized and typified, as explained below, was a divine-human being, ordained by God the Father to be the mediator of the covenant and as such to be the administrator of the kingdom of God.

What is the biblical portrait of the messiah?

Adam and Eve, created in God's image, were placed in a living, loving, lasting relationship, a covenant bond, with the Creator God. These human beings were given authority, ability, and responsibility to mirror, represent, and serve the sovereign Creator and King of the entire created cosmos. Adam and Eve were to believe, obey, and serve God in the living, loving, covenantal relationship. The account of Adam and Eve's deviation, under Satan's influence, from the will, purposes, and goals of God is well known.

God immediately intervened. He cursed the serpent/Satan and all his followers. He promised that the covenantal relationship would be restored through the victory that the seed of the woman would have over Satan. Yet, God did not remove or permit Adam and Eve to abdicate their creational covenantal position and responsibilities. Rather, God assured Adam and Eve that redemption and restoration would become realities in the lives and history of their seed ( Genesis 3:14-20 ). The seed of the woman would restore, continue, and bring to full fruition God's kingdom plans and goals.

Satanic efforts to render the redemptive/restorative covenant ineffective are recorded throughout the Scriptures. The murder of Abel ( Genesis 4:8 ) and the violence that saturated society before and during the first part of Noah's life, bear testimony to Satan's efforts ( Genesis 4-5;  6:1-8 ). But God kept covenant with righteous, blameless, obedient, believing, and serving Noah. Noah stands as a prefigurement of the promised Messiah who, in the midst of judgment, would effect a complete and final redemption. Noah, late in life, prophesied that Shem would be the messianic seedline bearer ( Genesis 9:25-27 ).

Abraham, descendant of Shem, was called and appointed to be the covenant agent. He was to leave country, clan, and family to become the channel of messianic blessings to all nations ( Genesis 12:1-3 ). God covenanted in a special manner with Abraham, assuring him that via his seed God would carry out his redemptive/restorative work. That Abraham and his seed would be able to do this was confirmed by God's assuring covenantal affirmation: "I am God Almighty I will make you very fruitful be your God and of your descendants" ( Genesis 17:1-7 ). Two important messianic factors stand out: (1) the covenant Lord would continue the seedline; and (2) Abraham was called to believe, obey, and serve as the father of all believers who would receive the benefits of the Messiah.

The messianic seedline continued through Isaac and Jacob; Jacob prophesied that that line would continue through Judah ( Genesis 49:8-12 ); the line continued through Boaz and Ruth ( Ruth 4:16-22 ); and David was told that his son's throne would be established forever ( 2 Samuel 7:11b-16 ). The royal descendants of David were not all believing, obeying, serving covenant messianic forbears of Jesus the Messiah/Christ. God, however, maintained the seedline from Abraham, through David, through Zerubbabel, through Mary and Joseph. This seedline referred especially to the royal dimension of the messianic office and task. Other dimensions were also included to reveal the inclusive position, tasks, and influence of the Messiah. The royal aspect was central, pervasive, and supportive of all the other dimensions. This dominating royal aspect led many in Old Testament, intertestamentary, and New Testament times to think of the Messiah strictly in terms of his kingship and his setting up and ruling an earthly political entity in which Hebrew/Jewish people would be the kingdom people.

Whereas the narrower view of the messianic idea is central, the wider dimension was clearly present at all times also. Adam and Eve had a wider task to perform than strictly royal. Noah, an ancestor of the Messiah personally, while not a royal person, performed a redemptive messianic function. The redemptive task pertained not only to the saving of eight people but also included the animal world.

The wider dimension of the messianic concept is evident in Abraham's life of faith, intercession on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah ( Genesis 18 ), and offering of the ram substituted for his son Isaac ( Genesis 22 ). Abraham's grandson Joseph, serving as a type of the Messiah, performed in a royal capacity but before he was lifted to that capacity he suffered humiliation. Once in a royal position, he became the savior of the seedline by functioning in the creational covenantal setting, collecting, preserving, and distributing food during years of famine.

Moses, another type of the Messiah, functioned in a royal capacity as lawgiver but he also served as a prophet. He was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets and the model of all faithful prophets who spoke God's word. In addition, through Moses, God ordained the priesthood, ordered the building of the tabernacle, and prescribed the sacrifices. These were symbols and types of the messianic task, giving expression to the priestly mediatorial office, the God with you (Immanuel) principle, and the substitutionary death on behalf of sinners. Another messianic representation in the days of the patriarchs and Moses was the angel of the Lord, who appeared in theophanic form as the preincarnate Christ. The angel of the Lord phenomenon particularly gave emphasis to the divine character of the Messiah. Still more expressions of the messianic task were given in the time of Moses; consider the pillar of fire (Christ is the light), manna (Christ is the living bread), the water from the rock (Christ is living water and the rock), and the lifted-up bronze serpent (Christ is the lifted-up One who gives life).

The psalmists and prophets gave further explication of the Penteteuchal presentations of the Messiah. The psalms gave expression to the royal character of the Messiah. The suffering, priestly dimension is spoken of as well. This dimension includes references to death and resurrection. According to the psalmists, it is the royal One (the narrower view) who also carries out the priestly and prophetic tasks, that is, bringing in salvation and giving instruction in the truth.

The prophets especially brought together the wider and narrower views concerning the Messiah. Consider Isaiah's proclamation of the birth by a virgin (7:14), the wise, all-knowing ruling son of David (9:1-6), the fruitful branch who would bring redemption, restoration, and blessings in life (chap. 11). It was Isaiah who proclaimed that the Messiah was to be the light to the Gentiles (49:6), the suffering, exalted One (52:13-53:12). The Messiah was to be the great comforting preacher of freedom, the healer and bringer of joy (61:1-3). Micah prophesied that the Messiah was to come through the royal Davidic seedline to shepherd his people and bring them security (5:1-4). Amos likewise proclaimed that the Messiah of Davidic lineage would fulfill Yahweh's covenant promises to the nations (9:11-15). Jeremiah prophesied of the Messiah, the one of Davidic lineage who was to be the king of righteousness (23:5-6). Ezekiel called the exiles' attention to the Son of Man, the covenant mediator who would restore and shepherd his people (chaps. 34; 36). Postexilic prophets spoke of the Messiah as the royal, redeeming, restoring One to come ( Haggai 2:20-22;  Zechariah 4:1-14;  6:9-15;  9:9-10 ), Malachi spoke of the Messiah as a cleansing agent who, as messenger of the covenant, would bring healing in his wings (3:1-4; 4:1-3).

The New Testament writers, evangelists, and apostles give no reason to doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, or in New Testament language, the Christ. He came, born of Abrahamic and Davidic lineage ( Matthew 1:2-16;  Luke 2:4-15 ). John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah by referring to the wider dimension: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" ( John 1:29 ). Jesus was the One who would bring judgment as well as life by the Spirit of God ( Matthew 3:1-12 ). The evangelists record that Jesus was anointed by the Spirit when he was baptized. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Messiah in Nazareth ( Luke 4:16-22 ) and at Jacob's well to the Samaritan woman ( John 4:24-25 ).

Gerard Van Groningen

See also Name And Titles Of Jesus Christ

Bibliography . C. A. Briggs, The Messiah of the Gospels  ; N. L. Geisler, To Understand the Bible—Look for Jesus  ; E. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament and a Commentary on the Messianic Predictions  ; J. Jocz, The Jewish People and Jesus Christ  ; H. Lockyer, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible  ; W. Manson, Jesus the Messiah  ; S. Mowinckel, He That Cometh  ; E. Riehm, Messianic Prophecy: Its Origin, Historical Growth, and Relation to New Testament Fulfillment  ; G. A. Riggan, Messianic Theology and Christian Faith  ; O. P. Robertson, The Christ of the Covenants  ; G. Stibitz, Messianic Prophecy  ; G. Van Groningen, Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament  ; M. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

The word ‘messiah’ is a Hebrew word meaning ‘the anointed one’. Israelites of Old Testament times anointed kings, priests, and sometimes prophets to their positions by the ceremony of anointing. In this ceremony a special anointing oil was poured over the head of the person as a sign that he now had the right, and the responsibility, to perform the duties that his position required ( Exodus 28:41;  1 Kings 1:39;  1 Kings 19:16; see Anointing ). In the Greek speaking world of New Testament times the word ‘christ’, also meaning anointed, was used as a Greek translation of the Hebrew ‘messiah’.

Old Testament expectations

The most common Old Testament usage of the title ‘anointed’ was in relation to the Israelite king, who was frequently called ‘the Lord’s anointed’ ( 1 Samuel 24:10;  Psalms 18:50;  Psalms 20:6). In the early days of Israel’s existence, when it was little more than a large family, God signified that the leadership of the future Israelite nation would belong to the tribe of Judah. From this tribe would come a great leader who would rule the nations in a reign of peace, prosperity and enjoyment ( Genesis 49:9-12).

Centuries later, God developed this plan by promising King David (who belonged to the tribe of Judah) a dynasty that would last for ever ( 2 Samuel 7:16). The people of Israel therefore lived in the expectation of a time when all enemies would be destroyed and the ideal king would reign in a worldwide kingdom of peace and righteousness. This coming saviour-king they called the Messiah.

In promising David a dynasty, God promised that he would treat David’s son and successor as if he were his own son ( 2 Samuel 7:14). From that time on, Israelites regarded every king in the royal line of David as, in a sense, God’s son; for he was the one through whom God exercised his rule. The Messiah, David’s greatest son, was in a special sense God’s son ( Psalms 2:6-7;  Mark 10:47;  Mark 12:35;  Mark 14:61).

Because of their expectation of a golden age, the Israelite people saw victories over enemies as foreshadowings of the victory of the Messiah and the establishment of his kingdom. They praised their kings in language that was too extravagant to be literally true of those kings. The language expressed the ideals that Israel looked for in its kings, but it could apply fully only to the perfect king, the Messiah (e.g. Psalms 2; Psalms 45; Psalms 72; Psalms 110).

Messianic interpretations

The idealism of the prophets was not fulfilled in any of the Davidic kings of the Old Testament, but this did not cause the people of Israel to lose hope. They constantly looked for the one who would be the great ‘David’ of the future, the great descendant of David the son of Jesse ( Psalms 89:3-4;  Isaiah 9:2-7;  Isaiah 11:1-10;  Jeremiah 23:5;  Ezekiel 34:23-24;  Micah 5:2). This king, this Messiah, was Jesus Christ ( Matthew 1:1;  Matthew 9:27;  Matthew 12:22-23;  Matthew 21:9;  Luke 1:32-33;  Luke 1:69-71;  Revelation 5:5).

One of David’s best known psalms, Psalms 110, was interpreted by Jews of Jesus’ time as applying to the Messiah, though they consistently refused to acknowledge the messiahship of Jesus. Jesus agreed that they were correct in applying this psalm to the Messiah, but he went a step further by applying it to himself ( Psalms 110:1;  Matthew 22:41-45).

Since the king of Psalms 110 was also a priest, Jesus was not only the messianic king but also the messianic priest ( Psalms 110:4;  Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 7; see Priest sub-heading ‘The high priesthood of Jesus’). This joint rule of the priest-king Messiah had been foreshadowed in the book of the prophet Zechariah ( Zechariah 6:12-13).

The Messiah was, in addition, to be a prophet, announcing God’s will to his people. As the Davidic kings in some way foreshadowed the king-messiah, so Israel’s prophets in some way foreshadowed the prophet-messiah. Again the ideal was fulfilled only in Jesus ( Deuteronomy 18:15;  Luke 24:19;  John 6:14;  John 7:40;  Acts 3:22-23;  Acts 7:37;  Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus and the Jews

Although Jesus was the Messiah, he did not at the beginning of his ministry announce his messiahship openly. This was no doubt because the Jews of his time had a wrong understanding of the Messiah and his kingdom.

The Jews had little interest in the spiritual work of the Messiah. They were not looking for a spiritual leader who would deliver people from the enemy Satan and bring them under the rule and authority of God. They looked rather for a political leader who would deliver them from the power of Rome and bring in a new and independent Israelite kingdom, where there would be peace, contentment and prosperity. If Jesus had announced himself publicly as the Messiah before showing what his messiahship involved, he would have attracted a following of the wrong kind (see Kingdom Of God; Miracles )

While not refusing the title ‘Messiah’, Jesus preferred to avoid it when speaking of himself. Instead he called himself the Son of man. This was a title that had little meaning to most people (they probably thought Jesus used it simply to mean ‘I’ or ‘me’), but it had a special meaning to those who understood the true nature of Jesus’ messiahship (see Son Of Man ).

Just as Jesus opposed Satan who tempted him with the prospect of an earthly kingdom, so he opposed those who wanted him to be king because they thought he could bring them political and material benefits ( John 6:15;  John 6:26; cf.  Matthew 4:8-10). When other Jews, by contrast, recognized Jesus as the Messiah in the true sense of the word, Jesus told them not to broadcast the fact. He was familiar with the popular messianic ideas, and he did not want people to misunderstand the nature of his mission ( Matthew 9:27-30;  Matthew 16:13-20). He did not place the same restrictions on non-Jews, for non-Jews were not likely to use his messiahship for political purposes ( Mark 5:19;  John 4:25-26).

Later in his ministry, when he knew that his work was nearing completion and the time for his crucifixion was approaching, Jesus allowed people to speak openly of him as the Messiah ( Matthew 21:14-16). He even entered Jerusalem as Israel’s Messiah-king and accepted people’s homage ( Matthew 21:1-11). But when he admitted before the high priest Caiaphas that he was the Messiah, adding a statement that placed him on equality with God, he was accused of blasphemy and condemned to death ( Mark 14:61-64). When asked by the governor Pilate if he was a king, Jesus agreed that he was, though not the sort of king Pilate had in mind ( Matthew 27:11;  John 18:33-37; cf.  Acts 17:7).

The Messiah’s death and resurrection

Even true believers of Jesus’ time still thought of the Messiah solely in relation to the establishment of God’s kingdom throughout the world at the end of the age. Because of this, many believers were puzzled when Jesus did not immediately set up a world-conquering kingdom ( Matthew 11:2-3;  Luke 24:21;  Acts 1:6). Jesus pointed out that with his coming, God’s kingdom had come; the messianic age had begun. He was the Messiah, and his miracles of healing were proof of this ( Isaiah 35:5-6;  Isaiah 61:1;  Matthew 11:4-5;  Luke 4:18;  Luke 18:35-43).

What the disciples could not understand was that the Messiah should die. Like most Jews they knew of the Old Testament prophecies concerning God’s suffering servant ( Isaiah 49:7;  Isaiah 50:6;  Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53; see Servant Of The Lord ), just as they knew of the prophecies concerning God’s Messiah, but they did not connect the two. Jesus showed that he was both the suffering servant and the Messiah. In fact, it was in response to his disciples’ confession of him as the Messiah that he told them he must die ( Matthew 16:13-23;  Matthew 17:12;  Mark 10:45;  Acts 4:27).

Immediately after this, at the transfiguration, the Father confirmed that Jesus was both Davidic Messiah and suffering servant. He did this by an announcement that combined a statement from a messianic psalm with a statement from one of the servant songs of Isaiah ( Matthew 17:5;  Psalms 2:7;  Isaiah 42:1; cf. also  Matthew 3:17).

The idea of a crucified Messiah was contrary to common Jewish beliefs. The Jews considered the Messiah as blessed by God above all others, whereas a crucified person was cursed by God ( Galatians 3:13). That is why the Christians’ belief in a crucified Jesus as the Saviour-Messiah was a stumbling block to the Jews (see Stumbling Block ).

Jesus’ resurrection provided the solution to this apparent difficulty. Even the disciples did not understand when Jesus foretold his resurrection ( Mark 8:29-33;  Mark 9:31-32), but afterwards they looked back on the resurrection as God’s final great confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah ( Luke 24:45-46;  Acts 2:31-32;  Acts 2:36). He was God’s anointed one ( Acts 10:38; cf.  Isaiah 61:1;  Luke 4:18).

Title and name

So firmly was the Messiah identified with Jesus after his resurrection, that the Greek word for Messiah (Christ) became a personal name for Jesus. The two names were often joined as Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus, and frequently the name ‘Christ’ was used without any direct reference to messiahship at all ( Philippians 1:15-16;  Philippians 1:18;  Philippians 1:21). In general the Gospels and the early part of Acts use ‘Christ’ mainly as a title (‘Messiah’), and Paul’s letters use it mainly as a name.

In the eyes of unbelieving Jews, Jesus was not the Messiah, and therefore they would not call him Jesus Christ. They called him Jesus of Nazareth, and his followers they called Nazarenes ( Matthew 26:71;  John 18:4-7;  Acts 24:5). To unbelieving non-Jews, however, the Jewish notion of messiahship meant nothing. To them ‘Christ’ was merely the name of a person, and the followers of this person they called Christians ( Acts 11:26). (See also Jesus Christ .)

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

Christos Christology Christ Christ

The Old Testament and Early Jewish Background “Anointed” carries several senses in the Old Testament. All have to do with installing a person in an office in a way that the person will be regarded as accredited by Yahweh, Israel's God. Even a pagan king such as Cyrus was qualified as the Lord's anointed ( Isaiah 45:1 ) to execute a divinely appointed task. The usual application of the term anointed was to God's representatives within the covenant people. Prophets such as Elisha were set apart in this way ( 1 Kings 19:16 ). Israel probably saw a close link between the anointed persons and God's spirit though the link is specifically mentioned only occasionally ( 2 Kings 2:9 ). Israelite kings were particularly hailed as Yahweh's anointed compare (  Judges 9:8 ), beginning with Saul ( 1 Samuel 9-10 NIV) and especially referring to David (1Samuel 16:6,  1 Samuel 16:13; see  2 Samuel 2:4;  2 Samuel 5:3 ) and Solomon ( 1 Kings 1:39 ). The royal family of David as being the line of Israelite kings are mentioned by the title of the “anointed ones” ( 2 Samuel 22:51; compare  2 Kings 11:12;  2 Kings 23:30;  Psalm 2:2;  Psalm 20:6;  Psalm 28:8;  Psalm 84:9 ). The king in Israel thus became a sacred person to whom loyalty and respect were to be accorded (1Samuel 24:6, 1 Samuel 24:10; 1Samuel 26:9,1Samuel 26:11,1Samuel 26:16, 1 Samuel 26:23; 2Samuel 1:14, 2 Samuel 1:16 ). The oracle spoken by Nathan ( 2 Samuel 7:12-16 ) is important since it centers the hope of Israel on the dynasty of David for succeeding generations.

The king, especially in the Psalms, became idealized as a divine son ( Psalm 2:2 ,Psalms 2:2, 2:7; compare  2 Samuel 7:14 ) and enjoyed God's protecting favor ( Psalm 18:50;  Psalm 20:6;  Psalm 28:8 ). His dynasty would not fail ( Psalm 132:17 ), and the people were encouraged to pray to God on his behalf ( Psalm 72:11-15;  Psalm 84:9 ). The fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. led to great confusion especially when Yahweh's anointed was taken into Exile as a prisoner ( Lamentations 4:20 ) and his authority as king rejected by the nations ( Psalm 89:38 ,Psalms 89:38, 89:51 ). This humiliation of the Davidic dynasty posed a set of problems to Israel's faith, even when the people were permitted to return to the land. No revival came for the Davidic kingship; yet that restoration became the pious longing of the Jews both in Babylonian Exile ( Jeremiah 33:14-18 ) and in the later centuries. One of the clearest expressions of the continuing hope was in the Psalms of Solomon (17–18 (70-40 B.C.), a Jewish writing of the Messiah as the son of David. There Messiah was a warrior-prince who would expel the hated Romans from Israel and bring in a kingdom in which the Jews would be promoted to world dominion.

After the Exile the Israelite priesthood came into prominence. In the absence of a king, the high priest took on a central role in the community. The rite of anointing was the outward sign of his authority to function as God's representative. This authority was traced back to Aaron and his sons ( Exodus 29:7-9;  Exodus 30:22-33; compare  Psalm 133:2 ). The high priest was the anointed-priest ( Leviticus 4:3 ,Leviticus 4:3, 4:5 ,Leviticus 4:5, 4:16 ) and even, in one place, a “messiah” ( Zechariah 4:14; compare  Zechariah 6:13;  Daniel 9:25 ).

In the exilic and postexilic ages, the expectation of a coming Messiah came into sharper focus, commencing with Jeremiah's and Ezekiel's vision of a Messiah who would combine the traits of royalty and priestly dignity ( Jeremiah 33:14-18;  Ezekiel 46:1-8; see, too,  Zechariah 4:1-14;  Zechariah 6:13 ). The people in the Dead Sea scrolls were evidently able to combine a dual hope of two Messiahs, one priestly and the second a royal figure. The alternation between a kingly Messiah and a priestly figure is characteristic of the two centuries of early Judaism prior to the coming of Jesus.

Messiahship in Jesus' Ministry A question posed in  John 4:29; compare  John 7:40-43 is: “Is not this the Christ (Messiah).” It is evident that the issue of the Messiah's identity and role was one much debated among the Jews in the first century. In the Synoptic Gospels the way Jesus acted and spoke led naturally to the dialogue at Caesarea Philippi (  Mark 8:29 ). Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” a question to which Peter gave the reply, “Thou art the Christ (Messiah)” ( Mark 8:29 ). Mark made clear that Jesus took an attitude of distinct reserve and caution to this title since it carried overtones of political power, especially in one strand of Jewish hope represented by the Psalms of Solomon. Jesus, therefore, accepted Peter's confession with great reluctance since with it went the disciple's objection that the Messiah cannot suffer (see  Mark 9:32 ). For Peter, Messiah was a title of a glorious personage both nationalistic and victorious in battle. Jesus, on the other hand, saw His destiny in terms of a suffering Son of man and Servant of God ( Mark 8:31-38;  Mark 9:31;  Mark 10:33-34 ). Hence He did not permit the demons to greet Him as Messiah ( Luke 4:41 ) and downplayed all claims to privilege and overt majesty linked with the Jewish title.

The course of Jesus' ministry is one in which He sought to wean the disciples away from the traditional notion of a warrior Messiah. Instead, Jesus tried to instill in their minds the prospect that the road to His future glory was bound to run by way of the cross, with its experience of rejection, suffering, and humiliation. At the trial before His Jewish judges ( Matthew 26:63-66 ) He once more reinterpreted the title Messiah (“Christ,” KJV) and gave it a content in terms of the Son of man figure, based on  Daniel 7:13-14 . This confession secured His condemnation, and He went to the cross as a crucified Messiah because the Jewish leaders failed to perceive the nature of messiahship as Jesus understood it. Pilate sentenced Him as a messianic pretender who claimed (according to the false charges brought against Him) to be a rival to Caesar ( Mark 15:9;  Luke 23:2;  John 19:14-15 ). It was only after the resurrection that the disciples were in a position to see how Jesus was truly a king Messiah and how Jesus then opened their minds to what true Messiahship meant (see  Luke 24:45-46 ). The national title Messiah then took on a broader connotation, involving a kingly role which was to embrace all peoples (  Luke 24:46-47 ).

Messiah as a Title in the Early Church From the resurrection onward the first preachers announced that Jesus was the Messiah by divine appointment ( Acts 2:36;  Romans 1:3-4 ). Part of the reason for this forthright declaration is to be traced to apologetic reasons. In the mission to Israel the church had to show how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and came into the world as the “Son of David,” a title closely linked with the Messiah as a royal person. Matthew's Gospel is especially concerned to establish the identity ( Matthew 1:1 ), but it is equally a theme common to Luke ( Luke 1:32 ,Luke 1:32, 1:69;  Luke 2:4 ,Luke 2:4, 2:11;  Acts 2:29-36;  Acts 13:22-23 ). Paul also saw in Jesus the fulfillment of the messianic hopes of the old covenant ( 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 ). Peter, too, sought to show how the sufferings of the Messiah were foretold (1Peter 1:11, 1 Peter 1:20;  1 Peter 2:21;  1 Peter 3:18; 1Peter 4:1, 1 Peter 4:13;  1 Peter 5:1 ). Luke stressed the link between Jesus as the One anointed by the Holy Spirit ( Luke 4:16-22 ) in a way that looks back to  Isaiah 61:1 , and he recorded Peter's statement (in  Acts 10:38 NIV) that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power” as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The letter to the Hebrews is rich in this theme. See   Hebrews 1:9;  Hebrews 2:2-4;  Hebrews 9:14-15 .

The final stage of development in regard to the title Messiah came in the way that Paul used the word more as a personal name than as an official designation (seen in   Romans 9:5 , “Christ”). The reason for this shift lies in the intensely personal nature of Paul's faith which centered in Jesus Christ as the divine Lord (see  Philippians 1:21;  Colossians 3:4 ). Also, Paul taught his converts who were mainly converted to Christ from paganism that Jesus was the universal Lord whose mission was wider than any Jewish hope could embrace. In Pauline thought, “Christ” is a richer term than “Messiah” could ever be, and one pointer in this direction is the fact that the early followers of the Messiah called themselves not converted Jews but “Christians,” Christ's people ( Acts 11:26;  1 Peter 4:16 ) as a sign of their universal faith in a sovereign Lord. See Christ; Jesus.

Ralph P. Martin

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [7]

The Greek word Χριστος , from whence comes Christ and Christian, exactly answers to the Hebrew Messiah, which signifies him that hath received unction, a prophet, a king, or a priest. See Jesus Christ .

Our Lord warned his disciples that false messiahs should arise,  Matthew 24:24; and the event has verified the prediction. No less than twenty-four false Christs have arisen in different places and at different times: Caziba was the first of any note who made a noise in the world. Being dissatisfied with the state of things under Adrian, he set himself up as the head of the Jewish nation, and proclaimed himself their long expected messiah. He was one of those banditti that infested Judea, and committed all kinds of violence against the Romans; and had become so powerful that he was chosen king of the Jews, and by them acknowledged their messiah. However, to facilitate the success of this bold enterprise, he changed his name from Caziba, which it was at first, to that of Barchocheba, alluding to the star foretold by Balaam; for he pretended to be the star sent from heaven to restore his nation to its ancient liberty and glory. He chose a forerunner, raised an army, was anointed king, coined money inscribed with his own name, and proclaimed himself messiah and prince of the Jewish nation. Adrian raised an army, and sent it against him; he retired into a town called Bither, where he was besieged. Barchocheba was killed in the siege, the city was taken, and a dreadful havoc succeeded. The Jews themselves allow, that, during this short war against the Romans in defence of this false messiah, they lost five or six hundred thousand souls. This was in the former part of the second century. In the reign of Theodosius the younger, A.D. 434, another impostor arose, called Moses Cretensis. He pretended to be a second Moses, sent to deliver the Jews who dwelt in Crete, and promised to divide the sea, and give them a safe passage through it. Their delusion proved so strong and universal, that they neglected their lands, houses, and other concerns, and took only so much with them as they could conveniently carry. And on the day appointed, this false Moses, having led them to the top of a rock, men, women, and children threw themselves headlong down into the sea, without the least hesitation or reluctance, till so great a number of them were drowned as opened the eyes of the rest, and made them sensible of the cheat. They then began to look for their pretended leader; but he had disappeared, and escaped out of their hands. In the reign of Justin, about A.D. 520, another impostor appeared, who called himself the son of Moses. His name was Dunaan. He entered into a city of Arabia Felix, and there he greatly oppressed the Christians; but he was taken prisoner, and put to death by Elesban, an Ethiopian general. The Jews and Samaritans rebelled against the Emperor Justinian, A.D. 529, and set up one Julian for their king, and accounted him the messiah. The emperor sent an army against them, killed great numbers of them, took their pretended messiah prisoner, and immediately put him to death. In the time of Leo Isaurus, about A.D. 721, arose another false messiah in Spain; his name was Serenus. He drew great numbers after him, to their no small loss and disappointment; but all his pretensions came to nothing. The twelfth century was fruitful in messiahs. About A.D. 1137, there appeared one in France, who was put to death, and numbers of those who followed him. In A.D. 1138, the Persians were disturbed with a Jew, who called himself the messiah. He collected a vast army; but he too was put to death, and his followers treated with great inhumanity. A false messiah stirred up the Jews at Corduba in Spain, A.D. 1157. The wiser and better sort looked upon him as a madman, but the great body of the Jews in the nation believed in him. On this occasion nearly all the Jews in Spain were destroyed. Another false messiah arose in the kingdom of Fez, A.D. 1167, which brought great troubles and persecutions upon the Jews that were scattered throughout that country. In the same year, an Arabian professed to be the messiah, and pretended to work miracles. When search was made for him, his followers fled, and he was brought before the Arabian king. Being questioned by him, he replied, that he was a prophet sent from God. The king then asked him what sign he could show to confirm his mission. "Cut off my head," said he, "and I will return to life again." The king took him at his word, promising to believe him if his prediction was accomplished. The poor wretch, however, never came to life again, and the cheat was sufficiently discovered. Those who had been deluded by him were grievously punished, and the nation condemned to a very heavy fine. Not long after this, a Jew who dwelt beyond the Euphrates, called himself the messiah, and drew vast multitudes of people after him. He gave this for a sign of it, that he had been leprous, and had been cured in the course of one night. He, like the rest, perished, and brought great persecution on his countrymen. A magician and false christ arose in Persia, A.D. 1174, who seduced many of the common people, and brought the Jews into great tribulation. Another of these impostors arose, A.D. 1176, in Moravia, who was called David Almusser. He pretended he could make himself invisible; but he was soon taken and put to death, and a heavy fine laid upon the Jews. A famous cheat and rebel exerted himself in Persia, A.D. 1199, called David el David. He was a man of learning, a great magician, and pretended to be the messiah. He raised an army against the king, but was taken and imprisoned; and, having made his escape, was afterward retaken and beheaded. Vast numbers of the Jews were butchered for taking part with this impostor. Rabbi Lemlem, a German Jew of Austria, declared himself a forerunner of the messiah, A.D. 1500, and pulled down his own oven, promising, his brethren that they should bake their bread in the holy land next year. A false christ arose in the East Indies, A.D. 1615, and was greatly followed by the Portuguese Jews who are scattered over that country. Another in the Low Countries declared himself to be the messiah of the family of David, and of the line of Nathan, A.D. 1624. He promised to destroy Rome, and to overthrow the kingdom of antichrist, and the Turkish empire. In A.D. 1666, appeared the false messiah Sabatai Tzevi, who made a great noise, and gained a great number of proselytes. He was born at Aleppo, and imposed on the Jews for a considerable time; but afterward, with a view of saving his life, he turned Mohammedan, and was at last beheaded. The last false christ that made any considerable number of converts was one rabbi Mordecai, a Jew of Germany: he appeared, A.D. 1682. It was not long before he was found out to be an impostor, and was obliged to flee from Italy to Poland to save his life: what became of him afterward does not seem to be recorded.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

The Anointed. This term is peculiarly, and by way of eminency, applied to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mashah or Meshiah of the Father, full of grace and truth Hence, with pointed and personal distinction, God the Father is represented in the Scripture as saying: "I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people; I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him." ( Psalms 89:19-20) And no less God the Holy Ghost, in his divine office and character, in the economy of human redemption, is represented as ordaining and anointing Christ, as Christ, to the great work of salvation; for both Christ and his church came under this 'Cilia-act of God the Spirit. For as Christ could not have been Christ without the unction of the Holy Ghost, so neither could the church have been the church, the spouse of Christ, the Lamb's wife, without sovereign agency. And it is very blessed to behold in the Scriptures of truth the testimony of JEHOVAH to this grand doctrine of Christ the Messiah, as the Christ of God. Hence we find Christ speaking as Glory-man Mediator."Come ( Isaiah 48:16-17) ye near unto me, hear ye this: I have not spoken in secret; from the beginning, from the time that it was, thee am I; and now the Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me. Thus saith the Lord thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. I am the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee, to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go." In all these views, therefore, of Christ as Christ, we discover the work of the Father and the Holy Ghost. For one of the names of the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament is, the Messiah, that is the Anointed, as well as in the New; and as it is expressly said concerning him in the New Testament, when he appeared in the substance of our flesh, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth: with the Holy Ghost,  Acts 10:38 - so evidently was he called the Messiah, and consequently answer that name was, and is, from everlasting, the anointed of God by the Holy Ghost, before he openly manifested himself under that character in our flesh. Such then was and is the glorious Messiah, the Christ of God; and such we accept and receive him to his body the church.

I might detain the reader were it not for enlarging this work beyond the limits I must observe, with offering several most interesting reflections, which arise out of this view of our now risen and exalted Messiah as the Messiah, the Christ of God; but for brevity's sake, I shall only beg to offer this one observation, namely, how sweet and strengthening a testimony such views of Jesus give to the faith of the church, when receiving Christ as the anointed of the Father and the Holy Ghost, Recollect in that blessed portion, just now quoted what the Mediator saith as Mediator—"Come ye near unto me, hear ye 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." Was there ever anything more full in point and in proof of this blessed doctrine concerning the Messiah? What could the Lord Jesus by the spirit of prophecy mean, but that he would have his church, when receiving him, read his credentials, and mark well his high warrant and authority. There should be no shyness, but his people should come near unto him; for this was not a new thing, a new doctrine, it was from the beginning, yea, before all worlds Jesus was spoken of, in his mediatorial character, as set up from everlasting; neither was it whispered in secret, but openly, in the first revelations, the man-nature of the seed of the woman, the anointed of the Father and the Holy Ghost, was all along declared, that it was, and that I am, saith Christ. Blessed view of Jesus this, and precious to the strengthening of the faith of God's people. Methinks I would cherish it with all the warmth of affection; I would carry it about with me wherever 50go: and beg that God the Holy Ghost would cause it to be my complete unceasing encouragement in all approaches to the throne of grace, and in all ordinances of worship. This is the warrant of a poor sinner's hope and confidence. Christ, as Christ, as the anointed, as the Messiah, is the sure appointment and ordinance of heaven. In him we draw nigh by divine authority. Christ is not only suited to carry on all the purposes of our great High Priest, but acts in that blessed office by divine authority, and by the validity of an oath. "The Lord sware and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedec." ( Psalms 110:4) Hence, therefore, the Lord Jesus, in effect, speaks to every poor sinner as he did to the woman of Samaria—"If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is, and by what authority he saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." ( John 4:10) Such is the blessedness of receiving Christ, and living upon Christ, as the Christ, the Messiah, of God.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Messi'ah. (Anointed). This word, ( Mashiach ), in the Old Testament, answers to the word Christ , ( Christos ), in the New Testament, and is applicable in its first sense, to any one anointed with the holy oil. The kings of Israel were called Anointed , from the mode of their consecration.  1 Samuel 2:10;  1 Samuel 2:35;  1 Samuel 12:3;  1 Samuel 12:5; etc.

This word also refers to the expected Prince Of The Chosen People who was to complete God's purposes for them, and to redeem them, and of whose coming, the prophets of the Old Covenant, in all time, spoke. He was the Messiah , The Anointed , that is, consecrated as the King and Prophet by God's appointment.

The word is twice used in the New Testament of Jesus .  John 1:41;  John 4:25. Authorized Version, "Messias."

The earliest gleam of the gospel is found in the account of the fall.  Genesis 3:15.

The blessings in store for the children of Shem are remarkable indicated in the words of Noah.  Genesis 9:26.

Next, follows the promise to Abraham.  Genesis 12:2-3.

A great step is made in  Genesis 49:10. This is the first case in which the promises distinctly centre in one person.

The next passage usually quoted is the prophecy of Balaam.  Numbers 24:17-19.

The prophecy of Moses,  Deuteronomy 18:18, claims attention.

Passages in the Psalms are numerous, which are applied to the Messiah in the New Testament; such as Psalms 2; Psalms 16; Psalms 22; Psalms 40; Psalms 110.

The advance in clearness in this period is great. The name of Anointed , that is, King, comes in, and the Messiah is to come of the Lineage of David. He is described in his exaltation, with his great kingdom that shall be spiritual rather than temporal. Psalms 2; Psalms 21; Psalms 40; Psalms 110.

In other places, he is seen in suffering and humiliation. Psalms 16; Psalms 22; Psalms 40.

Later on, the prophets show the Messiah as a king and ruler of David's house, who should come to reform and restore the Jewish nation and purify the Church, as in Isaiah 11; Isaiah 40-66. The blessings of the restoration, however, will not be confined to Jews; the heathen are made to share them fully.  Isaiah 2:66.

The passage of  Micah 5:2, (compare  Matthew 2:6, left no doubt in the mind of the Sanhedrin, as to the birthplace of the Messiah . The lineage of David is again alluded to in  Zechariah 12:1-14. The coming of the Forerunner and of The Anointed is clearly revealed in  Malachi 3:1;  John 4:5-6.

The Pharisees, and those of the Jews who expected Messiah , at all looked for a temporal prince only. The apostles themselves were infected with this opinion till after the resurrection.  Matthew 20:20-21;  Luke 24:21;  Acts 1:6. Gleams of a purer faith appear in  Luke 2:30;  Luke 23:42;  John 4:25.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [10]

("anointed" (Hebrew) equates to "Christ (Greek)). (See Christ .) In KJV only in  Daniel 9:25-26 of Old Testament;  John 1:41;  John 4:25, of New Testament Having the immeasurable unction of the Holy Spirit as Prophet, Priest, and King at one and the same time. All others have but a measure, and that derived from Him ( John 1:16;  John 3:84). See the type ( Exodus 28:41;  Exodus 30:23-24;  1 Samuel 24:6); and the prophecies ( Genesis 3:15;  Genesis 9:26;  Genesis 12:2-3;  Genesis 12:22; compare  John 8:56;  Genesis 49:10;  Numbers 24:17-19;  Deuteronomy 18:18 with  Acts 3:22-24;  John 5:45-47;  Psalms 2:2;  Psalms 2:6 margin;  Psalms 2:7-12;  Psalms 2:16;  Psalms 2:22;  Psalms 2:40;  Psalms 45:7 compare  1 Kings 1:39-40; Psalm 69; 72; 110).

His birthplace ( Micah 5:2), His lineage ( Isaiah 11:1), His time of coming ( Daniel 9:25-26), while the second temple stood ( Haggai 2:9), and His forerunner ( Isaiah 40:3-5;  Malachi 3:1) are foretold. From Psalm 2;  Jeremiah 23:5-6;  Zechariah 9:9, the Jews expected a triumphant king, but overlooked the prophecies of His sufferings first (Isaiah 53;  Luke 24:21-26-27). A few looked for a more spiritual deliverance ( Luke 2:30;  Luke 2:38), and among them the despised Samaritans ( John 4:25;  John 4:42) and the thief on the cross ( Luke 23:42). The rabbis got over the Messianic prophecies which prove Jesus to be Messiah by imagining a Messiah ben Joseph who should suffer, distinct from Messiah ben David who should reign; but the prophecies of the suffering and glory are so blended as to exclude the idea of any but one and the same Messiah (compare  Isaiah 52:7;  Isaiah 52:13-14;  Isaiah 52:15;  Isaiah 52:53).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [11]

Messiah ( Mes-Si'Ah ). This is a Hebrew word signifying "anointed," and corresponding exactly to the Greek Christos . As in ancient times not only the king, but also the priest and the prophet, was consecrated to his calling by being anointed, the word "Messiah" often occurs in the Old Testament in its literal sense, signifying one who has been anointed,  1 Samuel 24:6;  Lamentations 4:1-22 :' 20;  Ezekiel 28:14;  Psalms 105:15; hut generally it has a more specific application, signifying the One who was anointed, the supreme Deliverer who was promised from the beginning,  Genesis 3:15, and about whom a long series of prophecies runs through the whole history of Israel from Abram,  Genesis 12:3;  Genesis 22:18; Jacob,  Genesis 49:10; Balaam,  Numbers 24:17; Moses,  Deuteronomy 18:15;  Deuteronomy 18:18; and Nathan,  2 Samuel 7:16; through the psalmists and prophets,  Psalms 2:1-12;  Psalms 16:1-11;  Psalms 22:1-31;  Psalms 40:1-17;  Psalms 45:1-17;  Psalms 110:1-7;  Isaiah 7:10-16;  Isaiah 9:1-7;  Isaiah 11:1-16;  Isaiah 13:1-22;  Isaiah 53:1-12;  Isaiah 61:1-11;  Jeremiah 23:5-6;  Micah 5:2;  Malachi 3:1-4, to his immediate precursor, John the Baptist. The character of these prophecies is very definite. The lineage from which Messiah should descend was foretold,  Genesis 49:10;  Isaiah 11:1, the place in which he should be born,  Micah 5:2, the time of his appearance,  Daniel 9:20;  Daniel 9:25;  Haggai 2:7;  Malachi 3:1, etc. Nevertheless, in the vanity of their hearts, the Jews mistook the true meaning of these prophecies. They expected a triumphant worldly king, according to  Psalms 2:1-12;  Jeremiah 23:5-6;  Zechariah 9:9, and that his triumph was to be accomplished by sufferings and death they did not understand. See Jesus Christ.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [12]

A. Nouns.

Mâshı̂yach ( מָשִׁיחַ , Strong'S #4899), “anointed one; Messiah.” Of the 39 occurrences of mâshı̂yach , none occurs in the wisdom literature. They are scattered throughout the rest of biblical literary types and periods.

First, mâshı̂yach refers to one who is anointed with oil, symbolizing the reception of the Holy Spirit, enabling him to do an assigned task. Kings (1 Sam. 24:6), high priests, and some prophets (1 Kings 19:16) were so anointed: “If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people …” (Lev. 4:3—the first biblical appearance). In the case of Cyrus, he was anointed with God’s Spirit only and commissioned an “anointed deliverer” of Israel (Isa. 45:1). The patriarchs, too, are called “anointed ones”: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (Ps. 105:15).

Second, the word is sometimes transliterated “Messiah.” After the promise to David (2 Sam. 7:13) mâshı̂yach refers immediately to the Davidic dynasty, but ultimately it points to the “Mes-siah,” Jesus the Christ: “The kings of the earth [take their stand], and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed …” (Ps. 2:2). In Dan. 9:25 the word is transliterated: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince.…” The New Testament also attests the word in this latter meaning (John 1:41). Most frequently in the New Testament the word is translated (“Christ”) rather than transliterated (“Messiah”). See also Anoint.

Mishchâh ( מָשְׁחָה , Strong'S #4888), “anointment.” This noun occurs 21 times and only in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. It always follows the Hebrew word for oil. The first occurrence is Exod. 25:6: “Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense.”

B. Verb.

Mâshach ( מָשַׁח , Strong'S #4886), “to smear with oil or paint, anoint.” This verb, which appears 69 times in biblical Hebrew, has cognates in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Aramaic, and Arabic. The objects of this verb are people, sacrificial victims, and objects of worship. Aaron and his sons are the objects of this verb in Exod. 30:30: “And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 Exodus 28:41 40:15 Numbers 3:3 1 Kings 19:16 1 Samuel 9:16 16:3 2 Samuel 12:7 Psalm 45:7 John 1:41,4:25  Daniel 9:25,26

The first great promise ( Genesis 3:15 ) contains in it the germ of all the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah and the great work he was to accomplish on earth. The prophecies became more definite and fuller as the ages rolled on; the light shone more and more unto the perfect day. Different periods of prophetic revelation have been pointed out, (1) the patriarchal; (2) the Mosaic; (3) the period of David; (4) the period of prophetism, i.e., of those prophets whose works form a part of the Old Testament canon. The expectations of the Jews were thus kept alive from generation to generation, till the "fulness of the times," when Messiah came, "made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." In him all these ancient prophecies have their fulfilment. Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the great Deliverer who was to come. (Compare  Matthew 26:54;  Mark 9:12;  Luke 18:31;  22:37;  John 5:39;  Acts 2;  16:31;  26:22,23 .)

King James Dictionary [14]

MESSI'AH, a. Heb. anointed. Christ, the anointed the Savior of the world.

I know that when Messiah cometh, who is called Christ, he will tell us all things. Jesus answered her, I that speak to thee am he.  John 4 .

Webster's Dictionary [15]

(n.) The expected king and deliverer of the Hebrews; the Savior; Christ.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

the special title of the Saviour promised to the world through the Jewish race. We have space for the discussion of a few points only ofthis extensive theme, and we here treat especially those points not particularly discussed under other heads. (See Redeemer).

I. Official Import Of The Name . The Hebrew word מָשַׁיחִ , Mashi'Ach , is in every instance of its use (thirty-nine times) rendered in the Sept. by the suitable term Χριστός , which becomes so illustrious in the N.T. as the official designation of the Holy Saviour. It is a verbal noun (see Simonis Arcanum Form. Hebr. Ling . p. 92 sq.), derived from מָשִׁח , and has much the same meaning as the participle מָשׁוּח ( 2 Samuel 3:39, and occasionally in the Pentateuch), i.e. Anointed . The prevalent and all but universal ( Isaiah 21:5 and  Jeremiah 22:14 being perhaps the sole exceptions) sense of the root מָשִׁח points to the consecration of objects to sacred purposes by means of anointing-oil. Inanimate objects (such as the tabernacle, altar, laver, etc.) are included under the use of the verb; but the noun מָשַׁיחִ is applied only to animate objects. There is, however, some doubt as to  2 Samuel 1:21, מָגֵן שָׁאוּל בְּלַי מָשַׁיחִ בִּשֶּׁמֶן -wb ere, according to some (Maurer, Gesenius, Furst; see also Corn. h Lapide, ad loc.), the phrase, "not anointed with oil," is applied to The Shield (comp.  Isaiah 21:5). The majority of commentators refer it to Saul , " as if he had not been anointed with oil." So the A. V., which seems to follow the Vulgate. This version, however ( Quasi Non Esset Unctus Oleo ), is really as inexplicit as the original, admitting the application of " Anointed " to either the king or his shield. This double sense is avoided by The Septuagint ( Θυρεὸς Σαοὺλ Οὐχ Ἐχρίαθη Ἐν Ἐλαίῳ ), which assigns the anointing, as an epithet, to the shield. The Targum of Jonathan refers the מָשַׁיחִ to Saul, but drops the negative. To us the unvarying use of the word, as a Human epithet, in all the other (thirty-eight) passages, two of them occurring in the very context of the disputed place ( 2 Samuel 1:14;  2 Samuel 1:16), settles the point in favor of our A. V., as if the king had fallen on the fatal field of Gilboa like one of the common soldiers, "not as one who had been anointed with oil." (See Anointing).

The official persons (" the Christs of the O.T. Perowle, Coherence of O.T. and N. T) who were consecrated with oil were priests ( Exodus 28:41;  Leviticus 4:3;  Leviticus 4:5;  Leviticus 4:16;  Numbers 35:3-5), kings ( 1 Samuel 9:16;  1 Samuel 16:3;  2 Samuel 12:7;  1 Kings 1:34), and Prophets ( 1 Kings 19:16). The great Antitype, the Christ of the N.T., embraced and exhausted in himself these several offices, which, in fact, were shadows of his threefold functions as the Prophet, Priest, and King of his people. It is the preeminence which this combination of anointed offices gave him that seems to be pointed at in  Psalms 45:8, where the great Messiah is anointed " Above His Fellows ;" above the Christs of old, whether of only one function, as the priest Aaron, or the prophet Elisha, or the king Saul; or of two functions, as Melchizedek the priest and king, or Moses the priest and prophet, or David the king and prophet. In our Saviour Christ is uniquely found the triple comprehension, the recapitulation in himself of the three offices (see Eusebius, Hist.  Ecclesiastes 1:3, vol. i, p. 24, by Burton [Oxon. 1848]). But not only were the ancient offices typical, the material of consecration had also its antitype in the Holy Ghost (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. Ilium . 10:99; Catech,. Neoo . p. 202, 203; Basil, Contra Eunom . v; Chrysostom on Psalms 45; Theodoret, Epit. Divin. Decret . xi, p. 279; Theophylact on Matthew 1; (Ecumenius on Romans i, etc.). The prophecy of  Isaiah 11:1 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, because Jehovah hath anointed me") was expressly claimed by Jesus for fulfilment in the synagogue at Nazareth ( Luke 4:16-21) on his return to Galilee " In The Power Of The Spirit " ( Luke 4:14), which he had plenarily received at his recent baptism ( Luke 4:1), and by which he was subsequently led into the wilderness ( Luke 4:1).

This anointing of our Lord to his Messianic functions is referred to in a general sense in such passages as  Isaiah 11:2 and  Acts 10:38. But from the more specific statement of Peter ( Acts 2:36), it would appear that it was not before his resurrection and consequent ascension that Christ was fully inducted into his Messianic dignities. "He was anointed to his prophetical office at his baptism; but thereby rather initiated to be, than actually made Christ and Lord. Unto these two offices of everlasting Priest and everlasting King he was not actually anointed, or fully consecrated, until his resurrection from the dead" (dean Jackson, Works , 7:368). As often as the evangelists style him Christ before his resurrection from the dead, it is by way of Anticipation ( Ibid . p. 296). On this point, indeed, the grammatical note of Gersdorf ( Sprachchar . 1:39, 272), as quoted by Winer ( Gramn. Des N.T. Sprachid . Χριστός [the expected Messiah, like Ἐρχόμενος ], while Paul and Peter employ Χριστός , as the appellation had become more of a proper name. In the epistles of Paul and Peter, however, the word has the article when a governing noun precedes" (for extremely elaborate tables, containing every combination of the sacred names of Christ in the N.T., the reader is referred to the last edition of bishop Middleton's Doctrine Of The Greek Article , by H. J. Rose, BD., App. ii, p. 486-496). Twice only in the N.T. does the Hebrew form of it (Messias) occur, in  John 1:41;  John 4:25; and twice only in the O.T. have our translators retained the same form (Messiah), in  Daniel 9:25-26. In these passages, both in the Greek of the evangelist [ Μεσσίας , or (as Griesbach preferred to read) Μεσίας , more closely like the original] and in the Hebrew of the prophet [ מָשַׁיח ], there is an absence of the article-the word having, in fact, grown out of its appellative state, which so often occurs in the earlier books, into a proper name; thus resembling the course of the Χριστός of the Christian Scriptures. (See Christ).

II. The Gradual Growth Of The Messianic Revelation .

1. First Or Patriarchal Period .

(1.) In the primeval promise ( Genesis 3:15) lies the germ of a universal blessing. The tempter came to the woman in the guise of a serpent, and the curse thus pronounced has a reference both to the serpent which was the instrument, and to the tempter that employed it; to the natural terror and enmity of man against the serpent, and to the conflict between mankind redeemed by Christ its Head, and Satan that deceived mankind. Many interpreters would understand by the seed of the woman the Messiah only; but it is easier to think with Calvin that mankind after they are gathered into one army by Jesus the Christ, the Head of the Church, are to achieve a victory over evil. The Messianic character of this prophecy has been much questioned by those who see. in the history of the fall nothing but a fable: to those who accept it as true, this passage is the primitive germ of thei Gospel. "The seed of the woman," the vagueness and obscurity of which phrase was so suited to the period of the protevangelium, is cleared in the light of the NT. (see  Galatians 4:4, where the Γενόμενον Ἐκ Γυναικός explains the original זִרְעָהּ ). The deliverance intimated was no doubt understood by our first parents to be universal, like the injury sustained, and it is no absurdity to suppose that the promise was cherished afterwards by thoughtful Gentiles as well as believing Jews; but to the latter it was subsequently shaped into increasing precision by supplementary revelation's, while to the former it never lost its formal vagueneess and obscurity. The O.T. gives us occasional gleams of the glorious primeval light as it struggled with the gross traditions of the heathen. The nearer to Israel the clearer the light; as in the cases of the Abimelechs ( Genesis 20:6;  Genesis 26:28), and Melchizedek ( Genesis 14:18), and Job ( Job 19:25), and Balaam ( Numbers 24:17), and the magi (Matthew 2), and the Samaritan woman ( John 4:25; and see, on the Christology of the Samaritans, Westcott's Introduction , p. 148, 149). But even at a distance from Israel the light still flickered to the last, as "the unconscious prophecies of heathendom" show, as archbishop Trench happily designates-though in a somewhat different sense-the yearnings of the Gentiles after a deliverer (Hulsean Lectures for 1846; see also bishop Horsley's Dissert. On The Messianic Prophecies Dispersed Among The Heathen, in Sermons, ed. 1829, 2:263-318; and comp. Virgil's well-known eclogue Pollio, and the expectations mentioned by Suetonius, Vit. Vespasian. 4:8,- and Tacitus, Hist. v. 9, 13, and the Sibylline oracles, discussed by Horsley [ut sup.], with a strong leaning to their authenticity). See below, § 4:1 (3). But although the promise was absolutely indefinite to the first father of man (on which see bishop Horsley, Sermon xvi, p. 234, 235, comp. with Faber's Prophetical Dissert. 7:4 and 5), additional light was given, after the deluge, to the second father of the human race.

(2.) To Noah was vouchsafed a special reservation of blessing for one of his sons in preference to the other two, and-as if words failed him-he exclaimed, "Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Shem!" ( Genesis 9:26). Not that at any time God meant to Confine a monopoly of blessing to the individual selected as the special depositary thereof. In the present instance Japheth, in the next verse, is associated with his brother for at least some secondary advantage: " God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem." Instead of blessing Shem, as he had cursed Canaan, he carries up the blessing to the great fountain of the blessings that were to follow Shem.

(3.) The principle of limitation goes on. One of Shem's descendants has three sons. Only one of these is selected as the peculiar treasurer of the divine favor. But not for himself alone was Abraham chosen. As in Shem's instance, so here again Abraham was to be the centre of blessing to even a larger scope. More than once was he assured of this: "In thy seed [" in thee," 12:3] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" ( Genesis 22:18). The Messianic purport of this repeated promise cannot be doubted after Christ's own statement ( John 8:56) and Paul's comment ( Galatians 3:16). The promise is still indefinite, but it tends to the undoing of the curse of Adam by a blessing to all the earth through the seed of Abraham, as death had come on the whole earth through Adam. When our Lord says "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad" ( John 8:56), we are to understand that this promise of a real blessing and restoration to come hereafter was understood in a spiritual sense, as a leading back to God, as a coming nearer to him, from whom the promise came; and he desired with hope and rejoicing ("gestivit cum desiderio," Bengel) to behold the day of it.

(4.) In Abraham's son-the father of twin sons we meet with another limitation; Jacob not only secures the traditional blessing to himself, but is inspired to concentrate it at his death on Judah, to the exclusion of the eleven other members of his family. "Judah, thou art he whom thy brothers praise... The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come" ( Genesis 49:8;  Genesis 49:10; see Perowne's Essay , p. 26,188; Delitzsch, ad loc.; bishop Pearson, Creed , art. ii; Hengstenberg, Christol . 1:59, 60; Davison, On Prophecy , p. 106; Dollinger, Gentile And Jew In The Courts Of The Temple Of Christ , translated by Darnell, 2:392. Onkelos and Raschi, it may be worth while to add, make Shiloh here to refer to the Messiah, as do D. Kimchi and Abendana). To us the Messianic interpretation of the passage seems to be called for by the principle of periodical limitation, which amounts to a law in the Christological Scriptures. We accept the conclusion, therefore, that the שַׁילֹה of this verse is the : שִׂראּשָׁלוֹם , " Prince of Peace," of  Isaiah 9:5 [6]; and the זֶה שָׁלוֹם , " This man is peace," of  Micah 5:4; and the

דַבֶּר שָׁלוֹם , "the peace-speaker," of  Zechariah 9:10.; and the Εἰρήνη Ἡμῶν , "our peace," of Paul,  Ephesians 2:14 in a word, our Messiah, Jesus Christ. This, then, is the first case in which the promises distinctly centre in one person; and he is to be the man of peace; he is to wield and retain the government, and the nations shall look up to him and obey him. (See Shiloh).

2. Mosaic Period .

(1.) The next passage usually quoted is the prophecy of Balaam ( Numbers 24:17-19). The Star points indeed to the glory, as the sceptre denotes the power, of a king. Onkelos and Jonathan (pseudo) see here the Messiah. But it is doubtful whether the prophecy is not fulfilled in David ( 2 Samuel 8:2;  2 Samuel 8:14); and though David is himself a type of Christ, the direct Messianic application of this place is by no means certain.

(2.) The prophecy of Moses ( Deuteronomy 18:18)," I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him," claims attention. Does this refer to the Messiah? The reference to Moses in  John 5:45-47 He wrote of me seems to point to this passage; for it is a cold and forced interpretation to refer it to the whole types and symbols of the Mosaic law. On the other hand, many critics would fain find here the divine institution of the whole prophetic order, which, if not here, does not occur at all. Hengstenberg thinks that it does promise that an order of prophets should be sent, but that the singular is used with direct reference to the greatest of the prophets, Christ himself, without whom the words would not have been fulfilled. "The spirit of Christ spoke in the prophets, and Christ is in a sense the only prophet" ( 1 Peter 1:11). Jews in earlier times might have been excused for referring the words to this or that present prophet; but the Jews whom the Lord rebukes (John 5) were inexcusable; for, having the words before them, and the works of Christ as well, they should have known that no prophet had so fulfilled the words as he had.

(3.) The passages in the Pentateuch which relate to "the Angel of the Lord" have been thought by many to bear reference to the Messiah.

3. Period Of David .-Here another advance is found in prophetic limitation. Jacob had only specified The Tribe , now the particular Family is indicated from which Messiah was to spring. From the great promise made to David ( 2 Samuel 7:11-16), and so frequently referred to afterwards ( 1 Kings 11:34;  1 Kings 11:38;  Psalms 89:30-37;  Isaiah 55:3;  Acts 13:34), and described by The Sweet Psalmist Of Israel himself as "an everlasting covenant ordered in all things, and sure" ( 2 Samuel 23:5), arose that concentrated expectation of the Messiah expressed by the popular phrase Son Of David , of which we hear so much in the N.T. (comp.  Matthew 9:27;  Matthew 12:23;  Matthew 21:9;  Matthew 22:42;  Mark 10:47-48;  Mark 11:10;  Luke 1:32;  Luke 18:38-39;  John 7:42;  Romans 1:3;  Revelation 22:16; with  Jeremiah 23:5).

In the promises of a kingdom to David and his house "forever" ( 2 Samuel 7:13), there is more than could be fulfilled save by the eternal kingdom in which that of David merged; and David's last words dwell on this promise of an everlasting throne (2 Samuel 23). Passages in the Psalms are numerous which are applied to the Messiah in the N.T. such are Psalms 2, 16, 22, 40, 110. Other psalms quoted in the N.T. appear to refer to the actual history of another king; but only those who deny the existence of types and prophecy will consider this as an evidence against an ulterior allusion to Messiah; such psalms are 45, 68, 69, 72. The advance in clearness in this period is great. The name of Anointed, i.e. King, comes in, and the Messiah is to come of the lineage of David. He is described in his exaltation, with his great kingdom that shall be spiritual rather than temporal (Psalms 2, 21, 40, 110). In other places he is seen in suffering and humiliation (Psalms 22, 16, 40).

Having now confined the Messiah's descent to the family of the illustrious king who was "the man after God's own heart," prophecy will await God's own express identification of the individual (see it given in  Matthew 3:17;  Matthew 17:5;  Mark 1:11;  Mark 9:7;  Luke 3:22;  Luke 9:35; and referred to in  2 Peter 1:17). But it will not idly wait. It has other particulars to announce, to give point and precision to a nation's hopes.

4. Period Of Prophetism . After the time of David the predictions of the Messiah ceased for a time, until those prophets arose whose works we possess in the canon of Scripture. They nowhere give us an exact and complete account of the nature of the Messiah; but different aspects of the truth are produced by the various needs of the people, and so they are led to speak of him now as a Conqueror, or a Judge, or a Redeemer from sin; it is from the study of the whole of them that we gain a clear and complete image of his person and kingdom. This third period lasts from the reign of Uzziah to the Babylonian captivity. The Messiah is a King and Ruler of David's home, who shall come to reform and restore the Jewish nation and purify the Church, as in Isaiah 11, 40-66. The blessings of the restoration, however, will not be confined to Jews; the heathen are made to share them fully (Isaiah 2, 66). Whatever theories have been attempted about Isaiah 53, there can be no doubt that the most natural is the received interpretation that it refers to the suffering Redeemer; and so in the N.T. it is always considered to do. The passage of  Micah 5:2 (comp.  Matthew 2:6) left no doubt in the mind of the Sanhedrim as to the birthplace of the Messiah. The lineage of David is again alluded to in  Zechariah 12:10-14. The time of the second Temple is fixed by  Haggai 2:9 for Messiah's coming; and the coming of the Forerunner and of the Anointed is clearly revealed in  Malachi 3:1;  Malachi 4:5-6.

All the more important events of the coming Redeemer's life and death, and subsequent kingdom and exaltation, were foretold. Bethlehem was to be his birthplace ( Micah 5:2; comp. with  Matthew 2:1-6); Galilee his country ( Isaiah 9:1-2; comp. with  Matthew 4:14-16); a virgin his mother ( Isaiah 7:14; comp. with  Matthew 1:23); he was to preach glad tidings to the meek and to bind up the broken-hearted ( Isaiah 61:1; comp. with  Luke 4:17-21); though her king, he was to come to the daughter of Zion, just and having salvation, lowly and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass ( Zechariah 9:9; comp. with  John 12:14-15); he was to be despised and rejected of men; was to be led like a lamb to the slaughter ( Isaiah 53:3;  Isaiah 53:7; comp. with  Psalms 22:6;  John 1:11;  John 18:40;  Mark 14:61;  Mark 15:5); his garments were to be parted, and lots cast upon his vesture ( Psalms 22:18; comp. with  John 19:23-24); his hands and feet were to be pierced ( Psalms 22:16; comp. with  Luke 23:33, and  John 20:25); he was to have vinegar give in to him to drink ( Psalms 69:21; comp. with  Matthew 27:34;  Matthew 27:38); he was to pour out his soul unto death; was to be numbered with the transgressors; and his grave, though intended to be with wicked men (see this translation in Mason and Bernard's Hebr. Gram. 2:305), was in reality destined to be with a rich man ( Isaiah 53:9; comp. with  Matthew 27:57-58); his soul was not to be left in hell, nor his flesh to see corruption ( Psalms 16:10; comp. with  Acts 2:31;  Acts 13:34-36); he was to sit on the right hand of Jehovah till his foes were made his footstool ( Psalms 110:1; comp. with  1 Peter 3:22;  Hebrews 1:3;  Mark 16:19, and  1 Corinthians 15:25) his kingdom was to spread until ultimately "the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, should be given to the saints of the Most High" ( Daniel 7:27; see Perowne, Coherence , p. 29, 30). Slight as is this sketch of the prophetic announcements with which God was pleased to sustain human hope amid human misery, "as a light that shineth in a dark place" ( 2 Peter 1:19), "shining more and more unto the perfect day" ( Proverbs 4:18), it is yet enough to suggest to us how great must have been the longing for their Deliverer which such persistent and progressive promises were likely to excite in the hearts of faithful men and women.

The expectation of a golden age that should return upon the earth was,, as we have seen, common in heathen nations (Hesiod, Works and Days, p. 109; Ovid, Met. 1:89; Virgil, Ecl. iv; and passages in Eusebius, Prcep. Ev. 1:7; 12:13). It was doubtless inspired by some light that had reached them from the Jewish revelation. This hope the Jews also shared, but with them it was associated with the coming of a particular person, the Messiah. It has been asserted that in him the Jews looked for an earthly king, and that the existence of the hope of a Messiah may thus be accounted for on natural grounds and without a divine revelation. But the prophecies refute this: they hold out not a King only, but a Prophet and a Priest, whose business it should be to set the people free from sin, and to teach them the ways of God, as in Psalms 22, 40, 110; Isaiah 2, 11, 53, In these and other places, too, the power of the coming One reaches beyond the Jews and embraces all the Gentiles, which is contrary to the exclusive notions of Judaism. A fair consideration of all the passages will convince us that the growth of the Messianic idea in the prophecies is owing to revelation from God. The witness of the N.T. to the O.T. prophecies can bear no other meaning; it is summed up in the above-cited words of Peter ( 2 Peter 1:19-21; comp. the elaborate essay on this text in Knapp's Opuscula, vol. i). Our Lord affirms that there are prophecies of the Messiah in the O.T., and that they are fulfilled in him ( Matthew 26:54;  Mark 9:12;  Luke 18:31-33;  Luke 22:37;  Luke 24:27;  John 5:39;  John 5:46). The apostles preach the same truth in  Acts 2:16;  Acts 2:25;  Acts 8:28-35;  Acts 10:43;  Acts 13:23;  Acts 13:32;  Acts 26:22-23;  1 Peter 1:11, and in many passages of Paul. Even if internal evidence did not prove that the prophecies were much more than vague longings after better times, the N.T. proclaims everywhere that although the Gospel was the sun, and O.-T. prophecy the dim light of a candle, yet both were light, and both assisted those who heeded them to see aright; and that the prophets interpreted, not the private longings of their own hearts, but the will of God, in speaking as they did (see Knapp's Essay for this explanation) of the coming kingdom.

5. The period after the close of the canon of the O.T. is known to us in a great measure from allusions in the N.T. to the expectation of the Jews. From such passages as  Psalms 2:2;  Psalms 2:6, 8;  Jeremiah 23:5-6;  Zechariah 9:9, the Pharisees, and those of the Jews who expected the Messiah at all, looked for a temporal prince only. The apostles themselves were infected with this opinion till after the resurrection ( Matthew 20:20-21;  Luke 24:21;  Acts 1:6). Gleams of a purer faith appear ( Luke 2:30;  Luke 23:42;  John 4:25). On the other hand, there was a sceptical school which had discarded the expectation altogether. No mention of the Messiah appears in the Book of Wisdom, nor in the writings of Philo; and Josephus avoids the doctrine. Intercourse with heathens had made some Jews ashamed of their fathers' faith.

It is quite consistent with the prospects which, as we have seen, the prophecies were calculated to raise, that we are informed by Luke of the existence of what seems to have been a considerable number of persons "that looked for redemption in Israel" ( Luke 2:38). The demeanor of these believers was exhibited in a close and conscientious adherence to the law of Moses, which was, in its statutes and ordinances, at once the rule of pious life and the schoolmaster to guide men to their Messiah ( Galatians 3:24). As examples of these "just and devout" persons, the evangelist presents us with a few short but beautiful sketches in his first and second chapters. Besides the blessed Mary and faithful Joseph, there are Zacharias and Elisabeth, Simeon and Anna-pictures of holiness to be met with among men and women, married and unmarried, whose piety was strongly toned with this eminent feature, which is expressly attributed to one of them, " waiting for the consolation of Israel" (comp.  Luke 1:6 with  Luke 2:25, and  Luke 2:37-38). Such hopes, stimulated by a profound and far-sighted faith, were exhibited at the birth and infancy of the Messiah Jesus by these expectant Jews; and they were not alone. Gentiles displayed a not less marvellous faith, when "the wise men from the East" did homage to the babe of Bethlehem, undeterred by the disguise of humiliation with which the Messiah's glory was to the human eve obscured ( Matthew 2:2;  Matthew 2:11). But at his death, no less than at his birth, under a still darker veil of ignominy, similar acknowledgments of faith in his Messiahship were exhibited. Mark mentions it as one of the points in the character of Joseph of Arimathaea that he "waited for the kingdom of God;" and it would seem that this faith urged him to that holy "boldness" of using his influence with Pilate to rescue the body of Jesus, and commit it to an honorable tomb, as if he realized the truth of Isaiah's great prophecy, and saw in the Crucified no less than the Messiah himself ( Mark 15:43). To a like faith must be imputed the remarkable confession of the repentant thief upon the cross ( Luke 23:42)a faith which brought even the Gentile centurion who superintended the execution of Jesus to the conviction that the expiring sufferer was not only innocent ( Luke 23:47), but even "the Son of God" ( Matthew 27:54, and  Mark 15:39). This conjunction of Gentile faith with that of Hebrews is most interesting, and, indeed, consistent with the progress of the promise. We have seen above how, in the earliest stages of the revelation Gentile interests were not overlooked. Abraham, who saw. the Messiah's day ( John 8:56), was repeatedly assured of the share which all nations were destined to have in the blessings of his death ( Genesis 12:3;  Genesis 22:18;  Acts 3:25). Nor was the breadth of the promise afterwards narrowed. Moses called " the nations" to rejoice with the chosen people ( Deuteronomy 32:43). Isaiah proclaimed the Messiah expressly as " the light of the Gentiles" ( Isaiah 42:6;  Isaiah 49:6); Haggai foretold his coming as "the desire of all nations" ( Haggai 2:7); and when he came at last, holy Simeon inaugurated his life on earth under the title of "a light-to lighten the Gentiles" ( Luke 2:32). When his Gospel was beginning to run its free course, the two missionaries for the heathen quoted this great prophetic note as the warrant of their ministry: "I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth" ( Acts 13:47). Plain, however, as was the general scope of the Messianic prophecies, there were features in it which the Jewish nation failed to perceive. Framing their ideal not so much from their Scriptures as from their desires, and impatient of a hated heathen yoke, they longed for an avenging Messiah who should inflict upon their oppressors retaliation for many wrongs. his wish colored all their national hopes; and it should be borne in mind by the student of the Gospels, on which it throws much light. Not only was the more religious class, such as Christ's own apostles and pupils, affected by this thought of an external kingdom, even so late as his last journey to Jerusalem ( Mark 10:37); but the undiscriminating crowds, who would have forcibly made him king ( John 6:15) so strongly did his miracles attest his Messianic mission even in their view ( John 6:14) and who afterwards followed him to the capital and shouted hosannas to his praise, most abruptly withdrew their popular favor from him and joined in his destruction, because he gave them no signs of an earthly empire or of political emancipation. Christ's kingdom was "not of this world" a proposition which, although containing the very essence of Christianity, offended the Jewish people when Jesus presented himself as their veritable Messiah, and led to their rejection of him. Moreover, his lowly condition, sufferings, and death, have been a stumbling-block in the way of their recognition of him ever since. (See Saviour).

III. Jewish Views Respecting The Messiah . "Even in the first prediction of the woman's seed bruising the serpent's head, there is the idea of a painful struggle and of a victory, which leaves the mark of suffering upon the Conqueror" (Smith's Messianic Prophecies of Isaiah [1862], p. 164). This thought has tinged the sentiments of all orthodox believers since, although it has often been obscured by the brilliant fancy of ambition. (See Son Of Man).

1. Early Jewish Opinions .-The portrait of an afflicted and suffering Messiah is too minutely sketched by the Psalmist (Psalms 22, 42, 43, 69), by Isaiah (ch. 53), by Zechariah (ch. 11-13), and Daniel ( Daniel 9:24-27), to be ignored even by reluctant Jews; and strange is the embarrassment observable in Talmudic Judaism to obviate the advantage which accrues to Christianity from its tenure of this unpalatable doctrine. Long ago did Trypho, Justin Martyr's Jew, own the force of the prophetic Scriptures, which delineated Messiah as "a man of sorrows" (Justin. Dial . 89). In later times. after the Talmud of Babylon (7th century) became influential, the doctrine of two Messiahs was held among the Jews. For several centuries it was their current belief that Messiah Ben-David was referred to in all the prophecies which spoke of glory and triumph, while on Messiah Ben- Joseph of Ephraim fell all the predicted woes and sufferings. By this expedient they both glorfied their traditional idea which exonerated their chief Messiah, of David's illustrious race, from all humiliation, and likewise saved their nominal deference to the inspired prophets who had written of the sorrows of Messiah. (For a popular sketch of this opinion of two Messiahs, the reader is referred to Smith's sermons On The Messianic Prophecies Of Isaiah, p. 177-181; see also Buxtorf's Lexicon Talmud . s.v. משיח , p. 1126, 1127, and s.v. אִרְמַילוּס ; Eisenmenger's Nedecktes Judenthum , 2:720-750; Otho's Lexicon Rabbin . Schittgen, Horae Hebrews Et Rabbin . 2:1-778.) All the references to a Suffering Messiah made by great writers, such as Rashi, Ibn-Esra, and D. Kimchi, are to "Messiah Ben-Joseph;" while of the more than seventy quotations cited by Buxtorf from the Targums, including Onkelos, not one refers to the Messiah as suffering.

This early Targumistic literature (as distinguished from the latter Rabbinical) dwells on the glories, triumphs, and power of a conquering Messiah. However absurd this distortion was, it was yet felt to be too great a homage to the plain interpretation of the prophetic Scriptures as given by Christian writers, who showed to the votaries of the Talmud that their earlier authors had applied to the Son of David the very passages which they were for referring to the Son of Joseph. From the tenth and eleventh centuries, therefore, other interpretations have been sought for. Maimonides omits the whole story of Messiah Ben-Joseph in his account of the Messiah; see Pococke, Append. on Malachi. The Messiah has been withdrawal together from the reach of all predicted sufferings. Such passages as Isaiah 53, have been and still are applied to some persecuted servant of God, Jeremiah especially, or to the aggregate Jewish nation. This anti-Messianic exegesis is prevalent among the Neologians of Germany and France, and their "free-handling" disciples of the English school (see Dr. Rowland Williams, Essays and Reviews, p. 71-75 [edit. 2]). Thus Jewish sentiment has either reverted to that low standard of mere worldly expectation which recognises no humiliation in Messiah, but only a career of unmixed triumph and glory, or else has collapsed in a disappointment and despair which forbid all speculation of a Messiah whatever (Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judezth. i,. 677). Jewish despair does not often resolve itself into Christian hope. Here and there affecting instances of the genuine change occur, such as the two mentioned by bishop Thirlwall (Reply to Dr. W.'s earnestly respectful letter, p. 78); in the second of which-that of Isaac da Costa-conversion arose from his thoughtful reflections on the present dispersion of the Jewish race for its sins. His acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah solved all enigmas to him, and enabled him to estimate the importance of such prophetic promises as are yet unfulfilled to Israel. But the normal state of Jewish Messianic opinion is that sickness of heart which comes from deferred hopes. This despair produces an abasement of faith and a lowering of religious tone, or else finds occasional relief in looking out after pretended Messiahs. Upwards of thirty cases of these have deluded the nation in its scattered state since the destruction of Jerusalem. (See False Messiahs).

The havoc of life and reputation caused by these attempts has tended more than any thing else to the discouragement of Messianic hopes among the modern Jews. Foremost in the unhappy catalogue of these fanatics stands the formidable rebellion under Bar-Cocheba, in the 2d century. Rabbi Akiba, "the second Moses," the great light of the day in Jewry, declared before the Sanhedrim that Bar- Cocheba was the Messiah. Rabbi Jochanan alone made opposition, and said, "Grass, O Akiba, will grow out of thy jaws, and yet the Son of David not have come." We know not what was the fate of Bar-Cocheba (or Bar- Coseba, "the son of lying," as his disappointed dupes at length called him), but the gray-headed Akiba was taken by the Romans and executed. More are said to have perished in this attempt than in the previous war of Titus. Embarrassing as all these failures are to the Jews, they only add one more to the many proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth, who expressly foretold these delusions of "false Christs" ( Matthew 24:24;  Mark 13:22), as one class of retributions which should avenge on Israel the guilt of his own rejection. Not only, however, from the lowliness and suffering of the Christian Messiah, but in a still greater degree from his exalted character, there arises a difficulty of faith to the Jewish objection. The divinity of nature which Jesus claimed is perhaps the greatest doctrinal obstacle to his reception among the Jews. See Gfrorer, Gesch. d. Urchristenthums (Stuttg. 1838); Solani, Croyances Messianiques (Strasb. 1864). (See Son Of God).

2. Modern Jewish Views . The hope of a Messiah the bounteous benefactor and inaugurator of a glorious reign on earth, firmly establishing forever and ever the greatness of Abraham's descendants-had prevailed even among the children of Israel, but it required the days of trial and tribulation, such as came in the days of the exile, to create a yearning for the appearance of the King, the Conqueror, the God of Israel. Within the Romans of a foreign ruler, and subject to his rule, the Messiah became an ever-present being to the thoughts and to the visions of the Jews; and yet when at last the Son of man came to his own, his own knew him not. But though they rejected him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote, the faith in a Restorer of Israel for many centuries continued to knit together the nation in their dispersed condition. Of late only a change has come over them, and the Jewish camp may be truly said to have divided into three distinct branches: (1) the extreme right, (2) the extreme left, and (3) the centre.

(1) The Jews belonging to the first class are those. who remain either ( A ) orthodox in their adherence to the liberal interpretation of the Bible and tradition, or ( B ) who, though accepting both Bible and tradition, favor. a liberal construction of the traditional usages. This class of Jews continue to look for a personal reign of Messiah, and their restoration to the land of their forefathers. Their number is daily decreasing, however, and the time promises to be soon when they shall be counted among the things that were.

(2) To the second class belong those Jews generally denominated Reformed . "They would sweep away Talmudism and the ceremonial law, claiming a complete emancipation from religious thraldom as their indefeasible right. They question the propriety of interpreting the prophets as predicting a personal Messiah, and deny the possibility of a restoration of Israel as a nation of political entity. In 1840 they for the first time gave public expression to their belief in a meeting at Fraakfort, when they declared that "a Messiah who is to lead back to Palestine is neither expected nor desired by the associated, and they acknowledge that alone to be their country to which they belong by birth or civil relation.' In 1869 a meeting of the educated Jews of Germany was held in the city of Leipsic, at which eighty-four different Jewish congregations were represented. Twenty-four of the attendants were rabbis of high repute; the lay members men who had secured the highest places in the gift of the nation, among them the late Dr. First, then professor at the University of Leipsic, the learned Lazarus, of the University of Berlin, etc In 1840 the gathering had been composed of a handful of rationalistic Jews; in 1869 the meeting at Leipsic was attended by Israel's ablest and most devoted adherents, Yet these men rejected the belief in Israel's restoration, and passed the following resolution: "Those portions of our prayers which refer to the re- establishment of the annual sacrifices at the Messianic period, or to the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, must be modified." Now widespread the opinion represented at this time owing may be best judged if such a conservative journal as the London Jewish Chronicle is led to comment that " Although every Jew is bound to believe in a Messiah, the question whether that expression indicates a person or a time, and whether he or it has arrived or not, is, according to the Talmud, an open question.".

(3) The main portion of modern Judaism consists of the moderate party, embracing those Jews who seek to develop a higher spirituality from the old form of Judaism. With them the ceremonial law is valuable only as a hedge to keep the people apart from other forms of religion till the times are fulfilled. Like Kimchi, Abrabanel, and other Jewish commentators, they apply the oracle in  Isaiah 11:1-10 to the age of the Messiah, whose advent they place at the very time when the final gathering of the Jewish people is to be accomplished. " The one," says the Revelation Prof. Marks ( Jewish Messenger , January, 1872), His to be immediately consequent upon the other; or, rather, they are prophesied as synchronous events." Denying the accuracy of Christian interpretation, which refers the 11th chapter to the first, and the 12th chapter to the coming of Christ in the final day, they insist that the Hebrew Scriptures teach only one Messianic appearance, and that chapter 11 warrants no distinction in point of time between "the clearly-defined occurrences which are to mark Messiah's advent;" "and," continues Prof. Marks, "so far from representing the complete regeneration of the moral world as the result of many centuries after the promised Messiah shall have appeared, the prophet of the text mentions the universal peace and harmony that shall prevail, as well as the ingathering of the dispersed of Judah and of Israel, as the especial events which are to characterize the inauguration of the Messianic age. The promised regenerator of mankind is to be known by the accomplishment of these his appointed tasks; and no one, according to the Jewish view of prophetic Scripture, is entitled to the name of the Messiah' who does. not vindicate his claim to that high office by means of the fulfilment of the conditions which the word of inspiration has assigned to his coming."

As is well known, the Jews looked for a Messiah in the days of our Saviour. For centuries after the whole nation was incessantly on the watch: their prosperity seemed the harbinger of his coming; their darkest calamities, they believed, gathered them only to display, with the force of stronger contrast, the mercy of their God and the glory of their Redeemer. Calculation upon calculation failed, until at last, their courage threatening desertion, the rabbinical interdict was sent forth to repress the dangerous curiosity which, often baffled, would still penetrate the secrets of futurity. "Cursed is he who calculates the time of the Messiah's coming" was the daily message to the faithful of the synagogue; and at last it was declared that "No indication is given with regard to the particular epoch at which the prophecy of the 11th chapter (of Isaiah) is to be accomplished," but that the inspired messenger of God has furnished means of determining by the evidence of our senses the distinctive signs by which the advent of the Messiah is to be marked, viz.

(1) the arrival of the Golden Age ( Isaiah 11:7-9);

(2) the rallying of the nations, unsought and uninvited, around the Messianic banner ( Isaiah 11:10); and

(3) the second ingathering of the whole of the Jewish people, including the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, as well as those which composed the kingdom of Samaria, and are popularly spoken of as "the lost tribes" ( Isaiah 11:11-12. Compare on this. point Lindo, The Conciliator of R. Manasseh ben-Israel [Lond. 1842, 2 vols. 8vo], 2:143). "As Jews, we," they say, "maintain that the promised Messiah has not yet appeared, and that the world has never witnessed such a moral picture as the prophets predict of the Messianic age." And yet they are obliged themselves to confess that "Various opinions prevail [among them] with respect to what is to be precisely understood by the coming of the Messiah. Some hold that it implies the birth of a particular personage; others, that it describes the conjunction of certain events which are to act with extraordinary moral power on the world at large. But what it does especially behoove us to bear in mind is, first, that the prophets identify the Messianic advent with an age when brute force shall have come to an end, when warfare and strife shall have disappeared from the earth, and when love shall have become the sole governing principle of humanity; and, secondly, that this important work of the regeneration of mankind is to be brought about by the instrumentality of the Jewish people, if not by some remarkable individual born of that race."

Jesus the Christ they refuse to recognise as that " remarkable individual," "because," as one of their number has declared, "we do not find in the present comparatively imperfect stage of human progress the realization of that blessed condition of mankind which the prophet Isaiah associates with the era when Messiah is to appear. And as our Hebrew Scriptures speak of one Messianic advent only, and not of two advents (even those in the synagogue who speak of a Messiah from the house of Joseph concurrently with one from the house of David make their advent synchronous); and as the inspired Book does not preach Messiah's kingdom as a matter of faith, but distinctly identifies it with matters of fact which are to be made evident to the senses, we cling to the plain inference to be drawn from the text of the Bible, and we deny that Messiah has yet appeared, and upon the following grounds: First. Because of the three distinctive facts which the inspired seer of Judah inseparably connects with the advent of the Messiah, viz. the cessation of war and the uninterrupted reign of peace, the prevalence of a perfect concord of opinion on all matters bearing upon the worship of the one and only God, and the ingathering of the remnant of Judah and of the dispersed ten tribes of Israel-not one has, up to the present time, been accomplished. Second. We dissent from the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah announced by the prophets, because the Church which he founded, and which his successors developed, has offered, during a succession of centuries, a most singular contrast to what is described by the Hebrew Scriptures as the immediate consequence of Messiah's advent, and of his glorious kingdom. The prophet Isaiah declares that when the Messiah appears, peace, love, and union will be permanently established; and every candid man must admit that the world has not yet realized the accomplishment of this prophecy. Again, in the days of Messiah, all men, as Scripture saith, are to serve God with one accord;' and yet it is very certain that since the appearance of him whom our Christian brethren believe to be Messiah, mankind has been split into more hostile divisions on the grounds of religious belief, and more antagonistic sects have sprung up, than in any historic age before Christianity was preached." For the articles of confession, see the article. (See Judaism), 4:1057, Colossians 1 (9 and 12), 1058, and especially those portions in Conservative and Reformed JUDAISM; also (See Restoration Of The Jews).

IV. Proof Of The Messiahship Of Jesus . This discussion resolves itself into two questions. (See Jesus Christ).

1. The promised Messiah Has Already Come . To prove this assertion, we shall confine our remarks to Three prophecies.

(1.) The first is the passage above commented on, occurring in  Genesis 49:8;  Genesis 49:10, where Jacob is giving his sons his parting benediction, etc. When he comes to Judah, he says: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the people be." It is evident that by Judah is here meant, not the person, but the tribe; for Judah died in Egypt, without any pre- eminence. By sceptre and lawgiver are obviously intended the legislative and ruling power, which did, in the course of time, commence in David, and which for centuries afterwards was continued in his descendants. Whatever variety the form of government-whether monarchical or aristocratical might have assumed, the law and polity were still the same. This prediction all the ancient Jews referred to the Messiah. Ben-Uzziel renders it, "Until the time when the king Messiah shall come." The Targum of Onkelos speaks to the same effect, and that of Jerusalem paraphrases it thus: " Kings shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor doctors that teach the law from his children, until that the king Messiah do come, whose the kingdom is; and all nations of the earth shall be subject unto him." Now that the sceptre has departed from Judah, and, consequently, that the Messiah has come, we argue from the acknowledgments of some most learned Jews themselves. Kimchi thus comments on Hosea: "These are- the days of our captivity, wherein we have neither king nor prince in Israel; but w

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [17]

mḗ - sı̄´a ( משׁיח , māshı̄aḥ  ; Aramaic משׁיחא , meshı̄ḥā'  ; Septuagint Χριστός , Christós , "anointed"; New Testament "Christ"):

1. Meaning and Use of the Term

2. The Messianic Hope

I. The Messiah In The Old Testament

1. The Messianic King

(1) Isaiah

(2) Jeremiah and Ezekiel

(3) Later Prophets

2. Prophetic and Priestly Relations

3. Servant of Yahweh

4. Transformation of the Prophetic Hope into the Apocalyptic

II. The Messiah In The Pre-Christian Age

1. Post-prophetic Age

2. Maccabean Times

3. Apocalyptic Literature

III. The Messiah In The New Testament

1. The Jewish Conception

(1) The Messiah as King

(2) His Prophetic Character

(3) The Title "Son of God"

2. Attitude of Jesus to the Messiahship

3. The Christian Transformation

4. New Elements Added

(1) Future Manifestation

(2) Divine Personality

(3) Heavenly Priesthood

5. Fulfillment in Jesus


1. Meaning and Use of the Term:

"Messias" ( John 1:41;  John 4:25 the King James Version) is a transcription of Μεσσίας , Messı́as , the Greek representation of the Aramaic. "Messiah" is thus a modification of the Greek form of the word, according to the Hebrew.

The term is used in the Old Testament of kings and priests, who were consecrated to office by the ceremony of anointing. It is applied to the priest only as an adjective - "the anointed priest" ( Leviticus 4:3 ,  Leviticus 4:5 ,  Leviticus 4:16;  Leviticus 6:22 (Hebrew 15)). Its substantive use is restricted to the king; he only is called "the Lord's anointed," e.g. Saul (  1 Samuel 24:6 ,  1 Samuel 24:10 (Hebrew 7, 11), etc.); David (  2 Samuel 19:21 (Hebrew 22);   2 Samuel 23:1 , "the anointed of the God of Jacob"); Zedekiah ( Lamentations 4:20 ). Similarly in the Psalms the king is designated "mine," "thine," "his anointed." Thus also even Cyrus ( Isaiah 45:1 ), as being chosen and commissioned by Yahweh to carry out His purpose with Israel. Some think the singular "mine anointed" in  Habakkuk 3:13 denotes the whole people; but the Hebrew text is somewhat obscure, and the reference may be to the king. The plural of the substantive is used of the patriarchs, who are called "mine anointed ones" (  Psalm 105:15;  1 Chronicles 16:22 ), as being Yahweh's chosen, consecrated servants, whose persons were inviolable.

It is to be noted that "Messiah" as a special title is never applied in the Old Testament to the unique king of the future, unless perhaps in  Daniel 9:25 f ( māshı̄aḥ nāghı̄dh , "Messiah-Prince"), a difficult passage, the interpretation of which is very uncertain. It was the later Jews of the post-prophetic period who, guided by a true instinct, first used the term in a technical sense.

2. The Messianic Hope:

The Messiah is the instrument by whom God's kingdom is to be established in Israel and in the world. The hope of a personal deliverer is thus inseparable from the wider hope that runs through the Old Testament. The Jews were a nation who lived in the future. In this respect they stand alone among the peoples of antiquity. No nation ever cherished such strong expectations of a good time coming, or clung more tenaciously amid defeat and disaster to the certainty of final triumph over all enemies and of entrance upon a state of perfect peace and happiness. The basis of this larger hope is Yahweh's covenant with Israel. "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God" ( Exodus 6:7 ). On the ground of this promise the prophets, while declaring God's wrath against His people on account of their sin, looked beyond the Divine chastisements to the final era of perfect salvation and blessedness, which would be ushered in when the nation had returned to Yahweh.

The term "Messianic" is used in a double sense to describe the larger hope of a glorious future for the nation, as well as the narrower one of a personal Messiah who is to be the prominent figure in the perfected kingdom. It may be remarked that many writers, both prophetic and apocalyptic, who picture the final consummation, make no allusion whatever to a coming deliverer.

This article will treat of the personal Messianic hope as it is found in the Old Testament, in the pre-Christian age, and in the New Testament.

I. The Messiah in the Old Testament.

1. The Messianic King:

The chief element in the conception of the Messiah in the Old Testament is that of the king. Through him as head of the nation Yahweh could most readily work out His saving purposes. But the kingdom of Israel was a theocracy. In earlier times Moses, Joshua, and the judges, who were raised up by Yahweh to guide His people at different crises in their history, did not claim to exercise authority apart from their Divine commission. Nor was the relation of Yahweh to the nation as its real ruler in any way modified by the institution of the monarchy. It was by His Spirit that the king was qualified for the righteous government of the people, and by His power that he would become victorious over all enemies. The passage on which the idea of the Messianic king who would rule in righteousness and attain universal dominion was founded is Nathan's oracle to David in  2 Samuel 7:11 ff. In contrast to Saul, from whom the kingdom had passed away, David would never want a descendant to sit on the throne of Israel. How strong an impression this promise of the perpetuity of his royal house had made on David is seen in his last words (2 Sam 23); and to this "everlasting covenant, and sure," the spiritual minds in Israel reverted in all after ages.

(1) Isaiah.

Isaiah is the first of the prophets to refer to an extraordinary king of the future. Amos ( Amos 9:11 ) foretold the time when the shattered fortunes of Judah would be restored, while Hosea ( Hosea 3:5 ) looked forward to the reunion of the two kingdoms under David's line. But it is not till we reach the Assyrian age, when the personality of the king is brought into prominence against the great world-power, that we meet with any mention of a unique personal ruler who would bring special glory to David's house.

The kings of Syria and Israel having entered into a league to dethrone Ahaz and supplant him by an obscure adventurer,  Isaiah 7:10-17 announces to the king of Judah that while, by the help of Assyria, he would survive the attack of the confederate kings, Yahweh would, for his disobedience, bring devastation upon his own land through the instrumentality of his ally. But the prophet's lofty vision, though limited as in the case of other seers to the horizon of his own time, reaches beyond Judah's distress to Judah's deliverance. To the spiritual mind of Isaiah the revelation is made of a true king, Immanuel, "God-with-us," who would arise out of the house of David, now so unworthily represented by the profligate Ahaz. While the passage is one of the hardest to interpret in all the Old Testament, perhaps too much has been made by some scholars of the difficulty connected with the word ‛almāh , "virgin." It is the mysterious personality of the child to which prominence is given in the prophecy. The significance of the name and the pledge of victory it implies, the reference to Immanuel as ruler of the land in  Isaiah 8:8 (if the present rendering be correct), as well as the parallelism of the line of thought in the prophecy with that of Isa 9, would seem to point to the identity of Immanuel with the Prince of the four names, "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace" (  Isaiah 9:6 the Revised Version margin). These Divine titles do not necessarily imply that in the mind of the prophet the Messianic king is God in the metaphysical sense - the essence of the Divine nature is not a dogmatic conception in the Old Testament - but only that Yahweh is present in Him in perfect wisdom and power, so that He exercises over His people forever a fatherly and peaceful rule. In confirmation of this interpretation reference may be made to the last of the great trilogy of Isaianic prophecies concerning the Messiah of the house of David (  Isaiah 11:2 ), where the attributes with which He is endowed by the Spirit are those which qualify for the perfect discharge of royal functions in the kingdom of God. See Immanuel .

A similar description of the Messianic king is given by Isaiah's younger contemporary Micah ( Micah 5:2 ff), who emphasizes the humble origin of the extraordinary ruler of the future, who shall spring from the Davidic house, while his reference to her who is to bear him confirms the interpretation which regards the virgin in Isaiah as the mother of the Messiah.

(2) Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

After the time of Isaiah and Micah the throne of David lost much of its power and influence, and the figure of the ideal king is never again portrayed with the same definiteness and color. Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk make no reference to him at all. By the great prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, however, the hope of a Davidic ruler is kept before the people. While there are passages in both of these writers which refer to a succession of pious rulers, this fact should not dominate our interpretation of other utterances of theirs which seem to point to a particular individual. By Jeremiah the Messiah is called the "righteous Branch" who is to be raised unto David and be called "Yahweh (is) our righteousness," that is, Yahweh as the one making righteous dwells in him ( Jeremiah 23:5 f; compare   Jeremiah 30:9 ). In Ezekiel he is alluded to as the coming one "whose right it is" ( Ezekiel 21:27 ), and as Yahweh's "servant David" who shall be "prince" or "king" forever over a reunited people ( Ezekiel 34:23 f;   Ezekiel 37:24 ). It is difficult to resist the impression which the language of Ezekiel makes that it is the ideal Messianic ruler who is here predicted, notwithstanding the fact that afterward, in the prophet's vision of the ideal theocracy, not only does the prince play a subordinate part, but provision is made in the constitution for a possible abuse of his authority.

(3) Later Prophets.

After Ezekiel's time, during the remaining years of the exile, the hope of a preeminent king of David's house naturally disappears. But it is resuscitated at the restoration when Zerubbabel, a prince of the house of David and the civil head of the restored community, is made by Yahweh of hosts His signet-ring, inseparable from Himself and the symbol of His authority ( Haggai 2:23 ). In the new theocracy, however the figure of the Messianic ruler falls into the background before that of the high priest, who is regarded as the sign of the coming Branch ( Zechariah 3:8 ). Still we have the unique prophecy of the author Of  Zechariah 9:9 , who pictures the Messiah as coming not on a splendid charger like a warrior king, but upon the foal of an ass, righteous and victorious, yet lowly and peaceful, strong by the power of God to help and save. There is no mention of the Messianic king in Joel or Malachi; but references in the later, as in the earlier, Psalms to events in the lives of the kings or the history of the kingdom prove that the promise made to David was not forgotten, and point to one who would fulfill it in all its grandeur.

2. Prophetic and Priestly Relations:

The Messianic king is the central figure in the consummation of the kingdom. It is a royal son of David, not a prophet like unto Moses, or a priest of Aaron's line, whose personal features are portrayed in the picture of the future. The promise in  Deuteronomy 18:15-20 , as the context shows, refers to a succession of true prophets as opposed to the diviners of heathen nations. Though Moses passed away there would always be a prophet raised up by Yahweh to reveal His will to the people, so that they would never need to have recourse to heathen soothsayers. Yet while the prophet is not an ideal figure, being already fully inspired by the Spirit, prophetic functions are to this extent associated with the kingship, that the Messiah is qualified by the Spirit for the discharge of the duties of His royal office and makes known the will of God by His righteous decisions ( Isaiah 11:2-5 ).

It is more difficult to define the relationship of the priesthood to the kingship in the final era. They are brought into connection by Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 30:9 ,  Jeremiah 30:21 ) who represents the new "David" as possessing the priestly right of immediate access to Yahweh, while the Levitical priesthood, equally with the Davidic kingship, is assured of perpetuity on the ground of the covenant ( Jeremiah 33:18 ff). But after the restoration, when prominence is given to the high priest in the reconstitution of the kingdom, Joshua becomes the type of the coming "Branch" of the Davidic house (  Zechariah 3:8 ), and, according to the usual interpretation, receives the crown - a symbol of the union of the kingly and priestly offices in the Messiah ( Zechariah 6:11 ff). Many scholars, however, holding that the words "and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" can only refer to two persons, would substitute "Zerubbabel" for "Joshua" in   Zechariah 6:11 , and read in  Zechariah 6:13 , "there shall be a priest upon his right hand" (compare the Revised Version (British and American), Septuagint (Septuagint). The prophet's meaning would then be that the Messianic high priest would sit beside the Messianic king in the perfected kingdom, both working together as Zerubbabel and Joshua were then doing. There is no doubt, however, that the Messiah is both king and priest in  Psalm 110:1-7 .

3. Servant of Yahweh:

The bitter experiences of the nation during the exile originated a new conception, Messianic in the deepest sense, the Servant of Yahweh ( Isaiah 40 - 66; chiefly   Isaiah 41:8;  Isaiah 42:1-7 ,  Isaiah 42:19 f;   Isaiah 43:8 ,  Isaiah 43:10;  Isaiah 44:1 f, 21;   Isaiah 49:3-6;  Isaiah 50:4-9;  Isaiah 52:13 - 53). As to whom the prophet refers in his splendid delineation of this mysterious being, scholars are hopelessly divided. The personification theory - that the Servant represents the ideal Israel, Israel as God meant it to be, as fulfilling its true vocation in the salvation of the world - is held by those who plead for a consistent use of the phrase throughout the prophecy. They regard it as inconceivable that the same title should be applied by the same prophet to two distinct subjects. Others admit that the chief difficulty in the way of this theory is to conceive it, but they maintain that it best explains the use of the title in the chief passages where it occurs. The other theory is that there is an expansion and contraction of the idea in the mind of the prophet. In some passages the title is used to denote the whole nation; in others it is limited to the pious kernel; and at last the conception culminates in an individual, the ideal yet real Israelite of the future, who shall fulfill the mission in which the nation failed.

What really divides expositors is the interpretation of  Isaiah 52:13 - 53. The question is not whether this passage was fulfilled in Jesus Christ - on this all Christian expositors are agreed - but whether the "Servant" is in the mind of the prophet merely the personification of the godly portion of the nation, or a person yet to come.

May not the unity argument be pressed too hard? If the Messiah came to be conceived of as a specific king while the original promise spoke of a dynasty, is it so inconceivable that the title "Servant of Yahweh" should be used in an individual as well as in a collective sense? It is worthy of note, too, that not only in some parts of this prophecy, but all through it, the individuality of the sufferer is made prominent; the collective idea entirely disappears. The contrast is not between a faithful portion and the general body of the people, but between the "Servant" and every single member of the nation. Moreover, whatever objections may be urged against the individual interpretation, this view best explains the doctrine of substitution that runs through the whole passage. Israel was Yahweh's elect people, His messenger of salvation to the Gentiles, and its faithful remnant suffered for the sins of the mass; even "Immanuel" shared in the sorrows of His people. But here the "Servant" makes atonement for the sins of individual Israelites; by his death they are justified and by his stripes they are healed. To this great spiritual conception only the prophet of the exile attains.

It may be added that in the Suffering Servant, who offers the sacrifice of himself as an expiation for the sins of the people, prophetic activity and kingly honor are associated with the priestly function. After he has been raised from the dead he becomes the great spiritual teacher of the world - by his knowledge of God and salvation which he communicates to others he makes many righteous ( Isaiah 53:11; compare  Isaiah 42:1 ff;   Isaiah 49:2;  Isaiah 50:4 ); and as a reward for his sufferings he attains to a position of the highest royal splendor ( Isaiah 52:15;  Isaiah 53:12; compare  Isaiah 49:7 ). See Servant Of Jehovah .

4. Transformation of the Prophetic Hope into the Apocalyptic:

In the Book of Daniel, written to encourage the Jewish people to steadfastness during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Messianic hope of the prophets assumes a new form. Here the apocalyptic idea of the Messiah appears for the first time in Jewish literature. The coming ruler is represented, not as a descendant of the house of David, but as a person in human form and of super-human character, through whom God is to establish His sovereignty upon the earth. In the prophet's vision ( Daniel 7:13 f) one "like unto a son of man," kebhar 'ĕnāsh (not, as in the King James Version, "like the son of man"), comes with the clouds of heaven, and is brought before the ancient of days, and receives an imperishable kingdom, that all peoples should serve him.

Scholars are by no means agreed in their interpretation of the prophecy. In support of the view that the "one like unto a son of man" is a symbol for the ideal Israel, appeal is made to the interpretation given of the vision in  Daniel 7:18 ,  Daniel 7:22 ,  Daniel 7:27 , according to which dominion is given to "the saints of the Most High." Further, as the four heathen kingdoms are represented by the brute creation, it would be natural for the higher power, which is to take their place, to be symbolized by the human form.

But strong reasons may be urged, on the other hand, for the personal Messianic interpretation of the passage. A distinction seems to be made between "one like unto a son of man" and the saints of the Most High in  Daniel 7:21 , the saints being there represented as the object of persecution from the little horn. The scene of the judgment is earth, where the saints already are, and to which the ancient of days and the "one like unto a son of man" descend ( Daniel 7:22 ,  Daniel 7:13 ). And it is in accordance with the interpretation given of the vision in  Daniel 7:17 , where reference is made to the four kings of the bestial kingdoms, that the kingdom of the saints, which is to be established in their place, should also be represented by a royal head.

It may be noted that a new idea is suggested by this passage, the pre-existence of the Messiah before His manifestation.

II. The Messiah in the Pre-Christian Age.

1. Post-Prophetic Age:

After prophetic inspiration ceased, there was little in the teaching of the scribes, or in the reconstitution of the kingdom under the rule of the high priests, to quicken the ancient hope of the nation. It would appear from the Apocrypha that while the elements of the general expectation were still cherished, the specific hope of a preeminent king of David's line had grown very dim in the consciousness of the people. In Ecclesiasticus (47:11) mention is made of a "covenant of kings and a throne of glory in Israel which the Lord gave unto David"; yet even this allusion to the everlasting duration of the Davidic dynasty is more of the nature of a historical statement than the expression of a confident hope.

2. Maccabean Times:

In the earlier stages of the Maccabean uprising, when the struggle was for religious freedom, the people looked for help to God alone, and would probably have been content to acknowledge the political supremacy of Syria after liberty had been granted them in 162 Bc to worship God according to their own law and ceremonial. But the successful effort of the Maccabean leaders in achieving political independence, while it satisfied the aspirations of the people generally "until there should arise a faithful prophet" ( 1 Maccabees 14:41; compare 2:57), brought religious and national ideals into conflict. The "Pious" ( ḥăṣı̄dhı̄m ), under the new name of Pharisees, now became more than ever devoted to the Law, and repudiated the claim of a Maccabean to be high priest and his subsequent assumption of the royal title, while the Maccabees with their political ambitions took the side of the aristocracy and alienated the people. The national spirit, however, had been stirred into fresh life. Nor did the hope thus quickened lose any of its vitality when, amid the strife of factions and the quarrels of the ruling family, Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 BC. The fall of the Hasmonean house, even more than its ascendancy, led the nation to set its hope more firmly on God and to look for a deliverer from the house of David.

3. Apocalyptic Literature:

The national sentiment evoked by the Maccabees finds expression in the Apocalyptic literature of the century and a half before Christ.

In the oldest parts of the Sibylline Oracles (3:652-56) there occurs a brief prediction of a king whom God shall send from the sun, who shall "cause the whole earth to cease from wicked war, killing some and exacting faithful oaths from others. And this he will do, not according to his own counsel, but in obedience to the beneficent decrees of God." And in a later part of the same book (3:49) there is an allusion to "a pure king who will wield the scepter over the whole earth forever." It may be the Messiah also who is represented in the earlier part of the Book of Enoch (90:37 f) as a glorified man under the symbol of a white bull with great horns, which is feared and worshipped by all the other animals (the rest of the religious community) and into whose likeness they are transformed.

But it is in the Psalms of Solomon, which were composed in the Pompeian period and reveal their Pharisaic origin by representing the Hasmoneans as a race of usurpers, that we have depicted in clear outline and glowing colors the portrait of the Davidic king (Ps  Song of Solomon 17:18 ). The author looks for a personal Messiah who, as son of David and king of Israel, will purge Jerusalem of sinners, and gather together a holy people who will all be the "sons of their God." He shall not conquer with earthly weapons, for the Lord Himself is his King; he shall smite the earth with the breath of his mouth; and the heathen of their own accord shall come to see his glory, bringing the wearied children of Israel as gifts. His throne shall be established in wisdom and justice, while he himself shall be pure from sin and made strong in the Holy Spirit.

It is evident that in these descriptions of the coming one we have something more than a mere revival of the ancient hope of a preeminent king of David's house. The repeated disasters that overtook the Jews led to the transference of the national hope to a future world, and consequently to the transformation of the Messiah from a mere earthly king into a being with supernatural attributes. That this supernatural apocalyptic hope, which was at least coming to be cherished, exercised an influence on the national hope is seen in the Psalter of Solomon, where emphasis is laid on the striking individuality of this Davidic king, the moral grandeur of his person, and the Divine character of his rule.

We meet with the apocalyptic conception of the Messiah in the Similitudes of Enoch (chapters 37 - 71) and the later apocalypses. Reference may be made at this point to the Similitudes on account of their unique expression of Messianic doctrine, although their pre-Christian date, which Charles puts not later than 64 BC, is much disputed. The Messiah who is called "the Anointed," "the Elect one" "the Righteous one" is represented, though in some sense man, as belonging to the heavenly world. His pre-existence is affirmed. He is the supernatural Son of Man, who will come forth from His concealment to sit as Judge of all on the throne of His glory, and dwell on a transformed earth with the righteous forever. See Apocalyptic Literature (JEWISH); Eschatology Of The Old Testament .

III. The Messiah in the New Testament.

To the prevalence of the Messianic hope among the Jews in the time of Christ the Gospel records bear ample testimony. We see from the question of the Baptist that "the coming one" was expected ( Matthew 11:3 and parallel), while the people wondered whether John himself were the Christ (  Luke 3:15 ).

1. The Jewish Conception:

(1) The Messiah as King.

In the popular conception the Messiah was chiefly the royal son of David who would bring victory and prosperity to the Jewish nation and set up His throne in Jerusalem. In this capacity the multitude hailed Jesus on His entry into the capital ( Matthew 21:9 and parallel); to the Pharisees also the Messiah was the son of David (  Matthew 22:42 ). It would seem that apocalyptic elements mingled with the national expectation, for it was supposed that the Messiah would come forth suddenly from concealment and attest Himself by miracles ( John 7:27 ,  John 7:31 ).

But there were spiritual minds who interpreted the nation's hope, not in any conventional sense, but according to their own devout aspirations. Looking for "the consolation of Israel," "the redemption of Jerusalem," they seized upon the spiritual features of the Messianic king and recognized in Jesus the promised Saviour who would deliver the nation from its sin ( Luke 2:25 ,  Luke 2:30 ,  Luke 2:38; compare  Luke 1:68-79 ).

(2) His Prophetic Character.

From the statements in the Gospels regarding the expectation of a prophet it is difficult to determine whether the prophetic function was regarded as belonging to the Messiah. We learn not only that one of the old prophets was expected to reappear ( Matthew 14:2;  Matthew 16:14 and parallel), but also that a preeminent prophet was looked for, distinct from the Messiah (  John 1:21 ,  John 1:25;  John 7:40 f). But the two conceptions of prophet and king seem to be identified in   John 6:14 f, where we are told that the multitude, after recognizing in Jesus the expected prophet, wished to take Him by force and make Him a king. It would appear that while the masses were looking forward to a temporal king, the expectations of some were molded by the image and promise of Moses. And to the woman of Samaria, as to her people, the Messiah was simply a prophet, who would bring the full light of Divine knowledge into the world (  John 4:25 ). On the other hand, from Philip's description of Jesus we would naturally infer that he saw in Him whom he had found the union of a prophet like unto Moses and the Messianic king of the prophetical books ( John 1:45 ).

(3) The Title "Son of God."

It cannot be doubted that the "Son of God" was used as a Messianic title by the Jews in the time of our Lord. The high priest in presence of the Sanhedrin recognized it as such ( Matthew 26:63 ). It was applied also in its official sense to Jesus by His disciples: John the Baptist ( John 1:34 ), Nathaniel ( John 1:49 ), Mary ( John 11:27 ), Peter ( Matthew 16:16 , though not in parallel). This Messianic use was based on  Psalm 2:7; compare  2 Samuel 7:14 . The title as given to Jesus by Peter in his confession, "the Son of the living God," is suggestive of something higher than a mere official dignity, although its full significance in the unique sense in which Jesus claimed it could scarcely have been apprehended by the disciples till after His resurrection.

2. Attitude of Jesus to the Messiahship:

(1) His Claim.

The claim of Jesus to be the Messiah is written on the face of the evangelic history. But while He accepted the title, He stripped it of its political and national significance and filled it with an ethical and universal content. The Jewish expectation of a great king who would restore the throne of David and free the nation from a foreign yoke was interpreted by Jesus as of one who would deliver God's people from spiritual foes and found a universal kingdom of love and peace.

(2) His Delay in Making It.

To prepare the Jewish mind for His transformation of the national hope Jesus delayed putting forth His claim before the multitude till His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which, be it noted, He made in such a way as to justify His interpretation of the Messiah of the prophets, while He delayed emphasizing it to His disciples till the memorable scene at Caesarea Philippi when He drew forth Peter's confession.

(3) "The Son of Man."

But he sought chiefly to secure the acceptance of Himself in all His lowliness as the true Messianic king by His later use of His self-designation as the "Son of Man." While "Son of Man" in Aramaic, bar nāshā' , may mean simply "man," an examination of the chief passages in which the title occurs shows that Jesus applied it to Himself in a unique sense. That He had the passage in Daniel in His mind is evident from the phrases He employs in describing His future coming (  Mark 8:38;  Mark 13:26 and parallel;   Mark 14:62 and parallel). By this apocalyptic use of the title He put forward much more clearly His claim to be the Messiah of national expectation who would come in heavenly glory. But He used the title also to announce the tragic destiny that awaited Him (  Mark 8:31 ). This He could do without any contradiction, as He regarded His death as the beginning of His Messianic reign. And those passages in which He refers to the Son of Man giving His life a ransom "for many" ( Matthew 20:28 and parallel) and going "as it is written of him" (  Matthew 26:24 and parallel), as well as   Luke 22:37 , indicate that He interpreted  Isaiah 53:1-12 of Himself in His Messianic character. By His death He would complete His Messianic work and inaugurate the kingdom of God. Thus, by the help of the title "Son of Man" Jesus sought, toward the close of His ministry, to explain the seeming contradiction between His earthly life and the glory of His Messianic kingship.

It may be added that our Lord's use of the phrase implies what the Gospels suggest ( John 12:34 ), that the "Son of Man," notwithstanding the references in Daniel and the Similitudes of Enoch (if the pre-Christian date be accepted), was not regarded by the Jews generally as a Messianic title. For He could not then have applied it, as He does, to Himself before Peter's confession, while maintaining His reserve in regard to His claims to be the Messiah. Many scholars, however, hold that the "Son of Man" was already a Messianic title before our Lord employed it in His conversation with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, and regard the earlier passages in which it occurs as inserted out of chronological order, or the presence of the title in them either as a late insertion, or as due to the ambiguity of the Aramaic. See Son Of Man .

3. The Christian Transformation:

The thought of a suffering Messiah who would atone for sin was alien to the Jewish mind. This is evident from the conduct, not only of the opponents, but of the followers of Jesus ( Matthew 16:22;  Matthew 17:23 ). While His disciples believed Him to be the Messiah, they could not understand His allusions to His sufferings, and regarded His death as the extinction of all their hopes ( Luke 18:34;  Luke 24:21 ). But after His resurrection and ascension they were led, by the impression His personality and teaching had made upon them, to see how entirely they had misconceived His Messiahship and the nature and extent of His Messianic kingdom ( Luke 24:31;  Acts 2:36 ,  Acts 2:38 f). They were confirmed, too, in their spiritual conceptions when they searched into the ancient prophecies in the light of the cross. In the mysterious form of the Suffering Servant they beheld the Messianic king on His way to His heavenly throne, conquering by the power of His atoning sacrifice and bestowing all spiritual blessings (  Acts 3:13 ,  Acts 3:18-21 ,  Acts 3:26;  Acts 4:27 ,  Acts 4:30;  Acts 8:35;  Acts 10:36-43 ).

4. New Elements Added:

(1) Future Manifestation.

New features were now added to the Messiah in accordance with Jesus' own teaching. He had ascended to His Father and become the heavenly king. But all things were not yet put under Him. It was therefore seen that the full manifestation of His Messiahship was reserved for the future, that He would return in glory to fulfill His Messianic office and complete His Messianic reign.

(2) Divine Personality.

Higher views of His personality were now entertained. He is declared to be the Son of God, not in any official, but in a unique sense, as coequal with the Father ( John 1:1;  Romans 1:4 ,  Romans 1:7;  1 Corinthians 1:3 , etc.). His pre-existence is affirmed ( John 1:1;  2 Corinthians 8:9 ); and when He comes again in his Messianic glory, He will exercise the Divine function of Universal Judge ( Acts 10:42;  Acts 17:30 f, etc.).

(3) Heavenly Priesthood.

The Christian conception of the Messianic king who had entered into His glory through suffering and death carried with it the doctrine of the Messianic priesthood. But it took some time for early Christian thought to advance from the new discovery of the combination of humiliation and glory in the Messiah to concentrate upon His heavenly life. While the preaching of the first Christians was directed to show from the Scriptures that "Jesus is the Christ" and necessarily involved the ascription to Him of many functions characteristic of the true priest, it was reserved for the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews to set forth this aspect of His work with separate distinctness and to apply to Him the title of our "great high priest" ( Hebrews 4:14 ). As the high priest on the Day of Atonement not only sprinkled the blood upon the altar, but offered the sacrifice, so it was now seen that by passing into the heavens and presenting to God the offering He had made of Himself on earth, Jesus had fulfilled the high-priestly office.

5. Fulfillment in Jesus:

Thus the ideal of the Hebrew prophets and poets is amply fulfilled in the person, teaching and work of Jesus of Nazareth. Apologists may often err in supporting the argument from prophecy by an extravagant symbolism and a false exegesis; but they are right in the contention that the essential elements in the Old Testament conception - the Messianic king who stands in a unique relation to Yahweh as His "Son," and who will exercise universal dominion; the supreme prophet who will never be superseded; the priest forever - are gathered up and transformed by Jesus in a way the ancient seers never dreamed of. As the last and greatest prophet, the suffering Son of Man, and the sinless Saviour of the world, He meets humanity's deepest longings for Divine knowledge, human sympathy, and spiritual deliverance; and as the unique Son of God, who came to reveal the Father, He rules over the hearts of men by the might of eternal love. No wonder that the New Testament writers, like Jesus Himself, saw references to the Messiah in Old Testament passages which would not be conceded by a historical interpretation. While recognizing the place of the old covenant in the history of salvation, they sought to discover in the light of the fulfillment in Jesus the meaning of the Old Testament which the Spirit of God intended to convey, the Divine, saving thoughts which constitute its essence. And to us, as to the early Christians, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" ( Revelation 19:10 ). To Him, hidden in the bosom of the ages, all the scattered rays of prophecy pointed; and from Him, in His revealed and risen splendor, shine forth upon the world the light and power of God's love and truth. And through the history and experience of His people He is bringing to larger realization the glory and passion of Israel's Messianic hope.


Drummond, The Jewish Messiah  ; Stanton, The Jewish and the Christian Messiah  ; Riehm, Messianic Prophecy  ; Delitzsch, Messianic Prophecies  ; von Orelli, Old Testament Prophecy  ; A. B. Davidson, Old Testament Prophecy  ; Schultz, Old Testament Theology  ; Schurer, Hjp , 504 II, volume II, section 29, "The Messianic Hope"; Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels , chapter ii, "The Jewish Doctrine of Messiah"; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah , book II, chapter v, "What Messiah Did the Jews Expect?"; E. F. Scott, The Kingdom and the Messiah  ; Fairweather, The Background of the Gospels  ; articles in Db , Hdb , Eb , Dcg . For further list see Riehm and Schurer. See also Apocalyptic Literature .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [18]

Messi´ah (anointed, which is also the signification of Christ). In order to have an accurate idea of the Scriptural application of the term, we must consider the custom of anointing which obtained among the Jews. That which was specifically set apart for God's service was anointed, whether persons or things [ANOINTING]. Thus we read that Jacob poured oil upon the pillar . The tabernacle also and its utensils were anointed , being thereby appropriated to God's service. But this ceremony had, moreover, relation to persons. Thus priests, as Aaron and his sons, were anointed, that they might minister unto God . Kings were anointed. Hence it is that a king is designated the Lord's anointed. Saul and David were, according to the divine appointment, anointed by Samuel . Zadok anointed Solomon, that there might be no dispute who should succeed David . We cannot speak with confidence as to whether the prophets were actually anointed with the material oil. We have neither an express law nor practice to this effect on record. True it is that Elijah is commanded to anoint Elisha to be prophet in his room but no more may be meant by this expression than that he should constitute him his successor in the prophetic office; for all that he did, in executing his divine commission, was to cast his own garment upon Elisha upon which he arose and ministered unto him . For kings and priests the precept and practice are unquestionable.

But the name Messiah is, par excellence, applied to the Redeemer of man in the Old Testament . The words of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, at the close of her divine song, are very remarkable : 'The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his Messiah.' The Hebrews as yet had no king; hence the passage may be taken as a striking prophecy of the promised deliverer. In various parts of the New Testament is this epithet applied to Jesus. St. Peter informs Cornelius the centurion that God had anointed Jesus of Nazareth to be the Christ, and our Lord himself acknowledges to the woman of Samaria that he is the expected Messiah . This term, however, as applied to Jesus, is less a name than the expression of his office.

Thus the Jews had in type, under the Mosaic dispensation, what we have in substance under the Christian system. The prophets, priests, and kings of the former economy were types of Him who sustains these offices as the head of his mystical body, the Church. As the priests and kings of old were set apart for their offices and dignities by a certain form prescribed in the law of Moses, so was the blessed Savior by a better anointing (of which the former was but a shadow), even by the Holy Ghost. Thus the apostle tells us that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power . He was anointed:

First, at his conception: the angel tells Mary, 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God' .

Second, at his baptism at the river Jordan . St. Luke, moreover, records' that our Lord being at Nazareth, he had given unto Him the book of the prophet Isaiah; and on reading from , 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,' etc., He said to His hearers, 'This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.'

But as the Jews will not acknowledge the right of either Jesus or His apostles to apply the prophetic passages which point to the Messiah to Himself, it now remains for us to show—

First, That the promised Messiah has already come.

Second, That Jesus of Nazareth is unquestionably He.

To prove the first assertion, we shall confine our remarks to three prophecies. The first occurs in; , where Jacob is giving his sons his parting benediction, etc. When he comes to Judah he says: '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.' It is evident that by Judah is here meant, not the person but the tribe; for Judah died in Egypt, without any pre-eminence. By scepter and lawgiver are obviously intended the legislative and ruling power, which did, in the course of time, commence in David, and which, for centuries afterwards, was continued in his descendants. Whatever variety the form of government—whether monarchical or aristocratical—might have assumed, the law and polity were still the same. This prediction all the ancient Jews referred to the Messiah. Now, that the scepter has departed from Judah, and, consequently, that the Messiah has come, we argue from the acknowledgments of some most learned Jews themselves. The precise time when all authority departed from Judah is disputed. Some date its departure from the time when Herod, an Idumean, set aside the Maccabees and Sanhedrim. Others think that it was when Vespasian and Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, that the Jews lost the last vestige of authority. If, therefore, the scepter has departed from Judah—and who can question it who looks at the broken-up, scattered, and lost state of that tribe for ages?—the conclusion is clearly irresistible, that the Messiah must have long since come!

The next proof that the Messiah has long since come, may be adduced from . It is evident that the true Messiah is here spoken of. He is twice designated by the very name. And if we consider what the work is which he is here said to accomplish, we shall have a full confirmation of this. Who but He could finish and take away transgression, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up the vision and prophecy, confirm the covenants with many, and cause to cease the sacrifice and oblation? If then it be the true Messiah who is described in the above prophecy, it remains for us to see how the time predicted for His coming has long since transpired. This is expressly said to be seventy weeks from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. That by seventy weeks are to be understood seventy sevens of years, a day being put for a year, and a week for seven years, making up 490 years, is allowed by Kimchi, Jarchi, Rabbi Saadias, and other learned Jews, as well as by many Christian commentators. This period of time then must have long since elapsed, whether we date its commencement from the first decree of Cyrus , the second of Darius Hystaspes , or that of Artaxerxes .

We can only barely allude to one remarkable prediction more, which fixes the time of the Messiah's advent, viz., : 'I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of Hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of Hosts.' The glory here spoken of must be in reference to the Messiah, or on some other account. It could not have been said that the second Temple exceeded in glory the former one; for in many particulars, according to the acknowledgment of the Jews themselves, it was far inferior both as a building , and in respect of the symbols and tokens of God's special favor being wanting. The promised glory, therefore, must refer to the coming and presence of Him who was promised to the world before there was any nation of the Jews: and who is aptly called the 'Desire of all nations.' This view is amply confirmed by the prophet Malachi . Since then the very Temple into which the Savior was to enter, has for ages been destroyed, He must, if the integrity of this prophecy be preserved, have come. That there was, at the time of our Lord's birth, a great expectation of the Messiah, both among Jews and Gentiles, may be seen from Tacitus, Suetonius, and Josephus, as well as from the sacred Scriptures. We may just add, that as there was a general expectation of the Messiah at this time, so there were many impostors who drew after them many followers (Josephus, Antiq. xx. 8, 6; Wars of the Jews, ii. 13, 3). Christ prophesies of such persons .

The limits of this article will admit of our only touching upon the proofs that Jesus of Nazareth, and none other, is the very Messiah who was to come. What was predicted of the Messiah was fulfilled in Jesus. Was the Messiah to be of the seed of the woman , and this woman a virgin? . So we are told (;; ) that Jesus was made of a woman, and born of a virgin. Was it predicted that He (Messiah) should be of the tribe of Judah, of the family of Jesse, and of the house of David? . This was fulfilled in Jesus (;; ) [GENEALOGY].

2. If the Messiah was to be a prophet like unto Moses, so was Jesus also . If the Messiah was to appear in the second Temple, so did Jesus (;; ).

3. Was Messiah to work miracles? (; comp. ).

4. If the Messiah was to suffer and die (Isaiah 53), we find that Jesus died in the same manner, at the very time, and under the identical circumstances, which were predicted of Him. The very man who betrayed Him, the price for which He was sold, the indignities He was to receive in His last moments, the parting of His garments, and His last words, etc., were all foretold of the Messiah, and accomplished in Jesus.

5. Was the Messiah to rise from the dead? So did Jesus. How stupendous and adorable is the Providence of God, who, through so many apparent contingencies, brought such things to pass!

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [19]

E . the Anointed one), one consecrated of God, who the Jewish prophets predicted would one day appear to emancipate the Jewish people from bondage and exalt them in the eyes of all the other nations of the earth as His elect nation, and for the glory of His name.