MESSIAH, THE KING OF THE JEWS
There are hundreds of prophecies in the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets that speak of Messiah. These prophecies tell who He is, what He will do, where He is to be born, how He will die, etc. A major focus of these prophecies is the role of Messiah as the King of the Jews. That, in fact, is the primary way in which the prophets speak of Messiah. Let us look briefly at three well-known prophecies which are quoted in whole or in part in the New Covenant Scriptures: Isaiah 9:6-7, Jeremiah 23:5-6, and Micah 5:2. (See also MESSIAH IN THE NEW COVENANT SCRIPTURES.) These scriptures were recognized by the ancient rabbis as referring to Messiah. The Talmud remarks that, "All the prophets prophesied not but of the days of the Messiah." (Babylonian Talmud, Sanh. 99a)
Isaiah voiced the prophetic hope of Israel: "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this." (Is. 9:6-7)
It is "to us" i.e., to Israel that a child will be born and a son will be given. Obviously, the God of Israel is the One who will give this son to His people. This child will be a ruler in Israel. It is on the throne of David, King of Israel, that he will sit. It is over Davids kingdom that Messiah reigns. It is Davids kingdom that Messiah establishes and upholds. Messiah, whom God will give to Israel, is Davids son. (Isaiah began to prophesy in the reign of Uzziah, a tenth generation descendant of David.)
This child will be a unique individual, not simply a normal man. His names tell us that. He is characterized by these names: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace." His reign will not be short: "There will be no end to the increase of His government." His reign will never end, not in time, not in space. His eternal reign will be characterized by peace, justice, and righteousness. The reign of God Himself is founded on the very same characteristics: "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne; lovingkindness and truth go before Thee. How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O Lord, they walk in the light of Thy countenance." (Ps. 89:14-15)
Jeremiah prophesied, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, "The Lord our righteousness."" (Jer. 23:5-6) Jeremiah was prophesying just before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and put an end to the Davidic kings. The Lord was promising that He would yet raise up a Branch (i.e., a descendant) from the root of King David. The Branch would rule, as David did, over a united kingdom, for "Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely." This Son of David is the salvation and security of the Jewish people.
Messiah will act wisely - more wisely than Solomon did - and will do justice and righteousness in the land of Israel. He will be a unique individual, not simply a normal man, for His people will know him as "The Lord our righteousness." Under His reign, they will not trust in their own righteousness. They will be made righteous in the Lord.
Micah prophesied, "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Mic. 5:2) Messiah will be a unique individual, not simply a normal man, for "His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." Though there will be a time when Messiah goes forth from Bethlehem, He has always been. He comes from eternity to Bethlehem, the home town of King David. He comes from the kingly tribe of Judah to rule as King over Israel.
Next: Messiah in the New Covenant Scriptures
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