(081) – THE MESSIAH

 

Who is the Messiah of Israel? He is the awaited king of kings. The Hebrew word Messiah (Mashia) translates “ANOINTED”. In the Greek language, Christ means anointed. The Mashia of the Hebrew language is the Christ, in the Greek language. The kings of Israel were all anointed, for they were pictures of the Messiah, the king of kings.

What was the function of the Messiah as the king of Israel? He should restore the kingdom of Israel and rule over the nations with an iron rod: “Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against Jehovah and against his Anointed (Messiah); let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us! He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of Jehovah: He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee. Ask of Me and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with the rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware’” (Ps. 2:1-9). “‘Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says Jehovah of the armies. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like a fuller’s soap” (Mal. 3:1,2).

John the Baptist announced this dictator Messiah: “And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every three therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 3:10). John the Baptist did not expect a Christ (Messiah) meek and humble, but a great dominating warrior to subdue the peoples of the world under the feet of Israel.

King Saul was a picture of the Messiah, therefore was anointed by the prophet, in obedience to Jehovah (1 Sam. 10:1). As he was anointed, he was supposed to be angry and violent, but he was gentle and good-natured. The Ammonites defied Israel, but Saul was gentle. So the spirit of Jehovah took over him, and he became very angry (1 Sam. 11:1-6). Saul feared Jehovah, and it happened that when there was a certain war against the Philistines, he asked the prophet Samuel to offer sacrifices to Jehovah. Samuel delayed and the Philistines were closing in. So, after seven days, Saul, being an anointed, offered a sacrifice to Jehovah (1 Sam. 13:5-10). Samuel arrived soon after this, and reproved what Saul had done, saying, “But now your kingdom shall not endure. Jehovah has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and Jehovah has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what Jehovah commanded you” (1 Sam. 13:14). After rejecting Saul, Jehovah tells Samuel to anoint Saul again as king, under one condition: Jehovah had a four hundred year old hatred against the Amalekites (Ex. 17:16). He intended to use Saul to avenge himself, even though the present people did not have anything to do with his ancestors’ actions, from ten generations past. If Saul killed the old and young men, women and children, he would be confirmed as king. Saul forgave Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and was totally rejected for this. Jehovah took revenge from Saul by taking away the good spirit from him, and replacing it with an evil spirit (1 Sam. 15:1-3; 16:14,15). With Saul, Jehovah also killed three of his sons (1 Sam. 31:1,2).

David was anointed king in place of Saul because he had a heart as the heart of Jehovah (1 Sam. 13:14). How exactly was this likeness? Jehovah was the god of war, and David was a warrior and fought the wars of Jehovah (Ex. 15:3; 1 Sam. 18:17; 25:28). The women of Israel sang, saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Sam. 18:7). Jehovah was the one who taught David to kill and to fight. David said, He trains my hands for battle” (2 Sam. 22:35). David goes on to say, “I pursued my enemies and destroyed them, and I did not turn back until they were consumed. And I have devoured them and shattered them, so that they did not rise; and they fell under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength for battle; Thou hast subdued under me those who rose up against me. Thou hast also made my enemies turn their backs to me, and I destroyed those who hated me. They looked but there was none to save; even to Jehovah, but He did not answer them. Then I pulverized them as the dust of the earth, I crushed and stamped them as the mire of the streets” (2 Sam. 22:38-43). David was the perfect picture of the awaited Messiah. The people longed for the birth of Messiah, the king of kings.

In captivity, this feeling grew. The promise was this: “And foreigners will build your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor I have had compassion on you” (Is. 60:10). “And strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers” (Is. 61:5).

The promise of this glorious outcome was for 70 years after the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, which began in the year 587 when the temple was burned down. The captive people prayed and called on Jehovah, without ceasing, asking for the Messiah to come (Jer. 25:11,12; 29:10-14; Dan. 9:2). After the seventy years was over, Jehovah’s Messiah showed up to turn into reality this great promise. “It is I who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’ And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.” And I will raise up her ruins again [...] IT IS I WHO SAYS TO CYRUS, ‘HE IS MY SHEPHERD! AND HE WILL PERFORM ALL MY DESIRE.’ And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’ THUS SAYS JEHOVAH TO CYRUS HIS ANOINTED (MESSIAH)’” (Is. 44:26-28; 45:1). Ezra, the scribe, confirms the fact in his book, chapter one, verses one through eleven.

Who was Cyrus? King of the Persian, an idolater follower of Zoroaster, founder of the Mazda religion, which taught that there were two principles, one of good and another of evil, while the bible preaches one only principle. The Mazda religion was the religion of the magicians of Persia and of the East. Well, this Cyrus was the Messiah anointed to fulfill the promise given through Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Haggai, and others of those same times. We read in Jer. 31:8-14, about this wonderful restoration of the kingdom of Israel, that all the people would return from their captivities, for Jehovah had redeemed Jacob. So they would come and exult, and they would run towards the good things of Jehovah, to the wheat and to the wine, to the sheep and the calves, and their soul would be like a watered garden. The virgin, then, would rejoice with dancing, and the young man, and also the old, would rejoice, and their sadness would be turned into joy. A new covenant would be established (Jer. 31:31-34; 33:9-11). The glory of the second temple would be greater than the glory of the first one (Hag. 2:5-9). Well, none of this happened. The Temple which Zerubbabel rebuilt (Ezra 2:2), Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated, in the 175 B.C., for he set a statue of Jupiter in the holy of holies, plundered the temple treasuries, forbade circumcision, and had a pig sacrificed on the altar. The people went from hand to hand.

Alexander Magnus conquered the world, and with his death, his empire was divided in four. After this, Judea was added to Egypt, in the year 320 B.C., then went to the hands of the Seleucids, Syrian kings, and to the 15 governors of Egypt named Ptolemy. Antiochus Epiphanes was the eighth governor among the Seleucids, 175-164 B.C. Later the Jews passed on to the hands of the Romans, in the year 63 B.C., and from then on, until the birth of Jesus Christ, according to the prophecy of Dan. 9:24-27. The famous seventy weeks of years. At the end of the 490 years, Jesus Christ was born, the true Messiah, which was destined to hold the royal scepter, restore the kingdom of Israel, and to submit the peoples with a rod of iron. Against all prophecies, Jesus declares, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). Instead of ruling the nations as the Messiah of Israel, according to the promise of Jehovah, he declares absolute grace to all. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11).

God, in Christ, reconciled the entire world to himself, not counting their sins against them (2 Cor. 5:19). Jesus reveals that the Father is love, has a kingdom of love that is not of this world, and saves men bringing them to this kingdom of love (Col. 1:12,13). Finally, the Messiah announced in Ps. 2.5, is the fruit of the wrath of Jehovah, while the Messiah revealed in the New Testament is the fruit of the love of the Father (John 3:16).

By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira

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