The different perspectives on the identity of the Messiah
by Robert Randle
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The people were in expectation of the Coming Messiah (Cp. Luke 3: 15), but exactly was this individual a holy man or prophet [like Moses] exalted to the heavenly realm like Enoch and Elijah, a mighty warrior king [like David], the suffering Servant portrayed in Isaiah 53, a divine being as alluded to in Micah 5: 2-4; Isaiah 9: 6; Zechariah 14: 1, 4, 9, 16, and as a God-appointed King or Ruler (Cp. Psalms 2: 1-9; 110: 1-6). It is evident that opinions varied as to the role the Moshiach would take. The exultation of Mary in Luke 1: 46-55 and Zechariah’s prophesy in Luke 1: 67-75 seem to portray different expected outcomes of God’s involvement once again in the lives of His holy people Israel. It seems at the onset that Messiah was seen as the Son of God but not necessarily as the very Creator Himself; which was the teaching at a later point, and mostly by the Apostle Paul. Jesus of Nazareth may have been understood to be like one of the prophets of old but on a much greater scale with the authority and power that He seemed to have had invested in Himself internally instead of from an outside source. Of course, He was imbued with the Holy Spirit without measure as no other person has ever experienced (Cp. John 3: 34).
Some of the earlier writings in the Book of ACTS mentions Jesus [Yeshua] as the man whom God raised from the dead and sat on His right hand as opposed to the Savior raising Himself by His own power (Cp. Acts 2: 32; 3: 15; 4: 10; 10: 40; 13: 29-30, 37). The most recurring theme is Jesus [Yeshua] as the promised seed of King David who would sit on his throne forever. Although the Apostle Paul drives home the point quite convincingly that Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach] is the very manifestation of God, yet strangely, he doesn’t use any quotation from the TANAKH as supportive evidence or prophetic fulfillment, like Daniel 7: 13-14 or the Scriptures mentioned earlier at the beginning of this study. Even the unknown writer of HEBREWS sees the LORD Jesus [Yeshua] as a type of divine High Priest and as One who is greater than any “angel” and deserving of a much greater glory and NAME. A tentative chronological introduction of this subject matter is presented below:
The Gospel according to LUKE/ [ACTS following:]
Luke 3: 15 (59-75 AD)
Now, as the people were in expectation and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ [Messiah] or not.
And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent him to Jesus [Yeshua] saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
The Apostle Peter
Acts 2: 29-36 (AD 62)
"Men and brethren let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that (1) God has sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ ["Mashiyach"] to sit on his throne (Cp. 2 Samuel 7: 12-14a), "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ [‘Mashiyach’], that His [not David's] soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. "This Jesus [Yeshua] God has raised up [from the dead] of which we are witnesses. "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The LORD said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool (Cp. Psalms 110: 1)."Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus [Yeshua], whom you crucified, both LORD and Christ ["Mashiyach"]."
"For Moses truly said to the fathers: (2) 'The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him shall you hear. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words [through Him], which He speaks in my name [YHVH], I will require it of him [he shall be cut off from among the people] (Cp. Deuteronomy 18: 15, 18-19)." "Yes, and all (??) the prophets, from Samuel (Cp. 2 Samuel 7: 11-14a) and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold of these days (really??). "You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham (Cp. Genesis 12: 3b; 18: 18b; 22: 18; 26: 4; 28:14). "To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities."
Stephen the first Jewish Christian Martyr
7: 55-56. 59
But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit [Ruach ha Kodesh], gazed into heaven and saw the glory of the God, and Jesus [Yeshua] standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “LORD Jesus [Yeshua] receive my spirit.”
Philip the Evangelist
Acts 8: 26-28, 30, 32-35
Now an angel of the LORD spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The place in the Scripture which he read was this:(3) He was lead as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the Earth.” (Cp. Isaiah 53: 7-8).
The Apostle Paul [Rav Shaul]
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the LORD, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way [haDerekh], whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he [Saul] said, “Who are You, LORD?” Then the LORD said, “I am Jesus [Yeshua], whom you are persecuting.”
NOTE: There is some confusion regarding the reporting of this event. First, Paul says that the men with him heard a “voice” but did not see anyone and only he fell to the ground (9: 7-8). Then he says those who were with him saw the “heavenly light” but did not hear the “voice” (22: 6-9). Lastly, Paul says the “heavenly light” shone around him and his companions and all of them fell to the ground and he heard the “voice” of Jesus [Yeshua] from heaven (Cp. 26: 13-14). The Apostle Paul [Rav Shaul] said that the LORD spoke to him in the Hebrew language (Cp. 22: 1; 26: 14), and he also calls this experience a “vision” (Cp. 26: 13-14a, 19). Another thought is this: as opposed to the other Apostles who knew the LORD face to face, it seems that the Apostle Paul was acquainted with Jesus [Yeshua] and the Gospel not from reading the Scriptures, but mostly through having visions and revelations (Cp. 1 Corinthians 9: 1a; 12: 1-7a; 15: 8; Galatians 1: 11-12; Ephesians 3: 30).
"And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Cp. Psalms 89: 20a; I Samuel 13: 14b)." (1) From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior ["Messiah"]-Jesus [Yeshua].
“God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus [Yeshua]. As it is also written in the second Psalm: You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’ (Cp. Psalms 2: 2) “And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ (Cp. Isaiah 55: 3b) “Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’ (Cp. Psalms 16: 10b) “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.”
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”
The Apostle Paul [all following:]
1 Thessalonians 4: 16 (50 AD)
For the LORD Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God (Cp. Revelation 1: 9-11a). . .
2 Thessalonians 1: 7b-8
The LORD is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach].
2 Thessalonians 2: 1, 8
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach] and our gathering together to Him. . . And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the LORD will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
1 Corinthians 11: 23-26 (56 AD)
For I received [“by revelation??”; Cp. Galatians 1: 11-12] from the LORD that which I also delivered to you: that the LORD Jesus [Yeshua Adonai] on the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper (“seder”), saying, “This cup is the New Testament [“Brit Chadashah”] in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
1 Corinthians 15: 3-4, 23-25, 27-28
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ [Moshiach] died for our sins according to the Scriptures [TANAKH], and that He was buried, and that He rose [was raised] again the “third day” according to the Scriptures [TANAKH]. But each one in his own order; Christ [Moshiach] the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father [Avi], when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet (Cp. Psalms 110: 1). For “He has put all things under His feet (Cp. Psalms 8: 6b).” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that he has put all things under Him is accepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him that God may be all in all.
Ephesians 1: 3, 10 (60-61 AD)
Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshaich], who has blessed us with every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ [Moshiach], that in the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ [Moshiach], both which are in heaven and which are on earth- in Him [Moshiach].
Philippians 2: 5-10 (61 AD)
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus [Yeshua Moshiach]. Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus [Yeshua] every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth.
NOTE: Are those who are ‘under the earth’ disembodied souls in the unseen realm awaiting JUDGMENT DAY (Cp. 1 Peter 3: 18-19).
Colossians 1: 15-17, 19 (61 AD)
He [Christ/Yeshua] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth (Cp. John 1: 1-3; Genesis 1: 1; 2: 1), visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things exist. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.
For in Him [Yeshua Moshiach] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.
1 Timothy 3: 16 (64 AD)
And without controversy great is the “mystery of godliness:” God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Titus 2: 13 (64 AD)
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach].
The Apostle Peter
2 Peter 1: 16-18 (65-68 AD)
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our LORD Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach], but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain (Cp. Matthew 16: 28; 17: 1-9).
Hebrews 1: 2-6, 8-13 (pre 70 AD)
God has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds (Cp. John 1: 1-3; Genesis 1: 1; 2: 1); who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person (Cp. Colossians 1: 15-17, 19; 2: 9; Philippians 2: 5-7), and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He [God] ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? (Cp. Psalms 2: 7) And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son”? (Cp. 2 Samuel 7: 14a). But when He again brings the firstborn [first begotten] into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Cp. Psalms 97: 7b) But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom (Cp. Psalms 45: 6-7). You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands (Cp. John 1: 1-3; Genesis 1: 1; 2: 1). They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment (Cp. Isaiah 50: 9b; 51: 6b); like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand (Cp. Acts 7: 55-56, 60), until I make Your enemies Your footstool”? (Cp. Psalms 110: 1)
So also Christ [Moshiach] did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was he who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (Cp. Psalms 2: 7). As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek;” (Cp. 7: 17, 21-27; Ps 110: 4)
The Gospel according to MATTHEW
Matthew 16: 15-16 (50-75 AD)
He said to them, "But who do you say that I [the Son of Man] am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God."
The Gospel according to MARK
Mark 8: 27-29
Now Jesus [Yeshua] and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptizer; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ [Messiah].”
The Gospel according to JOHN
John 1: 45 (85 AD)
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law [Torah], and also the prophets, wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
The [Samaritan] woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (He who is called Christ [Anointed, Deliverer]. “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus [Yeshua] said to her, I Who speak to you am He.”
Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet (Cp. Deuteronomy 18: 10).” Others said, “This is the Christ [Messiah].” But some said, “Will the Christ [Messiah] come out of Galilee? “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem (Cp. Micah 5: 2), where David was?” So there was a division among them.
She said to Him, “Yes, LORD, I believe that You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God, Who is to come into the world.”
The people answered Him, “We have heard from the Law [Torah] that the Christ [Messiah] remains forever (Cp. Micah 5: 2); and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
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