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The Messiah of Israel

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The Messiah: An Overview

A Summary Paper
Kenneth J. Morgan

Note: As a summary paper, this article simply states what I believe the Tanakh teaches about the Messiah; it is not a detailed exegetical defense of these beliefs. The technical case for them is developed in the various papers under "Messiah in the Tanakh."

The Hebrew Scriptures prophesied two "comings" of the Messiah.

  1. The First Comming (Advent)
    • Texts that predict/describe the first coming of the Messiah include the following: Isaiah 7:14; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12; Daniel 9:24-26; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9.
    • The purpose of the first coming of the Messiah: to make atonement for sin and redeem his people by his sacrificial death and resurrection (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
  2. The Second Comming (Advent)
    • Texts that predict/describe the second coming of the Messiah include the following: Isaiah 11:1-16; 59:20-21; Ezekiel 34:23-31; Daniel 7:13-14; Zechariah 12:10; 14:1-5.
    • The purpose of the second coming of the Messiah:
      • To regather all of Israel back to the land: Isaiah 11:10-12; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Micah 2:12-13; Zech. 8:1-8; 10:8-12.
      • To accomplish Israel's spiritual redemption based on his atoning work at his first coming: Zechariah 12:10-13:1.
      • To reestablish the kingdom of Israel and rule the world from Jerusalem on the throne of David: Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:3-8; 30:8-9; 33:14-16; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:11-12.
      • To establish universal knowledge of God in both Israel and the nations: Isaiah 2:2-3; 11:9; Jeremiah 3:16-18; 31:31-34; Zephaniah 2:11; Zechariah 8:20-23; 14:16.
      • To bring in worldwide peace: Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-4.

Closely related to what one believes about the Messiah is what he believes about Israel. We believe in the literal fulfillment of all the Tanakh promises and prophecies made to Israel, the physical descendants of Jacob. As is evident from the Scriptures enumerated above, the central feature of theses prophecies is the belief in the spiritual restoration of Israel and their physical restoration to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an everlasting possession. These blessings will be brought about by the Messiah of Israel in connection with his return and will result in the inauguration of the Messianic Age. Here are a few of the most beautiful and touching pictures of the future of Israel as seen in the prophets.

Isaiah 49:15-16:

15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Jeremiah 31:31-36:

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

35 This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar--the LORD Almighty is his name: 36 "Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, "will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me."

Ezekiel 36:24-28:

24 " 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 37:21-28:

21 and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, [a] and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

24 " 'My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.' "

Amos 9:11-15:

11 "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, 12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, "declares the LORD, who will do these things.

13 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. 14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the LORD your God.


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