The dreaded 'J' word ? (part 4)

The Messiah - who are ya?

The kingly Messiah is also found all over the Hebrew Scriptures. In Daniel, chapter 7 we read, "As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened."

This is no humble, suffering Messiah. This is the 'Ancient of Days', the promised Messiah-king, who will come to judge and to rule.

i) His birth

So, where does this all leave us? Nowhere .... yet. But the story becomes intriguing, perhaps even familiar, when we examine further Hebrew scriptures concerning this Messiah.

Firstly, in the book of the prophet, Micah, Chapter 5, we read about the birthplace of this Messiah. "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

Then we read about the manner of his birth, in Isaiah, Chapter 7, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." This verse indicates that the birth will be both natural and unnatural; natural inasmuch as he will be born in the usual way, but unnatural inasmuch as there would be no natural father.

ii) His life

His life is adequately described in the 53rd Chapter of Isaiah (the bit the Rabbis don't like), as mentioned earlier. This is the description of the suffering servant, a man despised, rejected, familiar with sorrows, with no beauty or majesty about him.

His earthly mission is hinted at in Isaiah 35, "Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped." and Psalm 78, "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old". He was therefore to be a teacher and a healer.

iii) His death

Countless scriptures speak of his demise, notably in the Psalms, Psalm 22 in particular. We read of betrayal by friends and false accusations, mocking, death by 'piercing', surrounded by enemies, with lots being cast for his clothing.

Then the further verses, yet again in Isaiah 53, which give more information as to the reason for his death. "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

This brings us into the area of 'Theology' and will be discussed later.