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The Promised Messiah

A Suffering MesiahWe have already looked at some of the early promises of a redeemer. To Adam and Eve, He would be the promised seed of the woman (Gen. 3:15). Next, God promised Abraham (Gen. 12.3), Isaac (Gen. 22:18), and Jacob (Gen. 28:14) that through their seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. He would come through the tribe of Judah (Gen.49:10) and of the house of David (2 Sam. 7:12-13).

God spoke through David, in the Psalms, and through the writing prophets giving us over two hundred promises relating to the coming Anointed One, the Messiah, who was called Christ. Many of these prophecies have been fulfilled with the first advent of Christ, but many remain as promises to be fulfilled when He returns.

Now let us look at the words of Isaiah and Micah. “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:1 2, NASB 1995). “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14, NASB 1995). “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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” (Micah 5:2, NASB 1995).

Throughout our study, we have been following the One, who shall come out of Bethlehem, who will be called Immanuel, which means God with us. He has also been called “The Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament. Micah tells us that He has been going forth from the days of eternity.

He met Abraham by the oaks to announce the forthcoming birth of Isaac (Gen. 18:1-15) and later, on Mount Moriah, He restrained the hand of Abraham as he lifted it to slay Isaac as a sacrifice unto God (Gen. 22:11-18). He wrestled with Jacob and gave him the name Israel (Gen. 32:24-30). From a burning bush, He called Moses to lead His people out of bondage (Ex. 3:2), and then as a pillar of cloud (Ex. 14:19), he led his people into the Promised Land. In the land of promise, He protected, comforted, and chastised His people as a shepherd watching over His flock (Judges 2:1-4, 5:23, 6:11-26, 13:3-21); (2 Kings 19:35) and (1 Chr. 21:12-30).

Isaiah gives us a summary statement of the role of “The Angel of the Lord”. “For He said, ‘Surely, they are My people, sons who will not deal falsely so He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them; and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old” (Isa. 63:8 9, NASB 1995).

But as the Messiah, He will redeem all mankind with an everlasting salvation. On the cross, He will suffer unto death for the sins of all. Isaiah foresaw this great suffering which was to come, and his words are recorded for us in the fifty third chapter. These words are some of the most beloved in the Bible. Details are so vivid that one would assume that Isaiah was reporting from the foot of the cross. Yet, Isaiah saw these events over seven hundred years before they came to pass.

“He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Isa. 53:3-6, NASB 1995).

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away.” “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities” (Isa. 53:7-8a, 10-11; NASB 1995).

David also, writing in the first person, as he often did, gives a vivid picture of the forthcoming crucifixion of Christ, and the agony of His mind and body. Many scholars believe that Jesus repeated the entire twenty second Psalm as He hung on the cross. Have you heard these words before?

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.” “But I am a worm, and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, ‘commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him’” (Ps. 22:1, 6-8, NASB 1995).

“They open wide their mouth at me, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me. My Strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots” (Ps. 22:13-18, NASB 1995).

We are amazed at the amount of details given to us, but we are also astonished when we realize that the Romans did not actually introduce crucifixion to the world until almost a thousand years after this prophecy was given.

The grave could not hold this man who was called the Christ, He arose and became the King of Righteousness.

Listen to the closing words of David. “They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it” (Ps. 22:31, NASB 1995).

An Everlasting ThroneThe prophet, Isaiah, not only foresaw the coming of a suffering Messiah, but he also foresaw Him as the heir to the throne of David where He will reign over both Jews and Gentiles. ” For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6 7).

All four major prophets, and several of the minor prophets clearly saw God setting up an everlasting kingdom of justice and righteousness on earth. In fact, this is the major theme of Old Testament prophecy. Although the Jews are in the spotlight in most of our references, it is equally clear that Gentiles will also share in the blessings of God’s everlasting kingdom of peace, justice, and righteousness. Christ came the first time to bring salvation and forgiveness, but when He comes the second time, He will come to judge and to rule. The promise of peace and goodwill toward men is yet to be fulfilled.

“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the LORD ” (Isa. 2:4 5).

There shall be eternal peace as in the days of the Garden of Eden. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious” (Isa. 11:6 10)