The word “Messiah” is from the Hebrew word “Mashiach” which means “anointed one”. “Ha-Mashiach” means “The Anointed One”. In the Greek, this Hebrew word is literally translated as “Khristos” from which we got the English word “Christ”. So “Christ” exactly means “Messiah” or “Anointed One”.
God had promised humans in the Old Testament Books to send a Savior who would defeat Satan and save us from the slavery of sin. This promise was not only given to the Jews, but it was given even since the time of our first parents, as soon as Adam fell in sin. As God was declaring His judgment upon sin, He addressed the serpent (Satan) saying:
“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
In this passage, we see how God made it known to Adam and Eve that the Savior would come as the seed of the woman and not as the seed of man (i.e. virgin birth), and that He would bruise Satan on the head (i.e. He would defeat him), and that Satan would bruise Him on the heel (i.e. He would suffer and die to finish this work of Salvation).
Later, this truth was revealed to the children of Israel under the title “Messiah”, as the Messiah would come under the Law in order to save us from the curse of the Law that is against our sinfulness. It was revealed to the Jews through the shadows of the Law that the Messiah would be God incarnate, that He would suffer as the propitiation and atonement for our sins, and that He would be the true and eternal King who would reign on all people on the throne of David, their king. And this is why He was revealed to the Jews under the holy title “Messiah” as we will see in this article.
So let’s study why this title “Messiah” was given to the Savior. What does this word “Messiah” mean in the context of this promise concerning the Savior? Who would this Messiah be? What should have the Jews expected to find in the Messiah?
When God used the title “Messiah” for the promised Savior, He was not using a title that He had not explained to the Jews through the shadows of the Old Covenant. He had fully explained the meaning of this title, and therefore He wanted the Jews to expect a Savior who would meet all what this title means according to what He had revealed to them about Him.
“Messiah” in the Old Testament
So let’s see what the Jew would understand when hearing the word “messiah”. Let’s see who was called “messiah” or “anointed one” in the Old Covenant:
1. The prophet
In the Old Covenant, prophets were anointed with oil to become prophets:
“and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint prophet in thy stead.” (1 Kings 19:16)
So the prophets were messiahs (anointed ones) in the Old Covenant.
2. The priest
In the same way, the priests also were anointed with oil to become priests. When God gave the Law to Moses, He told him to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests; He told Moses:
“And Aaron and his sons thou shalt anoint, and shalt hallow them, that they may serve me as priests.” (Exodus 30:30)
So the priests also were messiahs (anointed ones) in the Old Covenant.
3. The king
We have seen in part 1., in 1 Kings 19:16, that the prophet was asked to anoint Jehu as king:
“and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint prophet in thy stead.” (1 Kings 19:16)
This anointing of a king first happened in the time of the prophet Samuel. The people wanted a king over them, as they refused God as King over them. God sent Samuel to anoint Saul as king over them. We later read:
“Then Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel; now therefore, listen to the words of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 15:1)
But later Saul refused to listen to the Word of God, and God refused him as king. And thus Samuel was sent by the Lord to anoint David as king:
“And Jehovah said to Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thy horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1)
And thus the prophet Samuel went to the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite. We will later see that the Messiah was born from the children of David, the son of Jesse, and that He was from Bethlehem. Now, when the prophet Samuel reached Bethlehem and made a sacrifice to the Lord, look what happened:
“And he hallowed Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely Jehovah’s anointed is before him.” (1 Samuel 16:5-6)
As soon as the prophet Samuel saw Eliab, he thought that he was the chosen messiah (anointed) of God. But the prophet was just looking on the outward of Eliab. As Eliab had some special physical characteristics that would help him be the king, so the prophet humanly concluded that he must be the anointed king. And this is the kind of things to which humans look to choose their leaders. But look what God told the prophet:
“But Jehovah said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him; for it is not as man seeth; for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh upon the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
So Eliab was not the one whom God had chosen to be the king.
“Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither has Jehovah chosen this one. Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, Neither has Jehovah chosen this one. And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, Jehovah has not chosen these. And Samuel said to Jesse, Are these all the young men? And he said, There is yet the youngest remaining, and behold, he is feeding the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and fetch him; for we will not sit at table till he come hither. And he sent and brought him in. And he was ruddy, and besides of a lovely countenance and beautiful appearance. And Jehovah said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he. And Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren. And the Spirit of Jehovah came upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:8-13)
So David was anointed as king. The kings were messiahs (anointed ones) in the Old Covenant.
~In brief, when God promised the Jews to give them a Savior who was to be called the Messiah, they should have understood that this Savior would be the anointed Prophet whom God had promised Moses to send, as we will see, and that He would be the Priest who would present to God the Sacrifice for the sins of the people, just as it was promised to David, as we will see, and that He would be the King on the throne of David but at the same time the true King (God) whom the Jews refused when they asked for a king as we have seen above. We will see all the prophecies after a few lines.
So it was expected from the Messiah to be the Prophet, the Priest, and the King.
Let’s see how Jesus is this Messiah, i.e. the Prophet, the Priest, and the King. In the following lines, we will see how the Old Testament prophets clearly told us that the Messiah would be all what this word “messiah” means, i.e. Prophet and Priest and King, and how all those prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus.
Jesus is the Messiah,
the Prophet and the Priest and the King
As soon as you say Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), then you admit that Jesus is the Chosen One, the One anointed to be the promised Prophet and Priest and King. Let’s see how Jesus is this promised Prophet and Priest and King. Let’s see why Jesus was called the Messiah:
I. The Prophet
The Old Covenant was made through the prophet Moses by the giving of the Law on the Mount Sinai. And all the prophets who came after Moses were not prophets exactly like him, as they all were prophets of the Old Covenant that was given through Moses. In other terms, those prophets didn’t bring another Covenant; they all were under the same Covenant that was made through Moses. Moses was the prophet of the Old Covenant. But God promised the children of Israel to send another Prophet just like Moses, i.e. just as the Law was given through Moses and thus the Old Covenant was made, a New Covenant would be made by another Prophet. Let’s read the promise given to the children of Israel about the coming Prophet, and then we read how the prophets explained to us this promise and they said that this promise means that another Covenant would be made in the place of the Old Covenant made through Moses.
Here is the promise that Moses gave to the children of Israel:
“Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of Jehovah thy God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And Jehovah said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. A prophet will I raise up unto them from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that the man who hearkeneth not unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
According to this prophecy (see the bold and underlined parts):
1. The promised Prophet would be from among the children of Israel (“from the midst of thee”). So the Messiah should be from the children of Israel. And this indeed was explained by the prophets of the Old Covenant: That the Messiah would be the son of Jacob (cf. Numbers 24:17, Genesis 35:10-12), the son of Judah (cf. Genesis 49:10, Micah 5:2), the son of Jesse (cf. Isaiah 11:1,10), the son of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Psalm 132:11). Well, Jacob is called Israel, and Judah, Jesse and David are all children of Israel. So the promised Prophet would be a child of Israel.
2. The promised Prophet would be like Moses. As we have seen above, all the prophets who came after Moses were not perfectly this promised Prophet, but only symbolized Him, as they all were under the Mosaic Old Covenant. So this coming Prophet should bring a Covenant just as Moses brought the Old Covenant. The Law was given through Moses, and this Old Covenant was explained by all Old Covenant prophets, but the promised Prophet would bring another Covenant by bringing the Grace and the truth and the fulfillment of the Law. And this is how the prophets explained this promise of a Prophet like Moses: That He would be the Lord of Moses coming as a Messenger like Moses to make a New Covenant: “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 the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1) According to this prophecy, this promised Prophet is the Lord, and the Temple is HIS Temple; He will send another messenger before Him (remember John the Baptist) and then He will come as the Messenger of the Covenant, and He will make a New Covenant with His people, just as another prophet of the Old Covenant also explained: “”Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”” (Jeremiah 31:31-34) The New Covenant which this promised Prophet would bring would be in a way that the Law will be written on the hearts of those who are under it, and it will bring the eternal forgiveness of sins; so it will not be like the Covenant that was made through Moses, and thus it will be a NEW Covenant, and all the prophets of the New Covenant will be following the promised Prophet (the Messiah) instead of Moses (the Prophet of the Old Covenant). So this is how the promised Prophet is like Moses, unlike all the other prophets of the Old Covenant who followed the Covenant of Moses.
3. God approved of what the children of Israel said about the way the Old Covenant was made: That the Law brings on them death and a curse upon their sins, so they trembled of fear before that Old Covenant, and didn’t want to have such a Covenant again made once again in the same way. Just as Moses went up to the mount for them, they wanted a human like Moses to be able to be the Mediator. God approved of this, and thus revealed through Moses in this prophecy that the promised Prophet would be the human Mediator of a New Covenant not like the one that He made with them on Mount Sinai. We have read in Malachi 3:1 how this promised Prophet would be God coming as a human Messenger to be the Mediator of a New Covenant. So God promised Moses to send a human Prophet like him, who would bring to them the Word of God without making them hear God speaking on the mount and without seeing the fearful fire. The promised Prophet would come to them in a humble way, as a human, just like Moses.
4. This promised Prophet will speak in God’s Name, and He will not speak words according to His personal human will, but whatever He hears God saying that He will speak. This is what “will put my words in his mouth” means.
These are the main points in this prophecy: The promised Messiah (the Prophet who is like Moses) would be a child of Israel, He would be God incarnate who comes as a human and does not speak with earthquakes and fires from the mount, and this human makes a New Covenant which is different from the Covenant made through Moses, and thus He is the Mediator of a New Covenant, as Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant. No other prophet was the mediator of a new covenant; they all followed the Covenant made through Moses, and “all the prophets and the law have prophesied unto John”, as Jesus said (Matthew 11:13); this is John the Baptist who was the last prophet of the Old Covenant who was greater than all the prophets as he introduced the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ, God incarnate Himself!
~ Now let’s see how all these prophecies about the coming Prophet were fulfilled in Jesus:
The Apostle Peter said about Jesus: “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. ‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” (Acts 3:22-23)
So the Apostles of Christ told us that the prophecy about the coming Prophet who would be like Moses was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Let’s see how:
1. A child of Israel: When you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38, you see that He is indeed a child of Jacob (i.e. Israel), that He is the son of Judah, the son of Jesse, and the son of David, exactly as the prophecies said.
2. He made a New Covenant instead of the Covenant of Moses, thus He is a Prophet like Moses: Jesus Christ made a New Covenant instead of the Old Covenant made through Moses. Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law, but He came to make a New Covenant that would replace the Old Covenant by fulfilling the Law. Jesus Himself said: “Think not that I am come to make void the law or the prophets; I am not come to make void, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17) And He explained that the fulfillment of the Law will be by His death for our sins, and that this means a New Covenant in the place of the Old Covenant made through Moses: “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Luke 22:20) And the Apostle John explains this fact by the Spirit: “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) Jesus is the Lord of Moses (cf. Hebrews 3:5-6) exactly as we read above in the prophecy (cf. Malachi 3:1), and He came to make a New Covenant in the place of the Old Covenant made through Moses.
3. A human Mediator, just like Moses: As we have seen above, the people trembled before the direct revelation of God on the mount, so they needed a human mediator between them and God who could be the mediator of the Covenant. And the Son of God, the Word, became flesh and became one of us to reveal to us God whom no one has ever seen and lived: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we have contemplated his glory, a glory as of an only-begotten with a father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14); “No one has seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].” (John 1:18) So the Son of God Himself (the Word), the full expression of who God is, came as a human to show us God and to be the human Mediator of this New Covenant.
4. He spoke in the Name of God, and not in His own human name: Jesus said to the Jews: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not; if another come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43) “Believest thou not that I [am] in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words which I speak to you I do not speak from myself; but the Father who abides in me, he does the works.” (John 14:10); “He that loves me not does not keep my words; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but [that] of the Father who has sent me.” (John 14:24); “for the words which thou hast given me I have given them, and they have received [them], and have known truly that I came out from thee, and have believed that thou sentest me.” (John 17:8) “For I have not spoken from myself, but the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what I should say and what I should speak; and I know that his commandment is life eternal. What therefore I speak, as the Father has said to me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50) Indeed, He was Himself the incarnated Word of God (cf. John 1:1,14), so He was the incarnation of what God says.
As you can see, Jesus is this Prophet about whom Moses prophesied. Indeed, Jesus also said: “for if ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me.” (John 5:46)
II. The King and the Priest
Now, this part is the most important part, as you will see. In fact, the Jews could understand that the promised Prophet about whom we read above would also be the King on the throne of David, as David also was a king and a prophet at the same time. Look what happened after Jesus miraculously fed more than five thousand people with five barley loaves and two small fish: “The men therefore, having seen the sign which Jesus had done, said, This is truly the prophet which is coming into the world. Jesus therefore knowing that they were going to come and seize him, that they might make [him] king, departed again to the mountain himself alone.” (John 6:14-15) You notice how they directly related the fact of Jesus being the promised Prophet with the fact of Him being the King, as that is who the Messiah would be according to them and according to the prophecies. But the fatal error that the Jews made (and that the majority of them are doing till now) is that they thought this Prophet would be an earthly king, as you can see in John 6:14-15: they wanted to make Jesus king by force!… But you also see how Jesus avoided that, as He is the Heavenly King, as we have seen and as we will see in more details. He is the Lord of Moses, the real King, God (See Hebrews 3:5-6, and similar passages). As the Jews didn’t get this truth, so they wanted an earthly king only. And what made them fall in this fatal error? The answer is that they refused to accept the fact that the Covenant was changed. They insisted on the self-righteousness that they concluded from the Old Covenant. Read Romans 10:1-10: In this passage you see that the Jews insisted on their self-righteousness, i.e. they wanted to prove that they can keep the Law and thus be justified before God by it. Indeed, this was the Old Covenant: “‘Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” (Deuteronomy 27:26) They insisted that they could confirm all the words of the Law by doing them perfectly, so they said ‘Amen’ and they still say they will keep it, but they fail. As Jesus said: “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law?” (John 7:19) Each one of us knows that he cannot keep the Law of God perfectly, as we all sin and are not perfect. So the Jews wanted to prove that they could keep the Law, and thus they defended their self-righteousness and refused God’s Righteousness. And this was their fatal error, and this was what made them refuse the New Covenant about which the prophets promised in the Old Testament, as we have seen above.
Indeed, as the Jews couldn’t get the fact that the Old Covenant was abolished and that a New Covenant was established, so they couldn’t get how the same person, Jesus, could be both King and Priest. If the Old Covenant was not abolished, then it was impossible that the same person be both the King and the Priest. Why? Read with me the reason:
“And Jehovah said to Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. And thy brethren also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring near with thee, that they may unite with thee, and minister unto thee; but thou and thy sons with thee [shall serve] before the tent of the testimony. And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of the whole tent: only they shall not come near to the vessels of the sanctuary and to the altar, that they may not die, and you as well as they. And they shall unite with thee, and keep the charge of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; and no stranger shall come near to you. And ye shall keep the charge of the sanctuary, and the charge of the altar; that there come no wrath any more upon the children of Israel. And I, behold, I have taken your brethren, the Levites, from among the children of Israel; to you are they given as a gift for Jehovah to perform the service of the tent of meeting. But thou and thy sons with thee shall attend to your priesthood for all that concerneth the altar, and for that which is inside the veil; and ye shall perform the service: I give you your priesthood as a service of gift, and the stranger that cometh near shall be put to death.” (Numbers 18:1-7)
So only the Levites were separated for the sacred service, and from among the Levites only the children of Aaron could be priests. This was the priesthood according to the order of Aaron, i.e. according to the Old Covenant. While the king who would sit on the throne of David should be a son of David! And David was not a Levite, but he was from the tribe of Judah! And indeed the promise was clear that the promised Messiah would be the son of Judah (cf. Genesis 49:10, Micah 5:2), the son of Jesse (cf. Isaiah 11:1,10), the son of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Psalm 132:11), as we have seen above. And this was a big dilemma for the Jews who couldn’t understand how a son of Judah could be a priest without abolishing the Old Covenant which they considered as a synonym of the Law. So the Jews thought that abolishing the Old Covenant means abolishing the Law. But, as we have seen above, Jesus made it clear that He didn’t come to abolish the Law, but to establish a New Covenant according to which the Law would be applied to those who are not under Law but under Grace (read again Matthew 5:17-20; read also Romans 3:31). The Word of God (the Law) didn’t change; the Covenant changed, because the real King and Priest was here! The Messiah was here to make the promised New Covenant and fulfill the Law.
The Jews couldn’t accept this, as they were defending their self-righteousness, and therefore they refused God’s Righteousness revealed in the Messiah. Their error is greater as David already told them how the King who would be from the tribe of Judah could at the same time be the Priest. Read that prophecy with me:
“Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.” (Psalm 110:4)
So the Jews couldn’t accept the fact that the Messiah would not be a priest after the order of Aaron, but He would be the Priest after another order, the order of Melchizedek. And this change of order for the priesthood clearly means that the Covenant also was changed, but the Jews refused this fact. Read with me:
“For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.
For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.” (Hebrews 7:12-14)
It is not strange that these things were explained in details in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as it was the Hebrews who couldn’t accept this change of Covenant. As you can see in the above passage, the writer explains how Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judah and thus He had no right to be a high priest after the order of Aaron. And yet, the writer explains, Jesus would not be a priest after the order of Aaron but after the order of Melchizedek. The writer further explains how this change in priesthood order clearly means a change of law also (a change in the principle of applying the Law). And what is this change that happened to the Law? It is the change of the Covenant according to which the Law would be applied. Just a few verses after the above passage we read:
“so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” (Hebrews 7:22)
And the Jews could not understand this point. And many people like them do not understand this truth today. Jesus would be the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, as He is the Mediator of a New Covenant, as we have seen above when we studied the prophecies about the Messiah being the Prophet like Moses.
Now, how does this change of the priesthood order explain how Jesus could be the Priest and the King at the same time although He is not from the tribe of Levi? To understand how, we should understand who Melchizedek was and what does his order mean. Once again, the Epistle to the Hebrews explains this:
“For this Melchisedec, King of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from smiting the kings, and blessed him; to whom Abraham gave also the tenth portion of all; first being interpreted King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, which is King of peace; without father, without mother, without genealogy; having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but assimilated to the Son of God, abides a priest continually.” (Hebrews 7:1-3)
Indeed, this is what Moses said about Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18-20. According to this account, we have the following truths about Melchizedek: He is a king and a priest at the same time: the king of Salem and the priest of the most high God. This is something that neither the priests who are after the order of Aaron could have, nor could a king from the tribe of Judah: a priest could not be a king, and a king could not be a priest. And yet, this Melchizedek had a different kind of order: He was both a king and a priest, as he was neither from the tribe of Judah nor from the tribe of Levi, but we don’t know who is his father and mother and we don’t know his genealogy. Now, this is Melchizedek, and David said that the Messiah would be the Priest after his order:
“Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.” (Psalm 110:4)
There was no way that the Messiah could be both the Priest and the King if He had a human genealogy by origin. In other terms, if Jesus were not God Himself, without father, without mother, and without genealogy (as Hebrews 7:3 says), then He could not be the Messiah. You realize of course that all this means that Jesus being the Messiah directly means that He is God incarnate!! As we have seen in the prophecy about the coming Prophet who is like Moses, the Messiah is the Lord of the Temple, so He is God (read again Malachi 3:1). And the same prophecy (and all the related prophecies) told us that this Prophet would bring a New Covenant, which is evident as the order of priesthood changed. Besides this, the prophecy about the order of Melchizedek in Psalm 110 itself says:
“The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”” (Psalm 110:1)
As you can see, the king David calls the coming Messiah “my Lord”. The Messiah is the Lord of David, i.e. God. This King, who is also the Priest, would sit at the right hand of God until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. And another prophecy clearly calls Him “God”:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.” (Psalm 45:6-7)
In this prophecy, you see how the Messiah is both God and the Anointed of God! As He is God by Nature, so Jesus is called “God” in this prophecy. And as He was anointed by God and became a human under the Law and a Servant of God (see passages like Isaiah 52:13), so the prophecy says that His God anointed Him. And another prophecy adds about the Messiah:
“I said, My God, take me not away in the midst of my days! … Thy years are from generation to generation. Of old hast thou founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands: They shall perish, but thou continuest; and all of them shall grow old as a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the Same, and thy years shall have no end.” (Psalm 102:24-27)
This prophecy once again calls the Messiah “God”, and it says that it is He who created the heavens and the earth; He is the Creator. And the Epistle to the Hebrews came to confirm these prophecies about Jesus (read Hebrews 1:8-13).
~And indeed, Jesus is this Priest after the order of Melchizedek: He is both the King and the Priest. Let’s see this in the New Testament accounts:
1. The High Priest: Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins by giving up Himself as the Sacrifice, thus being the Priest. We read: “who has not day by day need, as the high priests, first to offer up sacrifices for his own sins, then [for] those of the people; for this he did once for all [in] having offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:27) Again: “where Jesus is entered as forerunner for us, become for ever a high priest according to the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 6:20) And Jesus Himself said: “For also the Son of man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) So this Priest, Jesus Christ, offered up HIMSELF as the eternal Sacrifice.
2. The King: As we have previously seen, the Messiah had to be the King coming from Heaven, the Lord of the Temple, originally without father and without mother and without a genealogy, and at the same time a human King from the tribe of Judah, a son of David, the human Mediator of the New Covenant. And indeed, this is what the New Testament account says about Him: “his Son (come of David’s seed according to flesh, marked out Son of God in power, according to [the] Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of [the] dead) Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:3-4) Jesus is the King of Heaven and He is called God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) You can also read how the New Testament Books call Jesus God in many other passages like Hebrews 1:8-13, Revelation 1:8, etc. Jesus is God incarnate, and thus He is both with and without genealogy: He has a genealogy as a human, and He doesn’t have a genealogy as God. And indeed, Jesus gave the testimony before Pilate that He is this promised Heavenly King: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my servants had fought that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said to him, Thou art then a king? Jesus answered, Thou sayest [it], that I am a king. I have been born for this, and for this I have come into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth hears my voice.” (John 18:36-37) And the Apostle Nathanael also proclaimed it: “Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”” (John 1:49) Jesus is the Heavenly King, the King in Heaven, the King of Israel! Who other than God is the King in Heaven? The obvious answer is: no one. Only God is the King of Heaven, the King of Israel: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.” (Isaiah 44:6) And this indeed is the meaning of the title “Son of God”. You see how the title “Son of God” is usually repeated in the New Testament each time Jesus is called King of Israel or Messiah. An example of this is the well-known confession of Peter: “And Simon Peter answering said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Another example is the proclamation of Nathanael that we read above and that was before the proclamation of Peter: “Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”” (John 1:49) Another example is in the question of the high priest: “But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”” (Matthew 26:63) Etc. In the limit of this article, we will not go into the details of this title “Son of God”.
So Jesus is God the King incarnate, the Mediator of the New Covenant, the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek who offered up Himself as the Sacrifice for our sins.
A little question remains: Who anointed Jesus as Messiah and with what was He anointed?
Answer: Jesus said: “do ye say of him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am Son of God?” (John 10:36) And the Apostle Peter said: “Jesus who [was] of Nazareth: how God anointed him with [the] Holy Spirit and with power; who went through [all quarters] doing good, and healing all that were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) So it is God who anointed Jesus, and not any human prophet as it was the case with the Old Testament priests and kings. And God didn’t anoint Jesus with oil which was a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but by the Holy Spirit, the essence and truth that the oil used to symbolize. And we have a revelation of this anointing of Jesus in His baptism, as we read: “And Jesus, having been baptised, went up straightway from the water, and lo, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him: and behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight.” (Matthew 3:16-17) And in fact John the Baptist witnessed that this descending of the Holy Spirit was a revelation that Jesus is the Lamb of God who was before him and who baptizes with the Holy Spirit: “On the morrow he sees Jesus coming to him, and says, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He it is of whom I said, A man comes after me who takes a place before me, because he was before me; and I knew him not; but that he might be manifested to Israel, therefore have I come baptising with water. And John bore witness, saying, I beheld the Spirit descending as a dove from heaven, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not; but he who sent me to baptise with water, he said to me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and abiding on him, he it is who baptises with [the] Holy Spirit. And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34) The baptism of John gave witness of Jesus being the Son of God, the Messiah, who baptizes with the Holy Spirit, and the descending of the Spirit upon Him as a dove is the sign of Him being anointed with the Holy Spirit and not with simple oil. And thus Jesus fulfilled all righteousness (cf. Matthew 3:14-15), as He was symbolically anointed by a prophet, John the Baptist, although He was already anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. In this baptism, Jesus declared His union with our human nature, and yet without sin, as He declared that He is the Messiah, i.e. the incarnate God who came to be the Mediator between us humans and God. And indeed, the water of baptism is a sign of the Holy Spirit: “In the last, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed on him were about to receive; for [the] Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
The ignorance of what it means to be the Messiah, or the refusal to believe and know what it means, has given two results:
1. Some have refused the Messiah when He came, as they couldn’t understand how He was the Messiah and/or why they needed the Messiah. An example of these people are first the Jews; as we have seen, the Jews couldn’t understand how the Messiah could be both the King and the Priest, as they wanted to defend their self-righteousness. The majority of them have refused the Messiah. Other religions also refuse the Messiah as they want to defend their self-righteousness and they don’t understand how they need the Savior Messiah.
2. Some others declare that they believe Jesus is the Messiah, but as they refuse the Word of God, the Bible, and thus are ignorant of the meaning of “Messiah”, so they don’t really believe He is the Messiah. They assume He’s just a great teacher or a great prophet or any other kind of creature, and they assume that this is what “Messiah” should mean…
And yet we have seen that being the Messiah means to be the eternal God, the King of Heaven Himself incarnate, who came to save us from our sins by becoming the Mediator of a New Covenant not like the Covenant made through Moses, Himself being the Sacrifice offered for our sins. Jesus is the Messiah: the Prophet of the New Covenant, the Heavenly King, and the Redeemer Priest.
Disciple of Jesus Christ