THE TESTIMONY OF MOSES AND THE PROPHETS
REGARDING MESSIAH'S REDEMPTIVE CAREER
I. THE REDEMPTIVE CAREER OF KING MESSIAH
IN every nation of antiquity there have been persons claiming the power to make revelations regarding the present and the future. Certain heathen shrines were popularly known as oracles. In Greece, for example, was the Delphian Oracle. The priestess of this pagan shrine would give forth answers to people who sought supernatural guidance. Usually whatever oracles were issued were ambiguous and could be distorted to mean almost anything. Regardless of the outcome of some crisis, the oracle was worded in such a way that it would appear to be a revelation, notwithstanding circumstances. Not so was the situation in Israel.
Hundreds of times we are told that God spoke to Moses and Aaron and others of the prophets, who delivered to the people the messages received from the Almighty. There is a term that was frequently used, and that was accurately called an oracle of Jehovah. By use of this expression, special emphasis was laid upon the fact that it was a disclosure made by the Almighty.
In Genesis 3:14,15 appears a reference to two outstanding events connected with the Redeemer. He is spoken of as "the seed of the woman." Without doubt this passage is a veiled reference to the miraculous conception and virgin birth of the world Redeemer. But the same Scripture tells of a conflict that will come to pass between Him and another who is called "the seed of the serpent." In this titanic struggle the seed of the woman will be victorious. Here one sees a dim, yet distinct, reflection of the two comings of the world Redeemer. His first adventas the seed of the womanis His coming into the world by miraculous conception and virgin birth; the second advent, which is also here indicated, culminates in the great conflict in which He will be triumphant over the seed of the serpent. As to how much time intervenes between these two appearances of Messiah, the passage does not reveal, but one can be quite certain that two comings are indicated here. He is on the solid rock of revealed truth when he thus interprets the passage.
The two comings of the one Messiah are also indicated in Genesis 49:10:
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh come;
And unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be."
He who is called Shiloh, admitted by many of the sages of Israel to be another name for the Messiah of Israel, comes to the people while the ruling power remains in Judah. The nations will render obedience to Him. Since the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah and the dispersion of the Jewish people among all nations occurred at the conclusion of the war with Rome in A.D. 70, the Messiah had to come before that tragic event. Otherwise the first part of the prophecy could not have been fulfilled. Since God watches over His Word to perform everything that He has ever asserted (Jer. 1:11,12), Israel's Messiah of necessity had to come to earth before that time. But the second part of the promise has not yet been fulfilled, for to no Jewish prince has loving obedience been rendered by the nations of the earth. Since, however, every prophecy of God will have a fulfillment, one may be certain that God in His own good time will fulfill the second part of this prophecy as specifically and as accurately as He has accomplished the first part. This verse also does not tell how much time intervenes between the coming of Messiah to Israel and His receiving the obedience of all nations. The second parthis receiving the filial obedience of the peoplesawaits fulfillment.
In the two passages, Genesis 3:14,15 and Genesis 49:10, one sees, therefore, two outstanding events of the life and labors of Messiahthe focal points around which His earthly activities revolvepresented, with the interval of time separating them passed over in silence. But in Psalm 110:1-3 this period of silence is set forth in a clear and distinct manner.
110 Jehovah saith unto my Lord,
Sit thou at my right hand,
Until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
2 Jehovah will send forth the rod of thy strength out of Zion:
Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
3 Thy people offer themselves willingly
In the day of thy power, in holy array:
Out of the womb of the morning
Thou hast the dew of thy youth.
In these verses King David discloses what God has made known to him regarding the one whom he recognizes as his Lord. From what is known of David and the contents of this oracle, obviously it is a prophecy to be fulfilled sometime in the future. The first part of the prediction is fulfilled when David's Lord comes to earth and is beset by enemies. Jehovah in heaven, therefore, speaks to Him, saying, "Sit thou at my right hand, Until I make thine enemies thy footstool." By this appeal Jehovah invites David's Lord to leave earth, to ascend to heaven, to be seated at His right hand, and to remain there in this position of honor and glory until Jehovah has made the enemies of David's Lord His footstool.
But who are these enemies? This information is given in verse 2. In the Hebrew poetic parallelism of this verse, the word Zion in line one corresponds to enemies in line two. The people of Zion, Jerusalem, of line onein the midst of whom David's Lord is to reign in the futureare His enemies. But when will David's Lord rule in Zion in the midst of His enemies? This information is found in verse 3: "Thy people offer themselves willingly in the day of thy power. ..." The people of David's Lord are the Hebrew race. Notwithstanding their having become hostile to Him at His first coming, they will offer themselves willingly in the day of His powerwhen He shall arise from His throne in heaven and return to earth as a warrior to conquer all opposition and to establish His reign of righteousness.
The manifestation of His power is especially seen in the following passage:
39 See now that I, even I, am he,
And there is no god with me:
I kill, and I make alive;
I wound, and I heal;
And there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40 For I lift up my hand to heaven,
And say, As I live for ever,
41 If I whet my glittering sword,
And my hand take hold on judgment;
I will render vengeance to mine adversaries,
And will recompense them that hate me.
42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood,
And my sword shall devour flesh;
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the head of the leaders of the enemy.
43 Rejoice, 0 ye nations, with his people:
For he will avenge the blood of his servants,
And will render vengeance to his adversaries,
And will make expiation for his land, for his people (Deut. 32:39-43).
In the following statement Jesus himself doubtless referred to this prophecy: "Jesus saith unto him [Caiaphas], Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 26:64).II. MESSIAH'S LIFE AND MINISTRY SHAPED BY THE SCRIPTURAL MOLD OF MOSES AND THE PROPHETS
Thus in Psalm 110, and in several other passages, is outlined the redemptive career of Messiah. It begins with His first coming to earth, at which time the Jewish rulers become His enemies and reject Him. He is executed because God makes His soul an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10). Though He is slain, He rises from the dead. Then God gives Him an invitation to leave earth, to ascend to heaven, and to sit in glory at His right hand and to remain there until the enemies of Messiah, the people of Zion, see the truth, repudiate their national sin of rejecting Him, and plead for Him to return. Then He will do so. Thus this matchless Psalm, which is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other portion of the Old Testament, presents the entire redemptive work of King Messiah. Since, as already seen, He comes while the ruling power of the tribes is headed up in Judah, and since this power departed in A.D. 70, He evidently came before that event and was rejected, executed, buried, and raised from the dead. At the invitation of God, He ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high and has been there ever since (Matt. 21:41-46). When the people of Israel see their mistake and plead for Him to return, He will do so and will establish His kingdom upon earth.
Hosea the Prophet, in an impersonation¹ of the Messiah, foretells that He will come to earth and be sinned against by Ephraim and Judah. He, therefore, will be as a lion and as a young lion to both houses of Israel. After making this prediction, Hosea declares: "I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and there shall be none to deliver. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me earnestly" (Hos. 5:14b,15). According to this prophecy, after returning to heaven, upon the invitation of God recorded in Psalm 110, the Lord will remain there until His enemies, also mentioned in Psalm 110, acknowledge their offense and seek His face. The leaders of Israel will issue the following invitation to their brethren, saying:
6 Come, and let us return unto Jehovah; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live before him. 3 And let us know, let us follow on to know Jehovah: his going forth is sure as the morning; and he will come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that watereth the earth (Hos. 6:1-3).
This call is an admission by the leaders that both they and the people have departed from the Lord and that He has afflicted them. It is also an expression of conviction that He will heal and deliver them when they turn to Him. In this prophecy, as in Psalm 110 and many other passages, appear the two comings of the one Messiah and the interval separating them, during which the rejected Messiah, seated at the right hand of power and glory, awaits the turning of the people of Israel to Him for deliverance after their confession and the repudiation of their national sin.
Psalm 80 is a prayer which the penitential remnant of Israel will utter when they learn the facts regarding Messiah, whom David calls Lord. Addressing God, they will pray: "Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand. Upon the Son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself" (Ps. 80:17). Israel will then know that there is a manthe God-man, David's Son and Lordat God's right hand in heaven and will pray to God that His hand, blessing and power, may be upon this man, and that He may come and deliver them.
Psalm 110:1,2 and Psalm 80:17 furnish the background which makes intelligible the prophecy of Daniel 7:13,14: "13 I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." In this vision One like unto a son of man is ushered into the presence of the Lord Jehovah (God the Father) and is invested with world-wide, everlasting sovereignty. This One who is thus to be enthroned as king of the world is described in this prophecy as being like a man. The reason for this statement is that He is actually a man, the God-man, who, having been executed and raised from the dead, accepted the invitation of God to ascend to heaven and to remain seated at God's right hand until those who rejected Him at His first coming (the Jewish nation) see the facts in the case, repudiate their rejection of Him, and plead for Him to return. When they do so, He will return and establish His reign of righteousness over the world.
The prophets were clear in delineating, in advance, the course of events in connection with Messiah's life and labors. Those who would like to study the entire redemptive work of King Messiah as set forth by Moses and the Prophets will find in the following Scripture references the unfolding of the divine plan which King Messiah is working out through the centuries. In this chapter the references only are given, but the full quotations appear in Chapter XVI.
- Pre-existence of Messiah
Activity in eternity past (Mic. 5:2; Isa. 9:6,7)
- Birth of Messiah
Miraculousborn of a woman (Isa. 7:14)
- Twofold Nature of Messiah
The God-man (Isa. 7:14; Isa. 9:6,7; Ezek. 34:11; Zech. 13:7)
- Genealogy of Messiah
- Descendant of God (Ps. 2:7; Prov. 30:4)
- Descendant of man (Deut. 18:15 ; Isa. 9:6)
- Descendant of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3)
- Descendant of Jacob (Num. 24:17)
- Descendant of Tribe of Judah (Mic. 5:2)
- Descendant of David (Jer. 23:5,6)
- Some Distinguishing Names and Titles of Messiah
- Son of God (Ps. 2:7)
- Lord (Ps. 110:1)
- ImmanuelGod with us (Isa. 7:14; Isa. 9:6)
- First and last (Isa. 44:6)
- Servant of Jehovah (Isa. 52:13)
- Offices of Messiah
- Prophet (Deut. 18:15)
- Priest (Ps. 110:4)
- Judge (Isa. 33:22)
- King (Zech. 9:9; Ps. 2:6)
- Credentials of Messiah
- Coming of Messiah announced (Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1)
- Miraculous works of Messiah foretold (Isa. 35:5-8; Isa. 26:19)
- The First Coming of Messiah
- His coming in humility (Isa. 53:1-10)
- His coming to make atonement for sin (Isa. 53:10; Lev. 17:11)
- His coming as a child (Isa. 9:6)
- Time of His first coming
- Before the destruction of the Second Temple (Dan. 9:24-26)
- During Judah's ascendancy (Gen. 49:10)
- Result of His first coming (Isa. 11:12; Deut. 28:64-66; Hos. 3:4,5)
- Betrayal, Death, and Burial of Jesus the Messiah
Ps. 41:9; Isa. 50:6; Isa. 53:7; Ps. 22:16; Ps. 22:7,8; Ps. 22:1; Ps. 34:20; Isa. 53:5; Ps. 40:6-8; Isa. 53:9
- Resurrection of Messiah Ps. 16:8-11
- Ascension of Messiah and His session at the right hand of the throne of God
Ps. 110:1-3; Mic. 5:3
- The Second Coming of Messiah
- Israel's plea for Messiah's return (Ps. 118:22-29; Hos. 5:14-6:3; Zech. 12:9,10; Isa. 25:6-9; Isa. 53:1-9)
- Time of the Second Coming
- To follow the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7-10)
- To precede Israel's second and final restoration (Isa. 11:11,12; Amos 9:14,15)
- Events associated with the Second Coming
- Cleansing of Israel (Zech. 13:1)
- Resurrection of the righteous dead (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2)
- Deliverance of Israel (Zech. 14:1-4)
- Judgment of the nations (Joel 3:12-14)
- Regathering of Israel (Isa. 11:11,12)
- Israel, a universal blessing (Zech. 8:13; Isa. 27:6)
- Return of Messiah
- Personal (Isa. 62:11)
- Visible (Zech. 14:4; Dan. 7:13,14)
- With power and glory (Isa. 59:19; Zech. 14:9-11)
- Reigning over a warless world (Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-8)
- Announced by Elijah (Mal. 3:1-6; Mal. 4:5, 6)
Since both temporal and eternal issues are involved in the question of the true Messiah, it behooves every one to be able to recognize and identify Him by the divine mold in which His life is cast.
¹The prophets, generally speaking, used two different methods in which they cast their predictions. The one usually employed was that of presenting themselves to their audiences as ambassadors from the court of heaven. As a rule they introduced their oracles by saying, "Thus saith the Lord" or "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts." The second method was that of impersonation. In a dramatic manner the prophet played the role of the one whom he was impersonatingeither God the Father or God the Messiahand enacted his message before his audiences. Thus in enacting the part of the rejected Messiah, the prophet declared, "14 I, even I, will tear and go away..., 15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence and seek my face. ..."