Types of Messiah in the Old Testament
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., August 1993
Edited by David Sielaff, June 2006
We are told in the book of Acts that the disciples of Jesus were first called “Christians” at Antioch. 1 The word “Christian” comes from the Greek word christos, which in English is translated Christ. To be a Christian means to be a follower of, adhere to, and to believe the teachings of Jesus Christ and that as the Messiah He was resurrected from the dead. The Bible speaks of several types of Christs in a legitimate sense.
The Greek stem of the word “Christ” has to do with anointing. The word christos comes from this meaning of “anointing.” The practice of anointing was to put olive oil (or any other type of oil) upon a person, pray for God’s blessing, and that person then was anointed. As a personal noun Christos means “the anointed one.”
The Hebrew word that denotes the concept of “anointing” is translated into the English term “Messiah.” Messiah and Christ have exactly the same meaning. The two words “Christ” and “Messiah” both mean “to be anointed,” or as the proper noun they mean “the anointed one.” 2
In the Bible then, anyone anointed for any reason can be legitimately called a “Christ,” an anointed one. If a person was sick, it was the custom to anoint the individual and petition God for healing. The person so anointed could be called a Christ. But Jesus is the anointed or the anointed one.
If a person selected for a mission was anointed with olive oil as a symbol of God’s blessing and commission on a tour or journey, that anointed one could be called Christ as well. This applies to any office a person assumed when the blessing of God was asked on that office or person, whether a priest, a teacher, or in the New Testament times a deacon, a bishop, an overseer, or even a king — anyone anointed to an office — that person was then called the anointed one, the anointed priest, the anointed teacher, the anointed king. When we say Jesus Christ, we actually mean “Jesus the Anointed.”
The Jews in the 1st century C.E. looked for a particular anointed one. In fact they were looking for anointed ones in the plural to come on the scene because of Old Testament prophecies that spoke of various individuals to come in the future to be a teacher or a king of Israel, and fulfill prophecies given even from the time of Adam, through the time of Moses, David, and on through the prophets. There were a number of prophecies about individuals — plural — to come in the future who were to be anointed of God and perform a mission in the Old Testament. We need to identify them. We also need to know where Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, fits into fulfilling these prophecies that the early Jews were reading about in their Old Testament.
In the 1st century before the advent of Christ, the anticipation of Messiahs was intense. The Jews at the time were not sure if there was to be one major Christ who would be the great king from David, or another Christ from Aaron the Levite, or whether a Christ was to come from Joseph the chief tribe Ephraim of northern Israel. The prophecies said these individuals would come in the future and they seemed to speak about different individuals.
I will show that the Jews, just the prior to the coming of Christ, thought that there may be as many as three different Christs or anointed ones expected in the 1st century C.E.
Some prophecies of the Old Testament refer to an individual to come in the future, an anointed one, which did not refer to our Lord in any way. For example,
“Remember you the law of Moses my servant which I commanded unto him in Horeb, that is in Mount Sinai, for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
That was a prophecy about an Elijah to come in the future from Malachi. When Jesus was here on earth he identified that Elijah with John the Baptist, making John the Baptist a type of anointed one. But he was not the anointed one of major prophecies about an individual to come in the future who would do very profound things that Jesus Christ Himself fulfilled precisely.
John the Baptist was a Christ, a christos, a messiah, in the sense that he was anointed (selected) by God to perform the role of Elijah. Jesus said that John the Baptist was indeed that anointed one prophesied in Malachi 4. He also acknowledged the truth of the disciples’ question that there would be a future Elijah to come just before the final day of the Lord that the prophecy referred to in Malachi 4:
“And his disciples asked him, saying, ‘Why then say the scribes that Elias [Elijah] must first come?’ And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed [willed]. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.’ Then the disciples understood [and not before] that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist.”
According to Jesus that future Elijah will be anointed, selected by God for a special purpose. We know from Luke 1:5 that John the Baptist was a priest (and all priests were anointed) because his father Zacharias and Elizabeth his mother were from the line of Aaron. 3
Since John the Baptist was a priest (and it certainly looks like Elijah was a priest, though he is not identified as such in the Old Testament) it would be reasonable to believe that the Elijah to come that our Lord prophesied and spoke about will also be a priest. He will be anointed to do certain things. In the Book of Revelation there are two witnesses; one of them seems to do what Moses was doing in a typical fashion, and the other seems to be doing what Elijah was doing in a typical fashion. It could very well be that these two witnesses could fulfill roles prophesied both in the Old and the New Testament.
This prophecy in Malachi about the Elijah to come was fulfilled in John the Baptist, and will be fulfilled again in a future individual. Such individuals are “christs” in one way of looking at it, but they are not the Christ. None of them was the one that was to rule Israel, the one that had the Davidic promises upon him, who would come from the royal line of David, or who would rule over not only Israel but all nations on earth. That anointed person was Jesus himself. We must distinguish who we are talking about when we talk of Messiahs or Christs.
We know that in the 1st century before Jesus the Jews anticipated several Christs to come along. In the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered beginning in 1947), the groups that lived in the Qumran area near the Dead Sea expected one Messiah who was to be an Aaronic priest and perform certain things. They also expected a different Messiah, from David, to be king and ruler over Israel. They distinguished the two individuals.
When you understand the prime Messiahs of the Old Testament that were to come, the anointed ones, we will find that all of them, the three principle Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament were all fulfilled in one individual, and that person was Jesus Christ. Before our Lord came on the earth, it could well have been understood by people that these Messiahs would be three separate individuals to come. However, when we read the New Testament clearly, and understand the doctrines of the Bible, we find that Christ Jesus himself came to fulfill the role of these three major Messiahs.
Three major Messiahs? Yes, there were lots of Messiahs. Every single priest in the Old Testament period was called a Messiah, a Christ, in one way, simply because each one was anointed. Every prophet was called a Messiah because each was anointed as well. Every king (starting with King Saul) was anointed and was a Messiah. Remember that Samuel anointed King Saul and later David. David became a type of Christ, an anointed one.
So there were many Christs mentioned in the Old Testament that were legitimate. But when we come to the prophesied Christ, there were three principle prophecies of an individual to come who would perform major and powerful roles in history. These three major Messianic prophecies about this individual to come in the future — one from Moses, one from Joseph, and one from David — all coalesce and are fulfilled by one person, Jesus Christ.
Let us look at these three Messianic prophecies that the Jews were looking for in the 1st century C.E. As I said earlier, in the Dead Sea scrolls, they were looking for a priestly individual to come who would be like a Moses of old. They had this understanding because of the Mosaic prophecies for the future in the book of Deuteronomy. One of the things prophesied was that a prophet would come along who would be like Moses. Moses was an Israelite from the tribe of Levi. This was the first indication of an anointed individual to come in the future, and there are several factors that Moses gave to identify this powerful individual in the future.
First he was to be like a Moses. The Jews considered Moses as having greater power than anyone else. The only individual similar to him would be Elijah, as far as miracles are concerned. Hardly any miracles of later time could exceed in power and glory those associated with the Exodus.
Moses was a great lawgiver as well. He went to the top of Mount Sinai and received the Law from God himself. Israel was made a nation by a covenant with God at that time. It all happened under Moses.
For 40 years Moses was with the children of Israel in the wilderness and then it came time for him to die and be succeeded by Joshua. Shortly before his death he wrote the book of Deuteronomy where he said,
“The Lord your God will raise up unto you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brethren, like unto me ...”
This verse gave the Jews, and all people who would read this prophecy of later time, an indication that they should look for someone like a Moses to appear sometime in the future, who will be “of your brethren.” That indicates he would be an Israelite, but he would also be like Moses (“... like unto me.”)
Moses was a Levite and the Levites were the priestly tribe to Israel. The High Priest Aaron (Moses’ brother) came from Levi and his sons right on down the line provided the High Priests for Israel from that time forward. This prophecy is Messianic.
There was a further teaching on this, “Unto him you shall hearken.” He is telling these Israelites, or future generations, that they had better listen to this prophet. He will be like me and,
“... you shall hearken according to all that you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb [in the mountain range of Sinai], in the day of the assembly.”
He was recalling that august moment, on the Day of Pentecost at the time of the Exodus when the 10 Commandments were given by God Himself. 4 All Israel heard the voice of God associated with great miracles. That was the day of assembly. They did not want to forget that. Israel remembered that day when they said,
“Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.”
That was a majestic event that the Israelites were able to see. There will come a time in the future, Moses said, when they will again hear the word of God personally. That man will be a Law giver like a Moses. If he wants to change Moses’ law he can do it. Whatever he tells you, you should hearken to do. The people, when they heard Moses say this, responded that they would follow what Moses said,
“And the Lord said unto me, ‘They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren [indicating an Israelite] like unto you [like Moses, a Levite], 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 whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.’”
This was YHVH Himself speaking. This was powerful testimony to the dynamic power this individual will possess in the future, power that Moses did not have. He will speak with the word of God, as Moses did.
In Exodus 4:16 you find that Moses was given the authority of Elohim. He was given the rank of God Himself as far as the Israelites were concerned. Moses had a prophet. His prophet was Aaron, the High Priest, his brother. This prophecy caused the Israelites in the 1st century to expect a person like Moses, an anointed priestly individual. When Christ Jesus appeared on the scene and began to do his miracles around the area of Palestine, the people looked upon him and their judgments were that he was fulfilling the role prophesied by Moses.
Look at this exchange between John the Baptist and the Pharisees when they saw the great miracles being done by Jesus,
“And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elias?’ And he says, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you that prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ Then said they unto him, ‘Who are you? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What say you of yourself?’
He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.’ And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, ‘Why baptize you then, if you be not that [the] Christ [the Messiah], nor Elias, neither that prophet?’”
Asked if he was the Elijah to come, or if he was the prophet, John said no, he was not the prophet. They asked, why are you baptizing if you are not that Christ, nor the Elijah, nor the prophet? They did not know if there were three different individuals being discussed here, or that Elijah was amongst them, or what the situation was. Christ did identify John the Baptist with the Elijah to come, though John the Baptist at first did not accept that he was. Later on he believed when he was told by Christ that he was fulfilling that role. When Jesus was doing the great miracles, we come to John 6:14–15. Here was the judgment of the Jews regarding Jesus,
“Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, ‘This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.’ When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force [now notice this], to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
By a miracle He got away from them. He would not allow them to make Him king.
The kingly prophecy was another one I will refer to in a few moments. That was the second type of a Christ that was expected, one who would come from David to be a king over all Israel, and then from Israel to conquer the world, and be king over all the earth. That Messiah was expected also. Sometimes they confused these two. They called the prophet one thing and they call the Christ the other.
Sometimes they combined the two. That is what we find here. When they saw that “… miracle that Jesus did, said, ‘This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.’” (John 6:14). This refers to the Mosaic prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18, which would give Jesus a priestly role, because Moses was from Levi who gave rise to the priesthood. The kingly part was that he would be king and that would be a prophecy relative to King David.
It was entirely possible for priests to be kings. Most of us have heard about the Maccabees, the Jewish people who came to rule after Antiochus Epiphanies in the middle of the 2nd century B.C.E. These Jewish rulers were kings and priests at the same time. So priests and kings could be compatible in fulfilling some of these prophecies. At least the Jews thought so. Here they were asking if Jesus were the prophet. They thought that He was. Let us give the summation of this as far as John 7:37–42.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto 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 spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost [Spirit] was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
He had not yet died and been resurrected from the dead. Notice verse 40, “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Of a truth this is the Prophet.’” They meant the prophet of Deuteronomy 18, the prophet who was to be like Moses. Now John 7:41, “Others said, ‘This is the Christ [the Messiah]. But some said, Shall [the] Christ [the Messiah] come out of Galilee?’” 5 This referred to the Davidic descendant who would become king over all Israel.
The Christ was to come from Bethlehem, from Judea. They had no idea at that time that Jesus was in fact born at Bethlehem. They knew that he grew up in Galilee, and they could not find any prophecies that the Christ, the kingly Messiah, would come out of Galilee. A priest could be born in Galilee, in fact Nazareth in Galilee was a priestly city. He could have fulfilled the priestly role of the prophet mentioned by Moses. They were querying amongst themselves. And then verse 42,
“Has not the scripture said, ‘That Christ [Messiah] comes of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem,’ where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.”
They did not realize, at that time, just what role Jesus was fulfilling. Was He the prophet of Moses, the prophet Elijah, or the Christ of David? The first type of Messiah was from Moses who would have (they thought) priestly connections from Levi.
The second type of Messiah came from Judah, and particularly from King David. Psalm 89 summarizes prophetical teaching concerning the Messiah (or the Christ) from David who was to come. Psalm 89,
“I will sing the mercies of the Lord for ever [olam, for the age]: with my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations. …
I [God] have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, your seed will I establish for ever [for the age], and build up your throne to all generations. Selah.”
Psalm 89:1, 3–4
This is a prophecy about the Davidic genealogy that the kingdom of David would continue for many generations. In fact, it says to all generations in the future. Go to verse 19. Here you have a reference to a vision made to your holy one.
“[This was to David], ‘I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found [God says], David my servant with my holy oil have I anointed him.’”
God says, I have made him a Christ. This is where the word “Messiah” comes from, here in the Old Testament, 6 but Christ is in the New Testament. God says, I have anointed him “with my holy oil have I anointed him,” i.e., made him a Christ, an anointed. This first applied to David.
“With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm shall also strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted [his high position]. I will set his hand also in the sea [the Mediterranean], his right hand in the rivers [the Tigris and Euphrates rivers up north]. He shall cry unto me, ‘You are my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him to be my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.’”
This is the Davidic descendant that the Psalmist is talking about. 7 Jeremiah went on to cite what God said,
“My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne to the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments: then will I visit their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever [olam in Hebrew, “for the age,” a long time], and his throne as the sun before me.”
As long as that sun endures in the heavens the covenant to David will be maintained,
“It [his throne] shall be established forever [olam, for the age] as the moon as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.”
This is the covenant promise that God made to David. The Jews were looking for this Messiah to come from David, along with the priestly one to come from Moses. These seemed to be separate individuals because how can you have someone coming from Levi and at the same time coming from David, genealogically speaking?
This Messiah from Judah was based upon Jacob’s prophecy. Go back to Jacob’s prophecy in Egypt concerning the 12 tribes and what was to happen to them,
“Judah, you are he whom your brethren shall praise; your hand shall be in the neck of your enemies; you father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp [a very young lion]: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stoops down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion [a wise lion]: who shall rouse him up? The scepter [the ruling rod] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
This is presented as though the Shiloh is a person. The gathering of the people shall be to this person called “peace” or Shiloh. This was a Messianic term that was understood in the 15th century B.C.E. It goes on to say:
“Binding his foal unto his vine, his ass’s colt unto the choice vine [this is Judah], he washes his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”
This means that Judah would be a possessor of great wealth and also have the scepter, he would have the ruling rod with him until, it says, “Shiloh come.” However, when you get the proper translation of this, not the way the King James Version has it. It really says, if you get the accurate Hebrew:
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until He shall go to Shiloh.”
Genesis 49:10, Hebrew
“To Shiloh” refers to a geographical area, not to a person.
There has always a controversy amongst the Jews in interpreting this. Did it mean a person like Shiloh was an individual that the gathering of the people would come to? Or was it a geographical location where the people would gather? The interpretation of it, if you read it very carefully in the Hebrew, McClintock and Strong in their Cyclopedia say that really it ought to be rendered, “til He [or this personage who is a lawgiver] shall go to Shiloh” and establish Shiloh, an area, a geographical region, as the center of the government where all of the people would gather. 8
When Moses died, he handed over rule to Joshua. Joshua came from the tribe of Ephraim which was the central tribe of Joseph. Joshua took the Israelites over the river Jordan and after the Passover was over, Israel began to conquer Jericho, then the other areas of the land. When most of the Canaanites had been put down, Joshua took the tabernacle, which was the central spiritual center of government as well as ritual, and established it at a place in Ephraim. He called the place Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). This is no doubt the meaning of this prophecy because Joshua, a son of Ephraim, interpreted Jacob’s prophecy of Genesis 49:10 to mean that all of the people would gather annually at a place called Shiloh. That place in Ephraim he named Shiloh in fulfillment of this prophecy.
In fact, if you take this word Shiloh as a geographical indication rather than as a personal name of the Messiah, you have some amazing teaching. The translation “until he shall go to Shiloh” is the proper one, because it means that Joshua after he settled the land did not make the capital of Israel to be Jerusalem. The Canaanites were still there. It was called the city of Jebus. Not until later in the time of David was Jebus taken over. Jerusalem then became the center of the nation. Until that time, as long as the tabernacle was north in Ephraim, it was situated at Shiloh where the gathering of the people would be.
This prophecy in Genesis says that Judah will maintain the scepter, the ruling rod, and be the lawgiver until the scepter comes again to Shiloh. When it goes to Shiloh, sometime in the future, then Judah will no longer be the lawgiver. The Law will come from another source.
To sum up thus far, the first type of Messiah the Jews expected was a Messiah to be like Moses from Levi. The second type of Christ was to be a descendant of King David, and he would be of Judah. He would become king and his descendants would rule until the gathering of the people once more to Shiloh according to Genesis 49.
A third type of Messiah expected was identified in the prophecy of Jacob when he foretold what would happen to the 12 tribes. This is also found in Genesis chapter 49. This third type of a Christ was expected to come and rule as a shepherd, as the stone of Israel, as the rock of God. This prophecy concerns not the Mosaic/Levitical side or the Davidic, but with the tribe of Joseph. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and Jacob made Ephraim to be chief of the two tribes, though he was the younger. Genesis chapter 48 explains how Ephraim became the top tribe.
The Jews had all of these prophecies in front of them and they did not know if these three individuals — these three Messiahs — were one in the same or separate. It seemed like they would be separate because how can you be from Levi in one prophecy, from Judah in another, and then be from Joseph in another?
Look at this third prophecy about one to come from Joseph who was to be a very powerful individual in the future:
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over a wall [he is a fruitful and luxurious tree by plenty of water]. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; from thence [from Joseph] is the shepherd, the stone of Israel.”
Now who is the stone, the Rock?
“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was [the] Christ [the Messiah].”
1 Corinthians 10:4
Christ Jesus was referred to by the apostle Paul as the Rock that went with Israel, the Rock of Israel (1 Corinthians 10:1–4). This man from Joseph is to be a shepherd, to shepherd the flock. Who was the flock? Israel. Who is to be the shepherd? Jacob’s blessing goes on about this powerful individual,
“Even by the God of your father, and who shall help you; and by the Almighty, who shall bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessing of the deep [the oceans] that lie under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, …”
Jacob is saying that the blessings given here will surpass those that God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph was to get the best of the blessings from them and those blessings were to come down to Joseph in particular. Judah was to get some wonderful blessings, so was Levi, but Joseph was to get superior blessings.
“… they shall be upon the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.”
Remember that Joseph was sold into Egypt by his other brothers. As a result of his faithfulness to his father, and to God, this prophecy given by Jacob concerned Joseph and his descendants, and that the great shepherd and the stone of Israel would come forth from Joseph. This is a Messianic prophecy also.
Now I ask you, how can Jesus the Christ, our Savior, fulfill the prophecy to be like Moses, and come from Levi? How can He fulfill the prophecy of David to be a king and to rule Israel and the whole of the world, and come from Judah? And how can He fulfill this prophecy to be the great shepherd, and be the stone, or the Rock of Israel, and come from Ephraim? If you were living in the 1st century C.E. you might also question whether or not you should look for three types of Messiah’s to come.
When Moses sent the twelve spies to spy out the land of Israel, only two returned with a positive report, saying for Israel to immediately go into the land and take it over. The others did not want to do it. Those two men were Joshua and Caleb. Because of their willingness to go in to the land, God blessed Caleb and Joshua abundantly. They were the only two people of that generation, including Moses, to cross over the river Jordan to conquer the land starting with Jericho and then setting up the capital city at Shiloh in the land of Ephraim. Caleb was from Judah. Joshua was from Joseph.
This prophecy of Genesis chapter 49 says that Joseph shall give forth this shepherd, the stone of Israel, at the place called Shiloh where the gathering of the people will be. The one who took over from Moses to conquer the land of Canaan for the Israelites, to be their chief leader, their chief shepherd, was Joshua. He established a capital city for all Israel at Shiloh, where he pitched the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle stayed for about 200 years. It was moved from place to place until David selected Jerusalem to be the site for the Holy Place.
This prophecy given by Jacob referring to Joseph’s descendants gave considerable power to Joshua to lead the people as Moses had done. (Joshua was not the Mosaic prophet, of course, in Deuteronomy 18. That is clear.) But he is a type of someone who would come in the future to conquer the land for Israel and set up the temple once again. Joshua’s name in Greek, and through into English, is Jesus, which means “Savior.”
In the 1st century at the city of Nazareth, we find the angel coming to first Mary and then later Joseph. He told Mary that she was going to give birth to a powerful personage. The angel delivered a message about the name that this child was to be called. The name was “Jesus.” Joseph did not name him; Mary did not name him. God the Father named Him, through the Holy Spirit.
A second Joshua was to come along, this time of Joseph; he was to be the shepherd, and the stone of Israel. Read what will happen at the establishment of the government of God. Ezekiel chapters 40–48 speak about the land of Israel after it has peace once more in this world, and the millennium is established. Ezekiel was taken to a place in Canaan and from there he began to see, looking south from a mountain, the Holy City was in the distance. That Holy City was Jerusalem, where the government will be in the Millennium. But when you read carefully, where Ezekiel was taken in that 40th chapter of Ezekiel and where the temple was to be set up, was on a mountain north of Jerusalem. That mountain answers to Shiloh. 9
For Ezekiel chapters 40–48, the center part of the sanctuary will no longer be in Jerusalem, but it will go back to Shiloh. When it returns to Shiloh, the great Shepherd will then rule, the great stone of Israel. This Shepherd will be Jesus Christ in His role as a descendant of Ephraim fulfilling the prophecy in Genesis 49. As King He will also fulfill the Davidic dynastic role of Judah. He will also fulfill the prophetic role of Moses, a Levite. He will do all three at the same time. Jesus Christ, our Lord, can and does fulfill all those prophecies concerning the Messiahs to come. They are not three separate individuals.
How in the world can Jesus Christ, our Lord, fulfill those three Messianic prophecies which seem to speak about three different individuals? How can you be from Levi, from Judah, and then fulfill the Ephraimite prophecies as a Joshua, a new Jesus, shepherd and stone of Israel, on the priestly side at Shiloh? It also fulfills the prophecy given by Jacob that Judah will continue to rule until Shiloh is established once more, at the beginning of the Millennium. It is done and accomplished in a most marvelous way.
These prophecies all coalesce into one Messianic figure, Jesus Christ, who was given that name “Joshua.” He was given that name to identify Him with the Ephraimite side of the Messianic prophecy. He was given the title “the Christ” [the Messiah, the anointed] specifically because it was David that was anointed to be king. All of them collate into Christ Jesus himself. It is possible for Jesus to be from Levi, to be from Judah, and to be from Ephraim at the same time in a legal sense.
The apostle Paul in Hebrews 7:14 said that He “sprang from Judah,” not from a priestly tribe or any other tribe. There is an interesting way that this was done. It comes down to one central fact concerning Christ Jesus himself and the role He had while on earth. That individual has to be Jesus Christ — because of His unique role in human history. The apostle Paul gave us the key.
Here is how that solution comes about. Turn to Romans 5:12–21. Here is where the apostle Paul gave the great doctrinal teaching on who Jesus Christ really was. It is in language that is a bit difficult to comprehend, but when we understand this section of doctrine concerning the role of the first Adam and the last Adam, and the distinction between the two, we will see how Jesus Christ can fulfill, and did fulfill, these three separate Messianic prophecies in one person,
“Wherefore [Paul says], as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
Sin started with one man, Adam.
“For until the law [which was given by Moses] sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law [a principle that God always had in effect], nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude [likeness] of Adam’s transgression.”
In other words, they had not sinned in Adam’s way. Adam knew he sinned because God told him what to do and not to do. He went ahead and did what he knew not to do. That made his sin a real sin. Other people around the world later on may not have known those things. Paul says where there is no knowledge of sin, or law, there is no sin. They cannot be accounted it. But Adam knew what he was doing.
“after the similitude [likeness] of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure [in Greek, tupos, a type, a typical individual], of him that was to come.”
There was to come a second Adam, another Adam, who would be the progenitor of a new race of people, just as Adam is the progenitor of the human race now. Everyone has descended from Adam, with the exception of one person. He is not a descendant of Adam, though legally he is. Biologically He was not. In fact, Adam was a figure of this other individual who was to come. Paul goes on to say. Verse 15,
“But not as the offence [the figure], was not as the offence, so also is the free gift.”
Two things are being talked of here. One applies to the first Adam, another applies to the second Adam. The offense was with the first Adam. The free gift is with the second Adam.
“For if through the offense of the one [Adam], the many be dead, how much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace which is by the one man, Jesus Christ [Messiah], has abounded unto the many. And not as it were by one that sinned, so is the gift [in contrast with one another, they are two different things], for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.”
The word justification there means “to be made righteous.”
This second Adam has come to make people righteous by a free gift. (This second Adam, by the way, is sinless. We find from other scriptures that He never sinned in His life.)
“For if by one man’s offense [the first Adam] death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ [Messiah, the second Adam]. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Christ’s complete righteousness] upon all men unto justification of life.”
Because Jesus was condemned and necessarily died with our sins upon Him, therefore all men can be justified by Him. This is done by means of the righteousness of Jesus as the Messiah. Notice verse 19, here is the key:
“For by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners [all Adam’s descendants were made sinners]. So by the obedience of the one [Christ], shall the many be made righteous.”
When it says in verse 19 that Adam sinned and all of his descendants were sinners, understand that if Jesus Christ in any way, shape or form was a literal biological descendant of Adam, He would have inherited Adam’s sin. That is what Paul is saying. But He did not inherit Adam’s sin. There was where the figure differed. He was a very different person, from a different Father.
Adam sinned. Jesus Christ never sinned. Jesus Christ will never sin. Adam sinned at the very beginning of his life, and Eve sinned, and everybody has sinned since. Those who have not sinned, like little children, Paul says here that the Adamic sin has passed on to the whole of the Adamic race. Everyone needs reconciliation to God. That means if a child of three days of age has no knowledge of sin (obviously, that is why he said if there is no law and they have no knowledge of law), how can they be a sinner? They too are classified as sinners because they inherited Adam’s sin. 10
Jesus Christ did not inherit Adam’s sin. Why? Because Joseph was not his father. Joseph’s sperm did not give rise to Jesus Christ. Though the genealogies of Christ are given in Matthew, and also in Luke, they are both Joseph’s genealogies, one through one line and one through another.
Secondly, Mary was the surrogate mother of Jesus Christ; she carried him for a full nine months, 10 days, a normal period of time, and provided the nutrients to produce His body in her womb. She did not provide the ovum (just as Joseph did not provide the sperm). If that were the case, then Jesus would still have come from Adam biologically and sin would have been on Him.
Roman Catholic doctrine saw the difficulty long ago and said that Mary had to have been produced by an immaculate conception of some kind, without sin and live without sin especially until the time when Jesus was born. If she were a sinner, and inherited Adam’s sin, it would have passed on to Jesus according to this necessity explained by Paul in Romans 5:19. It is a little complicated, but the outcome is plain. The Roman Catholic explanation is nonsense. Mary was not immaculately conceived by her parents so that she would be sin free, and free of the Adamic offense, or curse, upon all of Adam’s children.
Mary herself is from Adam and inherited that sin. But Mary’s ovum was not the ovum that produced Christ, just as Joseph’s sperm was not the sperm that united with Mary’s ovum to produced Christ. The spiritual ovum, with the spiritual sperm, that produced the beginning of Christ happened outside of Mary and Joseph, or it was produced inside of Mary but supernaturally. The gestation of Jesus was like any ordinary human in His birth but His conception was from the Father Himself and separate. This makes Joseph and Mary to be irrelevant so far as being the parents of Jesus Christ, although they were the biological parents, in one way of looking at it, because He came out from her womb.
Mary’s husband Joseph was only the legal parent of Christ. But being the legal parent and accepting Him into the family, gave legitimacy to the Davidic dynastic role which the Messiah was to fulfill, coming from David and Judah. Only legally did it count as far as the humans were concerned. Jesus Christ was a unique person. He was a second Adam unique from the rest of us, even though when He was born, He was as human as you and I are. 11
Through his legal adoption, or acceptance, by Joseph (who was a son of David), the prophecies concerning David could fit with Christ. That made Him legally a Jew. In the eyes of the people He was a Jew. But in the eyes of God the Father, He was His own Son with sperm and ovum separate from humanity, a second Adam, a second creation altogether.
When He was here on earth in His role, since He came forth from Joseph (legally), the prophecies of David connected with the Davidic line could then be fulfilled in Christ.
Mary was a kinsman 12 to Elizabeth who married Zacharias. In Luke 1:5 it is said that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were from the line of Aaron. Even though the apostle Paul said that Jesus was legally from Judah because of his father (which was true), Mary was from Aaron. This is where the priestly side of Jesus comes into the story. Because He was specifically to be called “Jesus,” identifying Him with Joshua, the successor of Moses, the Ephraim side of things comes into Him as well. It depends on what hat Jesus puts on.
These three Messianic prophecies mean three different sets of hats that can be worn by Christ Jesus, who was not a human being from Adam. 13 He was a human being created especially from God the Father, sinless absolutely, and able to redeem you and me who are sinners from the sins of the world. This is why it is important for us to understand that Jesus Christ Himself was not begotten from humanity. He was begotten and conceived by God the Father.
Because Jesus Christ has no human relationships through the First Adam, as the Second Adam He can relate to and fulfill any and all prophecies designated to any anointed Christ or Messiah. Once He was born into the world from Mary, with Joseph as His legal father, then all the legal things in the Bible dealing with Judah and the house of David can be fulfilled in Him. He was born from Mary, so that the Levitical prophecies can be fulfilled, by putting the hat of the prophet on Him who was to be like Moses. And He can fulfill the prophecies of being from Ephraim, through his name Jesus or Joshua who succeeded Moses.
These things put together show that we are dealing with an individual different than every other human ever created. The Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament dealing with the Levitical line through Moses; dealing with the Judaic and Davidic line through David; and dealing with the Ephraim line through Joshua are all fulfilled in one person who has different hats depending on what time element or circumstance applies. This can be done because Christ Jesus was not a human being like we are in one way. He came as a new Adam. As the new Adam He could fulfill all of the roles of all Messianic prophecies handed down from the earlier period.
When we can understand this powerful role that Christ Jesus has, we can only account Him to be God in the flesh. That is why Moses in the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy said that the man to come in the future will be like me, a lawgiver. Moses in the 4th chapter of Exodus was given the rank of Elohim. The man prophesied will speak just like God did from Mount Sinai. You had better believe and do what He says.
Do you know who was speaking amongst the Jews back there in Palestine at that time of Jesus Christ? It was Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). Emmanuel shows “God with us.” If He is God, being of David is irrelevant in one way. Being of Levi is irrelevant in another way. Being of Joseph and Ephraim is irrelevant in another way because God is more powerful than all of them put together. It depends on the role of authority that Jesus exercised at any given time. “All power [exousia, “authority” in Greek] is given unto me.” (Matthew 28:18). He fulfills in one person the three Messianic prophecies mentioned in the Old Testament. 14 We need to know and understand these things so we can realize the powerful personage that we are dealing with when we talk about our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.
L. Martin, 1993
Edited by David Sielaff, April 2006
Note the comparisons of Romans 5:15–19 (see above, page 14) lend themselves to be set forth in a diagram:
2nd Adam (Jesus)
· Progenitor of humans
· Progenitor of new race of human
· Offense (sin) of one
· Free gift (grace) of one
· Death to many
· Life to all men
· Condemnation of death
· Justification (made righteous) of life
· Death (mortality)
· Life (immortality)
It is important to remember what the apostle John wrote to the ekklesia about denying that Jesus is the Messiah. They knew the truth that He was the Messiah. What John writes also applies to you:
“But you have an unction [chrisma, anointing] from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ [the Messiah]? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son. Whosoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father: (but) he that acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If that which you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal [eonian, age-lasting] life.
1 John 2:20–25
He who denies that Jesus is the Messiah, denies the Son, and therefore (and unwittingly) denies God the Father. John admonishes his readers to remain in the faith that they have learned from God’s Word. Heed that admonition; continue in the Son who is the Messiah Jesus so you may attain to the Kingdom of God and receive the reward you have look for and work for.
1 Antioch is a Greek city in Syria about 400 miles north of Jerusalem. From this city the apostle Paul made most of his missionary journeys out to Gentile lands. ELM
2 See my article “Christ and Messiah” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d051001.htm which demonstrates that every use of “Christ” in the New Testament meant “Messiah” in the fullest sense of both terms. DWS
4 See Chapter 2, “The Law Was Given by Angels” at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess003a.htm of Dr. Martin’s book Essentials of New Testament Doctrine (Portland, OR: ASK Publications, 2001/2004), where this “voice of God” is further discussed and clarified by Dr. Martin. DWS
5 The definite article occurs before “Christ” in both instances. The text should read “the Christ,” meaning “the Messiah” in both instances. DWS
6 The root verb in Hebrew is mashach, from which the word “Messiah” is derived. The sign of God’s choosing was a public anointing. DWS
7 Psalm 89 was written by Jeremiah the prophet, referring back to the promises that God made to David some 400 and more odd years before. He compiled them together and wrote them for one of the priestly divisions concerning the covenant teachings that God gave to David. ELM
8 Article “Shi'loh” in John McClintock and James Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Most Bible dictionaries deal impartially with the issue. Nowhere in Scripture is Shiloh considered a name as is often supposed for Genesis 49:10, its first occurrence. In other words, for Genesis 49:10 to refer to a person one must impose a theological meaning that Shiloh means a person, to the otherwise geographical term. See also Donald G. Schley, Shiloh: A Biblical City in Tradition and History, JSOT Supplement Series 63 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1989), pp. 161–163. DWS
9 Look the diagram from Dr. E.W. Bullinger’s Appendix 88 (http://www.levendwater.org/companion/append88.html) from the back of his Companion Bible. The diagram shows the dimensions of the Ezekiel temple and the Holy area of the holy priestly section, and the government section of the Davidic people for Jerusalem in the south and all of that. That whole area, the sacred area, is centered on Shiloh, the exact spot where Joshua set up the central government of Israel. ELM
10 See my article “The Gospel of Messiah” at http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d060501.htm that shows that the Gospel essentially is a declaration and evidence by eyewitnesses that Jesus is the Messiah by virtue of His resurrection on your behalf and on behalf of all mankind. DWS
11 For a complete explanation of this matter see Chapter 6, “Our Sins Are Imputed to Christ” in Dr. Martin’s The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine. This chapter can be found at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess010a.htm. DWS
12 Although the King James Version uses the term “cousin” to describe Mary’s relationship to Elizabeth, the wife of Zecharias, there is no textual reason to define the relationship between the two women precisely. The term is used to denote the sense of “relative” or “kin.” Of course, it is in the feminine in Luke 1:5 to refer to Elizabeth. DWS
13 See John 1:14; Romans 1:3, 5:12–21, 8:3; Galatians 4:4; and Hebrews 2:14–17. The term “Son of Man,” is used 43 times in the New Testament to denote the Messiah. DWS
In graduate school one professor made a strong case that Jesus did not
merely fulfill all the prophecies in a complete sense, but in fact His
fulfillment (which continues today) goes far beyond any mere literal
fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17–18; Luke 24:44; John 15:10). He
magnifies the Law (Isaiah 21:42) and fulfills
“all righteousness”(Matthew 3:15). This is why sometimes there
appears to be a disconnect between the prophecies and Christ’s
fulfillment of them. The reality of the Messiah’s fulfillment of
righteousness (beyond fulfillment of the Law) went far beyond what any
of the prophets ever envisioned. “For Christ [Messiah]
is the end
of the law [the Torah]
for righteousness to every one that believes” (Romans 10:4). DWS
In fact, the Messiah (Christ) continues to fulfill the Law through us, the body of Christ (Matthew 22:40; Romans 13:8, 10; Galatians 5:14; 1 Timothy 1:5; James 2:8). So too, all future prophecies will not merely be fulfilled, but they will be fulfilled way beyond any possible imagining on our part, or ability for the prophets to describe. DWS
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