The Truth... What is it?





The Messiah's Time and Identity

The Old Testament gave resurrection hope for a people (the Israelites) in Ezekiel 37:1-14. The New Testament resurrection of Lazarus after being dead four days and the tomb stinking, gave a hope for personal resurrection from the dead. Jesus, himself, actually indicated that He was the Messiah:

  • John 4 "the woman at the well": 25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
  • John 9 "the man blind from birth": 35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man[messiah]?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
The Old Testament of the Bible has contained prophesies that would supposedly let the people know the time and specific identity of the messiah (savior or liberator) sent by God to provide the salvation or liberation of his people. Their interpreting minds were ruled by suzerain thinking (the potentially punishing powerful have power over the less powerful who are always subject to punishment). So, the Jews had/have tended to look for a politico-military deliverer who would lead them in triumph over their oppressors, of whom there has been a recurring stream...but, before Jesus, most particularly oppression from Roman times forward. After the empty tomb & ascension of Jesus and to modern times, many Jews (messianic Christian Jews) and all gentile Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the divine Messiah...(1) God as man, having come as an eternal savior & deliverer from the eternal "oppression" of death. That is, Jesus gives believers the triumph over death separated from God, promising eternal salvation in the presence of God. Additionally, I realized during 2012 that Jesus (2) also came as an eternal savior & deliverer to free mankind from the captivity of an erroneous (suzerain, Old Testament) understanding of God. Rather than a suzerain-type God, God is a God of unimaginable love of/toward His creation and grace in their behalf. God (indeed, having issued standards of human behavior), rather than a wrathful hanging judge, is filled with love and grace and actually emphasizes "right relationships". And in January of 2013, (3) I realized that Jesus also came as an eternal savior & deliverer to free mankind of at least part of the fallen nature so that one has the resources to grow toward living the abundant life. Upon belief and the incoming indwelling of the Holy Spirit, a believer has the "software application" installed within that, appropriated correctly, can enable serious progress in (2) & (3).

 

What Signs Identify the Specific Individual as the Messiah?

Drawing on the witness of Jeff P., a messianic Christian Jew in Bowling Green, Kentucky (who gave our West Columbia, S. C., Sunday school class his conversion testimony and some teachings in about 1996), there were three miracles which the ancient Israelite rabbis indicated as miracles which only the Messiah could perform:
 

  • He would heal a Jewish leper...it has already happened (Matthew 8:1-3).
     
     
  • He would heal a man blind from birth...it has already happened (John 9:1-41).
     
     
  • He would heal a dumb (speechless...can't talk) man...it has already happened (Matthew 12:22-25). 

 

 

What Signs Identify the Coming of the Messiah?

 

SM was the in-Israel tour guide for our church group's June 1999 pilgrimage to Israel. Born a Jew in Boston, Mass., USA, she and her family moved to Israel in about 1976. A highly intelligent, religiously conservative (honoring the demands of Scripture but living "in this world") Jew, she gave us wonderful insights into Biblical and historical Judeo-Christian happenings. A tour guide in Israel for 21 years (by 1999), she indicates that religious Jews see the following as conditions which identify the "times" into which the Messiah will come:

  1. World peace........................................(Isaiah 2:4 and 11:6-8).
  2. Universal knowledge of God....(Isaiah 11:9 [re: the root of Jesse]; Jeremiah 31:3; Zechariah 14:9)...[happening now]
  3. Resurrection of the dead...........(Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Ezekiel 37:12-13).
  4. Coming of Elijah...........................(Malachi 3:23-24 or 4:5-6).
  5. Ingathering of the Jews..............(Isaiah 43:5-6;Ezekiel 37:21-22)...[began in 1948: Israel a nation]
  6. Building of the 3rd Temple........(Ezekiel 37:26-28).

Jesus did perform the three identifying miracles. And the above 6 signs of the messianic coming sound quite a lot parallel to signs of the second coming of Jesus the Christ (the Messiah who already came, died for the sins of ALL mankind, was resurrected from the dead and ascended to sit at the right hand of YHWH)!

NOTE: My NIV translation of the Bible has a margin note on page 1316 (John 1:32-34) that the rabbis around the turn from BC to AD taught that the Holy Spirit of God had left the earth with the last of the prophets (the 400 silent years from Malachi to Matthew) and would not return and remain until the coming of the Messiah. This is why John the Baptist says what he says in John 1:32-34, having been grilled about his identity by the Pharisees (who were required to investigate any messianic candidate or messianic movement):

John 1:32-34: "And John [John the Baptist] bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him [Jesus]. And I knew him not: but he [God] that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, 'Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he [Jesus] which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost'. And I saw, and bare record that this [Jesus] is the Son of God."

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(posted 30 July 1999; latest addition 6 April 2014)