Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the meaning of Christ's identity as "the Messiah."
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for this privilege again of opening the Scriptures and considering some of the things that have to do with the salvation that has come to us through Jesus Christ. And we thank Thee for the way in which our Lord Jesus is expounded in his names. And we pray that we may tonight be enabled by the Holy Spirit to understand what we mean when we call him Jesus the Messiah. May, Lord, our time together be fruitful and profitable, and we commit the hour to Thee and the hour that follows. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Our subject for tonight, and it will be continued two weeks from tonight, is “The Christ, the Anointed Messiah. We are considering some of the names and titles of our Lord Jesus Christ as we deal with the subject of the doctrine of Christ as found in the Scriptures. The subject, I say, for tonight is “The Christ, the Anointed Messiah.” And we will continue this in our meeting two weeks from tonight.
Next week we are having the college preparation week, and therefore, this class will not be meeting, but we will instead have meetings Monday through Friday here in the auditorium in the college preparation week. The subjects for these meetings will be in the Calendar of Concern of Believers Chapel on Sunday.
Now for a Scripture passage as a means of beginning our study, will you turn with me to John chapter 20, verse 30 and verse 31? The outline on the overhead projector is the outline that we will be using for the two studies both tonight and two weeks from tonight. John chapter 20, verse 30 and verse 31.
I am sure this passage is very familiar to you because it’s part of the Gospel of John thought to be by many to be the simplest of the four gospels. And almost everybody who has ever taught the Gospel of John has referred to this passage because it is the passage in which John explains what he is doing in the writing of his book. He says, “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Now you can see from this passage that one of the chief things in the mind of the Apostle John in the writing of this entire gospel is that his listeners or readers may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that in believing they might have life through his name.
The Old Testament hope of salvation is centered in a series of Messianic figures. I am sure you will recognize them as I just refer to a number of them. There is the figure of Adam who is a Messianic figure. In the New Testament the Lord Jesus is called the last Adam. It is evident from that that Adam is regarded as a Messianic figure. In fact, the Garden of Eden is a Messianic scene because the prosperity and the joy and the paradise of that garden are a reflection of the ultimate kingdom of God and the new heavens and the earth.
Moses is another one of the Messianic figures of the Old Testament. He is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. Moses in his work of prophecy is a picture of the coming Messiah. David is probably the greatest of the Old Testament Messianic figures. The servant of Jehovah, whose story is told in such great detail in the last half of the book of Isaiah, is another of the Messianic figures.
The branch, one of the titles used of our Lord in at least five places in the New Testament, twice in Jeremiah, once in Isaiah, twice in Zechariah, is another of the Messianic figures of the Old Testament. The seed of the woman is another of the Messianic figures. The Son of Man.
Now some of these figures are typical figures. Some of them are symbolical figures. And some of them are prophetical figures. But the Old Testament hope of salvation gathers around this series of Messianic figures. So in studying Old Testament salvation, a great part of our study, if we were to study that subject in detail, would be an exposition of what is meant by these great figures of the Old Testament.
The New Testament sees the hope consummated in one who is called “the Christ.” You know how the New Testament begins in the Gospel of Matthew. In the very first verse of the Gospel of Matthew the evangelist and the apostle writes, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” And then Mark in his gospel giving probably the good news that Peter preached often, he too begins with, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
So the New Testament sees the Old Testament hope consummated in one who is called the Christ. This word “the Christ” is the Greek equivalent. Of course, Christ is simply the transliteration of the Greek word Christos, but that word Christos is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term, mashiyach.
Now for those of you who have read a little Hebrew, I have put mashiyach here by the side and have, for those of you who are technically minded, I have transliterated it in a technical sense. This is the way it would be found in some technical scholarly work. But for those of you who are like the rest of us, kind of simple minded, this is the way that you could spell it, mashiyach, for Messiah. That’s the noun. The verb is mashach, and the Aramaic form is mashicah, which is simply the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew word mashiyach.
Mashiyach means “anointed one.” Mashach, the verb, means “to anoint.” Mashicah, the Aramaic form, means “anointed one.” So that when we speak of Jesus Christ, we are speaking of Jesus as the Anointed One. Probably the true and proper translation of the word mashiyach and of Christos should have been in our Bibles “the anointed one,” because that is what it means: “anointed one.”
Now the Old Testament, I say, was gathered around some Messianic figures, and the New Testament finds the consummation in one who is called the anointed one.
Now is this consummation of the Old Testament in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Messiah justified? Joseph Klausner, a Jewish man who has written a very interesting book called “Jesus of Nazareth” a number of years ago has said concerning the Jewish belief in our Lord Jesus Christ, he has said, “Neither can he to the Jewish nation be the Messiah. The Kingdom of Heaven, the days of the Messiah, is not yet come.” So Klausner, a Jewish interpreter, though he has high regard for Jesus Christ, says that we cannot accept the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
Now just a few lines later on in the appendix to his book, he goes on to say, “But Jesus is for the Jewish nation a great teacher of morality and an artist in parable. He is the moralist for whom in the religious life morality counts as everything.” I do not think that Mr. Klausner realized the tremendous inconsistency in saying that Jesus Christ is not the Messiah according to our interpretation.
Now if he had stopped at that point, he wouldn’t have been inconsistent. But when he went on to say, “But Jesus is for the Jewish nation a great teacher of morality and an artist in parable,” he displays tremendous inconsistency because our Lord Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. He said that he was the Messiah. He carried out activities and actions in parables of his own actions which were positive claims to be the Messiah. So over and over again he claimed to be the Messiah. He accepted that designation of himself when others gave it to him. And so to say at the same time that this man who was proud enough, arrogant enough to claim to be the Messiah, but yet was not the Messiah and at the same time is a great teacher of morality is the greatest inconsistency. It is as if you were to say a man who is either confused or a liar is a great teacher of morality. It cannot be. It is Mr. Klausner who is confused and not our Lord as we shall see.
Of all of our Lord’s names, the name Christ is the one which has stuck most firmly in the world’s memory with the possible exception of Jesus. It’s rather interesting, isn’t it, among Christians how we use these terms.
Now evangelical Christians as a rule, when they hear somebody say “Jesus”, they’re suspicious about his theology. If he says only Jesus, you wonder does he really believe that our Lord is God. And if he keeps saying just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, since this is a very common name for him among liberals, they’re inclined to think that, well, maybe he does not really believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, Christ is probably a very common name among evangelicals. Many of us use the term Christ. Some of us, as I mentioned last week, are unhappy if we cannot use the full name, the Lord Jesus Christ. But Christ is one of the ones, one his names, one of his titles that has stuck most firmly in our memory.
Christ is really a title in its origin. It is not a name in its origin. It is the title that means “the anointed one.” It means the “Messiah.” And it is designed by the New Testament writers, I think we shall see, to be a claim on his part to have a certain office before the Lord. But as a result of the passage of time through the New Testament period, you can sense and see that that which begins in the New Testament record as a title becomes ultimately a personal name.
For example, in Matthew chapter 1, verse 1 we read, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus.” Now probably we should render this “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” But then as you go on into the epistles and the rest of New Testament, Jesus Christ becomes a personal name of our Lord. It is almost as if Jesus is his first name and Christ his last name.
Now that is observable, and I think the students of the New Testament have agreed that that is what has happened during the period of time reflected in our New Testament accounts.
We love the name Christ. We often sing, “O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep sweet well of love! The streams on earth I’ve tasted, More deep I’ll drink above: There, to an ocean fulness, His mercy doth expand, and glory, glory dwelleth, In Emmanuel’s land.” Mrs. Cousin’s great hymn is one that begins, “O Christ, He is the fountain.”
Now tonight we want to make a beginning of the study of the term Christ. And so I want you to turn first to the Old Testament picture of the Messiah. That’s the first point in our outline. Roman I: The Old Testament picture of the Messiah.
Generally speaking, if I were to try to summarize what the Old Testament says concerning the term Messiah, I think I would summarize it something like this. You do not find in the Old Testament any clear beginning of the teaching concerning “the Messiah,” that specific term and see that developing through the Old Testament as you do with many other doctrines of the Old Testament. What you really see in the Old Testament is a number of different lines of evidence which have to do with particular Messianic figures which finally reach their climax in a belief among the Jewish people of the coming of the Messiah after the Old Testament period has reached its conclusion. The Messianic hope as the Messianic hope, that is, as the hope of someone called “the Messiah,” ha mashiyach, is a hope that reached its fruition in the period of time between the Old Testament and the New Testament period, a period of about four hundred years, often called the “four hundred silent years of the biblical revelation.”
In other words, we cannot turn to the Book of Genesis and go through the Old Testament tracing the word Messiah. You’ll be surprised that it occurs very rarely in the Old Testament. But there are equivalent terms, and these equivalent terms are terms by which we may construct the doctrine of the Messianic hope. And then, that comes after the conclusion of the Old Testament period to be concentrated in a hope of a coming person who was called “the Messiah.”
Now in the New Testament, it begins with that Messianic hope very plainly before us. First we look at the term, Messiah. Capital A: The term Messiah.
The word Messiah, as I mentioned earlier, is derived from a Hebrew word mashach which means to smear or to anoint. The Hebrew noun form is mashiyach, the Aramaic mashicah, and these words mean properly, “the anointed one” or “anointed.” The English word Messiah only occurs twice in the Old Testament. And it occurs in the Book of Daniel chapter 9, verse 25 and verse 26, where it is the rendering of the word mashiyach, which means “the anointed one.”
Now that’s rather surprising that we have only a two-fold mention throughout the whole of the Old Testament of the English word Messiah. Now we are going to see that in the New Testament the same condition prevails.
In the Old Testament, however, we do have the word “anointed” occurring a number of times. And generally speaking, it occurs with reference to David or the high priests or some of the kings. The Hebrew word is used of the anointed king in Psalm 2:2, so let’s take a look at that one. In Psalm 2 and verse 2, this very familiar Messianic psalm that David wrote, he uses the term mashiyach. And here I think it has reference to the Messiah.
Psalm 2 and verse 2, we read, “The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed.” Now chances are that that is a reference not to King David, but rather to our Lord Jesus Christ himself ultimately. It is the word that refers to the Messiah.
In the Old Testament there were three individuals who were anointed. There were three individuals who became Messiahs. Now first of all, the prophet was anointed. If you’d like to read of one illustration, I won’t turn to it, you can put in your notes 1 Kings chapter 19 in verse 16. It is the instance in which Elijah anoints Elisha in the prophetic office. So the prophets were anointed.
And then the priests were anointed. In fact, the high priest is called in Leviticus chapter 4, ha kohen mashiyach, or the priest, the anointed one. So it was customary to anoint the prophet. It was customary to anoint the priest. And of course, preeminently, it was the custom to anoint the king.
Now think about this for a moment. Here is the prophet. Here is the priest. And here is the king. And all three of these were anointed. With what were they anointed? Well the Bible is very plain on this point. They were anointed with oil.
Now oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. And these three offices in Israel, prophet, priest and king, were anointed with oil. The sacred oil, it is called the oil, his holy oil, it is poured upon these figures: the prophet, the priest and the king. It was the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was the source of the wisdom, the source of the dignity, the source of the authority of these three offices in Israel.
Now it is not surprising then that we should in these offices look forward to the ministry of the Lord Jesus. After all he is the prophet. The prophets of the Old Testament were all typical of him. Even the false prophets, even those who turned to false prophesying, are types of the Lord Jesus. Not in what they prophesied but in the fact of their position. They were prophets. They spoke, supposedly, for a supreme being. And in that sense, they were typical of the Lord Jesus. Priests were typical of the Lord Jesus. The kings of the Old Testament, even those that were disobedient kings, those that did evil in the sight of the Lord, were typical of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were typical in their office.
Now the Lord did not look down and say, Well, it seems to me that mankind is working itself around to the place where I can use some of the things that they’re doing in order to present the coming redeemer, my son Jesus Christ. I see that they’ve now constructed an office called prophet. And they’ve managed to hit upon an office called priest. And there are kings now. And therefore, I can use these things. And so God took these things invented by man and made them reflect the ministry of the Lord Jesus who was coming. It was not that way.
The one who controls all things in heaven arranged it so that in his providence there came to be prophets. He was the one who called men to office of prophet. He was the one who called men to the office of priest. He was the one who also called men to the office of king. It is he who is responsible for these things. And he did this in order that they might represent our Lord Jesus. He is the prophet who speaks perfectly and totally accurately the word of God. He is the priest who offers the sacrifice by which the people of God receive the atoning, the atonement, the forgiveness of sins, the justification and the other blessings that come from sacrifice. And he is also the king who shall ultimately rule and reign upon the throne David. So then, the term Messiah, anointed, it refers to the work of the prophet. It is used of the work of the priest. It is used of the king.
The meaning of the term, well I’ve kind of anticipated this, but I want you to turn with me to Isaiah chapter 45. We notice a rather interesting thing in the Old Testament now in the light of what I have just said. Isaiah chapter 45, verse 1.
Now you remember the context of the last part of the Book of Isaiah. It is set against the background of the Babylonian captivity. And we read in chapter 45 of Isaiah and verse 1, “Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open the doors before him so that gates will not be shut.”
Now, did you look at that first line? Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His Messiah, His anointed. Now this pagan king Cyrus is a Messiah. He is an anointed one. That’s a startling thing that a pagan king should be called a Messiah. But you see, it illustrates what I’m saying that it is the office that is typical. The office of the king is typical of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now it’s a striking thing that in the reference to Cyrus, we can see some of the most beautiful representations of the ministry of the Lord Jesus. First of all, in fact I think there are five features about Cyrus’ anointing that help us in defining what the term Messiah means.
First of all, Cyrus is the man of God’s choice. We read back in chapter 41 and verse 25, “I have aroused one from the north, and he has come; From the rising of the sun he will call on My name; And he will come upon rulers as upon mortar, Even as the potter treads clay.” Now this reference to Cyrus here in this verse is a reference that shows that Cyrus is one who comes to his office as anointed one by virtue of the choice of God.
The second thing about Cyrus that helps us to define what Messiah means is that he is appointed to a accomplish a redemptive purpose toward God’s people Israel. Let’s read Isaiah 45, verse 11 through verse 13. Here we read,
“Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands And I ordained all their host. I have aroused him in righteousness And I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, Without any payment or reward,” says the Lord of hosts.”
He’s referring to Cyrus and the ministry that Cyrus will have to the children of Israel. And you can see here that he is appointed to perform a particular redemptive service with reference to the nation Israel.
Look at verses 1 through 3 and you will see the third thing about Cyrus. He is given dominion over the nations. Listen to what he says in verse 2 and 3,
“I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, In order that you may know that it is I, The Lord, God of Israel, who calls you by your name.”
In verse 1 he had said that he would be his anointed “to subdue nations before him.” So you can see that Cyrus is appointed by God and is given dominion over the nations.
I won’t look at the two other things, but simply state them. The fourth thing that is characteristic of Cyrus and of the Messiah is that he accomplishes a judgment over his foes. That is expressed in chapter 47. And I suggest, if you’re interested in further study of this, that you read chapter 47.
And then finally in all the activities of Cyrus, the real agent is Yahweh himself. In other words, it is the Lord himself who has chosen Cyrus. It is the Lord who has appointed him. It is the Lord who has given him dominion over the nations. It is the Lord who accomplishes a judgment through him. It is the Lord who acts in this redemptive way toward Israel through him.
Now all of these things are true of the Messiah, of our Lord Jesus ultimately. He is the man of God’s choice, the one whom God has chosen. He has been appointed to accomplish a redemptive purpose toward the people of God. As we said last week, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” He is given dominion over the nations. We’ll talk about that later as we unfold, or seek to unfold, the doctrine of the Messiah. He accomplishes a judgment over his foes at his Second Advent. And in all of the activities of our Lord Jesus as the Messiah, it is Yahweh, for he is Yahweh, who is at work.
So isn’t it a striking thing that in this pagan Messiah, we have a beautiful type of our Lord Jesus Christ in his work? Not in his person, for he is at this point, so far as we know, an unbelieving man.
Now when we turn to the New Testament, we notice that these features appear. Here is the Messiah in its simplest form. It suggests the dignity and authority of the ideal king of Israel. Will you turn with me to Matthew chapter 3?
Matthew chapter 3. Here we have the anointing of our Lord Jesus Christ. His anointing, however, is a little bit different from the anointing of the Old Testament. His anointing occurs at his baptism. And we read in verse 13 of Matthew chapter 3,
“Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him.” (Now remember the prophet, the priest, the king were anointed with oil typical of the Holy Spirit. But the reality is here, and our Lord is being anointed but not with physical oil, with the Holy Spirit himself. And we read in verse 17,) “And behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
This past week I received a visit by a pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hamilton Park. Now that is just across Central Expressway. A very fine church. This man is a believing man. He had heard the messages over the radio, and he wanted to come and see me face to face. He has attended some classes at Dallas Seminary in their layman’s program. But he came over and we had a most interesting conversation, really a lovely Christian man.
I most amused, however, at some of his titles of sermons. He has a real gift for titles of sermons. He said to me, he said, “I, I make.” He said, “You know, among our black people, we tend to make a lot over the title.” Now he said, “The content may not be so good, but we make a lot over the title.” And he said, “The thing that I’ve been amazed about, about you, is that you prove your title.”
Well, he was laughing when he said this. And I was laughing too. And then he had a series of the sermons from the Believers’ Bible Bulletin that we put out here. And I said, “What are some of your titles?” And he took this stack of sermons that he had of mine, and went through them telling me his title as over against mine. I felt like rubbing mine out after listening to his. [Laughter]] Mine were so bland after his.
But I remember the one that he gave on the baptism. He had that one. I said, “What title did you use for the baptism? And referring to verse 17, he said, “I called that, A Word from the Sponsor.” [Laughter] “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
I said, “How did that come to you?” He said, “Well, I was listening to TV and I heard a word from the sponsor, and I thought, Well that’s exactly what this is, a word from the sponsor.” “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Well now, this was our Lord’s anointing. And this word from the sponsor here is the evidence of it, because these words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,” are words taken from Messianic passages of the Old Testament, Psalm 2 and Isaiah chapter 42. It was his way of saying he’s the king and his work will be to suffer like the suffering servant of Jehovah.
Now in Acts chapter 10 we have it clearly stated that this was the anointing of our Lord Jesus. In Acts chapter 10 and verse 38, we read. Peter is giving his sermon in Cornelius’ house and he says, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” So when he was anointed with the Holy Spirit, that was the time that he entered into his Messianic office according to the New Testament.
So, what then does the term Messiah mean? Well, it means, first of all, that the Lord Jesus is the anointed one. It means that he is the one who has been given the Holy Spirit for the carrying out of a particular Messianic task. It means that he is the person who has entered into the dignity and the authority of the office of the ideal king of Israel who shall gain his possessions by virtue of his sacrificial work.
Now let’s for the rest of our time say a few words about the Messianic figures. The Messianic figures of the Old Testament are a subject for a series of messages. Really, I am not exaggerating when I say that we could study these Messianic figures for weeks upon weeks. There is that much material concerning the Messianic figures of the Old Testament.
The strange use of the term concerning Cyrus is helpful in understanding what the term Messiah means. But when we look at these other terms, I think we’ll have an even broader and wider understanding of what is meant. Let me just say a word or two about some of them, and then perhaps two words about one or two in order to make the point I want to make.
The New Testament Messiah is the antitype of a number of these Old Testament Messianic figures. I’ve mentioned Adam. Adam was a Messianic figure. And so he represents our Lord Jesus Christ. He represents our Lord Jesus Christ as the head of humanity, just as our Lord the last Adam is the head of the redeemed humanity. He also was in an idyllic scene in paradise in the Garden of Eden. And he represents our Lord Jesus in that sense.
The second figure is Moses. Moses is illustrative of the prophetic office of our Lord. Let’s turn to Deuteronomy chapter 18 and notice a point or two there. Deuteronomy chapter 18 and verse 15 through verse 19. Listen to this great prophecy. Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 15, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you.” Notice that. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”
Now interpreters of the Old Testament, particularly the Old Testament commentators, like to claim that in this passage all Moses is prophesying is that there will be a line of prophets through the Old Testament history of Israel. Now that is a truth. In other words, this prophecy is a prophecy of a line of prophets, but it is clear that it is more than that, for when this prophet is likened to Moses, in the context reference is made to Mount Horeb.
Now it was on Mount Horeb that Moses gave Israel the law. So the likeness of Moses to the great prophet or prophets who are to come is a likeness of Moses on Mount Horeb giving the Mosaic Law. There is only one person throughout the whole line of the prophets who could ever qualify to be like Moses in the giving of new revelation. And that is our Lord Jesus Christ himself. So the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is not in a man, one of that series of prophets of the Old Testament, but in a prophet like Moses in his revelatory character.
Let me read on, verse 19,
“And ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ (Now this is, these are verses that refer to the line of the prophets.) And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ (Well, now I skipped a verse, didn’t I? Well, maybe I didn’t.)
One other point that I would like to make. Later in this book, in chapter 34 and verse 10, an interesting statement is made concerning Moses. We read, “Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.”
Now that statement, written after the death of Moses, is an indication of the fact that as far as Moses in his place as a prophet who revealed new truth is concerned, the mold was broken with Moses and will not be remade until our Lord Jesus comes. All of those prophets of the Old Testament who stand in the line of Moses as prophets are not like him as our Lord is, for as he says there is none like Moses.
Now what I want you to notice about this is that what we have here in this prophecy of the great prophet is a reference to a person who will have a human nature. He will be able to speak to them and they are to hear him. But he will be more than human. On the Mount of Transfiguration, when the Lord spoke from heaven, the voice of the sponsor then was a little bit different from the voice of sponsor in the baptism. Listen to what he said. He said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased, hear Him.” Now that is the thing, that’s the statement that is made in verse 15 here. “You shall listen to him.” “Hear Him.” The reference is to the divine prophet who is to come.
Well let’s take a look; the next Messianic figure is David. And I won’t say much about David because David is well known as a Messianic figure. David is seen as a Messianic figure in his psalms. He is seen as the Messianic figure in other places in the Old Testament such as the Book of Isaiah.
The fourth of the Messianic figures is the “servant of Jehovah.” And we have referred to him. He is that person whose ministry is expounded in the latter part of Book of Isaiah. And it is said there that he would be a divine person, but he would also carry out a ministry of suffering. The branch, this figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have also referred to.
I want to come to the last one, the “Son of Man.” And I want you to turn with me to Daniel chapter 7. And we’ll try to say a few words about this before we close. Daniel chapter 7, verse 13 and verse 14. For the term “Son of Man” is one of the Messianic figures of the Old Testament.
The term “Son of Man” is derived from this vision that Daniel had in chapter 7 and verse 13. This is what we read, Daniel chapter 7 and verse 13,
“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
Now notice, we have a statement made here that there is one like a Son of Man coming in the vision. Now the term Son of Man has a whole lot more to say than simply the individual is a man, but it does say that. He is a man. But look how he is described, this man: “One like a Son of Man was coming, And he came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.”
Well, I forgot to look at the second line: “And behold, with the clouds of heaven” this Son of Man came.
Now if you remember in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament with whom is the expression “the clouds of heaven” associate. A person who comes with the clouds of heaven is what kind of person? Well, he is a divine person. You will find if you look in the Psalms and several other references in the Old Testament, “the clouds of heaven” are associated with a divine person. This person is a man, but he is also a divine person.
Now in every one of these Messianic figures, I wish we had time to look at all of the passages in detail. We just don’t. But in every one of these passages in which these Messianic figures are referred to, you will find that there are two truths. First of all, there is in this individual referred to, this Messianic figure, the truth of his humanity and also the truth of his deity. And furthermore, there is also the truth of his identity with Jehovah and the truth of his distinction from Jehovah in every one of these Old Testament passages.
In other words, what we are dealing with here is Old Testament revelation of a number of Messianic figures which all converge ultimately in the full revelation of the New Testament in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who was very God of very God, and yet at the same time, very man of very man. Man, so he can be our substitute and bear our penalty. God, so that his substitutionary work may have infinite value before God and thus be sufficient to cover the sins of sinners.
Isn’t it a beautiful revelation that the word of God contains these magnificent figures that we shall see next week culminate in the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, our time is up. We must stop. Let’s close with a word of prayer. Next week we will pick it up with the New Testament picture of the Messiah, no, that is two weeks from tonight: A New Testament Picture of the Messiah and finish our study then. Let’s close with a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the marvelous revelation of the word of God and for the way in which thou hast so clearly and beautifully presented the work of the Messiah. And we thank Thee, Lord, that that work was for us. This divine human Messianic figure has taken our sins upon himself and has borne them at great cost that we might be able to sing, “O Christ, He is the fountain, The deep sweet well of love! We praise Thee and thank Thee for the life that we have through him. In Jesus’ name. Amen.