The Messiah

THE word Messiah is quite well known in the English language, and its equivalent is familiar in many others, especially in the Western world and the Middle East. The word is now used in our language in various ways. For instance, one who loudly claims, with much fervor, that he has a solution to a nation’s or to the world’s problems, sometimes will be spoken of as having a “messianic complex.”

Virtually all who are aware of the word Messiah, as it appears in the New Testament, believe it refers only to Jesus. And some of the Jews of our day think it applies to a man yet to come, or a role yet to be played by the entire nation of Israel. The Lord’s people realize that this wonderful word has a great depth of meaning. To understand it completely means that one perceives the “deep things” of God and is acquainted with the glorious plan of the ages which shall eventually mean restitution.

It is interesting, in a study of the truth, to see how God slowly revealed it. One can start with the small bud of promise and watch it slowly grow until suddenly it bursts into a glorious blossom of beauty and fragrance. In following the Father’s revealment, it can also be likened to tracing a golden thread of prophecy through the Bible. It finally leads to a complete solution of man’s ills and even to the completion in perfection of the planet on which we live.

One of the first positive statements of the world’s promise of blessing is that given to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 22:16-18. We recall how God instructed the patriarch to proceed to Mount Moriah and there offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Abraham had followed God’s instructions—even to the lifting of the knife over Isaac—then came those most welcome words of an angel, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him.”—Gen. 22:12

It was after this that the memorable words were spoken which mean so much to the Lord’s people. “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations [families] of the earth be blessed.”

After that overwhelming experience Abraham must have thought much of the words spoken. No doubt the first reaction might have been that Isaac was the special seed mentioned. It is quite possible that before he died there was a realization it might not be Isaac, but rather a succeeding offspring of his which should be the “blesser.”

Regardless of all these possibilities, Abraham cherished this promise. It was passed on by him to Isaac, and it could be that Isaac thought his son Jacob would see its fulfillment. The Scriptures indicate the promise was not restricted by Jacob just to his firstborn, but rather, to all Israel. We read in I Chronicles 16:15-17, “Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded to a thousand generations; even of the covenant which He made with Abraham, and of His oath unto Isaac; and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant.”

The passing of the promise by Jacob to his twelve sons and their progeny caused some later to misunderstand the original promise. In the Apostle Paul’s day some of Israel insisted the Messiah was the nation. His words in Galatians 3:16 were written specifically to contradict this: “Now to Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is [Messiah] Christ.”

This wonderful promise which God gave to Abraham was highly cherished and revered, and we know that its hope was kept alive during all of Israel’s stay in Egypt. God raised up Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt, and because of the mighty power given to him, all the Israelites recognized his unique place in God’s sight. If they had noticed carefully, they would have seen that it was this servant who brought out the fact that the “seed” to come was indeed one, and not the nation.

The instance when Moses so stated this fact to Israel is found in Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, [Moses], 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 will speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Israel heard these words from Moses some time after they had seen at Sinai the awesome demonstration of God’s power. It would seem likely that the promise of God spoken through Moses created much discussion among all Israel. It probably caused in their minds a pointed renewal of the original promise given to Abraham. They had so recently been delivered from Egypt by the mighty miracles of God; could not this have caused them to assume that “that prophet” was even then in their midst?

After Moses’ death it seemed apparent that the successor to Moses chosen of God was Joshua. Even his name meant “savior.” As he led them across the Jordan River into the promised land, their hopes must have been high. It soon became apparent to all that there was miracle-working power provided for him, but as time went by it became evident that Joshua would die as did Moses. Israel was to look for another who was to be that seed, or prophet. During the 450-year period of the judges, the faithful of Israel must have kept alive the wonderful promise given to Abraham. They were looking for that special “man” who would be used of God to bless them and all nations.

The last of the judges of Israel was Samuel. He did appoint his sons, Joel and Abiah, as judges (I Sam. 8:1,3), but they walked not in Samuel’s ways. We are told that they “turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” This infuriated the elders of Israel, and they suggested to Samuel a change in their way of being governed. The elders met with him and said, “Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (I Sam. 8:5) This displeased Samuel, but the Lord told him to agree, saying, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say … for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me.”—I Sam. 8:7

However, even though Samuel was to heed their request, he was instructed to “protest solemnly unto them” (I Sam. 8:9) outlining the numerous trials such a government would bring. They were told how a king would use their sons and daughters as soldiers and servants, confiscate property, and levy taxes at his will. Yet the people said, “We will have a king over us.”

Samuel was unaware at this point that God had already chosen the king to be. We are told there was a Benjamite of considerable wealth named Kish. “He had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he.” Not only was this young man of commendable character, but he was outstanding in appearance. We read, “From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.” Some students suggest this statement indicates that Saul stood approximately six feet eight inches tall.—I Sam. 9:2

Saul, with a servant, was out hunting some lost asses. They spent more time than expected, and Saul worried that his father would be concerned about their delay in returning. It was then that the servant mentioned that a prophet of God was in the area and he might be of help in locating the missing animals. Hence they sought Samuel. “Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, Tomorrow … I will send thee a man … and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel. … And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.”—I Sam. 9:15-17

When Saul was presented to the people, “Samuel said … See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” (I Sam. 10:24) How impressive Saul must have been as he stood there towering over all the people! As the ceremony ended and the people disbanded and formed into small groups, Saul must have been the topic of all conversations. No doubt those who loved the Lord would remember the promise made to Abraham, and also the prophetic utterance of Moses. Indeed Saul even had the appearance of a special leader, and had not God chosen him?

Saul’s successes in time began to change him. The humility he so wonderfully manifested when he first spoke to Samuel (I Sam. 9:21) faded away. He became envious, rebellious, and openly disobedient to God. To the Israelites whose hopes ran high when Saul first appeared it must have been a most discouraging change.

It must have been a bitter experience for Samuel also to see this change. In time the Lord informed the prophet that Saul was to have a successor. Finally there came a confrontation when Samuel said to the king, “Thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.”—I Sam. 13:14

At this point of time Samuel did not know who was to be the successor. He did not realize “the man after his [God’s] own heart” was but a young lad. This causes us to reflect that the Heavenly Father can see in just the “bud” the “flower” that is yet to be. We should be so conscious of the youth about us. During tender years those words can be heard that find lodgment in the heart, later to flower in unreserved consecration to God.

Samuel’s mourning over Saul was great. Finally the Lord remonstrated with Samuel, saying, “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him? … I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” (I Sam. 16:1) Samuel must have approached his mission with solemn reverence, but also with great anticipation. Think of the excitement we would experience if we were to meet, by God’s direction, one who was chosen to be a special servant, and to know the one selected would not be aware of his special place except as we told him.

Samuel did not reveal his mission to Jesse or his family when he arrived. The first son he saw was Eliab. Evidently this son was striking in appearance. No doubt he had what is called “presence.” He was tall and of good countenance; his walk and stature revealed a man with supple grace; in every aspect he had charm. Samuel thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.”—I Sam. 16:6

Then it was that the Lord spoke to Samuel and indicated differently. When God spoke, he uttered a profound truth of which we must be aware. “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: … for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”—I Sam. 16:7

This seems to indicate that Samuel was making his silent judgment on just appearance. Later he was to learn the one chosen, David, was also of goodly appearance but that was not why God had selected him. The Lord has always sought those who appreciate and attempt to fulfill in their lives two great truths. These were spoken by our Lord in answer to a Pharisee’s question as to which is the great commandment in the law. His wonderful answer was, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. … And … thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37-39) This is a profound analysis of the true teaching of the law of God. These two commandments were those which prompted Jesus in all his life of obedience.

Then we read a verse which is related to the title “Messiah.” “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (I Sam. 16:13) Although God had authorized David’s anointing as king, it was to be some years until he ascended the throne. But it was not long before all Israel became aware of his skills and exploits.

Later, while still a youth, David was horrified at the loathsome Philistine giant taunting and defying the army of God. With courage built on supreme faith in God, he destroyed the giant, Goliath, in a most dramatic way.

David quickly became a hero to virtually all Israel. This aroused intense jealousy in Saul. But God’s hand was with David. When he ascended the throne he possessed in abundance every quality of a king. He was a man of supple grace, a fearless warrior, a poet, and a skilled musician. In addition, he was a king in every way in his leading of the nation. The people who had been taught to watch for that special prophet of God must have concluded, this is the one! It must have aroused much speculation about his and their future in the world.

But time went on, and the youthfulness of David waned. There were serious errors in judgment. In time it began to be evident that the pains of death were gripping him. All this must have caused serious questions, especially for the devout of the land. However, before David died, a man of God, Nathan, spoke prophetically to him. That which was prophesied became common knowledge to all Israel. It stirred their hearts with hope, even greater, if possible, than experienced before. His words were, “And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. … I will be his father and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him. … but I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.”—I Chron. 17:11,13,14

Later they were to learn this promised One was to come through David’s son. Nathan. Meticulously, genealogical records were kept. This is readily seen as we read the genealogy of Jesus back to David, thence through Abraham to Adam, as recorded in Luke, chapter 3.

This hope and desire for the son of David and his kingdom was kept alive by many prophecies. It was as though the Lord was sending communiqués from time to time, enlarging on the glory of the coming reign. For instance, there is the delightful one in Isaiah 9:6,7: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice … even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

To the devout of Israel these became memorable prophecies. They became especially precious during the trials of the nation. Did not the God still live that delivered them from Egypt? Then there came prophecies which described the personality of this coming son of David. They told of his wisdom, knowledge, and justice. Hear the words of Isaiah 11:2,3,4: “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; … and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor.”

Details were sent to them concerning his healing powers. “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance; … he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.”—Isa. 35:4.5

Israel received messages about his far-reaching power which would assure world peace. “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”—Micah 4:3

As these messages came, how they must have thrilled the hearts of the righteous! They must have been memorized and often repeated for encouragement. But how especially touching were those promises which spoke of the resurrection of the dead! To the believers it meant their loved ones asleep in death would experience all the joys of the coming kingdom of David’s son whom God would anoint. Of the many prophecies of the resurrection in the Old testament, we quote just Daniel 12:1,2: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people. … And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.”

However, the experiences of Israel were troubled and heart-rending at times. No doubt some of the people of God must have longed for the kingdom of David—their cry must have been, “How long, oh Lord, how long?” In proper time this cry was answered in a veiled way. It is interesting that when it was answered it was the first time the word anointed was used as a title. It appears that from then on the Israelites, even in our Lord’s time, would speak of this coming one with the title of Anointed, or Messiah, as it is in Hebrew. The one who first used Messiah as a title had proper authority—it was the angel Gabriel.

It was in answer to an impassioned plea of Daniel for God to forgive and help his disobedient people. God sent Gabriel in response to Daniel’s prayer, and the prophet was told when the Messiah would come. In the angelic message Daniel was instructed that seventy weeks were determined upon his people. And from a set time until Messiah the prince would be sixty-nine weeks. (Dan. 9:24,25) This is a veiled answer, in that to understand it we must realize that each day of the prophecy represents one year. This pattern was previously spelled out in a prophecy God gave to Israel through Ezekiel, wherein the prophet was told, “I have appointed thee each day for a year.”—Ezek. 4:6

The faithful of Israel, no doubt, were much aware of this prophecy of Daniel and had communed with the people about it. This is made manifest in a statement concerning the first reaction to John the Baptist’s ministry. We read in Luke 3:15, “And … the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not.” We know that “Christ” is a translation of the Greek way of saying “Messiah,” which means anointed.

But while the people mused in their hearts whether the Messiah was among them, there were a few who certainly knew he was in Israel. The story of that revelation is one of the most touching in the Bible. This momentous event is the annunciation to Mary recorded in Luke, chapter one. It was the angel Gabriel who told Daniel of the time prophecy about the Messiah. How interesting it is that it was this same angel who had the high honor to announce to Mary her place in the plan of God.

When he appeared to her he said, “Hail, highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Her reaction reveals something of her disposition. Evidently she was a practical and highly intelligent young woman. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with fright or emotion, she began to reason about his words, and later openly discussed with Gabriel what was being said. When she first heard his words we read that she “cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.”—Luke 1:28,29

However, she came to realize fully the depth and meaning of what was said. The hopes of all the years were to be fulfilled. The message of so long ago still stirs our hearts as we read the announcement: “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [It was really the Hebrew name Joshua—which means Savior]. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”—Luke 1:31-33

The message was clear. But this practical young woman indicated her perplexity by responding, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Then Gabriel gave assurance it would be through the power of God. We note her complete devotion to God in the answer, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”—Luke 1:38

Gabriel also announced that her “cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” (Luke 1:36) How understandable it is that she went “with haste” to the home of Zacharias and Elisabeth in the hill country of Judea! It seems as though the Holy Spirit came upon them as they, with salutation, greeted each other. Notable among their statements is that of Mary, as recorded in Luke 1:54,55, “He hath holden his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.”

The three months spent there must have been rich in blessing. In our mind’s eye we can see three—Mary, Elisabeth, and Zacharias—huddled together over scrolls of Scripture, searching out prophecies about the Messiah and his kingdom. We know Zacharias had been struck speechless by Gabriel’s command, until their son John was to be born. Hence, when he found prophecies, pointing with his finger, Mary or Elisabeth had to do the reading aloud.

When John the Baptist’s ministry began, some suspected he was the coming Messiah. It states in Luke 3:15 that “the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ [Messiah], or not.” It is very evident that John knew of the unusual circumstances surrounding his and Jesus’ birth. Note his words: “One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.”—Luke 3:16

Not long after Jesus’ ministry started, disciples formed around him. Among these was Andrew, later to become an apostle. It seems he was one of the first to say he thought Jesus was the Messiah. This came out as he urged his brother Peter to join them. The account reads: “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew. … He first findeth his own brother Simon [Peter], and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah.”—John 1:40,41

From this point until a few days before Jesus’ death the disciples, although working hard in the ministry, must have been in a high state of anticipation. For centuries Israel had been watching for the One whom God would anoint to sit on David’s throne forever. They now beheld the foregleams of his kingdom.

They heard his stirring, moving sermons. In wonder and awe they saw him touch unseeing eyes, and before them the blind did see. They heard the pitiful voice of the leper who approached, crying, “Unclean, unclean, unclean,” change to an exultant shout. The healing hand of Jesus had changed a sick, miserable body to one of health.

They saw the crippled made whole, the tongues of the dumb sing, the sick restored to health. And finally they knew that he touched the dead, cold hand of a maid, and she arose to life. There was a grief-stricken father who worshiped him and came saying, “My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.”—Matt. 9:18

When they arrived at the home there was a crowd round about “making a noise. He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.”—Matt. 9:23-26

As night would settle over Israel the tired disciples, in whatever city they were, would seek sweet rest for a new day. Possibly their last waking thought would be, “Soon he shall be recognized by all as the Messiah!” They might have envisioned even the High Priest so saying. They reasoned that some day soon he would be publicly anointed, as were Saul and David. Then he would be formally recognized by all Israel as David’s son and the rightful heir to the throne. Had not Gabriel said, “The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign … forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”—Luke 1:32, 33

Plans were made to have the passover in Jerusalem. Five days before this feast Jesus and his disciples left Bethany for the holy city. Groups began to form, and in time Jesus and his disciples were passing through excited, shouting people. We read, “And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David.”—Mark 11:8-10

But that which they thought would end with his anointing and coronation took a strange turn. In just five days the stunned and bewildered disciples saw Jesus executed by the Romans, and some Jews who had hailed him as king called for his crucifixion. How could they possibly understand the strange happenings! This gentle, good man, whose healing hands had blessed, now had them cruelly nailed to a cross. It was as though the power of God he had displayed had suddenly gone. But of all the disciples none had deeper grief nor greater perplexity than his mother Mary.

The man she saw now so cruelly dying had been her child. God had given her this son by a miracle. The angel Gabriel had said, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” (Luke 1:32) The sword of sorrow which had pierced Mary’s soul must have hurt so she could not even reason upon the horrible happening. When death finally came, the hurt, confused disciples just silently slipped away. What could they say; how could they reason?

One of the most touching scenes in all the Bible is about two disciples stunned by the event. They were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The account indicates they had recovered enough to discuss what had happened. As they walked, one who they thought was a stranger asked to join them on their journey. The supposed stranger was the risen Lord, who had assumed an appearance they did not recognize. He inquired about their sad conversation. In their opinion the crucifixion was so well known they asked if he was a stranger. However, they told of Jesus, a Prophet mighty in deed, whom the chief priests and rulers had crucified.

Their key remark was, “We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” In other words, they were saying, we thought he was the promised Messiah. Then the stranger spoke. “Ought not Christ [Messiah, or Anointed] to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”

This thought-provoking question prepared their minds for the scriptures which followed. We read that “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” In other words, he brought out the prophecies about his death. These thoughtful disciples were greatly impressed. Their sadness gave way to renewed hope. They said, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened unto us the Scriptures?”—Luke 24:32

When they were at supper the Lord, as the stranger, “took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.” He might have used the same words and inflection of voice as at the “last supper.” “Their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.”

They returned immediately to Jerusalem, found the eleven, and others with them. Carefully they recited the events, probably using care to recall the scriptures used to prove he should suffer and die. While they were yet speaking, Jesus again appeared in a body similar to his own. He said, “These are the words which I spake unto you, … which were written in the law of Moses, … the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”—Luke 24:44,45

No doubt for the first time they learned he had a pre-human existence; that it was needful to transfer his life to earth, because God required a perfect, sinless man to die in Adam’s place. To be a ransom for Adam he had to be perfect morally, mentally, and physically, as was Adam before he sinned.

So Paul writes, “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:21,22) As the great truth of the ransom dawned upon those disciples, they realized why he must first die. They learned, too, that Jesus was then a mighty spirit being. As such a powerful Messiah he would, in proper time, usher in the kingdom of peace, life, and health. How abundantly could this risen Lord cause all the wonderful prophecies to have a complete fulfillment!

How quickly the sadness of the past three days was swept away! There must have been a hurried effort to contact all the other disciples with this newfound hope. Perhaps it was John who carried the good news to Jesus’ mother, Mary, Now her memories took on a new dimension. The little boy she held at birth had before been a mighty being from ages past. He had been the firstborn of the Father and used of him in the creation of all things. Now Mary specially understood the salutation of Gabriel, “Hail, thou that art graciously accepted [margin], the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”—Luke 1:28

The hope of the disciples returned, and their joy knew no bounds. Soon, soon, the kingdom of the Messiah would be introduced to all the world! Death, sickness, wars, hate—every unlovely thing—would pass away. Those long sleeping in the dust of the earth would awake to a bright new wonderful world. There was a song in their hearts. These were wonderful moments of joy and meditation.

At various times over a forty-day period He would reveal himself to them. Finally He indicated they must wait in Jerusalem for a special event. Then they inquired, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) He answered that it was not for them “to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”—Acts 1:7

Later they were to learn a profound truth—one as yet seen by but a few. It is that the Messiah, or anointed of God, is not just Jesus but includes his church, or body members. They realized from the Scriptures that they were to be spirit beings also and would be joined with him in the messianic work. A heavenly inheritance! What would it be? Note the Apostle John’s words, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us. … Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”—I John 3:1,2

The Apostle Paul—as do others—emphasizes this truth in many places. Note particularly Paul’s explanation in Corinthians. Here he likens the Messiah to a human body. He then states the human body is composed of various members, such as an eye, hand, foot, arm, etc., but still it is just one body. Note his words: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ [the Anointed, the Messiah].” (I Cor. 12:12) He continues the illustration in verse 27: “Now ye are the body of Christ [Messiah, Anointed], and members in particular.”

This would mean that the Messiah (Jesus and the church) would share every office. So say the Scriptures, “Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ [Messiah].” (Rom. 8:17) This would mean that Jesus and his body members would be the “seed” of Abraham which was to bless all families of the earth. Paul confirms this in Galatians 3:29: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Thus we realize that before the kingdom of the Anointed, or the Messiah, comes, the Messiah must be completed. Hence, until the last member goes to his heavenly reward, the world must wait for the blessings promised. But they shall surely come! The blind eyes shall be opened, the deaf ears unstopped. Sickness and death shall cease; those who sleep in death shall awaken.

This great Messiah class, as glorious spirit beings, shall cause it to come to pass. Hear the Word: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying. … Write: for these words are true and faithful.”—Rev. 21:4,5

Dawn Bible Students Association
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