1. The Messiah
The study will now focus on the individual passages in the Old Testament that include prophecies about the Messiah, whether the title is actually used or not. The listing will follow a general historical development where possible, starting with the earliest traditions on the subject and culminating in the fullest, clearest prophetic passages of the prophets.
Not all of the prophecies will refer directly monarchy or anointing, and so we have to broaden the range of the search. Hebrew mashiah (pronounced mah-she-ack), "Messiah," means "the anointed [one]"; translated into Greek it is christos, or "Christ." The Hebrew word is a passive adjective that describes the anointed king. In the broadest sense, every king was a messiah; but the title has come to designate the promised king who would be the Savior.
So this section of the discussion will look at passages that predict a person who will rule as God's anointed, who will put down evil and champion righteousness, who will bring in an age of peace and prosperity, and who will extend his dominion over the nations.
At the center of the revelation is the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7. That passage lays the foundation for the royal psalms and the prophetic predictions of the descendant of David. But earlier than that there were prophecies in seed form, which, without the later depiction of the Messiah would be difficult to interpret. Once the Israelites had an Isaiah, for example, references in the patriarchal traditions or court history would have taken on greater significance.
There will be two recurring elements in all these prophecies: the Messiah was to be a man from a certain line in the nation of Israel, and the LORD Himself was to come to the earth to reign. The Israelite hearer of these messages may not have been able to bring these emphases together except in a general or spiritual way, namely, that God was to be with the Messiah and rule through him. The New Testament would declare their fulfillment in the incarnation.
I will simply go in the order of the Bible to survey these beginning prophecies. As I said, without the rest of Scripture they might not be recognized as Messianic. But they were in the canon, in the context of Scripture, and the Hebrews interpreted them in that light.
This is a general prophecy about the age-long conflict between two seeds, and the suffering and final victory of "the seed of the woman." This unusual expression (a physical impossibility) refers figuratively to her posterity; at first it refers to Cain, and then to the human race, then to the righteous who are the people opposed by the seed of the serpent, and in Galatians to Jesus Christ. This Seed would be dealt a crippling blow ("in the heel"), but would deliver the fatal blow ("in the head"). There is no indication that Eve, or any of the ancients for that matter, understood how this would develop. They simply knew that an individual who was her descendant would finally defeat the evil one.
There is no prophecy here of the Messiah. However, the New Testament refers to the prophecies of Enoch of the coming of the LORD with ten thousands of His holy ones to judge the world (Jude 14,15). It indicates that Enoch had a good understanding of prophecy. Where the information for Jude came from, apart from divine inspiration, is uncertain.
The oracle of Noah after the sin of Ham adds to the general predictions of God's program of blessing. The LORD is the God of Shem. This means that Shem is given a special religious nature and status in the sweep of history--the blessing lost at the Fall will come through this line. God here connects Himself to Shem's descendants in this special way. It is the first time that God is called the God of an individual.
Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-8; 22:14-18
These are some of the promises of the Abraham Covenant. In the first passage God promises to bless all the nations of the world through Abraham, i.e., through his seed. This will find its greatest fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the Seed par excellence, who will bring salvation to all the world. Note that it had been God's plan from the beginning to bring the nations back to the place of blessing. The chosen race, as it were, was chosen for the purpose of bearing the message--that is what it means to be a chosen race.
The second passage is the first clear reference that God will be establishing a kingdom. Kings will come from the womb of Sarah and from Abraham. Kings were not an afterthought in God's plan; the kingship was not God's giving in to a rebellious people. It was prophesied from the beginning. Abraham would be the father of kings. While this does not indicate one sovereign king over all, it lays the foundation for the clear oracle of Jacob in Genesis 49. But here in the covenant is the promise of Seed, Land, and Kings, as God's blessing--and means of blessing others.
In chapter 22 God reiterates the promises of the covenant to Abraham, and reiterates the promise of blessings to all the families of the earth. A little proverb grows up because of this event: "In the Mount of the LORD it will be seen." A proverb has many applications, and this one would certainly have such for Israel's worship on Moriah. But since the whole chapter has Messianic implications (which we will review in the discussion of typology), it will have its greatest fulfillment in Christ.
In the oracle of Jacob, Judah is granted dominion over the Hebrew people; the right to rule remains in that line until "Shiloh" comes. From the context this Hebrew word must refer to a person. The interpretation of "until he comes whose it is" is supported by Ezekiel 21:27, and the Greek (and Latin and Syriac) versions. The interpretation "until the peace giver comes" is not as convincing. A reference to a place Shiloh is even less compelling.
The prophecy holds out the promise that the divinely intended king will come from Judah. He will have universal dominion over people; they will be obedient to him. He will also bring in an age of paradisiacal splendor and abundance, signified by the vine and the grapes and the wine (the water to wine at Cana is the harbinger of this--it was a "sign" that the Messianic age was upon them).
The Targum says this is King Messiah. Revelation 5:5 applies it to Christ. See especially Hengstenberg on this passage (pp. 57-98).
All of Balaam's prophecies show God's blessings on Israel. But in the midst of this one, he introduced "a star out of Jacob" and "a scepter out of Israel." These express the dominion Israel would have; they also describe an ideal ruler in Israel--which the Jews took to be Messiah. The king in the prophecy would destroy Israel's enemies ("the sons of tumult"); but he was not to arise too soon after Balaam (v. 17). In fact, the fulfillment was to be "in the latter days" (v. 14), the same expression that begins Jacob's oracle in Genesis 49.
That this was the prophecy of a pagan diviner from the east, and not from within Israel is all the more compelling. Some have suggested, and not altogether unconvincingly, that when the wise men saw the star and searched their traditions for what it might mean, they might have come upon this text.
Although the passage does not predict a king, the idea of a prophet like Moses comes close to it. Moses was indeed a prophet; he spoke for God. But he was the authority in the theocracy. So this passage ultimately calls for someone who would be the theocratic administrator of the covenant community like Moses, a lawgiver and leader. No other prophet was like Moses (Deut. 34:10); but Jesus was the fulfillment of this word (Jn. 6:14; Lk. 7:16).
The point is confirmed throughout the New Testament in the comparisons between Moses, the leader of the old covenant, and Christ, the leader of the new. God holds everyone responsible to obey the words of Jesus.
1 Samuel 2:10
There were no kings in Israel at the time of Hannah's song, and so the reference must be to the ideal king, the coming Messiah, who would have victory over all the enemies. This is the first time that the phrase "His Anointed" occurs. Universal dominion is predicted.
In the context, in 2:35, there is a hint of Messiah's priesthood. The primary reference is to Zadok's replacing of Eli's line; but the New Testament indicates that Christ is the faithful and righteous priest (Heb. 2:17).
The Davidic Covenant
2 Samuel 7:10-16
This covenant draws on some of the motifs introduced already, and forms the basis for the bulk of Messianic prophecies to follow. The covenant does not replace the Abrahamic and Sinaitic covenants, but is a further amplification of the dominion theme. The Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, is also the Seed of David, a royal heir to the eternal throne.
The provisions are clear: God would appoint a place for the kingdom and the people would leave no more; sinners would not afflict them any more; God would build a house (dynasty) for David that would be eternal; David's kingdom would be established forever; David's throne would be established forever (the right to rule would never be removed); and David's son would build the temple.
The prophecy connects the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of David together forever. The angel said Jesus would take this throne forever (Lk 1:31-33); and Peter said it was to be fulfilled in Christ (Acts 2:30). It began to be fulfilled at the exaltation of Christ (the one born in the line of David being seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high); but according to Scriptures its actual fulfillment lies in the future ("thy kingdom come"). It is inconsistent to say the references to Solomon or to the Son of God in the covenant are literal, but the rest is spiritual or figurative.
Several of the psalms will put elements of the Davidic Covenant into poetry; and so the promises were never lost, even when they had to pray for God to raise up the horn of David (132).
Prophecies During the Monarchy
This is the only directly prophetic psalm in the Book of Psalms. The Royal Psalms and the Enthronement Psalms, as well as other mixed types, will be treated in the class on typology (they had meaning for any Davidic king, but ultimately in Messiah).
Psalm 110 is truly unique, for it is the prophecy of the Royal Priest--an idea the seems to be way before its time. Zechariah will talk of the union of these two offices; but this oracle is much earlier. Delitzsch thinks that David wrote this psalm at the end of his life because of the similarities with the last words of David in the Book of Samuel (2 Sam. 23:1-7).
David records the oracle of the LORD that his descendant was going to be his Lord. This future king would be so much greater than David that he would be seated at the right hand of the Majesty. However David pictured such an exaltation, perhaps in the court fast by the sanctuary, the New Testament sees it at the ascension (Acts 2:34)--He actually would sit at the right hand of the Father.
The next event will be the coming of this king with all the saints and angels--his servants, in holy array, like the dew out of the womb of the morning, suddenly, swiftly present. Whatever they were in the past, they will be willing servants on this day (Rev. 1:7). And Messiah will be given the nations as His footstool, and He will subdue His enemies. But the conquest ends with a vivid human portrayal--he will stop for a drink in the brook. This keeps the reader from losing the point that he is human.
This king will be an eternal high priest--not in the present order of Aaron, but a royal priest like Melchizedek. The priestly emphasis of the first coming and the kingly emphasis of the exaltation and second coming are blended together here. The passage also anticipates the end of the Levitical code.
Hebrews develops the meaning of this prophecy to great length. Melchizedek remains a shadowy figure; he comes on the scene without any record of lineage, without father or mother--he is remembered as a priest and a king. The Melchizedek passage in Genesis is typology; the oracle in Psalm 110 is prophetic--there is only one fulfillment.
Amos, writing about 760 B.C., finishes his book with the prediction that God would raise up the "booth of David that has fallen" and restore it. This begins to assume that there will be a destruction of the nation, exile or captivity, dark days ahead at least, before a final restoration. It will not be clear sailing from king to King.
The expression "in that day" refers to the end of the age when the Messiah will reign universally, putting nations under His dominion. In view of that, and in view of the exaltation of Christ and the beginning of the Church, the apostles saw part of the application as referring to the Gospel's going to the Gentiles (Acts 15:16-17). They took the broader Greek rendering of "nations" for the Hebrew "Edom" in the original context to see the dominion of Christ as first a spiritual one over Jew and Gentile alike.
Hosea wrote between 750 and 715 B.C. He announced judgment because of the evil of the nation; but he also predicted a re-gathering and restoration. In that line of thinking, Israel would be without a king for a while, but in the latter days after they returned to the land Israel would seek the Lord and David would be their king. Some think this verse might mean David occupies a special place with Christ in the future; it may simply be a poetic way to refer to David's greater son who will reign forever.
In chapter 13:9-10 Hosea says God will be their king. They never realized that the son of David and the LORD could be the same person.
In the midst of his prophecies about the coming kingdom of the LORD, Micah predicted certain things about the Messiah. This too was written in the eighth century, approximately 740-700.
God was going to re-gather His people and reign over them forever. The ruler was going to be one whose goings were from everlasting. At the least this means that Messiah was pre-existent; at the most it means He is eternal.
And yet, He was to come from the little town of Bethlehem--just like David. This was a great mystery to Israel, born in a little village, but one whose goings were from everlasting. The reference to His smiting in 5:1 may be a reference to His humiliation before His exaltation. But He will be great in strength and majesty (5:3-4). He will deliver Israel from her enemies, notably Assyria (5:5-6), and fulfill the promises to Abraham (7:20).
Isaiah wrote between 742 and 690 or 680 B.C. His oracles provide the richest of Messianic prophecies. In this passage about the Day of the LORD, he refers to "the Branch of the LORD" who will rule. The expression "Branch of the LORD" is equal to "son of the LORD." This is another indication of the divine nature of Messiah.
The word Branch always refers to the Messiah in the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 23:5-6 it is the righteous Branch of David who will fulfill the Davidic Covenant. In Zechariah 3:8 it is "my servant the Branch" who will be High Priest and remove sin in one day. In Zechariah 6:12=13 it is the "man whose name is Branch" who will be human, yet both priest and king.
The prophecy is a sign to the House of David that in spite of coming war and devastation there will be a future. The sign is that a virgin is pregnant and about to bear a son, whose name will be Immanuel. There was probably some unexpected birth to a young princess in the royal family at the time, because the sign has time limits on it in the context; but that fulfillment is only partial--the true and exact fulfillment occurring with the virgin birth (Matt. 1:23).
The birth would be a sign of the supernatural presence of God with His people. In the incarnation the meaning of Immanuel is exact--Jesus is indeed God in the flesh. The names of the Messiah at the announcement of His birth in Luke all come from the meaning of this chapter of Isaiah. He will be called "Jesus" for He will save His people; the chapter is a prophecy of salvation or deliverance (and the name "Isaiah" means "Yah saves"). He shall be called "the Son of the Most High" which is a reference to the Davidic King on Melchizedek's throne, who was priest of the Most High God (this is Jerusalem's royal ideology). He shall be called "the Son of God"; this is Immanuel.
Some argue that there is no immediate application in Isaiah's time, but the context really demands something. An immediate application does not rule out the fulfillment, but becomes a harbinger of that. Prophets often use oracles with "near views and far views."
Perhaps the best known of the Messianic passages, Isaiah 9 is part of the so-called "Book of Immanuel." Each revelation builds one on another: first the birth, then the enthronement, and finally the reign. This passage focuses on the enthronement.
The passage begins with the prophecy of light shining out of darkness, which was fulfilled according to Matthew 4:14-16 with the appearance of Jesus in Galilee preaching the good news. In Isaiah the darkness comes from chapter 8, the warfare, oppression, and sin of the northern kingdom--Galilee of the Gentiles. Between chapter 8 and 9 the prophetic messages jumps over 700 years, even though there is no indication of that in his day.
Then in chapter 9 the prophet focuses on the Wonder King who, will bring this end of war and time of rejoicing. Here too the oracle includes the birth of the Messiah, but extends to His bringing war to an end and reigning forever in peace. It covers at least 2,000 years. The prophet might have had high hopes for a king coming to power in his days, someone like Hezekiah. But the prophecy is so spectacular that probably no king would have even dared claim to be this.
The poetic line "a child is born, a son is given" is precise in its fulfillment. A child was born, conceived by the Holy Spirit. But the Son was given. Jesus spent much of His time explaining that He was from above--He was sent from the Father into the world. This fits the incarnation (1 Jn. 4:9).
It was common for monarchs in the Iron Age, the tenth through the eighth centuries to be precise, to take to themselves honorific titles, usually four or five of them. The Egyptian kings were famous for this. And we have already seen this with the last words of David. Here the coming Davidic king, the one they have been looking for, will have these titles--but they are not honorific. They actually describe His nature. The four titles are Counselor, God, Father, and Prince. Each is modified by a descriptive term: wonderful, mighty, everlasting, and peace.
Wonder of a Counselor describes the unfathomable and incomparable wisdom and knowledge of Messiah (Mt. 22:15-46). The title Mighty God could be a use of El ("God") to indicate God's representative (see Ps. 45). But Isaiah does not use it that way; and in this section he has spoken of Immanuel--"God with us." The title is applied to Yahweh in 10:21. It certainly indicates His divine nature; but it assures His victory over all enemies (Jn. 20:28). "Father of eternity" is a much stronger indication of His deity. In the Davidic Covenant Yahweh is the Father and the king is the Son! Here it is reversed. Father "of eternity" means more than "everlasting Father." It indicates that He created or produced and governs eternity. The line matches Micah 5:2. And "Prince of Peace" indicates that His rule will be characterized by and produce peace (Isa. 2:4).
Isaiah 10:20-21 tells how the people will return to the Mighty God in the days of Immanuel. This is another reference to Messiah.
Several themes come out here. First, the lineage. Messiah will be a branch/shoot from Jesse. This is a different word than we have seen for Branch. This is neser (pronounced nay-tser). It is very likely that this was interpreted by Matthew to indicate that Jesus was to be a Nazarene. The word includes the idea of a common and simple beginning, which Jesus had in Galilee. It also would convey some measure of demeaning. But the fact that Jesse is introduced traces his lineage back through the royal line. Mentioning Jesse would signify His lowliness, and perhaps indicate that at first He would not be king, not until anointed.
The anointing is represented in the chapter by the reference to the sevenfold spirit of the LORD that will rest on Him. This indicates the divine empowerment for ruling in the areas mentioned (a series of couplets). Because of wisdom and knowledge and discernment and ability and piety, His judgments will be right. Here is a king who will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to establish righteousness and justice in the world. The world has never seen a leader like this.
What follows from such a reign is universal peace and knowledge of the LORD (vv. 6-11); but these will be discussed in the next lecture.
This is also a Messianic oracle, announcing not only that a King will reign in righteousness (v. 1), but that princes will rule with Him. The context shows that a Messianic Age is in view, due to the changes and descriptions.
The people will see the King in His beauty (v. 17). The oracle goes on to say that Jerusalem will be a quiet habitation, and Yahweh will be their king (v. 22). He will save them; He will forgive their iniquity (v. 24).
Here is a prophecy of comfort for the people; the comfort comes from the announcement of the coming of Yahweh, who will rule with power and strength. But the passage describes Him as a Shepherd. This is a common figure in the Bible (and in the ancient Near East) for a king, as well as for other political or spiritual leaders who are to lead the people. The prophecy is a bold picture: it either describes Messiah as God, or it describes God as a human king.
The first part of the passage is an oracle fulfilled in the person and ministry of John the Baptist. The ideas of the wilderness and the highway here are figurative for spiritual void and confusion. But John (and the Essenes) saw the appropriateness of announcing the coming kingdom from the actual wilderness.
The prophecy is of the Messiah who comes to judge the world in holy war. It does not fit the first coming, but the second. The image of treading the winepress vividly portrays a conquest with blood stains. It is figurative, to be sure, very human; but the final judgment will probably be by divine decree. The New Testament passage is Revelation 19:13-15.
For more work on Isaiah you might check F. B. Meyer, Christ in Isaiah, and Sigmund Mowinckel, He That Cometh. These two men are on very different theological levels; but there is much to gain in both.
Here the prophet tells how God will remove unfaithful shepherds and install faithful ones (apostles? saints?). The LORD will also raise up the righteous Branch (v. 5). This king will prosper, and will execute judgment and justice on the earth (v. 5). What is significant is that His name will be called "Yahweh our Righteousness." That is the name, Scripture tells us, that Yahweh will not share with anyone. And so here it indicates the deity of Messiah.
Following the lengthy and rich revelation of the New Covenant (Jer. 31,32), the prophet announces that "the Branch of Righteousness" will bring justice and righteousness to the land. Here Jerusalem will be called "Yahweh our Righteousness"--because of the king who is there. The certainty of this is as sure as the covenant with the sun, moon, and stars. The king will reign forever as the Majestic Ruler (plural of majesty).
Exilic and Post-Exilic Prophecies
God will re-gather His people and will set up a king over them. This king is referred to as "My Shepherd" and "My servant David." The reference to David is probably not literal; it would be a way of referring to the greater David, the son of David.
Ezekiel 45:7-16; 46:2-18
In the age to come there will be a Prince to rule over God's people. Here too the name of David is used, much as in the last passage. This Prince will lead the people in their pure worship.
This lengthy section concerns the sweep of history; it is the Great Image and the Stone. Daniel sees the successive world powers in each part of the statue: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Messiah's reign is set up by the destruction of the former empires. The Messiah/Messianic Kingdom is represented by the Stone cut out of the mountain. It becomes an eternal kingdom.
Messiah, then, is a Stone. Several Old Testament passages, and New Testament applications, will focus on this image. Compare Psalm 118 (in the lecture on Typology).
This passage is parallel to chapter two; it describes the four powers as great beasts (inhumane and fierce kingdoms) from the sea (Gentile world). The last is the beast that represents Rome; but it has the prophecy of the ten horns (kings) that had not yet appeared, and then the little horn, the one called antichrist who will be destroyed at the coming of Christ, marking the end of the times of the Gentiles (= Gentile dominion over God's people).
Verses 13-14 have the vision of the Messiah in glory. One like the Son of Man (contrast with the beasts) comes to the Ancient of Days (God the Father in the vision) and receives the eternal kingdom. That He will come with clouds means that He comes to judge the world. All the saints with Him will inherit His kingdom. The prophecy shows the pre-existence of the Messiah (at least), the origination in heaven (see Mic. 5:2), and the authority to judge the world. Christ Jesus applied this passage to Himself in the presence of Caiaphas, causing the High Priest to accuse Him of blasphemy. Caiaphas was judging Jesus; but the next time around Jesus would be His judge! The tone of the whole prophecy is not one of suffering, but one of ultimate triumph and victory over all pagan government.
This is a very rich, and yet very detailed and involved passage about the times and circumstances of Messiah. It includes the suffering of the Messiah; but I include it here because it gives a general picture of the sweep of history. Daniel writes pertaining to Jews and Jerusalem. "Seventy weeks" makes up the oracle. This period of time is set to accomplish several things: to restrain or finish transgression (Rom. 6:4), to make an end of sin or sin offerings, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), to seal up vision and oracle (He fulfilled them), and to anoint the Most Holy Place. These were partially fulfilled in the first coming, but must await the second advent for completion.
The period of time known as "seventy weeks" begins with the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem, which most probably refers to the decree of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah on Nisan 1 (March 4/5) 444 B.C. (Neh. 2:1-8). After 69 weeks the Messiah would be cut off, indicating He would not receive the kingdom then. We know that Jesus died the 14th of Nisan, 33 A.D. (see below). So that time period is what Daniel is predicting. The term sebu`ah (pronounced she-boo-ah) is a heptad or period of seven, or "week" in the interpretations. Jeremiah had predicted that the nation would be in captivity for 70 years because they had not kept the sabbath years to let the land lie in rest; the captivity was back-payment for these omissions (Jer. 25:11 and 29:10). Each of the 70 years of captivity, then, represented seven years. On the basis of that, Daniel sees 70 time periods stretching into the future, and so each of those 70 likewise represent seven years. Seven of these periods would be 49 years; and from the time references in the context that works--from the decree given to rebuild Jerusalem (March 5, 444 B.C.) to the completion of the building of Jerusalem with moat and plaza (Ezra 10:9; Est. 4:6; 2 Chron. 32:6; Neh. 8:1,3).
A lot of scholars gloss over this section as "mere symbolism"; but the text of Daniel is too specific for that. He is concerned with exact time frames and precise events. So how does it come out? Let's test it and see what happens--and then you can decide if it is vague symbolism.
Daniel has 70 "weeks"; but after 69 of these the Messiah would be cut off. If the unit is seven years, then 70 "weeks" would be 490 years. So 69 weeks would be 483 years--if one uses solar years. The total of 483 solar years would come out to 38 A.D. But they did not use solar years. They were on the lunar system. How did that work? There is good evidence that the year was calculated as 360 days, or 12 equal months of 30 days. Then, after an interval of years, a thirteenth month would be added to bring the calendar and the harvest back into harmony. We see in the story of the Flood that the waters of the Flood began on the 17th day of the second month, and ended on the 17th day of the seventh month, which we are told is 150 days--five months of 30 days. John in Revelation takes the Old Testament prophecies of the end-times and calculates the three and a half years (times, time and half a time) as 42 months to be 1260 days. That is 42 months of 30 days to get 1260 days. So we are on good ground to say that 360 days made up a year in the prophetic calendar (see Hoehner, Chronology).
Now it is a matter of mathematics: 69 weeks times seven years times 360 days will give us the number of days in the prophecy: 173,880 days. So Daniel is saying after the decree of March 5, 444 B.C., there are 173,880 days until Messiah is cut off.
Now, this can be verified with our calendar system. The difference between 444 B.C. and 33 A.D. is 476 solar years. How many days is that? By multiplying 476 by 365.24219879 (or by 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45.975 seconds), one gets 173,855 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes, 44 seconds--or 173,855 days. There is a difference of 25 days. But the solar reckoning is from March 5, 444 to March 5, 32 A.D. So if we add the difference of the 25 days to March 5, we come to March 30 (of A.D. 33), which in the year 33 A.D. was Nisan 10. That is the Monday of the Passion Week, the day of the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus died Nisan 14, 33 A.D., or April 3, 33 A.D.
The prophecy continues then to describe the people of the prince who was to come and try to destroy God's program. Daniel's oracle at this point becomes very general, saying that there would be wars until the great destruction at the end of the age. The statement that Messiah was to be cut off "after" the 69th week, but not in the 70th week, is very unusual, and can only be explained by an interval of unknown length between the 69th and 70th week. This is often the way Old Testament prophetic perspective works, for they look to the future and see the pinnacles of events, but not necessarily how close the events are. In Matthew 24 and 25 Jesus Himself predicts the destruction of Jerusalem after His death and the great wars and abominations that come at the end of the age prior to His return. His disciples could not discern from the way that is laid out that there would be 2000 years at least between some of the sections. So Daniel's discussion of the great desecrations looks to the end of the age.
In this night vision the prophet foresees that Messiah the Branch will remove iniquity in one day. This refers to His priestly ministry. The prophet also calls Him the Stone--the Stone that was cut (or engraved) with the cuttings, producing facets. Some suggest with good support that the cutting is the crucifixion; that the picture is of a common stone, an uncut stone, being cut, and that would result in a glorious gem with many facets. The brilliant diamond will come again in the second advent. At any rate, the cutting is clearly connected with the removal of sin. The seven facets could correspond to the sevenfold Spirit of Isaiah 11.
Messiah again is called the Branch. This prophecy shows that the Messiah is both a Priest and a King. He will unite those two offices in Himself, and will vindicate all the Old Testament prophecies. The earlier night vision of the prophet in which he saw two olive trees also represents these two offices.
Here is the well-known prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. In the first coming (v. 9) the King comes to Jerusalem. He is righteous; He has salvation to dispense; He comes humbly; and He comes in peace. The idea of riding on a donkey signifies peace, not lowliness. Kings rode donkeys in peace, horses and chariots in war. It was not an animal that the very poor would have. Recall how some of the judges had 30 and 40 sons who rode donkeys and judged cities. Verse 9 was literally fulfilled by Jesus at the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
In verse 10 we have the second coming of Messiah. He will abolish weapons of war, He will establish universal peace among the nations, and His dominion will be universal.
The prophet gives Messiah three great titles: Cornerstone, Nail, and Battle Bow. He will drive out the oppressors. The LORD will establish a new program for His people; He will gather them and make them secure by driving away the enemies.
Here is the prophecy about the second coming of Christ in glory. Nations will be gathered against Jerusalem; but when the destruction is at its greatest, the Lord will come. His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (v. 4), which will be split to form a great valley east to west. Water will flow out of the city from sea to sea. People will flee from the earthquake. But the point is that the LORD will come and all the saints with Him; He will be king over all the world and rule with a rod of iron.
Malachi means "my messenger." There are several messengers in the book--priests, the forerunner, the Messiah, the prophet himself. Chapter 3 declares that a forerunner (John) will come and prepare the way, and then "the Lord, the Messenger of the Covenant, whom you seek, whom you desire, will suddenly come to His temple." This is the announcement of the coming of the Messiah, because this Lord is the desire and hope of the people, and He is Lord of the Temple. Messiah, then, is equated with Yahweh--because the Temple is the House of Yahweh in the Old Testament. The passage is fulfilled in Jesus, for the first verse is the prediction of John the Baptist (Mt. 11:10); and when Jesus says this, He actually changes the pronouns to make sure His listeners knew that He, Jesus, is the LORD.
The passage goes on to include descriptions that now await the second coming. He will come as a Judge and Refiner, burning up and destroying all wickedness. But the chapter (4 in the English) ends with the announcement that before that great day of judgment He will send Elijah the prophet to turn the hearts to the LORD. John fits the qualifications of this prophecy at the end of the book; however, he specifically disowned it (Jn. 1:21). So there must be another fulfillment before the end of the age (Rev. 11:3-12?). Malachi has a certain ambiguity to it. The messenger of 3:1 and Elijah of chapter 4 could be the same person, or they might not. He never says they are. And Jesus simply said, "If you receive it, this is Elijah who should come." But they did not receive Him, or His message of the Kingdom, and so the end of the age did not come.
1 Chronicles 17:7-27
The kingdoms of Israel and Judah had long since been destroyed; even under the returns with Ezra and Nehemiah there was no one who could fulfill this covenant. And yet the Chronicler continues to reiterate that the covenant was eternal (12-14; 23-24). This included the house of David, the throne, and the kingdom. So the Old Testament closes with the assurance of the coming Messiah and His Kingdom.
2. The Messianic Age
We now want to look back through the major prophecies and gain a better understanding of what life was to be like once Messiah came. We are not reading New Testament here; we are looking at Old Testament passages, and so will not distinguish the two advents at this point. The Messianic Age simply describes how things will be under His kingship. It will become clear to even the casual reader of the New Testament that most of these oracles have yet to be fulfilled. But the Old Testament believer, and the first century Jews, would not have known anything about that. These passages made up their vision of what Messiah was going to do when He came. With these passages in mind, we will be better able to understand what people meant in the Gospels when they spoke of the Messiah.
The Prophetic Descriptions
Messiah Will Destroy Israel's Enemies
One of the major changes that would come about when Messiah was to come would be the vindication of Israel. "Elijah" would come first, preparing people's hearts for the appearance (Mal. 4). But then the way the beginning of the end was foreseen was that nations would be gathered against Israel in a time of gloom and darkness, and then Messiah would come and destroy them in judgment. His victory would be the judgment of the nations and end all wars.
All the nations will be gathered against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:1-14; Ezek. 38-39); they will be drawn to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2-16; Obad. 21).
These nations fighting against Israel will fail (Isa. 29:1-8; Isa. 54:17; and Jer. 30:8).
The Messiah will come to the Mount of Olives and destroy them (Zech. 14:12-15); He will remove the armies of the north (Joel 2); He will destroy the sons of tumult (Num. 24:17-19).
He will come with His holy angels and His willing servants (Ps. 110); He will bring judgment at the winepress of His wrath (Isa. 63:1-6)).
This will be the Day of Vengeance (Isa. 61:1-7), when the LORD comforts His people by pouring out wrath on the wicked of the world (Mal. 4:1; Deut. 30:7-9).
It will be the beginning of the Day of the LORD (Obad. 15; Amos 5:18-20), a period of time known for divine intervention to judge and to bless. The Great Day of the LORD will be the time that human history is at its worst, and suffering the most. It will be the time of the abomination of desolation (Dan. 9), characterized by
darkness and gloom that go with the chaos of war and the judgment of God (Joel 2:1-11). Signs in the heavens will signal the end of the age (Joel 2:30-32).
He will remove the reproach of the Jews at that time (Isa. 25:8) so that sinners will no longer afflict Israel (2 Sam. 7:10).
He will bring them the long awaited comfort/consolation as He ends the wars and ends the punishment for sin (Isa. 40:1-2); He will set the prisoners free (Isa. 61:1-3).
They will burn up the garments rolled in blood (Isa. 9:1-6) and cause war to cease (Zech. 9:10) so that the weapons can be changed into peaceful instruments (Isa. 2:4)
Messiah Will Establish His Eternal Kingship
The prophets also foresaw that when Messiah came to deliver them from their enemies, He would establish once again the Davidic Kingdom and rule the world with the rod of iron.
His kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom as a result of the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:11,16; Ps. 89:3-6, 20-37; Isa. 55:3; Jer. 33:17-22; and Jer. 33:14-26).
His reign would be universal (Isa. 2:3); He would rule the nations (Gen. 49:8-10).
He would rule with a rod of iron (Ps. 2).
He would have His servants reign with Him (Isa. 32:1-20).
His decisions would be just because He would judge by divine inspiration and wisdom (Isa. 11:1-5; Psalm 45; Jer. 23:5).
Jerusalem will be the center of His reign (Mic. 4:2).
Messiah Will Re-gather His People
The prophecies also tell how the people will be re-gathered from the world to their land when Messiah comes. It is not clear whether this is prior to, simultaneous with, or following His coming.
The Israelites, the outcasts, will be re-gathered to the land (Isa. 11:11).
They will first be brought together as a nation, and then they will be made spiritually alive (Ezek. 37).
The covenant promises will be renewed to them and they will be given their inheritance from the Abrahamic Covenant (Ezek. 11:17-21; Ezek. 16:60-63; Ezek. 28:25-26; Ezek. 34:11-31; Jer. 3:14-18; Jer. 30:3-11; Jer. 32:37-41; Zech. 8:7, 10:4-12; Obad. 7).
The people will be rooted in the land (Isa. 27:6); they will rebuild and never be scattered (Amos 9:14-15).
Messiah Will Redeem His People
The prophecies all tell of the spiritual life or conversion of the people at the end of the age, and how they will be purified and restored to their priestly service.
Israel will be converted (Deut. 30:3-6; Mic. 4:6-7; Ezek. 20:38, 36:8-38, 37:1-28; Isa. 54).
The people will be restored to their priestly service (Isa. 61:6, 66:20-21; Jer. 32:37-41; Zech 3, 12:10-14).
Messiah Will Restore Pure Religion
Not only will the people of Israel be converted, but masses of people from the nations as well; and they will come to worship the LORD in the holy city which will be purified.
Messiah will destroy all false worship (Isa. 2:19-20); all the pride and confusion of Babel will be reversed with this re-gathering of the dispersed people in humility to the holy mountain where people will speak a pure language (Zeph. 3:9-15).
Jerusalem will be purified and cleansed (Isa. 4:2-6; Joel 3:17-18), so that the LORD can dwell there (Isa. 24:33; Zech. 8:3-8).
Sin will be removed (Zech. 13:1-9; Isa. 4:2-6; Zech. 3:8); it will be purged (Isa. 27:9).
Mount Zion will be the mountain of holiness (Obad. 17); a fountain will be opened in the House of the LORD and will flow through the valley east and west; and people will worship there (Isa. 27:13; Ezek. 47:1-12).
A New High Priest will serve (Ps. 110).
Messiah Will Bring Universal Salvation
The prophets foresaw universal salvation, Israel and the nations, of those who were not destroyed in the judgment (universal salvation meaning after the judgment of the wicked only the saved will remain--not that everyone today will be there [that is the false teaching of universalism]).
The Spirit of the LORD will be poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28-29, 30-31), but especially on the seed of Abraham, Israel (Isa. 44:3; Zech 4:6; Isa. 32:3-5; Ezek. 36:27, 37:14).
Messiah will be empowered by the Spirit to announce and bring in the deliverance (Isa. 61:1-3); He will reign by the gifts of the Spirit (Isa. 11:1-9).
He will be a light to the nations (Isa. 9:1-2, 11:10, 49:6).
Nations will seek Him (Isa. 60:3); they will come to worship (Isa. 66:23; Zech. 8:20-22, 14:16-21).
All will know the LORD (Isa. 11:9, 32:1-20; Jer. 31:31-37; Ezek. 38:22).
He will be the light (Isa. 60:9).
Messiah Will remove the Effects of the Curse
Dramatic changes were to take place in the whole creation, changes that would reverse the effects of the curse.
It will be a time that sees the resurrection of the dead (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12).
All sorrow and dying will cease (Isa. 25:7-8).
There will be no premature deaths (Isa. 65:20).
There will be no physical defects and ailments (Isa. 35:3-6); they will all be cured.
Messiah Will Bring Universal Peace and Righteousness and Joy
With the salvation, and by the Spirit, peace and righteousness and joy, which have long eluded the race, will be ushered in with the advent of the Messiah. The weary and the burdened would fine the long awaited refreshment and rest.
He will bring lasting peace to the world (Isa. 2:4; 9:6,7; 11:6-9); it will be a covenant of peace that He makes (Ezek. 34:25); there will be no more violence (Isa.
54:13-14; 60:18); it will be a time of peace and rest (Isa. 32:16-17; Jer. 31:25).
Universal righteousness will be brought with the peace (Isa. 9:6-7; 11:3-5; 32:16-17; 54:13-14; and Mal. 4:2).
All the people will be righteous (Isa. 60:21); sinners will be dealt with immediately (Isa. 65:20).
Joy will characterize life in this age (Isa. 35:10; 60:15; 65:18,19).
People will dwell in their lands with their possessions (Zech. 3:10).
Messiah Will Bring Changes to the Creation
He will also renovate the creation to restore a pristine creation, where everything will flourish with His blessing. Only then will people realize what might have been.
The geography of the land will change dramatically (Ezek. 47:1-12; Zech. 14:4-10), so that the Mount of Olives will be divided, and water will run from Jerusalem to the Great Sea and to the Dead Sea (Zech. 14:1-21).
The Dead Sea will be changed to living water to be fished (Ezek. 47:1-12).
The desert will blossom like the rose (Isa. 35:1-2); the wilderness will be fruitful (Isa. 32:15) and be fertile, with the parched ground having pools of water and reeds and marshes (Isa. 35:6-7).
The age will be filled with abundance of wine (Gen. 49:8-10) and prosperity in the land (Deut. 30:7-9; Deut. 27-30; Mic. 4:4-5; and 2 Sam. 7:10).
Evil beasts will cease (Ezek. 34:25; Isa. 11:1-10).
This all may be part of the new heaven and a new earth, probably a renovation as in Genesis 1 (Isa. 65:17-25).
Significance for the Gospel Narratives
The Words and Works of Jesus
Although we shall come back to this later in the study, it is important at this point to note how Jesus claimed to be Messiah by both His words and His works. The claims themselves would have been worthless (see Matt. 9). But His miracles supported His claims, and demonstrated He could do what Messiah was to do:
He had authority over nature and could change it (walk on water, calm storms, multiply food, change water to wine).
He had authority over the spirit world (casting out demons, healing the afflicted, opposing spiritual darkness in high places).
He had authority over life and death (healing the sick--blind, lame, deaf, dumb--and raising the dead).
He had authority over sin (forgave sins).
He offered salvation, brought the light to Gentiles, called people to righteousness, promised and gave peace and eternal rest for their souls.
He had authority over rulers and governments by condemning and controlling them.
But He reserved His angels for the great fight to come, and He only did enough works to demonstrate He was Messiah and should be trusted--the rest is yet to come.
The Expectations of the People
Knowing the Old Testament prophecies, and witnessing the words and works of Jesus, the people fully expected these things to be fulfilled in their lifetime. Several important passages need to be studied in this regard:
The Song of Zacharias (Luke 1:67-80). When the aged father of John the Baptist was enabled to speak, the Holy Spirit prophesied through him saying:
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
for He has visited and worked redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us,
in the house of His servant David
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets
that have been from of old,
Salvation from our enemies,
and from the hand of all who hate us;
To show mercy towards our fathers,
and to remember His holy covenant;
The oath which He swore
to Abraham our father
To grant unto us that we being delivered
out of the hand of our enemies
should serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness
before Him all our days.
Indeed, and you, child,
shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you shall go before the face of the LORD
to make ready His ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto His people
in the remission of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the Dayspring from on high
shall visit us,
To shine upon them who sit in darkness
and the shadow of death,
to guide our feet in the way of peace.
The Oracle of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35). When Mary and Joseph came to the Temple to complete the purification rites, a man named Simeon met them. He was looking for the consolation of Israel. It had been revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen Yahweh's Messiah. He came and held the baby Jesus and said,
Now let your servant depart, Lord,
according to Your word, in peace;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
which you have prepared before all people;
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Then Simeon blessed Joseph and Mary, and said to Mary, his mother:
Behold, this child is set
for the falling and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign that is spoken against;
Yea, and a sword shall pierce through your own soul
that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
The Problem of John the Baptist (Matthew 3 and 11). John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the world as the Messiah, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. He announced that Jesus was mightier than he, one whose shoes he was not worthy to unloose, one who should baptize him. But he submitted and baptized Jesus to fulfill all righteousness. He heard the voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
But John was put into prison in Macharias. And he sent his disciples to Jesus, saying,
Are you the Messiah, or do we look for another?
Jesus' answer confirmed that He was the Messiah--but he would not at this time set the prisoners free (Isa. 61). John was simply wanting the Messiah to do what the Messiah was supposed to do. And Jesus' praise of John to the disciples is unparalleled.
The Witness of the Woman of Samaria (John 4). In His conversation with the woman at the well, Jesus revealed Himself more clearly than on most occasions. They were discussing where true worship should take place, and Jesus explained that it would be made new. She said,
I know that Messiah comes (he that is called Christ); when He has come, He will declare unto us all things.
Jesus said to her, "I that speak to you am He." The woman ran to the village telling of these things:
Come, see a man, who told me all things that I ever did;
Can this be the Messiah?
Many people believed because of the word of the woman. And they came to see Jesus. But their witness was also valid:
Now we believe, not because of your [the woman's] speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.
The Confession of Peter (Matthew 16,17). Peter responded clearly to Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?"
You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!
Jesus acknowledged that this was correct, that the revelation of this truth through the Son (Mt. 11:27) had been successful. So he announced that the New Covenant would be built on this rock (contrast Isa. 51:1), the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. But the fact that the disciples could not receive the revelation of His suffering and death shows that their understanding of the Messiah was incomplete. They fully understood the glory of the Messianic age and the proper response to it; when they saw the Son of God in His brilliant glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, they thought the end of the age had come, that the Great Feast of Tabernacles should be celebrated (Mt. 17:4). Later, they would reflect on how they had seen the glory of the only begotten Son (Mt. 17:1-8; Jn. 1:14).
The Faith of Martha (John 11:17-46). The occasion was the death of Lazarus, just weeks before the passion of our Lord. Lazarus died and was buried. When Jesus finally came, Martha was overcome with grief. The story reads as follows:
Martha therefore said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. And even now I know that whatsoever you shall ask of God, God will give it to you."
And Jesus said to her, "Your brother shall rise again."
Martha says to Him, "I know that He shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes on me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
She says to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."
And, of course, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead because He has authority over life and death. Those who believe in the Messiah are not on their way to the grave, but are passing through death to the land of the living.
These people, and many others, clearly understood some of the Old Testament revelation about the Messiah, drawing heavily upon the directly prophetic passages. But there was much more, as Jesus' rebuke of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus reveals. They had thought that Jesus was the Messiah, but He died! Jesus says,
O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in ALL that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things, and to enter His glory?
"And beginning from Moses and from ALL the prophets, He interpreted to them in ALL the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." The operative word here is "all." They saw only a part of it, not the whole.
3. Prophecies of the Suffering Messiah
We now come to consider the Old Testament passages that describe the suffering Messiah. The difficulty here is that there are very few passages that put this material all together. There are passages about Messiah; and there are passages about the suffering individual or leader, at times suffering for the benefit of others. We will probably have to include here passages that are indirectly prophetic--typological passages.
Directly Prophetic Passages
The discussion will focus first on passages that are clearly talking about the Messiah's suffering. The title "Messiah" might not be there, but the context will clearly identify who is the subject.
While this passage is rather general, as was pointed out previously, it came to be understood as a prophecy of Messiah's victory over evil and the evil one. But in the lines we have "he shall bruise you in the heel." With this understatement the writer is saying the evil one will try to destroy the "Seed of the woman" but will only deal a crippling blow (hence the use of the synecdoche, "heel").
In the same context where the prophet tells of the birth in Bethlehem, he tells how the enemies "shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek." The reference is probably primarily to an immediate setting, a current leader who is "judge of Israel"; however, it would still have a significant connection to the New Testament (Matt. 27:30; Mk. 15:19), and would be at least typological of the Messiah. This is not a strong passage, but almost certainly points to the New Testament as the second verse does.
As we have already seen, the oracle of the end of the age includes a very powerful expression: "and after 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself . . ." This reference almost certainly announces that when the Messiah comes, he will have to endure a time of waiting to claim His throne, because he will be cut off, i.e., killed. So the Messiah will not come immediately to take the throne and expel Israel's enemies. His death will be vicarious, because he will not be cut off for himself.
The prophet Zechariah lived after the return from captivity, at a time when spirits were high and hopes of realizing what the prophets had foretold were active. He prophesied both in 520 B.C. and 480. His message concerns the restoration of Israel as the priestly nation at the end of the age.
Zechariah 3. In his night vision of Joshua the high priest, the prophet foretells that the LORD's servant the Branch will come, and that the LORD will remove the sin of the land in one day. While the passage does not lay the points out unambiguously, it is clear that the Branch will be instrumental in removing the sin, and that removal will involve the cutting of the Stone--another image for Messiah as we have seen. If this were all Zechariah had to say on the subject, there would be more questions than solutions.
Zechariah 9:9. Here there is just a slight hint that things will be other than expected. The Messiah will come to Jerusalem "lowly and riding on an ass." It is just a stark contrast to the way the coming is described throughout--with a triumphant destruction of the wicked.
Zechariah 11:7-17. Here we have the prophecy of the Good Shepherd. The prophet gives the object lesson of the two staves. One he called "Beauty" (or, "Graciousness"), and the other he called "Bands" (or, "Union"). The stave "Beauty" is cut asunder that he might break his covenant with the peoples (v. 10). The poor of the flock (the remnant) know that it was the word of the LORD (v. 11).
Israel rejects the Good Shepherd (vv. 12-13). The price was the price of a slave--30 pieces of silver. This sum was clearly an insult.
He cast the silver to the potter in the House of the LORD (v. 13), or, it was cast down in the Temple so that it would go to the potter. All of this was fulfilled by Judas (see Matt. 27:5-10) which combines this text with Jeremiah to gain the family of passages that mention silver and potter in conjunction with redemption.
He broke the stave "Bands" that he might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. This means there will be no union between these tribes without the King.
Zechariah 12:10-14. These verses prophecy the national conversion of Israel at the end of the age. The LORD will pour upon the House of David the spirit (Spirit) or grace and supplications (v. 10). This must not be confused with the event at Pentecost, for the language is different, and no great mourning took place at that time.
The result of this is that they will "look upon Me whom they have pierced". The reference is directly to the crucifixion of the Messiah; when Christ appears in glory they will recognize what they have done to their own Messiah (Rev. 1:7). And then they will mourn for him greatly, as if for the death of an only son; they will mourn individually and by families (vv. 11-14). This presupposes true repentance and conversion (Rom. 11:26-29).
Zechariah 13:1-9. The theme continues in this chapter. In that day there will be a fountain of cleansing opened for Israel (v. 1) and sin will be removed from them (Rom. 11:27). False prophets will be removed from the land (vv. 2-6). The cause of false prophets, the unclean spirit (Satan?) will be removed from the land.
The thought turns then to the basis of the cleansing, which we know took place at the first advent of Christ. The Shepherd is described as the companion or fellow of the LORD (v. 7). This means that He is equal to or a companion of the LORD, suggesting strongly Messiah's divinity. But the Shepherd will be smitten (Matt. 26:31), and all His sheep will be scattered. This was fulfilled in Christ's death on the cross when the disciples all fled. But the point is that Messiah will be smitten--killed--in order to make the way for Israel's salvation.
The passage closes with a return to the events at the end of the age (vv. 8-9): Israel will be crushed by the evil tyrant. Only a remnant will survive to believe in the LORD Christ and find cleansing in the fountain.
Indirectly Prophetic Passages
There are several psalms written by David that the New Testament applies to Christ. One could possibly have argued that these were simply applications of the idea of the psalms, that good people suffer in every age; but the New Testament asserts that David, being a prophet, foresaw the Christ events and spoke of them (Acts 2:30,31).
The passage immediately in mind in Acts 2 is Psalm 16. David in this psalm takes great comfort in the thought that the LORD will not abandon His Holy One in Sheol. For David, this could have meant that God would not let him die and see corruption, but in the circumstances of his day would deliver him from such an impending fate. And yet his words go beyond that experience and become historically true in Jesus, the Messiah. They are more accurately applied to the resurrection from the grave than deliverance from death.
The Holy One, then, is ultimately Jesus Christ. His life was not abandoned to Sheol. In the Old Testament this word refers to (1) Hell, the realm of departed spirits of the wicked, (2) the grave, the place of burial, (3) death, and/or (4) extreme danger that will lead to death. Since the psalm is speaking about corruption of the body, it must mean the grave when it mentions Sheol.
So the psalm is ultimately referring to a "Holy One," a descendant of David, who would not see corruption in the grave. This assumes suffering and the danger of death at the least, death and burial at the most. But it is certainly not the picture of the triumphant coming of the Messiah to judge the world.
Psalm 22. This is the most intense description of the suffering servant. It was written by David to lament his suffering at the hands of enemies who were methodically putting him to death-the death of an execution. The Spirit of God inspired the psalmist to use extravagant words for his situation, with a view to the fulfillment. These words become historically true in Jesus Christ.
There are seven prophecies here that were fulfilled in Christ's suffering on the cross: the cry from the cross (v. 1), the mocking of the crowd (v. 7), the bones out of joint (v. 14), the thirst from the suffering (v. 15), the piercing of hands and feet (v. 16), the staring crowd (v. 17), and the casting of lots for the vesture (v. 18). But even the ending of the psalm seems all out of proportion to the Davidic experience--the world will hear about this and come to worship the LORD.
The passage could only be seen as hyperbole if applied just to David. But even there it is a picture of the King suffering. The psalm was regarded as Messianic by the Jews, however; at the cross they deliberately quoted from this passage because they knew that it was Messianic and they knew that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. It is one of the most remarkable instances of spiritual blindness.
Psalm 40. Although this passage does not include suffering, it does nonetheless portray the serving Messiah. The psalm is a dedication psalm in which the speaker declares that he has come to do the will of God. God prepared a body for him; and in the roll of the book it is written of him; and so the only thing that would please God is the commitment to do His will. The writer to the Hebrews saw this passage having its greatest--if not only--fulfillment in Jesus Christ. No one else lived a perfectly obedient life but Jesus; He came to be an obedient servant. And in the truest sense the fulfillment came in the incarnation where a body was prepared.
The passage forms a link to the Suffering Servant passages in Isaiah. Messiah was first to come as a servant, obedient to the Father in heaven. His service would include preaching righteousness to people (40:9-10); but in it widest meaning it would be to redeem people (40:6-10).
Psalm 41:9. The New Testament applies this passage in part to the experience of Jesus--he was betrayed by his familiar friend (John 13:18-19). It could be seen as typology; but it may simply be a case of analogical application.
Psalm 69. There are several lines in this psalm of David that also find their fulfillment in David's greater son, Jesus. The first is that the suffering king will be hated without a cause (v. 4; John 15:25). The second is that the zeal of the house of the LORD consumes Him (v. 9; John 2:17). Third, they will give him vinegar to drink in His suffering (v. 21; John 19:28-29). And, His enemies will be made desolate (v. 25; Acts 1:20).
This, and other Davidic psalms, were seen as Messianic because the concept of David the King suffering could not be separated from the ideal king in the line of David. He too would have enemies and have to endure suffering, but would triumph. The disciples saw this work out, and could easily cite the passages in telling the story of Jesus.
Psalm 118. In the midst of this psalm of praise we have the famous line, "The Stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner." In the original context this referred to the political leader/king representing Israel in exile. The builders were the empires who rejected the puppet state of Israel and its representative king. The return from captivity saw Israel again renewed, and becoming the cornerstone in God's program.
Matthew presents Jesus as the true Israel, the Seed par excellence. Since Jesus expounded this psalm during the passion week, Matthew included it in his message of the Savior. Jesus is the Stone, because He is Messiah (Dan. 2:34; Zech. 3:9, 4:7; Eph. 2:20). And so the common people acknowledged this and proclaimed, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD." "Hosanna." The builders were now the leaders of Israel--they rejected Him. But He would become the head of the corner anyway--a new program.
The point is that the Stone was to be rejected by those responsible to build the nation. But after the rejection He would build a new program. And Peter would distinguish: He is either the foundation stone or the stumbling stone.
Two of the Servant Songs address the suffering of the Servant. The first is Isaiah 50:4-10. In its original context the speaker is the prophet. The people were suffering in exile, and they had concluded that God had cast them off. But the prophet affirms that He too is suffering, and God had not cast Him off. One can suffer and be pleasing to God, who will vindicate him in the end. We are told that the prophets could not fully understand how the Messiah could both suffer and reign in glory (1 Pet. 1:10,11).
So the Servant Songs are prophetic of the Messiah; and thus the greatest fulfillment of these words is with Jesus. The main point is that the Servant submits to great suffering (vv. 5,6), which was fulfilled quite literally in Matthew 26:67. And yet through it all He is convinced that God will vindicate Him.
Isaiah 52:13--53:12. This is the greatest song of the Suffering Servant. It was probably written out of the immediate circumstance to portray the ideal sufferer in God's service. And yet while there could be some application to any sufferer (as Peter applies it), ultimately it can only be of Jesus. For the suffering is not merely vicarious and substitutionary--it is redemptive. Here is the only place where one of the sacrifices is applied to a person (v. 10); here then is where the typology of the sacrifices and the servant come together.
The song is arranged in five stanzas of three verses each; and the first line of each stanza is a summary of the stanza, just as the first stanza is a summary of the song. It traces the development of the idea of suffering being the way to glory. The speaker is the prophet, speaking on behalf of the nation. And so this passage becomes a fitting national confession for Israel.
The passage describes the humble beginnings of the servant; there was no reason to be drawn to him. And when this servant was so marred with suffering, they wanted nothing to do with him.
But his suffering was for their sins, not for his. All of them had gone astray; but the Lord laid on Him their iniquity, so they could be healed. Of no other person in history could this be said than of Jesus.
And the details of his suffering were fulfilled perfectly at the cross. He opened not His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter; there was no guile in His mouth; and He was buried with the rich. There was no protest; and there was no sin to deserve this. It was a willing death--because it was the LORD's will.
The outcome of it was that many would be justified by His death, for He poured out His life for the sins of many and made intercession for them. By the knowledge of Him they are justified.
Jesus clearly claimed to be the Servant who came to give His life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). And in the Upper Room He incorporated this passage in His words over the cup by the reiteration of "many" and "remission of sins." The passage, then, becomes one of the strongest and clearest prophecies of Jesus' substitutionary death, fulfilling the divine plan revealed in the Day of Atonement and the Guilt Offering. The only explanation for its rejection or misunderstanding is spiritual blindness (2 Cor. 3:15; 4:4).
Any use of Scripture by later writers of Scripture is based on the presupposition that the literature of ancient Israel has far-reaching theological significance. The biblical hermeneutists all saw that the record of God's dealings through His people was constantly moving forward from promise to fulfillment.
The apostles saw that the Old Testament in general was the history of the promise that was being fulfilled through and in Christ--but even the advent of Christ brought the promise of a new fulfillment, another advent. Many prophecies were seen in a new and clearer light because of the first advent. But many Scriptures of apparently non-prophetic substance all of a sudden seemed to carry a new significance in the light of the Christ. These we call types. All such interpretations of the Bible reveal an understanding of the process of development and fulfillment of the promises of God.
There is hardly any hermeneutical principle applied more freely than typology. But if it is a hermeneutical principle, then we must be able to write some description and certain guidelines to follow. If we cannot, then as von Rad says, we are not dealing with a principle that can be controlled, but with one that cannot be taught, cannot be learned, cannot be checked by an academic assessment--all of which means that it is not a hermeneutic principle at all.
A type is a divinely intended illustration of a corresponding reality. But the best defining description I have come across is by Barbara Lewalski in Protestant Poetics; she writes:
Typology . . . [is] a mode of signification in which both type and antitype are historically real entities with independent meaning and validity, forming patterns of prefiguration, recapitulation, and fulfillment by reason of God's providential control of history. In precise terms, typology pertains to Old Testament events, personages, ceremonies, and objects seen to foreshadow and to be fulfilled in Christ and the New Dispensation (p. 111).
Note especially that its validity rests on the fact of God's sovereign control of history, by which He established institutions or directed events with a view to the fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The type retains its historical and contextual meaning; but with the arrival of the antitype, it takes on another significance that harmonizes with the original meaning but looks to the future for its greatest meaning.
Biblical typology is a form of prophecy, but it is hidden and indirect. It is a form of prophecy because the Holy Scriptures are inspired by God. Typology and prophecy accomplish the same thing but from different means. Prophecy is explicitly stated in linear history, but typology looks back to the events and discerns that the New was already in the Old implicitly.
Typology must be distinguished from archetypal symbols. A pure type has but one antitype; an archetype has many. For example, passover is a type of the death of Christ. There will be no other fulfillment. Cain, on the other hand, is an archetype. He is held up by the New Testament as the paradigm of hatred. There is no "fulfillment" for Cain, per se; but everyone who hates a brother is a murderer like Cain.
Expositors must follow some sort of rules for identifying and interpreting types. Unfortunately, students of the Bible seem to go to one or the other extreme--either they ignore the subject entirely or do nothing with it at all, or they see typology everywhere. And some of that can be rather far-fetched; it is more like some of the contemplative ideas of the early mystical writers in the Church. For example, Samson ripping up the gates of the city prefigures Jesus destroying the gates of Hell, the prayer of Jonah from the fish is the prayer of Jesus to be raised from the dead, the beloved in the Song of Solomon looking through the lattice is the blood of Jesus looking through the wounds and waiting to spill, the wood of the table is the humanity of Jesus and the gold overlay is his deity--you will find hundreds of these.
The following guidelines were drawn up by Ramm (Protestant Biblical Interpretation) and will at least provide a working base.
1. In a type there must be a genuine resemblance in form or idea between the Old Testament reference and the New Testament counterpart.
2. The resemblance must be designated. In fanciful typology the designation comes from the imagination of the interpreter. Fairbairn's principle is that types are innate and inferred. A type is properly designated when either it is so stated to be one in the New Testament, or wherein the New Testament states a whole as typical and it is left to the interpreter to determine additional types from the parts (the tabernacle).
I would add that the New Testament does not have to call it a type, or use the "fulfilled" formula; but the New Testament by quoting or alluding to the item would be indicating it is a type.
3. Dissimilarity is to be expected. It is an illustration, not a direct prophecy. There will be no one-to-one correspondence between type and antitype. Great care must be taken to specify the item or items of the type that are fulfilled in Christ. For example, there are points of similarity and points of dissimilarity between David and Christ; the similarity is the typology.
4. There is a fundamental harmony in theology between the two testaments even though there is a discontinuity in the outward forms. So one would expect that the type and antitype will correspond in theological ideas as well as morality. David is a type of Christ; wicked King Ahab is not.
5. Typology should not be used to formulate or to prove doctrine, unless the New Testament clearly does so. Hebrews will do it, but then the writer was inspired to do so. But the writer makes the doctrinal case first and then brings the passages together.
We shall have to be careful to distinguish types from allegories, symbols, and midrash. An allegory is an extended metaphor or hypocatastasis; it need not be based on a historical event or person--but a type must. A symbol has no reference to time; it is a timeless figurative representation, a coupon. A lion may be a symbol of strength, oil of the Holy Spirit, a dove of Israel, a horn of a king. They in themselves do not predict the future. A midrash, as we shall see later, is an analogical application of Scripture to any period of time (not too unlike archetype). It is what we do in any homiletic treatment of Scripture.
In this section I shall not elaborate greatly on these major types from the Old Testament, but rather list them and identify their corresponding reality in the New Testament.
Tabernacle = The Incarnation; Christ tabernacled among us (Jn 1) and his flesh veiled the glory of the LORD among people.
Curtain = The body of Christ; the veil of the temple was torn in two when the body of Christ was broken on the cross, indicating access to God was opened.
Propitiatory = Christ became the place of propitiation (mercy seat) by His death on the cross (Rom. 3).
Incense = Intercessory prayer, especially of the High Priest on behalf of the people.
Candlestick = Christ, the light to the way to God (Jn 7, 8).
Laver = Cleansing from defilement of the world by Christ (Jn 13); perhaps more of a symbol.
Burnt Offering (Lev 1) = The atonement made by the death of Christ (Rom 3). Lamb without blemish; blood shed; completely burnt; sweet aroma.
Dedication Offering (Lev 2) = The dedication of the body of Christ to do the will of God (Heb 10). Symbols: salt, honey, leaven.
Peace Offering (Lev 3) = The peace that the death of Christ has established, celebrated by the Eucharist (Rom 5).
Purification Offering (Lev 4) = The cleansing of Heaven through the death of Christ so that we might enter His courts above (Heb. 9, 10).
Reparation Offering (Lev 5) = The debt that Christ paid for the sins of the world (Isa 53, 2 Cor 5).
Day of Atonement (Lev 16) = Christ as the scapegoat upon whom the sins of the world were placed, taken outside the camp to die; and Christ the sacrificial animal that died on the altar; and Christ the High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies with His own blood to make everlasting atonement (Hebrews).
Red Heifer (Num 19) = Lustral purification through the sacrifice of Christ. Purification water for all defilement through Christ (Num 19, 31; Ezek 36; Zech 13).
Cleansing of the "Leper" = Removal of sin by Christ. Symbols: leper, hyssop, cedar wood, scarlet, living water, sacrificed bird, free bird.
Sabbath Day = Sabbath Rest in Christ, in part now for those who believe, in completion for the creation at the end of the age (Heb 3, 4).
Passover = Death of Christ by which He sets us free (1 Cor 5). Animal sacrificed, blood applied; later, pattern of the meal.
Unleavened Bread = Holy life of believers resulting from the death of Christ our Passover (1 Cor 5).
First fruits = Resurrection of Christ, on the morning after the sabbath after the passover (1 Cor 15), or Sunday morning.
Weeks = Beginning of the Church on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). What the harvest at first fruits produced. Symbol: bread, law.
Trumpets = The beginning of ingathering when the Lord descends with the trumpet at the end of the age.
Day of Atonement = In addition to the crucifixion above, it also looks to the
complete removal of sin from the people in that future day.
Tabernacles = The Messianic Age that is yet to come when Christ makes all things new.
Adam = Christ as the head of the race, who will put everything under His
dominion (Ps 8; Rom 5).
Melchizedek = Christ the eternal king and priest.
Isaac = Christ, the promised Seed, who replaces the Law (Ishmael and Hagar) (Galatians).
Abraham and Isaac = The Father sacrificing His Son on the Temple Mount (Rom 8).
Joseph = Perhaps a type of Christ, but perhaps better an archetype of Wisdom.
Moses = Christ the Prophet.
Elijah = John the Baptist.
David = Christ the King, the Son of David. Here the Royal Psalms would all be included in the typology: Psalm 2 is the coronation of the king and the exaltation of Jesus to heaven; Psalm 45 is the wedding of the king and the union of Christ and the Bride in heaven and the second coming; Psalm 110 is the Conquest of the King with the host of heaven with him and the second coming of Christ; Psalm 72 is the glorious reign of Solomon and the coming reign of Christ.
Jonah in the fish = Resurrection of Christ
Zerubbabel = Christ the Stone, the Head of the New Covenant.
Noah, the Ark, the Flood = Salvation through Christ from judgment.
Wilderness Wanderings = Pilgrimage of believers (1 Cor 10); Christ the Rock that gave them water (smitten).
The Brazen Serpent = Christ on the cross, lifted up between heaven and earth to draw all to Himself (Jn 3).
Giving Manna = Provision of the Bread of Life from Heaven.
Aaron's rod that budded = Resurrection of Christ.
The burning bush = The nation of Israel, always in the fire of persecution but never consumed because the LORD is there protecting. Fire is a symbol of judgment and/or persecution.
Moving the Ark up to Zion = The Ascension of Christ (Ps 69; Eph 4).
Be alert to the fact that symbols may have double imagery.
Oil = Holy Spirit (Zech 4)
Dove = peace or Israel (Mt 3)
Fire = Judgment or purging or persecuting
White = purity, holiness
Scarlet = sin, blood
lion = powerful leader, Christ, Satan
horn = monarch, Messiah, anti-Christ
water = purification
darkness = sin, evil, chaos
sea = chaos, abyss
numbers = see John J. Davis, Biblical Numerology (Baker, 1968).
one = God, two = division, three = union, trinity, six = man, seven = perfection, ten = completeness, forty = testing, seventy = judgment, God's administration
The verb masah (pronounced mah-shack) means "to smear, anoint." It is not the only verb for anointing with oil, but became the best known through these prophecies.
And it is likely that for many if not all of them the prospect of actually being the promised one was genuine at the outset. But once there were wars, invasions, pestilences, idolatry--they knew they were looking for another.
Critical scholars usually classify earlier passages as later passages because of this connection, suggesting that the writers wrote those "earlier traditions" after kingship had become a fact. This gave the appearance of prophecy and served to justify kingship in Israel. That raises questions about the integrity of the text; besides, if that were the case one might have expect more clarity and harmony in the "prophecies."
There is much material on this subject. For some basic works, see Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament (1863); Huffman, Progressive Unfolding of the Messianic Hope (1924); Reich, The Messianic Hope of Israel (1940); and Kligerman, Messianic Prophecy in the Old Testament (1957). Also, see the appendix in Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, for a list of passages that Rabbinic literature indicated were Messianic.
Many modern critical scholars would have trouble classifying pentateuchal passages as pre-monarchical; they would place them much later in or after the kingdom period. I agree with R. K. Harrison that the Pentateuch would have been essentially in its final form by the days of Samuel. Many who still hold to the old liberal divisions of the material into documents (and that is a diminishing breed) would accept that the traditions probably went back much earlier than the written texts. If a passage like Numbers 24 says that Balaam gave such and such a prophecy, then one has to deal with the issue of truth no matter when one dates the material--either he said it as the Bible states, or he did not. If he did not, then we have a major problem with biblical material.
The expression for a woman having a seed is strange; and it brings an unusual emphasis on the woman for an oriental book. There may be the barest hint here of the coming Virgin Birth (see David Baron, Rays of Messiah's Glory, Appendix 1, note 1).
Jesus identified this as Satan: "you are of your father the Devil" (Jn. 8:44); and the seed were His opponents.
Because of the Virgin Birth the meaning of the "seed of the woman" becomes precise. Paul clearly sees all the prophecies about the "seed" as leading to the Seed, Christ.
The stress on the singular pronouns points to the individual application of the "seed," opening up the discussion of Paul on "seed" as a collective but singular word (Gal. 3:16-19, 4:4). The argument by Kaiser that Eve knew her child was the incarnate Yahweh is far-fetched; it is based on a misreading of the particle 'et in Genesis 4:1. Eve might have thought Cain would defeat the enemy--but he too quickly succumbed (--the LORD said to him, "Sin is couching at the door, and its desire is for you").
The tradition of Noah as a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5) is additionally supported by the difficult passage in 1 Peter 3:19. One of the views is that the Spirit of Christ spoke through Noah to the wicked of his day. The better interpretation is that it was the Lord Jesus Himself who preached to them--after the resurrection ("as one now made alive in the spirit"). The spirits to whom he preached were the fallen angels, with the possible addition of the offspring of fallen angels. There is no support for a descent into Hell between the death and the resurrection. Jesus, then, after His resurrection, "goes" to the place of angelic confinement (2 Pet. 2:4). The verb "goes" is used in v. 22 of the ascension; and so the preaching occurred during His ascension to heaven. What did He preach? It was a proclamation of His victory. And what was the application to Peter's audience? Those who oppose Christians will be defeated.
There is a word play in the passage, since "Shem" is the Hebrew word for "name" and would remind the reader of the holy name.
Paul draws the chapter to its meaning in Romans 8. It may be that Jesus is referring to this chapter when He says that Abraham rejoiced to see His day. "His day" clearly refers to the Christ-event, the passion of our Lord. Jesus says that Abraham was given a glimpse of that.
The Targum is the Aramaic translation, or more properly interpretive translation, often a paraphrase. It was the official Synagogue interpretation of the reading of Scripture in Hebrew.
That this was a well-known Messianic title can be seen in the Bar Kochba rebellion in the second century A.D. Bar Kochba was a false messiah who led the Jewish revolt against Rome in the second century. Aqiba believed in him. The name means "son of the star"; but his detractors changed it to bar koziba, "son of a lie."
The tests of a true prophet also apply to Jesus then. Did His prophecies come true? Absolutely--the crucifixion, the resurrection, the destruction of Jerusalem being the major ones. So we may trust His prophecies of the second coming.
The Targum of the Song of Hannah saw the entire passage to be a prophecy of the sweep of human history, starting with the Babylonians, then the Persians, then the Greeks, and then the Romans, and then ultimately the kingdom of Messiah.
To be fulfilled in any consistent manner, these things must be included: Israel must be gathered back to the land, first in unbelief; and David's son, the Lord Jesus Christ, must return to earth, bodily and literally, to judge the world and to establish a kingdom of righteousness that will issue into the eternal state.
It may be that when Joab took Jerusalem for David that all the tradition of the place was brought together in David's reign. David was the first Israelite to sit on the throne of the ancient city of Melchizedek; he wore an Ephod and established Temple worship; and he wrote this psalm which draws the Melchizedekian tradition forward.
If the reading of verse 5 stands as "Verily, my house was not so with God," then David would realize that he was not the one, but they looked for another. The revelation then from God of his greater descendant would harmonize with this.
Keep in mind that this too must be employing some figurative language to communicate to humans what an exaltation to glory might be.
The Hebrew text clearly has "Edom" (Hebrew 'edom); the Greek, without having the vowels, assumed from the parallelism in the context that nations were being mentioned, and so thought it was Hebrew 'adam, "mankind." While not exactly what the text had, it is a correct interpretation of the idea of the passage.
There are, of course, explanations on each of these that offer different ideas. This one has been explained that the "goings" refer to predictions about the Messiah. But the cumulative effect of all these passages is too compelling to be always trying to explain them away.
This expression in prophetic texts refers to the divine intervention in human affairs for judgment and blessing. The Great Day of the LORD is in the eschaton, when the LORD comes to judge the world and to establish His righteous reign forever.
See David Baron, Rays of Messiah's Glory, pp. 71-128.
This does not mean there was a virgin birth in the days of Isaiah, only that a young princess was about to have a child, a sign of divine blessing on the preservation of the royal family.
With some justification some commentaries translate this as "divine warrior," or "god-like hero." The traditional rendering is preferable.
There is a parallel in Ugaritic, "father of years," which indicates the deity that ensures the years and all that happens in them. In Isaiah "everlasting" could be an attributive genitive, but it is probably more of product or object.
By this word "peace" (salom) Isaiah means a condition in all the world in which every part of creation can fulfill its destiny without interruption. That is why the lion will lie down with the lamb, and a child can play by the viper. This is more than absence of conflict.
Kings wore the insignia on their shoulders when in office. The expression then is metonymical, representing the authority of government.
The zeal of the LORD is a dominant theme in Old Testament theology. The word means passion or heat; it refers to the determination and energy of God in protecting and ensuring divine institutions.
There is abundant evidence in Scripture that anointing with oil was often accompanied by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. This idea is continued through to the New Testament where all believers have the anointing, the Holy Spirit.
In Jeremiah's day one king was Zedekiah, which means "Yahweh is righteous." The prophet is saying one will come who will truly manifest that--not this reprobate who bears the title.
Much study can be done in this picture. For example, by the nature of the substance the empires decrease in value but gain in strength.
The charge would be correct if not true, if Jesus were not the divine Messiah and merely a man. Since Caiaphas did not believe He was the Messiah, the charge of blasphemy was all that he could make.
These were only partially fulfilled at Christ's first advent, and so will be completely fulfilled at the second. So Daniel's vision--we now know--encompasses the period from 444 B.C. to the second advent, even though he focuses on periods of time within that stretch.
This is not to be confused with the earlier decrees to rebuild the Temple, or walls. This is the complete city.
Nisan 1 in 444 was either March 4 or March 5, March 5 being more likely since the crescent of the new moon would have been visible late in the evening of March 4, about 10:00 p.m. and could have been easily missed (Goldstine, New and Full Moons 1001 B.C. to A.D. 1651 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1973), p. 47.
Nisan 10 is the day the Jews chose the animal in the Temple that they were going to use for Passover on Nisan 14.
Jesus was born in the winter of 5/4 B.C. just prior to the death of Herod, who died between March 29 and April 11, 4 B.C. He began His public ministry in the fall of 29, just after John began His that summer, the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberias. Jesus' ministry included at least three, most likely four trips to Jerusalem for Passover, the last being His death (the narratives mention three different passovers, but a fourth fits in the chronology as well). So that rules out a 30 A.D. death, which would have given Him a ministry of a few months. Passover fell on Friday in 30, 33, and 36. The year 36 is too late, for Pilate was only there through 35 A.D. So 33 A.D. fits all the evidence the best.
This is clear from most Messianic prophecies that do not distinguish between a first and second advent; they just tell of the coming of Messiah.
It may be that God chose to do it this way because of His intent to make a legitimate presentation of the kingdom of heaven to Israel (even though He knew they would reject). But the contingency is there--if they receive it, this is Elijah who should come (but they didn't, and this wasn't Elijah).
The angel told the disciples that Jesus would come in the exact manner that they saw Him go into heaven--and they were on the Mount of Olives.
To study the "Day of the LORD" fully, one must go beyond the prophetic literature (Amos, Joel especially) to the so-called Enthronement Psalms (Pss. 93, 96-99). These have all the same features as the Day of the LORD prophecies, but they celebrate the reign of the LORD--Yahweh. Israelites probably interpreted these to mean that when they had a victory over the enemies God "came down and established his rule" (compare how the Song of Deborah restates the victory of the historic account in the previous chapter [Ju. 4,5]). But the psalms are prophetic--the LORD will come down in epiphany and with clouds and judge the world (Isa. 64). They had no idea it would be the LORD in human flesh.
For a full treatment of how Genesis 1 is a re-creation of the chaos of darkness and waste and void, see my Creation and Blessing, especially the Appendix). God may very well do this again out of the darkness and waste and void at the Day of the LORD.
Exodus 4:31; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 53.
Psalm 132; Daniel 7
2 Samuel 7; Ezekiel 29:21
Genesis 15, 17, 22.
Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1.
Isaiah 9:1,2; Malachi 4:12.
Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 65.
This is a reference to "Comfort, comfort my people" in Isaiah 40:1.
Isaiah 49:6, et. al.
Significantly, this is another one of those passages in John where the pronoun is not present, simply "I am [He])."
The next section will deal properly with signs and symbols of the Messiah. But for now it will be enough to say that a type is a divinely prefigured illustration of a corresponding reality in the New Testament. Both the type and the antitype are real, but they are meant to correspond in a promise and fulfillment pattern due to God's sovereign control of history.
The passage was seen to be Messianic in the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. Sotah 49b uses a description for Messiah as the "heels of Messiah" in conjunction with this.
This is the point that Paul makes in Romans 11 when he says that when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in then "all Israel will be saved." There is no way in that context that "Israel" can be given another meaning than Israel, because Paul contrasts the Gentiles and Israel throughout the chapter. At the end of the age, just prior to or simultaneous with the second coming of Christ, the majority [a normal meaning of "all" in Scripture] of Jews alive will believe in Jesus and be saved.
This is the same Hebrew word that appears in Psalm 22:17.
All these passages in Zechariah are expressly applied to Messiah in Rabbinic literature. Zechariah 12:10 is applied to Messiah ben Joseph (Sukk. 52a).
Such a promise in no way minimizes the need to evangelize the Jews as well as the Gentiles, for Jews who are alive today have no way of knowing that they will be alive when Christ returns--they must believe in Jesus as LORD to be saved (this is Paul's point in Romans).
The Midrash on the psalm takes it as a reference to the Messiah, both the reference to the cup of salvation and the fact that corruption would not reign over the body. But the explanations are rather general.
Yalkut applies Psalm 22 to the Messiah. It has a comment on Isaiah 60 applying Psalm 22 to the Messiah.
The passage is applied to the Messiah in connection with the "seed" promised to Eve (Gen. 4:25) in the Midrash on Ruth 4:19.
The account of the suffering is applied to Messiah in the Midrash on Samuel, which says the Messiah bore one third of all suffering.
This is even more striking since the title of Messiah as "Leprous" in Rabbinic literature (Sanhedrin 98b) is based on Isaiah 53; and Isaiah 53:10 is applied to the Kingdom of Messiah in the Targum
Gerhard von Rad, "Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament," in Essays . . . , edited by Claus Westermann.