Messianic Scriptures in the Old Testament
We are going to look at some Messianic Scriptures in the Old Testament that will reveal how a Jew in Christ’s time who believed and understood the Scriptures would have understood the Messiah to be. These Scriptures also show how we are obligated to respond to the Messiah.
Psalm 2: In the second Psalm we get a clear understanding of who the Messiah is and why the world rejects Him. He is a King whom the rulers of the world generally are set against, and which those who live by the lawless spirit of the world rebel against. However, they cannot do so, except to their own eventual destruction. The Apostles and early church would quote this Psalm as directly applying to those who oppose Christ and His gospel (see Acts 4:23-27).
Psalm 2 says: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
The clear message is that Christ’s resurrection is proof that He is the Lord, God’s chosen King, and that all who do not bow to Him in humble obedience will be dashed in pieces when He comes back to rule the world with a rod of iron. Though in a way this is directed to people in power in this world who would oppose Christ by their earthly authority, like Herod and Pilate, it applies just as much to all of us. We are all called to abandon the throne of our lives so that the Lord’s Christ might reign over us and that His judgments might prevail in us.
Isaiah 42:1-4: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”
We ought to welcome and submit to the Messiah’s righteous reign, thereby submitting to His righteous decrees that they might be sent forth to victory in our lives. Romans 15:9-12 says: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”
That also corresponds well to what was said of Jesus by the angel before His incarnation. Matthew 1:21: “And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Nobody can come to Jesus for salvation who is not wholeheartedly seeking to be saved from their sins. Those who won’t confess and forsake them can’t ever have God’s mercy (see Proverbs 28:13). We must submit to the truth of God to have an interest in Jesus Christ. Sadly, false versions of the gospel are often preached that give people the idea that they can be saved in their sins by just trusting Jesus as their personal savior. That is not Biblical; that is not right. We also learn clearly from the above passages that Christ came to reign over the gentiles, not just the Jews. The Apostles preached Jesus Christ as Lord to everyone, whether Jew or gentile. Consider here also the expressly stated purpose of the Gospel that the Apostle Paul gives at the beginning of Romans.
Romans 1:1-5: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” Therefore, we are told in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 that Christ’s enemies who will be destroyed at His second coming are those who don’t obey His Gospel.
The Bible sees no opposition between Christ’s office as a Savior and His office as King of kings and Lord of Lords. We should throw away doctrines and theologies then which teach that such opposition exists. We must be under Christ’s reign; and we cannot work our way there. An atonement must be made for sin, an offering given to redeem our souls back to God. Christ accomplished that when He died on the cross (1 Timothy 2:5-6, Revelation 5:9, etc). We can therefore fall under Him and find mercy, provided we turn from rebellion to God’s authority (which authority is committed to Christ- John 5:22-29). Do rebels against a kingdom not have to lay down their arms and submit to the laws of that kingdom in order to actually be reconciled therewith? Of course! Christ died to reconcile man to God- not God to man. There is a universe of difference there. A free offer of pardon doesn’t mean an unconditional one. If the rebels humble themselves and obey, they are not working to get the king’s favor or earning in it anyway. It is blasphemous to assert that God’s authority can be trampled on because Christ died for sinners! The Apostle Paul would thus write in Romans chapter 6 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.” We can safely say then that God’s grace won’t save those who continue living by their own authority and refusing the reign of His Holy and Just King. Christ’s reign will be eternal. The consequences of being ready or not for the day of His coming are thus eternal. Those who have refused His righteous reign will face His just wrath, having no part in Him and in the benefits provided by His death on the cross.
Psalm 22: We see in this next Messianic Psalm how Christ’s offices as Savior and King complement each other and cannot be rightfully separated. We see in this Psalm the agony of Christ on the cross (verses 1- 21) – and then we have His resurrection and His kingdom preached to the world (verses 22-31). I encourage everyone to read the whole Psalm in their Bible on their own time.
To truly preach Jesus Christ there must be the preaching that He is Lord, that He must be obeyed as Lord, and proper instruction regarding how He must be obeyed as Lord. Acts 8:12 says: “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Philip wasn’t preaching two different gospels- because preaching the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ are inseparable. Look at these verses then from later in Acts chapter 8, as Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch. Acts 8:35-37: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” In preaching Jesus it’s clear that Philip spoke of the need to submit to Him and obey Him in baptism. And this was upon the eunuch’s hearing the gospel for the very first time. Submitting to Christ to be His disciple set on learning to observe all things whatsoever He has commanded is a requirement to be a true Christian. It is not an optional “extra” for those who “want more to their Christianity.” To properly believe in Christ the Son of God necessarily means receiving His authority as the Son of God with all of our hearts.
A lot of people preach that to “trust in Christ” means to just trust His death to take away your sins so God doesn’t see your sins anymore. But that preaching is deadly. Any gospel which does not call for people to end their rebellion of going their own way and come under God’s authority through Jesus Christ is a false gospel. Many falsely think they have an interest in Christ because they’ve “accepted Jesus’ death as the payment for their sins.” Yet to separate faith in Jesus Christ at all from a life subject to His awesome Kingly authority is a grave error. Since He is God, He must actually be obeyed and followed as God. Authentic faith in Christ must wholeheartedly be in agreement with the goals of being reconciled to God’s righteous throne and overcoming all sin. One who doesn’t worship Jesus as the Supreme Authority in truth and obey His commands from the heart is no more in God’s grace than one who bows to a god of wood or stone, even if they make a profession of faith in Jesus. To believe in Jesus in truth He must be bowed to as God and obeyed as God.
John 20:26-28: “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”
Jesus said in Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Psalm 18: There is a clear Messianic application in this Psalm. The Father raised Christ from the dead after His death on the cross and calls all to bow to Him as the Gospel message goes forth into the world.
Psalm 18:43-44: “Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.”
The proper understanding of the Messiah that the Jews had in their time was that the Messiah would be a King who would reign on the throne of David. Though many Jews missed Christ through wrong priorities and an overall love of sin, their general concept of the Messiah was correct in that He would be a King. Many instead wanted an earthly king who would deliver them from the Romans (which Jesus refused to be- John 6:15) instead of from their sins (because they were governed by the priorities of the evil world instead of the things that matter to God). Nevertheless, the common Jewish understanding of the Messiah as a Supreme Authority was at least correct. This is how the Apostles preached Jesus Christ on the day of Pentecost. The realization of many in the audience that they had crucified their King who had been approved of God by signs and wonders done among them, and who was raised from the dead, was what caused many to agonize and to see their earnest need to align themselves with the Lord’s Christ. Through the sign of the various languages that the Apostles were miraculously speaking through Christ’s Holy Spirit, it was clear that Jesus had indeed been raised from the dead and that He is indeed the Messiah. When they asked the Apostles what they must do, Peter told them to repent of their opposition to the King whom they crucified and to be baptized in His name for the remission of sins, that they too might receive the Holy Spirit. Those who did so steadfastly continued in the Apostle’s teaching and fellowship (subjection to Christ’s Word- Acts 2:42). They had the Apostolic understanding of salvation, which is equated to being in subjection to the Messiah’s righteous authority- not the counterfeit concept of salvation that has become the norm in our day. The church of Christ and their lives of power brought fear on every soul (Acts 2:43). The testimony of Christ in them was powerful and convincing, though many opposed it all the more, as the persecution they would shortly face shows (see Acts 8:1). All of this can be read about in detail in Acts 2:14-47- an extremely important Scripture passage which all should study carefully to understand the real Jesus and the Apostolic (true) Gospel message.
And then in Acts 3, as the Apostles received another opportunity to preach Christ to a large crowd, Peter would reference Deuteronomy 18, confirming that the Gospel is a call to be subject to the Messiah’s reign. He thus called his hearers to repent that they might indeed walk in obedience to the Great Prophet promised through Moses, who all have an obligation to heed in whatsoever He says (see Acts 3:19-26).
Deuteronomy 18:15-19: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb (Mount Sinai) in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
Christ is indeed the Lord God, as multiple Bible passages prove (1 John 5:20, John 20:28, Acts 20:28, etc). The clear meaning given the context of the passage is that when Christ would come, He wouldn’t come and speak in the intimidating manner in which God spoke to the Israelites in Mount Sinai. He had all the characteristics of a regular man like Moses (see Hebrews 2:16-18), but nevertheless He was fully God incarnate and spoke with great authority as a man (since He is indeed the Ultimate Authority figure). He will also surely return in power to claim His kingdom and assert His authority by force when He does so.
Psalm 110: Here we see Christ’s office as Lord/King along with His office of High Priest (in which He applies the true salvation that He offers as a Savior). Here we see how Christ is the Ultimate Prototype of the two anointed ones in the Old Testament, Israel’s King and High priest, which were both a type and shadow of the Messiah. It’s clear that we cannot just take Jesus as one and neglect Him as the other. Those who do not willingly serve Him in holiness are His enemies that oppose Him. These will one day be crushed under His feet. Jesus Himself would describe His enemies whom He will destroy as those who would not that He should reign over them (Luke 19:14, 27). Romans chapter 6 clearly demonstrates the reality that if Jesus is not one’s Lord and Master then sin and Satan are!
Psalm 110 says: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”
Psalm 40: Rather than letting people off the hook as an enabler of sin, the real Jesus calls people to settle their controversies with God’s righteous standards and submit to His reign which upholds the eternal moral Law of God. We see in this Psalm that the Messiah would preach and uphold that eternal moral Law in His preaching. And that is what we see in the Gospel accounts. And in the Gospel accounts it is clearly illustrated that only those who would submit to that Law could receive Jesus in truth, while those who would not do so rejected Him. Why did Judas reject Christ? He valued money more than he valued doing what is right before God (which is covetousness and idolatry). Christ and money will come into conflict. There will be opportunities to profit by betraying Him/denying Him and/or losses in finances that need to be made, or at least risked, in order to confess Him. You can’t heed Jesus’ words and not have your outlook/attitude towards mammon significantly altered. Consider Zaccheus on the positive side of that. In Luke 19:1-10 we read how he decided that he would repent of his financial dishonesty, pay back those whom he defrauded fourfold (like the Law of God called for), and give half his goods to the poor. Zaccheus tore his heart from the love of money, his dearest sin, and he forsook its unrighteous benefits that he might receive Jesus as Lord in truth. Otherwise, Jesus would not have said that salvation had come to Zaccheus’ house and said that Zaccheus was a (true, spiritual) son of Abraham.
Psalm 40:7-10: “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.”
Note also the equation in this passage of God’s Law and righteousness. We read in Psalm 119:142: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.” And we also read in Romans 3:31: “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”
Going back to Isaiah chapter 42 then, we also see there how as the Gospel of Christ goes forth in the world that the Law of God is magnified and made honorable, as Christ did that very thing in His ministry. We cannot be delivered from God’s wrath until we are willing to walk in His ways and are obedient to His Law. Our disobedience to it is why we were taken captive, spoiled by the devil, and brought under God’s judgment altogether to begin with. Those who refuse to be obedient to His Law and align themselves with God’s Law-honoring King are like rebellious Israel who was delivered unto judgment by the Lord, and yet didn’t get the message that they had to return to walk in His ways and be obedient to His law in order to be delivered from the judgment which they were under.
Isaiah 42:6-8 and 21-25: “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images… The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honorable. But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.”
We also see in 1 Timothy chapter one how Christ’s reign is in perfect alignment with the Law of God. It is demonstrated in the passage we’re about to look at that the things which are against the Law of God are likewise contrary to His glorious Gospel. 1 Timothy 1:8-11: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for (literally “does not strike against”; this will also be made clear by the rest of the passage) a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
Man cannot earn salvation from God by the Law. The Law brings the knowledge of sin. The Law rather demonstrates our need for redemption in Christ and teaches what is contrary to Christ’s Gospel, thereby calling man to repentance and submission to Christ’s righteous reign in order to be reconciled to God through Him. Lawful use of God’s Law is taking it as a guide to faith; a guide on what it means to get in line and stay in line with Christ’s reign. Christ was ultimately crucified because a lawless world couldn’t stand the Law of God honoring/Law of God upholding Son of God who is a rebuke to its lawless ways. He has not changed; and He never will change. Since He is alive, and His throne is sure, it is man who needs to change to come into line with Him.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]