“Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel,…” 2 Timothy 2: 8
This blog is part 2 of a series that explains the main revelation of the Bible, that is, the gospel of salvation that may be obtained from, or in, Christ Jesus the Lord. In part 1, I discussed the need for salvation and what it means to be “saved”, in this portion I will discuss what/who is the Messiah and the implication of His coming.
I remind you that the gospel in a nutshell is the following: if you believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah (the Christ) then you will be saved, and is stated in the following verses from the gospel of John.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11: 25-27
From this definition of the gospel there arises 3 questions: 1) what does it mean to be saved? 2) What is “the Messiah”? 3) What does it mean to believe? We’ll look at question 2 in this blog.
In part 1 we clarified what it means to be saved and the background that caused us to be in this position of having a need to be saved. In short, the sin and rebellion of our first parents in the Garden of Eden resulted in a curse upon mankind. The Messiah was sent in response to this need with the intention of offering a means of removing the consequences including the removal of God’s judgement incurred due to man’s sin, and also the transformation of man’s fallen, carnal nature, that is, our tendency to focus on the physical world and the hopes and pleasures that this world offers. The Messiah offers a means of removing the penalty resulting from our sins and a means of transforming us from carnal to spiritual beings (being born again of the spirit).
In order to accomplish this purpose of removing the consequences of the curse and of man’s sins, we must understand who the Messiah is, what His purpose was in coming, and how His coming impacts our lives. We cannot place our faith and trust in someone without a complete understanding of these things. The following is an attempt to clearly define who and what the Messiah is, why He came, and what His coming means to us, so that we can better exercise our faith in Him and in the promises of God that He represents.
“What is the Messiah?”
The dictionary definition of the word “messiah” is “the promised and expected deliver of the Jewish people.” According to Wikipedia, in Judaism the word “messiah” (hamashiach, meaning “the anointed one”) is often referred to as “King Messiah”, emphasizing the fact that the Messiah is to be physically descended from King David and King Solomon, and His coming will re-establish Israel and usher in the Messianic Age. It is my understanding that much of the Jewish religious ceremonies and activities are focused on the expectation of the coming of the Messiah (and they are still looking for the messiah since they have not accepted Jesus as Messiah).
There are many prophecies concerning the promised coming of the Messiah and I would suggest that you research these prophecies for yourself. A good source of information is the “Jews for Jesus” website (https://jewsforjesus.org/) where they have listed the many prophecies about the Messiah and the fact that these prophecies point to Jesus as fulfilling them.
In the New Testament of the Bible, the use of the Greek word for Messiah is “Christos” (or Khristos), meaning “anointed” and has been anglicized into the word “Christ” as it also appears in the Bible when it is translated to English. Any place where the word Christ is used you can substitute Messiah. We must recognize that even the title attributed to Jesus in the New Testament scriptures, i.e. The Lord Jesus Christ, acknowledges that Jesus was regarded as the Messiah by the writers of the biblical text and the Holy Spirit.
The Jews who were living during the time of the initial coming of the Lord Jesus, even His disciples, were expecting the coming of the Messiah to be with physical power, and that He would be a deliverer of the Jews from the Roman Empire and a restorer of the nation of Israel. They had missed the fact that the Messiah must first come in humility and suffer at the hands of evil men, as was prophesied, and that He would come a second time to establish and restore the kingdom of God. There are many prophecies regarding His first coming; here is an example from Isaiah:
“Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men;” Isaiah 52-13-14
This fact of His humble coming to suffer was also confirmed by the angels who were at the empty grave when Jesus was resurrected.
“He is not here but risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” Luke 24: 6-7
And there is also this from the Lord Jesus Himself after when He appeared to the men on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection:
“Then He (Jesus) said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ (Messiah) to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ and beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24: 25-27.
As pertaining to the Gospel, it is important to recognize that the Messiah was promised to be sent to this world by God the Father with the express purpose to remove the curse from God’s creation and restore the world to its intended state (as it was originally created to be in the Garden of Eden). The Scriptures state clearly that Jesus came to restore what was lost by the first Adam.
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came on all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18-19
It should be noted that when God issued the conditions of the curse, at that exact time, He first mentions the coming Messiah:
“So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise you head, and you shall bruise His heel.’” Genesis 3:14-15
The following lists the multiple purposes of the coming of the promised Messiah:
- He is THE only begotten Son of God who had taken on human form and come to earth, and is equivalent to God as His only Son, and the physical representation of God with the stamp of His nature (remember that mankind was separated from God’s physical presence as a result of the curse and did not clearly know God’s nature and attributes).
- He is the Lamb of God, the Savior of mankind, offering redemption from the judgment of God that was the result of the curse. This redemption represents God’s mercy towards us, even when we were His enemy. God showed His love towards us by sending His only Begotten Son to die on our behalf.
- He is the first to be resurrected by God, the first born of many who will enter into glory with a resurrected, immortal body, restored from the cursed body of death and corruption, and He is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father. The curse from Adam’s sin brought death, but the free gift of redemption from Jesus Christ brought eternal life, restoring hope to all who believe.
- He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, who will return to destroy the current earth with its associated world system, and establish a new heaven and earth where He will rule His kingdom in righteousness and justice. All authority and powers that exist will then be submitted to Him, with Him submitted to the Father. He therefore is the Lord of every believer, and so we must recognize and honor Him as such.
I would like to discuss each of the above listed items briefly with the supporting scripture, but would encourage you to research deeper.
Purpose 1 – The only begotten Son of God
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1: 1-4
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1: 14
Although all of those who have entered the kingdom of God through the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, are children of God and therefore sons and daughters of God, the position of Jesus is different or special as the only begotten Son of God.
In Psalm 45 there is a clear statement about the Messiah being God:
“Your thone, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” Psalm 45: 6-7
And also, in Psalm 110, David addressed the Messiah as Lord, although He was to be a descendant of his, suggesting that David knew that the Messiah would be more than just a descendant, but that He would have an exalted position, since He would ascend into heaven and be seated at the right hand of God:
“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” Psalm 110:1
The fact that Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit also points towards His divine origin.
Why is this important? We must understand that Jesus came down from heaven. He was God with us! He represented God on earth, and therefore His communications, actions, judgments, and declarations of truth were and expression of God, and were ordained by God the Father.
“Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, ‘You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.’” John 7:28-29
Jesus, as Messiah, is also the only representation of God the Father. The Father sent Jesus on His behalf and He is the only way to be restored to the Father.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Think of the implication of this truth, that Jesus had come down to earth from heaven as a direct representation of God. Proverbs 30 says this:
“Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?” Proverbs 30:4
Jesus expressed to us the nature of the living God, the Creator of the universe, in human form:
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1: 1-4
And Jesus set an example for us by humbling Himself to become a man:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery (something to be held onto to be equal) to be equal to God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2: 5-8
In short, the Messiah, Jesus, has made a way for all who believe in Him to enter into an intimate relationship with the living God. We can communicate with Him, and we can get to know Him through His Word, the Bible, seeing in Jesus the very nature of God. When He returns at His second coming, we will be fully restored to a place where we will be in His physical presence, and the curse will be completely undone.
Summary of purpose 1:
- Who was the Messiah: The only begotten Son of God with the stamp of God’s Nature
- Why did the Messiah come: to reveal the nature of God to mankind, since they had been rejected from God’s presence under the curse
- What Promise did the Messiah present: the establishment of truth from God the Father, from someone who had come from heaven directly.
Purpose 2 – The Savior and Redeemer
Our need to be saved is the result of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the resulting curse and system of sin and death that was passed down to all humans. All mankind is guilty before God, needing a Savior to redeem them or to pay the price required for the judgment of sin to be removed from their life. God has supplied that redemptive payment by sending His Son, Jesus, to die, or be sacrificed, as an innocent “sacrificial lamb” to pay the price for all mankind.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1: 7-14
This redemption applies to us immediately to restore our relationship with God, allowing us direct access to the Father.
“For through Him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2: 18-19
Additionally, the redeemed have their name written in the “Book of Life” so that on the day of Judgment, when we stand before God, we will be spared from the second death.
“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelations 20:15
A very high price was paid on our behalf, that is, the life of the Messiah. We have been purchased by this payment, or redeemed. Yet we didn’t deserve it. We need to live our lives within this context.
Summary of purpose 2:
- Who was the Messiah: The Savior and Redeemer of all mankins
- Why did the Messiah come: to remove the penalty of sin, paying the price by His suffering and death on the cross, and to restore our relationship with God the Father, now allowing us to enter into intimate communion with Him.
- What Promise did the Messiah present: All those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life will be spared the second death; All those under the blood of Jesus can enter into God’s presence directly to communicate with Him.
Purpose 3 – The Resurrected Messiah
The Lord Jesus Christ was not just raised from the dead, as was Lazarus previously (who later died), but His body was transformed into a new resurrected body, from a physical body like ours to a new, resurrected, spiritual body. No other person, throughout history, had gone through this type of transformation, nor has anyone since. It is this new, immortal, spiritual body that is promised to all those who are truly in Christ Jesus, truly saved, and who are the true Christians.
In the 15th chapter of the book of 1st Corinthians in the Bible, the apostle Paul emphasizes the importance of the resurrection as part of the gospel. Please read the entire chapter to get the full context.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Cor. 15: 1-8
And this later in the same chapter:
“ But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (died). For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” 1 Cor. 15: 20-23
This is our hope! No other religion or alleged revelation or belief system offers this hope that has been established by an historical event, that is, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, as was witnessed by many and has changed our world as a result.
The curse of death and hell were defeated by the risen Christ Jesus!
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and the mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’” 1 Cor. 15:51-55
Summary of purpose 3:
- Who was the Messiah: The First and Only person who has been Resurrected
- Why did the Messiah come: to establish our hope of a future resurrection with an immortal and eternal body. We not can set our minds and hearts and affections on the spiritual things that await us, storing up our riches in heaven rather than on earth.
- What Promise did the Messiah present: All those who are in Christ Jesus are citizens of Heaven and will share in the Glory of the resurrected Messiah, including the receipt of a new body.
Purpose 4 -The Messiah King
The very same Jesus who was resurrected from the dead exists today in the same body. Remember that He ascended up into heaven and will return in the same manner.
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’ ” Acts 1: 9-11
The Lord Jesus ascended to a place of authority at the right hand of God the Father, with all things submitted to him:
“and what is the exceeding greatness of His (God the Father) power towards us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1: 19-23
Looking back also at the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, Paul states that at the second coming of Jesus Christ the final enemies will be defeated and all things will be in literal submission to the Lord Jesus, the Son, with Him in submission to God the Father, making God the Father “all in all”.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive, but each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says “all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15: 22-28
Summary of purpose 4:
- Who was the Messiah: The Lord and King
- Why did the Messiah come: to prepare for the restoration of the initially intended creation and kingdom of God. The Messiah’s first coming clarified that His first appearance would be in humility and suffering as a lamb to be slain, but His second coming would be in power and authority as the lion of Judah to restore the kingdom.
- What Promise did the Messiah present: Upon the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the new heaven and new earth will be established and all of God’s children will have an inheritance in this kingdom
We see that the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, has come to correct the damage that resulted from Adam and Eve’s rebellion and sin. Upon His first coming, He has made a way for us to be reconciled to God the Father, and to establish in us a hope for a future in heaven. This establishment of our hope is the means for us to be transformed internally from the carnal/fleshly attitude and mindset of this world to a spiritual way of thinking with our hearts and minds set on heaven and the things above.
We will see more clearly in the next part of this blog series about the exercising of our faith/believing has also made a way for us to be internally transformed into new creations, resulting in our becoming spiritual with the ability to walk in true love.
We eagerly await His second coming when all things will be made completely right with the kingdom of God completely restored and all enemies defeated. In the meantime, we press on towards the prize that awaits us, with our hearts set on the promised future in heaven.