The Messianic Hope

W. Terry Varner
August 10, 2014

The Old Testament expected the Lord’s house to be established, the Messiah to arrive, and the closing (final) age of the rule of God to emerge. These events were projected by the Old Testament prophets as coming in their future. “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains . . . and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1-2; cf. Isa. 2:2).

The Meaning of Messiah.The word Messiah is found only twice in the Old Testament (Dan. 9:25-26). The word Messiah is Hebrew meaning anointed. When the Hebrew word Messiah is expressed in the Greek, it is the word Christos or Christ. Andrew, upon finding Jesus, told his brother Peter, “‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated the Christ” (John 1:41; emp. added). Luke wrote his Gospel for the Gentiles. They would not be that familiar with the meaning of the term Messiah as would the Jewish people. Luke defines the term as, “the Christ, the chosen of God” (Luke 23:35).

The term anointed was used to refer to men chosen by God to accomplish His purposes. God chose Cyrus, the Persian king, to release Israel from her seventy years of captivity in Babylon. “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held” (Isa. 45:1). Earlier Isaiah writes of Cyrus; “I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come” (Isa. 41:25). Cyrus was God’s choice, God’s chosen, and God’s anointed to accomplish the redemption of Israel from Babylon. God called Cyrus, “My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasures, saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid’” (Isa. 44:28). The term anointed was also used of kings and priests who were chosen by God to be leaders (cf. Zech. 4:14).

The Messianic Hope of the Old Testament. A careful reading of the many passages dealing with the Messianic hope in the Old Testament suggests Someone special, who is exciting, outstanding, remarkable, etc., was coming. The Jews looked for a time (age, dispensation, covenant) in which their redeemer would results in bringing them the many promised blessings.

The Old Testament described this special Someone in various meaningful terms. This special Someone is pictured as My Servant (Isa. 52:13), A Man of Sorrows (Isa. 53:3) and who was also known as the Suffering Servant (Isa. 52:10-53:12), Son of Man (Dan. 7:13-14), Root of Jesse (Isa. 11:10), a Prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15), Shiloh (Gen. 49:10), Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15; cf. Gal. 3:16), Messiah (Dan. 9:25-26), Seed of David (2 Sam. 7:12-14), Immanuel (Isa. 7:14), Priest and King (Zech. 6:14), et al.

As the Bible unfolds God’s beautiful scheme of redeeming man, the Christian sees Jesus as the fulfillment of all of these prophetic pictures. In Jesus the Messianic hope is realized.