The subject of Jesus Christ as our promised Messiah and His mission as the Saviour of our fallen world is fascinating. It is a concept unique to the Bible alone. If you want to understand the nature of God and His infinite love for us, then you have to read about His role as our Messiah. It will enlighten your mind to incredible Heavenly truths and leave you in awe of His amazing humility and majesty.
Every book and every story of the Bible alludes to the Messiah and His work as the Saviour of our doomed planet. Jesus, Himself declared this in John 5:39.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
In the previous article Paradise Lost, we read how Adam and Eve fell prey to Satan’s lies and ended up losing their home, eternal life, and direct face-to-face spiritual relationship with God. And in this article, we will read about God’s incredible plan to reclaim us from eternal destruction.
The Curse On Humanity
Because of Adam, sin gained entry into our world and contaminated human nature. As descendants of Adam
, all humans thereafter inherited his sinful nature. Our sinful nature incites us to commit sins leading us into a life of depravity.
Sin directly contrasts God’s holy nature and cannot exist in His divine presence. Hence, no direct communication could occur between humanity and its Maker.
Sin creates a wall separating us from God. Many people don’t understand this concept, and finding God absent from their lives, they wrongly conclude that He doesn’t exist.
5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.Psalm 5:4-5
5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.Psalm 5:4-5
The evil, cruel, and selfish order that now exists on our planet results from the curse of Sin, which was introduced by the rebellious behavior of demons and humans colluding to sin against God to override His loving authority.
Suffering, sin, death, and alienation from God were not part of God’s original plan for our world. These were introduced into our world because of the free choices and decisions that the first human couple made on humanity’s behalf.
God had to find a way to heal us from this curse and restore humanity back to its original state. The only way this was possible was through the Messiah, who would become the new representative of humanity.
Satan becomes king of Earth
In the pre-sin world, Adam was designated as Prophet, Priest, and King.
Firstly, Adam was a Prophet because he was in direct communion with God and was responsible for communicating God’s message to his descendants.
Secondly, Adam was a Priest because he was appointed to establish God’s true worship and teach his descendants to serve God righteously.
Finally, Adam was appointed King of Earth because God had declared him to be the ruler of our world, giving him dominion over the Earth and all earthy creatures.
But due to his sin, Adam lost his privilege to be a holy representative of Earth. By following the commands of satan, Adam had yielded control of the world to the devil.
Satan knew that God had consecrated Adam to the holy offices of prophet, priest, and king. Therefore, the devil misrepresented God’s purposes and order by making an evil twist to the holy offices.
He became the new Prophet of doom, bringing evil and unholiness upon Earth. He readily provided evil ideas and ungodly practices to corrupt human minds. He propagated ideas of atheism, pantheism, and worship of demons, thus corrupting the concept and true worship of God.
He assumed the role of an evil priest demanding human sacrifices and spilling blood through warfare and terror campaigns to satisfy his enmity against humanity and God.
Satan also became a malevolent tyrant king over Earth, keeping people in perpetual bondage and destroying God’s creation through wars, diseases, and calamities.
Paul in Ephesians 2:2 calls satan, “the prince of the power of the air” and Jesus in John 12:31 calls him “the prince of this world”. Thus, the Bible confirms that satan is our world’s illegitimate and tyrannical ruler.
Please understand that God is not responsible for the wicked and selfish order that exists in our world. Rather it is satan, the “killer” of humankind, who has created this Hell on Earth. However, our deadly foe has cunningly deceived the world into believing God to be the architect of human suffering.
This new Prince of darkness has filled the world with corruption and violence. Under satan’s death grip, the paradise God created had turned into a horrible dystopia. Satan had successfully cheated humans of the wonderful inheritance that God had given.
Thus our Lord Jesus Christ had to initiate the ultimate plan of coming as the Messiah to defeat satan and recover what satan had stolen.
When Jesus was publically baptized as Our Messiah and Saviour, satan understood that Jesus was sent to reclaim Earth. He tried to deceive Jesus by offering Him the world through a peaceful, nonviolent transaction but on the condition that Jesus would bow down and worship him as God. This deception was so subtle that if successful, it would mean the complete disqualification of Jesus as our Messiah and would forever seal the fate of humanity and the control of our world into satan’s hands.
You can read about his offer in Luke 4:5,6 when he appeared to the Lord Jesus in the wilderness after His 40 days of fasting.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
The Messiah Jesus Christ is promised
After Adam’s fall, human nature had become sinful and easily susceptible to sin. As a result, the weak bodies we inherited can easily sin under temptation giving satan tremendous power to dominate our lives. He misuses this power to cause people to fall under his delusions and become obedient slaves.
In our ability, we didn’t stand a chance to oppose satan unless God intervened!
God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that man would fall into the trap of satan. To save the human race, the Godhead (God – the Father, Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) formulated a plan to send a Messiah/Saviour figure who would fight against satan and save our world from eternal destruction.
It was decided that one of the members of the Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ, would come down to our planet as the Messiah. His mission would be to:
- Heal the broken relationship between humanity and God.
- Redeem humankind from sin and death.
- Destroy satan’s power over us.
- Repossess our world back from satan and reinstate it to its former glory.
Soon after the fall, God promised to send the Messiah (Genesis 3:15). This redemptive work of Jesus was necessary to relieve humanity from the deadly predicament.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This plan was revealed to both Adam and Eve to provide comfort and encouragement that it was not all doom and gloom for humanity. They were to pass on this good news to future generations to reassure them that God had a solution to save humanity and gain victory over satan.
Thus Jesus’s role as our Messiah and His work for the restoration of humanity was the most important mission ever undertaken.
In anticipation of the arrival of our Messiah, God sent thousands of prophets to enlighten the world that there was still hope for us and that God had not left us alone to live a meaningless sinful life. The Old Testament is full of prophecies about the coming Messiah. You can read about these incredible prophecies in the article:
Top 30 Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament
The New Testament proves that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all those prophecies, thus confirming that Jesus was our promised Saviour.
Meaning of the word Messiah
The word Messiah is the English rendering of the Hebrew word māšîaḥ (מָשִׁיחַ), which means “anointed one.”
It is derived from another Hebrew word, māšaḥ (מָשַׁח), which means to anoint or consecrate. Thus the one who is anointed in a special manner is called the anointed one or the Messiah.
To be anointed means to be set apart or dedicated to a special, holy, and sacred cause. The office of the Messiah had a deep and profound religious significance in the Jewish tradition and culture. Therefore, the chosen one was usually anointed by pouring oil or water in a publicly held religious ceremony.
During the Old Testament period, when a person was appointed as a Messiah, he functioned officially as an intermediary between God and His people.
He played a reconciliatory role in which a sacrifice was offered, and forgiveness was sought as an atonement for sin to compensate for transgressions.
This act of appeasement from the anointed Messiah served to mend the broken relationship between God and the people. The rift was bought about by sin, and remedial action was necessary to bring peace between the two parties.
Ingredients of this special anointing oil
An individual was officially consecrated as a Messiah in a public ritual. A widely accepted representative of God, usually a prophet, would pour oil on the forehead of the chosen Messiah. This oil was not ordinary but a special one reserved for sanctifying chosen messiahs.
It was usually prepared by mixing olive oil with spices such as myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia. These ingredients were not chosen randomly but were specially selected on instruction from God. These were medicinal herbs obtained from barks of trees and are used even today to kill bacteria and infections. They also serve as muscle relaxants.
Combined with olive oil, they give out a unique and calming aroma making them highly suitable for use as an ointment and a mood enhancer. This unique blend of oils and herbs functioned as a disinfecting, purifying, and cleansing agent, making it a perfect symbol for the spiritual cleansing of the person who would begin working for God’s holy purpose.
God even gave detailed instructions on how to make the oil (Exodus 30:23-25). The importance that God placed on this religious ceremony is not surprising. After all, this was the means through which salvation would come to our World.
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24 And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
The word Messiah used in the Bible
To understand the role of Jesus as our Messiah we need to examine the usage of the word Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures.
It is used 39 times, referring to anointed prophets, priests, or kings.
Israel was a theocratic nation, i.e. a nation ruled directly by God. In this sense, Israel was special and unique because no other nation in history was governed by God Himself.
God ruled over Israel by divinely guiding Prophets, Priests, and Kings. These were the most important positions in theocratic Israel because they aided in the functioning of the government of Israel under the jurisdiction of God.
People were not self-appointed or elected into these roles but were divinely selected. The anointed ones worked as intercessors between God and the Jewish nation.
Following are some of the important passages in Scripture which refer to the “anointed ones”:
1) Prophets: The first type of Messiahs – Prophets.
…Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.Psalm 105:15
Moses was appointed as the first prophet of theocratic Israel.
Prophets were mouthpieces who conveyed God’s messages to His people. Because of the barrier that sin created, God communicated with our fallen world through prophets. They served to bring divine guidance, teachings, warnings, and encouragement from God.
God says that all His prophets are anointed. However, the Bible has no instances of a prophet being anointed by another person because, as spokespersons for God, they were chosen directly by Him.
2) Priests: The second type of Messiahs – Priests
And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.Exodus 30:30
Aaron was appointed by the prophet Moses to serve as the first High Priest of theocratic Israel.
Moses Anoints Aaron
Priests were set apart from the community to serve in God’s temple to carry out duties related to sacrifice and worship.
3) Kings: The third type of Messiahs – Kings.
The first king of theocratic Israel was Saul. He was anointed by the Prophet Samuel at the Lord’s instruction.
Note: God did not want Israel to have a human king as God Himself was the King of Israel (since Israel was a theocracy) and the Protector of His people. However, the Jews wanted a human king just like the other nations had one. God granted their wish and instructed Samuel to appoint Saul as their king.
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.1 Samuel 8:4-7
A question to ponder on
If there were so many “anointed ones” in the Bible, what makes Jesus Christ so special as the Messiah?
A skeptic might claim that Jesus was just one among several messiahs, so it doesn’t make Jesus any more important.
That is a good question, read further for the answer!
The Ultimate Messiah – Jesus Christ
- a leader who is believed to have the power to solve the world's problems.
- a person who is expected to come and save the world.
The dictionary correctly implies that firstly, this world has problems and needs solutions. Secondly, the world can only be saved by a leader known as the Messiah.
The messianic offices of prophets, priests, and kings of the Old Testament period were appointed to solve Israel’s problems. They were to practically help govern the nation under the guardianship of God.
The “anointed ones” all had one common characteristic, and that was to act as the means through which God could help His people. Prophets bought messages and guidance, Priests helped make the people righteous, and Kings helped protect Israel from neighboring enemies.
1) They could not stand properly in God's presence as they were sinners and often tempted to wrongdoings.
2) They were limited in their human abilities, such as having limited human life spans, failure to judge the inner thought of minds, etc. Hence they could only guide so long as they were alive.
3) They could not deal with the needs of the entire human race as they were limited in space and time.
Therefore the human temporary messiahs of the Old Testament could never solve the world’s problems nor could they save the world. Neither could they fulfill the role of the Eternal Transcendent Messiah. They were just types or shadows pointing to the need of a Supreme Saviour figure who would bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth.
God appointed these messiahs to serve as examples to show the big picture, i.e. the break in communication and fellowship with God could only be restored by the Ultimate Messiah.
Humanity desperately needed a Saviour who could transcend space and time. To effectively function as an intercessor, the Messiah must be sinless and have direct access to God.
The anointed ones were mere shadows demonstrating the coming of the ultimate Messiah, Jesus Christ, who, unlike these flawed messiahs, was divine and lived in the direct presence of God – the Father.
Jesus Christ was the true Messiah whose ruler-ship would be perfect, eternal, and just. His Messiahship would not be limited to Israel but would encompass the whole world.
His mission was to solve the world's biggest problem, which was separation from God. He was to rebuild the bond between fallen humans and God. Thus He was to provide a solution for sin and save humans from eternal death and destruction.
As we read earlier, Biblical messiah’s were anointed by the authority of God. Therefore, Jesus, too, was anointed publicly to serve as our Messiah.
Matthew 3:16-17 records the public anointing of Jesus.
At the start of His ministry, Jesus was officially announced as the Messiah when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. God the Father publicly acknowledged Him as His Son, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.
Hundreds of people witnessed this event and related it to the whole nation, thus providing enough testimonies that Jesus was truly the One they had been waiting for.
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Did Jesus Christ claim to be the Messiah?
Well, the clue is right there in His name! Contrary to popular belief, Christ is not Jesus’s last name or surname. It is a title that He associated with Himself. It is derived from the Greek word Khristós (Χριστός), which means “Messiah.”
By using the title of Christ, Jesus acknowledged Himself as the Messiah. Therefore this is proof positive of His claim to Messiahship.
Jesus announces that He is the Messiah
Soon after his public anointing, Jesus went into His local synagogue in Nazareth and declared Himself the Messiah prophesied in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2). The nation of Israel had been waiting a long time for Christ, and at the exact divinely appointed time, God had fulfilled His promise.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
This prophecy was given almost 700 years before Jesus uttered them! Imagine the look on the faces of the Jews when they heard Jesus tell them that He was the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah.
Jesus proclaimed this in Nazareth, where He lived all his young and adult life. The local Jewish community must have been shocked since many would have known Him and His family well. They thought he was just an average person with nothing special about Him.
They found it hard to believe that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Their unbelief in Jesus’s Messiahship is mentioned in Mark 6:3-4.
4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that He is the awaited Messiah
Jesus meets a Samaritan woman in a city of Samaria called Sychar. Being an outcast, she came alone at midday to draw water, probably to avoid attention. He had been waiting there since He knew she would come to draw water from the well. Jesus eagerly tells her about eternal life and the right way to worship God. She is fascinated by Jesus’s wisdom but tells Him that the Messiah would come and instruct them on these matters and much more. Jesus responds to her in unequivocal terms, telling her that He was the Messiah whom her people had been expecting.
The Samaritans were not Jewish and were hated and looked down upon by Jews of Jesus’s time. But their scriptures were loosely based upon the Torah, and it is incredible to see that even they believed and desired the arrival of the Messiah.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
The Jews eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Messiah
The Jews at the time of Jesus were living under the oppression of the Roman empire. They were looking for a deliverer who would free them from the occupiers. And they placed all their hopes upon the Messiah to lead them to freedom just like Moses had lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.
We know the people at the time of Jesus knew about the Messiah. The Jewish leaders and teachers must have certainly preached deliverance for Israel through the Messiah. Even the poor, uneducated and needy people had pinned their hopes of victory on the coming Christ.
Andrew one of John the Baptist’s disciples calls Jesus Messiah
Andrew was a poor fisherman who had just witnessed Jesus’s baptism. He realized that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. He was so excited that he ran to find his brother Peter to tell him that they had found the Christ.
40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
Philip tells Nathanael that Jesus was the Messiah mentioned in the Scriptures
When Philip talks to Nathanael we can clearly see that the teaching of a coming Christ was quite popular and important among the common folk of that time. They had a good understanding of the Messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures and were able to quickly relate to the Messianic claims of Jesus Christ.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
The Jewish people mistook John the Baptist to be the Messiah
John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He was anointed by God to announce the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ and to prepare the people to receive Him. He had such a charisma that people mistook the prophet John to be the Messiah. This shows that the people were expecting the arrival of the Messiah.
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Prophecies in the Bible indicate that the Messiah will be our World’s Prophet, Priest, and King
The Messiah will be Humanity’s Prophet
Jesus came to reveal God – the Father’s will to humans. He came as a spokesperson from the Godhead to communicate God’s love for fallen humanity and the incredible efforts that Heaven undertook to save us.
Old Testament Prophecy
The Messiah will be Humanity’s High Priest
Jesus fulfilled the role of High Priest by not only being our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) but also cleansing us from all sin. Just like priests for over a thousand years had been offering sacrifices (Leviticus 16:30 ) on behalf of people at the Earthly temple, Jesus offered Himself up as our sacrifice at the Heavenly Temple. (Hebrews 8:2)
Old Testament Prophecy
13 Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Jesus is our Mediator
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1 Timothy 2:5
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The Messiah will be Humanity’s King
Ever since Earth fell into the hands of satan, God spoke through His prophets to assure us that the devil’s rein on our planet would be temporary. God would reclaim possession of our world and establish His everlasting righteous kingdom, and God Himself would be our King.
The Bible is full of promises from God that the Messiah would gain victory over our adversary and would be the final King to rule over the Earth. Almost every Old Testament prophet prophesied about this future kingdom of God. Even Jesus Himself mentioned His Kingship. Thus it is very clear that Jesus Christ fulfills the final role of King.
Old Testament Prophecy
2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.Isaiah 11:1-5
The angel Gabriel declares Jesus as Our King
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1:31-33
Jesus Christ came as our Messiah to undo the damage which was initiated by Adam and perpetuated by each one of us. He set foot on our planet to become the fountain of healing to save us from eternal death. The Creator’s incredible gesture to become our Saviour shows the unimaginable love that He has for us.
Even though fallen humanity kept breaking away from God at every step, God was patient, kind, and merciful throughout His dealing with us. Sin had alienated our planet from Heaven, and we were cut out without hope and salvation. But Jesus reconnected us back into the sphere of Eternal glory.
The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden, and nearly 4000 years later, Jesus faithfully fulfilled His promise to be our Messiah!