Will the coming Messiah be a King, a Rabbi or a General?
Generally speaking there
is in Israel and among the Jewish people a lack of clarity concerning the
person of the coming Messiah, and what his characteristics are meant to be.
This uncertainty about the longed-for and anticipated Messiah has led to a number of individuals in history believing themselves to be possible candidates. Thus, because of this ambiguity, different people throughout Jewish history have been able to claim for themselves the title of Messiah, beginning with the legendary figure of Bar Kochba who some believed to be the Messiah through modern times to the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneerson of New York. Some believed themselves to be the Messiah, others let others do the believing for them. But the fact that this all fluctuated between national heroes of a more political nature on one hand, and spiritual charismatic leaders or rabbis on the other, reveals the absence of a broad consensus as to what the Messiah is to be.
This takes us right back to the biblical times where we find this duality also: spiritual leaders or prophets like Moses and Samuel who led the Jewish people in God's name and anointed warrior leaders like Joshua and King David, or specially anointed heroes like Samson and Gideon during the time of the judges.
Which raises the question: What kind of Messiah can we expect a spiritual prophet like Moses or Samuel, a warrior/king like David, or an anointed military commander like Joshua? Who are we to expect or, what is perhaps a better question, what kind of Messiah does Israel most need at this moment in her history to bring her through all her problems an anointed king, a commander, a spiritual guide and prophet, or an exceptional peace maker a man of peace?
That there is a natural longing to see some kind of leader emerge one day is evident whenever a popular Israeli politician appears and crowds chant 'melech Israel' king of Israel.
This nation is destined ultimately to have a Messiah King not just a Prime Minister or President who, especially with such a divided people and parliament, would never be able to accomplish the task.
Perhaps all the elements of the Israels leaders who were previously anointed by God and given to the people Samuel, Moses, Gideon, Joshua, King David and King Solomon will be present in Prince Messiah when He comes.
In a way, King David comes closest to the Person we can all expect. He was at once a very spiritual prophetic man, an amazingly effective military commander, and a true political leader and king of his people.
In each of these previous leaders we see only a certain aspect of the characteristics of the promised Messiah.
Moses was more of a spiritual leader and prophet, and the promise was made even during his time that one day God would raise up unto His people "a Prophet like him" (see Deuteronomy 18:15), signifying that the Messiah would therefore definitely have the prophetic powers and calling of a Moses. Moses, an elevated spiritual leader, met the Lord high up in the mountain where he received the Torah the Ten Commandments from God which he brought then down to his people.
Joshua, a more down-to-earth leader, a warrior, met the Lord down in the plain of Jericho, when He called Himself the Captain of the hosts of the Lord before Joshua was able to militarily conquer the Promised Land.
In King David we find all these different elements combined: the priest and prophet who prays and sings his prayers and songs of worship before the Lord his God, even in his tent of tabernacle; the soldier, who experiences the Lord teaching him to fight as a mighty warrior, training his hands to war and conquer (see Psalm 18:34); and the king who rules over God's people in God's Name.
|He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. (Ps 18:34 NIV)|
Also his son Solomon
foreshadows the coming Messiah King, especially during his early reign as
a true son of David when in peace and justice he rules the whole kingdom
entrusted to him.
This is why one of the special titles for the Messiah is Son of David not only because King David had all these three elements of priest/prophet, king and warrior in himself (and so in this way was a typical forerunner of the coming Messiah), but also because David was born in Bethlehem, a city where according to the prophet Micah the Messiah too would be born.
|"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2 - NKJV)|
This is why, as someone
once told me, it was possibly the saddest day when the Israeli government
decided in 1995 to give the city of Bethlehem away to Arafat and the Palestinians
to be Juden-rein Muslim territory, so rendering impossible the birth
of a Jewish Messiah in this city of David. From that day, no Jews have been
permitted to live in Bethlehem.
The Messiah, to be the genuine Messiah, must therefore resemble King David He must not only be a royal descendent from Davids house; like David, He must also born in Bethlehem, and like the direct physical son of David, Solomon, He must be a Person who will establish peace and justice over the whole earth, beginning in the city of Jerusalem.
In the Tanach (the Scriptures), the Person of the Messiah is so identified with King David that He is sometimes even named "David" as in Ezekiel 37:25:
Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
But like David He will also be a Man of war a Lion of Judah who will fight for His people Israel, trampling in the winepress of His wrath the nations that have come to swallow up Israel. As Zechariah prophesies:
Then the Lord will go forth and fight
against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day
His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the
east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making
a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and
half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled
from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my
God will come, and all the saints with You.
So the Messiah is not
just One Who is brought as 'a Lamb to the slaughter' (Isaiah 53:7); He will
also will be like a roaring Lion "the Lion of Judah."
There are equally many passages in the Scriptures which describe clearly and forcefully this aspect of the coming Messiah. He will in the end days go out to war for His people:
The Lord shall go forth like a mighty
man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes,
shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)
However He will also
be the spiritual guide to His people, a prophet like Moses a High
Priest and Prophet combined, like Moses and Aaron in One, who will guide
His people in all matters of faith and Torah, eclipsing the need for a chief
Rabbi or a Chief Rabbinate in His days!
So the Messiah will be like Moses the true Law giver and in His days this law will go forth from Zion not only to all Israel but to the uttermost parts of the world.
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 shall be exalted above the hills; and people
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. He shall judge between
many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords
into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift
up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
His coming will be sudden and only after His temple, the house of God, will have been built upon God's holy hill in Jerusalem, rightfully called "the Temple Mount".
"Behold, I send My messenger, and
he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly
come to his temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming," says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
So He will suddenly come to His temple coming when people least expect Him "as a thief in the night" yet with great power and glory, as Daniel describes, on the clouds of heaven.
"I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the cloud of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7: 13, 14)
It all has to be like
this, because unless He, the Messiah, comes with unmistakable power and glory,
He will not be seen for what He is, the true King and Messiah of Israel,
the Ruler of the world as so many self-appointed ego maniacs, in both
the religious as well as the political world, will surely first try to present
themselves as saviors and messiahs of mankind!
Thus does the Tanach, or Holy Scriptures, seem to imply that at an hour when people least expect it, when darkness will cover the earth and the nations when because of all the earthquakes, disasters, wars and rumors of wars men's hearts will be failing them from fear when the general situation of this planet and its inhabitants has come to the brink of utter hopelessness, God's light will come in the powerful person of Israel's King Messiah, Son of the house of David. As is written:
|When darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)|
In the run-up to that time, every ruler in this world, of whatever nation especially of course of the nation of Israel has the possibility by the grace and inspiration of God, to foreshadow, even as King David did in His reign and rule, some of the characteristics of this coming King and Messiah of mankind. He can choose to put God and His laws first and foremost, seek Him continually for wisdom and direction, seek His council even as David did even as how to fight and overcome the enemies of his nation. All this David did, and on top of it he, David, was a great lover of His God putting the place set aside for His God in his city above everything else, as he expresses in Psalm 132:
A Song of Ascents. Lord, remember David and all his afflictions; how he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: "Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, or go up to the comfort of my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob." For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: "This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it." (Psalm 132:1-5, 13-14)
May God inspire a future
leader in Israel to prepare again a dwelling place unto God in Jerusalem.
So equally now an Israeli or other nations prime minister or president can make sure that his first holy duty is to the God of heaven and earth, and in this case Israel's leader has a unique privileged possibility and calling to prepare in this fateful 21st century a house for the Lord God of Israel, to thus show in the first place to his own Israeli people but then also to the nations of the world that Israel will not suffice with just having a religion for some of their people as most of the nations indeed have also but that Israel's leader may God grant it soon will like David be seen to want God (and not just a religion) to again take up His residence through the majestic and powerful person of the Messiah on His holy Hill in Jerusalem for all the world to see.
May that day come soon!
Jan Willem van der Hoeven,
Return to Refs Messiah