|Topical Bible Study||May 1961|
The Son of God Series—Lesson X
The Messiah of Promise
THE word Messiah means “anointed.” Its significance is based upon the ancient custom in Israel of anointing kings and priests to office. Through this ceremony—which consisted of pouring oil on the head of the person being installed into office—the anointed one was made the official and legal holder of the office. So, throughout the Scriptures, the Messiah is presented as one whom God would send and authorize to carry out all the various aspects of his plan.
The messianic title as applied to Jesus is related to all his other titles in the sense that he is Jehovah’s anointed to perform all the services implied by them. He was sent by Jehovah and authorized by him to be the Redeemer, the Savior, Advocate, Mediator, Judge, and King. He will be the “Second Adam” to regenerate the adamic race, and The Prince of Peace. None of the services rendered by Jesus in the outworking of the divine plan are performed on his own initiative. They are all the works of God, and accomplished by the commandment of God.—I Cor. 15:45; Heb. 5:4,5
The oil that was used to anoint the kings and priests of Israel was typical of the Holy Spirit with which Jesus was anointed. His anointing by the Holy Spirit took place at the time of his baptism.—Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:45
Jesus was anointed, or authorized to occupy a position above his “fellows.” (Heb. 1:8,9) This high position is one of authority as a ruler, a king. Jesus was anointed not only to proclaim the glad tidings of the kingdom, but also to perform the works of the kingdom, even the awakening of the dead.—John 5:20,21
The promises of the coming of this One whom God would send to bless mankind are to be found throughout the entire Bible. The first is implied in a statement made to the “serpent” in the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 3:15) The thought appears again in a promise made to Abraham. (Gen. 22:15-18) Jacob touched on it in a deathbed prophecy. (Gen. 49:9,10) In one context, or another, all God’s holy prophets referred to the coming Messiah of blessing. It was the hope of Israel.
The apostles proclaimed the same as the great One of promise. In the Book of Revelation this authorized and powerful One is shown victoriously destroying the Devil and all his works, and restoring the dead and dying to life. The Lord’s people, both before and since the first advent of Jesus, have patiently waited for the triumph of righteousness in the earth through the agencies of Christ’s kingdom, and have ofttimes wondered why the promises of God pertaining thereto have seemingly been so long delayed.*
* “The Divine Plan of the Ages,” pages 77-82.
Of course, there has been no actual delay so far as God is concerned, but one reason for the seeming delay as viewed by his people is the fact that the Messiah was to have associated with him a group of people who also would be anointed by the Holy Spirit that they might share with him in the work of blessing all the families of the earth. The New Testament word which corresponds with Messiah, is Christ, and the Apostle Paul explains that the Christ of God is made up, not of one member, but many. (I Cor. 12:12,14,27; Gal. 3:27-29) It has required the entire Gospel Age to select and prepare this company of people to live and reign with Christ. Now that work is nearly completed, and the kingdom is near.
The word Messiah is a very familiar one, but how many of these questions can we answer concerning his place in the plan of God?
From what custom of the past does the word Messiah derive its meaning?
What is signified by the application of the word Messiah to Jesus, and to his place in the plan of God?
What was typified by the oil used to anoint Israel’s priests and kings?
When was Jesus anointed by the Holy Spirit?
How many promises are there in the Bible pertaining to the coming and work of the Messiah?
What has caused one of the seeming delays in the fulfillment of the Bible’s messianic promises? What New Testament word corresponds with the word Messiah?
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
The messianic purpose of God embraces the entire plan of redemption and restoration through Jesus, and this purpose has continued to move victoriously forward throughout all the ages. There has been no delay in the past, nor is there any delay now.