When we hear of the word “Messiah”, some think of George Frederick Handel’s Oratorio Messiah and the “Hallelujah Chorus”, while others associate the word with a Savior or Liberator, others equate it with a High Priest or a King. There is a duality in biblical prophecy associated with the Messiah.
Ever wonder why the Jewish people did not accept Jesus as the Messiah when there were so many prophecies fulfilled during His first coming?
He came closer to the city [Jerusalem], and when he saw it, he wept over it, saying, “If you only knew today what is needed for peace! But now you cannot see it! The time will come when your enemies will surround you with barricades, blockade you, and close in on you from every side. They will completely destroy you and the people within your walls; not a single stone will they leave in its place, because you did not recognize the time when God came to save you!”
Luke 19:41-44 (GNT)
They did not recognize the time of Jesus’ visit to them and have been blinded ever since. What exactly were they expecting or looking for? Their dilemma is found in the duality (two distinct roles) of the Messiah found in various scriptures.
First is the Suffering Servant (The Lamb), also known as Messiah ben Joseph:
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NKJV)
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Zechariah 12:10 (NKJV)
Second is the Conquering King (The Lion), also known as Messiah ben David:
I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds 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 languages should serve Him.
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 (NKJV)
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
Zechariah 14:16 (NKJV)
There are over 1500 prophecies found in the bible referring to the Messiah and His comings. For every 1 prophecy referring to the Suffering Servant there are 8 referring to the Conquering King. For many ancient Jewish scholars and Rabbis, it has been difficult to resolve this contradiction and is perhaps why they were looking for a King rather than a servant since the King is talked about so much more in prophecy. How can their Messiah who is to judge and rule the nations with power and glory suffer in humility?
While most Jewish scholars cannot reconcile the duality of the messianic prophecies, we believe that Jesus (Yeshua) in His first coming was the Messiah-Suffering Servant; and in His second coming He will come again as the Messiah-Conquering King.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me [Jesus]. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
John 14:1-3 (ESV)
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV)
God has a plan for our lives and the world. He has always had a plan even before creation! The feasts of the Lord is God’s plan of salvation for humanity that divide into two groups and correlate with the two distinct roles of the Messiah. The spring feasts (appointments, rehearsals) correspond with Jesus’ first coming and were fulfilled at Passover (death/crucifixion), Feast of Unleavened Bread (burial), Feast of Firstfruits (resurrection), and Feast of Weeks (Pentecost/sending of the Holy Spirit). This is known as the Former Rain.
The fall feasts relate to Jesus’ second coming and will be fulfilled at Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles and are known as the Latter Rain, which we will elaborate on as fall is coming!
While it is nearly impossible to see both sides of the same coin at the same time, we must accept Jesus as the complete fulfillment of things past (former) and things to come (latter). The Jews were expecting a King so they rejected the Servant. The Gentiles welcome the Servant, but will they recognize the King? To know Jesus is to know Him in both of His roles and purposes as Messiah.
– John and Jenn