Why the Jewish Messiah is the Most Important Individual in History

It’s difficult for a 21st century audience to appreciate the century-long yearning which the Hebrews had for the Messiah’s arrival.

However, he will differ from all other human beings: he will also be God. We know this for a few reasons. First, as mentioned in Micah 5:2, his existence has no beginning. That can only be said of an individual who is self-existent and uncreated; who is prior to all created things. The Hebrew Scriptures (and logic) tell us that such a being must be the God and Creator of all things. Second, Isaiah 7:14 mentions that he will be known as, “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” Third, Isaiah’s second prophecy states that he is called, “Mighty God.” It would be blasphemous to call someone, “God,” who was not. Thus, the Jewish Messiah would be both fully human and fully God, making him unequivocally significant in history.

 

What Christmas commemorates is big for many reasons. With the incarnation comes the Savior. For those who repent, there is justification, adoption, redemption, reconciliation, regeneration, sanctification, and, one day, glorification. But if we back up a bit, with the incarnation, there is the arrival of the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. It’s difficult for a 21st century audience to appreciate the century-long yearning which the Hebrews had for the Messiah’s arrival.

But why? What is the significance of the Jewish Messiah?

For centuries, the Israelites correctly understood that the Messiah would be the most important individual in world history. The significance of the Jewish Messiah would in no way be a localized significance. While the Hebrew Scriptures records his importance, that importance was not only for Hebrews. Instead, the Hebrews were granted divine inspiration for the recording and declaring thereof. That he would come through the Israeli people in no way confined his importance to that small corner of the globe. This coming Messiah, whenever he came, would be the most important individual for all peoples of all times in all places.

How could that be so? The Messiah is foretold to be the individual who will do many incredible things. Much could be said, but for a brief Christmas meditation, here are six of many reasons why the Jewish Messiah is the most significant individual in history, and, as a bonus, why Jesus is he:

A brief preface: The messianic prophecies cited were all known to be given prior to the arrival of the Messiah so that the world would have no trouble recognizing him upon his arrival. While the specific date of his birth was not disclosed to the world, the details of his person and doings were; something far more helpful.

  1. The Jewish Messiah’s kingdom-reign will grow and never end.

“Thus says the LORD…‘When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom…Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” ’ ” (2 Samuel 7:, 12, 16). Date of prophecy, ca. 1000 B.C.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders…There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7. Date of prophecy, ca. 700 B.C.

“And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one” (Zechariah 14:9). Date of prophecy, ca. 500 B.C.

These messianic prophecies contain some striking imperial declarations. First, the Jewish Messiah will be a king. His rule will not be democratic, but monocratic. He alone will rule. Second, he will be a king in the lineage of David, the Hebrew king (to whom the 2 Samuel prophecy was given). His human ancestry will be strictly Jewish and Davidic. Third, the Messiah will have a kingdom. Fourth, his kingdom will feature peace, justice, and righteousness. Whatever this will look like, it’s great news for the world. Fifth, his kingdom will increase. That is, it will feature growth. Sixth, the Messiah’s kingdom will never end. That is, it is an eternal kingdom; with no termination. That’s a tough one to accomplish, especially if you are merely human. But make no mistake about it, the Jewish Messiah will rule a kingdom which will continue for eternity. Finally, the Jewish Messiah’s kingdom will be global, or, “all the earth.”

Earth has seen some powerful rulers. However, if you are a king with this kind of a kingdom, you are set apart from all of them.

  1. The Jewish Messiah has existed for eternity.

“But as for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). Date of prophecy, ca. 700 B.C.

The last statement in this prophecy is striking. It’s one thing for a king to reign forever, as mentioned in the aforementioned prophecy. It’s quite another for him to have already existed for eternity. This means that his existence has no beginning point. The Jewish Messiah has no moment at which his being began. Unlike every human being, he is uncreated and uncaused. He is before all things, including the created order as we know it.

Based upon his eternality alone, the Jewish Messiah is more than a cut above all individuals in history.

  1. The Jewish Messiah will be fully man and fully God.

“Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

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