Mashiach is a title for Yeshua HaMashiach, the Saviour of the world. In the Old Testament, YHVH told how He would send the Mashiach to rescue His people, to make everything right and to destroy evil. The Jews looked forward to the arrival of this Jewish hero but rejected Yeshua HaMashiach because they expected someone different. Instead of a soldier, Yeshua was a servant. Instead of being a mighty King, Yeshua died on a cross. The Jews did not recognize YHVH's plan for Yeshua as the Mashiach, but Yeshua still saved those who believed in Him by His death on the cross. He came back from the dead and now rules in heaven above.

The title of Mashiach came from the Hebrew language and means "Anointed One." Mashiach refers to an individual who is set apart to serve YHVH. This person would be anointed with oil; a common practice that involved pouring oil over a person's head. Priests were regularly anointed with oil as a symbol of their right to serve at YHVH's Altar (Leviticus 4:3). Samuel anointed Saul and David to signify their selection as king. All Hebrew kings were then anointed before assuming their positions of royal leadership. The kings were considered to be the Lord's special leaders (1 Samuel 12:14; 2 Samuel 19:21).
These ceremonies introduced the idea of a Mashiach; a special person set apart in YHVH's service. Several prophecies also described a specific Mashiach, which helped to fuel people's anticipation of the ultimate Anointed One. A statement still found in many Hebrew prayer books is this: "I believe with a perfect heart that the Mashiach will come; and although His coming be delayed, I will still wait patiently for His speedy appearance." Although we believe that the Mashiach has already come to earth in the person of Yeshua HaMashiach, we should also eagerly look forward to His second appearance. We too, should be patient and eager for His arrival-this time as King of kings.

Prophets foretold that David's kingdom would endure to the end of time (2 Samuel 7:16); David's descendants would enjoy a never-ending reign on the earth (22:48-51; Jeremiah 33). This idea of an ongoing political reign is the one that most Jews hold with regard to the Mashiach (compare with Acts 1:6). However, Orthodox rabbis have traditionally disagreed about the Mashiach's Ministry. At one time, the rabbis applied no less than 456 passages of Scripture to His person and salvation. Their writings show their pre-occupation with the Mashiach. A particular writing called, Sanhedrin (Babylonian Talmud), states that the world was created for the Mashiach and that all the prophets prophesied of His days. By and large however, Orthodox Jews still retain a timeworn belief in the Mashiach's physical reign in Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the temple and the re-establishment of the priests and the offerings and sacrifices. They believe these signs will accompany the Mashiach. Later Judaism described the Mashiach as someone who will reign at the end of time. In fact, modern Jewish thought has largely traded the traditional notion of a literal or personal Mashiach for a Messianic age that will come at the end of time. Popular liberal Judaism believes the world ultimately will be perfected through the influence of Jewish ideals like justice and compassion. Of course, this conviction puts too much stock in humanity's ability to save itself and it lacks scriptural support. The Bible teaches about our need for YHVH's grace in spite of our good intentions. Compassion is a powerful principle, but it will never bring anyone salvation. Justice is sorely needed in our world, but only YHVH could establish infinite justice through Yeshua's death; the ultimate sacrifice for sins. While the Mashiach's origin was linked firmly to the house of David (2 Samuel 7:14; Hosea 3:5), the promise of a Mashiach was given long before David lived. In fact, the hope for the Mashiach was mentioned at the very beginning of the world. Addressed to Satan, Genesis 3:15 declares that YHVH will place hostility between the serpent and the woman until, in the fullness of time, the "seed" of the woman inflicts a fatal blow to the head of the serpent. Who is this seed; child who will destroy Satan's power? The Mashiach Himself.

Each prophecy in the Bible casts more light on the subject of the Mashiach. Consider the following prophecies:

  1. Mashiach is to be born of a woman (Genesis 3:15)

  2. Through the line of Shem (Genesis 9:26) and specifically through Abraham (22:18).

  3. Yet even as late as Genesis 22:18, the "seed" is not clearly presented as a person, since zerah (seed) may indicate a singular or plural object. Still less apparent in these early stages of Messianic Prophecy is the nature of the "bruising" that is to occur. Yet the idea of the Mashiach being crushed for sin is undoubtedly expressed in Genesis, as is the violence associated with that act.

  4. Chief among the Messianic Prophets, Isaiah gives full range to the emerging idea that the Anointed One must endure extensive suffering (Isaiah 53:1). Under the figure "the Servant of the Lord," four "servant songs" delineate the mission of the future deliverer (42:1-7; 49:1-9; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12). While it is true that Isaiah does not explicitly link the title Mashiach with the Servant of the Lord, it is a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence:

  5. Both figures are uniquely anointed (Isaiah 61:1); each brings light to the Gentiles (55:4; compare with 49:6); neither is pretentious in His first appearance (7:14-15; 11:1; compare with 42:3; 53:1); and the title of Davidic "branch" rests upon them both (11:1-4). Equally significant are the common traits of humility and honour (49:7; 52:13-15).

  6. Jewish scholars who study the early Christian era in the Aramaic Targum paraphrase Isaiah 42:1, "Behold my Servant Mashiach" and begin Isaiah 53, "Behold my Servant Mashiach will prosper." While a ruler like Cyrus may be spoken of as "anointed," he does not play a role in salvation (45:1-5). Israel, although chosen and loved by YHVH (41:8), is ill-equipped to be the Mashiach (42:18). The collapse of David's dynasty points to Israel's need for healing from their disobedience (Exodus 33:5; Hosea 4:1).

The Old Testament's history presents Israel's comprehensive moral failure as a portrait of our own lives. Israel's problem is our own problem. Making a covenant or personal promise with a Saviour and sovereign Lord is Israel's only hope (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The Mashiach's arrival into the history of humanity is recorded in the strange promise of a shoot from the stump of Jesse's fallen tree (Isaiah 9:2; 11:1). This prophetic language is another way of describing the Mashiach's family line; all the way from David's father Jesse, to HaMashiach Himself.

Scripture brings together seemingly unrelated ideas like servant-hood and lowliness with royalty (Zechariah 9:9). Jews had no problem accepting the Mashiach's roles of Priest and King (Psalm 110:1-4). However, a suffering Priest-King is far less obvious and far less palatable. Some among the Talmudic writers apparently recognized the likelihood that the Mashiach would have to suffer. In the Babylonian Talmud, the Mashiach is said to bear sicknesses and pain. Among the prayers for the Day of Atonement are the words of Eleazar Ben Qalir (from perhaps as late as AD 1000): "Our righteous Mashiach has departed from us; we are horror-stricken and there is none to justify us. Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions He carries and is wounded for our transgressions. He bears on His shoulders our sins to find pardon for our iniquities. May we be healed by His stripes." In a similar vein, Rabbi Eliyya de Vidas writes, "The meaning of 'He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities,' is that since the Mashiach bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whosoever will not admit that the Mashiach thus suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer for them Himself." However, no one would have imagined that the Mashiach would accomplish His work of salvation through His own death (compare to Isaiah 53:12). Rabbis were unsuccessful in trying to tie together the idea of humiliation and exaltation to their own satisfaction. As a result, some rabbis hypothesized that YHVH would send a Mashiach to suffer as well as a Mashiach to reign. However, Scripture teaches that the Mashiach's terrible suffering is a necessary step toward infinite glory. He is pictured not only as a great King (52:13; 53:12) but also as humble (53:2), humiliated (52:14) and rejected (53:3). He bears the consequences of mankind's rebellion (53:5-6). Yet He is raised up to intercede for and richly bless His people (53:12). The Mashiach, having accomplished the full obedience that Adam and Israel failed to achieve, will bring Israel and the nations back to YHVH (42:18-19; 49:3, 6).

The book of Daniel is unique in that it boldly speaks of "Mashiach the Prince" (Daniel 9:25), identifies Him as the "Son of Man" (7:13) and says He suffers (9:26). The "cutting off" or death of the Mashiach is His work of Atonement (9:24). He acts as a substitute for sinful humanity and pays the penalty for their sin. This principle is called the doctrine of substitutionary Atonement and it is the only doctrine of Atonement found in the Bible (compare to Leviticus 17:11). Israel understood that the Mashiach would live a sinless life. Despite His innocence, He would endure the consequences or penalty, for sin (compare to Numbers 14:33) for the entire world. Although we deserved sin and death for our sin (Romans 6:23), Yeshua HaMashiach, paid the penalty by His death on the cross. We escaped certain death and eternal separation from YHVH because of His willingness to love us and bring us back to YHVH. Psalm 22:1 records the plaintive cry of the Mashiach as He not only bears the penalty for the world's sin (compare to Matthew 27:46), but He becomes sin on behalf of His people (2 Corinthians 5:21). His cry, "My God," indicates an intimate relationship between a Father and a Son that cannot be broken. Once again, we see the Mashiach humiliated on the cross prior to His resurrection (Psalm 22:27). In the so-called "royal psalms" (2; 72; 110), the Mashiach is a Priestly Intercessor Who is also ordained to function as Monarch and Judge. Jeremiah takes the idea a step further: the Mashiach, YHVH's righteous branch, becomes "the Lord our Righteousness." Under the Law, no one could be crucified who was not guilty of sin (Deuteronomy 21:22). However, HaMashiach made a scandal of the Law because He was the most righteous One who ever lived (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). More than forgiven, believers are now deemed righteous in Him (Jeremiah 23:5-6).While the birthplace of the Mashiach was well established (Micah 5:2), the fact that He was indeed YHVH was hotly contested. Although few in ancient Israel disputed the belief in a superhuman Mashiach, who would have guessed that the Mashiach would be "YHVH with us" in the fullest sense of the expression (compare to Hebrews 1:3)? However, this is the major distinction of Christianity. In other world religions, humanity is reaching toward YHVH through penance and ritual. YHVH remains an elusive higher being. In Christianity however, YHVH initiates a personal relationship with humanity; coming to us in the form of Yeshua HaMashiach, His Son.

The New Testament writers show how Yeshua fulfilled the prophecies that the Mashiach would be the child of supernatural origins (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2). He would be YHVH Himself (Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:19). Therefore, the Son of YHVH was worthy to receive the worship of all people (Psalm 45:6-7; compare to Hebrews 1:8-9). The Jews of first-century Palestine knew that the Messianic promise would be fulfilled in the coming of one like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18). In fact, Yeshua and Moses have a lot in common. Both served as mediators between YHVH and His people and each marked the beginning of new phases of spiritual life. Consider the following similarities:

  1. Both are miraculously spared in infancy (Exodus 2 ; Matthew 2:13-23)

  2. Both renounce a royal court for the sake of serving the people of YHVH (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 11:24-28)

  3. Both exhibit intense compassion for others (Numbers 27:17; Matthew 9:36)

  4. Both commune "face to face" with YHVH (Exodus 34:29-30; 2 Corinthians 3:7)

  5. Each mediates a covenant of redemption (Deuteronomy 29:1; Hebrews 8:6-7)

Despite their similarities, as Martin Luther observes, "HaMashiach is no Moses." Moses is but a household servant; the Mashiach is the Maker and Master of all things (Hebrews 3:3-6; compare to John 1:1-2, 18).

Family genealogy is important in Scripture. Rabbis agreed upon the absolute necessity that the Mashiach come from the line of David based on Hosea 3:5 and Jeremiah 30:9. The angel is quick to announce the correct lineage for Yeshua (Luke 1:32-33; compare to 2:4; Matthew 1:1-17). In Luke, like Matthew, the genealogy defines the exclusive, kingly descent of Yeshua, proving He is the Mashiach (Luke 3:23-38). Although variations occur between the two genealogies, there is enough common ground to validate Yeshua's ancestry within the unique Messianic stock.

Yeshua brought attention to the Messianic focus of Scripture (John 5:46; 8:56). To make His point, Yeshua acknowledged Himself to be the HaMashiach on numerous occasions. He accepted the title from blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-48), from the crowds when He entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9), from the children at the temple (21:15) and in other contexts as well (16:16-18; Mark 14:61-62; Luke 4:21; John 4:25-26). Nonetheless, He warned His disciples not to broadcast His mighty acts as Mashiach prior to His resurrection (Matthew 17:9; compare to Luke 9:20-21). Yeshua realized most Jews falsely believed the Mashiach's role was that of a political liberator. As a result, Yeshua actually avoided use of that term and preferred to identify Himself as "the Son of Man." It was by no means assumed that both designations referred to the same person (compare to Mark 14:61-62). Borrowing essentially from Daniel's vision of a heavenly conqueror (Daniel 7:13-14), Yeshua consistently used this less familiar title and worked to fill it with the true character and mission of the Mashiach. Yeshua's teaching in this regard enabled His disciples to reject their preconceived notions of what the Mashiach would do (Matthew 16:21-23). In the fullness of time, the disciples would realize He was not only the Mashiach but also the very theme of the entire Old Testament (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:27, Matthew 44:1; John 5:39; compare to Hebrews 10:7). When we study YHVH's Word, YHVH reveals how Yeshua HaMashiach's person, nature and ministry is connected throughout the Old and New Testaments. YHVH did not design the testaments as plan A and plan B. Everything that is recorded in the Bible somehow points to Yeshua HaMashiach's role in salvation. Yeshua expounded the Scriptures beginning with the Torah; the first five books of the Bible (Luke 24:27). However, He did so as the living YHVH Himself! He was after all, the Word made flesh (John 1:14, 18). Consider some of the following Messianic references and explanations:

  1. Psalm 2; 16; 22; 40; 110

  2. Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 11:1; 40:10-11; 50:6; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; 61:1; 63:1-6

  3. Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:14-16

  4. Ezekiel 34:23; 37:25

  5. Daniel 9:24-27

  6. Hosea 11:1

  7. Micah 5:2

  8. Zechariah 9:9; 11:13; 12:10; 13:7

  9. Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:2.

All four authors of the gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; write their conviction that Yeshua was indeed the Mashiach (Matthew 1:1; Mark 1:1; Luke 24:26; John 20:31). Additional evidence is provided by: Peter at Pentecost, Philip before the Ethiopian eunuch and Apollos in open debate. All of these preachers argue convincingly that Yeshua is the Mashiach (Acts 2:36; 8:35; 28:28). Peter says He was "made" both Lord and HaMashiach (2:36), pointing to His resurrection as proof. Similarly, the apostle Paul speaks of Yeshua's resurrection as a patent declaration of His inalienable right to the title (Romans 1:4). Who else in history before or since, has made such a claim? For an ex-Pharisee and former persecutor of the church, referencing "Yeshua HaMashiach" is no small matter. Yet it is the very heart and soul of Paul's preaching. Nothing is comparable to the glory of the Mashiach; everything pales by comparison (Philippians 3:5-10). The Bible calls Yeshua the Holy One, Judge, Righteous One, King, Son of YHVH and Lord, but even this list is incomplete. From cover to cover, the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach is the heart and substance of the covenant through which sinful people may be reconciled to a Holy YHVH (Isaiah 42:6; John 14:6). This is why the gospel is called "the good news." Yeshua is the Mashiach of Israel, YHVH incarnate. Therefore, all should trust in Him, the source of all grace, the only abiding treasure (Matthew 12:21; John 1:16-17; Colossians 2:3). Anointed as prophet, He leads us into all truth (John 6:14; John 7:16); as Priest He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:21); and as King He reigns over us (Philippians 2:9-10). The blessed Mashiach has come in the person of Yeshua.


“He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left YHVH’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all”. (Isaiah 53:5-6) This chapter in Isaiah speaks of the Mashiach Yeshua, who would suffer for the sins of all people. Such a prophecy is astounding! Who would believe that YHVH would choose to save the world through a humble, suffering servant rather than a glorious King? The idea is contrary to human pride and worldly ways. But YHVH often works in ways we don’t expect. The Mashiach’s strength is shown by humility, suffering and mercy.

How could an Old Testament person understand the idea of HaMashiach dying for our sins (our transgressions and iniquities); actually bearing the punishment that we deserved? The sacrifices suggested this idea, but it is one thing to kill a lamb and something quite different to think of YHVH’s chosen servant as that Lamb. But YHVH was pulling aside the curtain of time to let the people of Isaiah’s day look ahead to the suffering of the future Mashiach and the resulting forgiveness made available to all mankind.

“Lord, now I can die in peace! As you promised me, I have seen the Saviour you have given to all people. He is a light to reveal YHVH to the nations and He is the glory of Your people Israel!” (Luke 2:29-32) The Jews were well acquainted with the Old Testament prophecies that spoke of the Mashiach’s blessings to their nation. They did not always give equal attention to the prophecies saying that he would bring salvation to the entire world, not just the Jews (see, for example, Isaiah 49:6). Many thought that HaMashiach had come to save only His own people. Luke made sure his Greek audience understood that HaMashiach had come to save all who believe, Gentiles as well as Jews.

“John’s two disciples found Yeshua and said to Him, ‘John the Baptist sent us to ask, ’Are you the Mashiach we’ve been expecting or should we keep looking for someone else?’ At that very time, He cured many people of their various diseases and He cast out evil spirits and restored sight to the blind. Then he told John’s disciples, ‘Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard; the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, YHVH blesses those who are not offended by Me.’” (Luke 7:20-23) The proofs listed here for Yeshua’s being the Mashiach are significant. They consist of observable deeds, not theories-actions that Yeshua’s contemporaries saw and reported for us to read today. The prophets had said that the Mashiach would do these very acts (see Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1). These physical proofs helped John; and will help all of us-to recognize who Yeshua is.

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