Apologetics

Messianic Prophecy - Messiah's Deity

Genesis 3:15 contains the first prophecy of the Coming Saviour, who would come and destroy the power of satan over man. However this required Him to receive the bite of the serpent (the poison of sin and its result, death): “I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman and between your seed and HER SEED. He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” His first title describes His nature: ‘The Seed of the woman.’ This tells us first that He will be a MAN (not an angel), born into the human-race through a woman. However it also indicates He will be no ordinary man, being (uniquely among men) ‘the seed (offspring) of a woman’, but not ‘the seed of a man.’ Thus He would not have a human father, but be born in a virgin-birth. This was necessary for Him to be born free from the contamination of sin (transmitted from Adam through the father). If He has no human father, then who could be His father? The clear inference is that God will be His Father, and that He therefore will be ‘the son of God.’ Since a son considered equal in nature to his father, the Messiah must have the Nature of God as well as a human nature, that is, He will be ‘God manifest in the flesh’, ‘the God-Man’, ‘the Son of God’ and ‘the Son of Man.’ The salvation of the human race through the Messiah bearing all their sin, curse and punishment, requires more than a good man, it requires a God- man. Thus the 2nd reason why a Virgin-Conception was necessary is that this was the IN-CARNATION (His coming into human flesh) of the Pre-existant God, which would be clearly impossible if He had a human father.

It is impressive that Eve understood these implications of the prophecy and thus named her first son Cain saying: “I have gotten the Man: even Jehovah” (Genesis 4:1). This shows her expectation that her son was the God-Man Messiah. We shall now see that this expectation of the Messiah being God as well as man was confirmed again and again by the prophets, and that when Jesus claimed to be God or ‘the Son of God’, this was perfectly consistent with the Old-Testament revelation of the coming Messiah.

IMMANUEL: “The Lord Himself will give you (the royal House of David) a (supernatural) sign: Behold the VIRGIN (of Genesis 3:15) shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name IMMANUEL (God with/among us)” (Isaiah7:14, also 8:8-10). Here what was implicit in Genesis 3:15 is made explicit (clearly explained). The Messiah will be the seed of woman, being born of a virgin into the House of David (born to be a king). By nature, He is Immanuel, the God-Man, the Son of God. Thus Messiah will be the perfect Son of God, free from sin who can set us free us from slavery to sin and give us eternal life as sons of God (Fulfilled by Jesus - John 8:32-36).

Isaiah 9:6,7. This HUMAN CHILD is also GOD!: “For unto us a child is born (His Humanity), unto us a SON is given (His Deity) and the government will be upon His shoulder (He is to be the Messiah-King, see v7)” (v6a).  This Kingly Messiah (Immanuel) will have two origins. As to His humanity, He will be born just like any man, but He is also the eternal Son of God who exists before His human birth, who, in being born as a man and living among us is God’s love-gift to us (Fulfilled by Jesus - John 1:1,14, 3:16, Phil 2:6-8).

“and His Name (Nature) shall be called (1) Wonderful Counselor, (2) Mighty God, (3) Everlasting Father (the Source of Eternal Life), (4) Prince of Peace” (v6b). The first 3 names are only used of God; the 4th can be used of both God and man and describes His Kingly-Messiahship. Moreover, these 4 names are all applied to God in Isaiah (never man): (1) 25:1, 28:29, (2) 10:21, (3) 63:16b, (4) 26:3,12. Thus Isaiah 9:6 shows us a Being who is both fully God and fully man. Then v7 shows us that He is the Messiah of Israel, the son of David, who will sit as King upon David’s Throne for ever and ever (in fulfilment of 1Chronicles 7:10b-14):
“Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgement and justice, from that time forward, even forever.”

Jeremiah 23:5,6: "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His Name by which He will be called: The LORD our RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jehovah Tsidkenu).”
Here again, we see the Messiah as both man and God. v5 describes His humanity as the son of David (the Branch out from David) who will reign as king. Then v6 gives Him a Name that can only belong to God.

Micah5:2: “But you, BETHLEHEM Ephrathah (the birthplace of David), though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth for Me (on a mission) the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth (origins) are from of old, from everlasting (used of God in Psa 90:2, Prov8:22,23).”
Here again we see that the Messiah, the King of Israel is both man and God.          As regards His human origin, He is to be born at a specific time and place (Bethlehem). But regarding His Divine origins (His Deity), He has pre-existed from all eternity past (from ‘the days of eternity’) and is therefore also true God

In Zechariah 12:10, the Lord says: "I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look (by faith) upon Me whom they pierced.”  This predicts Israel’s repentance of her rejection of the Messiah, just before Christ’s 2nd Coming.  Thus the Messiah would be rejected by His people and suffer a violent death, being pierced (thrust through). Fulfilled by Jesus (John 19:31-37).  But notice the Lord says that it was ‘Me, whom they pierced.’ Thus Messiah is God Himself, the God-man who dies for us (Isa 53:5).

 Zechariah 13:7: "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion," says the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”   This is a summary of Zechariah 11. The Shepherd is the Good Shepherd (Messiah) of 11:4-14 (see Mic5:4, Jn 10:11-18). He is ‘the Man’ but He must also be God, for ‘My Companion’ actually means ‘My Equal.’ This predicts His violent death, resulting in the scattering of Israel (AD 70). We discover from Zechariah 11 that this judgement upon Israel was due to the rejection of this Good Shepherd by the leaders of Israel. God tells Zechariah to take on the role of the Shepherd, to provide an acted out prophecy.

In v12,13, a dramatic sign is given to show Israel when the Messiah was being rejected: “Then I (the Good Shepherd) said to them (the leaders of Israel), "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages 30 pieces of silver (an insult, for they valued Him at the price of a dead slave). And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"-that princely price they set on ME. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.” This predicts that they will value the Messiah at 30 pieces of silver, but notice that God says that was the ‘price they set on Me’! This means that the Lord God Himself will fulfil the role of the Good Shepherd (Messiah) when He becomes a man and that the leaders will pay 30 pieces of silver for Him which will be thrown down in the Temple for the potter (fulfilled by Jesus, Matt 26:14-16, 27:3-10).

1Chron17:10b-14 predicts the coming of a son of David (v11) who will reign forever (v12) and be also God’s Son(v13) -Messiah. “I will establish Him in My House and in My kingdom forever; and His throne shall be established forever" (v14). God’s covenant to David was that through him, God would establish an everlasting house (dynasty), kingdom and throne (2Samuel 7:11-16). Now we see that this will be fulfilled through the birth of an Eternal Person in the line of David, whose eternality will guarantee David’s house, kingdom and throne forever. Thus, the Messiah, son of David is also God.

In Psalm 2:7,12, this Messiah, who will rule all nations, is called ‘the Son of God’, who should be worshipped as Lord and trusted as Saviour. Fulfilled by Jesus (Acts 4:23-31, 13:33, Hebr1:5). Peter’s confession that Jesus was ‘the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God’ (Matt 16:16) showed that he understood that Messiah was ‘the Son of God.’ The Son of God, being equal in nature to the Father, is therefore also God. Thus when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the Jews knew that He claimed equality with God (John 5:18).

Proverbs 30:4 confirms God has a Son.

Psalm 110 is a major prophecy of the Messiah, describing Him as both Priest (v4) and King (v1-7). To be a priest He must first become a man. He will face hostility and rejection and then ascend into heaven and sit at the right hand of God, implying His equality with God: “The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" (v1).  Then He will return to earth to establish His Kingdom (v5-7). Fulfilled by Jesus (Acts 2:34,35, Hebrews 1:3,13).

Psalm 80:17 describes Him in similar terms: “Let Your hand be upon the Man of Your right hand, upon the Son of Man whom You made strong for Yourself.” This is part of Israel’s future prayer for the Second-Coming of Christ. They refer to ‘the Son of Man’ (a Messianic title often used by Jesus of Himself, especially in Luke) a Man who has been exalted (‘made strong’) by God, to sit at God’s right hand. They ask God to send Him to deliver them. Thus we see Messiah is a Man but also equal to God.

Daniel 7:13,14 is the original revelation of this ‘Son of Man’ Having first lived as a Man, we see Him exalted to the throne in clouds of glory, receiving total authority over all things (fulfilled in Matthew 28:18). In Matthew 26:64 Jesus claims to be this Son of Man who will ascend to sit at God’s right hand until the time for Him to return to earth to subdue His enemies and save Israel, in fulfilment of all these prophecies.

Jesus used Psalm 110 to prove the Messiah was the God-man: “Jesus asked the Pharisees, "What do you think about the Christ (Messiah)? Whose Son is He?" They said, "The Son of David." This is true in His humanity. He said to them, "How then does David, in the Spirit, call Him ‘Lord,' saying: "The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? If David then calls Him "Lord,' how is He his son?"(Matthew 22:40-45). David called the Messiah his Lord 1000 years before His birth as the son of David! This puzzle has only one solution: Before being born as Man, He pre-existed as the Lord God (John 8:58). How can He be both David’s Lord and Son? He must have a dual nature: In His Deity He is David’s Lord, in His humanity He is David’s Son. David, in the Spirit, saw ahead and prophesied of the ascension of His Lord, the Messiah, who would be incarnate as David’s son.

Isaiah 53 predicts that Messiah will suffer a sacrificial death to atone for the sins of mankind.

Psalm 40:6-8 reveals His words as He is about to be incarnated as a man: “Sacrifice and offering You (God) did not desire (animal sacrifice did not accomplish salvation). But my ears You have opened (or-'a body You have prepared for me (to offer up as the final sacrifice for man)'-Septaguint). Burnt offering and sin offering you did not require. Then I said, 'Behold, I come (into the earth as a man) in the scroll of the Book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O my God. Your law is within my heart (He will do God’s will, fulfilling all Messianic Prophecy in the Book, even giving His body up as a sacrifice for us).”

Thus Messiah pre-existed as God before His human conception.
Fulfilled by Jesus (Hebrews 10:5-10).

Genesis 9:26-27 “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem...
God will enlarge Japheth and (God) will dwell in the tents of Shem”.
Here we see that God will enter covenant with a descendant of Shem, fulfilled in Abraham, so that He is called ‘the God of Abraham’. This requires Messiah to be from Shem. This is confirmed in the second half of the prophecy, which speaks of God Himself (in the Person of Messiah) dwelling in the tents of Shem (most translations miss this). Thus the glorious God will pitch His tent among us, being born as a man among the sons of Shem (fulfilled: John 1:1,14).

REDEEMER (‘Goel’) is a major title of the Messiah (Job 19:24-26, Isaiah 59:20). The Hebrew word requires Him to be a blood-relative who identifies with the redeemed and by payment of the price and by exerting power releases the redeemed from slavery and destruction. Thus the Messiah must become a man to redeem us, but also many scriptures declare that the Lord is our Redeemer (Isaiah 47:4).

Psalm 97 describes the Lord judging and reigning upon the earth (v10), having removed the curse upon nature (v11,12 - the work of Messiah - Genesis 3:15). It then explains how this will happen: “For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth”(v13). Thus the Coming Messiah is clearly identified as the Lord.

In Psalm 110:1 David’s Lord, the Messiah is at God’s right hand. Then in v5 He is called ADONAI, a Name only used for God: “The Lord (Adonai) at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath”. Jesus, the Messiah, now at God’s right hand will fulfill this at His Second Coming.

The Stone representing Messiah who comes to earth to overthrow the kingdoms of the world and establish His kingdom (the Mountain that fills the earth) in Daniel 2:35,45 is eternal (not made with hands).

In Psalm 45 the Messiah King is described in a way that proves He is God:
“My heart overflows with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the (Messiah) King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer that the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever. Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty. In Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under You. Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has ANOINTED You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (v1-7).

Hebrews 1:8,9, quoting v6,7 claims that this Psalm is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and that it proves the Deity of Christ. The Messiah king (the Son) is God, yet clearly distinct from God, the Father. Then speaking to His Bride (the Church) the Psalmist says: “So the King will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, worship Him”. (v11). This confirms that the Messianic King is not just a man, but He is the God-man.

Psalm 72 is like Psalm 45 in describing the Messianic King as the God-man: “Give the king (David) Your judgements, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s Son (the Messiah, son of David). He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice” (v1,2).

“He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing like showers that water the earth. In His days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more. He shall have also dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; and precious shall be their blood in His sight” (v6-14).

“Daily He shall be praised”. (v15)
“His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory” (v17).

Psalm 102:1-23 is the prayer of the Suffering Messiah. Facing death, He says in v24: “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days”. God then replies to Him giving great assurance: “Your years are throughout all generations. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end”. (v24-27) This is quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12 to prove Christ’s Deity. His eternal life is the basis for our eternal life in glory: “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You”. (v28).

Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1 both predict the forerunner of Messiah and refer to Him as God.

Isaiah 40:3-5: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; and the glory of the LORD shall be revealed” (Fulfilled by John the Baptist and Jesus - Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:2; John 1:23).

Malachi 3:1: “Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me (God). And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger (Angel) of the Covenant, in whole you delight. Behold, He is coming”. In the Old-Testament, the Angel of the Lord was fully God.

THE PROPHECIES OF THE BRANCH (a Title of the Messiah) describe Him as both God and man.

Isaiah 11:1,10 (cf 6:13: “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a BRANCH shall grow out of his roots (His humanity - this humble shoot shall grow into a glorious tree, His kingdom filling the earth)... and in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse (His Deity), who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious”. Fulfilled by Christ, the Root and offspring (shoot) of David (Revelation 22:16).

Jeremiah 23:5,6: “Behold, the days are coming,: says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness (His humanity); a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth...Now this is His Name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (His Deity).

Isaiah 4:2: “In that day the Branch of the LORDshall be beautiful and glorious”. (See also Zechariah 3:8, 6:12,12).

Comparing Zechariah 2:10,11 and 9:9 shows that the Messiah-King of 9:9 is the Lord of 2:10,11: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD. Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you”. (2:10,11). “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey” (equivalent to ‘Son of God’ - His Deity). Fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 21:6-11, Luke 19:35-37).

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