The Concept of Messiah in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran

An Examination of the Person and Work of God’s Anointed One

Sam Shamoun

The Hebrew Bible paints a picture of a redeemer, a ruler to come from the line of king David who will usher in universal salvation and peace. As time went on the Jews identified this salvific figure as the Messiah (Hebrew: Ha Mashiach, Greek: Ho Christos) or the Anointed One. Initially, the word Mashiach (Christos) was an adjective ("anointed") that later developed into a substantive or noun (i.e., "an anointed one"), which eventually became a technical generic term (i.e., "the Anointed One"). In the Intertestamental period the word developed even further into a term referring to the hoped for Anointed One, that is a specific individual who would be the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to David. This One would be the embodiment of what David and all the righteous kings of Israel typified, since they served as shadows of the reality embodied by the One to come.

Both Christians and Muslims believe that the Messiah came and his name is Jesus:

"And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’" Luke 2:10-11

When the angels said, `O Mary, ALLAH gives thee glad tidings of a son through a word from HIM; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God; S. 3:45 Sher Ali

So there is no dispute over the identity of the Messiah. Where Christians and Muslims differ is over the nature and work of the Messiah, i.e. Islam views the Messiah as just one of many messengers that were sent by God. More on this later.

In light of these profound differences we have decided to present some of the characteristics, functions, and promises given to David and his royal sons that are applied to Jesus in the NT, albeit in their fullest and ultimate senses. This will show that whereas the OT and NT scriptures agree with each other, the Quran contradicts both these documents.

"And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and violent men shall waste them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house. When your days are fulfilled to go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son; I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom for ever and his throne shall be established for ever." 1 Chronicles 17:9-14

"Then David said to all the assembly, ‘Bless the LORD your God.’ And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the LORD and to the king. And they offered sacrifices to the LORD, and on the next day offered burnt offerings to the LORD, 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. And they ate and drank before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and they anointed him as prince for the LORD, and Zadok as priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father. And he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, pledged their allegiance to King Solomon. And the LORD made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel." 1 Chronicles 29:20-25

"Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." Psalm 2:1-8

"My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king's enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." Psalm 45:1-7

"Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, … He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth." Psalm 89:19-20, 26-27

From the foregoing we learn that:

  1. At least in one text the Davidic kings are called God in a functional sense; because they functioned in the place of God they could therefore be called God in a representational sense.
  2. David received reverence and honor for being the Lord’s anointed king.
  3. David was God’s firstborn.
  4. The Davidic kings were God’s sons.
  5. The Davidic kings sat on God’s throne with God also promising that David’s line would be granted eternal rulership.

Now compare this with the NT portrait of Jesus:

"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One." Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’" Acts 4:23-30

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." Colossians 1:13-18

"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’? Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son’? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him.’ In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.’ But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.’" Hebrews 1:1-9

Note the points of similarity, as well as some significant differences:

  1. Jesus, like the Davidic kings, is called God, with the major difference being that he is God in actuality, in very essence, whereas they were called God only in a functional or representational sense. More on this in the following sections.
  2. Jesus, like David, is revered and honored, again with the major difference being that he is given the very worship due to God.
  3. Jesus, like David, is God’s Firstborn.
  4. Jesus, like the Davidic kings, is God’s Son.
  5. Jesus fulfills the promise of ruling forever on God’s throne which none of the other kings realized since they all died.

We now move into the second phase of our paper. Not only are there similarities between Jesus and the kings of Israel, but certain descriptions and functions of Yahweh God are also ascribed to the Messiah! Here is a list of Divine characteristics that the OT says God’s anointed King has.

Yahweh God

"It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear." Deuteronomy 6:13

"The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land." Psalm 10:16

"The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers." Psalm 24:1-2

"Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!" Psalm 82:8

"All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name." Psalm 86:9

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:2 – cf. 93:2

"All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations." Psalm 145:10-13

"Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, ‘Stand up and bless the LORD your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.’" Nehemiah 9:5-6

"Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, ‘Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God." Daniel 3:28

"and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore." Micah 4:7

"And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one." Zechariah 14:9

To summarize:

  1. Yahweh is from everlasting.
  2. Yahweh owns the earth and all that is in it, with the nations being his inheritance.
  3. Yahweh is King of all the earth and rules forever.
  4. Yahweh reigns from/in Mount Zion.
  5. Yahweh is to be served, worshiped and feared by all.

The Messiah in the Old Testament

"Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, ‘As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." Psalm 2:1-12

"Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice! … May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! … May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! May desert tribes bow down before him and his enemies lick the dust! May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him, all nations worship him! … Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! … May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed! … Psalm 72:1-2, 5, 8-11, 15, 17

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:9-10

"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And 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 one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting. Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the LORD, In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth;" Micah 5:2-4

Here is what we learn from the above texts:

  1. The Messiah is Yahweh’s begotten Son.
  2. The Messiah, like Yahweh, is from everlasting.
  3. The Messiah, like Yahweh, owns the earth and all that is in it, with the nations being his inheritance.
  4. The Messiah, like Yahweh, is King of all the earth and rules forever.
  5. The Messiah, like Yahweh, reigns from/in Mount Zion.
  6. The Messiah, like Yahweh, is to be served, worshiped and feared by all.

In light of all of these similarities between Yahweh and the Messiah, it comes as no surprise to find the OT going so far as to even identify this anointed King as the very human appearance, the very visible manifestation, of Yahweh God:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this." Isaiah 9:6-7

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’" Jeremiah 23:5-6

Thus, the reason why the Messiah shares so many of the very characteristics of Yahweh is because he is Yahweh God Almighty. At the same time he is said to be Yahweh’s Son! When we piece all these points together the only conclusion one can arrive at is that the God of the Hebrews, Yahweh Elohim, is a multipersonal Being, which accounts for how the Messiah can be both Yahweh’s Son and Yahweh God.

And now we turn our attention once again to the NT teaching on the Person of Jesus.

The Messiah in the New Testament

Since the NT testifies that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah that came just as the OT prophets predicted, it therefore comes as no surprise that the NT portrays Jesus as a Divine being and ascribes to him the very same qualities of Yahweh:

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: "And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel."’" Matthew 2:1-6

"And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’" Matthew 28:18

"And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.’" Luke 1:30-35

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men… He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." John 1:1-4, 10, 14

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." John 3:16-18

"Be subject to one another out of fear for Christ." Ephesians 5:21

"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel." Hebrews 12:22-24

"Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:10-11

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life -- the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us -- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3

"and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen." Revelation 1:5-7

"He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." Revelation 3:21

"and they sang a new song, saying, ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood you did ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.’ Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, ‘To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:9-14

"Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.’" Revelation 11:15

"she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, … And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.’" Revelation 12:5, 10

According to the NT:

  1. Jesus the Messiah is God’s only-begotten Son.
  2. Jesus the Messiah was born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of Micah 5:2, a text which says that this ruler is from everlasting implying that Jesus is from eternity. Other texts reiterate this point by claiming that Christ existed with his Father even before creation.
  3. Jesus the Messiah owns the earth and all that is in it, with the nations being his inheritance.
  4. Jesus the Messiah is King of all the earth and rules forever.
  5. Jesus the Messiah reigns from/in Mount Zion.
  6. Jesus the Messiah is to be served, worshiped and feared by all.

The foregoing shows that the New Testament is in complete harmony and perfect agreement with the OT regarding the nature and work of the Messiah.

The Messiah and the Rabbis

Because the Muslims will challenge the Messianic interpretation and understanding of the specific OT texts which we presented here, we have decided to provide some of the Jewish interpretations of these same passages. The purpose for doing so is to show that Christians aren’t the only ones who saw these texts as Messianic prophecies.

Isaiah 9:6-7

The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it, and his name has been called from of old, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us. (The Targum of Isaiah, J.F. Stenning, Editor and Translator [Oxford: Clarendon], p. 32)

Another explanation: He said to him: ‘I have yet to raise up the Messiah’ of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). (Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy, Rabbi H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, Editors; Rev. Dr. J. Rabbinowitz, Translator [London: Soncino Press], I.20, p. 20)

Jeremiah 23:5-6

… Behold the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Messiah, and he shall reign as king, and prosper, and shall enact a righteous and Meritorious law in the land. In his days they of the house of Judah shall be delivered, and Israel shall live in security. And this is the name which they call him: "May vindication be accomplished for us by the Lord in his day."’ (Targum Jonathan, The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation, Samson H. Levy (New York: Hebrew Union College, 1974), pp. 68-69)

Say unto him: Thus says the Lord of Hosts saying: ‘Be hold the man whose name is "The Messiah." He is destined to be revealed and to be anointed, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord. He shall build the Temple of the Lord, and he will bear the radiance, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and there shall be a high priest on his throne, and there be a counsel of peace between the two of them.’ (Ibid., p. 99)

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: Three WERE CALLED BY THE NAME OF THE holy One, blessed be He, and they are the following: The righteous, the Messiah and Jerusalem. [This may be inferred as regards] the righteous [from] what ha just been said. [As regards] the Messiah - it is written: And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jer. XXIII, 6) (The Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, Editor (London: Soncino Press), Seder Nezekin, Volume II, Baba Bathra 75b, p. 303)

God will call the king Messiah after His own name, for it is said of the king Messiah This is his name whereby he shall be called: The Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23:6). (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude, Translator (New Haven: Yale, 959), Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy, Editor, Book One, Psalm 2.2)

Micah 5:2

And you, O Bethlehem Ephrath, you were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth THE MESSIAH, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from before, from the days of creation. Then they shall be handed over for the length of time it takes a woman in labor to give birth, and the children of Israel shall rely upon the rest of their brethren. And he shall arise and rule with the might of the Lord, in the exalted name of the Lord his God; and they shall be gathered in from the midst of their Dispersions, for now his name shall be great into the ends of the earth. (Targum Jonathan, p. 93)

And you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you who were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth before me the anointed One, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from of old, from ancient times. (Targum Micah, The Targum of the Minor Prophets, translation with a Critical Introduction, Apparatus, and Notes by Kevin J. Cathcart and Robert P. Gordon [Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1987], The Aramaic Bible, Volume 14, Micah 5:2)

Psalm 45:6-7

My works befit the king (vs. 2)… This song befits the King Messiah (Radak). You are beautiful beyond other men (vs. 3)… This refers to the all-inclusive excellence of the Messiah, of whom the prophet says (Isaiah 52:13) Behold My servant shall be enlightened, he shall be exalted and lifted up and he shall be very high (Ibn Yachya) Accordingly God has blessed you for eternity (vs. 3). The kingdom of the Messiah shall endure forever (Meiri). He shall be eternally endowed with the greatest of blessings: he will find favor in the eyes of all men (Radak).

Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one – your majesty and your splendor (vs. 4)… In consonance with his opinion that this psalm describes the Messiah, Radak understands the sword as a regal weapon. Although the prophets always portray the Messianic era as a time of universals peace, this tranquility will be achieved only after the terrible war of Gog and Magog… During this cataclysmic confrontation, the Messiah’s martial skills will be his splendor. See Psalm 21:6… majesty and splendor You conferred upon him which Midrash Shocher Tov interprets as reference to Messiah who is endowed with two forms of excellence: beauty and strength.

And this is your splendor – gain success, ride high on truthfulness and righteous humility. May it guide you to awesome deeds with your right hand (vs. 5)… Radak understands verses 4 and 5 to mean: After You (Messiah) achieve Your splendid triumph over the enemies, as described in the preceding verse, do not subjugate them (ride over them) with pride and haughtiness. Rather be guided always by truth and sincere humility. And ride [high] on truthfulness. Rashi explains that the Torah scholar will issue true and honest decisions, unaffected by external factors. This is also a distinctive feature of the Messiah, as Scripture says: And the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge… and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes nor decide after the hearing of his ears (Isaiah 11:2, 3). True faith and sincere belief in Hashem are hallmarks of the Messiah as Isaiah (11:5) says: And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faith the girdle of his body (Ibn Yachya; Norah Tehillos). Targum interprets: [Messiah] will ride on a unique royal steed… And right and humility. This alludes to the excellent characteristics of the Messiah (Isaiah 11:4): And with righteousness he will judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth (Ibn Yachya). May it guide you to awesome deeds with your right hand… Norah Tehillos comments that Messiah, will be endowed with an unerring genius for ‘sniffing out’ the truth, as it says: And he shall smell with the fear of HASHEM (Isaiah 11:3). According to Rashi (ibid), the Messiah will be able to detect a person’s innocence or guilt merely by observing his face…

You love righteousness and hate wickedness, accordingly has God, your God, anointed you with oil of joy above your peers (vs. 8). Other monarchs gain their thrones as a result of savage power struggles in which all law, order, and decency are callously discarded. The unpopular king who rules only by brute force oppresses and tyrannizes his subjects, plunging them into misery. Not so the king of David’s line. His throne is divinely established by virtue of the king’s equity and righteousness. Therefore his enthusiastic subjects welcome his anointment as a cause for national gladness… This is the message of our verse: You Messiah, personally love righteousness and have hate wickedness: therefore God has personally anointed you with a special anointment.

Hear, O maiden, see and incline your ear, forget your people and your father’s house (vs. 11)… Metzudas David interprets this entire verse in reference to the Messiah. The Psalmist exhorts all of the nations (the daughters) to listen to the commands of the Messiah and to forget the wicked conspiracy of the nations of Gog and Magog, who plan to battle God’s chosen king.

I will commemorate Your Name through all generations, therefore the nations will acknowledge You forever and ever (vs. 18). Rashi maintains that the Psalmist is referring to God. Radak is of the opinion that the verse is speaking of Messiah. In every generation we make the constant mention of his name and await his arrival with longing… Radak concludes that since Israel yearned for Messiah in every generation, therefore all nations will eventually acknowledge his [universal, absolute] sovereignty, which will be unprecedented in the annals of history. (Tehillim Psalms, Translation and Commentary by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer [Mesorah Publications, Brooklyn, 1978], Volume 2, Psalm 45, pp. 562-575)

Psalm 2, 110 and Daniel 7:13-14

In the decree of the Prophets it is written Behold My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high (Isa. 52:13), and it is also written Behold My servant, whom I uphold, Mine elect, in whom My soul delighteh (Isa. 42:1). In the decree of the Writings it is written, The Lord said unto my lord: "Sit at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Ps. 110:1), and it is also written I saw in the night visions, and, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the Ancient of days, and he was brought near before Him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him (Dan. 7:13, 14).

In another comment, the verse is read I will tell of the decree: the Lord said unto me: Thou art My son… Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:7, 8). R. Yudan said: All these goodly promises are in the decree of the King, the King of kings, who will fulfill them for the lord MESSIAH. (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude, Translator [New Haven: Yale, 1959], Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy, Editor, Book One, Psalm 2:9)

R. Yudan said in the name of R. Hama: In the time-to-come, when the Holy One, blessed be He, seats the lord Messiah at His right hand, as is said The Lord saith unto my lord: "Sit at my right hand" (Ps. 110:1), and seats Abraham at His left. Abraham’s face will pale, and he will say to the Lord: "My son’s son sits at the right, and I at the left!" Thereupon the Holy One, blessed be He, will comfort Abraham, saying: "Thy son’s son is at My right, but I, in a manner of speaking, am at thy right": The Lord [is] at thy right hand (Ps. 110:5). Hence Thy gentleness hath made great. (Ibid., p. 261)

5. For thou shalt make him most blessed for ever (Ps. 21:7) means that all the nations shall bless themselves in the king Messiah (Psalm 21). Thou shalt make him exceeding glad with Thy countenance (Ps. 21:7). R. Berechiah said in the name of R. Samuel: One verse reads of the king Messiah that One, like the son of man…came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before Him (Dan. 7:13), but in another verse God says, I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto Me (Jer. 30:21). How reconcile the two? Angels will bring the king Messiah to the outer edge of their encampment, and then the Holy One, blessed be He, will reach out His hand and bring the king Messiah near to Him. Hence, it is said I will draw him near. (Ibid., Book One, Psalm 21:5)

R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua b. Levi pointed out a contradiction. It is written, in its time [will the Messiah come], whilst it is also written I [the Lord] will hasten it!- If they are worthy, I will hasten it: if not, [he will come] at the due time. R. Alexandri said: R. Joshua opposed two verses: it is written, And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven (Dan. VII, 13); whilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold thy king cometh unto thee…] lowly and riding upon an ass! (Zech. IX, 9)- If they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven (Dan. VII, 13); if not, lowly and riding upon an ass (Zech. IX, 9). King Shapur said to Samuel. ‘Ye maintain that the Messiah will come upon an ass" I will rather send him a white horse of mine.’ He replied, ‘Have you a hundred-hued steed?’ (The Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, Editor [London: Soncino Press], Seder, Nezikin, Volume III, Sanhedrin 98a, pp. 663-664)

The preceding quotations were taken from William Webster's masterful work, Behold Your King: Prophetic Proofs That Jesus Is the Messiah, Christian Resources, June 2003. We are specifically quoting from Appendix C: The Messianic Prophecies of the Old Testament from the Authoritative Jewish Writings, pp. 151-312. Webster’s book can be purchased here.

All bold, underline and capital emphasis was ours. We now come to our final section.

The Quran on the Messiah

The Quran comes centuries after the Old and New Testaments to present a contradictory picture of the Messiah. According to the Quran:

  1. Jesus the Messiah is not Yahweh’s begotten Son.
  2. Jesus the Messiah, unlike Yahweh, is not from everlasting. (The Quran is not consistent at this point since it ascribes titles to Jesus that imply that he is eternal, but at the same time denies that he is God).
  3. Jesus the Messiah, unlike Yahweh, does not own the earth and all that is in it, and the nations are not his inheritance.
  4. Jesus the Messiah, unlike Yahweh, is not the King of all the earth and does not rule forever.
  5. Jesus the Messiah, unlike Yahweh, does not reign from/in Mount Zion.
  6. Jesus the Messiah, unlike Yahweh, is not to be served, worshiped or feared by all.

Hence, not only does the Quran contradict the New Testament but it also goes against the OT teaching on the Messiah. The consistency between both the Old and New Testaments provides powerful evidence that they originate from the same Divine source, whereas the Quran does not.

Further Reading

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