The Case for Jesus the Messiah – Program 3

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.; ©1989
Four pictures of the Messiah are found in Moses’ writings.


Four Great Moments of Messianic Doctrine

Program 3

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program tonight. Let me ask you this question: “Are there remarkable prophecies that were made in the Hebrew scriptures which identify a Messiah hundreds, maybe even thousands of years in advance?” Is there proof that God exists by statements that he made about a special person to come that you can actually identify those statements and you have evidence that you can latch on to? That’s what we’re talking about tonight, and we’re saying that there is such evidence. In fact, the God of the Bible, whether you believe in him or not, makes statements like this.
And then we’re going to go to some of the statements he made to find out if it’s really solid evidence. He said, “Who then is like me, let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened and what is yet to come. Yes, let him foretell what will come. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?” [Isa. 44:7] There are many other places where God challenges anybody, all comers, to do what he does. And by these statements concerning his special one in the future, a couple of things are accomplished, I think. Number one is that it shows that God exists; that he does speak to man and he loves man. And he also has given us hope in a very special person and he puts his mark of identity on that person so we won’t miss him. And Walter, we’ve been talking about the case for Jesus being the Messiah, and you’ve been just going through the verses, the evidence, in the Hebrew Scriptures and tonight we want you to continue. Where would you like to start tonight?
Kaiser: John, I’d like to go to four pictures of the Messiah that are found in Moses’ writings, particularly four pictures that zero in on his “office work,” his office as prophet. This one who came would be a prophet. And we’ve had prophets before, but what if he also were a priest; and then add on top of that, suppose he also were a king; and then add on top of that, suppose he is the firstborn of all creation, the one getting top rank and billing and priority and preeminence above everyone else. That would be a pretty good person. And I think we have that. I think we have that here.
Ankerberg: That’s better than Bo Jackson playing baseball and football. I mean, that’s pretty spectacular. But to have all of those offices in one person, which nobody else in the Old Testament had.
Kaiser: No one. No mortal has ever had that either.
Ankerberg: That’s right. Well, set the case. Where is this actually found?
Kaiser: Well, the first one I’d like to do is prophet. This would be Deuteronomy 18, the last of the five books of the Torah. Deuteronomy 18, there is a note, beginning with verse 15, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brethren. You must listen to him, for this is what the Lord God says.” And he goes on to speak of this prophet who will indeed be. Verse 18, again: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren” or “from among their brothers. And this is a prophet that you shall listen to. He shall speak in my name…” And he goes on to lay down what this prophet is going to do.
Well, this became the great search in history. Everyone wants to know, “Who is that prophet?” As a matter of fact, they’re still talking about it. And in the New Testament, they were asking, “Are you that prophet? Are you that prophet?” And throughout all of history, the whole series of all the prophets who came, “Who is that one who is like Moses?” “Like Moses” in that he was a mediator between the people. Moses was distinct among the prophets because while God said in Numbers 12:8ff, “I will speak to the other prophets not so with my servant Moses. With him I will speak face to face.” And with this one too God said “I will be a mediator. I will begin to also stand in the gap.” And this prophet who will come is one who receives and is himself the word of God and speaks the word of God but also is a mediator. That’s what I think we have in this text, John 18. So there are a lot of prophets that are going to come but only one who is going to fit verses 15 through the end of the chapter.
Ankerberg: And the thing we need to point out to the people is that when you get all these characteristics down, they must be true. It’s not just the fact of, you know, these are hypothetical. God is laying it in cement and saying, “When he shows up, this has got to be the guy!”
Kaiser: Yes.
Ankerberg: And that’s what’s amazing. Why isn’t this Joshua?
Kaiser: This isn’t Joshua because Joshua himself can’t fulfill the mediatorial role. Joshua doesn’t stand between the people and God like Moses did back on the golden calf. God was ready to step in and he said, “I’ll make a whole new people out of you, Moses.” [Ex. 32:10] But God had also prepared Moses for that particular role. Then he prayed to God and stood in the gap. And that’s exactly what this Messiah will do. He will be the mediator between God and man and bring them together. And that’s what I want to show you in the next role of priest.
Ankerberg: Okay. And I think also, Joshua himself wrote that there was no prophet like Moses, and so that’s what Joshua himself said. So it had to be somebody else.
Kaiser: Exactly so. He himself puts Moses in a whole different league and he says, “I’m not in that league at all.”
Ankerberg: Alright, moving on.
Kaiser: Let’s go to the second great office and that is, the Messiah will be a priest. And here I need to bring several verses to bear. There’s first of all, and I’ll just make an allusion to it, in Exodus 12, he is the lamb, the Paschal lamb, that is the Passover lamb that was killed on the evening of the Exodus. You recall how they took the blood and put it on the door posts and over the lintel. And those who were under the protection of this substitute, one life was given so that other lives could be spared. That is the hint of the Messiah who’s going to come, what he will do.
But I think the great text is Leviticus, the great section here of Yom Kippur. Probably the finest day in all of the Jewish calendar is still that which points to Leviticus 16, the Day of Atonement. We can’t speak of all of it, but certainly there is in the type here a picture. As you have a type in the lamb, so here, too, there is a picture, a diagram, if you please, a model, like a scientific model. Only here a theological model of the one who is to come.
And the priest on this day himself is to take off his beautiful vestment worth just literally tens of thousands of dollars. He is to take this thing off, which bears the stones, the breastplate, of all the tribes of Israel. He takes that off almost in a humbling act, in making himself of no reputation, pulling over the linen garment on that day.
He being not perfect himself must offer a sacrifice. He goes into the Holy of Holies, comes back out again. In medieval times they would tie a rope on him in case he died in the Holy of Holies so that they could retrieve him, because no one could go in to the Holy of Holies. He comes back out, takes two goats, and he confesses all the sin of all of Israel over the head of the first goat. Then that goat is slain. The blood goes out on the ground. It’s not like a transfusion, imparting of life; it is a giving up of life and as a kippur, as an atonement, as a ransom by a substitute.
This is not a cover-up job. This is no Watergate. This is something else. This is a ransoming by a substitute, a deliverance by a substitute. And he takes that blood, and now only this one time the whole year, walks into the Holy of Holies and puts it on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, under the cherubim where there is the seat of the one where the Shekinah glory, God himself, dwells. He is said to sit between the cherubim, or above the cherubim, right on top of the place of “at-one-ment,” atonement. We’ve created a whole new word there.
Then he goes out and takes the second goat. It’s still one sin offering, but in two parts. He confesses all the sin of all of Israel of all who have afflicted their hearts. It’s not an automatic thing, it’s for those who genuinely are sorrowful of their own sin in repentance. He then confesses it over that goat and they lead that away. That’s called the “escape goat,” or as it was shortened scapegoat. It’s the goat of leading away, not for a demon, not to placate a demon. Azazel, Az is “goat” and azel , “to lead away.” Goat of leading away. They led that goat away.
What’s the point? There is one who will come who will be the sin bearer and he is the one who will take away our sin. Sins forgiven on the basis of the first goat, a substitute. Sins forgotten: Gone! Gone! Gone! Gone! The Psalmist said, Psalm 103:12, our sins are removed “as far as the east is from the west.” That picture will be repeated by the prophets later on, and especially in a text we will see, later on in the series, Isaiah 53. Who is that lamb that bears the sin of the world? He is the “servant of the Lord.” And that “servant” has a ministry to Israel. He can’t be Israel. The “servant of the Lord” hasn’t done any deceit. There is no guile, there is no deceit in his mouth. He can’t be the people; he ministers to the people. So he is a prophet and he is a priest.
Ankerberg: Alright, this is tremendous stuff and we’re going to continue right after the break. Please stick with us.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking about the evidence in the Hebrew scriptures that pointed hundreds of years in advance to a special one called the Messiah. You know, it dawns on me, Walter, we’ve never defined what the term “Messiah” means and what kind of person we’re looking for here. Why don’t you take a moment and just define that word.
Kaiser: Messiah comes from a verb which means “to anoint” and hence it would be, theoretically, at first any anointed person. They could be anointed as king, as prophet, as priest. So anyone who is set aside and therefore with oil, olive oil, put over them as a signature of their being dedicated to this particular office. So that’s what we use of the whole class. But then there is the one who is par excellence, supremely anointed by God for a unique task, and that is the savior of the world who is also prophet, priest and king.
Ankerberg: Alright. We’ve already talked about the prophet and the priest, and we’re moving on.
Kaiser: We want to now pick up with the theme of the king, for there is a third title in this area of the three pictures, or really four pictures of Messiah that are found in the Mosaic materials. We’ve talked about him as being prophet: Deuteronomy 18; we’ve talked about him as being priest, in Exodus 12 and Leviticus 16; now we want to talk about him as being king.
There is a very wonderful prophecy in Numbers 24, again, coming in the Mosaic realm of the Torah, the portion of the first five books. Balaam is the prophet from Mesopotamia. He is a Gentile prophet, the only exception that I know of in the Tenach, in the Old Testament. And in Numbers 24:15ff, he uttered his oracle: “This is the burden of Balaam, the son of Beor, the burden of the one whose eye sees clearly, the burden of the one who hears the words of the Lord, who has the knowledge from the Most High, who sees the vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate and whose eyes are open. I see him, but not now. I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob, a sceptre will rise out of Israel.” And he goes on to speak of the other tasks that he will have in conquering and in conquest.
The theme I want to show to you is, this star. The announcement of the birth of royalty or kings was always connected with the appearance of a star. This is what the wise men were tuned in to. Now it’s true, the wise men were not using sort of their horoscopes and trying to find out by observing the stars. If they were, they’d still be looking for the Christ child, for they had to go to Jerusalem and they had to have the books opened. And they went to Micah 5 and they opened the books and they said, “Out of Bethlehem Ephrathah, out of the thousands of the tribes of Judah,” [Micah 5:2] and that’s why they went down to Bethlehem. So the star itself wasn’t enough.
But you must understand that here he says, “I have a person in mind, but he’s not here now. I behold him, but he’s not near. He will come from Jacob, and he will be a ruler.” And if you wonder, “What’s the star mean?” The parallel line says, “A sceptre will rise out of Israel.” Then he goes on to speak of how he will conquer Moab and the sons of Seth and he goes on to say, “Edom will be conquered and a ruler [verse 19] will come out of Jacob.” So here we have a third kind of office being added. He is prophet, he is priest, and now he is a king.
He comes, he is a male descendant, and he comes from the seed of the woman. He comes also from the Semitic peoples and he comes from Abraham, a Hebrew line, and now we find out he is a prophet, priest and king.
Ankerberg: Did the Jewish rabbis, going back before Christ, did any of them believe this applied to the Messiah?
Kaiser: Yes, this is one of the texts that they also pointed to, and this is one of the reasons why they expect him to be a ruler and to be a king.
Ankerberg: We haven’t done this here, but we’ve done it in a book that we’ve written together, and that is the fact we’ve put where the Jewish rabbis down through history have supported the very texts that we’re talking about. This was not “after the fact,” this was before Christ came on the scene that this was documented. In terms of the “specialness” of this, what were the Jewish people looking for? You’re delineating four offices here, but they chose specific ones that they wanted, so they actually missed the Messiah when he came on the scene. What happened?
Kaiser: Well, the one I think that they dropped out of the whole thing was the priestly, mediatorial kind of office. And they said, “We want a king to be like the other nations. We will accept the Messiah when it is a time of peace, and when the world is at peace.” And they took the passages in preference to those when he came the second time, and assumed that the first coming, when he comes to suffer, and all the references to suffering, and to his being a lamb slain, the one who is their substitute, they said, “That must be a different Messiah.” So there grew up the doctrine of two Messiahs: Mashiach Ben Joseph, Son of Joseph, and Mashiach ben David, Son of David. And so you have two Messiahs, and this even into the Christian times you will see it with the Dead Sea Scroll community, for example, the Essenes who are out near the Dead Sea. They are thinking there are two Messiahs, too, as well.
Ankerberg: Okay, what we have established is, again, that this Messiah must come with these kinds of credentials. And let’s move on. Let’s pick up the next one there.
Kaiser: There is one more that I want to share, and that one comes from Exodus 4. This is one more picture found in the Mosaic writings and I think this is a very beautiful one. He here talks about this one who is to come and he makes it very clear, “This is what you are to say to Pharaoh, This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn, my son.” [Ex. 4:22] And then he goes on to say, “Let my people go. Let my son go.” That phrase, “my firstborn,” this is a law of first reference. It’s not going to be the only time. The Psalmist will talk about it in Psalm 89 where the son of David, this ruler who is to come, he is God’s “firstborn.”
Ankerberg: Yeah. Before you go on, now you’ve got all the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ attention. This is one that they take and they grab hold all through the Bible on this “firstborn.” Now, I want everybody out there to listen to the definition of the words here. That’s where I want it.
Kaiser: Yes, I think a Jehovah’s Witness will generally show you a text like this or Colossians 1 and say “Christ was the firstborn of all creation” or Revelation 1 and they say, “Well, ‘first’ means ‘first,’ and according to our definition that’s it.” But according to the biblical definition in context it means actually “first in rank,” “first in priority,” “first in preeminence.” You say, “How do you know that?” Because he says here that Jacob, is my firstborn. Actually, Jacob is son number two. Esau was born first, then Jacob, who later on is named Israel. Or, in Jeremiah 31 he will save Joseph’s children there. He says, “Ephraim is my firstborn.” But actually Ephraim is son number two. It is Manasseh who is son number one. So, according to usage, and we could keep this up, but according to usage it does not mean first in chronology, but first in rank; first in preeminence. And that’s the point about Messiah. Messiah who comes will be God’s choicest, the person who ranks above everyone else. He comes, of course, through the Jewish people, and there is much advantage to the Jew; for Paul says in Romans 3:1-2, “What advantage has the Jew? Much, because to them were given the oracles of God.” They got the Scriptures. And through them, blessing has come to all the peoples upon the face of the earth. But the climactic person, who is the firstborn – first in rank, first in preeminence, above all else – is the Messiah, who we believe is Jesus.
Ankerberg: The other thing, Walter, is that, you know, you’ve given me only verses from Moses. And what did Jesus say about Moses?
Kaiser: Jesus himself is, well, in the book of Hebrews there is the statement that he is greater than Moses. [Heb. 3:3] And he said, “If you believed Moses, then why is it that you won’t believe me?” There are many people who say, “Oh, we follow Moses.” But Jesus is saying, “Then if you followed Moses you would have believed in me.” [John 5:46-47]
Ankerberg: Because he wrote about…
Kaiser: “…about me.”
Ankerberg: “Me.” And that’s what we’re getting to. Where are we going next week?
Kaiser: We’re going next week to four pictures of the character of Messiah. We want to look at four pictures of his character as the “servant,” and we’re going to go into four different aspects. We’re going to see him as the servant of David; we will see him as the branch of David, the branch who is the servant; we will see him as the man who is the branch, and we will see him as the branch of God. So we’ll see him like Matthew paints him; like Mark paints him; like Luke paints him and like John paints him, all from the Old Testament, from the Hebrew Scriptures.
Ankerberg: And the great scholar, Alfred Edersheim, once listed 456 things like we’re doing that had to apply to the Messiah that are in the Hebrew Scriptures. We’re just giving bits and pieces along the way, but everything you’re saying had to come true in somebody up ahead, and we’re saying, if anybody looks at it carefully, the amazing thing is, it came true in Jesus Christ. Please join us next week. We’re going to go on with this. Thanks for being with us tonight.

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