“I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and though he may delay, nevertheless I wait for his coming every day.”
Messianic Hope: The King of the Jews
The concept of the King Messiah, the "Anointed One" who would one day come to deliver his people from oppression at the beginning of an era of world peace has been the sustaining hope of the Jewish people for generations. King Messiah is the instrument by whom God's kingdom is to be established in Israel and in the world. This hope runs throughout the entire Tanakh. This unique Messiah seems to be identified with the Moshia’ and would be anointed by God to:
- Restore the Kingdom of David (see, for example, Jer. 23:5, Jer 30:9, Ezek. 34:23)
- Restore the Temple (Isaiah 2:2, Micah 4:1, Zech. 6:13, Ezekiel 37:26-28)
- Regather the exiles (as described in Isaiah 11:12 and 43:5-6)
- Usher in world peace (Isaiah 2:4)
- Spread Torah knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world -- on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9)
In the Tanakh, the key passage on which the idea of the Messianic king who would rule in righteousness and attain universal dominion is found in Nathan's oracle to David
(2 Sam 7:11 ff). This covenant cannot have been fulfilled by Solomon, and therefore the Seed of which the oracle refers is another anointed King who would sit on the throne forever and ever.
Maimonides is ascribed to have said the following about the Messiah:
“If a king will arise from the House of David who is learned in Torah and observant of the mitzvot, as prescribed by the written law and the oral law, as David his ancestor was, and will compel all of Israel to walk in the way of the Torah and reinforce the breaches; and fight the wars of G-d, we may, with assurance, consider him the Messiah. If he succeeds in the above, builds the Temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely the Messiah. ... If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah...” (Mishneh Torah).
Rambam's statement is probably the definitive rendering of the traditional Jewish view on the subject.
Dual Aspect of Mashiach
The Tanakh contains seemingly conflicted views of the Mashiach as Israel’s Deliverer. On the one hand, Messiah is portrayed as coming in great triumph "in the clouds" (Daniel 7:13), but on the other he comes riding a donkey, lowly and humble (Zechariah 9:9). This “dual aspect” of Messiah lead to the idea that there would be two Messiahs:
Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David.
Messiah son of Joseph
Mashiach ben Yosef.
The Suffering Messiah (Joseph [Gen. 37-50] prefigures). The Messiah from the house of Joseph. One of two Messianic figures which are described in the oral traditions of Judaism. Mashiach ben Yosef is considered to be a forerunner and harbinger of the final deliverer, Mashiach ben David. Mashiach ben Yosef suffers for the sins of Israel (Isaiah 53). Christians see Yeshua as the fulfillment of Mashiach ben Yosef in the Tanakh and the oral tradition. Yeshua the Messiah in His first coming is the Suffering Servant.
"Messiah son of Joseph was slain, as it is written, "They shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son" Zech. 12:10 (Suk. 52a)
The Talmud explains: "The Messiah---what is his name? Those of the house of Rabbi Yuda the saint say, the sick one, as it is said, 'Surely he had borne our sicknesses." (Sanhedrin 98b)
Referring to Zech. 12:10-12, "R. Dosa says: '(They will mourn) over the Messiah who will be slain.' " (B. Suk. 52a; also Y. Suk. 55b)
"But he was wounded . . . meaning that since the Messiah bears our iniquities which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whosoever will not admit that Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer for them himself" (Rabbi Elijah de Vidas)
Messiah son of David
Mashiach ben David.
The ruling Messiah King (King David prefigures). The term Mashiach unqualified always refers to Mashiach ben David, a descendant of King David, of the tribe of Judah who will regather the exiles, set up the temple, and deliver Israel from all her enemies. Christians believe Yeshua the Messiah in His second coming will completely fulfill this description of Mashiach ben David.
Today, we can see with our own eyes how the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel, describing the rebirth of the Jewish People and the ingathering of the exiles in Eretz Yisrael, is being fulfilled. It is true that we are now in mid-process. We are still at the stage of being crystallized as a nation....
Yet, our gaze must likewise be trained upon the future and the end of days, the age of Mashiach ben David. At that time, the issue of limited nationalism will pass, and we will turn as well to mankind in the aggregate, serving as a light unto the nations. Each day, in fact, we pray, “Speedily cause the offspring of your servant David to flourish.” (Rabbi Dov Begon)
Yeshua is both Mashiach ben Yosef and Mashiach ben David
As Christians, we believe that Yeshua is both Mashiach Ben Yosef (the suffering servant - at His first coming) and Mashiach Ben David (the reigning King - at His second coming)
[see Isaiah 52:13-15 - 53:12, Psalm 22]). He is also the Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King as foreshadowed by other m’shichim in the Tanakh.
David Brown (of AMF International) writes:
It is very common for Jewish objectors to point that “Jesus has not fulfilled all the prophecies,” and to scorn the suggestion that some prophecies are for a later time and are to be fulfilled at the “second coming.” The fact is, however, that prophecies about Messiah are of two seemingly mutually-exclusive types, as though they were talking about two different Messiahs. Jewish scholarship refers to Messiah ben-David and Messiah ben-Yosef. One is the positive, victorious Messiah who ushers in a kingdom of peace, the other is a suffering servant (as in Isaiah 53). The popular tendency is to think only of ben-David and ignore ben-Yosef, but the Messianic/Christian view accounts for both in one person. Interestingly, these two prophetic strains are named for David and Joseph, both of which suffered first and emerged victorious in the end. Joseph is introduced to us with dreams of grandeur, but he was lost to Israel – actually considered dead – before his dreams came true. Eventually however, he had a “second coming” when he came back into the lives of his brothers who once rejected him. Then they bowed down to him and he became the savior of his people by providing for them in a time of famine. David also, though anointed as King in his youth as far as God was concerned, was rejected by the current King and lived as a fugitive for many years before he finally became the quintessential King of Israel. Both of these historic figures, which Jewish tradition has recognized as being prototypes of Messiah, arrive amid promises, are pushed down, and finally emerge in glory. Shouldn’t the ultimate Messiah follow the same pattern?