A flower can sprout from even the most seemingly barren soil. The Hebrew word “Mashiach” meaning Messiah corresponds to “the one who is anointed with oil”, the anointed one, considered as a spark of light in the darkness. The custom of anointing with oil is a ritual act intended to elect those who are recognized as worthy for priestly, royal or prophetic roles as in the case of Elisha.
The Messiah in Judaism is a prominent figure who maintains the characteristics of a righteous high priest and king, and who as prophesied will change the order of the world according to the will of GOD. But Messiah, which has been translated as Christ, is also the term that identifies for Christianity the Saviour of mankind. Christians are waiting for his return, and also Islam is waiting for this figure who will join the Mahdi to complete the Work of GOD and open the way of salvation for humankind. In this article we will try to explore from the perspective of the Scriptures what in detail the Messiah will have to accomplish once He reveals Himself.
And a shoot shall spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a twig shall sprout from his roots.
אוְיָצָא חֹטֶר מִגֶּזַע יִשָׁי וְנֵצֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶה
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 1)
Much of Isaiah’s prophecy (as in chapter 7) concerns consolations for the long-suffering king Hezekiah. GOD communicates that He will intervene to defend His people. But in these passages Isaiah gives a glimpse into the future by prophesying that HaMashiach ben David (the Messiah son of David) will be anointed and sent to redeem the people. He will be a descendant of Jesse and therefore of King David.
“A shoot will sprout from the root of Jesse”: the “shoot” is used symbolically to indicate belonging to the lineage of David, the anointed one does not come to “undo” what has been there but to bring faith to its full fulfillment, which primarily is to pursue Justice and Peace.
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and heroism, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD.
בוְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהֹוָה רוּחַ חָכְמָה וּבִינָה רוּחַ עֵצָה וּגְבוּרָה רוּחַ דַּעַת וְיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה
And he shall be animated by the fear of the LORD, and neither with the sight of his eyes shall he judge, nor with the hearing of his ears shall he chastise.
גוַהֲרִיחוֹ בְּיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה וְלֹא לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו יִשְׁפּוֹט וְלֹא לְמִשְׁמַע אָזְנָיו יוֹכִיחַ
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 2-3)
The spirit and the fear of the LORD will be upon him. It remains evident that the Messiah cannot be the same substance as GOD. So Jesus the Nazarene became Messiah because he was “anointed” by the LORD for his task, but without ever claiming to be the FATHER who came into the world, but only (following what is said in Psalm 82) considering himself as son of GOD. No text of the Holy Scripture speaks of an incarnation of the CREATOR, every reference to the Messiah speaks of him as a humble servant in the service of GOD.
And he shall be animated by the fear of the LORD, he shall be filled with the fear of GOD, and he shall not judge with according to his own eyes, but with the wisdom of the Holy of Holies within him, he shall know and understand who is innocent and who is guilty.
And he shall judge the poor justly, and he shall chastise with equity the humble of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he shall put the wicked to death.
דוְשָׁפַט בְּצֶדֶק דַּלִּים וְהוֹכִיחַ בְּמִישׁוֹר לְעַנְוֵי אָרֶץ וְהִכָּה אֶרֶץ בְּשֵׁבֶט פִּיו וּבְרוּחַ שְׂפָתָיו יָמִית רָשָׁע
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 4)
The Messiah will rule over Israel as a judge and a leader, with equity, meekness and mercy, and when He strikes the earth with the rod of His mouth, He will condemn the sinners of the earth. Those who believed they had done right, will have no more excuses on the Day of Judgment blaming their ignorance, there can be no more justifications.
“Put the wicked to death”: Evildoers who have done wrong will not be resurrected.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his loins.
הוְהָיָה צֶדֶק אֵזוֹר מָתְנָיו וְהָאֱמוּנָה אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 5)
And righteousness will be the girdle of his loins, he will be surrounded with righteousness and the righteous will surround him that is, they will stand by him supporting him like a girdle.
And a wolf shall live with a lamb, and a leopard shall lie with a kid; and a calf and a lion cub and a fatling [shall lie] together, and a small child shall lead them.
ווְגָר זְאֵב עִם כֶּבֶשׂ וְנָמֵר עִם גְּדִי יִרְבָּץ וְעֵגֶל וּכְפִיר וּמְרִיא יַחְדָּו וְנַעַר קָטֹן נֹהֵג בָּם
And a cow and a bear shall graze together, their children shall lie; and a lion, like cattle, shall eat straw.
זוּפָרָה וָדֹב תִּרְעֶינָה יַחְדָּו יִרְבְּצוּ יַלְדֵיהֶן וְאַרְיֵה כַּבָּקָר יֹאכַל תֶּבֶן
And an infant shall play over the hole of an old snake and over the eyeball of an adder, a weaned child shall stretch forth his hand.
חוְשִׁעֲשַׁע יוֹנֵק עַל חֻר פָּתֶן וְעַל מְאוּרַת צִפְעוֹנִי גָּמוּל יָדוֹ הָדָה
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 6-8)
The various animals mentioned in these verses metaphorically represent the various earthly powers that will stop operating violence, which will be seen as an old memory of our primordial, animal state. But the text also has a literal reference. In the Garden of Eden, before the universal flood of Noah’s days there was peace among the animals of the earth. Fear and rivalry began after the flood: “Your fear and dread shall be upon every animal of the earth and upon every bird of the air, upon all that creepeth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea… (Genesis, Bereshit 9, 2). Another of the Messianic indicators will be the removal of this fear and dread to defend oneself, a period of peace, known as Olam Haba (the World to Come). This world after the coming of the Messiah is often referred to in Jewish literature as Olam Ha-Ba. This term can cause some confusion because it is also used to refer to a spiritual afterlife. In Italian, we commonly use the term “messianic age” to refer specifically to the time of the messiah.
The Olam Ha-Ba will be characterized by the peaceful coexistence of all peoples. (Isaiah 2:4) Hatred, intolerance, and war will cease to exist. Some authorities suggest that the laws of nature will change so that predatory beasts will no longer seek prey and agriculture will produce an abundance never before seen. All the people of believers will return from their exile among the nations to their home in Israel (Isaiah 11, 11-12 ; Jeremiah 23, 8 ; 30, 3 ; Hosea 3, 4-5). The law of Jubilee will be restored. In Olam Ha-Ba, the whole world will recognize GOD as the One God and religion will be unified (Isaiah 2, 3 ; 11, 10 ; Micah 4, 2-3 ; Zechariah 14, 9). There will be no murder, robbery, competition or jealousy. There will be no sin (Zephaniah 3, 13). Sacrifices will continue to be brought into the Temple, as thanksgiving offerings, because there will be no more need for expiatory offerings. These sacrifices will be donated wholeheartedly, each believer will scarify what they value most in honour of their many graces received.
They shall neither harm nor destroy on all My Holy mount, for the land shall be full of knowledge of the LORD as water covers the sea bed.
טלֹא יָרֵעוּ וְלֹא יַשְׁחִיתוּ בְּכָל הַר קָדְשִׁי כִּי מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ דֵּעָה אֶת יְהֹוָה כַּמַּיִם לַיָּם מְכַסִּים
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 9)
Peace will finally prevail on the Temple Mount, and in cooperation all believers will be able to honor GOD, providing the example of Peace that will inspire all the rest of the World in following the holy example.
Knowing the LORD means knowing His Thought, His Truth throughout His Laws. In this way the LORD makes Himself known to His people.
And it shall come to pass on that day, that the root of Jesse, which stands as a banner for peoples, to him shall the nations inquire, and his peace shall be [with] honor.
יוְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא שֹׁרֶשׁ יִשַׁי אֲשֶׁר עֹמֵד לְנֵס עַמִּים אֵלָיו גּוֹיִם יִדְרֹשׁוּ וְהָיְתָה מְנֻחָתוֹ כָּבוֹד
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 10)
The Mashiach shall unite all the people of the believers, the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims, and anyone who recognizes the one GOD. As a standard for the peoples, that the peoples raise a flag to gather to him.
And it shall come to pass that on that day, the LORD shall continue to apply His hand a second time to acquire the rest of His people, that will remain from Assyria and from Egypt and from Pathros and from Cush and from Elam and from Sumeria and from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.
יאוְהָיָה | בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יוֹסִיף אֲדֹנָי | שֵׁנִית יָדוֹ לִקְנוֹת אֶת שְׁאָר עַמּוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁאֵר מֵאַשּׁוּר וּמִמִּצְרַיִם וּמִפַּתְרוֹס וּמִכּוּשׁ וּמֵעֵילָם וּמִשִּׁנְעָר וּמֵחֲמָת וּמֵאִיֵּי הַיָּם
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 11)
In the past GOD gathered the Israelites and those from the other nations who chose to unite from the land of slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses. In the future GOD will gather all believers according to what is written in Deuteronomy 30, 3 ; Isaiah 11, 11,12 ; Jeremiah 30, 3 ; 32, 37 ; Ezekiel 11, 17 ; 36, 24-27 and many other verses, he will restore the Separate Houses of Israel (Jeremiah 3, 6-18 ; Hosea 1-3 ; Amos 9, 8-10 ; Obadiah 15-21 ; Micah 2, 12-13 ; 5, 3-15 ; Zechariah 8, 13 ; 9 & 10 ; Ezekiel 34-37 etc.) and the secular nation of Israel will be the same as the secular nation of Israel. The secular nation of Israel will then be redeemed from the present secular government and be fully restored to its halachic foundation throughout the Land granted to us by GOD (2 Chronicles 7, 14). The previous harvest during the days of Moses was partial, as the people returned again to slavery. (see commentary of Jer 23, 5-8 & Commentary of Ez 36, 24-27)
“A second time”: Just as he greeted them out of Egypt, when their redemption was absolute.
“The islands of the sea” is written in Hebrew as “the islands of the Kittim,” iintending also the Romans, and the descendants of Esau. These islands include the Americas, since Kittim was a term generally given for islands outside the land of Isharael. Kittim was a settlement in present-day Larnaca, on the east coast of Cyprus, known in antiquity as Kition, or (in Latin) Citium. On this basis, the entire island became known as “Kittim” in Hebrew. However, the name seems to have been employed with much versatility in Hebrew literature, and applied to all the islands of the Aegean and all others in general. Flavius Josephus (c. 100 A.D.) records in his Jewish Antiquities:
Cethimus [son of Javan] possessed the island Cethima: now it is called Cyprus; and from this it follows that all the islands, and most of the sea coasts, are called Cethim by the Jews; and there is a city in Cyprus which has been allowed to retain its name; it has been called Citius [or Citium/Κίτιον] by those who use the language of the Greeks, and has not escaped the name of Cethim by the use of that dialect.
(Josephus Flavius The Antiquities of the Jews 1.6.1)
The expression “islands of Kittim” is found in the Book of Jeremiah 2, 10 and in Ezekiel 27, 6 indicating that, some centuries before Flavius Josephus, this designation had already become a general descriptor for the other islands of the Mediterranean.
And He shall raise a banner to the nations, and He shall gather the lost of Israel, and the scattered ones of Judah He shall gather from the four corners of the earth.
יבוְנָשָֹא נֵס לַגּוֹיִם וְאָסַף נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּנְפֻצוֹת יְהוּדָה יְקַבֵּץ מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 12)
And he shall raise up a standard, and it shall be a sign to gather to him, and to bring to him the exiles of Israel, that is, of other nations besides the Jews.
And the envy of Ephraim shall cease, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, nor shall Judah vex Ephraim.
יגוְסָרָה קִנְאַת אֶפְרַיִם וְצֹרְרֵי יְהוּדָה יִכָּרֵתוּ אֶפְרַיִם לֹא יְקַנֵּא אֶת יְהוּדָה וִיהוּדָה לֹא יָצֹר אֶת אֶפְרָיִם
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 13)
“Ephraim will not envy Judah”: The Messiah will not reign through discord, but through unity and peace. If everyone will recognize the good, then they will understand how much happiness there is in doing it, always. All will unite in this quest, because only with the help of individuals can Peace be achieved and never by the imposition of a state, a nation, or a ruler.
And they shall fly of one accord against the Philistines in the west, together they shall plunder the children of the East; upon Edom and Moab shall they stretch forth their hand, and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
ידוְעָפוּ בְכָתֵף פְּלִשְׁתִּים יָמָּה יַחְדָּו יָבֹזּוּ אֶת בְּנֵי קֶדֶם אֱדוֹם וּמוֹאָב מִשְׁלוֹחַ יָדָם וּבְנֵי עַמּוֹן מִשְׁמַעְתָּם
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 14)
The English term Philistine is derived from the classical Latin Philistinus, from the late Greek Philistinoi, and finally from the Hebrew Pəlištî (פלשתי; plural Pəlištîm, פלשתים), meaning “person of Pəlešeth” [פלשת]’; and there are kindreds in Akkadian (i.e., Assyrian and Babylonian) Palastu and in Egyptian Palusata. Today’s term Palestine has the exact same derivation. Thus “Palestinians” mean inhabitants of Philistia, now inhabited mainly by Arabs. R. Joshua in the Talmud offers a serious warning referring to these “Philistines” west of Eretz Israel:
Sanhedrin Folio 97a: …Thus hath R. Johanan said: in the generation when the son of David [i.e. Mashiach ben David] will come, scholars will be few in number, and as for the rest, their eyes will fail through sorrow and grief. Multitudes of trouble and evil decrees will be promulgated anew, each new evil coming with haste before the other has ended.’
Sanhedrin 97b: … Rab said: All the predestined dates [for redemption] have passed, and the matter [now] depends only on repentance and good deeds…
R. Eliezer said: if Israel repent, they will be redeemed; if not, they will not be redeemed.
R. Joshua said to him, if they do not repent, will they not be redeemed! [i.e. not so] But the Holy One, blessed be He, will set up a king over them, whose decrees shall be as cruel as Haman’s, whereby Israel shall engage in repentance, and he will thus bring them back to the right path.
And the LORD shall dry up the tongue of the Egyptian Sea, and He shall lift His hand over the river with the strength of His wind, and He shall beat it into seven streams, and He shall lead [the exiles] with shoes.
טווְהֶחֱרִים יְהֹוָה אֵת לְשׁוֹן יָם מִצְרַיִם וְהֵנִיף יָדוֹ עַל הַנָּהָר בַּעְיָם רוּחוֹ וְהִכָּהוּ לְשִׁבְעָה נְחָלִים וְהִדְרִיךְ בַּנְּעָלִים
And there shall be a highway for the remnant of His people who remain from Assyria, as there was for Israel on the day they went up from the land of Egypt.
טזוְהָיְתָה מְסִלָּה לִשְׁאָר עַמּוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁאֵר מֵאַשּׁוּר כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּיוֹם עֲלֹתוֹ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
(Isaiah Chapter 11, 15-16)
Just as the LORD dried up the Sea allowing Israel to pass through in safety, so too the Jews living outside Eretz Israel will find safe passage, as if a privileged way back home had been built for them (verse 15). Likewise, the scattered Houses that were enslaved by the ancient Assyrian empire and scattered throughout the world will be restored. They will humble themselves and embrace the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Mashiach ben David. As it is said:
When your [i.e. David’s] days are finished and you shall lie with your forefathers, then I will raise up your seed that shall proceed from your body after you, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to Me a son; so that when he goes astray I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of Adam.
But My mercy shall not depart from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
And your house and your kingdom shall be confirmed forever before you; your throne shall be established forever.”
According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David.
And the king David went in and sat before the LORD; and he said: “Who am I, Oh LORD GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?
(Shmuel II , 2Samuel 7, 12-18)
In what many believe to be the very first messianic prophecy in the Bible (Genesis 3, 15) we read that the “seed” of the woman will crush the head of Satan. The whole human race, that is in a totalitarian way as the “seed” of the first believing woman Eve already at the beginning of time is predestined to crush and oppress evil. This will happen through history that keeps repeating itself in a cyclic way allowing more and more of this good to become strengthened in righteousness. Of course there have been keystones in history and the prophets above all often represent these figures in the Bible. From what we learn reasoning on the passages of Isaiah the dispute between Jews, Christians and Muslims on this topic does not persist, because the text leaves room for different interpretations. Rather than a dispute, it could be considered more as a process of confrontation necessary to reach, or better to approach the Truth that is one and only one.
Whether the Messiah is seen as the “suffering servant” or a “reigning one”, the Anointed One will be on the world stage, will defeat the enemies of the believers, and will restore the Kingdom and the Temple by unifying all the Land entrusted to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. The tasks and opinions of the Abrahamic Religions can be as individual and different as they are harmonious in cooperating for peace, justice and truth.
According to some esteemed men:
Messiah will conquer the entire world without firing a single bullet.
(Rebbe Nachman di Breslov, Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-67)
He will be a King of profound peace and righteousness:
Messiah’s main weapon will be prayer!
(Rebbe Nachman, Likutey Moharan I, 2)
It will establish world peace despite the fact that the times that will precede it will be extremely difficult. The goal then for anyone who believes should not be to find the absolute truth, perhaps discrediting the thought of others, but simply to learn from others to prepare themselves with even more information in their knowledge for their personal growth. May GOD guide everyone who works in the name of love and peace, and remove all evil.