Who is the Messiah?
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The following study will be a comparison between the concept of Messiah as outlined in the Hebrew Scriptures and that of the Christian New Testament documents. The purpose of this exposition will be to expound upon the Jewish teaching on Messiah in contrast with that of Christianity. The Hebrew Bible gives a clear outline as to who, what, where and how the Messiah will appear. For this reason, we begin with an examination of the Hebrew Scriptures in order to see if whether the Tanakh supports the fact that the Messiah of God is both divine and human, one Person having two natures. We will also examine the Hebrew Bible for the evidence that the Messiah would not only reign as king, but also die a substitutionary death on behalf of sinners, making atonement for sin. As this is being done, we will see if Jesus fits the outline of Messiah presented to us in the Hebrew Bible.
Messiah would be the LORD God
This verse points out the inescapable fact that the Messiah is God Almighty appearing in human form. That this passage was considered Messianic is evident from the fact that verse7 says that the Child would sit on the throne of David forever, a description which only fits the Messiah.
Whoever this Child is one thing remains certain - This Child must shine forth from Galilee according to Isaiah 9:1:
'Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali but in the future He will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea along the Jordan...'
NOTE: In an attempt to avoid the impact of this passage's significance to the divinity of the Messiah, certain Jewish Publications have translated it in a way as to suggest that the divine titles are not messianic in nature. Rather, they are descriptions of God:
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us, and the dominion will rest on his shoulder; the Wondrous Adviser, Mighty God, eternal Father, called his name Sar-shalom [Prince of peace]. (This appears as Isaiah 9:5 in the Stone Edition Tanakh, Arts Scroll Series, published by Mesorah Publications Ltd.; Brooklyn, NY, 1998)
The great rabbi Ibn Ezra responds: There are some interpreters who say that 'wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father' are the names of God, and that only 'prince of peace' is the name of the child. But according to my view, the right interpretation is that they are all the names of the child . (Walter Riggans, Yeshua Ben David [Wowborough, East Sussex; MARC, 1995], p. 370)
For instance, the great Rabbi David Kimchi wrote in reference to this verse, '
By the righteous Branch is meant
.' The compilers of the Targum agreed with Kimchi since they introduced Messiah by name in this passage. (David Baron, Rays of Messiah's Glory: Christ in the Old Testament [Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 1886], p. 78)
Hence, we find the Hebrew Scriptures testifying to the fact that Messiah would be the Lord Himself. (Hebrew YHVH / Adonai)
Messiah would be the Son of God
The above passage tells us that the Messiah would be the Son of God.
"Our Rabbis taught, the Holy One blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the Son of David (may He reveal Himself speedily in our days), 'Ask of Me and I will give to Thee,' as it is said [Psalm 2:7-8]: 'I will tell of the decree; the Lord hath said unto Me, "Thou art My Son; This day I have begotten Thee, ask of Me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance." ' "
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Ephratha
This verse emphatically states that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem while also having been existing from eternity.
The Targum Jonathan (second century A. D.) :
Messiah is both Priest and King
Joshua is portrayed as a type of the Messiah who was to come. Hence, just as Joshua is pictured as being both a priest and king, the Messiah would also be a priest who reigns on God's throne as king. In fact, the name "Joshua" is the same Hebrew name for "Jesus", Yeshua!
The fact that these passages are clearly messianic in nature can be seen in the title given to the one to come, i.e. the Branch.
Another passage indicating that the Messiah would be both priest and king is Psalm 110:1, 4:
"The LORD said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'… The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ' You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek .' " NIV
In fact, David's sons were also called priests:
"David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehosphat son of Ahilud was recorder; Zadok son of Ahitud and Ahimelech son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; Beniaha son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David's sons were priests (cohanim)." 2 Samuel 8:15-18
Since the Messiah is David's son, this would indicate that he too would be a priest much like his ancestors that preceded him.
Messiah would Suffer
While the Hebrew Scripture portrays the Messiah as a glorious King as well as both a human and divine figure, the Bible also indicates that He will suffer and be put to death only to rise miraculously:
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 "See my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness - so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions , he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all . He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken . He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death , though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD'S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities . Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Amazingly, this passage declares the fact that the suffering servant is being crushed for the sins of Isaiah's people, eventually being put to death. Yet, vv. 10-11 emphatically state that this servant would once more see "the light of life" and reign in order to justify "his offspring and prolong his days," and that "the will of the LORD" will "prosper in his hand". This seems to imply a bodily resurrection. The only way for the servant to be "assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death" and then "see the light of life" is if He were to be miraculously raised from the dead!
NOTE: That this too was considered a messianic prophecy becomes obvious when one reads the rabbinic commentaries. However, in order to avoid the obvious Christian implications, rabbis such as Rashi (Rabbi Solomon Izaak, circa 1040-1105 A. D.) referred this passage to the sufferings of the nation of Israel, despite the fact that rabbis such as the great Maimonides thought it was wrong to apply this to Israel. They rather maintained the belief that this passage of Scripture was about Messiah. The reason for Rashi's attempt to make Israel the central focus of this passage was due to his seemingly anti-Christian bias, a fact to which he freely admitted:
"Since Christians interpret Isaiah 53 as being a prophecy concerning Jesus, we maintain that this is a prophecy concerning the people of Israel." (Steve Schwarz, "Dear Rabbi," p.15)
Rabbi R. Elyyah de Vidas sights, "The meaning of 'he was wounded for our transgressions, ... bruised for our iniquities' is, that since the
Messiah bears our iniquities
, which produce the effect of His being bruised,
it follows that whoever will not admit
that the Messiah suffers for our
iniquities must endure and suffer for
Interestingly, Isaiah 53 is almost never read in the synagogues, as it is consistently neglected during the Haftorah readings. This is amazing in light of the fact that the chapters preceding and following Isaiah 53 are recited during these special readings. The following list illustrates this point:
Haftorah for Ekeb - Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Haftorah for Shofetim - Isaiah 51:12-52:12
Haftorah for Noah - Isaiah 54:1-55:5
Haftorah for Sephardi ritual - Isaiah 54:1-10
Haftorah for Hi Tetze - Isaiah 54:1-10
Haftorah for Re'eh - Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Herbert Lowe, a Cambridge University Rabbinics Professor notes: "Quotations from the famous 53rd chapter of Isaiah are rare in the Rabbinic literature. Because of the Christological interpretation given to the chapter by Christians, it is omitted from the series of prophetical lessons (HAFTORAH) for the Deuteronomy Sabbaths. The omission is deliberate and striking." (Schwarz, "Dear Rabbi," p.16)
It should also be pointed out that the Haftorah readings are the same throughout synagogues and temples all over the world.
NOTE - There is evidence that the servant of Isaiah 53 was believed to be referring to national Israel by the Jews even before Rashi. The Church Father Origen writes:
"I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these prophecies. At this the Jews said that these prophecies referred to the whole people as though of a single individual, since they were scattered in the dispersion and smitten, that as a result of the scattering of the Jews among other nations many might become proselytes." [Origen, Contra Celsum, I., p. 55 A.D. 248]
Hence, Rashi was seemingly not the first rabbi that tried to apply Isaiah 53 to national Israel.
Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Israel a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look to Me, the One they have pierced , and mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn Son."
An astonishing prophecy indeed! God claims that they will personally pierce Him. Yet, at the same time God refers to the pierced One as someone that is personally distinct from Him for whom the nations mourn and weep as for a firstborn Son.
This prophecy is confirmed by the Rabbis to be referring to the other "Messiah" which the
Talmud calls Messiah Ben Joseph
, the suffering Messiah. (T.V. Moore, Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi [Carlisle, PA; Banner of Truth Trust, 1974], p.199)
The only person who ever claimed to be both God and the Son of God, as well as being the only self-professed Messiah that was pierced, was Jesus Christ. (cf. John 10:30; Mark 14:61b-62; Luke 24:44-47).
He is the only self-professed Messiah to be born in Bethlehem and to come forth from Galilee. (cf. Matthew 2:1,22; Luke 2:4-7; Mark 1:9) The life of Jesus the Messiah is the only one that bears an amazing correlation to the Hebrew passages being studied. An examination of Psalm 22 and the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament solidifies this point:
Psalm 22 - The Cucifixion of Jesus
|Old Testament Prophecy - Psalm 22||New Testament Comparison|
|v. 1: "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?"||Matthew 27:46: "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi lama sabacthani?,' which means, 'My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?' "|
|6-8: "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by people. All who see me mock me. They hurl insults shaking their heads; 'He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord rescue Him. Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.'"||Matthew 27:41-44: "In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the Elders mocked Him. 'He saved others.' they said, 'But He can't save Himself! He's the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God, let God rescue Him now if He wants Him, for He said "I am the Son of God." ' In the same way the robbers who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him."|
14-15: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death."
( NOTE - This is a precise description of the crucifixion process where the hanging weight of a person's body would eventually cause his bones to come out of joint, and would make him as one lying in the "dust of death")
John 19:34: "Instead one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water."
( NOTE - Medically the flow of blood and water would mean that the heart of the person had literally burst , i.e. had "turned to wax" and "melted away", in complete fulfillment of this verse of the Psalm!)
John 19:28: "Later, knowing that all was completed, and so that the scripture may be fulfilled, Jesus said, 'I am thirsty.' "
16: "Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men have encircled me; they have pierced (kaaru) my hands and feet."
(NOTE - This prediction was made when crucifixion did not even exist at the time!)
17-18: "I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They have divided my garments and cast lots for my clothing."
|John 19:23-24: "When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 'Let's not tear it,' they said to one another, 'let's decide by lot who will get it.' "|
The Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 36: 1-2: affirms that Psalm 22 was viewed as a messianic prophecy:
This is a clear indication that certain rabbis viewed Psalm 22 as a messianic prophecy.
This apparent paradox has puzzled the Jews from the very beginning, since they could not understand how a triumphant King-Messiah could suffer and die. As noted earlier, this paradox led to the belief that there would be two distinct Messiahs to fulfill two distinct roles; the Suffering-Messiah Ben Joseph, and King-Messiah Ben David. Yet the truth is that there is only Messiah, Yeshua ha-Mashiach whose mission has been to fulfill both these roles. The first mission was to fulfill the role of the Suffering Servant, while his role as reigning King is to be fulfilled at his Second Coming. (Cf. Matthew 24:27-35).
The Timeline of Messiah
Through the prophet Daniel we receive a timeline of when Messiah would appear:
(Daniel 9:24-26) "Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and the Holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy . Know and understand this; from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One (Messiah), the Ruler comes , there will be Seven sevens and Sixty-two sevens. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. "
Daniel is given the allotted time for a) the decree of the rebuilding of both the city and the temple, b) the time it would take for the Messiah to appear after this decree, as well as c) the destruction of the temple and the termination of the Messiah's life. Several dates have been given as a starting point for the period of time stated in the book of Daniel (7 * 7 = 49 + 62 * 7 = 434 - total = 483).
One such date is King Cyrus's decree to rebuild the temple in 539 B. C. Yet, none of these dates are correct since the dates that are commonly given refer to the rebuilding of the temple, not the city. The prophecy clearly states that the time frame would begin only when the decree goes forth for the rebuilding of the city and its walls. The only decree that fits the context of the prophecy is that of Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 B. C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8), since this decree included the restoration of the city and the city gates as well as its walls.
The following quotation from the book "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell, helps illustrate Daniel's amazing timeline:
"If Daniel is correct, the time from the edict to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Nisan 1, 444B.C.) to the coming of the Messiah to Jerusalem is 483 years (69 * 7), each year equaling the Jewish prophetic year of 360 days (173,880). The terminal event of the 69 weeks is the presentation of Christ Himself to Israel as the Messiah as predicted in Zechariah 9:9. H. Hoehner, who has thoroughly researched this prophecy in Daniel and the corresponding dates, calculates the date of this event:
'Multiplying the sixty-nine weeks by seven years for each week by 360 days gives a total of 173,880 days. The difference between 444B.C. and A.D.33 then is 476 solar years. By multiplying 476 by 365.24219879 or by 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 45,975 seconds (there are 365 ¼ days in a year), one comes to 173,885 days, 6 hours, 52 minutes, 44 seconds, or 173,885 days. This leaves only 25 days to be accounted for between 444B.C. and A.D.33. By adding the 25 days to March 5 (of 444B.C.), one comes to March 30 (of A.D.33) which was Nisan 10 in A.D.33. This is the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem .'" (McDowell, p. 173)
This prophecy once again predicts Messiah's brutal death:
"After the sixty-two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off (yikaret) and have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary (temple)." (cf. Daniel 9:26)
The Hebrew term, yikaret, implies a sudden, violent death. This is a precise description of Jesus' brutal death on the cross. Another astonishing aspect deals with the fact that the Temple was destroyed some forty years after Christ's crucifixion; clearly fulfilling Daniel's prediction of the "sanctuary" being demolished right after the death of the Messiah! Hence, Jesus must be the Messiah since the prophecy clearly states that the Messiah must appear before the destruction of the second Temple. The only person who fits the bill is Jesus Christ, since He is the only one who claimed that his death was essential in providing the atonement that was both necessary to usher in God's everlasting righteousness and to eradicate sin.
Furthermore, any denial of Jesus' Messiahship is essentially a denial of Daniel's authenticity as a prophetic book since the condition of the prophecy rests upon the arrival of the Messiah before the Temple's destruction. Yet, if Jesus is not Messiah then Daniel is proven to be a false prophet since the Temple has been destroyed and the Messiah has not come. Hence, once the weight of historical occurrences and mathematical calculations is thrown behind the prophecies of the Bible, it becomes increasingly impossible to deny the fact that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Additional confirmation of the messianic overtones of Daniel 9:25-27 comes from the Talmud itself:
LOOK: Another amazing fact is that the
Talmud admits that forty years
prior to the destruction of the
Temple, God refused to accept the
high priestly sacrifices
Is it then a mere coincidence that approximately forty years prior to the Temple's destruction, Yeshua the Messiah offered himself as the final and perfect sacrifice, making void all other sacrifices offered up by the cohen ha-gadol (the high priest)? The Talmud alludes to the reason why God allowed the Temple to be destroyed:
"Why was the Second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they occupied themselves with studying Torah, obeying mitzvot and practicing charity? Because in it prevailed hatred without a cause." (Yoma 9b)
This echoes Jesus' very own words as recorded in the Gospel of John:
Thus, the evidence from the rabbinic commentaries points to the same inescapable conclusion. Namely, that Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Jewish Messiah. To make the case for the Messiahship of Jesus that much stronger, we provide the additional prophecies and their fulfillment in the life of Jesus.
Targum Onkelos states: "He who excerciseth dominion shall not pass away from the house of Jehuda, nor the saphra from his children's children until the Messiah come."
Thus, according to this passage, two things would take place following the appearance of the Messiah:
1. Removal of the scepter or identity of Judah.
2. Suppression of the judicial power.
NOTE: Although Israel suffered 70 years of captivity under Babylonian rule, it never ceased from having its "tribal staff," since they still had their own lawgivers and judges. (cf. Ezra 1:5, 8) The removal of Judah's scepter came during the reign of Herod the Great who, having no Jewish blood, succeeded the last reigning Jewish leaders in Jerusalem; the Maccabean princes of Judah. Secondly, the legal right of pronouncing death upon criminals was stripped away from the Jews in 7 AD., approximately 23 years before Christ's crucifixion. This nullified their judicial authority to execute lawbreakers.
The Talmud itself admits this: "… a little more than forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentence was taken away from the Jews. " (Sanhedrin, Fol. 24, recto.)
|Jewish Scriptures & Thought||New Testament Comparison|
|Other quotations taken from the Jewish Scriptures include the promise of Isaiah 42:1-9 that God's Spirit would dwell on the Messiah. One Targum state "Behold my Servant Messiah, I will draw Him near, My chosen One, in whom myMemra (Aramaic- " word") is well pleased."||
The identification of God's Word with the Messiah is similar to what the Apostle John states in his prologue:
"In the beginning was theWord, and theWord was with God, and theWord was God… and the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." John 1:1, 14
Another tradition states that the world was created for Messiah:
" Rabbi Yohanan taught that all the world was created for Messiah . What is His name? The school of Sheeloh taught; His name is Shiloh as it is written (Gen. 49:10)." Sanhedrin 98b
This also agrees with what the New Testament states:
" For by Him (Jesus) 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 (Jesus) and for Him (Jesus) ." Colossians 1:16-17 (cf. John 1:1-4; Hebrews 1:2)
The Yalkut states:
" 'And God saw the light and it was good.' This is the Light of the Messiah. .. to teach you that God saw the generation of Messiah and His works before He created the universe, and He hid the Messiah... under His throne of Glory. Satan asked God, Master of the Universe: 'For whom is this light under your throne of Glory?' God answered him, 'It is for... [the Messiah] who is to turn you backward and who will put you to scorn with shamefacedness." (Sanhedrin 99a; Berachot 34b; Shabbat 63a)
Compare this with Jesus' statements:
"While I (Jesus) am in the world, I am the Light of the world. " John 9:5 (cf. John 1:4-5)
Finally, the Rabbis confirm that the prophets wrote only in regards to the future advent of the long-awaited Messiah:
"Rabbi Chiyya ben-Abba said in Rabbi Yochanan's name: ' All the prophets prophesied [the good things] only for the days of the Messiah… '" (Sanhedrin 99a; B'rakhot 34b)
In the words of Jesus Christ himself:
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life ." John 5:39-40
From the preceding examples and prophecies one thing remains certain. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. As the High Priest himself found out when questioning Jesus at His trial:
"Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?"
To which Jesus replied:
"I AM, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming with the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:61b-62
He's coming back! Are you prepared to meet Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ha Adonai, Ben Elohim? We pray that you are.
Appendix A - Isaiah 53: Of Whom Does The Prophet Speak?
We present additional Jewish references that uphold the messianic interpretation of Isaiah 53.
According to an ancient Jewish tale, God asked Messiah if he wanted to take upon himself the suffering for Israel's sins. The Messiah replied,
Hence, there can be not one single doubt remaining as to whom Isaiah speaks of: namely, the Messiah whose name is Jesus. Another attempt to avoid the messianic overtones of these biblical passages is the argument that the passages in question speak of these events as having already been transpired. These prophecies are in the past, and therefore cannot be referring to the future advent of the Messiah. The problem with this argument is that biblical Hebrew does not have a past tense since it is not a "tense" language. Hebrew scholars have come to recognize that biblical Hebrew is an "aspectual" language. This implies that the same form of the verb can be translated as past, present, or future depending on the context and various grammatical constructions.
Hence, it is simply wrong to argue that because these prophecies are spoken of as having already transpired that it does not refer to the Messiah. In fact, there are many examples in the Hebrew Bible where the "past tense" form (called "the perfective" or "perfect") is used for future time. In support of this, we quote the following Rabbis and Grammarians:
David Kimchi on the prophets' use of the perfect tense for future events: "The matter is as clear as though it had already transpired." (Kimchi, Sefer Mikhlol as cited in Bruce K. Waltke and Michael Patrick O'Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax [Winona Lake, IN; Eisenbrauns, 1990], p.64, n. 45)
Appendix B - The Messiah and the Second Temple
As we have already indicated, the Hebrew Bible in such passages as Daniel 9:26 clearly place the appearance of the Messiah before the destruction of the second temple. This fact is clearly brought out in the following two passages:
Zech 2:1-9 "On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: 'Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, "Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel," declares the LORD. "Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land," declares the LORD, "and work. For I am with you," declares the LORD Almighty. "This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear." This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory," says the LORD Almighty. "The silver is mine and the gold is mine," declares the LORD Almighty.
Haggai 2:1-9 NIV "The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house," says the LORD Almighty. "And in this place I will grant peace," declares the LORD Almighty.'"
God declares that the second temple would be greater in glory than that built by Solomon. This is due to the coming of the one who is called "the desired of the nations." Some translators view the statement in v. 7 as not referring to the Messiah, but rather the splendor in which the second temple would be adorned with, i.e. the gold and silver of the nations. The only problem with this view is that this in no way would make the second temple greater than the first. The reason is that Solomon's temple was also arrayed with the finest and most precious materials. Furthermore, the visible manifestation of the glory of God appeared in the form of a cloud and filled the entire sanctuary. (Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-11)
Yet, God specifically states that the glory of the second temple would be greater than the first. What could possible be greater than the cloud descending on Solomon's temple than God appearing as man in the person of the Messiah at the second one? In the words of Yeshua:
"I tell you that one greater than the temple is here."
That Haggai 2:6-9 was viewed as a messianic prophecy can be seen in this citation from Sanhedrin 97b:
The only person who claimed to be the divine Messiah and appeared while the second temple was still standing is Yeshua Messiah:
"When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel , and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ . Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel .'" Luke 2:22, 25-32
"After the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, 'Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.' 'Why were you searching for me?' he asked. ' Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house? ' But they did not understand what he was saying to them." Luke 2:43-48
"When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market! ' His disciples remembered that it is written: 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'" John 2:13-17
Hence, if Jesus is not the Messiah there will be no Messiah . This is based on the testimony of the Hebrew Bible that the Messiah had to come before the destruction of the second temple. We are thankful to God that he did arrive before the temple's destruction, as was predicted.
AMEN, COME LORD JESUS.