What Bible verses say the Messiah would be God?

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Question / Comment - Is the Messiah ever said to be God?

Christians say Christ is the fulfilment of the scriptures of the Tanach. I have searched the entire Hebrew Tanach and I could not find one verse that says or describes, God as Messiah and Messiah as God, and that God and Messiah are one and the same being.
JPN Reply:

Thanks for your question. Most of the following is taken from Arnold Fruchtembaum's book 'Messianic Christology'.
Some verses show that the Messiah would also be God… other verses show that He cannot simply be a man.
  • 1. Isaiah 9:6 ‘For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom;’ 

This child which is born is called El-Gibbor, which as I’m sure you know is 'Mighty God' and is never used of a man. Avi-Ad is literally ‘Father of Eternity’ and could never describe a mere man. Some quotes for you…

In the Targum of Isaiah we read: "His name has been called from old, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us."

Midrash Mishle, S. Buber edition: The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinnon, Tzemah, Pele ["Miracle"], Yo'etz ["Counselor"], Mashiah ["Messiah"],  El ["God"], Gibbor ["Hero"], andAvi 'Ad Shalom ["Eternal Father of Peace"]

The great rabbi Ibn Ezra said: 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)

Clearly, if this was the only verse, it shows that this child is called God. The Rabbis called the Messiah by the name ‘God’.

  • 2. Jeremiah 23:5-6 'The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. 

The Messiah is given the name of God alone. YHWH. Jehovah. The Midrash on Proverbs 19:21 says ‘Rabbi Hunah said ‘Eight names are given to the Messiah which are Yinnon, Shiloh, David, Menachem, Jehovah, Justi de Nostra, Tzemmach, Elias.’

The Midrash on Lam 1:16 says ‘What is the name of the Messiah? Rav Ava ben Kahanna said ‘Jehovah is his name and this is proved by, ‘this is his name… [quoting Jer 23:6].’

So this passage and these Rabbinic quotes show that the Messiah was called Jehovah. No mere man would ever be called by God’s name.

  • 3. Micah 5:2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.

The Targum Jonathan (second century A. D.) : ‘And You Bethlehem Ephrath, you who were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, From you shall come forth before Me The Messiah.’

In regards to the Messiah’s human origin He is said to have been born in Bethlehem, but regarding His divine origin He is said to be ‘from old, from ancient days.’ Arnold Fruchenbaum writes ‘The Hebrew for ‘from long ago, from the days of eternity’ are the strongest Hebrew words ever used for eternity past. They are used of God the Father in Psalm 90:2… Again we have a passage which shows that Messiah is to be human – being born at some specific point in time at some specific place – yet having existed since eternity past, and therefore divine.

  • 4. Psalm 2:7-12

Messiah would be the Son of God. Therefore He would be divine. And in case you think this isn’t about the Messiah, Rabbi Rashi says ‘Our Rabbis expound it as relating to King Messiah.’

  • 5. Isaiah 7:14

While you don’t like it, the prophecy shows that a virgin would give birth to a child who is literally, ‘God with us’. The Hebrew word 'Almah' is used in this passage and speaks of a virgin. Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes ‘Since everyone agrees that 'almah' means an unmarried woman, if the woman in Isaiah 7:14 were a non-virgin, then God would be promising a sign involving fornication and illegitimacy. It is unthinkable that God would sanction sin, and in any case, what would be so unusual about an illegitimate baby that could possibly constitute a sign? As far as ancient Jewish writers were concerned, there are no arguments about Isaiah 7:14 predicting a virgin birth… The Jews who made this translation (Septuagint), living much closer to the times of Isaiah than we do today, translated Isaiah 7:14 using the Greek word parthenos which very clearly and exclusively means a virgin.

  • 6. Psalm 110

We know from 1 Kings 2:19 that anyone who sits at the king’s right hand must be equal with the King. This Psalm of David’s speaks of someone other than Jehovah who is David’s lord. This Lord is both a priest and a king and sits at Jehovah’s right hand. It is a joke to say that this is David himself as David was from not a priest, but was from the tribe of Judah. Nor does he sit at the right hand of God. It is the Messiah who is spoken about in this passage and He is equal to God.

  • 7. Prov 30:4

Here is a riddle for you… It consists of 6 questions. The first 4 questions are obviously about God Himself as only God could accomplish these things. The fifth question asks what the name of God is. I’m sure you can answer this one. The sixth question reveals that God has a Son! And it asks what His name is! Oh, oh! I know, I know. The Messiah is the son of God and His name is Jesus!

  • 8. Psalm 45:6-7

Elohim is applied to two divine personalities in the same verse! The second Elohim is called the God of the first Elohim! Only makes sense in terms of the Messiah being God, the son of God as other verses have shown!

  • 9. Hosea 1:7

We see the same thing where the speaker (God – Elohim) will save them by the Jehovah, their Elohim. Elohim is again spoken of as two distinct personalities. Another example is Gen 19:24.

  • 10. Zech 2:10-11

Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.’ The LORD is going to dwell amongst us and it is the LORD Almighty that sent Him! Can it get any clearer? This shows the YHWH sent YHWH and only makes sense when you know that the Messiah Jesus is God! He is the one who lived amongst us. He is ‘God with us!’

That is why in the Shema, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!’, the ‘our God’ part is plural in the Hebrew (literally ‘our Gods’ and the word for ‘one’ is echad – a compound unity, not absolute unity as in the word ‘yachid’.) Arnold writes ‘If Moses had intended to teach God’s absolute oneness as opposed to His compound oneness, this would have been a far more appropriate word (yachid) to use.’ But he didn’t! He used echad which is used in such passages as Gen 1:5 where evening and morning are called one (echad’) day. Gen 2:24 where when man and woman come together in marriage and are called ‘one flesh’. Ezra 2:64 where the whole assembly was one, though ofcourse it comprised of many people. Or Ezek 37:17 where the two sticks are combined to become one. These are all uses of echad and show that it is a compound unity.

Even in the Old Testament there are three distinct personalities that are considered divine.

1. The Lord YHWH

2. The Angel of YHWH

3. The Spirit of God.

The Angel of the Lord is clearly seen to be divine in passages such as Gen 16:7-14, Gen 22:9-16, Gen 31:11-13, 32:24-30, Ex 3:1-5, Judges 6:11-24 amongst others. These passages show that ‘The Angel of the Lord’ is much more than just an angel and is a fulfillment of the Micah prophecy about the Messiah ‘whose goings forth have been from eternity.’

The Spirit of God is clearly divine in such passages as Gen 1:2, Psalm 51:11, Isaiah 11:2, Isaiah 63:10, Isaiah 63:14 amongst others. Arnold writes ‘The Holy Spirit cannot be a mere emanation because, as can be seen in these quotations, He has all the characteristics of personality – intellect, emotion and will – and is considered divine.’

Arnold points out that all three personalities are used in the same passage such as Isa 48:12-16 where God the creator of the earth is speaking and says that He has been sent by another, Jehovah, together with a third person, the Spirit of Jehovah. This is the trinity! And it is clearly seen in the Tanach. The three are seen also in Isaiah 63:7-14.

I hope this helps as to say that there is no passage that shows that the Messiah is God goes against scripture and the position of the ancient Rabbis.
All the best.