An aspect of the Kingship of the Messiah is the strange God-Man Concept concerning the Messiah. Some passages which deal with the Kingship of the Messiah add a whole new dimension to the Person of the Messiah, making Him a man—and yet more than a man.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this. (ASV)
Verse 6 declares that a son will be born into the Jewish world who will eventually control the reigns of government. Verse 7 identifies Him as the Messianic descendant of David; it gives a dramatic description of His reign, which will be characterized by peace and justice. However, in verse 6 He is given names that can only be true of God Himself: Mighty God and Everlasting Father. Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace can be true of a man. This new dimension, presented by Isaiah regarding the Person of the Messiah, is that the Messiah had to be a man, a descendant of David, but He was to be God as well.
This further explains what Isaiah said two chapters earlier in Isaiah 7:14, when he stated:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (ASV)
In this passage Isaiah declares that there is going to be a Son born of a virgin. Then He is given a name which is said to be Immanuel. In the Bible, when a parent names his child, it shows the thinking of the parents. However, when God gives a person a name, it actually represents the person's very character as only God can foresee. When this Child is named Immanuel by God, the name portrays the actual character of the Child. What does Immanuel mean? It means: "With us, God." So here we have a Child that is born of a virgin and who is "With us, God" or "God is among us!" The Isaiah 9 passage further clarifies that this Son is a descendant of David, and He is labeled as God Himself. Isaiah clearly portrays the Messiah as the God-Man.
Nor is Isaiah alone in presenting this picture. Jeremiah echoes Isaiah in Jeremiah 23:5-6:
Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness. (ASV)
Here, too, a descendant of David reigns upon the throne of David and the character of His reign is described as one of peace and security for Israel. Yet He is given the very name of God, which can only belong to God Himself—Adonai Tzidkenu—Jehovah our righteousness. This is the YHVH, the very name that God revealed to Moses as being His own personal name: I AM. So once again, the future King Messiah of Israel is seen as a man on the one hand, but as God on the other. As with the Sonship concept, the God-Man concept is related to the Messiah's Kingship.
According to Micah 5:2, the Messiah's birth would be in Bethlehem. Let's read that verse:
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 everlasting. (ASV)
According to Micah 5:2 the Messiah's human origin would be Bethlehem. But Micah states even further that: [His] goings forth are from old, from everlasting. This Individual, who is to be born in Bethlehem, has His origins from eternity. Only one Person is eternal from eternity past, and that is God Himself. As to His human origin, He was born in Bethlehem; as to His divine origin, He is from eternity, which means He is both God and man at the same time.
Another passage which brings out this God-Man Concept is Zechariah 13:7:
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith Jehovah of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered; and I will turn my hand upon the little ones. (ASV)
The Hebrew word translated as fellow means "my equal". The verse literally reads: "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my equal [deity], saith Jehovah of hosts:" Again, the Messiah was to be both God and man.
The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of Your enemies." (NASB)
We should note first of all that the psalmist here is David. David had no human lord; there was no authority over him except Jehovah Himself. Yet, in verse 1 of this psalm, David speaks of two lords: "The LORD [Jehovah] said to my Lord..." David is speaking of two personalities here—Jehovah and "my Lord." But who could "my Lord" be, since David had no human over-lord? The only way to understand this verse is to see Jehovah as God the Father and "David's Lord" as Messiah. It is Messiah, therefore, who is invited to sit at God's right hand.
Implicit within this prophecy is the concept of the God-Man. We know from I Kings 2:19 that anyone who sits at a king's right hand must be equal to the king. Since Messiah is invited to sit at God's right hand, it follows that Messiah must be equal to God. As to His humanity, Messiah is to be a descendant of David, and as to His deity, He can sit at the right hand of God.
This is further developed in Psalm 80:17:
Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. (NASB)
Israel is praying to God for deliverance and in verse 17 the One they ask to come and deliver them is the One seated at God's right hand. We are told in Psalm 110 that this is the Messiah who has ascended to the right hand of God following His rejection. The title given to Messiah in verse 17 is "the Son of Man". This is a very common messianic title in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospel of Luke.
To repeat the teaching of Psalm 110:1, since the "Son of Man" is sitting at the right hand of God, He must be equal to God; thus we have another verse which affirms that Messiah must be a God-Man.
This concludes the picture of the Messiah given in the Old Testament. On the one hand, He is a suffering and dying Messiah. On the other, He is a conquering and reigning Messiah called God and the Son of God.
- Come and See: Messianic Bible Studies • Ariel Ministries (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
- Messiah the Final Sacrifice • BPB (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
- International Harmony Under the Messiah According to Isaiah 2:1-4 • BPB (Michael Vlach)
- Does God Have a Son? • BPB (Arnold Fruchtenbaum)
- The Divine Preservation of the Messianic Line: The True Meaning of the Holidays • BPB (Andy Woods)
- Witnessing to Jews • BPB (Ron Rhodes)
- The Gospel vs. Doctrine • BPB (Steven Hayes)