Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Messiah Most High Pt. 1b

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.

Here is another passage which affirms the absolute divine identity of the Messiah:

“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them… For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (El Gibbor), Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7

The coming Prince shall be the Mighty God who will be born as a Child in order to reign over David’s throne forever. What makes this rather remarkable is that Isaiah applies the title “Mighty God” to Yahweh in the very next chapter!

“It will come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and those who have escaped from the house of Jacob will no more again lean on him who struck them, but shall lean on Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. A remnant will return, even the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God (El Gibbor).” Isaiah 10:20-21 WEB

This provides further confirmation that the Messianic King shall be Yahweh God in the flesh, which brings us to the next prophecy. 

The following text recalls God’s promise to David that his rule would extend to the ends of the earth:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

Here, once again, is how certain Jewish authorities understood this prophecy:

Behold! Your king shall come to you: It is impossible to interpret this except as referring to the King Messiah, as it is stated: “and his rule shall be from sea to sea.” We do not find that Israel had such a ruler during the days of the Second Temple.

just and victorious: saved by the Lord.

and riding a donkey: This is a symbol of humility.

and a foal of she-donkeys: as in (Gen. 32:16) "and ten foals.” (The Complete Jewish Bible With Rashi Commentary; underline emphasis ours)

The prophet then goes on to show that this king who comes riding on a foal of a donkey bringing salvation is none other than Yahweh God Almighty:

“Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day HIS FEET will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one… Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them.” Zechariah 14:1-5, 9, 16-17

Zechariah speaks of the time when Yahweh himself will descend upon the Mount of Olives with all his holy ones, splitting it in half with the touch of his blessed feet, in order to reign from Jerusalem as King over all the nations. That is the day when Yahweh shall be the sole sovereign authority in all the earth:

Then there will be only one Lord who rules as King and whose name is worshiped everywhere on earth.” Zechariah 14:9 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

“On that day Yahweh will become King over all the earth—Yahweh alone, and His name alone.” Holman Christian Standard Version (HCSB)

Yet this would mean that the king who the inspired prophet said would come riding on a foal will actually be Yahweh the God of Israel! However, the only way that Yahweh could ride a donkey is if he takes on a tangible physical body, which then explains why Zechariah spoke of Yahweh’s feet touching and splitting the Mt. of Olives in two.

This brings us to our next passage. The prophet Daniel saw in a vision a human like figure who was clearly more than a man:

“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve (yipelachun) Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

It is clear from Daniel’s depiction of this Son of Man that he is absolutely divine since he receives the worship which belongs only to God,

“Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve (yipelachun) and obey Him.” Daniel 7:27 – cf. 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; 6:16, 20, 26

And even rides the clouds of heaven like God does:

“The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” Nahum 1:3 – cf. Exodus 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Numbers 10:34; Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 68:4, 33-34; 104:3; Isaiah 19:1; Matthew 17:5

That this also happens to be a prophecy of the Messiah is even acknowledged by the following Jewish commentary:

one like a man was coming: That is the King Messiah.

and… up to the Ancient of Days: Who was sitting in judgment and judging the nations.

came: arrived, reached. (The Complete Jewish Bible With Rashi Commentary; italicized and underline emphasis ours)

Thus, the paradox is resolved, the mystery is unveiled. The reason why God could speak of David sharing in God’s exalted status over the entire earth is because David foreshadowed the One to come. David becomes a type, a picture so to speak, of the Messiah, and therefore the things said about him are actually about his descendant that was to come to reign forever over an indestructible kingdom. This is why God never allowed David to realize the promises made to him, since they were meant to be fulfilled by the One who is infinitely greater than David, he who would be both truly God and truly human at the same time. As such, there is no contradiction since Yahweh is indeed the only One who reigns as the Most High. The Messiah, after all, is not a mere human being, but a fully divine Person who eternally shares in the very nature of God himself.

With the foregoing in perspective it is now time to unveil the identity of this divine figure. Therefore, please proceed to the second part of our analysis