Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Glorious Splendor and Majesty of King Messiah Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we left off.


The Messiah is the divine Son that shares in Yahweh’s worship and honor

What makes this all the more amazing is that certain rabbinic sources combined Psalm 21:7-8 along with Psalm 2:7 and Daniel 7:13-14:

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 anything, and I will give it to thee’, as it is said, ‘I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance.’14 But when he will see that the Messiah the son of Joseph is slain, he will say to Him, ‘Lord of the Universe, I ask of Thee only the gift of life’. ‘As to life’, He would answer him, ‘Your father David has already prophesied this concerning you’, as it is said, ‘He asked life of thee, thou gavest it him, [even length of days for ever and ever].’15

(14) Ps. II, 7 and 8.

(15) Ps. XXI, 5. (Sukkah 52a)


before You: in Paradise. Our Rabbis, who interpreted it as referring to the King Messiah, brought proof on that matter (FROM DAN. 7:13): “and came to the Ancient of days and brought him near before Him.” Scripture also states (in Jer. 30: 21): “and I will bring him near, and he shall approach Me.” (The Complete Jewish Bible, Ps. 21:7; capital and underline emphasis ours)

To say that these are highly significant prophecies would be putting it mildly, since Psalm 2 and Daniel 7:13-14 describe the Messiah as God’s uniquely begotten Son and royal Heir whom all the nations must serve and worship in the same way that they worship God!

For instance, notice what Psalm 2 says concerning God’s Anointed One:

“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed (mashicho)… ‘Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.’ I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son (bani), Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son (nashqu bar), lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:1-2, 6-12 New King James Version (NKJV)(1)

Here is what the Jewish Study Bible says concerning the Aramaic word bar, which the above translation renders as “Son”:

12: As noted, the translation in good faith is uncertain. The Heb word "bar" can also mean "son," especially in Aramaic, and this has sometimes been connected to the divinely adopted son ("ben") in v. 7. (The Jewish Study Bible, p. 1286)

And here is a source which explains how the rabbis understood Psalm 2:

Why have nations gathered: OUR SAGES (Ber. 7b) expounded the passage as referring TO THE KING MESSIAH, but according to its apparent meaning, it is proper to interpret it as referring to David himself, as the matter is stated (II Sam. 5:17): “And the Philistines heard that they had anointed David as king over Israel, and all the Philistines went up to seek, etc.,” and they fell into his hands. Concerning them, he says, “Why have nations gathered,” and they all gathered. (The Complete Jewish Bible, Ps. 2:1; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Hence, Psalm 2 describes the Messianic King as the Son of God whom all the kings and nations must serve and render homage to, since they are his inheritance from God. Those that refuse to submit to the reign of the Messiah will be shattered and destroyed in his wrath. What makes this rather remarkable is that elsewhere in the Psalms the nations are said to be God’s inheritance!

“Arise, O God, judge the earth, for You inherit all the nations.”

Arise, O God: Asaph commences to pray that He rise and cut off from Israel those corrupt judges.

for You: are the One Who inherits the nations, and everyone is in Your hands to judge.  (The Complete Jewish Bible, Ps. 82:8; underline emphasis ours)

This now brings us to the prophecy in the book of Daniel. Pay careful attention to what the prophet Daniel wrote concerning the Messiah:

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped (yipelachun) him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 New International Version (NIV)

Contrast this with the following Jewish translation:

“I saw in the visions of the night, and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one like a man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was brought before Him. And He gave him dominion and glory and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and tongues shall serve him; his dominion is an eternal dominion, which will not be removed, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” (The Complete Jewish Bible)

That the rabbis understood this to be a prophecy of the Messiah is confirmed by the following reference:

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. (Ibid.; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Remarkably, Daniel depicts the Messiah as not only ruling forever over an indestructible kingdom, but also as receiving the same exact worship that God does just as the following passage affirms:

“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship (yipelachun) and obey him.” Daniel 7:27 NIV – cf. 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; 6:16, 20, 26; Ezra 7:24; Psalm 145:13

Nor is Daniel the only inspired author that speaks of the Messiah being worshiped by all the nations whom he rules forever:

A Psalm of Solomon. Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son… May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. Let the nomads of the desert bow (yikra'u) before him, And his enemies lick the dust. Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. And let all kings bow down (wayishtachawu) before him, All nations serve him (ya'abduhu)… May his name endure forever; May his name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by him; Let all nations call him blessed.” Psalm 72:1, 8-11, 17

Here is how the Targums interpreted this specific Psalm:

Composed by Solomon, uttered in prophecy. O God, give your just rulings to the King Messiah, and your righteousness to the son of King David… May his name be invoked for ever; and before the sun came to be his name was determined; so all the peoples will be blessed by his merit, and they shall speak well of him. (Cook, The Psalms Targum: An English Translation; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Once again, the Messiah is portrayed as an eternal king who receives the same worship that God does: 

“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship (wayishtachawu) before You. For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship (wayishtachawwu), All those who go down to the dust will bow (yikra'u) before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. Posterity will serve Him (ya'abdennu); It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.” Psalm 22:27-30

“There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship (wayishtachawu) before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name. For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.” Psalm 86:8-10

To sum up what we have learned thus far, we discovered that the Messiah would be crowned with Yahweh’s own crown, that he would be clothed with Yahweh’s own splendor and majesty, that he would receive the very same worship that Yahweh receives, and that he would also reign forever like Yahweh does. To top it all of, the Messiah will even bear the very name of God! 

“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called,The Lord our righteousness (YHWH tsidqenu).”’” Jeremiah 23:5-6 NASB

Here is how the rabbis interpreted this prophecy:

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Johanan: Three WERE CALLED BY THE NAME OF THE HOLY ONE, blessed be He, and they are the following: The righteous, the Messiah and Jerusalem. [This may be inferred as regards] the righteous [from] what ha just been said. [As regards] the Messiah - it is written: And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord is our righteousness (Jer. XXIII, 6) (The Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein, Editor (London: Soncino Press), Seder Nezekin, Vol. II, Baba Bathra 75b, p. 303; bold and capital emphasis ours)

God will call the king Messiah after His own name, for it is said of the king Messiah This is his name whereby he shall be called: The Lord our righteousness (Jer. 23:6).” (The Midrash on Psalms, William G. Braude, Translator (New Haven: Yale, 959), Yale Judaica Series, Volume XIII, Leon Nemoy, Editor, Book One, Psalm 2.2; bold emphasis ours)

The Messiah is called “Yahweh our righteousness,” which identifies him with the unique covenant name of God. This happens to be the very name that the book of Nehemiah says belongs only to God,

You ALONE are the Lord. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.” Nehemiah 9:6 NASB

And which Isaiah 42:8 and 48:11 connects with the divine glory that God said he would not give to anyone else! See part 1 for the scriptural citations.

With the foregoing in perspective, we move on to the final part of our discussion where we examine the NT writings to see whether Jesus fits the OT’s depiction of the Messiah as possessing the royal majesty and splendor of God Almighty.