“The Gospel According to Daniel”
Lesson 11 – The Messiah to Come
Christians tend to take it for granted that Jesus is the Messiah. We know that He came down to earth to die for our sins. Many of us have memorized John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." We can read about Jesus' life and ministry in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. However, have you ever considered the concept of the Messiah from the perspective of the people in the Old Testament?
Let's read Daniel 9:20-27 together.
In our last lesson, we learned that Daniel was praying for the redemption of his people, who were still in exile from Jerusalem and in captivity to a foreign power. In response to Daniel's earnest prayer, God sent the angel Gabriel to give Daniel understanding (Daniel 9:21). Gabriel explained the prophecy of the seventy weeks to Daniel. It is a Messianic prophecy about Jesus (Daniel 9:24-27).
What does the word "Messiah" mean? It is a Hebrew word that can be literally translated as "anointed one." In the New Testament of the Bible, the equivalent word of "Messiah" is "Christ." Jesus began His ministry after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit when He was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:16-17).
In context of many of the passages in the Old Testament of the Bible, "Messiah" means "redeemer" or "deliverer." Ever since man fell from grace in the Garden of Eden, humanity has been in need of redemption from sin (Genesis 3:15). Our sins separated us from God. (Isaiah 59:2) and we needed someone to bridge the gap between us and God (Genesis 18:12). The Messiah was a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:5), a king (Daniel 2:44), and a Redeemer (Job 19:25-26).
The Messiah was prefigured by the animal sacrifices in the sanctuary services. The Israelites knew that they were not saved by the blood of lambs, bulls, and goats. Rather, they were looking forward in faith to the Messiah who would redeem them (Genesis 22:7; Leviticus 16:14-16; Hebrews 10:3-14).
When Daniel made this prayer to God, the temple had long since been destroyed. The sanctuary services, the basis for the Jewish economy, had ceased 66 years previously. Things seemed so bleak to Daniel, a prince in exile, far away from his homeland in a land full of idolatry. God sent Gabriel to remind Daniel that not all hope was lost for Daniel and his people. The Messiah was coming!
While Daniel initially despaired because of the length of his people's captivity and the even greater length of time that would pass before the visions he saw would come to pass (Daniel 8:26-27), Daniel learned to look forward in faith to the coming of Jesus Christ.
Friend, it does not matter what era you live in - we all look to Jesus as our Redeemer! The people in the Old Testament times looked forward in faith to the coming of Jesus. Today we look backward in faith at the sacrifice Jesus made for all humanity at the cross. Friend, will you look upon the Messiah in faith?