Throughout the millennia, the heartbeat of the Jewish people has been the hope of the Messiah – the Messianic king who would bring peace and prosperity to not only Israel but the entire world. Moses Maimonides, known as the RamBam, an acronym for Rabbi Mosheh ben Maimon, was a rabbi, philosopher, and physician in Egypt in the 12th century. Concerning his 13 articles of faith, these well accepted foundational truths of Judaism, he stated they are “the fundamental truths of our religion and its very foundations.” His twelfth article is: “The belief in the arrival of the Messiah and the messianic era.”

Messiah is from a Hebrew word, mashiach, מָשִׁיחַ, which means, in its verb form, “to anoint,” — the act of anointing. It is also found in the noun form 39 times in the Jewish Bible. Most of these references are to priests, prophets and kings but there are references to the One unique individual who is the promised Redeemer and King, the coming “anointed One” — the Messiah. Mashiach, or Messiah, comes down to us in the English language as Christ, or “the Anointed One.”

The scriptural revelation of the coming Redeemer, the Messiah, begins shortly after the sin of Adam and Eve which is recorded in the beginning of the third chapter of Genesis. The progressive revelation of the Word of God, given through the prophets of Israel, weaves a beautiful tapestry to bring us a portrait of this promised One. As God unfolds His redemptive plan through Israel, the reader of the Bible is confronted with the anointed offices of Israel – prophet, priest, and king.

A few verses where mashiach is used illustrates the use of this word for prophets, priests, and kings.


“Saying, Touch not mine anointed (mashiach), and do my prophets no harm,” 1 Chronicles 16:22.


“If the priest that is anointed (mashiach) do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering,” Leviticus 4:3.


“And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master (king Saul), the LORD’S anointed (maschiach), to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed (mashiach) of the LORD,” 1 Samuel 24:6.

The prophet was God’s spokesman. In essence, his back was to God, his face toward the people, and he proclaimed “thus says the Lord.” The priest was the representative of the people, in essence, having his back to the people and his face toward God. He made intercession for a sinful people to a holy God. The king was God’s appointed ruler over the people.

As among all of mankind there were good and bad. There were good (true men of God) prophets and bad (false) prophets; there were good priests and bad priests; and there were good kings and bad kings. Although the man in a particular office may not have lived up to his lofty calling, the office was still God’s method of interacting with the people of ancient Israel.

The offices of prophet, priest and king were separated and a man holding a particular office, such as king, would not be a priest or a prophet. He might function as, say, a prophet, but he would only serve in one office. David is an example of this. He was in the office of king but functioned as a prophet at times.

Yet, in an amazing messianic prophecy in Zechariah 6:12-13 we are told:

12       And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

13       Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

Notice, “the man whose name is the BRANCH…shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest. BRANCH is a term for the Messiah. We have Messiah promised to be a king and a priest at the same time.

The concept of serving in two offices at the same time was foreign to ancient Israelites, but the concept of the three anointed offices – prophet, priest, king – culminating in One specific individual – THE anointed One, or THE Messiah, was God’s purpose from the beginning.

When Jesus is introduced in Matthew 1:1, the average Gentile reader likely misses the impact of this opening verse: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Christ is not the last name of Jesus, but His office, Jesus the Messiah, Maschiach. He is the One of whom the prophets spoke. Being the son of David establishes His Messianic credentials which Matthew elaborates on in the first two chapters of his book. Jesus is the Anointed One of Israel.

In the book of Hebrews, which shows that Jesus is better than everything God gave under the Mosaic economy, the writer starts in the first three verses in a way that would have resonated with the Jewish readers of this book to whom it was written.

1        God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2        Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3        Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. 

He introduces the Son as THE prophet, vs. 1, THE king, vs. 2, and THE priest, vs. 3. In other words, the Son, who is not mentioned by name until Hebrews 2:9, is the Messiah of Israel and in Him all the offices of ancient Israel find their fulfilment.

Jesus is the final word of God to mankind, God’s final spokesman. He is the One who will reign as the King of kings in God’s kingdom. And, He is God’s High Priest who represents mankind to God through the sacrifice of Himself for forgiveness of sins and His present mediatorial role for all who have trusted in Him for salvation, the forgiveness of sin.

Jesus is the Messiah!