Editor’s Note: This material was first published in book form in
1989 by the John Ankerberg Evangelistic Association (now known as
the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute).
Definition of the Word “Messiah”
"Messiah" is taken from Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25, 26 where
Mashiach (Heb., alt. spelling Mashiyach); Messias
(Gk.) means "Anointed One." The term took its meaning from the Jewish
practice of "anointing" prophets, priests and kings to their
respective offices. As a generic term it could be applied to an
earthly king such as David (2 Sam. 19:21) who was "anointed" to
fulfill the divine purpose of his office.
there was one unique individual to whom the term "Messiah" applied in
a special sense. God spoke about a future Ruler of Israel who would
sit on the throne of David and usher in an age of righteousness and
peace. He would simultaneously hold all three offices of prophet
(authoritative proclamation), priest (spiritual duties) and king
(political ruler). He would be the reality and ultimate fulfillment to
which all other usages of the term "Messiah" would be but shadowy
He would be
the One to come whom God would uniquely identify beforehand. As the
Apostle Peter said, "But this is how God fulfilled what he had
foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ
[Messiah] would suffer" (Acts 3:18, emphasis added).
examine in detail the prophecies the Bible claims God made through the
prophets identifying the Messiah, we want to ask—"What would it prove
if such statements about a future Messiah were given and actually
fulfilled many years later in one person?"