The OT describes the prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah.  The doubt I have comes from the question, did God the Father command Israel to worship this Messiah?  Or on the other hand, did he only predict the coming of a great prophet who will teach Israel his way (like the old prophets of the OT)..?  I hope you understood my there any reference commanding people to worship the coming Messiah?


It is debatable whether there is an Old Testament command to worship the coming Messiah.  I believe that most Jews expected a Messiah who would be a powerful ruler and savior of the nation of Israel.   If I am correct, most Jews were not expecting a Messiah who they would worship, but rather a powerful spiritual leader similar to a Moses or a David.  This would agree with your description above.

Arguably, the most important Old Testament messianic prophecy which would describe the ministry of the Messiah might be Deuteronomy 18:15-19.  God told his people, through Moses, to expect a “prophet like me from among your brothers.”  In other words, they expected a great yet humble (Numbers 12:3) prophet who was a great teacher, spiritual and political leader to call people out of slavery into the Promised Land.   That the Jews saw this in more physical than spiritual terms is not surprising.   Of course, Jesus was a prophet, and he was a prophet “like Moses,” in that he saved God’s people from slavery—from Egypt.  He saved us from slavery to sin.  However, there is little if anything in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 which even hints that the Jews should expect to be worshipping the Messiah.

However, I believe that there are hints that the coming Messiah was to be worshipped, but those hints are fairly subtle.  Given this subtlety, it is not a huge surprise that most Jews did not realize that the Messiah was to be God-in-the-flesh.   Let me show you some hints of the deity of the Messiah in the Old Testament.  In Isaiah 9:1-6 there is a messianic prophecy which certainly does point toward the Messiah being more than just a prophet and great spiritual leader.   This prophecy is that the Messiah would come from the land of Zebulun and Naphtali.  It just so happens that Nazareth is right on the border between the regions given to Zebulun and Naphtali.  The prophecy continues to identify the Messiah as a child who is born who will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”  Here the Messiah certainly is one to be worshipped.  Another messianic prophecy which hints that the Messiah would be God in the flesh is  in Zechariah 11:10-13.  Here we have the Messiah being betrayed into the hands of sinners for 30 pieces of silver.  This is a rather obvious prophecy concerning the betrayal of Jesus.  But notice this subtlety.  In the passage, God, through Zechariah, tells us that thirty pieces of silver is “the price at which they priced me.”  I suppose we could interpret this to mean that they sold out their loyalty to God for 30 pieces of silver, but in the context of what happened, they literally priced God-in-the-flesh at 30 pieces of silver.   Let me add Psalm 110:4 which says of the Messiah that he will rule as a priest forever.  This is not mere human priest.  It does not directly say that the Messiah will rule at God’s right hand forever, but with hindsight we can see this.

My answer is that the Jews were given a picture of the Messiah which suggests He should be worshipped, but with most messianic passages, the implication is not direct.  There is no passage that I can think of in which we are told directly and unmistakably that the Messiah would be worshipped as God.  There are a number of passages which strongly suggest this and there are none which contradict the conclusion that Messiah should be worshipped.  When Jesus came, he made all things clear, and Jesus certainly allowed people to worship him, but we should not be shocked if many Jews did not understand this aspect of the Messiah before Jesus came.

John Oakes

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