Anointed: mashiach (Strong’s 4899)
Root: מָשִׁ֫יחַ or מָשַׁח (Strong’s 4886)
Sounds like: m’shee-awk
Messiah is a word quite familiar to followers of the Christian and Messianic faiths. We tend to reserve it as an official title for Jesus… however, Jesus wasn’t the only one in the Bible described as messiah. The word messiah, or mashiach in Hebrew, means anointed, and the word was used primarily during the Hebrew tradition of anointing a new king.
Saul was the first to be anointed as king of the Hebrew people:
1 Samuel 10:1
Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not YHWH anointed you ruler over his inheritance?”
As there was no line of succession established, YHWH chose David, (no relation to Saul) to be the next king:
1 Samuel 16:13
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of YHWH rushed upon David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.
After YHWH made a covenant promise of a line of succession from David’s seed (2 Samuel 7), David chooses his son Solomon to be the next king:
1 Kings 1:38-40
Then Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, along with the Cherethites and Pelethites, went down and set Solomon on King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people proclaimed, “Long live King Solomon!” All the people followed him, playing flutes and rejoicing with such a great joy that the earth was split by the sound.
So Saul, David and Solomon are all mashiach’ed (anointed), but the Scriptures speak of a specific individual to come, YHWH’s Anointed One… The Messiah.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together,
against YHWH and against His Anointed (Mashiach-ow).
In this passage the kings of the earth stand in opposition of YHWH and His Anointed One. In Acts 4 Paul uses this very verse to show how Herod and Pontius Pilate were just such rulers to stand against God and Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
One of the most interesting texts that describes the Messiah is found in the book of the prophet Daniel. Daniel speaks very specifically, and enigmatically, about the Messiah, a ruler who will come in times of distress and desolation:
“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
Daniel’s prophecy is quite amazing. Daniel is a Jew in exile but he proclaims that there will be a time when Jerusalem will be restored and rebuilt. After some time passes, a Messiah (the awaited Anointed One) will come. But this Messiah will be put to death and sometime after His death the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary within it (the temple) will be destroyed.
Yeshua (Jesus) fulfilled this prophecy. He lived in the second temple period, about 540 years after the Jewish people in exile were able to return to Jerusalem. Yeshua was put to death, and about forty years after His death, in 70 CE, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and tore the Temple down, putting an end to temple sacrifices. These sacrifices were never reinstated, nor did they need to be. Yeshua was, and is, the final sacrifice. We are saved through His death and resurrection.
But what does the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) say about the Messiah? At that time the Jewish people were looking for the Messiah to be a great King, a Prince of Peace for the Jewish people. They expected him to destroy their oppressors (Rome) and re-establish Jerusalem as their great capital.
But Yeshua does not fill the mold that they created. Status, real estate and popularity was not His agenda. Yeshua is a humble messiah; a servant king.
Remember how Saul, and David, and Solomon were anointed? A horn, or flask, was raised above their heads and they were anointed with the oil. Saul’s anointing included a kiss, and we know that Solomon, and very likely David as well, was anointed at the Gihon spring in Jerusalem.
But how was Yeshua, the servant King, anointed?
All of these elements (kiss, oil and water) are included in Luke’s description of Yeshua’s anointing:
Then one of the Pharisees [named Simon] invited Jesus to eat with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a sinful woman from that town learned that Jesus was dining there, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. Then she kissed His feet and anointed them with the perfume.
When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who this is and what kind of woman is touching Him—for she is a sinner!”
But Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, Teacher,” he said.
“Two men were debtors to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay him, he forgave both of them. Which one, then, will love him more?”
“I suppose the one who was forgiven more,” Simon replied.
“You have judged correctly.” Jesus said.
And turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give Me water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not greet Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since I arrived. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with perfume. Therefore I tell you, because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
But those at the table began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
And Jesus told the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The anointing of Yeshua, the servant king is similar, yet also quite different, to that of the anointing of Saul, David & Solomon. In Luke’s version it is not His head that is anointed, but His feet. And it is not with fresh water but tears. It is not an exalted priest or prophet who anoints him, but the most lowly of society… an immoral (according to Simon the Pharisee) woman.
In Mark’s version of the story, the people chastise this woman for spending the money when it could have been given to the poor. But Yeshua, knowing the profound symbolism of His anointing, says this:
“Leave her alone; why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful deed to Me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them whenever you want. But you will not always have Me. She has done what she could to anoint My body in advance of My burial. And truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
The anointing of the Messiah, the servant King, is not to celebrate His life and His subsequent reign. No… this anointing is in preparation for His death. To reign He must die and it is His death that sets us free. Yeshua was anointed to be our Salvation. A crown of thorns was placed upon His head and nails adorned His anointed feet. He was lifted up on the cross and took upon Himself the sins of the world.
Yeshua’s message has always been clear: If anyone wants to be first he must be the last of all, and the servant of all (Mark 3:35). Yeshua takes the lowliest of women and gives her a celebrated role in history. She was given the most important of priestly duties and with a humble spirit she admirably rose to the task.
Kings of the Old Testament had their chief priest, such as Zadok to King Solomon, but they also had an advising prophet. David had his Nathan, Hezekiah had Isaiah. Just as this woman was a priest to Yeshua, the Messiah, there is another woman in the Tenakh who was a prophet to YHWH’s Anointed One. Years before the idea of a king even existed for the Hebrew people, YHWH spoke through Hannah. She begins her song praising YHWH, but by the end she makes a startling prophecy:
1 Samuel 2:1-2, 8b-10
“My heart rejoices in YHWH in whom my horn is exalted.
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, for I rejoice in Your Salvation [bi-Yeshua-teka].
There is no one holy like YHWH.
Indeed, there is no one besides You! There is no rock like our God…
…For the foundations of the earth are YHWH’s,
and upon them He has set the world.
He guards the steps of His faithful ones, but the wicked perish in darkness;
for by his own strength shall no man prevail.
Those who oppose YHWH will be shattered.
He will thunder from heaven against them. YHWH will judge the ends of the earth and will give power to His king.
He will exalt the horn of His Anointed.”
Yeshua HaMaschiach, Jesus the Messiah, was anointed to be our Salvation. We should kneel at His feet and anoint Him with our tears of joy, awe, and thanksgiving.
Next week: Tears