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Bible Q

Does the Old Testament predict two comings of the Messiah?

It was a surprise to almost every Jew that the Messiah was to come twice. Even Jesus’ disciples were confused about this, right up until the time he went to heaven (Acts 1:6). So any indications in the Old Testament are not going to be obvious.

Probably the main indication in the Old Testament was that the Messiah would be both a great king who would reign forever and would suffer and die. This suggests two very different aspects of his role, and may indicate two comings. For example, Isaiah 52:13-14 describes both the glory and the suffering of Jesus:

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you– his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind–

Another indication may be the Seventy Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9:

Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. (Dan 9:24-26)

While some of this is hard to interpret, it does speak of an “anointed one” (Messiah) coming, being cut off, and later overthrowing the enemies of God. So there appear to be two “comings” described.

If anyone can think of additional prophecies, please add them in the comments.

5 Replies to “Does the Old Testament predict two comings of the Messiah?”

  1. Thanks for the reply, but I would add:

    In the Portuguese translation of Daniel 9:24-26 and Isaiah 52:13-14, these “two points” of Jesus’ life [suffering and glory] are not seen as “two comings,” because I think the first was not his “coming from heaven to earth,” but his origin, his appearance in the world. Even Isaiah 11 shows this: “a sprouting root of Jesse” and then he bringing together people from the ends of the earth, an allusion to the messianic kingdom, probably.

    I found other passages that clearly show, at least the version in Portuguese and ARA ARC 1995, that “COME” would be to inaugurate the messianic kingdom on earth, then yes, WELCOME TO HEAVEN TO EARTH LITERALLY. Examples:
    Psalm 110:1-7, Acts 1:11; 1Thess. 1:7,8; 1 Thess. 3:13 and 4:15,16; Rev 1:7 matching with the passages in the gospels that show this from heaven.

  2. I wonder if Psalm 118 refers to both the first and second coming of Christ? In Psa 118:22-26 it says…

    “[22] The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.”

    My understanding is that the words “Save now” can be transliterated into the Greek as “hosanna” which is what the crowds shouted as Jesus came into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass (Matt 21:9). Psalm 118 then is referring to this event not long before Christ’s crucifixion.
    But Matt 23:37-39 see Christ sorrowing over Jerusalem and quoting the same Psalm again; this time referring to a future time when he would come a second time. It seems to suggest that Israel will have to show some sings of repentance BEFORE he returns. This is implied perhaps in passages such as Rom 11:25-27 which says Israel will remain blind in part UNTIL the Deliverer comes.

  3. What about “COME IN THE NAME OF THE LORD” would not be the same as “be commissioned by IT – GOD”?
    Without doubt, the passage from Romans 11 refers to the coming of the Deliverer, THE LAND OF THE SKY, ie YOUR PAROUSIA.
    Incidentally I found 19 verses that deal with that PAROUSIA and always in the singular. Interesting!
    Peace to all my brothers in Christ
    Marcelo from Brazil

  4. The way Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 in Luke 4 certainly suggests two comings (since he stopped before the day of God’s vengeance and restoration, which seem to be speaking of the future kingdom). However, I’m not sure how he (or anyone) could know beforehand which bits were first coming and which bits second coming.

    Similarly Psalm 22 speaks of Christ’s suffering on the cross, how God rescued him, and then ends by speaking of how it will be told to future generations. Again, this could be read as two separate events and time periods, but I’m not sure it would be obvious beforehand.