Anointed King and Son

Jesus is the promised Messiah, the King who reigns on David’s throne, and the anointed Son of God – Psalm 2:1-9

Small Waterfall - Photo by Mike Lewis HeadSmart Media on Unsplash
The second Psalm portrays the Messiah, the ideal king of Israel who is destined to reign on David’s throne. The Psalmist identifies him as “
Yahweh’s anointed,” “my king upon holy Zion,” and “my son.” His enthronement marks “the day that Yahweh has begotten you”; he is the “anointed one,” the appointed ruler and son of God - [Photo by Mike Lewis HeadSmart Media on Unsplash].

The New Testament applies this Psalm to Jesus multiple times to describe his messiahship, and to portray his present reign - (Matthew 3:17, Hebrews 1:1-5, Revelation 2:26, 12:5).
  • (Psalm 2:1-9) – “The kings of earth take their station, and grave men have met by appointment together against Yahweh and against his Anointed One… Yet I have installed my king, on Zion, my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree, Yahweh has said to me: You are My son; I, this day, have begotten you. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance, and as your possession, the ends of the earth. You shall shepherd them with a scepter of iron.”
The Hebrew verb rendered “anointed” is mashakh, meaning “to smear, daub; to anoint.” The corresponding English term ‘messiah’ is derived from it. The Greek noun used in the Septuagint version of this Psalm is ChristosFrom the latter comes the name ‘Christ.’ Both Greek and Hebrew terms denote one who is “anointed” - (Leviticus 4:3Daniel 9:25, Mathew 1:16).

The substance used for “anointing” someone (or something) was olive oil, which was daubed or smeared on things and persons to set them apart for sacred service. It was this that separated them for royal or priestly service, not anything intrinsic to their nature.

In the first Tabernacle, things that were consecrated for divine service included the altar, the Tent itself, the table of showbread, and various vessels used in sanctuary rituals. All such items in the sanctuary were anointed with oil when the Tabernacle was first dedicated to the service of Yahweh. Persons who were consecrated for ritual service in the Tabernacle and the later Temple included the priests and, especially, the high priests - (Exodus 29:730:29-3040:13-15).

After the establishment of the kingdom of Israel, kings were anointed at their accession to the throne.  This rite became associated so closely with the king that he was popularly designated “Yahweh’s Anointed” - (1 Samuel 12:326:11Psalm 2:245:7).

The prophecy from the second Psalm looks forward to Jesus Christ, the “anointed one,” the “son,” and the king whom God appoints to reign over all the nations, the "Ruler of the kings of the earth."  The frequent application of this Psalm to Jesus establishes him as this anointed ruler - (Matthew 3:1717:5Acts 4:25-2613:33Hebrews 1:5-6Revelation 1:4-6, 2:26-27).

Unlike the kings and priests of Israel, Jesus was anointed with God’s Spirit, not with olive oil, and this set him apart from all his predecessors. Nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus “anointed” with olive oil for service - (Isaiah 61:1-2, Psalm 45:7, Isaiah 11:1-5, 42:1, 59:21).

All four gospels record how the Spirit descended on Christ at his baptism in the Jordan, and his anointing was confirmed by visual and audible effects (“descended like a dove…  This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” - Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:22, John 1:32).

Unique in his case, Jesus was “anointed” directly by the Spirit of God. While John the Baptist administered water baptism, no human being mediated the Spirit to him.

In the Old Testament, other men were endowed temporarily by God’s Spirit when necessary - With Jesus, the Spirit descended and remained on him. Moreover, he had the fullness of the Spirit, “not by measure,” as with his previous men - (John 3:34).

Following his baptism, Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness where he was tested for forty days by the Devil. The gospel of Luke observes that after defeating Satan, he “returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee” - (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:13-14).

Jesus attributed his miracles to the Spirit of God, not to any superhuman power he possessed. For example, when accused of exorcising demons by the power of Satan, he retorted, “but if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons." And if the Spirit of God was manifesting among men, "then is the kingdom of God come upon you.” This was also the understanding of the early church:
  • (Acts 10:38) - “How God anointed him with Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the adversary, because God, was with him.
  • (Romans 1:4) – “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated unto the glad-message of God, which he promised beforehand, through his prophets, in holy scriptures, concerning his Son who came to be of the seed of David, according to flesh, who was distinguished as the Son of God by power, according to a Holy Spirit, through means of a resurrection of the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Spirit of God is integral to the identity, mission, and goal of the Messiah. But Jesus also became the one who possesses and dispenses the Spirit, and he promised to send the Spirit to his disciples after his glorification, then the Spirit would “bear witness of me”:
  • (John 7:37-39) – “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believes on me, just as said the Scripture, river from within him shall flow of living water. Now, this spake he concerning the Spirit which they who believed on him were about to receive; for not yet was there Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified!
  • (John 15:26) – “Whensoever the Advocate shall come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which from the Father comes forth. He will bear witness concerning me.”
After his ascension, Jesus “sent the promise of his Father upon” his disciples to empower them to proclaim his gospel. Since he now reigns, he has “received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.”

As Paul wrote, “Having ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Thus, the possession of the Spirit and the authority to distribute its gifts belongs to Jesus, the Anointed King - (Luke 24:45-49, Acts 2:33-38, Ephesians 4:8-12).

And thus, Jesus is the quintessential man of the Spirit. Neither his present reign nor what he is doing in his people can be understood apart from the gift of the Spirit, which sets his people apart for service in the kingdom of God.



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