How do we get from the idea of a Messiah to the Messiah? In the Hebrew Scriptures, the term Messiah comes from the Hebrew Mashiach which literally means anointed one. In general, there were only two kinds of people who were called Mashiach in the Bible. In the book of Leviticus, the Priest is called Ha Kohen Ha Mashiach which means the Priest Messiah or anointed one. Later in the Tenakh, the Kings are also called Ha Mashiachs or anointed ones beginning with Saul.
Thus in the very Hebrew terminology there are two main functions of people who were called Messiahs. These were either priestly or kingly.
This is very important when considering that the Prophet Zechariah revealed to us that the Messiah would be both a Priest and a King.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Receive the gift from the captives—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon—and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. Take the silver and gold, make an elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying:
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zech 6:9-13)
Earlier in the book of Zechariah we are told that Joshua would be a sign of things to come. Elsewhere in the Bible “the BRANCH” clearly refers to the Messiah. This prophecy shows us that the Messiah would bring together the offices of Priest and King.
This is important as many people have too limited a view of the Messiah. Some teach that the Messiah will only be a King. This passage and various others (eg. Psalm 110 & Isaiah 53) demonstrate that the Messiah would be a Priest as well as a King. Just as the Hebrew terminology of Mashiach referred to both the Priests and the Kings, so the Messiah would bring into culmination both of these offices.
If you view that the Messiah will just be a king, then you only have half a Messiah. The scriptures teach that the whole Messiah will perform two main duties: that he would, among other things, be a Priest King.
So do you have half a Messiah, or will you embrace the whole thing?