Cyrus the Messiah
Another frequent email discussion is that many stand absolutely assured that the ‘Messiah’ can only be ‘Jesus’. But what they ignore is that throughout scripture, there have been many other famous biblical men who were also labelled ‘Messiahs’ for their time.
The term ‘Messiah’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘mashiyach’, which means ‘anointed’. What is interesting to observe is that the term ‘Messiah’ is only used in the book of Daniel… no other biblical book uses this word. Subsequently one must obviously ask, why have the translators decided to coin this term ‘Messiah’ only in this book (King James Version)? Especially, as the term ‘mashiyach’ (‘anointed’) is generally used as a verb throughout scripture, but only in the book of Daniel have the translators decided to use it as a noun.
Nevertheless, there have been many ‘mashiyach’ men that were considered destined and ‘anointed’ recipients sent by God as a ‘delegate’ and ‘representative’ among God’s people. In other words, there have been many Messiah’s throughout history who were agents for God’s purposes, and were generally known as ‘Anointed’ recipients who loved righteousness and hated wickedness (Psalm 45:7; 2 Samuel 19:21). For example, King Saul is named ‘Anointed’ (‘mashiyach’) twelve times (e.g. 1 Samuel 24:6); King David was called God’s ‘Anointed’ (‘mashiyach’) six times (2 Samuel 19:21; 22:51; 23:1; Psalm 18:50; 20:6; 28:8) as well as being known as God’s ‘Begotten Son’ (Psalm 2:7). Furthermore, anyone who was ‘Anointed’ was also spoken of as a ‘Branch’; a ‘Shoot’ (Zechariah 3:8); a ‘King’ (Zechariah 6:13); a ‘Prince’ (Ezekiel 34:24); a ‘Shepherd’ (Micah 5:4); a ‘Ruler’ (Micah 5:2); and a ‘Priest’ (Zechariah 6:13).
Now I realize that these are terms we use to describe Messiah Jesus. So please understand that I’m certainly not negating who Jesus is. He is definitively the King of Kings; the Second Adam; and Lord of Heaven... who has truly saved mankind from death. Scripture reminds us that Jesus quotes Isaiah 61 so as to proclaim his rightful ‘Kingship’ title hereby asserting that He himself has been ‘Anointed’ (Luke 4:18).
But irrespective, what is intriguing to note is that biblical literature asserts that the heathen Persian King ‘Cyrus the Great’ is also called 'God’s Anointed’ and ‘His Shepherd’ (please read Isaiah 44:28 - 45:1).
That saith of Cyrus, He is my Shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Thus saith the LORD to his Anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
And so, recognizing that the Book of Ezra records Cyrus giving the decree for the Jews to return back to their homeland in 536 BC.... and if we also take into context the Daniel 9 prophecy, one can obviously see why the Jews would definitely call Cyrus a "Messiah".
Let me know if this helps :-)