Although the Messianic doctrines prevalent in the Jewish nation in Jesus’ day were not a positive “dogma,” and had no connexion with the legal precepts which were so rigidly cultivated, they formed an essential element of the hopes, religious and political, which the nation entertained for the future. They were of no very definite character, except in certain fundamental features; beyond these the greatest differences prevailed. The old prophets had looked forth to a glorious future in which God would Himself come down, destroy the enemies of Israel, and work justice, peace, and joy. At the same time, however, they had also promised that a wise and mighty king of the house of David would appear and bring this glorious state of things to pass. They had ended by indicating the people of Israel itself as the Son of God, chosen from amongst the nations of the world. These three views exercised a determining influence in the subsequent elaboration of the Messianic ideas. The hope of a glorious future for the people of Israel remained the frame into which all expectations were fitted, but in the two centuries before Christ the following factors were added: (i.) The extension of their historical horizon strengthened the interest of the Jews in the nations of the world, introduced the notion of “mankind” as a whole and brought it within the sphere of the expected end, including, therefore, the operations of the Messiah. The day of judgment is regarded as extending to the whole world, and the Messiah not only as judging the world but as ruling it as well, (ii.) In early times, although the moral purification of the people had been thought of in connexion with the glorious future, the destruction of Israel’s enemies seemed to be the main consideration; but now the feeling of moral responsibility and the knowledge of God as the Holy one became more active; the view prevails that the Messianic age demands a holy people, and that the judgment to come must of necessity also be a judgment upon a part of Israel itself, (iii.) As individualism became a stronger force, so the relation of God to the individual was I prominently emphasized. The individual Israelite comes to feel that he is in the midst of his people, and he begins to look upon it as a sum of individuals; the individual belief in Providence appears side by side with the political belief, and combines with [the feeling of personal worth and responsibility; land in connexion with the expectation of the end, we get the first dawn of the hope of an eternal life and the fear of eternal punishment. The products of this inner development are an interest in personal salvation, and a belief in the resurrection, and the roused conscience is no longer able to hope for a glorious future for all in view of the open profanity of the people and the power of sin; only a remnant will be saved, (iv.) The expectations for the future become more and more transcendent; they are increasingly shifted to the realm of the supernatural and the supramundane; something quite new comes down from heaven to earth, and the new course on which the world enters severs it from the old; nay, this earth, transfigured as it will be, is no longer the final goal; the idea of an absolute bliss arises, whose abode can only be heaven itself, (v.) The personality of the long-expected Messiah is sharply distinguished, as well from the idea of an earthly king, as from the idea of the people as a whole, and from the idea of God. Although he appears as a man amongst men, the Messiah retains scarcely any Messianic traits. He is represented as with God from the first beginnings of time; he comes down from heaven, and accomplishes his work by superhuman means; the moral traits in the picture formed of him come into prominence; he is the perfectly just man who fulfils all the commandments. Nay, the idea that others benefit by his merits forces its way in. The notion, however, of a suffering Messiah, which might seem to be suggested by Isaiah liii., is not reached.