Compiled and Edited by Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
He had known what it was to be popular! For 30 years he had entertained Lords and Ladies with his operas. But those days seemed long past. Creditors were at his door. He was depressed. He could not sleep and he was plagued by rheumatism. If he did not come up with a musical success soon the 56 year old composer feared he would finish out his days in a London debtors prison. But, two letters arrived that fateful summer of 1741 that would change all that for George Frideric Handel. The first letter was an invitation from the Duke of Devonshire inviting him to the Irish Capital, Dublin, to produce a series of benefit concerts "For the relief of the prisoners in the several gaols (jails), and for the support of Mercer's Hospital in Stephen Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary on the Inn's Quay." Handel thought the change might do him good and besides, he was eager to be out from under the persistent dun of his creditors. He accepted the invitation.
Shortly thereafter a second letter arrived from a wealthy but somewhat eccentric English Land owner named Charles Jennens. He quickly opened the letter. Jennens had written some lyrics for him in the past. To his amazement the letter was a compilation of Old Testament and New Testament scripture passages. George read the words again and again. He was greatly moved and felt impressed to put them to music in oratorio form. An oratorio is a sort of spiritual opera. Handel locked himself in his study and within 7 days he had completed Part I -- the Christmas section or the oratorio. He presses on to Part II that focused on the Redemption and 9 days later that was finished. Then, in less than a week he completed Part III - The Resurrection and Future Reign of Christ portion.
He took his new oratorio to Dublin with him. The new oration first came to the public's attention on April 8th, 1742 at the public rehearsal. The first official presentation was on April 13th. It was a tremendous success. Handel lived for another 17 years and lead many performances of this great work. In fact, he conducted the last one only eight days before his death. Charles Burney, 18th century music historian, remarked that Handel's Messiah "fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and fostered the orphan." While it has done all that to be sure, it has also directed the hearts of millions of Christians to the magnificence and awesomeness of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, Jesus Christ. My heart is blessed each time I listen to The Messiah.
One final note. Contrary to what a present-day music lover might think, "The Messiah" was originally associated with Easter rather than Christmas.
Selected Scripture Portions Used In The Messiah
Part 1 begins by focusing on prophetic portions of scripture dealing with the coming of the promised Messiah.
Isaiah 40:1-3 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. 3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted
Isaiah 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the Glory of the Lord
Isaiah 40: 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Thus saith the Lord
Haggai 2: 6,7 For thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, it is a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of Hosts.
[I have omitted the Malachi 3:1-3 portion]
Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 40: 9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
[I have omitted Isaiah 60:1-3]
The people that walked in darkness
Isaiah 9: 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
For unto Us a Child is born
Isaiah 9: 6 For unto Us a Child is born, unto Us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
There were shepherds abiding in the field & Glory to God
Luke 2: 8-11& 13-14 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. 9 And, lo. the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
[I have omitted Zec.9: 9-10; Isaiah 35:5-6; Isaiah 40:11; Matthew 11:28-30]
Behold the lamb of God
John 1: 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
He was despised
Isaiah 53: 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 50: 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
Surely He hath borne our griefs
Isaiah 53:4,5 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray
Isaiah 53: 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
[I have omitted Psalm 22:7-8; Psalm 69:20; Lam. 1:12]
He was cut off out of the land of the living
Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell
Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates
Psalm 24:7-10 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.
Let all the angels of God worship Him
Hebrews 1: 5-6 For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when He bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, He saith, "And let all the angels of God worship Him."
Thou art gone up on high
Psalm 68: 18 Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
The Lord gave the word
Psalm 68: 11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
How beautiful are the feet
Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Their sound is gone out
Romans 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Why do the nations so furiously rage together?
Psalm 2:1-2 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, (saying,)
Psalm 2:3-4 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Thou shalt break them
Psalm 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 19:16 And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.
I know that my redeemer liveth
Job 19: 25, 26 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
1Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Since by man came death
1Corinthians 15:21, 22 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Behold I tell you a mystery
1Corinthians 15: 51, 52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The trumpet shall sound
1Corinthians 15: 52-54 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptable must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Then shall be brought to pass O death where is thy sting?
1Corinthians 15:54-57 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
If God be for us
Romans 8: 31, 33-34 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Worthy is the Lamb
Revelation 5: 12, 13 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
I trust that focusing on the Scriptures that are a part of Handel's Messiah will help you to appreciate Jesus Christ The Messiah. If you have never received The Lamb of God, Christ as your Savior and Lord, I would urge you to do it without delay TODAY!