Prophecies of the Messiah

Blaine Robison, M.A.

Published 25 October 2019; Revised 20 May 2021

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Sources: Publication data for works cited may be found at the end of the article. Citations for Mishnah-Talmud tractates are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); found at Halakhah.com.

Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of all Scripture and message I use the terms ADONAI (=Heb. YHVH), Tanakh (Old Testament), Besekh (New Testament), Torah (Law), Yeshua (Jesus), and Messiah (Christ).

 

Introduction

The entire Tanakh prepares the way for the Messiah as the genealogies of Yeshua illustrate. Matthew traces Yeshua's lineage to Abraham (Matt 1:1), whereas Luke goes back to Adam (Luke 3:23, 38). The genealogies testify that a Messianic line stretches from Adam to Yeshua, so the historical record of these persons and their faithfulness to God is relevant to understanding the person of the Messiah.

Besides the personalities that point to the Messiah, many passages portend the Messiah. Some of these passages employ motifs or types to depict the character or nature of the Messiah. Other passages offer specific predictions. Scholars differ as to the number of predictions. Walter Kaiser identifies 65 direct predictions of the Messiah in the Tanakh (Kaiser 240-242). In the Introduction to his Complete Jewish Bible, David Stern lists 55 prophecies in the Tanakh fulfilled by Yeshua (CJSB li-liv).

Risto Santala suggests there are considerably more prophecies that relate to the Messiah. He says that there are 72 Messianic interpretations in the Aramaic Targums associated with different passages in the Bible. However, he goes on to say that it is estimated that the Tanakh contains altogether some 456 prophecies concerning the Messiah. Of these 75 are to be found in the Pentateuch, 243 in the Prophets and 138 in the "Writings" and Psalms. Most of these references are isolated verses, in which the Rabbis in particular see the Messianic motif. In some cases there are whole chapters to be considered (Santala 148-149).

What follows is a straightforward list of Messianic predictions found in the Tanakh and their reported fulfillment in the Besekh. For an analysis of the Messiah being foretold in each book of the Tanakh see my article The Messiah.

General Prophecies

Character and Identity

Moses

● He will be the Seed of the Woman (Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4; 1Jn 3:8; Rev 12:1-2).

● He will be a descendant of Abraham (Gen 12:3; Matt 1:1).

● He will be a descendant of Isaac (Gen 17:19; 21:12; Matt 1:2).

● He will be a descendant of Jacob (Gen 28:14; Matt 1:2).

● He will be a descendant of Judah (Gen 49:10; Matt 1:2-3).

● He will be a prophet like Moses (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:20-22).

Prophets

● He will be a descendant of David (2Sam 7:12-13; Matt 22:45; John 7:42).

● He will be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18, 25; Luke 1:26-35).

● He will have God's own name applied to him (Isa 9:6-7; Jer 23:5-6; John 8:58; Php 2:9-11).

● He will be compassionate (Isa 40:11; 42:3; Matt 12:15, 20; Heb 4:15).

● He will be meek (Isa 42:2; Matt 12:15-16, 19).

● He will be appointed as a covenant to the people of Israel (Isa 42:6; 49:8; 55:3; 61:8; Matt 15:24; Luke 4:16-19; 22:20).

● He will be sinless and without guile (Isa 53:9; 1Pet 2:22).

● He will have eternal existence (Mic 5:2; John 1:1; 8:58; Eph 1:3-4; Rev 1:18).

Writings

● He will be the Son of God (Ps 2:7; Prov 30:4; Matt 3:17; Luke 1:32).

● He will be begotten of God (Ps 2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5).

● He will be a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps 110:4; Heb 5:5-6; 6:20; 7:15-17).

Actions and Activities

Prophets

● He will come at a specific time (Dan 9:24-26; Matt 2:1, 16, 19; Luke 3:1, 23).

● He will be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2; Matt 2:5; John 7:42).

● He will be preceded by one who would announce him (Isa 40:3-5; Mal 3:1; Matt 3:1-3; Luke 1:17; 3:2-6).

● He will minister to the needy with healing and good news of God's salvation (Isa 35:5-6; 61:1-2; Matt 11:5; Luke 4:18-19).

● He will be a teacher of righteousness who will explain the Torah (Isa 30:19-21; Joel 2:23; Matt 5:17; 22:16; John 4:25-26).

● He will have a ministry in Galilee (Isa 9:1-2; Matt 4:12-16).

● He will enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9; John 12:14).

● He will enter the Temple with authority (Mal 3:1; John 2:13-22; Matt 21:12).

● He will be sent as a Redeemer to Zion to turn Jacob from transgression (Isa 59:21; Luke 1:68; Titus 2:14).

● He will be accepted by the nations (Isa 11:10; 42:1-4; 49:1-8; Matt 12:18-21; Acts 10:45-46; 13:46-48; Rom 9:30; 10:20; 11:11; 15:10).

● He will come from heaven, defeat the forces of evil and establish his throne in Jerusalem to rule the earth (Jer 23:5; Ezek 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Dan 7:13-14; Zech 9:9; 12:9; 14:9; Matt 24:29-31; 25:31; Luke 1:31-33, 68-74; Acts 1:6; Rev 19:11-16; 20:1-4; 21:1-2).

● He will be anointed with the Spirit of God (Isa 11:2; 61:1; Matt 3:16; John 3:34; Acts 10:38).

● He will be the cornerstone of God's Messianic community (Isa 28:16; Matt 21:42; Eph 2:20; 1Pet 2:5-7).

Writings

● He will be adored by great persons (Ps 72:10-11; Matt 2:1-11).

● He will be anointed with the Spirit of God (Ps 45:7; Matt 3:16; John 3:34; Acts 10:38).

● He will be the cornerstone of God's Messianic community (Ps 118:22-23; Matt 21:42; Eph 2:20; 1Pet 2:5-7).

Prophecies of Messiah's Sufferings

● Hated without a cause: Ps 69:4; Isa 49:7; John 15:2425.

● Bore the reproaches due others: Ps 69:9; Isa 53:11-12; Rom 15:3.

● Rejected by Jewish leadership: Ps 118:22; Matt 21:42, John 7:48; Acts 4:11.

● Rejected by his own people: Ps 69:8; Isa 53:2-3; 63:3-5; Mark 6:3; Luke 9:58; John 1:11; 7:3-5.

● Betrayed by a friend: Ps 41:9; 55:12-14; Matt 26:2125, 4750; John 13:18; Acts 1:1617.

● Sold for 30 pieces of silver: Zech 11:12; Matt 26:15.

● Had his price thrown into the Temple treasury: Zech 11:13; Matt 27:6-7.

● Plotted against by Jews and Gentiles together: Ps 2:1-2; Acts 4:27.

● Forsaken by his disciples: Zech 13:7; Matt 26:3156.

● Struck on the cheek: Mic 5:1; Matt 27:30.

● Spat on: Isa 50:6; Matt 26:67, 27:30.

● Mocked: Ps 22:7-8; Matt 26:6768; 27:31, 3944.

● Beaten and scourged with a whip: Isa 50:6; 53:5; Matt 26:67; 27:26, 30.

● Lifted up as the serpent in the wilderness: Num 21:8-9; John 3:14; 8:28; 12:32.

● Hung on a tree: Deut 21:21-23; Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13; 1Pet 2:24.

● Executed by having hands and feet pierced: Ps 22:16; Zech 12:10; Matt 27:35; Luke 24:39; John 19:18, 34-37; 20:20-28; Rev 1:7.

● Thirsty during his execution: Ps 22:15; John 19:28.

● Given vinegar to quench that thirst: Ps 69:21; Matt 27:34.

● Executed without having a bone broken: Ex 12:46; Ps 34:20: John 19:3336.

● Considered a transgressor: Isa 53:12: Matt 27:38.

● "Cut off, but not for himself," 69 x 7 years after rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem: Dan 9:2426; Mark 1:15; Rom 5:6; Gal 4:4.

Bore the sins of mankind to provide atonement and forgiveness: Isa 53:5-7, 11-12; Matt 26:26-28; Mark 10:45; John 1:29; Acts 8:30-35; Rom 5:19; 1Cor 5:7; 2Cor 5:21; Eph 5:2; Heb 7:27; 9:26; 10:12; 1Pet 2:24; 3:18.

Assigned a grave with "wicked ones," but put in a tomb of a rich man (Isa 53:9; Matt 27:38, 57-60).

Prophecies of Messiah's Resurrection

Yeshua informed his disciples that his resurrection had been predicted in Scripture and the apostles affirmed this fact in sermons and letters.

● The Messiah's body will not decay (Ps 16:10; Isa 55:3; Acts 2:27, 31; 13:34).

● The Messiah will not be abandoned to Sheol (Ps 16:10; Isa 53:10; Acts 2:27, 31).

● The Messiah will live after his sacrificial death (Isa 53:10; Luke 24:44-46; Rom 4:25).

● The Messiah, the Seed of Abraham, will possess the gates of his enemies (Gen 22:17; Matt 16:18; Gal 3:16).

● The Messiah will be resurrected on the third day (Gen 22:1-5; Hos 6:2; Jon 1:17; Matt 12:40; 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 24:46; 1Cor 15:4; Heb 11:19).

● The Messiah will be exalted to the right hand of God (Ps 16:11; 68:18; 110:1; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9-11; 2:34-35).

● The Messiah will exercise his priestly office in heaven (Zech 6:13; Rom 8:34; Heb 7:258:2).

● The Messiah would be the mediator between God and man like Moses (Gen 28:10-13; Ex 24:2; Deut 18:15-18; John 1:51; Acts 3:22; 7:37; 1Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6). NOTE: The Messiah can only exercise this office if he is alive.

Works Cited

CJSB: David Stern, The Complete Jewish Study Bible. Hendrickson Publishers, 2016.

Kaiser: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Messiah in the Old Testament. Zondervan Pub. House, 1995.

Santala: Risto Santala, The Messiah in the Old Testament in the Light of Rabbinical Writings. Keren Ahvah Meshihit, 1980, 1992. Online.

Stern: David Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

Copyright 2019-2021 by Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.