Definitions

hosea, prophecies of

Claimed Messianic prophecies of Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth is universally accepted as the Messiah by Christians. However, mainstream Jews do not regard him as their Messiah because he failed to fulfill the temporal interpretations of the Bible. Christians believe that Jesus has established a "spiritual" kingdom.

Commonly cited messianic prophecies

Deuteronomy 18 (The Prophet)

is one of the earliest prophecies which speaks of "the Prophet" who would be raised up from among the Jewish nation.
15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him."
The Jews of Jesus' time were looking for this Prophet and asked John the Baptist if he were him but he denied it. In , Peter claimed that Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise.

Isaiah 53 (The Suffering Servant)

Isaiah 53 is probably the most famous example of a messianic prophecy claimed by Christians. It speaks of a servant known as the "suffering servant" who will "atone" for his people's sins. By his voluntary suffering, he will save sinners from their "iniquity." Jesus is said to fulfill this prophecy through his death on the cross. Modern Jewish scholars argue that the suffering servant is actually Israel, The following verse from Isaiah 53:5 is understood by Christians to speak of Jesus:
5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed (NASB)

Isaiah 9 (In Galilee The Light Has Shined)

In John 7:42,52, the Pharisees (and others) ask, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."

Christians often point to Isaiah chapter 9 to answer this accusation: 2 By the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 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.

Zechariah 12:10

Zechariah 12:10 is another verse commonly cited by Christian authors as a messianic prophecy as interpreted by the Gospel writers.

“And they shall look upon him whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son; and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.”

The Gospel writers make reference to this prophecy when referring to the crucifixion of Jesus, as can be seen in the following account from the book of John:

“So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with Jesus; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water… For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken.’ And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced’” (John 19: 32-37).

Daniel 9:24-27

“Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a Most Holy. 25. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an Anointed, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26. And after the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war; desolations are decreed. 27. And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator” (Daniel 9: 24-27).

According to Christians, the references to “most holy”, "anointed" and "prince" speak of Jesus, while the phrase “anointed shall be cut off” points to his crucifixion, and the “people of the prince who is to come” are the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.

Verse 27. “And he shall make a strong covenant with many” – i.e., “…this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26: 28). The messiah will “cause sacrifice and offering to cease;” – i.e., by his sacrifice upon the cross, Jesus abolished all the sacrifices of the Torah.

Finally, verse 27 mentions the “horrible abomination” or “abomination of desolation,” to which Jesus refers at Matthew 24: 15. “So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel…” This abomination was the Roman army, which surrounded and destroyed Jerusalem.

Hosea 11:1

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

Christian authors point to the Gospel of Matthew's application of this text from Hosea to the return from Egypt of Jesus and his family as a messianic prophecy. “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son’” (Matthew 2: 13-15).

Isaiah 9:1

The use of Isaiah 9:1 by the Gospel author of Matthew has led many Christian authors to cite its messianic applications.

“But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.”

The apostle Matthew refers to this, since Jesus began his public mission in Galilee.

“Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulon and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: ‘The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned’” (Matthew 4: 15-16).

Isaiah 7:14

The concept of Isaiah's Immanuel is one that Christian authors have used in the context of the Christmas narrative as well as in study of its application to messianic prophecy.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Immanuel.”

The fulfilment of this prophecy is spoken of when the angel Gabriel declared to the Virgin Mary, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus… For with God nothing will be impossible” (Luke 1: 31, 37).

More explicitly, the birth of Jesus is connected directly with Isaiah’s prophecy, in the Gospel according to Matthew. “‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit…’ All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1: 20, 22-23).

Zechariah 9:9

Christian authors have interpreted Zechariah 9:9 as a prophecy of an act of messianic self-humiliation.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass.”

The messiah will come in lowliness. See the apostle John’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. “And they cried out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’ And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written, ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass’s colt!’” (John 12: 13-15)

Micah 5:2

A section near the end of Micah's prophecy on the Babylonian captivity has been interpreted by Christian scholars as a messianic prophecy that Christ would be born in Bethlehem.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.”

Bethlehem Ephrathah is the town and clan from which king David was born,, and this passage refers to the future birth of a new Davidic heir. Although the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke give different accounts of the birth of Jesus, both place the birth in Bethlehem. The Gospel of Matthew account describes Herod the Great asking the chief priests and scribes of Jerusalem where the Messiah was to be born; they respond by quoting the passage from Micah: "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel'" ()

The idea that Bethlehem was to be the birthplace of the Messiah appears to be a specifically Christian idea; no Jewish source before the 4th century AD mentions this. Jewish tradition appears to have emphasised the idea that the birthplace of the Messiah was not known.

Many modern scholars consider the birth stories as inventions by the Gospel writers, created to glorify Jesus and present his birth as the fulfilment of prophecy. However since the birth in Bethlehem is one of the few common elements in the Gospel accounts, some scholars believe that both writers were drawing on an existing Christian tradition.

Psalm 2

"Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his Anointed, saying, 3. 'Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.' 4. He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision. 5. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6. 'I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." 7. I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, 'You are my son, today I have begotten you. 8. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel'" (Psalm 2: 1-9).

Psalm 2 was composed under the Hasmonean dynasty (140-37BC), although there is no indication of a more precise date. The authors of Acts and the Epistle to the Hebrews interpreted it as relating to Christ.

Verse 2. “Anointed” – in Hebrew mashiah, “anointed”; in Greek christos, whence English Messiah and Christ.

Verse 7. The LORD is the messiah’s father.

As for kings and rulers setting themselves against the Christ, both Herod and Pontius Pilate set themselves against Jesus, whom God had anointed, according to Acts of the Apostles 4: 25-27.

Acts 13: 33 interprets Jesus’ rising from the dead as confirmation of verse 7 (“You are my son, today I have begotten you”).

Hebrews 1: 5 employs verse 7 in order to argue that Jesus is superior to the angels, i.e., Jesus is superior as a mediator between God and man. “For to what angel did God ever say, Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee?”

Texts vary in the exact wording of the phrase beginning Psalm 2:12, with "kiss his foot", and "kiss the Son" being most common in various languages for centuries. Strong's shows the widely known word "bar," of apparent Chaldean origin but still in common use in Hebrew today as "son," as meaning "heir" or "son." Thus, with this word and the context there is an obvious reverence for royalty which is being portrayed in various manners. The New Testament era translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, gives another variation, literally "accept correction." All of these variations express the same concept- to show reverence and submission to the LORD and his anointed.

Psalm 110

Christian authors have interpreted Psalm 110 as a messianic passage in light of several New Testament passages.

“A psalm of David.

1. The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.’
2. The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty sceptre: ‘Rule in the midst of your foes!
3. With you is sovereignty in the splendor of holiness on the day of your birth: before the morning star, like the dew, I have begotten you.’
4. The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’
5. The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
6. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will crush heads over the wide earth.
7. He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore he will lift up his head.”

Verse 1. God speaks to David. The first instance of "The LORD (Hebrew: YHWH)" in this verse is a translation of the Hebrew name of God, Yahweh. The second instance of "my lord (Hebrew: ADONI)" is David, from the viewpoint of the Psalmist. It should be noted that the opening phrase of Psalm 110 is literally translated as "Regarding David, a psalm," indicating that the psalm is "of" or "about" King David, not written by him. This is one of the few existing examples of Jesus of Nazareth mistranslating the Hebrew-to-Aramaic translation of the Old Testament, as show when written in the New Testament: “while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, ‘What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David in the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?’ And no one was able to answer him a word” (Matthew 22: 41-46). The remaining portion of this verse speaks of how David shall be seated at God's right hand, with his enemies thoroughly defeated.

Also of note is what Paul says of Jesus, namely, that “he must reign, until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15: 25).

Verse 3. Before the morning star, like the dew, I have begotten you. The relationship between the Lord God and the messiah: God has begotten the messiah before the morning star, i.e., before the world began. Hence Jesus says, “Father, glorify me with the glory that I had with you before the world was made” (John 17: 5).

Verse 4. The New Testament letter to the Hebrews connects Jesus to the priest Melchizedek. “Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, ‘Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee’; as he says also in another place, ‘Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.’ For Jesus, in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5: 5-10).

The argument in Hebrews, chapter 7 should be read. One point to highlight is that the priesthood of Melchizedek foreshadowed the priesthood of Jesus. The sacred scriptures do not mention Melchizedek’s father, mother, genealogy, birth, or death. So Melchizedek prefigured Jesus, the eternal priest. Since Jesus always lives, he has no successor. He is a priest forever.

It is also interesting that Jesus used bread and wine at the Last Supper; while bread and wine are mentioned in connection with Melchizedek in Genesis 14: 18.

Verse 7. The Messiah refreshes himself with a drink from a wayside torrent. That is, the divine help will always aid the Messiah.

Psalm 16

The interpretation of Psalm 16 as a messanic prophecy is common among Christian evangelical hermeneutics. “I bless the Lord who has given me understanding, because even in the night, my heart warns me. I keep the Lord always within my sight; for he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. For this reason my heart is glad and my soul rejoices; moreover, my body also will rest secure, for thou wilt not leave my soul in the abode of the dead, nor permit thy holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life, the fullness of joys in thy presence, and delights at thy right hand forever” (verses 7-11).

According to the preaching of Peter, this prophecy is about the messiah’s triumph over death, i.e., the resurrection of Jesus.

“God raised Jesus up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken… For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption… Thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.’ Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it” (Acts 2: 24-32).

Also of note is what Paul said in the synagogue at Antioch. “And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he spoke in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore he also says in another psalm, ‘Thou wilt not let thy Holy One see corruption.’ For David, after he had served the counsel of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and saw corruption; but he whom God raised up saw no corruption” (Acts 13: 34-37).

Psalm 34:20

Some Christian writers have used the Gospel of John allusion to Psalm 34:20 as an example of a messianic prophecy.

Psalm 34:20 reads: “Many are the afflictions of the just man; but the Lord delivers him from all of them. He guards all his bones: not even one of them shall be broken.” ()

In its account of the crucifixion of Jesus, the Gospel quotes this, interpreting it as a prophecy. Linking the psalm's account of the suffering of David (traditionally considered the author) with the suffering of Jesus, it presents some of the details as fulfilment:

“So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with Jesus; but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water… For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken.’ And again another scripture says, ‘They shall look on him whom they have pierced’” ()

Psalm 22

Psalm 22 is considered by Christian authors to be a key prophecy of the passion of Jesus. Two of the Gospels accounts (Matthew and Mark ) quote Jesus as speaking words from this on the cross:

"From the cross, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The other two Gospel accounts quote different accounts of the words of Jesus on the cross. Some scholars see this as evidence that the words of Jesus were not part of the pre-Gospel Passion narrative, but were added by the Gospel writers.

Psalm 69:22

"They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink" Christians believe that this verse refers to Jesus' time on the cross in which he was given a sponge soaked in vinegar to drink, as seen in Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23, and John 19:29

Wisdom of Solomon 2:12-20

"Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected".

While this passage is not considered Scriptural by Protestants or Jews, most other Christians consider it Scripture. This is from what is likely to be the last book of the Old Testament to be written and is dated to around 100BC. In many ways it is more explicit than the other prophecies (with the arguable exception of Isaiah 53) and it's use in Matthew 27:39-43 is clear. This book was excluded from the Jewish canon possibly in part because of the use of this passage by Christians, but primarily as it is thought to have originally been written in Greek and not Hebrew (though parts of Ezra and Daniel were originally written in Aramaic).

Prophecies unfulfilled.

Gather all the Jews

  • "And he shall set up a banner for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:12)

The temple must be built

  • The temple must be built

There is some difference of opinion on this point. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have built over 120 Temples which they strongly believe are Houses of the God. They believe that this prophecy has been fulfilled

Rule at a time of world peace

  • He will rule at a time of world-wide peace - "...they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)

Rule at a time when the Jews follow God's commandments

  • He will rule at a time when the Jewish people will observe God's commandments - "My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow My ordinances and be careful to observe My statutes." (Ezekiel 37:24)

Rule at a time when everybody believes in God

  • He will rule at a time when all people will come to acknowledge and serve one God - "And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the Lord" (Isaiah 66:23)

Other

  • Ezekiel Chapter 37 verses 24-28:

And David my servant shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. they shall also follow My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Yaakov my servant, in which your fathers have dwelt and they shall dwell there, they and their children, and their children's children forever; and my servant David shall be their prince forever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them, it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, which I will give them; and I will multiply them and I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. And my tabernacle shall be with them: and I will be their God and they will be my people. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary will be in the midst of them forevermore.

Examples of Prophecy

As examples, passages are listed below which many Christians consider to be messianic prophecies that refer to Jesus, who they believe is the Messiah. (McDowell, 1999, Chapter 8; Brown, 2003; Ankerberg, 1997, Chapter 11) See Arguments against particular interpretations for the types of objections raised to these, in particular The Messiah has not come yet and Not about the Messiah. Moshiach Online has an excellent set of articles on Jewish interpretations regarding the Messiah.

Ancestors of Messiah

  • Isaiah 37:31 Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.
  • Isaiah 11:10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
  • Isaiah 11:1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
  • Isaiah 16:5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it--one from the house of David--one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.

When the Messiah will come

  • Daniel 9:25-26a (NKJV) (25) "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks * and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. (26a) "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

* The Hebrew says a "seven", not a "week". A "seven" could be a period of seven days or seven weeks, months, or here, seven years.

Where the Messiah will come

  • Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.
  • Isaiah 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.

Nature of the Messiah

  • Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) (6) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. (New American Bible: upon his shoulder dominion rests) And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Book of Proverbs 30:4 (NKJV)

Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has bound the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if you know?

Personality of the Messiah

  • Isaiah 11:2-5 (2) The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — (3) and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; (4) but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. (5) Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
  • Isaiah 16:5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it--one from the house of David--one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.

Activities of the Messiah

  • Isaiah 11:4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Authority of the Messiah

  • Deuteronomy 18:18-19 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee (like Moses), and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
  • Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
  • See also: John 1:45, Acts 7:37

Miracles of Messiah

  • Isaiah 29:18 In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
  • Isaiah 35:5-6a (5) Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. (6a) Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

How the Messiah will come (style)

  • Isaiah 11:10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.
  • Isaiah 49:7 This is what the LORD says-- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel-- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: "Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."

How the Messiah will come (logistics)

  • Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
  • Psalm 2:7 (NKJV) I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, "You are My Son; today I have begotten You."

Reaction to the Messiah's arrival

  • Jeremiah 31:15 This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
  • Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
  • Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.
  • Zechariah 12:10 They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Acceptance of the Messiah

  • Zechariah 2:10-11 (10) "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD. (11) "Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.

(Note: This says that the Lord is speaking and that he says the Lord Almighty sent him. The second Lord reference is most likely a reference to God.)

Rejection of the Messiah

  • Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
  • Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.
  • Psalms 69:8 I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons.

Results of the Messiah's coming (short-term)

  • Jeremiah 31:15 This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."

Results of the Messiah's coming (long-term)

  • Isaiah 61:1-2 (1) The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (2) to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
  • Isaiah 49:6 he (the Lord) says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."
  • Isaiah 42:1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations (Gentiles)."

Fulfilled prophecies

Passages cited as fulfilled prophecies

Examples cited by Christians as fulfilled Messianic prophecies are Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12, referred to as the "suffering servant" passage. Christians view these two passages as prophecies describing the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Gospel of Matthew identifies numerous passages of the Hebrew Bible as Messianic prophecies and then asserts that they were fulfilled by Jesus.

Skeptics' response

Skeptics point out that neither Psalm 22 nor the suffering servant passage says that it is referring to the Messiah. According to the Bible commentator Rashi, the suffering servant described in Isaiah chapter 53 is actually the Jewish people; sometimes Isaiah mentions groups of people as if they were one person. In Psalm 22:17 the Hebrew states "hikifuni ca'ari yaday veraglay" which means "they bound me (hikifuni) like a lion (ca-like ari-lion), my hands (yaday) and my feet (ve-and raglay-my feet). Many Christians translate this as "they pierced my hands and feet". Some Jews argue that nowhere in the entire Torah, Prophets and Writings do the words ca'ari or hikifuny mean "pierce".

According to Brown (DVD, 2003) and Juster (2005), among others, the rabbinic response, e.g., Rashi and Maimonides, is that although the suffering servant passage clearly is prophetic and even if Psalm 22 is prophetic, the Messiah has not come yet, therefore, the passages could not possibly be talking about Jesus.

Brown points out that the rabbinic interpretation of the suffering servant passage is that the servant is Israel, not either Jesus or the future Messiah. Messianic scholar Russell Resnick (2004) presented the interesting view that the passage refers to both Jesus and Israel and that, therefore, neither interpretation is completely right and neither interpretation is completely wrong.

Debate about claims of prophecy fulfilment in the New Testament

Opinion is not unanimous as to which Old Testament passages are messianic prophecies and which are not. However, one subset of New Testament passages engender another type of debate: whether the prophecies they claim to have been fulfilled are intended to be prophecies at all. The authors of these Old Testament "prophecies" may actually have been describing events that had already occurred. For example, the New Testament verse states, "So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Out of Egypt I called my son.'" This is referring to the Old Testament verse Hosea 11:1. However, that passage reads, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son."

Skeptics' view

As noted by Juster (2005) and Resnick (2004), skeptics say that the Hosea passage clearly is talking about a historical event and therefore the passage clearly is not a prophecy.

Response

Different explanations are offered for why these types of passages should be considered prophecies, depending on the particular passage.

The Pesher interpretation method

Resnick (2004), Juster (2005) and Waldman (2005) have pointed out that around the time of Christ there was a Jewish method of biblical interpretation known as pesher in Hebrew. It was a widely-known and widely-accepted interpretive technique that the Jewish writers of the New Testament would have been familiar with. In modern Christian theological terminology, this approach involves typology. When a New Testament author describes something as a prophecy that is not usually regarded as a prophecy, he is saying essentially, "This event is an example of the type of thing that this Old Testament passage is referring to."

The Remez interpretation method

Also, per Resnick (2004), Juster (2005), Waldman (2005), Brown (DVD, 2003), Klayman (2004) and others, Jews and Christians tend to ask different questions about the Bible. One example cited is that a common question of Jewish biblical scholars is, "Why is this passage next to this passage?"

Jewish interpretive techniques often look for a "hint" at a deeper meaning; per Resnick (2004), Juster (2005) and Waldman (2005), this "hint" is known as remez in Hebrew. Because the New Testament writers were fluent in biblical Hebrew, sometimes they are using a play on Hebrew words in the original Tanach that is not obvious to Greek scholars and translators or to English-speaking readers. Messianic rabbi and Christian seminary graduate Juster (2005) gives the example of Matthew saying at "and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: 'He will be called a Nazarene.'" The words "Nazareth" and "Nazarene" do not occur in the Old Testament. Juster opines that Matthew is hinting at two Hebrew words: the root n-z-r, meaning "branch", and "Nazarite".

Another possible explanation offered is that such a prophecy once existed in the Tanach but was lost. The Dead Sea Scrolls include a version of 1 Samuel 1:22 with a line that is not in the Masoretic Text or the modern Septuagint (therefore not in most English Bibles): "He will be a Nazir forever" or "I will (dedicate) him as a Nazirite forever." Professor Eugene Ulrich of Notre Dame has suggested that this may be the passage the author of Matthew had in mind. This would mean he confused the term Nazirite to mean Nazarene.

Jewish reason for rejecting Jesus as Messiah

Judaism holds that the Messiah has not yet arrived namely because of the belief that the Messianic Age has not started yet. Jews believe that the Messiah will completely change life on earth and that pain and suffering will be conquered, thus initiating the Kingdom of God and the Messianic Age on earth. Contrary to the Christian belief that the Kingdom of God is not worldly, most Jews hold that the Kingdom of God will be on earth. Jews hold that life on earth after Jesus has not changed profoundly enough for him to be considered the Messiah.

Table of Messianic Prophecies and their Fulfillment

The two branches in the stream of messianic prophecy are 1) the prophecies of a Kingly Messiah and 2) the prophecies of a Suffering Messiah.

Claimed Messianic Prophecies and their Fulfillment (ordered by chronology)

Claimed Prophecy Summary Claimed Fulfillment
Genesis 3:15 Would be the "Seed of a Woman" Galatians 4:4
Genesis 18:18 Promised Seed of Abraham Acts 3:25; Matthew 1:1, Luke 3:34
Genesis 17:19 Promised Seed of Isaac Matthew 1:2
Numbers 24:17 Promised Seed of Jacob Luke 3:34; Matthew 1:2
Genesis 49:10 Will Descend from the Tribe of Judah Luke 3:33
Isaiah 9:7 The Heir to the Throne of David Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:6
Micah 5:2 Place of Birth to be Bethlehem Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7
Daniel 9:25 Time of Birth Luke 2:1,2,3-7
Isaiah 7:14 Born of a Virgin Matthew 1:18
Jeremiah 31:15 Massacre of Infants Matthew 2:16-18
Hosea 11:1 Flight into Egypt Matthew 2:14-15
Malachi 3:1 Preceded by Forerunner Matthew 11:10
Isaiah 9:1-2 Ministry in Galilee Matthew 4:12-16
Deuteronomy 18:15 As a Prophet John 6:14, John 1:45; Acts 3:19-26
Psa 110:4 As a Priest, like Melchizedek Hebrews 6:20; Hebrews 5:5-6; 7:15-17
Psalm 78:2; Isa 6:9-10 Speaking in Parables Hard to Understand Matthew 13:13-14
Isaiah 53:3 His Rejection By Jews John 1:11
Isaiah 11:2-4 Characterized by Wisdom Luke 2:52
Zechariah 9:9 His Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem John 12:13-14
Psalm 41:9 Betrayed by a friend Mark 14:10
Zechariah 11:12 Sold for thirty pieces of Silver Matthews 26:15
Zechariah 11:13 Money to be Returned for a Potter's Field Matthew 27:6-7
Psalm 109:7-8 Judas's Office to be Taken by Another Acts 1:16-20
Psalm 27:12 False Witnesses Accuse Him Matthew 26:60,61
Isaiah 53:7 Silent When Accused Matthew 26:62-63
Isaiah 50:6 Smitten and Spat Upon Mark 14:65
Psalm 69:4 Was Hated Without A Cause John 15:23-25
Isaiah 53:4-5 Suffered Vicariously Matthew 8:16-17; Romans 4:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3
Isaiah 53:12 Crucified with Sinners Matthew 27:38
Psalm 22:16 Hands and Feet Pierced John 20:25-27
Psalm 22:6-8 Mocked and Insulted Matthew 27:39-44
Psalm 69:21 Given Gall and Vinegar John 19:29
Psalm 22:8 Hears Prophetic Words Repeated in Mockery Matthew 27:43
Psalm 109:4 Prays for His Enemies Luke 23:34
Malachi 3:1 Sins Purged Hebrews 1:3
Zechariah 12:10 His Side to be Pierced John 19:34
Psalm 22:18 Soldiers Cast Lots for His Coat Mark 15:24
Psalm 34:20 Not a Bone to be Broken John 19:33
Isa 53:9 To be Buried with the Rich Matthew 27:57-60
Psalm 16:10 His Resurrection Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:36-48
Psalm 68:18 His Ascension Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9

References

Further reading

  • Dr. Herbert Lockyer All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible Zondervan 1988 ISBN 0-310-28091-5
  • Nelson Reference Guides Find It Fast Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled In Jesus Christ Nelson Reference 2001 ISBN 0-7852-4754-8
  • Charles A. Briggs Messianic Prophecy: The Prediction of the Fulfilment of Redemption Through the Messiah

Wipf & Stock Publishers 2005 ISBN 1-59752-292-9

  • Edward Riehm Messianic Prophecy: Its Origins, Historical Growth and Relation to New Testament Fulfillment Kessinger Publishing 2006 ISBN 1-4254-8411-5
  • Aaron Kligerman Old Testament Messianic Prophecy Zondervan 1957 ASIN B000GSNPMQ

See also

External links

Christian and Evangelical analysis

Skeptical and Critical analysis

Jewish analysis

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