Messianic Prophecy

Knowledge of messianic prophecy is extremely helpful.

It is helpful in building us up in our Most Holy Faith. The prophecies demonstrate that the Bible is a supernatural book inspired by God, and that the New Testament is the natural continuation of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Knowledge of the messianic prophecies is helpful in evangelism.

Knowledge of the messianic prophecies is helpful because no other religious book contains prophecies of this kind.

Knowledge of the messianic prophecies is will keep us from the error of accepting false messiahs.

Direct Messianic Prophecies

  • Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem and yet originate from the days of eternity (Micah 5:1-2). Yeshua was born in Bethlehem. See Matthew 2:1-6, Luke 2:1-20.     
  • Messiah had to be a Jewish man, from the tribe of Judah, and from the family of King David (Isaiah 9:7, 11:1-9, Jeremiah 23:5-6). Yeshua was! See Matthew 1:1-17.          
  • Messiah was to come before 70 AD (Daniel 9:24-27). Yeshua did. See Luke 1:5, 2:1-7.     
  • Messiah was to enter Jerusalem triumphantly, yet humbly on a donkey, (Zechariah 9:9). Yeshua did. See Matthew 21:1-9, John 12:12-16.  
  • Messiah was to be a great prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Yeshua was. See John 7:40-43, Acts 3:22-23.
  • Messiah was to be initially rejected by the majority of Israel, especially the leaders (Isaiah 53:1-3, Psalm 118:22). Yeshua was. See John 1:11, 12:37-43, Acts 4:1-12. The fact that the majority of Jewish people don’t believe in Him is a strong point for the fact that He is the Messiah!
  • Messiah was to be tried and condemned even though He was innocent (Isaiah 53:8). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 23:1-25.
  • Messiah was to be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:12-14, Mark 15:3-4, Luke 23:8-10.
  • Messiah was to be beaten and spit upon (Micah 5:1-2, Isaiah 50:6). Yeshua was. See Matthew 26:67, Mark 27:30, Mark 14:65.
  • Messiah was to be mocked and taunted (Psalm 22:7-8). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:39-43, Luke 23:11, 35-36.
  • Lots would be cast for Messiah’s garments (Psalm 22:18). They were. See Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24.
  • Messiah was to be pierced (Zechariah 12:10). Yeshua was. See John 19:18, 34-37.
  • Messiah was to die by crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-17). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:20, 25.
  • Messiah was to wrongly suffer with transgressors yet pray for His enemies (Isaiah 53:12). Yeshua did. See Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27.
  • Messiah was to die as an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 10-12, Daniel 9:24-27, Zechariah 9:9, 12:10, Psalm 16:10, 22). Yeshua did. See John 1:29, 11:49-52, 1 Corinthians 15:53.              
  • Messiah was to be raised from the dead (Isaiah 53:12, Zechariah 12:10, Daniel 9:24-27, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 22, Psalm 118:22-23). Yeshua was! See Matthew 28:1-10, Acts 2:22-32. Yeshua’s resurrection validates His message and ministry. It is God’s seal of approval on everything that Yeshua did and taught. This makes Him absolutely unique in the history of the world and puts him on a level far higher than any of the prophets of Israel or other religions. It also gives Him the power to help us live a victorious life and overcome man’s greatest enemy – death. Without the resurrection there would never have been a Messianic movement. All the hostile authorities would have had to do to crush the Messianic movement would have been to produce Yeshua’s body. Yeshua’s disciples were in no frame of mind to fabricate His resurrection. They refused to believe it when they heard about it! An immediate resurrection wasn’t part of the thinking of first century Judaism. Only Yeshua’s resurrection could have transformed them from a frightened dispirited group into a fearless band that gave up their lives and transformed the world. The apostles had nothing to gain from making these things up – except death. They were known for their sterling character, not as liars and deceivers.
  • Messiah was to be God born into humanity (Isaiah 9:6-7, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Psalm 110:1, Proverbs 30:4). Yeshua was and is! See John 1:1, 20:28, Hebrews 1:8.
  • The Messiah was going to have a world-wide impact on the Gentile nations (Isaiah 49:6). Yeshua has! “Jesus has become the most popular, the most studied, the most influential figure in the religious history of mankind… No sensible Jew can be indifferent to the fact that a Jew should have had such a tremendous part in the religious education and direction of the human race…. Who can compute all that Jesus has meant to humanity? The love he has inspired, the solace he has given, the good he has engendered, the hope and joy he has kindled – all that is unequaled in human history… Rabbi Hyman Enelow, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Messiah would make a New Covenant not like the one made at Sinai (Jeremiah 31:31-33). Yeshua did! See Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:12-22, 10:4-24, Luke 22:15-20.

The probabilities that any one human being could fulfill all these are infinitesimally small. Yeshua fulfilled these, and many others, so He must be the Messiah that God promised to send into this world!

The Messianic Process Of Elimination

What an amazing thought! The all-wise and all-good and all-present and infinite Creator, in the Person of the Son of God, who shares the Father’s name and nature, deity and essence, became a human being and lived among us! Yeshua’s Incarnation is something miraculous and profound and life-altering and world-changing, and even universe-transforming, and something that we should never take for granted. His embodiment is one of the most important events in human history! The Incarnation of the Son of God is so significant that much of the world marks time based on the enfleshment of the Greatest Jew of All.

Righteous people were given visions, dreams, and prophetic utterances about Messiah’s birth. Heavenly signs attended His birth, guiding wise men from far away lands to worship Him. Angels announced His birth. Jewish shepherds praised God at His birth. A virgin miraculously conceived to bring forth His birth. Prophets predicted His birth. The very first prophecy in the Word of God is about the incarnation of the Son of God. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, by disobeying God, they instantly became alienated from the Lord. Adam and Eve, and all of their descendants, all of mankind, became estranged from our wonderful and good Creator, who is the Source of Life and blessing. Because of this disobedience, sin and death dominated the human race, and God cursed the entire physical world.

But the Lord, being gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and mercy, didn’t abandon mankind to die in our sins; nor did He leave us to despair. He immediately informed our first parents that He would reverse the Fall; bring blessing instead of the curse; create peace where there was alienation; and bring eternal life instead of eternal death. He would accomplish this redemption, this salvation, this restoration by means of the Incarnation – the coming of the eternal Son of God into this world. This supremely important event would be carefully prepared through a special line of men and women, and then though one chosen people.

When the very first prophecy was given, millions of powerful angels existed, and only two human beings, but humans were chosen to bring God’s salvation to humanity – not angels. The Lord said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15). The Son of God would become a human being; and in a special way, be uniquely the “Seed of the woman”.

Centuries later, after the great flood destroyed the first civilization of men, Noah survived with his three sons. From those three sons, the Lord of the universe chose Shem, not Ham or Yafet. Noah, speaking prophetically, blessed his children, and foretold their future, when he said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Yafet, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem” (Genesis 9:26-27). The Son of God would be a human being, and He must come from Shem. He must be a Shemite. Shem would bring HaShem – the Name, God, and His salvation – to the rest of humanity.

The descendants of Shem numbered in the thousands, but the Mighty God chose only one of them – Abraham. The Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the Earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3). The Son of God would come from faithful Abraham.

Abraham had many sons, but God chose Isaac, not the oldest son, Ishmael, or the sons of Keturah, to further His plan to bring redemption to humanity. The Eternal One said to Abraham, “Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him” (Genesis 17:19). Immanuel, God With Us, would come from Isaac. He would not be an Ishmaelite or from one of the Arab tribes.

Isaac had two sons, but God who often saves by the small and the few, chose the younger son Jacob, not the older son Esav. The Almighty said to Jacob, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will also be like the dust of the Earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the Earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:13-14). The Son of God would come from Israel, and not be an Edomite.

Jacob had twelve sons, but only Judah was chosen. Jacob said to Judah, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Genesis 49:10). The right to rule the Chosen People would be given to Judah and his descendants. The Messiah, the One approved by God to have the leadership of Israel, would come from the tribe of Judah.

The tribe of Judah had many families within it, but only the family of David was chosen. The Lord, who is the King of Israel, speaking through the prophet Nathan, said to king David: “I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom… Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The One who is rightly called Immanuel, God With Us, would come from king David’s royal family.

I like to call this narrowing process, the “Messianic Process of Elimination.” The numbers of those qualified to be the Savior get smaller and smaller and smaller. Based on genealogical considerations alone, only a minute percentage of humanity could qualify to be the Messiah, the One Anointed and chosen to meet our deepest needs – reconciling the world of lost and fallen human beings to God, ending our alienation and estrangement with the great Creator; reversing the Fall; bringing blessing instead of the curse, giving life in place of death.

Understand The Difference Between Direct Messianic Prophecies And Indirect Messianic Prophecies

Knowing the difference between a direct and an indirect messianic prophecy will help us in our evangelism with modern skeptical non-believers

The writers of the New Testament saw everything pointing to the Messiah – direct messianic prophecies, but also indirect messianic prophecies, things like the nation of Israel itself; Biblical holidays; the Temple and the sacrifices; the fulfillment of the prophets, priests and kings.

He is Israel’s long predicted, long-awaited, long expected Messiah, the Anointed Ruler that God sent to save us, who in Himself fulfills the three offices of prophet, priest and king.

He is the greatest Prophet, who most clearly heard from God and told us the truth, whose teachings are supremely authoritative. He is our chief rabbi, our Teacher who guides us into all truth, our Wonderful Counselor who gives miraculous advice – unfailing in the depths of its wisdom – to everyone who asks Him for it.

He is our High Priest whose priesthood is superior to that of Aaron. He is the one and only Mediator between God and Mankind. He is Jacob’s Ladder, connecting Earth and Heaven. He is our High Priest who offers sacrifice for us, atones for us, reconciles us to God, continues to intercede for us, and who even now prays for us, and forever saves us because of His eternal life.

Not only is He our High Priest, but He is also the Final Sacrifice, enabling us to be reconciled to the Creator from whom the whole world is estranged. He is our sin offering that atones for us, our burnt offering that enables us to be dedicated to God, the peace offering that brings us wholeness, completeness, well-being and peace with God.

He is the Son of Abraham, the Lion of Judah, and the final King of David’s royal line, who will save Israel, gather Israel, protect Israel, rule over Israel and restore true worship to Israel. He will establish peace and righteousness and salvation and the knowledge of God to Israel and the other nations of the world. He will usher in the fullness of the New and Eternal Covenant that will bless Israel and all the families of the Earth.

He is the true Israel, who succeeded where Israel failed. Like Israel, He is God’s Son, but unlike Israel, God’s firstborn son among the nations, the Son of God was always faithful to His Father.

He is our Sabbath Rest, the One who brings true rest to the weary human soul. He is our Passover Lamb who enables God to passover all of our sins forever, saving us from our Egypts of sin and eternal death. He is our Matzah – the Unleavened Bread, our Sinless One, who was victorious over sin and who can break the cycle of sin transmitted from generation to generation. He is our Firstfruits, the first One to be raised from the dead, thereby giving hope that all who believe in Him will likewise be raised from the dead. He is our coming King, who arrival will be heralded by trumpets and shofars, who will rule over Israel and the nations, and our Yom Kippur Scape-Goat, who brings perfect and final atonement. He is our Sukkah, our Tabernacle into which we are harvested into God’s eternal Kingdom.

He is the true Temple, in which God lives. He is our Aron Kodesh, our Holy Ark, in which the Word of God dwelt, over which the presence of God hovered, and our bronze Mizbeach, our altar which atones for us, our Washbasin which cleans us so we can serve God, our golden Menorah which sheds the light on us, our Bread of the Presence which feeds us, our Golden Altar which enables our prayers and praises to ascend and be accepted by God.

He is the Seed of the Woman who will destroy the serpent, and undo all the damage done by the adversary. He is the Rock that was smitten, providing us with the living water of everlasting life, so that our thirst for God, for life, for meaning, is forever quenched. He is the Bread of Life who came down out of Heaven, giving life to the world, infinitely better than the mannah that our fathers ate in the wilderness, since they died.

In Genesis He is Noah’s Ark which saves us from destruction. He is the Seed of Abraham through whom the whole world will be blessed. In Exodus He is the Passover Lamb. In Leviticus He is the Yom Kippur Atonement, and our ultimate High Priest. He fulfills the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple, the Sacrifices and the Holidays. In Numbers, He is the rock that was smitten that provided water for us to drink, and the star to arise from Jacob. In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet greater than Moses. In Joshua, He is the Captain of the Lord of Hosts. In Judges, He is the Angel of the Lord. In the book of Ruth, He is the kinsman redeemer. In Samuel, Kings and Chronicles He is the ultimate King of David’s line. Throughout the Psalms, Proverbs and other wisdom literature, He is the wisdom of God.

Two Examples Of Indirect Prophecies

The writers of the New Testament applied indirect messianic prophecies to the Messiah, like Isaiah 7:14-Matthew 1:23, and Hosea 11:1-Matthew 2:15.

Isaiah 53

If I could choose one messianic prophecy to share with a non-believer why Yeshua is the Messiah, I would choose Isaiah 53. Many of the ancient rabbis understood this passage to refer to the individual known as the Messiah. Rashi, who lived around 1050 AD, interpreted the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 as the nation of Israel, suffering for the Gentile nations. Eventually Rashi’s interpretation became the dominant Jewish view, especially since the 1800’s. Here are eight reasons why Isaiah 53 refers to the Messiah – not the Jewish People.

1. There is a clear distinction in pronouns. Isaiah the prophet, a Jew, when speaking of himself and his nation Israel, uses the pronouns “we”, “us” and “our”. He describes the Servant as someone other than himself and his people by using the pronouns “he”, “him” and “his”. Since the speakers are clearly Isaiah’s people Israel (“we”), then the Servant whom they describe (“he”) must be Someone other than Israel. They cannot both be Israel.

2. In verse 8, Isaiah declares that the Servant was put to death “for the transgression of my people”. Who are “my people”? Not the Gentiles, but Isaiah’s people, the Jewish people. If the Servant died for Israel, the Servant cannot also be Israel. Therefore the Servant is distinct from the Jewish people.

3. The passage repeatedly claims the innocence of the Servant. Verses 4-6 say that His suffering would not be for His own sin, but for the sin of others. None of the prophets (including Isaiah), ever characterize Israel or any other nation as perfectly innocent (see Isaiah 1:1-31, 64:5). Since Isaiah affirms the Servant’s innocence while at the same time affirming Israel’s guilt, Israel cannot be the Servant.

4. The Servant was to be a voluntary and unresisting sufferer. He willingly accepts His suffering, offering Himself as a guilt offering, and pouring Himself out to death. His suffering are voluntary, His sufferings are intentional, His sufferings are silent. Israel has indeed suffered, but not willingly, intentionally, or silently. The sufferings of the Servant are of a different nature than the sufferings of the Jewish people.

5. In verses 8, 9, 10 and 12 the Servant dies a substitutionary death on behalf of others. He is cut off out of the land of the living, placed in a grave, and sacrificed for the guilt of others. However, the Bible declares that the nation of Israel never has been and never can be killed (see Jeremiah 31:34-36).

6. The Servant is described as an individual person, not as a corporate identity. The things that the Servant does can only be done individually, not corporately.

7. The suffering and death of the Servant brings righteousness and healing to those who accept Him. While Israel has suffered, our suffering have never brought righteousness or healing to the Gentiles. In fact, it brings judgement on the Gentiles for their sin of anti-Semitism. Our suffering has never brought healing to the anti-Semites guilty of these things. The Jewish people have suffered because of the Gentiles, but never on behalf of the Gentiles.

8. Other passages in the book of Isaiah dealing with God’s Servant refer to an individual, and not to the nation of Israel (see Isaiah 42:1-7, 49:1-13, especially 49:6).

·         Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem and yet originate from the days of eternity (Micah 5:1-2). Yeshua was born in Bethlehem. See Matthew 2:1-6, Luke 2:1-20.

·         Messiah had to be a Jewish man, from the tribe of Judah, and from the family of King David (Isaiah 9:7, 11:1-9, Jeremiah 23:5-6). Yeshua was! See Matthew 1:1-17.

·         Messiah was to come before 70 AD (Daniel 9:24-27). Yeshua did. See Luke 1:5, 2:1-7.

·         Messiah was to enter Jerusalem triumphantly, yet humbly on a donkey, (Zechariah 9:9). Yeshua did. See Matthew 21:1-9, John 12:12-16.

·         Messiah was to be a great prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Yeshua was. See John 7:40-43, Acts 3:22-23.

·         Messiah was to be initially rejected by the majority of Israel, especially the leaders (Isaiah 53:1-3, Psalm 118:22). Yeshua was. See John 1:11, 12:37-43, Acts 4:1-12. The fact that the majority of Jewish people don’t believe in Him is a strong point for the fact that He is the Messiah!

·         Messiah was to be tried and condemned even though He was innocent (Isaiah 53:8). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:1-2, Luke 23:1-25.

·         Messiah was to be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:12-14, Mark 15:3-4, Luke 23:8-10.

·         Messiah was to be beaten and spit upon (Micah 5:1-2, Isaiah 50:6). Yeshua was. See Matthew 26:67, Mark 27:30, Mark 14:65.

·         Messiah was to be mocked and taunted (Psalm 22:7-8). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:39-43, Luke 23:11, 35-36.

·         Lots would be cast for Messiah’s garments (Psalm 22:18). They were. See Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24.

·         Messiah was to be pierced (Zechariah 12:10). Yeshua was. See John 19:18, 34-37.

·         Messiah was to die by crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-17). Yeshua was. See Matthew 27:31, Mark 15:20, 25.

·         Messiah was to wrongly suffer with transgressors yet pray for His enemies (Isaiah 53:12). Yeshua did. See Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27.

·         Messiah was to die as an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 10-12, Daniel 9:24-27, Zechariah 9:9, 12:10, Psalm 16:10, 22). Yeshua did. See John 1:29, 11:49-52, 1 Corinthians 15:53.

·         Messiah was to be raised from the dead (Isaiah 53:12, Zechariah 12:10, Daniel 9:24-27, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 22, Psalm 118:22-23). Yeshua was! See Matthew 28:1-10, Acts 2:22-32. Yeshua’s resurrection validates His message and ministry. It is God’s seal of approval on everything that Yeshua did and taught. This makes Him absolutely unique in the history of the world and puts him on a level far higher than any of the prophets of Israel or other religions. It also gives Him the power to help us live a victorious life and overcome man’s greatest enemy – death. Without the resurrection there would never have been a Messianic movement. All the hostile authorities would have had to do to crush the Messianic movement would have been to produce Yeshua’s body. Yeshua’s disciples were in no frame of mind to fabricate His resurrection. They refused to believe it when they heard about it! An immediate resurrection wasn’t part of the thinking of first century Judaism. Only Yeshua’s resurrection could have transformed them from a frightened dispirited group into a fearless band that gave up their lives and transformed the world. The apostles had nothing to gain from making these things up – except death. They were known for their sterling character, not as liars and deceivers.

·         Messiah was to be God born into humanity (Isaiah 9:6-7, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Psalm 110:1, Proverbs 30:4). Yeshua was and is! See John 1:1, 20:28, Hebrews 1:8.

·         The Messiah was going to have a world-wide impact on the Gentile nations (Isaiah 49:6). Yeshua has! “Jesus has become the most popular, the most studied, the most influential figure in the religious history of mankind… No sensible Jew can be indifferent to the fact that a Jew should have had such a tremendous part in the religious education and direction of the human race…. Who can compute all that Jesus has meant to humanity? The love he has inspired, the solace he has given, the good he has engendered, the hope and joy he has kindled – all that is unequaled in human history… Rabbi Hyman Enelow, past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

·         Messiah would make a New Covenant not like the one made at Sinai (Jeremiah 31:31-33). Yeshua did! See Hebrews 8:6-13, 9:12-22, 10:4-24, Luke 22:15-20.

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By |2017-01-30T21:46:57+00:00October 11th, 2012|Categories: Important Teachings, Most Important Teachings|Tags: |Comments Off on Messianic Prophecy

About the Author:

Rabbi Loren Jacobs is the senior rabbi and founder of “Congregation Shema Yisrael” (which means “Hear O Israel”). Congregation Shema Yisrael is a Messianic synagogue which was started in 1986 when Rabbi Loren and his wife Martha moved to Michigan to proclaim the Good News about the Messiah to the Jewish people living in the metro Detroit area.Rabbi Loren was raised in a Jewish home in the Chicago area, and became a Messianic Jew in 1975. He graduated from Moody Bible Institute’s Jewish Studies program in 1979 and received a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Literature from Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey in 1986. His wife Martha is a fifth generation Messianic Jew, which is quite unusual. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.