Messianic Prophecies

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Messianic Prophecies

The Messianic Prophecies are prophecies written in the Old Testament regarding the future Messiah of the Jewish people. They were written about 3000 to 2500 years ago. And many believe they were fulfilled 2000 years ago with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, who was sent by God as a saviour of mankind and to show the way to eternal life in heaven.

If the Messianic Prophecies in the Old Testament are true, and were fulfilled in the New Testament and if today we can by-and-large prove that many of these prophecies and events in the New Testament were real events, then surely is that not Q.E.D.?

What is the alternative? That our evidence/proof of events 2000 years ago is way of the mark! Or that Jesus was aware of the Old Testament prophecies and tried to pull a fast one!

But is it possible that Jesus, the Messiah, was prophesied hundreds of years before he was born? Do we have evidence to support this claim? Well there appears to be some substance to this claim when we look closely at these Messianic prophecies which prophesise details ranging from his birth, life and ministry, to his death and resurrection. And even the second coming of Jesus was prophesised. And while Jesus was just one of many radical missionaries throughout these ages, and his missionary life was concentrated into less than three years in the localised area around the Sea of Galilee, he seems to be the only person that fulfils these prophecies to a large degree.

Did Jesus know of the Old Testament scriptures? Did he read them? Yes, according to Luke 4:16-17 where he read from Isaiah.

Luke:416 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written.

Also he often quoted scriptures as we see in Matthew 7:28: And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:

This passage was where Jesus gave the true sense and meaning to many aspects of the Old Testament which 'astonished' and impressed the faithful listerers, as it was unlike any previous preachings they had heard. Altogether Jesus quoted from 24 different Old Testament books.

So what scriptures were available at that time? Would he have read about his birth and death as prophesied in these books? And Why did Jesus never commit a word to paper? Why didn't he write his memoirs? Not one scrap of paper, one letter, one sermon has been located.

Can we be certain that the new testament fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies was not just the authors of the New Testament selecting certain passages in the Old Testament and recording them as if they were fulfilled? What independent evidence is there of any of these prophecies?

Old Testament

The Old Testament consists of 39 books (in Christianity) written in Hebrew by an undetermined number of authors, many of them anonymous, over hundreds of years. There are numerous verses, inspired by God through prophets and wise men, amongst these ancient scriptures foretelling the future Messiah of the Jewish people. It starts at the 'beginning of time' itself, and traces the history of the Jewish people right up to the time of the Greek empire of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. Amongst the scripture writers were;

Moses (c.1300 BC), many biblical scholars accept the view that the first five books of the Bible, sometimes called the Pentateuch was written by Moses or at least the majority of them were since the internal testimony of these scriptures clearly indicates this. Regarding Genesis, perhaps Moses just edited and compiled written and oral preserved records handed down from generation to generation - the line of Patriarchs listed in Genesis - Adam, Noah, Shem, Terah, selecting what was relevant and compiling into his own form we now know as Genesis.

King David (1030-970 BC), second King of Israel, is credited with being the author of the majority of psalms in the bible.

King Solomon (980-931 BC), son of David, is credited with writing Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

And many other priests and prophets inspired by God including Isaiah (740-680 BC), an educated prophet and witness to a turbulent political and religious period in Jerusalem, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel.

New Testament

In the New testament we see the fulfilment of the prophecies. It is the basis of today's Christian faith. Written in Greek it chronicles the early years of christianity and has gone on to change the course of world history and affect millions of lives. It consists of;

  • 27 religious texts
  • the 4 Gospels
  • the Acts of the Apostles
  • 21 letters or epistles
  • and lastly, but by no means the least, revelations

All of them were originally written in Greek between 45 AD and 145 AD. But it must be noted that we do not have a single page or even the smallest scrap of any of the original writings. What we have today are copies of copies of copies written many years after the events they describe. Could this really be the word of God? But who wrote this book on which Christian faith is founded and so heavily relies on?

Only two of the Gospel writers had known Jesus, Mathew and John who were apostles. Their writings were based on their individual memories.

Luke was one of Paul's (the apostle) later missionary companions (author of the Gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles).

Mark wrote the first gospel somewhere between 65 and 70 AD. He was not an apostle but was very well known, and had been mentioned as a companion to the apostles, especially Paul. Just before Peter died in Rome he related the life of Jesus to Mark.

But can we be sure of the authenticity of the Bible?

Some Messianic Prophecies

Some of the many Messianic prophecies contained in the Old Testament, perhaps up to 300, are listed below (KJV). The fulfillment of these prophecies in the New Testament seems to confirm the authenticty of the Old Testament and uphold the claim by Jesus that he was the Messiah.

Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)

Isaiah 7:14

14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:21-23

21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:4-7)

Micah 5:2

2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Luke 2:4-7

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Herodīs killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)

Jeremiah 31:15

15Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Matthew 2:16-18

16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

17Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

18In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15)

Zechariah 11:12

12And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

Matthew 26:15

15And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

The Crucifixion (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)

Psalm 22:16

16For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

Luke 23:33

33And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

* A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)

* Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14)

* Of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1)

* Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)

* Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17)

* Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)

* Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)

* Would preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21)

* Would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16) Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13)

* Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11)

* Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)

* Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)

* Die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:

* rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48)

* Would rise from the dead!! (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)

* Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)

* Would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)