God promised the nation of Israel
that he would raise up a descendant from King David who would one day establish
a righteous throne forever (see 2 Samuel 7:11-16). The Hebrew word Messiah, the equivalent of the Greek Christ,
actually means “Anointed One.” And it was this person who would usher in God’s
eternal kingdom on earth.
More than 400 years before Jesus was born there
existed over 60 major Old Testament prophecies about this coming Messiah, made
over hundreds of years. This is of great historical and spiritual significance,
because it is the Messiah who Isaiah prophesied would one day
remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs
over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever
all insults and mocking against his land and people. The Lord
has spoken! (Isaiah 25:7-8).
The Evidence of Prophecy
Of course Jesus did claim to be the “Anointed One.”
But do the prophesies of the Old Testament confirm that he was actually the Messiah?
The answer is yes. It’s as if God gave us a specific
way to recognize who the “Anointed One” would be, through what has been called Messianic prophesies.
It seems impossible, but because of these
prophecies, out of billions of people born over thousands of years we are able
to pinpoint one person in history as the Messiah. It is as if God had an answer
waiting for us when we asked, “How will we know who the Messiah is?” Imagine we
are having a conversation with God as he uses these prophecies to pinpoint who
this Messiah would be.
God begins by saying, “You will know he is the
Messiah because I will cause him to be born as an Israelite, a descendent of
Abraham” (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16).
“But God,” we protest, “Abraham’s descendants will
“Then I will narrow it down to only half of
Abraham’s lineage and make him a descendant of Isaac, not Ishmael” (Genesis
21:12; Luke 3:23-34).
“That will help, but isn’t that still an awful lot
“Let him be born from Jacob’s line, then, eliminating
half of Isaac’s lineage” (Numbers 24:17; Luke 3:23-34).
“I will be more specific. Jacob will have 12 sons; I
will bring forth the Messiah from the tribe of Judah” (Genesis 49:10; Luke
“Won’t that still be a lot of people? Again, we may
not recognize him when he comes.”
Look for him in the family line of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1; Luke 3:23-32). “And from the house and lineage of Jesse’s youngest son,
David” ( Jeremiah
23:5; Luke 3:23-31). “And then I will tell you where
he will be born: Bethlehem, a tiny town in the area called Judah” (Micah 5:2;
“But how will we know which person born there is the
“He will be preceded by a messenger who will prepare
the way and announce his advent” (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1-2). “He will begin
his ministry in Galilee” (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-17) “and will teach in
parables” (Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34-35), “performing many miracles” (Isaiah
35:5-6; Matthew 9:35).
“Okay, that should help a lot.”
“Oh,” God responds, “I’m just getting warmed up. He
will ride into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:2;
Luke 19:35-37) “and will appear suddenly and forcefully at the temple courts
and zealously ‘clean house’ ”
(Psalm 69:9; Malachi 3:1; John 2:15-16). “Why, in one day
I will fulfill no fewer than 29 specific prophecies
spoken at least 500 years earlier about him! Listen to this: