In the last installment of this series, we looked at just a few of the non-Messianic prophecies contained in the Old Testament. Today, we want to look at some of the Old Testament Prophecies specifically about the coming Messiah. These prophecies, of course, are perfectly fulfilled in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, the evidence of these specific prophecies are so strong that they were fundamental in my own journey in coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I was so taken and persuaded by these prophecies, that I have been publishing a series over the last three years (admittedly with some gaps) called “Monday Morning Prophecy.” In this series, which will run weekly through the first few months of next year, we are examining over 100 of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah including their fulfillment in the New Testament. I have already published over 60 of them, and I encourage you to have a look.
Because of that detailed review of prophecies, I will not endeavor to recreate that content here in this article. Instead, I would like to provide a brief overview then examine just a few of those prophecies included in two Old Testament passages. Next week, we will have a look at a famous statistical analysis of the odds of just eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in one man.
The Old Testament includes prophecies about who the Messiah would be. We learn that He would come from the lines of Shem (Gen 9-10), Abraham (Gen 22:18), Isaac (Gen 26:4), Jacob (Gen 49:10), Jesse (Is 11:1-5) and David (2 Sam 7:11-16). We are told where He would be born (Mic 5:2). Various aspects of His life are described:
- Teach in Parables (Ps 78:2)
- Ride into Jerusalem on a Donkey (Zech 9:9)
- Betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9)
- For 30 Pieces of Silver then thrown into temple (Zech 11:12-13 or Zech 1:13)
- Rejected by Israel (Is 8:14)
- Mocked with lots cast for clothing (Ps 22:18)
- Hands and feet pierced (Ps 22)
- Given gall and wine (Ps 69:21)
- Pierced (Zech 12:10)
- Buried in a rich man’s grave (Is 53:9)
- Raised from the grave (Ps 16:10)
- Would perform miracles (Is 35:4-6)
We learn about His roles, His life, His death and His resurrection and much much more.
Some scholars count upwards of 320 prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament. Let’s have a look at a couple of Old Testament passages. For purposes of this article, I am assuming you are familiar with some of the story of Jesus’ life and will see that story in these passages written hundreds of years before His birth. Let’s start with Isaiah 52:13-53:12:
13Behold,my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15so shall he sprinkle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.
1Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Read carefully, it is hard (impossible actually) to see anything except the life and death of Jesus in the preceding verses. Another famous section of Old Testament Prophecy is found in Psalm 22. As you read these verses, think about the crucifixion of Christ:
1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.
3Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8 "He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!"
9Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.
12Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet— 17I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
19But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.
25From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.
29All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.
Taken as a whole and with an open mind, the evidence of Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament is impossible to ignore. Not only does it prove the authenticity of the Bible, it proves that Jesus was who He said He was and is worthy of our worship and obedience.