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Messianic Prophecies

The Bible’s predictions about Jesus, written centuries before He was born

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What is a Prophecy—and Why Should I Care?

The noun prophecy describes a “prediction of the future, made under divine inspiration” or a “revelation of God.” The act of making a prophecy is the verb, prophesy. Of the prophecies written in the Bible about events that were to have taken place by now, every one was fulfilled with 100% accuracy. This is a statement that can not be truthfully made about any other “sacred writing.” This is important because the Bible says God will give us a savior who provides a way for us to go to heaven. If the prophecies are 100% accurate, we know it is going to happen.

What is a “Messianic” Prophecy?

The Old Testament books in the Bible (all of them written between 1450 BC and 430 BC) contained hundreds of prophecies about an “anointed one” (“Messiah” in Hebrew) who would arrive in their future. The Messiah would “deliver” or “save” all the Jewish people, bringing them to paradise or heaven. These prophecies also stated that the Messiah would save all the other people in the world “through the Jews.” For this reason, people who are not Jewish need to learn about the Messiah, too.

We constructed the table below, listing many important Messianic Prophecies. We did not attempt to make a complete list—that could be someone’s life work. Still, there are enough prophecies listed to remove all doubt that the Messiah did indeed appear 2000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ. These prophecies are arranged in the order in which they appear in the Old Testament, and they are not in order of importance nor in chronological order. Since the same fulfilled prophecy may be described several times in different books, we did not list every place a fulfillment occurred. We do list enough examples to prove that the prophecy was fulfilled.

A Special Note on Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53

Even a casual reader of the Bible will notice something “different” about Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12. They tell stories that perfectly parallel events in the life of Christ that took place much later. Psalm 22 is especially amazing since it predicted 11 separate things about Jesus’ crucifixion about a thousand years before they happened. We know that David (the author of Psalm 22) lived about 1043-973 BC and Isaiah lived about 740-680 BC. Both passages, written far ahead of the time of Christ, are strong proof that help you believe that the Bible was literally inspired by God.

A Comment on Understanding Prophecy

Some of these prophecies are very clear and easy to understand. However, if you are new to reading the Bible, other prophecies will not be easy to understand. Therefore, we have taken the liberty of highlighting those prophecies that are easier to understand by a person who is not familiar with “prophetic language.” This does not imply that these passages are more important than the others.

As we describe in our page Reading and Understanding the Bible, the Bible is a library of Books. So, even if you do not understand every idea or term when you start reading the “library,” do not be discouraged. You just need to learn the language—perhaps in the same way you learned a “special language” or “way of communicating” in your job or at school.

Old Testament Scriptures That Describe The Coming Messiah
The Messianic Prophecy (paraphrased) Where the prophecy appears in the Old Testament (written between 1450 BC and 430BC) Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophecy in the New Testament (written between 45 and 95 AD)
The Messiah will be the offspring (descendant) of the woman (Eve) Genesis 3:15 Galatians 4:4
The Messiah will be a descendant of Abraham, through whom everyone on earth will be blessed Genesis 12:3; 18:18 Acts 3:25,26
The Messiah will be a descendant of Judah Genesis 49:10 Matthew 1:2 and Luke 3:33
The Messiah will be a prophet like Moses Deuteronomy 18:15-19 Acts 3:22,23
The Messiah will be the Son of God Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22
The Messiah will be raised from the dead (resurrected) Psalm 16:10,11 Matthew 28:5-9; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:11-16; Acts 1:3 and 2:32
The Messiah crucifixion experience Psalm 22 (contains 11 prophecies—not all listed here) Matthew 27:34-50 and John 19:17-30
The Messiah will be sneered at and mocked Psalm 22:7 Luke 23:11,35-39
The Messiah will be pierced through hands and feet Psalm 22:16 Luke 23:33 and 24:36-39;
John 19:18 and 20:19-20,24-27
The Messiah’s bones will not be broken (a person’s legs were usually broken after being crucified to speed up their death) Psalm 22:17 and 34:20 John 19:31-33,36
Men Will Gamble for the Messiah’s clothing Psalm 22:18 Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:23,24
The Messiah will accused by false witnesses Psalm 35:11 Matthew 26:59,60 and Mark 14:56,57
The Messiah will be hated without a cause Psalm 35:19 and 69:4 John 15:23-25
The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend Psalm 41:9 John 13:18,21
The Messiah will ascend to heaven (at the right hand of God) Psalm 68:18 Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9; 2:33-35; 3:20-21; 5:31,32; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20,21; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet 3:22 . . . sorry, we got carried away!
The Messiah will be given vinegar and gall to drink Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23; John 19:29,30
Great kings will pay homage and tribute to the Messiah Psalm 72:10,11 Matthew 2:1-11
The Messiah is a “stone the builders rejected” who will become the “head cornerstone” Psalm 118:22,23 and Isaiah 28:16 Matthew 21:42,43; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-8
The Messiah will be a descendant of David Psalm 132:11 and Jeremiah 23:5,6; 33:15,16 Luke 1:32,33
The Messiah will be a born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-35
The Messiah’s first spiritual work will be in Galilee Isaiah 9:1-7 Matthew 4:12-16
The Messiah will make the blind see, the deaf hear, etc. Isaiah 35:5-6 Many places. Also see Matthew 11:3-6 and John 11:47
The Messiah will be beaten, mocked, and spat upon Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67 and 27:26-31
The “Gospel according to Isaiah” Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
People will hear and not believe the “arm of the LORD” (Messiah) Isaiah 53:1 John 12:37,38
The Messiah will be rejected Isaiah 53:3 Matthew 27:20-25; Mark 15:8-14; Luke 23:18-23; John 19:14,15
The Messiah will be killed Isaiah 53:5-9 Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37-39; Luke 23:46; John 19:30
The Messiah will be silent in front of his accusers Isaiah 53:7 Matthew 26:62,63 and 27:12-14
The Messiah will be buried with the rich Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:59,60; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:52,53; John 19:38-42
The Messiah will be crucified with criminals Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:32,33
The Messiah is part of the new and everlasting covenant Isaiah 55:3-4 and Jeremiah 31:31-34 Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 8:6-13
The Messiah will be our intercessor (intervene for us and plead on our behalf) Isaiah 59:16 Hebrews 9:15
The Messiah has two missions Isaiah 61:1-3 (first mission ends at “. . . year of the LORD’s favor”) First mission: Luke 4:16-21; Second mission: to be fulfilled at the end of the world
The Messiah will come at a specific time Daniel 9:25-26 Galatians 4:4 and Ephesians 1:10
The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:4-7
The Messiah will enter Jerusalem riding a donkey Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 21:1-11
The Messiah will be sold for 30 pieces of silver Zechariah 11:12,13 Matthew 26:15 with Matthew 27:3-10
The Messiah will forsaken by His disciples Zechariah 13:7 Matthew 26:31,56
The Messiah will enter the Temple with authority Malachi 3:1 Matthew 21:12 and Luke 19:45

Couldn’t Someone Just Write These Down and Pretend They Were Written Earlier?

Many people who do not believe in the Bible say this. However, manuscripts have been found that confirm that these various prophecies were written down 400-1,000 years before they actually occurred. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls put to rest most of such idle talk.

Were These Originally Intended to Be Messianic Prophecies?

Some of the prophecies occur as part of the text of a story. So, a natural question would be, “How do you know these are Messianic prophecies? Couldn’t someone have read these texts after Jesus came along and claimed they are Messianic prophecies?”

The reason we know these texts were intended to be Messianic prophecies is because they were recognized (and discussed) by the Jews before Jesus’ birth. For example:

One of the common debates was whether or not “the Messiah” was actually two people (or twins) since it seemed impossible to them that one person could accomplish both of the Messiah’s “goals” (Isaiah 61:1-3).

  • We now know that Jesus accomplished one goal (preaching the “good news” and becoming the sacrifice that saves us) when He came to Earth, told everyone God’s new plan of salvation, and was crucified.
  • He will fulfill the other goal (being our Savior and Lord, ruling at God’s right hand, and taking vengeance on the people who do not follow God) when He comes back to Earth (often called Jesus’ “second coming”).

This required being raised from the dead—a possibility the Jews never considered. When Jesus was raised from the dead, many Jews then recognized how the Messiah could be “one man.”

From that time, more than a billion Jews and non-Jews alike have chosen to get right with God and become Christians. Many of them made their decision based on the evidence of these fulfilled Messianic prophecies.

Couldn’t Someone Besides Jesus Fulfill These Prophecies?

The number representing the odds against them all being fulfilled by anyone would fill this entire website. This makes the fact that Jesus fulfilled them all a miracle in itself. Still, some questions that may come to mind are:

  • Couldn’t anyone else have fulfilled these prophecies if they really tried?
  • Even though Jesus fulfilled these prophecies, how do we know He is the Messiah. Other religions say they have a Prophet that followed in Jesus’ footsteps and is the real Messiah.
  • I understand the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah. Isn’t it possible that Jesus happened to fulfill these prophecies and that the “real” Messiah will still come some day?

You will notice that many of the prophecies are not under human control. In other words, if someone tried to fulfill all of them, how would they arrange to be (1) born in Bethlehem (2) with a virgin for a mother? Already they would have a problem—and these are only two prophecies. Even a casual glance through this list reveals that a person could not fulfill them by their own efforts.

There are many people that have claimed to be the Messiah (or a similar title that they gave themselves like “God’s Prophet”). Some of them founded false religions and cults, and have many followers. Anyone who has read the Bible expected to see them appear. Two thousand years ago, Jesus Himself said there would be many false Messiahs and prophets that follow him (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:11; Matthew 24:23-25; Mark 13:21-23). Examine these other “prophets” yourself. Was their appearance clearly predicted in the Bible? Did they fulfill all the messianic prophecies? The answer is obvious—none of them even came close.

It is true that the Jews, God’s chosen people, are still waiting for their Messiah. However, not recognizing their own Messiah is part of God’s plan (Romans 11:25-27) that allows everyone else be saved (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). The Bible clearly states that “those who are first will be last” (Matthew 19:30 and 20:16, Mark 10:31, and Luke 13:30). The Jews were the first of God’s people, but they are kept unaware of their own Messiah until everyone on the earth hears about Jesus Christ. This is good news, since everyone gets a chance to accept the Messiah as their Savior and go to heaven. Once that happens, the remaining followers of Judaism will realize that Jesus was the Messiah. At that time, Jesus will return to the earth, bringing those who accept Him as their Savior to heaven. Those who do not accept Him will face God in judgment and be cast into the lake of fire (hell).

There is no question that these many prophecies prove that Jesus is the one and only Messiah. Since you now have proof that Jesus is the promised Messiah who provides a way for us to go to heaven, click on this sentence to find out how to “get right with God” through Jesus.

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.

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