JESUS IS THE FULFILMENT OF MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
The Incomplete Old Testament
The Old Testament Scriptures are the Word of God. However, they were definitely incomplete. The Old Covenant speaks of a King from the line of David, whose Kingdom would never end. It spoke of all the families of the nations of the earth being blessed by the Seed of Abraham. It spoke of a Prophet like Moses, arising from among the people, whose teaching would be unparalleled. It spoke of a Servant of the Lord, whose death would atone for the sins of His people. Of One who would make a New Covenant between God and men. One who would put the Spirit of the Lord into the hearts of men, so that they could know God personally and have their sins wiped out. It spoke of a Stone, despised by the builders, which would become the chief Cornerstone. It spoke of One like the Son of Man who would receive authority, honor and royal power so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve Him. It spoke of a Priest of the order of Melchizedek whom the Almighty would call Lord and welcome to His Throne. It spoke of a coming Messiah who would be born of the tribe of Judah, from David’s line, in Bethlehem. He would be despised and rejected by the very people He came to deliver. He would die among wicked men and His tomb would be supplied by a rich man. Yet He would live again, forever, and the Lord’s purpose would succeed through Him. All of this was fulfilled by Jesus! Not some of it. Not much of it. All of it! Prophecies made by many prophets over a thousand years and more were all fulfilled in One historical Person.
Identifying the Messiah
Some years ago, when I was conducting outreaches in Hillbrow, I had a conversation with two Jewish people who claimed that they were waiting for the promised Messiah. I read to them from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. Then I asked them who they understood these passages to be referring to. Both agreed that obviously these Scriptures were talking about Jesus of Nazareth. However, one added, “But, that’s from your New Testament!”
“No”, I pointed out to them. “The two passages that I read to you are from your Bible, The Old Testament. Psalm 22 was written by King David a thousand years before the birth of Christ. Isaiah 53 was written by the prophet Isaiah some six hundred years before the time of Christ.” They were shocked. I handed them the Bible so that they could read for themselves and urged them to go back home and look in their own Scriptures to see that this was so.
There are 333 passages of the Old Testament that make predictions about the Messiah. 451 details are given in these passages. They were all fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
Proclaiming the Future in the Past
“Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done …” Isaiah 46:9-10
“I have declared the former things from the beginning; they went forth from My mouth and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass, even from the beginning I have declared it to you; before it came to pass I have proclaimed it to you …” Isaiah 48:3-5
The Old Testament Proclaims Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ, during his earthly ministry, declared: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17
After He had risen from the dead, Jesus appeared to some of His followers on the road to Emmaus “and beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27
To His disciples Jesus explained: “These are the Words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Luke 24:44
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me … if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me …” John 5:39-47
Again and again in the Scriptures we read of how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Matthew 26:56
Jesus began His public ministry by reading a Messianic prophecy from the book of Isaiah and declaring: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21
In the book of Acts we read that the Apostles taught that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.“But those things that God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” Acts 3:18
“To Him all the prophets witness …” Acts 10:43
The Levitical feasts of the Old Covenant are fulfilled in Christ. For example, The Passover is fulfilled in the death of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7). The feast of First Fruits is fulfilled in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:23). The feast of Pentecost is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:4).
Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus
So, what are some of the Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth?
After the fall of Adam and Eve into sin, God promised a Redeemer, born of the seed of woman, who would suffer but He would defeat satan: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15; “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.” Galatians 4:4; “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
The Messiah was to be born of a virgin: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His Name Emmanuel.” Isaiah 7:14; “Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear a son and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which is translated God with Us.” Matthew 1:23
The Messiah shall be a descendant of Abraham: “In your Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:18 (Genesis 12:2-3); “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
It is most significant that Jesus is called the Son of Abraham, as this points out that He was called to the altar of the Cross. He is also called the Son of David, because He is destined to the Crown and the throne. King of kings and Lord of lords. The first time He came as the Lamb of God, a sacrifice. God himself has provided the Lamb: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The second time He comes, He will come not as the suffering Servant, the sacrificial Lamb, but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Messiah was to be born of the line of Isaac: “But God said to Abraham … In Isaac your seed shall be called.” Genesis 21:12; “Jesus … the Son of Isaac.” Luke 3:23, 34
So these prophecies identify that the Messiah would come from the Hebrew race and of the line of Abraham and Isaac.
The Messiah would be a descendent from Jacob: “A star shall come out of Jacob, a scepter shall rise out of Israel …”Numbers 24:17; “Jesus … the Son of Jacob.” Luke 3:23, 34
The Scripture prophesied that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah; “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between His feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” Genesis 49:10 (“Jesus … the Son of Judah.” Luke 3:23, 33).
The Messiah would come from the family of Jesse. “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1 (“Jesus… the Son of Jesse.” Luke 3:23, 32).
The Messiah would come from the house of David. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the land.” Jeremiah 23:5 (“Jesus … the Son of David…” Luke 3:23, 31).
So, these prophecies tell us that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, from the line of Abraham, descended from Isaac (not Ishmael), from Jacob (not Esau), from the tribe of Judah (eliminating 11/12th of the tribes of Israel as possibilities.), from the family of Jesse, and from the house of King David. Now the prophecies become even more specific as to where the Messiah will be born:
The Messiah would be born at Bethlehem. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”Micah 5:2 (“Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judeah.” Matthew 2:1) In Matthew 2:6 the scribes informed King Herod with great assurance that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. It was only fitting that Bethlehem, meaning the house of bread, should be the birthplace of the One who is the Bread of Life.
There are also prophecies that the Messiah would be presented gifts from kings (Psalm 72:10 and Isaiah 60:6). This was partially fulfilled when the wise men from the East came and fell down and worshiped Him, opened up their treasures and presented gifts to the young Jesus (Matthew 2:1-11).
The prophecy of lamentation for slain children (Jeremiah 31:15) was fulfilled when King Herod ordered that all the male children under 2 years old in the district of Bethlehem be put to death, in order to wipe out the prophesied Messiah (Matthew 2:16-18).
Other Messianic prophecies included that: He shall be called Lord. “The Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies your footstool.” Psalm 110:1 (“For there is born to you this day in the City of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 “He said to them, how then does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying; the Lord said to My Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool? If David then calls Him Lord, how is He his Son?” Matthew 22:43-45).
He shall be a Prophet (“I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” Deuteronomy 18:18 (“So the multitude said, this is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” Matthew 21:11).
It can be noted that Christ and Moses were both delivered from a violent death in their infancy, both exercised control over the sea, both fed multitudes of people miraculously, both mediated between Jehovah and Israel and made intercession on behalf of sinful people.
“For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
The Messiah would also be a Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4) “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.” Hebrews 3:1
“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become a high priest, but it was He who said to Him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten You … You are a priest forever, according to the Order of Melchizedek.’” Hebrews 5:5-6
The Messiah would be Judge. “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.”Isaiah 33:22 (“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from any lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:13-14).
The Messiah will be King. “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:6 (Jeremiah 23:5; Zachariah 9:9), (“And He has on His robes and on His thigh, a Name with Him: King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16).
The Messiah shall have a special anointing of the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2 (“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold the Heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. Suddenly a voice came from Heaven saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’”. Matthew 3:16-17),
The Messiah shall be preceded by a messenger who will prepare the way in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert, a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill will go low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed …” Isaiah 40:3-5 (“John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ For this is He who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight …” Matthew 3:1-3)
His ministry would begin in Galilee. “…the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali … by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles.” Isaiah 9:1 (“Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee. On leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’” Matthew 4:12-17)
He would work miracles. “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will sing for joy.” Isaiah 35:5-6 (“And Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in the synagogues, and proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Matthew 9:35 “… the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” Luke 7:22).
He would teach in parables. “I will open My mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” Psalm 78:2 (“All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them.” Matthew 13:34).
He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having Salvation, humble, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of donkey.”Zechariah 9:9 (“And they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt and they set Jesus on him. And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road …” Luke 19:35-37).
The Messiah would enter the Temple. “And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple.” Malachi 3:1(“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple.” Matthew 21:12).
He would be zealous for God’s House. “Because zeal for Your House has eaten Me up …” Psalm 69:9 (“When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple … and He said … take these things away! Do not make My Father’s House a house of merchandise!” John 2:15-16 “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, it is written, ‘My House shall be called a House of Prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” Matthew 21:12-13).
The Messiah was to be a Stone of Stumbling. “The Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief Cornerstone.”Psalm 118:22 “He will be as a sanctuary, but a Stone of Stumbling and a Rock of offence to both the houses of Israel and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and many among them shall stumble … “ Isaiah 8:14-15 (“The Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief Cornerstone. Whoever falls on that Stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls it will grind him to powder.” Luke 20:17-18 “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief Cornerstone.” 1 Peter 2:7)
He would be betrayed by a friend. “Even my familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, has lifted up his heel against Me.” Psalm 41:9 (“Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him.” Matthew 10:4).
He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12), “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you? And they counted out to him 30 pieces of silver.” Matthew 26:15
The money would be thrown into God’s House. “So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw them into the House of the Lord for the potter.” Zechariah 11:13 (“Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and he parted.” Matthew 27:5 “And they had consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field to bury strangers in.” Matthew 27:7).
He would be forsaken by His disciples. “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” Zechariah 13:7 (“Then they all forsook Him and fled.” Mark 14:15).
He would be accused by false witnesses. “Fierce witnesses rise up …” Psalm 35:11 (“Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the Council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none.” Matthew 26:59-60).
He would be silent before His accusers. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 (“And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.” Matthew 27:12).
He would be wounded and bruised. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
He would be beaten and abused. “I gave My back to those who struck Me and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6 (“Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and the others struck Him …” Matthew 26:67).
He would be mocked. “All who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake their head, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord; let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’” Psalm 22:7-8 (“When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and a reed in His right hand; and they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him …” Matthew 27:29).
His hands and His feet would be pierced. “They pierced My hands and My feet.” Psalm 22:16 (“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him.” Luke 23:33).
He would be executed with thieves. “Because He poured out His soul unto death and He was numbered with the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12 (“Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.” Matthew 27:38).
He would intercede for His persecutors. “And He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12 (“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34).
He would be rejected by His own people. “He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him.” Isaiah 53:3
His friends would stand afar off. “My loved ones and My friends stand aloof from my plague and My relatives stand afar off.”Psalm 38:11 (“But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee stood at a distance, watching these things.” Luke 23:49)
People would shake their heads at Him. “I have also become a reproach to them; when they look at Me, they shake their heads.” Psalm 109:25 (“And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads.” Matthew 27:39).
His garment would be gambled for. “They divide My garments among them and for My clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:18 (“The soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said ‘let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be.’ John 19:23-24).
Gall and vinegar would be offered to Him. “They also gave Me gall for My food, and for My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:21 (“They gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink and when He had tasted it He would not drink.”Matthew 27:34).
He would cry out: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Psalm 22:1 (“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lamasabachthani?’ That is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:47).
He would commit His Spirit to God. “Into Your hand I commit My Spirit.” Psalm 31:5 (“Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.’” Luke 23:46).
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[a] When he had said this, he breathed his last.
None of His bones would be broken. “He guards all His bones; not one of them is broken.” Psalm 34:20 (“But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.” John 19:33).
His side would be pierced. “They will look on Me whom they pierced.” Zechariah 12:10 (“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear.” John 19:34).
His heart would break. “My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.” Psalm 22:14 (“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out.” John 19:34).
There would be darkness over the land. “And it shall come to pass in that day, says the Lord God, that I will make the sun go dark at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight.” Amos 8:9 (“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.” Matthew 27:45). Because they calculated the hours from sunrise to sunset this should make the sixth hour to the ninth hour from noon to three o clock in the afternoon.
He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb. “And they made His grave with the wicked – with the rich at His death.” Isaiah 53:9 (“There came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph … and he asked for the body of Jesus … when Joseph had taken the body he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb.” Matthew 27:57-60).
He would rise from the dead. “For You will not leave My soul in sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”Psalm 16:10 (“… He would raise up the Christ to sit on His throne, He, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the Resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in hades, not did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” Acts 2:30-32).
He would ascend on High. “You have ascended on High.” Psalm 68:18 (“He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:9).
He would be seated at the right hand of God. (Psalm 110:1) “When He had by Himself purged our sins He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” Hebrews 1:3
Many Gentiles, including kings, would come to His light. “The Gentiles shall come to Your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising.” Isaiah 60:3 (“For so the Lord has commanded us, I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for Salvation to the ends of the earth. Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the Word of the Lord.” Acts 13:47-48).
These are only some of the over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. The place of His birth (Micah 5:2), the time of His birth (Genesis 49:10 and Daniel 9:25), the unique manner of His birth (Isaiah 7:14), the manner of His death (Psalm 22:16), and so much more, was prophesied in great detail from 500 to over 1000 years before His birth. All of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and they establish a solid confirmation of His credentials as the Messiah.
“To Him all the prophets witness …” Acts 10:43
Jesus is the Seed of the woman, born of the virgin, Emmanuel, the Son of God, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Prophet, Priest and King, eternal Judge. He made the blind see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk and the dumb to sing for joy. He cleansed the lepers, healed the sick and raised the dead. He taught in parables. At the appointed time He entered Jerusalem on a donkey and suddenly came to His temple, cleansing it. He was a rock of offence and a stone of stumbling to the Jews, but He became a light to the Gentiles. He was betrayed by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, forsaken by His disciples, accused by false witnesses, wounded and bruised, smitten and spat upon, mocked and crucified. Yet He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven and He will come again to Judge the living and the dead.
He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the eternal Judge before whom each one of us will stand. Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies.
Have you surrendered your life to Him?
Are you living in obedience to Him?
Do you love Him with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength?
Is Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord, or is He your Eternal Judge?
Dr. Peter Hammond