23 The Messiah Foretold
by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013
Now to Abraham and his seed were the
promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one,
and to thy seed, which is Christ. Galatians 3:16
on the cross and resurrection are the crowning events of history. In the
providence of God, more than three hundred prophecies in the Old
Testament prepared the world for Jesus’ coming. Jesus fulfilled the
ten-commandment law by His sinless life. His sacrifice on the cross
fulfilled the symbolic sacrifices of the ceremonial law. He came to show
that the Father is a God of love and is “merciful and gracious,
longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exod. 34:6).
Mark’s Gospel opens with John the Baptist, waist-deep in the Jordan in
fulfillment of prophecy. Matthew portrays the Baptist’s powerful
message, “Repent ye:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2).
It rang in the ears of the people as they flocked to hear the voice of
the one crying in the wilderness, “prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Mark
1:3). Prophecy had declared it, and now it was time for the promised
Messiah to emerge (Dan. 9:24-27).The Purpose of Prophecy
The Bible is a book of prophecy, and prophecy is reality from God’s
point of view. The Bible reveals the origin of the human race, our
history, and what will take place in the future. It is God’s purpose to
reveal the truth to His people. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing,
but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).
Prophecy is a message from God revealing things that we would not
otherwise learn. Learning must be guided by the written Word of God. In
answer to prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide our understanding and
application of what we read.
I have yet many things to say unto
you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth,
is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of
himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will
show you things to come (John 16:12, 13).
Prophesying of the end
time, Jesus warned four times, “Take heed that no man deceive you”
(Matt. 24:4, 5, 11, 24). Knowing the truth is a strong barrier against
deception. Prophecies may not be easily understood at the time they are
given. It is much easier to recognize a prophesied event once the
prophecy is fufilled, and, when it is, it strengthens our faith.
The Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. It is in the
Old Testament that we find the prophecies of the coming Messiah! By
fulfilling prophecy, the New Testament confirms and explains what Old
Testament prophecies mean.
The Coming Messiah
And now I have told you before it come
to pass, that, when it is come to pass,
ye might believe. (John 14:29)
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are
written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1
After Adam and Eve sinned,
God spoke to them and gave them hope and a promise. He also gave them a
conscience and a desire to do what was right. Jesus Christ, the seed of
the woman, would “bruise the serpent’s head” and destroy sin and Satan.
In the new earth, the sinful nature in humankind would be changed and
the image of God restored. The perfection of Eden would be brought back
again. These were the promises of the Redeemer to come. God permitted
Satan to live during human history, to demonstrate to the universe the
evil there is in sin.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou
shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).
God gave the gospel covenant
to Noah and to Abraham in detail. Jesus Christ fulfills the promises
made to Abraham: “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”
(Gen. 12:3) and “thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in
thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:17,
18). “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not,
and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is
Christ” (Gal. 3:16).
Hidden in the promises and renewals of the
covenant throughout the Old Testament is the golden thread of the
promised Redeemer to come. There were 300 promises of the Messiah in the
Old Testament. Here, are some of them:
|What was foretold
||Old Testament Prophecy
||New Testament fulfillment
|Born of a virgin
||Matt. 1:18, 24, 25
|Born in Bethlehem
|Time of His birth
||Luke 1:5; 2:1
|Time of His baptism
|Son of God
||Ps. 45. 6, 7, 11; Isa.9:6; 25:9
||Matt. 16:16; John 8:51, 58; 10:30
||Phil 2:5-8; Col. 1:17; John 17:24 Heb.
|Anointed by Holy Spirit
||Matt. 3:16, 17
|Ministry of Miracles
||Isa. 35:5, 6
|Teaching in Parables
|Seed of Abraham
|Tribe of Judah
|Preceded by Messenger
these Old Testament prophecies through their New Testament fulfillment.
Did the Jews have the same understanding before Messiah came? What were
The prophecy of the Messiah’s coming from
Bethlehem was clear. Isaiah 7:14 speaks of the virgin birth, which they
could have understood. However, the Jews did not expect a prophet to
come from Nazareth of Galilee. They did not expect Him to die or to be
For the Jews to accept the Messiah as divine
them to accept a second person being God. The Jews were and are
strongly monotheistic. After centuries of struggle against idolatry and
seventy years of captivity because of idolatry, they had learned their
lesson all too well. Simply and humanly speaking, it was too much for
them to accept this concept.1
Dual Expectations of the Messiah
Some Messianic prophecies depicted a lowly and humble Messiah who
would come riding a donkey (Zech. 9:9), live a life of suffering, and
die as the sacrifices for sin foretell.2
Other Messianic prophecies
predicted a conquering king who would come in imposing triumph “in the
clouds,” take the throne of David, and live forever.3
aspect’ of Messiah” led “to the idea that there would be two Messiahs:
Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David.”4
The Jews and even
Jesus’ own disciples did not fully understand His mission. He came to
teach mercy and love as the basis for the law. He came to bring the
kingdom of grace. The Jews focused their hopes on a Messiah who would
take the throne of David and restore the past glories of Israel. What
they did not realize was that the kingdom of glory could not come until
the kingdom of grace had changed people’s lives.
that Yeshua is both Mashiach Ben Yosef (the suffering
servant-at His first coming) and Mashiach Ben David (the reigning
King-at His second coming) [see Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Psalm 22]. He is
also the Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King as foreshadowed by other
in the Tanakh.”5
A Conquering King
are prophecies of the Messiah as the conquering king (Mashiach Ben
David): With this background, one must be sympathetic of Jewish
reactions when Jesus came.
• He would be a king. Jer. 23:5, 6; Ps.
2; 110; Matt. 27:37
• He would live forever. Ps. 102:24-27; 89:4;
• He would sit on the throne of David forever. 1 Kings 2:45; Isa. 9:7;
Jer. 17:25; Luke 1:32
• His kingdom shall be forever. Dan. 2:44;
4:3, 34; 6:26; 7:14
• He was to rule the world. Ps. 2:6-9; cf. Ps. 72
Maimonides, a.k.a. Moses ben Maimon (AD 1135-1204), the
greatest medieval Jewish thinker and Talmudic codifier, gave a viewpoint
that was common among Jews about the Messiah:
If a king will
arise from the House of David who is learned in Torah and observant of
the mitzvot [Torah’s commandments, counted by Maimonides as 613 in
number] as prescribed by the written law and the oral law, as David his
ancestor was, and will compel all of Israel to walk in the way of the
Torah and reinforce the breaches; and fight the wars of G-d, we may,
with assurance, consider him the Messiah. If he succeeds in the above,
builds the temple in its place, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he
is definitely the Messiah. “If he did not succeed to this degree or he
was killed, he surely is not the redeemer promised by the Torah“
“The concept of the Messiah King, the “˜Anointed
One’ who would one day come to deliver His people from oppression at the
beginning of an era of world peace has been the sustaining hope of the
Jewish people for generations.”| Indeed, he functions as Israel’s Savior
who would be empowered by God to:
• Restore the kingdom of David
(Jer. 23:5; 30:9; Ezek. 34:23)
• Restore the Temple (Isa. 2:2;
Micah 4:1; Zech. 6:13; Ezek. 37:26-28)
• Regather the exiles
(Isa. 11:12; 43:5, 6; 51:11)
• Usher in world peace and the
knowledge of the true God (Isa. 2:4; 11:9).
• Spread Torah knowledge
of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says,
“God will be King over all the world-on that day; God will be One
and His Name will be One” (Zech. 14:9)7
The Tanakh gives
“Nathan’s oracle to David” (2 Sam. 7:12, 13), presenting “the key
passage on which the idea of the Messianic king who would rule in
righteousness and attain universal dominion.” Solomon cannot have
fulfilled this covenant, “therefore the Seed of which the oracle refers
is another anointed King who would sit on the throne forever and ever.”8
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy
fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of
thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house
for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever (2
Sam. 7:12, 13).
From Maimonides’ writings, Christians learn that
they cannot know the detailed fulfillment for any future prophecy
beforehand. One must carefully study the prophecy and be ready to
recognize its fulfillment when it comes. When Peter affirmed, “Thou art
the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus
said that Peter, a Jew, could know this only by direct revelation from
The Jews in Jesus’ time had reasons for their beliefs.
However, in their unwonted certainty the Jewish leaders closed the door
to further revelation. They failed to recognize the abundant number of
signs that Jesus was the Messiah when He came.The Suffering Lamb
Equally prominent are references to a Messiah who would be
a sin bearer and would suffer (Mashiach ben Yosef):
3:15 - ”Thou shalt bruise his heel.” His suffering was foretold.
• Genesis 22:12, 13 - A ram caught in the thicket took the place of
Isaac for the sacrifice.
• Exodus 12:12, 13 - The firstborn was
saved in the Passover by the blood of the lamb.
• Psalm 22:1-18 -
This psalm accurately portrays Jesus’ feeling of abandonment on the
• Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 18:4-6; 35:11, 12; 69:7, 9 -
These prophecies describe the suffering, persecution, and false accusing
of God’s “servant.”
• Zechariah 9:9 - Jesus was lowly and riding
upon an ass, even in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
8:31 - Jesus foretold that the Son of man must suffer, be rejected, be
killed, and rise again.
Joseph prefigured the Suffering Messiah
(Gen. 37-50) “in the oral traditions of Judaism. Mashiach ben Yosef “
was “to be a forerunner and harbinger of the final deliverer, Mashiach
ben David.” Christians see Messiah as ben Yosef, who suffered in His
first coming for the sins of Israel (Isa. 53) as the Messiah. Jewish
authorities on this topic say:
Messiah son of Joseph was slain,
as it is written, “They shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and
they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son” Zech. xii 10
The Talmud explains: “The Messiah-what is his name?
Those of the house of Rabbi Yuda the saint say, the sick one, as it is
said, “˜Surely he had borne our sicknesses’” (Sanhedrin 98b)
Referring to Zech. 12:10-12, “R. Dosa says: “˜(They will mourn) over the
Messiah who will be slain.’” (B. Suk. 52a; also Y. Suk. 55b)
he was wounded “meaning that since the Messiah bears our iniquities
which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whosoever
will not admit that Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure
and suffer for them himself (Rabbi Elijah de Vidas)9
many prophecies yet to be fulfilled during the end time of earth’s
history. We must know what these prophecies say and then observe the
signs of the times. Most of all, we must listen to the Holy Spirit to
recognize when the fulfillment of these prophecies occurs.
Elohim is a plural term for God; the “one God in
three Persons” concept occurs in Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 48:16; 1 Cor.
12:4- 6; 2 Cor. 13:14; and Eph. 2:18. To some people this implies “three
Gods.” A Christian believes in one God in three Persons. The nature of
God is beyond human reasoning. One must accept God’s revelation about
Himself and not speculate on that which has not been revealed about His
Jesus’ suffering and death was foretold in the
sacrifice of animals. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice as it foretold the
death of the Messiah, while Cain’s sacrifice did not. The Passover most
clearly pointed to the blood of the lamb protecting the firstborn (and,
by extension, the entire family) from death (Exod. 12:3-13). Abraham’s
call to sacrifice Isaac showed that it would be an “only begotten Son”
who would be sacrificed for sin (Gen. 22:2; Heb. 11:17). Other key
prophecies fulfilled by Christ are Zech. 9:9; Isa. 52:13-53:12, and Ps.
There are prophecies that predict that Messiah will rule
the nations, but they do not specify the time. His ruling the nations
will be fulfilled at the second coming (Gen. 49:10, RSV; Ps. 22:27, 28;
67:4; 72:9; 89:27-29). That He will rule with a “rod of iron” (Rev.
2:27; 12:5; 19:15) means that He will judge the nations, for Psalm 2:9
speaks of breaking the nations “with a rod of iron.” Isaiah prophesied a
time of world peace, ruled by the Messiah, which will never end (Isa.
2:4; 9:6, 7; 42:1-4; 55:3-5; Micah 4:2, 3). If the Jews had accepted
their Messiah, God would have been able to fulfill His glorious purpose
for them (Ezek. 21:25-27; Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14; Zech. 6:13).
accessed 2/12/13. The term m’shichim means other anointed prophets,
priests, and kings.6.