The Old Testament contains over 300 prophecies about a future Messiah, a savior anointed by God to deliver His people from oppression. The New Testament trumpets the fulfillment of those prophecies through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus Himself revealed that He was the promised Messiah (John 4:25-26).
Further, the gospels show how Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies and ultimately delivered humanity from the oppression of death through the promise of eternal salvation (John 3:16). Below is a discussion of numerous messianic prophesies fulfilled by Jesus.
What Are the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Birth?
The Old Testament described the awaited Messiah’s birth in detail. In particular, the prophets foretold that the Savior would be born of a woman and would defeat Satan to redeem humanity for Satan’s deception of our First Parents (Genesis 3:15).
Further, the Savior would come from the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:3; 17:19; Numbers 24:17), and the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10).
Scripture also revealed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) to a virgin who would call Him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). The Messiah would be an heir to King David’s throne and would reign for eternity (2 Samuel 7:12-13).
Jesus’ Birth Fulfils the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Birth
Jesus of Nazareth redeemed the Fall of Adam as prophesied because Jesus was born of a woman and destroyed the Devil’s work by defeating death through His glorious Resurrection (1 John 3:8). Jesus also fulfilled the prophecies about the Savior’s lineage, as He is a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribe of Judah (Matthew 1:1-16).
Moreover, as predicted, Jesus was born to a virgin in the town of Bethlehem (Luke 1:27; 2:4-7). In addition, Jesus is an heir to King David’s throne through Christ’s earthly father Joseph (Matthew 1:6-16), and as the King of Kings, Jesus’ reign will last forever (Luke 1:33).
Also, Jesus was indeed called Immanuel. The name Immanuel means “God with us” and perfectly describes Jesus’ nature as God made flesh to dwell among us (John 1:1, 14). Notably, Isaiah declared that the Messiah would be called by many names in addition to Immanuel, such as: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
What Are the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Early Life?
The Old Testament revealed that the Messiah would spend time in Egypt during His youth and would then leave Egypt (Hosea 11:1). The prophecies also foretold of a messenger in the wilderness who’d prepare the way for the Messiah so that the glory of God would be revealed (Isaiah 40:3-5).
Jesus’ Early Life Fulfils the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Early Life
As prophesied, Jesus spent His early years in Egypt to escape the Massacre of the Innocents perpetrated by King Herod (Matthew 2:13-15). Also as predicted, once Herod died, Jesus and His family left Egypt and settled in Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23).
The foreshadowed messenger in the wilderness preparing the way for the Lord was John the Baptist, who prepared the Messiah’s way by preaching a message of baptism and repentance of sins (Matthew 3:1-6).
John the Baptist alluded to Jesus when he told his followers that he baptized with water but that there would be “one who is more powerful” who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11). John then baptized Jesus and a voice from heaven revealed that Jesus was God’s son (Matthew 3:13-17).
What Are the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Ministry?
The messianic prophecies told us that Galilee would be chosen among the nations to see “a great light,” a male child born to remove the darkness (Isaiah 9:1-6). The Messiah was foretold to preach about repentance (Isaiah 30:15) and be a gentle redeemer who would uphold justice and heal the broken (Isaiah 42:1-4; 61:1-2). The Savior would also speak in parables that would fall on deaf ears (Psalm 78:2-4; Isaiah 6:9-10) and perform many miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6).
The prophecies further described the Deliverer as: A faithful priest who would do God’s will (1 Samuel 2:35); a prophet selected from among the Israelites (Deuteronomy 18:15); and a humble king who would ride atop a donkey toward welcoming crowds (Zechariah 9:9).
Despite this peaceful and healing description of the coming Messiah, the prophets also asserted that the Messiah would be rejected by His own people (Psalm 69:8) but embraced by the Gentiles (Isaiah 11:10). Last, prophecy warned that rulers would plot to kill the Messiah (Psalm 31:13).
Jesus’ Ministry Fulfils the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Ministry
In fulfillment of Scripture, Jesus’ ministry began in Galilee, where Jesus was the “great light” that dispelled the darkness by preaching a life of repentance (Matthew 4:12-17). Moreover, Jesus spoke in parables that confounded many (Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35) and performed numerous miracles (Matthew 11:2-5).
Jesus also fulfilled the messianic prophecies by serving as: The faithful priest who atoned for the sins of others through His human death and divine resurrection (Hebrews 2:17); the Jewish prophet who was rejected by His own people (Matthew 13:54-58); and the humble king who entered Jerusalem atop a donkey and was welcomed by cheering crowds (Matthew 21:1-9).
Furthermore, the prophecy that everyone could be co-heirs of God’s Kingdom is confirmed by the diversity of Jesus’s followers (John 12:18-21). Last, the revelation that Jesus would be scorned to the point of death was realized when the rulers of Israel plotted to have Him killed (Matthew 27:1).
What Are the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Betrayal?
The prophets warned that someone who had broken bread with the Messiah (Psalm 41:9) would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver, which would later be used to buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:12-13). Upon His betrayal, the Messiah’s closest friends would flee from him (Psalm 31:11).
Jesus Was Betrayed in the Manner Prophesized
As predicted, Jesus was betrayed by the Apostle Judas Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16; 47-50). That blood money was later used to buy a potter’s field (Matthew 27:3-10). Also, after Judas’s betrayal, Jesus’ other disciples “deserted him and fled” (Mark 14:50).
What Are the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Death?
Isaiah describes how the Messiah would remain silent in the face of false accusations and would be beaten, mocked, and spat upon (Isaiah 53:7; Isaiah 50:6). The Savior would also be “pierced for our transgressions” so that by His wounds we’d be healed (Isaiah 53:5). The prophet Daniel likewise revealed that the “Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing” (Daniel 9:26).
King David further detailed the Messiah’s death. The Psalmist presaged that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced but His bones would not be broken (Psalm 22:16-17; 34:20). The Savior would die among criminals (Isaiah 53:9), and people would cast lots for His clothing (Psalm 22:18). Also, onlookers would taunt the Anointed One by telling Him to ask the Lord He spoke of so often to rescue Him (Psalm 22:8).
Jesus Died in the Manner Prophesized
Anyone familiar with Jesus’ Passion knows that He fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah’s death down to the last agonizing detail. Specifically, Jesus remained silent in the face of false accusations, and was beaten, mocked, and spat upon before His crucifixion (Mark 14:57-61; 15:16-20).
Further, the Savior’s hands and feet were pierced by nails at His crucifixion, but his bones weren’t broken (Luke 24:39-40; John 20:24-27; John 19:33-37). As foretold, two criminals were crucified beside Jesus (Mark 15:27-28), and Roman soldiers cast lots for His garments (John 19:23-24). Last, the prediction of unyielding scorn came to pass when onlookers taunted the Crucified Christ by saying that if He was the Chosen One, He should save Himself (Luke 23:35).
What Are the Prophecies about the Messiah’s Resurrection?
King David foreshadowed the Messiah’s resurrection by proclaiming that God would not abandon the Messiah to the realm of the dead or let the Messiah’s body see decay (Psalm 16:10). David also wrote that the Messiah would ascend to Heaven and sit at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1).
Isaiah further divined that the Messiah’s death would serve as an ultimate offering for sin so that God’s people could be redeemed (Isaiah 53:5-12). The Messiah’s agony would be rewarded, however, in that He’d conquer death in the end (Isaiah 25:7-8) and “see the light of life and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
Jesus Was Resurrected in the Manner Prophesied
As foretold, Jesus conquered death by gloriously rising from the dead (Matthew 28:5-10). Jesus then appeared to many of His disciples (Matthew 28:16-17) who later testified that the Messiah had risen, that His body was without decay, and that He had ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God, as prophesied (Acts 2:24-36).
Last, Jesus’s death and Resurrection fulfilled Scripture in that He was the ultimate sacrifice that delivered humanity from death by offering us the path to eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:54).
What Does This Mean?
The Old Testament prophets went to great lengths to describe the Messiah’s life, death, and victorious resurrection. Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled these prophecies in such accurate detail a millennium later that there can be no doubt that He was that promised Messiah.
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Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.