The word “messiah” means anointed one. The Jews don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah. They believe the Messiah will come one day and bring peace to the earth. They believe he will build their temple and will rule the world from Jerusalem. Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet and that He was the Messiah. They don’t believe He was God. Christians believe Jesus the Messiah came to earth 2,000 years ago and that He will come the second time in the near future. They also believe Jesus was God Himself in human form.
Was Jesus the Messiah? Was He God?
By Irvin Baxter
What do the Jewish Scriptures Prophesy About the Messiah?
Must be offspring of Abraham
Genesis 17:19—And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
From the tribe of Judah
Genesis 49:10—The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Shiloh is another name for Messiah)
Son of David
Jeremiah 23:5-6—Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Messiah will bring peace to the earth
Micah 4:3—And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Animals will even live at peace
Isaiah 11:6-9—The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
Messiah’s throne will be in Jerusalem
Micah 4:1-3—But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Messiah will set His sanctuary in Israel for evermore
Ezekiel 37:21-22, 27-28—And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all…My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Messiah will come when all nations are gathered to invade Jerusalem
Zechariah 14:2-3—For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives
Zechariah 14:4—And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
The LORD shall be king over all the earth
Zechariah 14:9—And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Other Jewish Prophecies About the Messiah
He would be born in Bethlehem
Micah 5:2—But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Fulfillment: Mary and Joseph lived about one hundred miles north of Bethlehem in Nazareth. When it was time for their baby to be born, it didn’t seem possible that He would be born in Bethlehem. One hundred miles was a very long distance in those times with no automobiles, trains or airplanes. However, Caesar Augustus, the ruler of the Roman Empire, made a decree that all people under his rule should return to the city of their birth in order to be assessed for taxation. This forced Joseph and Mary to make the long journey to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey at a time when Mary was very near delivering their child. As soon as they arrived in Bethlehem Jesus was born, fulfilling this 500-year old prophecy.
Born of a virgin
Isaiah 7:14—Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Fulfillment: Some people attempting to disannul this prophecy have claimed that the word virgin could have also been translated young woman. In their attempt to discount this amazing prophecy they overlooked the main message of Isaiah 7:14. The Lord said He would give us “a sign”. If this scripture merely said a young woman would conceive, that would not be a sign to us since this occurs everyday. But since the scripture says a virgin shall conceive, it was an incredible sign—never happening before or since!
Messiah would come riding upon the foal of an ass
Zechariah 9:9—Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Fulfillment: John 12:13-14—Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written.
Betrayed by a close friend
Psalm 41:9—Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Fulfillment: Mark 14:10—And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
Betrayal price would be 30 pieces of silver
Zechariah 11:12—And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
Fulfillment: Matthew 26:15—And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
Betrayal money would be cast to the potter in the house of the Lord
Zechariah 11:13—And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:6-7—And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.
Messiah Would Suffer
He would bear our sins
Isaiah 53:4-5—Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Fulfillment: The New Testament records that at the time of His crucifixion Jesus was smitten, a crown of thorns was placed on His head, and He was beaten with many stripes.
Messiah would be killed for our transgressions
Isaiah 53:12—Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Fulfillment: As Jesus was dying on the cross, He cried out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24). So, we see that while Jesus was dying He was making intercession for those who were crucifying Him.
Killed by crucifixion
Psalm 22:16—For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Fulfillment: This amazingly accurate prophecy by King David was fulfilled when the Roman soldiers nailed Him to the cross.
Given vinegar to drink
Psalm 69:21—They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Fulfillment: John 19:29—Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
Messiah will be cut off
Daniel 9:25-26—Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Fulfillment: This prophecy specifically states that Messiah will be cut off. Jesus’ crucifixion certainly fulfilled this prophecy.
They cast lots for his garments
Psalm 22:18—They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Fulfillment: Mark 15:24—And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
None of his bones broken
Psalm 34:20—He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Fulfillment: John 19:32-33—Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs.
Made his grave with the wicked and the rich
Isaiah 53:9—And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:57-60—When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
His resurrection foretold
Psalm 16:10—For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Fulfillment: This prophecy of the resurrection is one of the most amazing of all the prophecies. It specifically states that the “Holy One” will not see corruption. Jesus Himself foretold that He would rise from the dead after three days. The unbelieving religious leaders feared His disciples would steal His body and then claim He had risen from the dead. Consequently, they requested soldiers to guard the tomb until the three days were passed. By doing this they destroyed the very excuse they would later attempt to use for Jesus’ resurrection. After three days Jesus did raise from the dead and the religious leaders offered the soldiers, who had witnessed the resurrection, large sums of money to say His disciples had stolen His body away.
After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples. Then He appeared to Thomas who did not believe the reports of His resurrection. Thomas said he would not believe until he saw Jesus for himself. He also said he would have to view the nail scarred hands and Jesus’ wounded side. When Jesus appeared to him, Jesus said, Behold my hands. Thrust thine hands into my side. That’s when Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus appeared repeatedly over the next forty days. He appeared to a gathering of 500 people at one time. These all became witnesses of His resurrection.
To this day, some contend that Jesus’ disciples stole Him away from the grave and falsely claimed that He had risen from the dead. However, these same disciples were martyred for preaching that Jesus was the Messiah and for testifying of His resurrection. If they knew it were not true, they certainly would not have been willing to die for their message.
Do the Prophecies Say Messiah Will Come to Suffer Or to Rule the World?
As we can see from the above prophecies, we have two pictures of the Messiah. Some of the prophecies speak of His coming in power and victory to rule the world. Others speak of His rejection, suffering and crucifixion.
Both of these pictures come from Holy Scripture so, of course, they are both true.
The Apostle Peter explained the messianic prophecies this way in 1 Peter 1:10-11:
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified “beforehand the sufferings of Christ,” and “the glory that should follow.”
So we see that the prophets spoke of both the sufferings of Christ and the glory that would come afterward. The key to proper understanding is to realize Messiah was to come twice. He came the first time to take away the sins of the world and purchase eternal life for all who would believe and obey Him. He is coming the second time to put down the governments of men and to establish His kingdom—a kingdom that will never pass away and never be destroyed.
Time of the first coming prophesied by Daniel
In Daniel’s famous prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27, we are told when the first coming would occur. Verse 26 states:
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
The prophecy came to pass just as Daniel had written 550 years before. Jesus came, was cut off (crucified), and then the Romans came in 70 AD, destroying the city and the sanctuary.
This prophecy clearly declares that Messiah had to come before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD! And it came to pass just like the prophecy said.
Who Was Jesus?
Most Jewish theologians say Jesus was simply a teacher. Muslims believe He was a prophet and the Messiah, but not God. Christians believe He was the Messiah and was God manifest in flesh.
Most importantly, who does the Bible say He was?
Messiah would be Mighty God and Everlasting Father
Isaiah 9:6-7—For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
This passage clearly states that the Child that would be born would also occupy the throne of David as Messiah. It also declares that He would be the Mighty God and the Everlasting Father.
Messiah would be “God with us”
Isaiah 7:14—“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
This prophecy foretells that the son born to the virgin as a supernatural sign to us would be called Immanuel. The word Immanuel means “God with us.”
Isaiah prophesied Jehovah would become Jesus
Isaiah 12:2—Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
All of us know who the LORD JEHOVAH is. He is the one true God of Israel. In the above passage, Isaiah prophesied that the LORD JEHOVAH would become our Jesus. The Hebrew word that was translated “salvation” is yeshua. Yeshua is the Hebrew pronunciation of “Jesus.”
Isaiah was saying, the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my JESUS.
Does This Mean Another God Was Formed?
Do these scriptures then teach us that another God was formed at Bethlehem? Absolutely not! The first commandment clearly declares, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
If another God was not formed, then what happened at the birth of Jesus?
Until the man Christ Jesus was born, God was a Spirit. When Jesus was born, God became both spirit and body. This did not mean there were now two Gods. All of us are spirit and body, but we are not two people. We are one person with a spirit and a body.
When God made Himself a body through the Virgin Mary, He did not become two Gods. He was still Almighty God, but He was now also the Messiah—Immanuel (God with us).