Prophecies about the birth of Jesus
In the Biblical context, a prophecy means carrying the Word of God into the future, present tense, or past. So a Messianic prophecy displays the Word of God about the profile or characteristics of the Messiah.
There are hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament. The numbers range from 98 to 191 to “nearly 300” and even to 456 passages in the Bible that have been identified as Messianic according to ancient Jewish writings. These prophecies are found in all texts of the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, but the most significant is located in the books of Psalms and Isaiah.
Not all prophecies are clear, and some can be interpreted as describing an event in the text itself or as something that is merely a prediction of the coming Messiah or as both. I would recommend to everyone not to accept texts like Messianic just because others say so. Test it yourself.
Read yourself the relevant passages from the Old Testament and draw your own conclusion about how the texts should be explained. If you are not convinced, delete this prophecy from your list and examine the following. There are so many that you can afford to be very selective. The remaining prophecies will still identify Jesus as the Messiah with large numbers and statistical significance.
Selection of Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah
Prophecies about the birth of Jesus
|He was born of a virgin and His name is Immanuel||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1: 18-25|
|He is the Son of God||Psalm 2:7||Matthew 3:17|
|He is from the seed or Abraham||Genesis 22:18||Matthew 1: 1|
|He is from the tribe of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Matthew 1: 2|
|He is from Isai’s family line||Isaiah 11:1||Matthew 1: 6|
|He’s from David’s house||Jeremiah 23:5||Matthew 1: 1|
|He was born in Bethlehem||Micah 5:1||Matthew 2: 1|
|He is preceded by a messenger (John the Baptist)||Isaiah 40:3||Matthew 3: 1-2|
Prophecies about the ministry of Jesus
|His gospel ministry begins in Galilee||Isaiah 9:1||Matthew 4: 12-13|
|He makes the lame, the blind and the deaf better||Isaiah 35:5-6||Matthew 9:35|
|He teaches in parables||Psalm 78:2||Matthew 13:34|
|He will enter Jerusalem riding a donkey||Zechariah 9:9||Matthew 21: 6-11|
|He is presented on a certain day as the Messiah||Daniel 9: 24-27||Matthew 21: 1-11|
Prophecies about the betrayal and trial of Jesus
|He will be the rejected cornerstone||Psalm 118:22||1 Peter 2: 7|
|He is betrayed by a friend||Psalm 41:9||Matthew 10: 4|
|He is betrayed for 30 pieces of silver||Zechariah 11:12||Matthew 26:15|
|The money is thrown into the House of God||Zechariah 11:13||Matthew 27: 5|
|He will remain silent to his prosecutors||Isaiah 53:7||Matthew 27:12|
Prophecies about the crucifixion and burial of Jesus
|He will be crushed for our iniquities||Isaiah 53:5||Matthew 27:26|
|His hands and feet are pierced||Psalm 22:16||Matthew 27:35|
|He will be killed together with the offenders||Isaiah 53:12||Matthew 27:38|
|He will pray for the transgressors||Isaiah 53:12||Luke 23:34|
|He will be rejected by his own people||Isaiah 53:3||Matthew 21: 42-43|
|He will be hated for no reason||Psalm 69:4||John 15:25|
|His friends will watch from a distance||Psalm 38:11||Matthew 27:55|
|His clothes are divided, his robes gambled||Psalm 22:18||Matthew 27:35|
|He will be thirsty||Psalm 69:22||John 19:28|
|He will be offered bile and vinegar||Psalm 69:22||Matthew 27: 34.48|
|He will recommend His spirit to God||Psalm 31:5||Luke 23:46|
|His bones will not be broken||Psalm 34:20||John 19:33|
|His side will be pierced||Zechariah 12:10||John 19:34|
|Darkness will come over the land||Amos 8:9||Matthew 27:45|
|He will be buried in a rich man’s grave||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27: 57-60|
What does the Old Testament teach about Christ’s death and Resurrection?
All that is written in the Old Testament about the Christ that is the Messiah is prophecy. Often this is not done directly but concealed in stories and images. Most clear and appealing is the prophecy of the Kingship of the Messiah. He is the great Son of David, the Prince of Peace. He will reign forever.
The predestination of Jesus’ suffering and dying
This seems to be directly at odds with the suffering and dying of the Messiah; something that is not accepted in Judaism. His Resurrection, however, as a victory over death, makes His eternal kingship genuinely possible.
The Christian Church has read Old Testament prophecies about the death and Resurrection of the Messiah from the very beginning. And Jesus Himself presupposes it when He speaks of His coming suffering and death. He makes the comparison with Jonah, the prophet who was three days and three nights in the belly of the big fish.
(Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12 39:42). After His Resurrection He opens the mind of His disciples. In this way they will understand His words and understand that it all had to happen this way. For it was already foretold in the Scriptures, the Old Testament. (Luke 24 verse 44-46; John 5 verse 39; 1 Peter 1 verse 10-11)
On the day of Pentecost, Peter, in his speech about the death and Resurrection of the Christ (Acts 2 22:32), goes directly back to Psalm 16. In that Psalm, David prophesies: For thou shalt not forsake my soul in the grave, thou shalt not allow thy Holy One to see dissolution (verse 10). Paul does the same in Acts 13 26:37.
And Philip proclaims the Christ to the Ethiopian man when he has read from Isaiah 53. There it is about the suffering Servant of the Lord, who was led to the slaughter like a sheep. (Acts 8 verse 31-35). In Revelation 5 verse 6, we read about a Lamb that stands as a genus. Then it is also about the suffering Servant from Isaiah 53. Through suffering, He was exalted.
Isaiah 53 is the most direct prophecy of death (verse 7-9) and Resurrection (verse 10-12) of the Messiah. His death is called a guilty sacrifice for the sins of His people. He should die instead of His people.
The sacrifices that were made at the temple were already there. Animals had to be sacrificed to bring about reconciliation. The Passover (Exodus 12) is also a reference to the suffering and dying of the Messiah. Jesus connects the Lord’s Supper to His remembrance. (Matthew 26 verse 26-28)
Similarities with Jesus
We already find an excellent analogy in the sacrifice of Abraham (Genesis 22). There Isaac willingly allows himself to be bound, but in the end, God gives Abraham a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s place. God, Himself will provide in the Lamb for the burnt offering, Abraham had said.
Another analogy can be found in the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-45) who was sold as a slave by his brothers to Egypt and became Viceroy of Egypt through the prison. His suffering served to preserve great people in life. In the same way, the Messiah would be rejected and surrendered by His brethren to their salvation. (cf. Psalm 69 verse 5, 9; Philippians 2 verse 5-11)
Jesus speaks about the how of His death in John 3, verse 13-14. He refers there to the copper snake. (Numbers 21 verse 9) Just as the serpent was hanged on a pole, so Jesus will be hanged on a cross, and that cursed martyr will die. He will be rejected and abandoned by God and men.
(Psalm 22 verse 2) Whoever looks at the serpent is healed; whoever looks at Jesus in faith is saved. When He died on the cross, He overcame and condemned the old serpent, the enemy and murderer from the beginning: Satan.
That snake finally brings us to the Fall (Genesis 3), why it was all necessary. God then promises Adam and Eve that her offspring will crush the serpent’s head (verse 15).
All other promises and prophecies about the Messiah are anchored in this mother of all promises. He would come, and through his dying crucify and bury sin and death. Death could not keep Him because He had taken away her power of attorney: sin.
And because the Messiah had done entirely God’s will, He desired life from His Father, and He gave it to Him. (Psalm 21 verse 5) Thus He is the great King on the throne of David.
Top 10 Messianic prophecies that Jesus has fulfilled
Every major event in the history of the Jewish people is foretold in the Bible. What applies to Israel also applies to Jesus Christ. His life was foretold in detail in the Old Testament by the prophets.
There are many more, but I highlight 10 “Old Testament” prophecies about the Messiah that the Lord Jesus has fulfilled
1: The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem
Prophecy: Micah 5: 2
Fulfillment: Matthew 2: 1, Luke 2: 4-6
2: The Messiah would come from the line of Abraham
Prophecy: Genesis 12: 3, Genesis 22:18
Fulfillment: Matthew 1: 1, Romans 9: 5
3: The Messiah would be called the Son of God
Prophecy: Psalm 2: 7
Fulfillment: Matthew 3: 16-17
4: The Messiah would be called King
Prophecy: Zechariah 9: 9
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:37, Mark 11: 7-11
5: The Messiah would be betrayed
Prophecy: Psalm 41: 9, Zechariah 11: 12-13
Fulfillment: Luke 22: 47-48, Matthew 26: 14-16
6: The Messiah would be spit and beaten
Prophecy: Isaiah 50: 6
Fulfillment: Matthew 26:67
7: The Messiah would be crucified with criminals
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:38, Mark 15: 27-28
8: The Messiah would rise from the dead
Prophecy: Psalm 16:10, Psalm 49:15
Fulfillment: Matthew 28: 2-7, Acts 2: 22-32
9: The Messiah would ascend to heaven
Prophecy: Psalm 24: 7-10
Fulfillment: Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51
10: The Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12
Fulfillment: Romans 5: 6-8