Jesus: Hitting the Messianic Bulls-Eye
By Tim Barnett
Hundreds of years before Jesus ever came on the scene there were supernatural predictions that the Messiah would fulfill. These are referred to as Messianic prophecies. In this short article I would like to look at nine of these prophecies. By the end of this survey only one honest question that will remain: who in all of human history best fulfills them?
You can think of these nine predictions as a target with a bulls-eye at the center. As we move through the list of prophecies we will increasingly narrow down who fits the description of the Messiah. As a result, we will be in a position to decisively identify who hits the Messianic bulls-eye.
We begin by looking at the most general prediction of the Messiah, which goes back to the fall of mankind. It is at this tragic event that God promises that the Messiah would come from the human race, the seed of a woman. God speaking to Satan says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). If this were all we had to go on, then all we could say is that the Messiah would be one of the billions of human beings born on this planet. Fortunately, the Old Testament prophets don’t stop there.
Our next Messianic prophecy pins down exactly which ethnic group the Messiah would come from. Speaking to Abraham, God says, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. . . . The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’” (Gen. 12:3, 7). The term ‘offspring’ here is referring to only one person. The apostle Paul writes, “Now
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the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). So now we know that the Messiah would be one of Abraham’s biological descendants. Minimally, this narrows the field from billions down to millions. But we’re not done yet.
Next we are specifically told from which tribe the Messiah would come. Abraham had two son: Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac then had Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons, one of which is named Judah. The Old Testament prophets are clear that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 says, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
Of all those from the tribe of Judah, we read that the Messiah would come from the house of David. Speaking through the prophet Nathan, the Lord tells David, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). This is echoed by the prophet Jeremiah. He says, “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior” (Jer. 23:5-6). At this point, we have gone from the Messiah being merely a member of the human race to the specific household He would be born from…