The Messiah, or the Christ, or the "Anointed One"

Eighteen Prophecies of His Birth



  1. Seed of a woman and the Son of God

  2. Descendant of Noah's son, Shem.

  3. Descendant of Abraham

  4. Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

  5. Descendant of Isaac (Abraham's son)

  6. Descendant of Jacob (Isaac's son)

  7. Descendant of Judah (of which the tribe was named).

  8. A prophet like Moses.

  9. Descendant of the family of Jesse.

  10. Of the house and lineage of David.

  11. Born in a small town called Bethlehem.

  12. Birth would be associated with a massacre of infants.

  13. Will come out of Egypt.

  14. Messenger will prepare the way

  15. Will be from Galilee and specifically Nazareth in Galilee.

  16. Will come while the temple in Jerusalem was standing

  17. Will come during a time when crucifixion was a manner of death

  18. Will come at a prophesied time.




Revelation 19:10b For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (NIV)

All of Scriptures is about Jesus Christ. The Old Testament is filled with prophecies and types which point to Jesus' birth, life, death, burial and resurrection.

To some of his followers, Jesus said...

Luke 24:25-27 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (NIV)

To his disciples, Jesus said...

Luke 24:44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses [see also John 5:46], the Prophets and the Psalms." (NIV)

Jesus clearly taught that the Old Testament was about Him! The apostle clearly believed this and taught it to be so.

Acts 3:18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. (NIV)

Acts 17:2-3 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said. (NIV)

Acts 26:22-23 But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen- 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles." (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures... (NIV)

1 Peter 1:10-11 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. (NIV)

The following is a study of some of these ancient prophecies - specifically those concerning the birth of the Messiah - and their subsequent fulfillments. Many more exist pertaining to later events in Jesus' life (perhaps to be the subject of a future article). Mathematically, the odds are so far against only these prophecies being fulfilled in one person that for all intensive purposes these alone should provide conclusive proofs that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

#1. The Messiah will be the "seed of a woman" and the Son of God with a purpose of destroying the work of the Devil.

Genesis 3:14-15 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (NIV)

Beyond this occurrence, throughout the Bible, "seed" is always in reference to a man's descendents. From a biological perspective this makes sense as well. Why would God specifically single out the Messiah to be the "seed" of a woman? Certainly it was to point out that the Messiah would be born of a woman apart from a man. In other words, Jesus would be born of a virgin.

Isaiah's well known prophecy says the same thing...

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (NIV)

Matthew and Luke both clearly understood the events surrounding Jesus' birth to be a fulfillment of this prophecy...

Matthew 1:22-23 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"-which means, "God with us." (NIV)

Luke 1:26-35 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (NIV)

Isaiah's prophecy had dual meaning in his day... a symbolic, relatively immediate, fulfillment regarding the political situation of his day (defined by the amount of time it takes a child to learn right from wrong), and the primary meaning, based on the name "Immanuel." Immanuel, meaning "God with us" as Jesus literally would be, placed an absolute fulfillment in the future regarding the coming of the Messiah. For those saying that the Hebrew word in Isaiah, translated as "virgin", could also mean "young woman" this is true in a general sense. But, specifically, the Bible never uses the term in reference to a woman that was married. With Jesus being born of a woman who had found favor with God (Luke 1:30), one who was obedient to His will, it's certainly clear that this unmarried woman would be a virgin - the implication of the term even in Isaiah's day. The Greek word chosen by the Jewish scholars who created the Septuagint (the original Greek Old Testament), written 200 years before Jesus was born, showed that they too understood the Hebrew word to have this meaning. Matthew even uses this word when he quotes Isaiah in Matthew 1:23.

This prophecy of Isaiah was written circa 700-680 BC and was fulfilled completely slightly less than 700 years later.

As for Jesus being the one who would destroy the devil's work, John is very clear...

1 John 3:8b The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. (NIV) [See also Hebrews 2:14 & Revelation 20:10]

With God alone being Jesus' father, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of David found in the Psalms...

Psalms 2:7-9 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." (NIV)

Notice that God says of Jesus, "You are my Son" and then states that as of a particular time He has become His father. The eternal son of God, the second of the Trinity, has always existed (John 17:5), yet in a special act of earthly incarnation God became Jesus' father.

#2. The Messiah will be a descendant of Noah's son, Shem.

Genesis 9:26-27 He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. 27 May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave." (NIV)

Noah was singling out Shem's line as being the line that would be blessed by God. A great-grandson of Shem is shown to be Eber...

Genesis 10:22-29 The sons of Shem: ... Two sons were born to Eber: (NIV)

We are told by Luke that Eber was in the lineage of Jesus, certainly making Jesus a descendant of Shem...

Luke 3:35 ... the son of Eber ... (NIV)

#3. The Messiah will be a descendant of Abraham

Genesis 12:3 and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (NIV)

Genesis 22:18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." (NIV)

Matthew and Luke both record that Jesus was a direct descendant of Abraham. The following two verses are only short excerpts from the detailed genealogies provided by Matthew and Luke.

Matthew 1:1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: (NIV)

Luke 3:34 ...the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham ... (NIV)

#4. The Messiah will be a priest in the order of Melchizedek.

The Messiah was not going to be a priest under the Law of Moses. To be a priest or high priest through the requirements of this Old Testament law required that the individual be born into the Levitical line, a descendant of Aaron. In fulfilling the prophecy given by David, Jesus was a high priest in totally different way.

Psalms 110:4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (NIV)

Hebrews 5:5-6 So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." 6 And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (NIV)

Hebrews 6:20b He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (NIV)

Hebrews 7:15-17 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (NIV)

The Messiah was to be a high priest in the order (or fashion) of Melchizedek. Melchizedek wasn't a priest because of his lineage, he was a king of peace and righteousness and priest of God Most High, and through Scripture's silence was never known to have a beginning or ending to his life.

Hebrews 7:1-3 This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." 3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. (NIV)

The Messiah, namely Jesus, was clearly the ultimate High Priest in this order, not being dependant on any human lineage for His priesthood. Additionally he is the absolute King of all Righteousness, The King of Peace, who lives for evermore (Isaiah 9:6, Revelation 1:18, Revelation 15:4), serving as our high priest (mediator) before God (1 Timothy 2:5).

#5. The Messiah will be a descendant of Isaac (Abraham's son)

Though Abraham had many sons (Genesis 25:1), God specifically said that his covenant (through which the whole world would be blessed) would be through Isaac's line.

Genesis 17:19-21 Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year." (NIV)

Though Ishmael was Abraham's first born, he was not the recipient of the promise - a significant statement as Muslim's claim otherwise, contrary to what is written in the Bible. Altering the prophesied line, to place Jesus outside of it, would remove His claim to be the prophesied Messiah.

Matthew 1:1-2 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob... (NIV)

#6. The Messiah will be a descendant of Jacob (Isaac's son)

Once again, God specifically narrowed the line from which the Messiah would come. Though Jacob, also called Israel, would have a dozen sons, God specifically stated that the blessing would go to Jacob and his descendants. Esau was the eldest son, even as Ishmael was a generation before, yet God chose another.

Genesis 28:1-4a So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: "Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham... (NIV)

Genesis 35:9-11 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel. 11 And God said to him, "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. (NIV)

Later, at the time of the Exodus, as Israel entered the Promised Land, God made the false prophet Balaam bless Israel (though he had wanted to curse). Included in his Divinely required words is this reference to the Ruler that would come in Jacob's line far in the future.

Numbers 24:17a "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. (NIV)

Matthew's genealogy again shows the fulfillment concerning Jesus...

Matthew 1:1-2 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: ... Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers (NIV)

#7. The Messiah will be a descendant of Judah (of which the tribe was named).

Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, the eldest of which was Reuben. As Jacob neared death, God had him bless his children, a blessing that contained prophecy concerning the future of each. Judah, though not the eldest, was given a specific prophecy concerning his descendants that elevated him above his brothers. God promised that the tribal descendants bearing his name, Judah, would have the right of ruling until the final absolute ruler of all nations will come. Remember that this prophecy was given hundreds of year before Israel even had a king and even then the people chose their first king from a different tribe (1 Samuel 9:21). Only as God established David over Israel did this line begin that ended with the Messiah.

Genesis 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. (NIV)

Even in the troubled years of Israel's later history, God promised Hezekiah, that He was still with Judah...

Isaiah 37:31 Once more a remnant of the house of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. (NIV)

From Isaiah's words 700 years before, to Jacob's blessing almost 2000 years before, God fulfilled this promise in the birth of Jesus...

Luke 3:33b-34a ... the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob ... (NIV)

Matthew 1:1-2 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers... (NIV)

Zechariah expanded on the prophecy found in Genesis 49, that the Messiah would have the obedience of the nations, meaning all nations.

Zechariah 9:10 He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. (NIV)

The apostle Paul certainly understood and taught that Isaiah's messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus.

Romans 15:12 And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." (NIV)

#8. The Messiah will be a prophet like Moses.

More than 1400 years before Jesus, Moses gave specific prophecy concerning the coming Messiah. His prophecy was unique in that it was tied directly to him, showing the Moses understood that he was a type (or foreshadow) of the One who would come.

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die." 17 The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. (NIV)

Moses showed that the coming Prophet would be the Messiah by emphasizing that everything He spoke must be obeyed without exception. In demanding perfect accountability, he points towards the Messiah's sinless perfection and absolute authority to rule over all mankind. When Moses said the prophet would be "like me" he was telling the people to examine the evidence of any who would profess to be Messiah or The Prophet. No other prophet in Scriptures shared as many similarities with Jesus as did Moses.

As for the evidence: like Moses, the Messiah would be...

  • A leader

  • A prophet
  • A lawgiver (Jesus proclaimed the new law of Love: Galatians 6:2; John 13:34; John 15:12; James 2:8; Matthew 22:37-39; 1 John 4:21)
  • A deliver (Moses led God's people out of the bondage of Egypt into the Promised Land. Jesus leads God's people out of the bondage of sin into eternal life: the ultimate Promised Land.)
  • A teacher
  • A priest (See Item #4, above)
  • An anointed one (Exodus 3:10; Luke 4:18-21)
  • A mediator (Exodus 33:7-11; 1 Timothy 2:5)
  • A human
  • A Jew
  • A miracle worker (healed lepers too: Numbers 12:10-15; Matthew 8:1-3; Luke 17:12-14)

In addition, there would be other similarities...

  • As infants both of their lives would be threatened by evil kings, yet both would be supernaturally protected from harm. (Exodus 1:14-2:10; Matthew 2:13-16)

  • Both spent their early lives in Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15)

  • Moses lifted up a serpent to heal all the people who had faith; Jesus, himself, was lifted up to heal all who would have faith in him. (Numbers 21:9; John 3:14-15)

People of Jesus' day could recognize many of the similarities. Note that certain things, such as the circumstances of Jesus' birth and early life, were not well known until they were circulated by the apostles, especially in the recorded gospels. The apostle John noted the people's response to the things they knew...

John 7:40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet." (NIV)

Luke too, in the book of Acts, clearly presents Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophecy as well. Remember that Luke was reporting from eye-witness accounts (Luke 1:1-4 & Acts 1:1-3).

Acts 3:19-23 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.' (NIV)

As a final note, consider this similarity with a different outcome. Moses offered to die, if necessary, so that God would forgive the Israelites' sins (Exodus 32:30-32). Moses death could not secure it, nor was it necessary (Exodus 32:33-35). Jesus did willingly die for our sins - a sacrifice both necessary and effectual (Hebrews 10:10, 14).

#9. The Messiah will be a descendant of the family of Jesse.

Again, hundreds of years before Jesus, Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a descendant of the family of Jesse.

Isaiah 11:1-5 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. (NIV)

Isaiah 11:10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. (NIV)

The fulfillment can be seen in Jesus' genealogies...

Matthew 1:5b-6a Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David. (NIV)

Luke 3:31b-32a the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse (NIV)

Paul also testifies that Jesus was that Root.

Romans 15:12 And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him." (NIV)

#10. The Messiah will be of the house and lineage of David.

Old Testament prophecy clearly limited the line of the Messiah to one of Jesse's sons, namely the one who became king, David. David, himself, received this promise...

2 Samuel 7:12-13 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (NIV)

Psalms 89:3-4 You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, 4 'I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.'" (NIV)

Psalms 132:11 The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: "One of your own descendants I will place on your throne - (NIV)

Isaiah, about three hundred years later, expanded on this message.

Isaiah 16:5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it - one from the house of David - one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness. (NIV)

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (NIV)

Still later, Jeremiah even notes that the Branch who would come from David would be called "The Lord Our Righteousness." This was fulfilled completely in Jesus who was God in the flesh.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 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 Righteousness. (NIV)

Jeremiah 33:15-16 "'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.' (NIV)

Ezekiel refers to this descendant of David as the ultimate Shepherd.

Ezekiel 34:23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. (NIV)

Ezekiel 37:24 "'My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. (NIV)

Matthew records that Jesus even referred to himself as this Shepherd...

Mark 14:27 "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' (NIV)

The writer to the Hebrews also saw Jesus as being that Shepherd, as did the apostle Peter...

Hebrews 13:20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep... (NIV)

1 Peter 2:25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (NIV)

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (NIV)

Even at a time when Israel was under God's judgment and the state of the Davidic monarchy appeared to be in jeopardy, God had the prophet Amos assure Israel that His Messiah would come from David's line.

Amos 9:11-12 "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, 12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name," declares the LORD, who will do these things. (NIV)

Luke goes into extra detail showing the fulfillment of this Davidic line in regards to Jesus. Both Mary and Joseph were of the Davidic line (see the two genealogies in the section on Jesse), so even Jesus' adopted dad met the requirement. Luke also records that the angel who announced His birth to Mary specifically states that Jesus was this prophesied King that would sit on David's throne.

Luke 1:26-27 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. (NIV)

Luke 1:30-33 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (NIV)

Paul, the former Pharisee (who were the experts on the law in New Testament times), proclaims Jesus to be the heir of David...

Romans 1:2-4 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (NIV)

Lastly, the apostle John recorded Jesus' words where He claims to be the Root and Offspring of David...

Revelation 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." (NIV)

With the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, along with all the Jewish genealogical records, it became impossible for any one to prove that they are a descendant of David. This took place in A.D. 70, again showing that it was necessary for the Messiah to come before that time - as was fulfilled in Jesus! This too is a fulfillment of prophecy...

Genesis 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. (NIV)

This ancient prophecy clearly states that the right to rule would not pass away from Judah until the Messiah (also called "Shiloh", or the one who will bring peace) would come. The claim of any descendant to sit on the throne of David ceased with the destruction of the genealogical records that could prove this right. Jesus, who came before this destruction, with perfect credentials, rules eternally as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The apostle John gives us a glimpse of this eternal ruler...

Revelation 19:11-16 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (NIV)

#11. The Messiah will be born in a small town called Bethlehem.

The prophet Micah, approximately seven centuries before Jesus, provided specific prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (NIV)

Calling Bethlehem by two names made sure that the reader would know which Bethlehem was being referred to. This second title harkened back to ancient times in reference to Bethlehem of Judea (see Genesis 35:19; Genesis 48:7; 1 Chronicles 4:4), located about five miles (8 kilometers) south of Jerusalem. Historically it is known that there were other "Houses of Bread" in Israel, as the name Bethlehem meant. For example, in the territory of Zebulun, about six or seven miles west of Nazareth, there is another ancient Bethlehem (see Joshua 19:15-16). God made sure that this prophecy, regarding Jesus, would have a clear and unmistakable fulfillment. Matthew and Luke both record the details.

Matthew 2:1-6 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" (NIV)

Luke 2:4-15 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." (NIV)

I once had a secular Israeli guide that mocked the event concerning the shepherds. His big objection was that the angel said that the Savior was born in the city (or town) of David. Since Jerusalem was called the city of David dozens of times throughout the Old Testament, he claimed that the shepherds would have gone there instead. But, in reality, the prophecy of Micah was very well known among the people of that day. Messianic speculations had run rampant, but the place of birth was solidly held to be Bethlehem, even as Herod had been advised. Likewise, the shepherds would have immediately known that the city (or town) of David being referenced was the ancestral home town of David, the one mentioned in the prophecy, namely Bethlehem.

#12. The Messiah's birth would be associated with a massacre of infants.

Jeremiah's prophecy concerning a slaughter of infants (young children) was fulfilled only at the time of Jesus. It specifically spelled out the locale and that the children would be Jewish. While there was more than one Ramah in Israel, the Ramah tied to Rachel is the region near the border of Benjamin, near the location of Rachel's tomb (1 Samuel 10:2) - a location also tied to Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19).

Jeremiah 31:15 This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more." (NIV)

Matthew clearly tied the historic barbaric act of Herod with this ancient prophecy.

Matthew 2:16-18 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." (NIV)

While some question the historicity of this event because other sources of the day are silent regarding it, it should be noted that it was by no means the most barbaric act of the mad-man that was known as Herod the Great. In fact, because the event pertained to only a very small and unimportant town and affected perhaps dozens of children, it would have little reason to be recorded in official records. In fact, unless it affected someone of public notoriety or standing, it would be of little note. This should not minimize that it would have greatly affected the families of the local area, or that it would have been circulated among the Jewish commoners as another example of the tyrannical nature of their self-proclaimed king. Matthew's readers would have likely known of the events he recorded.

#13. The Messiah will come out of Egypt.

Even as the nation Israel was called out of Egypt, the Messiah was to come out of Egypt as well.

Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. (NIV)

This prophecy was fulfilled specifically, when God called his literal son out of Egypt while he was still a young child. The prophesied events that led to Jesus being in Egypt (as seen in item #12) culminated in God bringing Him back to Israel. Matthew clearly understood this return to Israel as being the fulfillment of Hosea's prophecy of more than 700 years before.

Matthew 2:14-15 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." (NIV)

#14. A messenger (a man of the wilderness) will prepare the way for the Messiah

While this does not directly pertain to Jesus' birth, as the messenger - John the Baptist - began his ministry many years later, there is a connection. When the angel announced to Mary that she would have a son, the angel also told her that her relative living far away in Judah was already pregnant, though very old. This highly unexpected pregnancy, with a number of miraculous and public signs associated with it, was in regards to the one who would be the prophesied messenger. If this was shown to be the prophesied messenger, as it was, it was necessary that the Messiah be born in his lifetime (which was rather short due to the events of Herod.

Isaiah 40:3-5 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (NIV)

Later, yet still about 400 years before Jesus, Malachi records a similar prophecy.

Malachi 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. (NIV)

Jesus certainly was the glory of the Lord, revealed to mankind (John 1:14), the Lord himself who came to the temple. And yes, He was preceded by a messenger, a voice calling out in the desert. The unique ministry of John the Baptist and his focus on Jesus was a direct fulfillment of these prophecies and testimony that birth of the Messiah was fulfilled in his day. The apostle John made clear that this was history and further recorded the testimony of Jesus, himself, concerning John...

Mathew 3:1-3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (NIV)

Matthew 11:7-10 Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: "'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' (NIV)

Much more could be written on John the Baptist, but it will suffice to say that the gospel writers understood him to be the forerunner to Jesus (consider also Luke chapter 1 and John 1:23).

#15. The Messiah will be from Galilee and specifically Nazareth in Galilee.

It's relatively easy to establish Galilee as the place the Messiah would come from as Isaiah was quite clear regarding this.

Isaiah 9:1-2 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan - 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (NIV)

In regards to events about 700 years later, Matthew records the fulfillment of this prophecy following the return of Joseph, Mary & Jesus from Egypt.

Matthew 2:22-23 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." (NIV)

It was not only that Jesus lived in this region as a young boy, but also that it was the focus of much of the ministry of Jesus from the very beginning.

Matthew 4:12-16 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali- 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." (NIV)

Pilate, and others at the time of Jesus' arrest, considered Jesus to be a Galilean as well...

Luke 23:6-7 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. (NIV)

Matthew 26:69-71 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. 70 But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. 71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." (NIV)

Galilee was the more general designation, Nazareth the specific. Returning to the first passage of Matthew, in verse 23, he points to Nazareth as this specific fulfillment of prophetical writings.

Matthew 2:23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." (NIV)

While a person could search the Old Testament in vain for a single reference that Jesus would be called a Nazarene, this in no way means that Matthew was mistaken. Notice the way Matthew makes this statement.

  1. It was said "through the prophets." Prophets is plural as it is the fulfillment of many prophetical statements that is in view. Contrast Matthew's usage here to the earlier and directly fulfilled prophecies he cites in Matthew 1:22 and Matthew 2:5, 15. In each of these cases he is pointing to a defined prophecy of a single prophet and so uses the term "the prophet."

  2. "He will be called..." The reason Jesus would be called this was because it was descriptive of who He shall be. This places the focus on the remaining word...

  3. "a Nazarene." To call someone a Nazarene in Jesus' day was almost akin to calling them a loser. Judeans regularly looked down on Galileans. It was bad enough to be considered a Galilean, at least from a Judean perspective, but Nazareth was considered to be the worst (or least) of Galilee. Even Galileans looked down on Nazareth.

    John 1:46a "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. (NIV)

    John 7:50-52 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" 52 They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee." (NIV)

Matthew saw the combined totality of numerous Old Testament prophecies, concerning the Messiah being nothing special, rejected, despised, and mocked, as testifying that Jesus would be a Nazarene!

Isaiah 53:2-3 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (NIV)

Psalms 22:1-2, 6-7 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. ... 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: (NIV)

#16. The Messiah will come while the temple in Jerusalem was standing

The last of the Old Testament prophets proclaimed that the Messiah would come to the temple. This was significant as there was a time in their history when the temple had been earlier destroyed and, as of A.D. 70, it was destroyed to never be rebuilt.

Malachi 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. (NIV)

Daniel's earlier prophecy said the temple would be destroyed after the Anointed One (Messiah) is cut off. This, again, testified that the Messiah had to have come before A.D. 70.

Daniel 9:26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. (NIV)

Haggai also testified that the temple who would see "the desired of all nations" would be the one rebuilt in his day. This was the temple still standing at the time of Jesus (albeit with renovations by King Herod). This is why that entire period, until A.D. 70 is still referred to as the second temple period.

Since Jesus was at the temple a number of times, as recorded in the New Testament, it is clear that He fulfilled these prophecies. For reference, here is one example:

Matthew 21:12-16 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant. 16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" (NIV)

#17. The Messiah will come during a time when crucifixion was a manner of death

Fulfilling the law, Jesus became a curse for us. This was clearly portrayed in His being hung on a tree (cross).

Deuteronomy 21:23b ...because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. (NIV)

Paul saw Jesus' death as a clear fulfillment this.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." (NIV)

This is significant because stoning had become the standard penalty for blasphemy in Jesus day.

John 10:31-33 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" 33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." (NIV)

Instead of being stoned, Jesus was crucified. This form of Roman torture and slow death didn't even exist when prophets such as David and Isaiah wrote, yet they clearly spoke of what would be fulfilled in Jesus' death on the cross.

Psalms 22:16b-18 ...they have pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. (NIV)

Isaiah 52:14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness ... (NIV)

Why was Jesus crucified and not stoned? The ruling body of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, had lost the legal right to put people to death. Rome now required the Roman governor, in this case Pilate, to hold that authority. This required Jesus' death to be by Roman means instead of the traditional Jewish form.

#18. The Messiah will come at a prophesied time.

Approximately five centuries before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Daniel was given specific prophesies concerning the Anointed One.

Daniel 9:24-26a "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. 25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. (NIV)

This prophecy was given at a time when Israel was in the Babylonian captivity, the temple and Jerusalem were in ruins, and Messianic hopes all but lost. God then gives one of the most extraordinary prophecies in all of Scriptures, namely specific timing to events concerning the coming Messiah. It should be noted that the people of Israel didn't understand the prophecy, likely because they couldn't envision their Messiah being "cut off." It was only in its' fulfillment that we can clearly see that it was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

Daniel's prophecy included the following steps...

  1. There would be a decree to rebuild Jerusalem

  2. Jerusalem would be rebuilt and (since it is referenced later, it presupposes that) the temple would be rebuilt too.

  3. The Anointed One (Messiah) would be "cut off" - which can mean being rejected or killed (the ultimate rejection).

  4. Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed again by those ruling over the land.

History records the fulfillment of all those steps in perfect order...

  1. In approximately 445 BC, the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus gave permission to the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem, which had been in ruins until that time following its' earlier destruction by the Babylonians. The Persians had this authority as they had previously conquered the Babylonian empire.

    Nehemiah 2:1-6 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; 2 so the king asked me, "Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart." I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, "May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?" 4 The king said to me, "What is it you want?" Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, "If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it." 6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, "How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?" It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time. (NIV)

    Artaxerxes came to power in 465 B.C., placing the date of this event twenty years later in 445 B.C. (The beginning of the month of Nisan would be about March 14th on our calendars).

  2. The Jews, under Nehemiah, rebuilt Jerusalem and the temple.

  3. Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah, in fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies, yet He was rejected by His own and crucified.

  4. Approximately four decades after Jesus' crucifixion, the Romans, rulers over the land of Israel, destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem. There has been no additional temple to this day.

Do the math...

The '7s' referenced in the prophecy are weeks of years

7 '7s' + 62 '7s" = 7*7 + 62*7 = 49 + 434 = 483 years.

Even a quick calculation places the end no later than 39 A.D. (remember there is no 0 year between B.C. and A.D.). Because the Jewish year was in fact 360 days (based on a lunar calendar) some have converted the years to days. Adding those days to the start date brings you forward not quite as far (about 7 years less, based on subtracting 5.25 days per year for 483 years). This certainly places the date around the historic time of the death of Jesus Christ. (Others, who have spent far more time on this calculation, claim that it places the end exactly at the time of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion - the prophesied event of Zechariah 9:9 as fulfilled in John 12:13-15). It is not improbable that the prophecy would be that specific!)

Historically not just Christians understood what Daniel's prophecy professed to do, namely date the coming of the Messiah. One Jewish source noted that the rabbis ("the wise") of his day didn't want the people trying to calculate it because it would show that the Messiah should have already come (and He has!).

Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon or Moses ben Maimon, 1135-1204 A.D.): "Daniel has elucidated to us the knowledge of the end times. However, since they are secret, the wise have barred the calculation of the days of Messiah's coming so that the untutored populace will not be led astray when they see that the End Times have already come but there is no sign of the Messiah" (from his letter, written in Arabic, to the Yemenite Jewish community, called Igeret Teiman. Maimonides was the author of the authoritative Mishna Torah, a fourteen section guide to Jewish traditions and practices based on the entire Talmud).


Prophecy didn't (and doesn't) get fulfilled by chance. God provided so many, with specific details, that allegations of coincidence can't enter into this.

Isaiah 48:3-6a I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. 4 For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze. 5 Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, 'My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.' 6 You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them? (NIV)

2 Peter 1:19-21 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

Much more could be written on the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus throughout the remainder of His life. Read the gospels! Read all of God's Word! The bottom line is that Jesus is the prophesied One, the Messiah, the only source of forgiveness of sins and salvation from God's wrath.

John 20:30-31 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (NIV)

Written by Brent MacDonald of Lion Tracks Ministries. (c) 2005/2006
Duplication permitted as long as the source is cited.