Who is the Messiah in Prophecy?
Messiah Would Be Born in Bethlehem
But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2).
Bethlehem Ephrathah was in the territory of the tribe of Judah, five miles south of Jerusalem (Ruth 1:2). There was another Bethlehem just northwest of Nazareth, but the birthplace of the King was to be Bethlehem of Judah—and so it was (Mt. 2:1 and Lk. 2:4-7). It is clear that the Jews knew that the Messiah could not come from Nazareth, but that He would come from Bethlehem, the city of David (Jn. 7:42).
The One born there was to be Ruler in Israel. When Pontius Pilate asked Yeshua if He was the King of the Jews, He affirmed the title (Lk. 23:3). But just claiming to be an earthly king alone would not qualify Yeshua as the Messiah, for the Messiah must be from everlasting (literally, from “days of eternity”). When Yeshua declared that “before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn. 8:58), the Jewish people understood Him to be saying that He was from eternity. By His statement “I AM” (not “I was”) He identified Himself with the God of Israel, who also called Himself “I AM” (Ex. 3:14).
The Redeemer Would Be Born of a Woman
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel (Gen. 3:15).
This prophecy is the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible. God Himself speaks to the serpent, Satan, who had successfully tempted Eve into disobeying Him. In prophesying the ultimate demise of Satan, God said that the woman would bring forth a seed (a descendant) that would be at enmity with Satan. In addition to Galatians 4:4, the narratives concerning Yeshua’s birth give ample evidence that He was born to Miriam (Mary), the wife of Joseph of Nazareth.
As to enmity with Satan, the most notable of the confrontations between Satan and Yeshua occurred in the wilderness at the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry (Lk. 4:1-12). Their enmity resulted in the death of the Messiah, but just as Genesis 3:15 predicted, Messiah’s wounding was not a final wound, since He rose from the dead—as He Himself predicted (Mt. 27:63).
Finally, the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled in the ultimate destruction of Satan and his works by Yeshua. Revelation 20:10 depicts the final victory of Yeshua, the Seed of the woman, over the serpent.
Son of Abraham and Blessing to the Nations
Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3).
It is obvious from the Old Testament that God chose Abraham to begin a heritage that would ultimately be a blessing, not only to Israel, but to the entire earth. Specifically, we know from Isaiah 42:1-8 that the way in which God would bless the Gentile nations of the earth was through His servant, the Messiah. Therefore, whoever claimed to be the Messiah of Israel must be one who was descended from Abraham, and whose ministry included not only the nation of Israel, but the Gentiles as well.
Matthew clearly records in the genealogy of Yeshua that He is a descendant of Abraham. Yeshua obviously ministered to Jewish people during His earthly life, but also to Gentiles (Mt. 15:21-28; 8:5-13). He sent out 70 of His followers to preach the Gospel, a number that many believe parallels the list of nations in Genesis 10. Finally, when Yeshua called Saul of Tarsus to be an apostle, His specific commission to Saul (or as he was known in the Roman world, “Paul”) was to “bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:5,15).
The Lion from the Tribe of Judah
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples (Gen. 49:10).
From the first prophecy given to Abraham, the line of promise progressed through Isaac and then through Isaac’s son, Jacob. On his deathbed, Jacob prophesied over his twelve sons, telling them what would happen to them in days to come (Gen. 49:1).
Jacob predicted that the descendants of Judah would be the tribe through whom kingship will pass. Therefore, the Messiah must be a descendant of Judah, which He was, as the New Testament affirms (Mt. 1:2-3,16; Lk. 3:33).
The Messiah Would Be Born of a Jewish Virgin
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (Is. 7:14).
This passage, which should be carefully studied in context, is a direct prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah (Lk. 1:26-27). The translators of the Jewish Bible use the word “young woman” instead of “virgin”—but culturally, the Hebrew word almah almost always referred to an unmarried young woman, which in Isaiah’s day implied virginity. In addition, the authors of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament completed before Yeshua’s birth, translated this word as “virgin,” which was its meaning in biblical Hebrew. Given the very explicit reference to this verse by Matthew (1:22-23), there can be no question that Miriam, the virgin mother of Yeshua, unquestionably fulfilled this prophecy about the birth of Messiah.
A Son of David
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, 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 prophecy, spoken to David, traces the Messianic line to one of his descendants. It refers in part to David’s son, King Solomon, but there is a Messianic fulfillment beyond Solomon. Messiah would have to be a person from the tribe of Judah and from the House of David. This perpetual dynasty of the House of David—and Yeshua’s fulfillment of these promises—is one of the best-attested Messianic relationships in all of the Bible (Ps. 89:30-38; Isa. 9:1-7; Mt. 1:1; Lk. 1:31-33, 69; Acts 2:30; 13:23; Rom. 1:2-3; 2 Tim. 2:8; Rev. 3:7; 22:16).
The Messiah Would Be God in the Flesh
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this (Is. 9:6-7).
These all-important names given to Messiah in Isaiah 9 reveal His deity. Traditional Judaism does not teach that Messiah will be God, but this idea is clearly presented in the Hebrew Scriptures. The four names given to Messiah in Isaiah 9 bring us to the conclusion that this eternal ruler is God Himself. In fact, many Jewish versions of the Bible do not even translate the names, but rather transliterate them so that their meaning is not obviously seen!
If these references to the Mighty God and Everlasting Father are not enough to demonstrate that Messiah is God, John tells us that Yeshua is God who became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:1) Having already established that Yeshua is the descendant of Abraham and David, it is easy to see that this One who is Wonderful Counselor and the Prince of Peace is Yeshua, from Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 11:1-5. There, the “stump of Jesse” (David’s father) is said to possess wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, justice and righteousness.
Who else but Jesus could have fulfilled all of these prophecies? He is the Jewish Messiah for all and God’s greatest gift of love for mankind. As the first verse of the New Testament claims:
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son