Updated: Sep 9
By Luke Lancaster
How many of us know where in Scripture that Jesus was predicted to come? Would we be prepared to talk with our Jewish friends about the Christ? Many of us are not steeped in Messianic prophecy, and that is why this article was written. Our Jewish friends are missing out on their promised Messiah, and they need to know! The Hebrew Scriptures speak of a promised king of Israel who will be God's own Son. He will be miraculously born of a virgin, in the land of Bethlehem, and titled the "Son of Man." This "Messiah" is Jesus Christ.
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the Messiah would be of the lineage of King David, "Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely" (Jer. 23:5-6). Jesus is this royal son of David. He is this king, and Matthew 1:6-17 confirms the Davidic pedigree of Jesus. All of the kings of Israel from David to Jesus are there listed.
The prophet Daniel in the 6th century BC prophesied that God's kingdom would come and reign forever in the future, which presumably would be led by the Messianic king. This promised king would come after four mighty kingdoms, which traditionally are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The text says that during the reign of the fourth kingdom (Rome), the kingdom of God would come. This kingdom will destroy the fourth kingdom, and will last until the end of time (Dan. 2:44). This is what Jesus was attempting to bring to the minds of the Israelites in the 1st century. He proclaimed, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Jesus, the royal Son of David, leads this new everlasting kingdom of God.
Psalm 2:7 prophesied that the "Annointed" (Messiah) would be God's own Son. This is significant, for when Jesus was on earth, God said that He was His Son. When Jesus was baptized, the heavens were torn open and a loud voice was heard by all, "This is my Son" (Mark 1:11). This same loud voice boomed from Heaven during the Transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17:5, saying the same thing. Jesus consistently called God His Father (see for example John 10:25-30), and Peter claimed that Jesus was the "Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Jesus truly is the promised Son of God, the Messiah prophesied of old, ruling the kingdom of God. The prophet Daniel prophesied again that four kingdoms would come and go, but that ultimately God would take their authority away and give it to the Son of Man. This "Son of Man" would come in the clouds and reign with God, the "Ancient of Days" (Daniel 7:13). Hence, when Jesus comes and refers to Himself as the "Son of Man," He is calling Himself the prophetic man with authority over the kingdoms from Daniel 7. Jesus actually directly quotes Daniel 7:13 as referring to Himself in Mark 14. The passage reads, "Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?' And Jesus said, 'I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.'" (Mark 14:61-62). Jesus is the ruling king over all of the kingdoms. The prophet Isaiah (740-681 BC) said that the Messiah would be miraculously born of a virgin, which is a totally impossible thing to occur. Babies comes from sexual relations, so for a virgin to have a baby would be an act of God. The context of this prophecy by Isaiah is King Ahaz of Israel, who had deeply feared the Syrian and Ephraimite armies. The prophet Isaiah told king Ahaz to depend on God for protection, and to ask God for a sign. Ahaz refused, but God gave a sign anyway: a virgin will conceive and bear a son named Emmanuel. The Gospel according to Matthew cites this verse from Isaiah, and claims that Mary is this virgin who is called "Emmanuel" (Matt. 1:23).
The prophet Micah said that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, the city where King David was born. The ancient prophecy reads, "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days" (Micah 5:2). Jesus was born in Bethlehem as well, which the Gospel writers emphasize (Matthew 2:1). The Gospel writers knew the Jewish Scriptures intimately, for they were Jews, and quoted prophecies like these which Jesus fulfilled. Just as the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3), so also our Jewish friends might wonder and ask. We can answer them in the affirmative, Jesus was the prophesied one to come. There are many other prophetic passages which could be discussed (ex. Zech. 3:8; 6:11), but for the sake of brevity, only a few were included.