According to Christian theology, the Old Testament is rich with glimpses of a promised Messiah. In fact, many Jewish people believe that there is still a messiah to come. The main difference is that the Jewish population for the most part, (excluding Messianic Jews), believe a Messiah has not yet come, and a few have departed altogether from the belief in an actual messiah as a man or ruler to come about, but other experts rather interpret the messianic prophecies through ideas such as a Eutopian society or other ways to explain the passages that seem to indicate a messiah will come. Some modern day Jewish people are completely unaware of anything to do with a Messiah at all. Christians, on the other hand, believe the Messiah has already come, only that he came in a way that the Jewish people of Jesus Christ’s era did not recognize him, perhaps because they were expecting him to come in the same fashion as all the other Jewish heroes -someone who would sit on the throne of David and break off the tyranny of their Roman oppressors of the day.

But to really unpack the glimpses of the Messiah to come, we must examine the Old Testament to watch the stunning unfolding of Jewish prophecy foreshadowing a Messiah that seems to fit the portrait of Jesus.

The prophet Isaiah revealed the manner of his birth – born of a virgin.
The prophet Micah pinpointed his place of birth -Bethlehem.
Both the book of Genesis and the prophet Jeremiah described that he would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, the lineage of King David.
The Book of poetry known as the Psalms foretold his betrayal, his accusation by false witnesses, his manner of death, (crucifixion -pierced in his hands and feet -even though crucifixion was not even a part of Jewish law at the time of this old testament writing as it still wasn’t part of their judicial system in the time of Jesus.) The book of Psalms even predicted he would not decay but would be resurrected.
There are even scriptures suggesting that he would be called a Nazarene (someone who lived in Nazereth).

Perhaps the most stunning scripture in the Old testament as a prophecy foreshadowing the messiah comes out of Isaiah 53:3-9, 12.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we were healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth, he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment, he was taken away, and who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence nor was any deceit in his mouth. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Ok, let’s try and unpack this a little, as there is so much more symbolism and prophecy in the old testament that points to Jesus as Messiah.

Re: the virgin birth, see Luke 1:26-35 for confirmation in the new testament of the old testament prophecy.
As for his birth in Bethlehem, Jesus should not have been born in Nazareth since his family lived in Galilee. But guess what? There happened to be a census that required every man and his family to register in the town of his birth. Since Joseph (Mary’s husband) was a descendant of king David, he was required to take the long trip to Bethlehem to register for the census. Mary was with child as they set out on the journey to register for the census in Bethlehem. While they were there, she gave birth to Jesus in a manger. (Luke 2:1-7)

As for the lineage, there are 2 found in the new testament, one found in Matthew 1:1-17, and the other in Luke 3:23-38, indicating Jesus was descended from what was prophesied.

Jesus’ betrayal was foretold and fulfilled in Matthew 26:47-50, and again in Mark 14:43-49, Luke 22:47-53, and John 18:2-8. Judas, the one betraying Jesus, was filled with remorse after making a deal for 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus into the hands of the officials who would bring him to trial. Judas’s story is found in Matthew 26:14-19, and again in Matthew 27:1-10. This particular passage also is a fulfillment of a prophecy found in Zechariah 11:13 that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. ( I encourage you to read the scriptures for further insight as I do not have enough time or room to unveil all of this in one blog! )

As for the false witnesses, while Jesus was on trial, the chief priests of the day had incited false witnesses to come forward and testify against him (Matthew 26:59-63), also fulfilling the prophecy that Jesus remained silent before his accusers, from the prophecy in Isaiah 53 above.

As for the nail scarred hands, and the death by crucifixion, the fact that the Jewish people of the day were under Roman occupation, they appealed to the Roman governor, asking that he be crucified under Roman law which allowed crucifixion as a form of punishment, thereby allowing the prophecy of his death by crucifixion to be possible. Without believing, and without knowing, they had a hand in fulfilling Scripture! Pilate, the roman governor, consented to the cries and wishes of the people begging for his crucifixion even though he himself, saw that Jesus was not worthy of such a punishment. But in an effort to gain the people’s favor, he released Jesus to be flogged and then executed by means of crucifixion.

Where it suggests that Jesus was assigned the death of the wicked (crucifixion) he was hung on a cross between two thieves (Matt. 27:38). Where it talks of him being despised and rejected, the very next verse, Matthew 27:39 says that those passing by ‘were hurling abuse at him’ and it goes on for several verses afterwards with their taunting and rejection and accusations, and mocking words.

Familiar with suffering? Not only was he flogged with whips with chunks of bone in them, and had a crown of thorns placed on his head, but he had spent the evening prior to his arrest in a garden, weeping with such turmoil at what he knew he was about to endure and experiencing the burden of carrying the weight of the sin of the world upon his shoulders… So much so did he experience this sorrow that he endured a rare condition that causes the human body to sweat drops of blood due to excessive stress and anxiety. (Luke 22:42-44).

The disciples had even arranged a place of burial for the body of Jesus after his death, not believing he would literally rise from the dead and return to them 3 days later fully alive! But ironically, they arranged a burial site from a rich man named Joseph, a member of the council, who had been waiting for the messiah, who allowed them to bury the body of Jesus in his family burial site!

Coincidence???

There are so many more signs and prophecies from the Old testament that give sufficient evidence that not only was Jesus the Messiah, but that he is part of the triune God, another point of contention between the Jewish belief and the christian. The Jewish people do bit claim to believe in the trinity, whereas Christians, believe along with Jesus when he claimed to be the son of God and that he and the Father were one, but also suggested another would come, the holy spirit, the third person of the trinity, sent as the comforter for those who believe that Jesus not only is Messiah, but the son of God.

Sadly I do not have enough time to give away the whole chapter of this book, indicating signs and customs performed in the old testament, and even today that are meant to be symbols pointing to a messiah.

Why don’t the Jewish people believe that Jesus is Messiah if there is so much evidence to support that he fulfills the old testament prophecies? Again, as I mentioned at the beginning, the Jewish people of his day, though ripe with anticipation for a messiah to come, expected him to come to deliver them from the Roman occupation, when God, through the Messiah who was to deliver not only Israel, but the whole world, was up to something bigger… A far larger plan was in place than what they expected, and their hearts could not embrace the grander narrative of what was beginning to unfold. I absolutely mean no disrespect whatsoever to the Jewish people! On the contrary, I am grateful to them for the introduction to the God of the Jews, the God that I worship, but along with Messianic Jews, who embrace Christ as the Jewish messiah and savior of all mankind, I embrace Christ as my messiah & savior as well! I would be happy to discuss this further with anyone interested! But sadly and unfortunately I cannot give away everything in one blog!!

Until next Monday, where I will unveil the mission of Jesus and the good news he was bringing to all mankind, you will simply have to stay tuned!!

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