5 • The Promises and Prophesies about the Messiah
God chose the people of Israel to be His special people for a very specific reason, i.e. the Messiah would come out of that nation (Daniel 9:25, 26). Messiah means ‘anointed one’ or ‘Saviour’. We can learn much from the nation of Israel: how God wanted His people to behave and live. They had to sacrifice animals in order for their sins to be forgiven (Numbers 5:5-10; Leviticus 4, 5). These animals for sacrifice had to be perfect, without fault or blemish (Leviticus 1:3; 4:3). In this way God revealed His holy and His just character to the Israelites. God cannot overlook sin or just forgive sin without justice being done (Exodus 34:6, 7; Habakkuk 1:12, 13).
There were many prophets throughout Israel’s history. Prophets were ordinary people sent by God to speak His words and tell the Israelites God’s will and purpose for them. They spoke as they were moved and inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). These prophets warned the people of Israel to love, serve and worship God, keep His commandments and not serve other gods. These prophets also prophesied (predicted or foretold) the Messiah’s birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven centuries before He came to earth. Most of these prophets did not know one another because they lived at different times or in different parts of the world. Reading some of their words in the Old Testament gives us clues as to the details of the Messiah’s life. The Israelites believed that the Messiah, a Saviour and a King, would come Who would deliver them from their sins and rule over them in righteousness, mercy and justice (Genesis 49:10; Psalm 72; Psalm 45:3-7).
Throughout the Old Testament (which is the written account of God’s acts with and words to His people) there were prophecies about the coming Messiah. The first prophecy (covenant) was given after Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden in Eden. God said that out of Adam’s seed (his descendants; Genesis 3:15) Someone would come Who would destroy the head of the serpent (the devil who had deceived Eve into disobeying God) and had the power over death.
Other prophecies specified that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1); that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14); that He would rule with righteousness and justice (Psalm 72:2-4); that He would be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10); that none of His bones would be broken (Psalm 34:20); that He would be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9); that He would be humble and ride on a colt (Zechariah 9:9); that He would be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zachariah 11:12); that He would work many miracles (Isaiah 61:1-3); that His hands and feet would be pierced in death (Psalm 22:16); that He would be numbered among the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12); that God would make His soul an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:3-5;10); that those who crucified Him would divide his clothes by lots (Psalm 22:18); that His kingdom would have no end (Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 7:27); that all nations would be blessed in Him (Psalm 72:17) and that the nations would be His inheritance (Psalm 2:7). Many other detailed events about His life were predicted (foretold) by different prophets centuries before the Messiah arrived. There is no way that all their prophecies could come true in one person just by chance. God was working everything according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:10; Romans 11:36) throughout the centuries.
Question to consider: Do you know Who this Messiah and Saviour of the world is? The answer might just change your life forever! The fact is: more than three hundred prophecies were fulfilled by the Messiah alone when He appeared about two thousand years ago in Israel.
Read: Daniel 9:25,26; Numbers 5:5-10, Leviticus 4,5; Leviticus 1:3;4:3; Exodus 34:6,7; Habakkuk 1:12,13; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; Genesis 49:10; Psalm 72; Psalm 45:3-7; Genesis 3:15; Micah 5:1; Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 72:2-4; Psalm 16:10; Psalm 34:20; Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 9:9; 11:12; Isaiah 61:1-3; Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53:3-5;10,12; Psalm 22:18; Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 7:27; Psalm 2:7; Eph 1:10; Romans 11:36.