Who is the Messiah?
Messiah is a Hebrew word that means “the anointed one”. When translated into Greek (the common language for most of the ancient world), it becomes “Christos”. This is where we get the English word “Christ” from. To the Jews, Messiah would be someone empowered by God to save people and establish God’s Kingdom on Earth.
The problem was that the Jews saw two very different pictures of the Messiah in their scriptures (the Christian Old Testament). One picture was of a Kingly Messiah who would come and set the Jews free. The other was of a suffering servant.
The Kingly Messiah (or the Son of David) is seen in scriptures like 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. 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.
And Isaiah 11:1-10 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him… They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 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.
But the suffering servant Messiah (or the Son of Joseph) is seen in scriptures like Isaiah 53:1-5 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 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. 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. 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 are healed…
For the Son of Joseph comparison, this is taken from https://jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/thetwocomings.htm:
-Joseph, like Jesus, was his father’s beloved son.
-Joseph was despised by his brothers.
-Joseph was betrayed for silver coins after his brethren plotted, betrayed and sold him.
-Joseph was falsely accused and imprisoned.
-Joseph was imprisoned with two criminals; one lives, one dies! Likewise Jesus was crucified with two criminals – one who found spiritual life and one didn’t.
-Joseph was then exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh, authority given to Him over all Egypt. Likewise, —Jesus was exalted to the right hand of the Father and given all authority.
-Joseph then took a gentile bride. Like Jesus took a bride (spiritually) for Himself predominantly from the gentile nations.
-Later, during 7 years of hard famine, Joseph’s brothers were forced to come to him. In the future, there is still seven years of hardship (called the day of Jacob’s trouble) that Israel as a nation will have to go through. They will at this stage be brought to the place where they will acknowledge Jesus!
-At first they don’t recognize Joseph, and he treats them harshly to bring repentance.
-Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and they are reconciled amongst many tears. Likewise, there shall be great weeping once Israel finally acknowledges their Messiah Jesus. See Zech 12:10-11.
-Joseph treats his brothers with kindness saying ‘What you meant for evil, God meant for good, to accomplish… the saving of many lives.’ What a great picture of Jesus!
The Jews of Jesus’ time were confused as to how their Messiah would appear. Some believed that one person would fulfill both pictures at one time. Others believed that two people would fulfill these pictures separately. What they didn’t see was that one person would fulfill these pictures at two different times. In other words, they didn’t see one person fulfilling the suffering servant picture, then waiting a time (what we Christians call the church age), then coming back to fulfill the Kingly Messiah.
While Jesus partially fulfilled the Kingly Messiah at His 1st coming (He told of and introduced God’s Kingdom), He will completely fulfill it at His 2nd coming. But He did completely fulfill the suffering servant Messiah at His 1st coming. And that is what this study is about. To the skeptic, many of our proofs will be explained away. But when we compute the probability of one person, out of a population of the entire world, fulfilling all of the suffering servant prophecies, that is convincing to all but the hardest skeptic. In other words, there are some people, that no matter how much proof you give them, they will not be convinced.
God starts out by telling us that He will provide us with a Savior (Genesis 3:15). I will now quote you the Old Testament scripture and it’s New Testament fulfillment. Then God gets more specific and says…
-that He will be an Israelite (Israel didn’t exist at this time) from the tribe of Abraham (Genesis 22:18 & Galatians 3:16)
-He will be a descendent of Isaac, not Ishmael (Genesis 21:12 & Luke 3:23-34)
-He will be a descendent of Jacob, not Esau (Numbers 24:17 & Luke 3:23-34)
-Of Jacob’s 12 sons, He will be a descendent of Judah (Genesis 49:10 & Luke 3:23-34)
-He will be a descendent of Jesse’s (Isaiah 11:1-5 & Luke 3:23-34)
-Of all of Jesse’s sons, He will be a descendent of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6 & Luke 3:23-31)
Things going on around His birth:
-He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 & Luke 1:26-35)
-He will be born in a certain city, a little town called Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-5 & Matthew 2:1-6)
-Kings will bring Him gifts and worship Him (Psalm 72:10-11 & Matthew 2:1-11)
-Children will be massacred when He is a young child (Jeremiah 31:15 & Matthew 2:16-18)
-At some point in His young life, He will come out of Egypt, not other nearby countries like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan or the Sinai (Hosea 11:1 & Matthew 2:13-15 and 19-212)
His adult life:
-A messenger come before Him, to prepare the way and announce His coming (Isaiah 40:3 & Matthew 3:1-3)
-He will begin His ministry in a particular area, Galilee. Not in Samaria, Judah, Moab, Ammon, Gilead, Edom or Aram (Isaiah 9:1 & Matthew 4:12-17)
-He’ll be rejected by the people He grew up with (Psalm 69:8 & John 7:3-5 and Matthew 13:54-58)
-Leaders will oppose Him (Psalm 2:1-2 & Matthew 12:14 and 26:3,4)
–He will be rejected as God’s Messiah (Psalm 118:22-23 & Matthew 21:42)
-He will teach in many parables (Psalm 78:2 & Matthew 13:34-35)
-He will perform many miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6 & Matthew 9:35)
-He will suddenly and forcefully enter the Temple (Malachi 3:1 & John 2:15-16)
-He will come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 & Matthew 21:1-5)
–He will enter Jerusalem as a King exactly 483 years after the declaration of Artaxerxes to rebuild the Jewish Temple (see https://bsssb-llc.com/daniels-prophecy-about-the-coming-of-the-messiah/)
-His message will be for everyone (Isaiah 49:6 & Acts 26:23)
-He will be a ‘stone of stumbling’ to the Jews. They will not embrace Him as their Messiah (Isaiah 8:14 & Romans 9:31-33)
-He will heal the deaf and the blind (Isaiah 35:5 & Matthew 11:5)
–He will make a new, everlasting covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34 & Hebrews 10:15-20)
-He will be a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18, 19 & Acts 3:18-22)
-He will be hated without good reason (Psalm 35:19 and 69:4 & John 15:24-25)
-He will do the will of God (Psalm 40:6-8 & Hebrews 10:5-9)
-He is ‘anointed’ by God (Psalm 45:6, 7 & Hebrews 1:8, 9)
-He will care for the poor and needy (Psalm 72:12-14 & Luke 7:22)
-He will speak to people in parables (Psalm 78:2 & Matthew 13:10-16, 34-35)
-He will pray for His enemies (Psalm 109:4 & Matthew 5:44)
-His Spirit will be poured out on believers (Joel 2:28-32 & Acts 2:16-23)
-A new priesthood is established (Zechariah 3:8 and Isaiah 61:6 & 1st Peter 2:5, 9)
In one day, He will fulfill no fewer than 28 prophecies:
-He will be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9 & Matthew 26:49)
-The cost of this betrayal will be 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12 & Matthew 26:15)
-The 30 pieces of silver will be thrown down unto the Temple floor (Zechariah 11:13 & Matthew 27:5)
-This money will be used to buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13 & Matthew 27:7)
-He will be deserted by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7 & Mark 14:50)
-False witnesses will level accusations against Him (Psalm 35:11 & Matthew 26:59-60)
-He won’t say anything in His defense (Isaiah 53:7 & Matthew 27:12)
-He will be beaten up severely (Isaiah 53:5 & Matthew 27:26)
-He will be hated without reason (Psalm 69:4 & John 15:25)-He will be hit and spit on (Isaiah 50:6 & Matthew 26:67)
-He’ll be laughed at, ridiculed and rejected (Isaiah 53:3 & Matthew 27:27-31)
-He’ll faint from weakness (Psalm 109:24-25 & Luke 23:26)
– They hurled insults at Him ( Psalm 22:6-8 & Matthew 27:39-43)
-They scorned Him (Psalm 109:25 & Matthew 27:39)
-They’ll stare in pity at Him (Psalm 22:17 & Luke 23:35)
-He’ll be executed with other criminals (Isaiah 53:12 & Matthew 27:38)
–His hands and feet will be pierced (Psalm 22:16 & uke 23:33)
-He’ll pray for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12 & Luke 23:34)
-His friends and family will not interfere with His crucifixion (Psalm 38:11 & Luke 23:49)
-His robe (the only piece of clothing that He owned) will be cut up and gambled on ( Psalm 22:18 & John 19:23-24)
-He’ll be thirsty (Psalm 69:21 & John 19:28)
-They’ll only give Him gall and vinegar (Psalm 69:21 & Matthew 27:34)
-He’ll commit His soul to God (Psalm 31:5 & Luke 23:46)
-Unlike all other crucifixion victims, no bones of His will be broken (Psalm 34:20 & John 19:33)
-His heart will rupture (Psalm 22:14 & John 19:34)
-His side will be pierced (Zechariah 12:10 & John 19:34)
-At midday, the skies will become dark (Amos 8:9 & Matthew 27:45)
-He will be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9 & Matthew 27:57-60)
-He will be lifted up just like Moses was lifted up (Numbers 21:8-9 & John 3:14-15)
(the above is taken from the McDowell’s book “77 FAQ’s about God and the Bible”)
–He will be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:8-11 & John 20 & Acts 1:3 and 2:32 and 13:34-37)
-He will ascend on high (Psalm 68:18 & Luke 24:51 and Ephesians 4:8)
-Death is swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 25:8 & 1st Corinthians 15:54-57)
It’s possible that one man could fulfill several of these prophecies. It’s impossible that one man could fulfill every single one of these prophecies. Because the Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70AD, the Jewish Messiah had to come before then. Otherwise, they would have no way to trace His lineage (all the lineage records were kept in the Temple. Since then, only 1 or 2 tribes can be traced and they are not the tribe of Judah) and for Him to fulfill the prophecies pertaining to the Temple. The only person before 70AD that could fulfill all of these suffering servant prophecies was Jesus. Read about the Messianic prophecies probabilities on https://www.bsssb-llc.com/prophecy-probability/.
For someone to deny that Jesus fulfilled the suffering servant prophecies would be irrational. Such a person cannot be reasoned with.
God did indeed, provide us with not only a road map to the Messiah but with an exact map to who, when and where that Messiah would appear in human history. Therefore, humanity is without excuse as to who, when and where God’s Messiah is. He has made it very clear that who His Messiah is and why He came down to Earth. All we have to do now is to accept Him into our hearts. May you have the joy of knowing Him.
“77 FAQ’s about God and the Bible” by Josh & Sean McDowell, pages 117-120
“The Case for the Real Jesus” by Lee Strobel, pages 189-225
“The New Evidence that demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell, pages 164-202
“100 Prophecies Fulfilled By Jesus” Rose Publishing pamphlet
For God’s Messiah,