But how can I be sure that Jesus is truly the Saviour of this world? Did God somehow leave any indication how we could recognize the Messiah?
He sure did. In His Word the Bible, He gave prophecies about the coming Messiah. These prophecies are like a fingerprint. When we look at a glance, all fingerprints look alike. But when we start to look a bit closer, especially with the help of microscopes and other sophisticated apparatus, we discover that every fingerprint is unique. The same is true concerning the prophecies given in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah.
Doesn’t it make sense that God would indicate with clarity who he would send to save the world?
Isa 48:3 “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.”
Isa 55:11 “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
But are these prophecies good enough to know for sure if Jesus is the Messiah or not? Couldn’t someone else in history have fulfilled these?
Let me answer with a quote from Dr Louis S. Lapides, a Jewish Messianic scholar and pastor:
“Someone did the math and figured out that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled is one chance in one hundred million billion. That number is millions of times greater than the total number of people who’ve ever walked the planet!
“He calculated that if you took this number of silver dollars, they would cover the state of Texas to a depth of two feet. If you marked one silver dollar among them and then had a blindfolded person wander the whole state and bend down to pick up one coin, what would be the odds he’d choose the one that had been marked?”
With that he answered his own question: “The same odds that anybody in history could have fulfilled just eight of the prophecies.”
Strobel Lee. The Case of Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998, p. 173.
And this is just for eight prophecies. The odds are even higher when considering the sixty major prophecies concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament and the two hundred seventy ramifications. These prophecies, if proven to be fulfilled in one person, can clearly be compared to a fingerprint, which is unique and belonging to only one individual throughout the centuries of our planet.
In fact all of the New Testament books encourages anyone to study the Old Testament and find for himself or herself the truth about Jesus Christ.
Luke 24:27 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Luke 24:44 “He (Jesus) said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
John 5:46-47 “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.”
John 8:56 “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
Acts 3:18 “But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer.”
Acts 17:2-3 “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures (the Old Testament), explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,” he said.”
1 Cor 15:3-4 “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (the Old Testament), that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
The Bereans received the message of the fulfillment of the Messiah in the person of Jesus Christ with great eagerness. Why? Because they were studying the Old Testament!
Acts 17:11-12 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Let us follow in the footsteps of the apostles and discover to whom belongs the fingerprint of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah.
b. To whom belongs this fingerprint?
i. The first messianic prophecy can be found in Gen 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” NKJV
In all of the Scriptures only one person was born of the seed of woman. All others were born from the seed of men. The Messiah was to defeat the dominionship of the devil (“bruise your head”), but he would greatly suffer to attain His goal (“you shall bruise His heel”).
ii. 2000 years later, Abraham was born and was called by God to leave his hometown Ur of the Chaldees. He was promised a son and tried to fulfill God’s promise by sleeping with his maidservant. Ishmael was born. However God had other plans and fulfilled His promise when Sarah, his wife, was 90 years old! Isaac was miraculously born when Abraham was 100 years old. God stated that out of his son Isaac the earth would be blessed, narrowing down the fingerprint of the Messiah to Isaac’s descendants.
Gen 21:11-13 “The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
Gen 22:15-18 “The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 1I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
iii. Isaac had two sons as well: Jacob and Esau. God chose the line of Jacob.
Num 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”
God’s fingerprint about the Messiah is becoming clearer and clearer.
iv. Jacob had 12 sons. God singled Jesse out from within the tribe of Judah.
Isa 11:1-3 “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 — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.”
v. Jesse had 8 children and God narrowed down the Messianic lineage to David.
Jer 23:5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”
The Messiah was to be born from the lineage of David.
We have discovered that the Messiah would come from the seed of a woman, would be a descendant of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Jesse and of David. Who could this be? Are there any more indications of who that Messiah would be? Can we focus a bit more on God’s fingerprint about the Messiah? Sure we can.
c. Some specific details about the Messiah coming from King David’s lineage.
i. He would be born in Bethlehem
Mic 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
ii. He would be called Lord
Ps 110:1 “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”
iii. He would be born from a virgin and would be called Immanuel (meaning “God with us”)
Isa 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
iv. He would be preceded by a messenger
Isa 40:3 “A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
Mal 3:1 “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.”
v. He would have a ministry of miracles
Isa 35:5-6 “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.”
vi. He would teach in parables
Ps 78:2 “I will open my mouth in parables,I will utter hidden things, things from of old.”
vii. He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey
Zech 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
viii. He would be a stumbling stone to the Jews
Ps 118:22 “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.”
ix. He would become the light of the gentiles
Isa 60:3 “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
x. He would be betrayed by a friend
Ps 41:9 “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
ix. He would be betrayed for 30 silver pieces
Zech 11:12 “I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.”
xii. The 30 silver pieces would be thrown into God’s house for the potter
Zech 11:13 “So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.”
xiii. He would be forsaken by his disciples
Zech 13:7 “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
xiv. He would be accused by false witnesses
Ps 35:11 “Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about.”
xv. He would be silent before his accusers
Isa 53:7 “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.”
xvi. He would be wounded and bruised
Isa 53:5 “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.”
xvii. He would be smitten and spit upon
Isa 50:6 “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
xviii. He would be mocked
Ps 22:7-8 “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
xix. His hands and feet would be pierced
Ps 22:16 “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”
xx. He would be crucified with thieves
Isa 53:12 “Because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors…”
xxi. He would intercede for his persecutors
Isa 53:12 “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
xxii. He would be rejected by his own people
Isa 53:3 “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.”
xxiii. His friends would stand afar off
Ps 38:11 “My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.”
xxiv. People would shake their heads
Ps 109:25 “I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.”
xxv. He would be stared upon
Ps 22:17 “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.”
xxvi. His garments would be divided and lots cast
Ps 22:18 “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
xxvii. He would suffer of thirst and vinegar would be given to him to drink
Ps 69:21 “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
xxviii. He would feel forsaken by God
Ps 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?”
xxix. He would commit his spirit to God
Ps 31:5 “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”
xxx. His bones would not be broken
Ps 34:20 “He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”
xxxi. His heart would be broken
Ps 22:14 “My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.”
xxxii. His side would be pierced
Zech 12:10 “They will look on me, the one they have pierced…”
xxxiii. Darkness would envelop the land
Amos 8:9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.”
xxxiv. He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb
Isa 53:9 “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.”
xxxv. He would be resurrected and ascend on high
Ps 16:10 “Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
Ps 68:18 “You have ascended on high…” NKJV
Many more characteristics about the Messiah is given in the Old Testament. Who fulfilled all these prophetic descriptions? Jesus alone! Jesus is the only one who matches that fingerprint from God described in the Old Testament.