Messiah in the Tanakh (Old Testament)
Messianic Predictions in the Torah, written by Moses, 1500 BCE.
The Most High God makes himself known to Abraham, an Aramean from Ur of the Chaldees, and makes an unconditional promise to him. The promise was that through Abraham’s descendants (an individual or a group), all the nations of the world would be blessed. Bereishit / Genesis 12:3, 22:18
The same promise is repeated to Abraham’s son Isaac, and then to
Isaac’s son, Jacob. Bereishit / Genesis 26:4 and 28:14
Jacob, on his deathbed prophesied that the promise would come through an individual, who would be of the family of Judah, one of Jacob’s 12 sons. Bereishit / Genesis 49:10
According to Jacob, the promised one would arrive prior to the demise of the Family of Judah as a ruling, law-giving entity. The promised one would be a gathering point for peoples or nations, yet be found with a donkey. The promised one would inherit the ruling, law-giving presence of Judah. Bereishit / Genesis 49:10
Another individual receives a communication from God and predicts “a Star will come out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel. ” Bamidbar / Numbers 25:15-17
Moses states that God will raise up a future prophet who will be like himself (like Moses). This future prophet will speak the words that God puts in his mouth. And God will require everyone to listen to the words which this future prophet speaks in God’s name. D’Varim / Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Conclusions from the Torah:
1. The nations of the world can expect God’s favor from someone who will come from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and from the family of Jacob’s son, Judah.
2. The promised one must appear during the time when the tribe of Judah exists as a ruling and law-giving entity. Judah’s ruling authority was finished by 70 CE.
3. The promised one, in order to be like Moses, will be a deliverer, will establish a covenant between God and man, will be a judge, will be a miracle worker, will be a leader, and will speak with the authority of God.
4. The Torah gave us the first glimpse of the special promised individual who will give God’s favor to the world. The promised one is described further in the other sections of the Tanakh called the Writings and the Prophets, written 1200-400 BCE.
Messianic predictions from the Tanakh grouped according to the
Promised One’s Identity, Mission, and Arrival.
A. Predictions regarding the Promised One’s Identity:
Messenger / Verse / The Prediction
Jacob, 2000 BCE / Gen 49:10 / He will be a scepter, a ruling authority.
Balaam, 1500 BCE / Num 24:17/ He will be the Star of Jacob
Moses, 1500 BCE / Deut 18:18 / He will be “like Moses,” who was a Deliverer, a Miracle Worker, a Leader, a Judge, a Mediator of a covenant between God and man.
Nathan/David, 1000 BCE / I Chron 17: 11-14/ He will be a son of David.
David, 1000 BCE/ Psalm 110 / He will be David’s Lord.
David, 1000 BCE/ Psalms 2/ He will be called Jehovah’s Anointed, Jehovah’s Son
Isaiah, 700 BCE/ Isaiah 9:6/He will be known as a Child, a Son, Wonderful,
Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah, 700 BCE/ Isaiah 11:1 / Called a Rod, a Branch of Jesse.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Is 40:10 / Called the Lord God.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Is 42:1 / Called God’s Servant, His Elect One
Isaiah, 700 BCE/ Is 49:6; 52:13 / Called God’s Servant
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Is 59: 15-17/ Called a man, an intercessor, brought by Jehovah
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Is 59:20 / Called a Redeemer
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Is 61:1-3 / Called an anointed preacher, a proclaimer
Jeremiah, 600 BCE / Jer 23:5-6, Jer 33:15 / Called a Righteous Branch of David, a King, and the Lord our Righteousness
Ezekiel, 575 BCE / Ez 37:24-25 / Called a shepherd and a prince forever
Daniel, 550 BCE / Dan 7: 13-14 / Called Son of Man
Daniel, 550 BCE/ Dan 9:25 / Called Messiah the Prince
Zechariah, 500 BCE/ Zech 9:9 / Called Israel’s King
Micah, 700 BCE/ Micah 5:2 /He will have existed from old, from everlasting.
B. Predictions regarding the Promised One’s Mission and Actions:
Messenger / Verse / The Prediction
Abraham, 2000 BCE / Gen 12:3 / He will be a benefactor to all nations
Jacob, 2000 BCE / Gen 49:11 / He will come handling a donkey
Moses, 1500 BCE / Deut 18:19 / He will speak for God.
Nathan/David ,1000 BCE / I Chr 17:11-14 / He will rule on the throne of David.
David, 1000 BCE / Psalm 2 / He will be in conflict with world rulers and prevail over them.
David, 1000 BCE / Psalm 16 / He will not experience the corruption of death.
David, 1000 BCE / Psalm 45 / His throne of righteouness will last forever.
David, 1000 BCE / Psalm 110:1 / He will sit at the right hand of Jehovah.
David, 1000 BCE / Psalm 110:4 / He will be a priest forever after the order of Melchizadek, and like Melchizedek will be:
King of Peace
King of Righteousness
Priest of the Most High God
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 9:6 / He will rule forever over a government of peace and justice.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 11:2 / The Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and of the Lord.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 42:1 / He will bring justice to the nations.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 42:2 / He will not cry out or raise his voice, he will be gentle.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 49:6 / He will be God’s Servant who raises up the tribes of Jacob and who restores Israel.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 50:6 / He will give His back to the smiters, and His face to shame and spitting.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 52:13-14 / He will be both exalted, and assaulted.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 53:3 / He will be despised and rejected by men.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 53:5 / He will be wounded for our transgressions.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 53:10 / Jehovah will allow His suffering.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 53:11-12 / His suffering will result in triumph.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 61:1-3 / He will preach good tidings, will bind up, will proclaim liberty and freedom, will proclaim the year of the Lord, and the Day of God’s vengeance, will give beauty and joy for mourning, and praise for heaviness.
Isaiah, 700 BCE / Isaiah 63:1-7 / He will travel through Edom in strength and splendor, but have the mark of suffering and blood.
Jeremiah, 600 BCE / Jeremiah 23:5-6, 33:15 / He will execute judgement and justice in the land.
Ezekiel, 575 BCE / Ezekiel 21: 25-27 / He will inherit the diadem of fallen Israel.
Daniel, 550 BCE / Daniel 9:26 / He will be “cut off.”
Zechariah, 600 BCE / Zech 12:10, 13:6 / He will be pierced and wounded in the house of his friends.
C. Predictions regarding the Promised One’s Arrival:
Messenger / Verse / The Prediction
Jacob, 2000 BCE / Gen 49:19 / He will come prior to Judah losing its governing authority. (Judah lost its ruling authority to the Romans
prior to 33 CE)
Micah, 700 BCE / Micah 5:2 / He will come out of Bethlehem.
Daniel, 550 BCE / Daniel 9:26 / He will appear and be “cut off” prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (70 CE)
Conclusions from the Tanakh:
With all of the above references to Messiah in the Tanakh (Old Testament) we can arrive at the following conclusions:
1. There are dozens of prophetic statements in the Tanakh regarding a coming messiah.
2. These prophetic statements were made by individuals recognized as Jewish prophets and they were spoken during the period 2000 – 500 BCE.
3. The prophetic statements were sometimes uttered within the context of a local circumstance, but are easy to identify as also speaking of the future. At other times the statements have only a futuristic context.
4. These prophetic statements are “internally consistent” with each other to great detail, despite being spoken by individuals who were separated by centuries and who did not know each other. When two prophets, separated by hundreds of years, each speak of the same messianic detail in total agreement, the case is very strong for a divine author who is prompting their utterences.
5. The role and function of messiah is described as dual. He is described both as a “reigning king” and also as a “suffering servant.” In some of the prophetic passages, both roles are assigned to the same individual, which negates the theory that there might be two separate messiahs.
6. There is only one figure in human history who made a claim to be
THE Jewish Messiah, AND, who satisfied the criteria spoken by the Prophets concerning messiah’s genealogy, identity, role, and time and place of arrival. He was known as Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth.
7. According to eye-witness testimony of many individuals, and the record of history, Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth fufilled all of the prophetic descriptions of the”suffering servant,” but not those of a “reigning king.” However, He stated that his “suffering servant” days were finished, and that his “reigning king” days were still in the future. He also stated that His kingdom was “not of this world.”
8. There will never be any other future individual who can meet the requirements established by the Jewish Prophets for a person to be the Jewish Messiah.
The time limit for Messiah’s appearance is past(70 CE) according to the prophecies. The proof of genealogy to David is past. And it would be impossible for any future individual to rearrange all the circumstances of history in order to fufill all the detailed descriptions given in the prophetic writings.
9. Because Yeshua/Jesus the Christ completely fulfilled all of the prophetic statements that were written of him as the “suffering servant” messiah, and because there can never be another who can fulfill that claim, we can conclude that Yeshua is the Messiah spoken of in the Tanakh, and we can also conclude that He will one day fulfill His other role, that of a “reigning king.”
1. The belief in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah was not something developed by Christians. It was entirely Jewish in its origin and early history.
2. The first church did not originate as a Christian concept. It was entirely Jewish in its origin and early development. Gentiles were later allowed to join this new Jewish group which believed in Yeshua.
3. The Talmudic commentaries on the Tanakh show that many Jewish sages and scholars from the “pre-Christian Era,” agreed that these prophecies from the Tanakh applied to their coming Messiah.
1. If you want to investigate further, try to obtain a Bible and read those passages which have been mentioned above. Ask God for help in understanding the Bible.
2. The Bible is available on the internet at www.biblegateway.org
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