The Messiah Foretold in the Old Testament

The Messiah Foretold

The Jews were waiting for the Messiah from the day of Abraham[1]. But the first glimpse of the Messiah is shown to Adam after his fall[2], was foretold by Israel[3] and again by Baalam[4]. Moses looked forward to the day of the Messiah[5], which Jesus alluded to[6]. David’s throne is the throne on which the Messiah shall ascend, which will last for ever[7].

The Messiah is foreshadowed in the Old Testament (for David was a type of Christ). David spoke much of the Messiah as did other psalmists eg. Psalm 2, noting in this Psalm the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit speak to each other[8], Psalm 9, Psalm 21 and Psalm 40. Zion is spoken much of in the Old Testament as the place of reign of the coming Messiah – that is Jerusalem[9]. All these things the Jews looked forward to.

Prophecy of Christ’s suffering

The suffering and humiliation of Christ is clearly foretold; indeed, the Gospel, notably Matthew demonstrates the truthfulness of the prophecies in Jesus Christ: see Psalm 22, Psalm 16, Psalm 40, and Isaiah 53 etc. Isaiah outlines the suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the people; he was to come to his own (Israel) and be rejected[10], he suffered for the sins: he borne our grief, carried our sorrows; he was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted and he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities and by this we can have peace, and by his suffering we can, through faith have our sins washed way (Isaiah 53).

Prophecy on the nature of Messiah and his coming

The nature of the Messiah is shown in various portions of the Old Testament – especially the Prophets. Isaiah 11 shows him to be the king and ruler over the house of David in the time to come[11], and demonstrates the rightness of him being the heir to the throne, arising from the tribe of Judah[12], the rightful holder of the sceptre (See Psalm 45 & Isaiah 66). He was to come physically[13] (prophecy is to be read literally – see how Daniel read and interpreted the prophets[14]), and as saviour[15] as shown in Isaiah 53, which also clearly foretold of his suffering for our sake.

The Old Testament is also very specific as to when, where and how he was to be born. For instance Bethlehem[16] was prophesied to be his birthplace, born into the tribe of Judah (see endnote [11], also Matthew 1, Luke 3), at a time of great turmoil (Jeremiah 31:15 & Matthew 2:18), after the second temple was repaired[17] etc. Jesus did not come into the world unannounced, but the prophets stated a forerunner would first appear[18]. This was John the Baptist (see Matthew 3, John 1:19, Luke 3 etc).


[1] John 8:56  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw [it], and was glad.

[2] Genesis 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

[3] Genesis 49:10  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].

[4] Numbers 24:17  I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

[5] Deuteronomy 18:18  I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

[6] John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me

[7] 2 Samuel 7:13  [NKJV] "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

[8] Ps 2:6  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

[9] Ps 2:6  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

Jer 23:5  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Zec 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

[10] John 1:11 KJV  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

[11] Isa 11:1   And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

[12] Mic 5:2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.

Zec 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.

[13] Isaiah 40:10-11  Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young etc.

[14] Compare Jeremiah 25:11 with Daniel 9:2.

[15] Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?...

[16] See also note 12 (above) Matthew 2:6  And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

[17] Hag 2:9  The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

[18] Malachi 3:1   Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 40:3  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.


Hold your cursor over the intext reference markers (eg [2] and the footnote will pop-up)

David L Simon
\Notes\The Messiah Foretold.doc (29 April 2012)