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Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Fulfill the Prophecies about the Messiah?

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Don Stewart

Jesus made it clear that the Old Testament predicted His coming. He said to the religious leaders of His day.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me (John 5:39).

The Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled include the following.

1. The Family Line Was Predicted

Jesus fulfilled a number of predictions that have to do with the Messiah's genealogy, or family line. God narrowed down the family line of the Messiah in such a way that eliminated most people who have ever been born.

Prediction: He Will Come From The Family Of Shem

He [Noah] also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. "May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant" (Genesis 9:26,27).

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth. God eliminated one third of humanity when He said the Messiah would come through the line of Shem.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Luke records the fulfillment.

The son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech (Luke 3:36).

Luke lists the genealogy of Jesus in which he records Jesus was a descendant of Shem.

Prediction: The Christ Will Be A Descendant Of Abraham

Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3).

Now God eliminates all the families of the earth but one-the family of Abraham. Whoever claims to be the Messiah has to be a descendant of Abraham for God told Abraham that one of his descendants will bless all the earth.

The Fulfillment Recorded

The fulfillment is recorded in Matthew.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1).

The Testimony Of Paul

The Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, emphasized that God specified one from Abraham's line would be the Christ.

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to the seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your seed,' who is Christ' (Galatians 3:16).

The Apostle Paul says that God uses the singular rather than the plural to emphasize it will be one particular descendant of Abraham who will bless the world.

Prediction: He Will Be a Descendant Of Isaac

Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. God promised Isaac that the Messiah would be through his family line.

Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed (Genesis 26:3,4).

The Fulfillment Recorded

Matthew records the fulfillment.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ . . . Abraham begot Isaac (Matthew 1:1,2).

Jesus was from Isaac's line.

Prediction: The Messiah Will Come From The Family Of Jacob

God also said to him [Jacob], "I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come forth from you. And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you" (Genesis 35:11,12).

Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Scripture says that the chosen line was through Jacob. This continues to narrow the possible candidates for the Messiah.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Matthew records how this was fulfilled.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ . . . Isaac begot Jacob (Matthew 1:1,2).

Jesus was also from the line of Jacob.

Prediction: He Will Come From Tribe Of Judah

Jacob had twelve sons. God eliminated 11/12 of the line of Jacob by saying the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples (Genesis 49:10).

The Fulfillment Recorded

Jesus descended from the line of Judah.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ . . . Jacob begot Judah and his brothers . . . and to Judah were born Perez and Zerah by Tamar; and to Perez (Matthew 1:1-3).

Prediction: The Messiah Will Be From Family Line Of Jesse

There were many family lines in the tribe of Judah, but only through the family line of Jesse could the Messiah come. He is the Branch that will bear fruit.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit (Isaiah 11:1)

The Fulfillment Recorded

Matthew records how this was fulfilled.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ . . . Obed begot Jesse (Matthew 1:1,5).

Prediction: He Will Descend From The House Of David

God told David the Messiah would be from His line:

When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12).

Jesse had at least eight sons. God eliminated 7/8 of the sons of Jesse when He said the Messiah would be through the line of David. Again, the list of potential candidates gets narrower and narrower.

The Fulfillment Recorded

The very first verse of the New Testament records the fulfillment of this prophecy.

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1).

When the angel appeared to Mary announcing Jesus' birth he confirmed that Mary's child would be a descendant of David.

You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:31,32).

Fulfilled By Jesus

Consequently whoever the promised Messiah would be, He would have to be a physical descendant of David the king. All other individuals would not qualify. Therefore, from the predictions with respect to the genealogy of the Messiah, the great majority of the people who have ever been born are eliminated from contention. Jesus, however, fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the family line of the Messiah being a descendant of David.

2. The Place Of His Coming Predicted

In addition, the exact place of His birth was predicted.

Prediction: He Will Born In Bethlehem

God predicted, through the prophet Micah, the exact city where the Messiah would be born:

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2).

Every city in the world was eliminated but one-Bethlehem. Thus if someone was a descendant of King David, yet was born in any other city than Bethlehem, he would not qualify as the promised Messiah.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Matthew records this fulfillment.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1).

Jesus was not only born in the right family, He was also born at the right place.

3. The Time Of His Coming Predicted

Finally, we have the prediction with respect to the time in history of the Messiah's coming.

Prediction: He Will Be Killed Before The Temple And The City Of Jerusalem Are Destroyed

The Scripture predicted the death of the Messiah.

The Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary (Daniel 9:26).

We learn three things from this verse:

  1. The Messiah will come on the scene of history.
  2. He will be killed.
  3. After His death, the city of Jerusalem and temple will be destroyed.

The Fulfillment Recorded

When Jesus came to the earth, the temple had not yet been destroyed. Teaching at the temple was an important part of Jesus' ministry. The temple was destroyed in the year A.D. 70, forty years after His death and resurrection.

Therefore, Jesus fulfilled certain prophecies about the coming Messiah.

  1. He was born in the right family line-David's.
  2. He was born at the right place-Bethlehem.
  3. He was born at the right time in history-before the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed

Two Important Points Need To Be Noted

These three areas of prophecy we have looked at reveal two startling things:

First, the prophecies were fulfilled literally-exactly as they were written. Jesus was literally a descendant of King David, He was literally born in the city of Bethlehem, and He literally came upon the scene of history and was killed before the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed.

No Human Manipulation

Second, these three lines of prophecy were all fulfilled without any human manipulation or fulfillment. There is no way Jesus could have deliberately fulfilled them, seeing they were all fulfilled by His birth. Before He gave any sermons, before He did anything miraculous, Jesus supernaturally fulfilled these prophecies. He was born in the right family, at the right place, and at the right time in history. Humanly speaking, there is no way Jesus could control these factors.


After looking at only three lines of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled at His first coming we can make the following observations. Jesus told the religious leaders to search the Scriptures and discover where they spoke about Him. The coming Messiah was to be born in one particular family. This would be through Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David. The New Testament is clear that Jesus was a descendant of David. The Old Testament prophet Micah predicted the Messiah would be born in the small town of Bethlehem. Matthew tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Daniel the prophet said the Messiah would come before the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed at that He would also be killed. Jesus came upon the scene of history before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He was crucified about forty years before they were destroyed. The prophecies that Jesus fulfilled were fulfilled literally. He was a literal descendant of David, literally born in Bethlehem, and literally died before the city and temple were destroyed. These three lines of prophecy were fulfilled by Jesus' birth. There is no way, humanly speaking, that He could have deliberately fulfilled them. The coming of the Messiah was predicted in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled these prophecies and, in doing so, has the right to claim to be the promised Messiah.

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