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September 11, 2001

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How Can We Recognize Messiah?

The Bible tells us that a Messiah will come, but how will we know him? Here are a few of the Messianic prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures:


He will be Born of a Woman -- Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
This prophecy, the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible, is a prediction of the death of the Messiah. It shows that he will uniquely be born of a woman, and that he will conquer Satan through his suffering.


He will be a Descendant of Abraham -- Genesis 12:1-3
The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

This passage begins to trace the Messianic line. It shows that God would send a Messiah through the seed of Abraham and later, the line is narrowed through Isaac and Jacob.


From the Tribe of Judah -- Genesis 49:10
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

In this deathbed prophecy, the Patriarch Jacob narrows the line further to one of his sons, Judah. This was the "royal" tribe -- the source for all authentic kings in the history of Israel.


From the House of David -- 2 Samuel 7:12-13
When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

This prophecy, spoken to David, assures the great king that the Messianic line will continue through his descendants. This refers in part to King Solomon but the dynasty that is established will be Davidic. Messiah would have to be not only from the tribe of Judah, but a descendant of King David.


He will be Born of a Virgin -- Isaiah 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.

This section, which should be carefully studied in context, is a direct prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah. You might notice that the Jewish translators use the word "young woman" instead of "virgin," but the authors of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Bible before Christ, translated this word as "virgin," which was its meaning in Biblical Hebrew. Besides, in that culture, all young women were expected to be virgins!

The child's name, Immanuel, which means "God with us," indicates His deity. In the Bible, people's names describe their identity. This sheds more light on the first Messianic prophecy in Genesis 3:15, which calls Messiah the son of a woman.


He will be Born in Bethlehem-Micah 5:2 (5:1 in Hebrew)
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.

Messiah will be born in Bethlehem and he will be God in the flesh -- this is in the Jewish Bible! The text says, "whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." The Hebrew word means "eternity." Who else but God has existed from eternity?


He will be God Himself-Isaiah 9:6-7 (9:5-6 in Hebrew)
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. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

These all-important names given to Messiah reveal his deity. This passage and the earlier one (Isaiah 7:14) teach that Messiah will be God. This is very clearly presented in the Jewish Scriptures, though you may find this hard to accept. The four names given all point to the clear conclusion that the eternal Davidic ruler is God Himself. In fact, this is so clear that some Jewish versions of the Bible do not even translate the names, but rather transliterate them so that their meaning is hidden!


He will be a Prophet Like Moses -- Deuteronomy 18:15
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

The Messiah would be a great prophet who would speak to Israel on God's behalf. Yeshua (Jesus' Hebrew name!) was the only prophet in Israel that had a closer relationship to God than Moses. He was the great prophet Moses described.


He will come Humbly -- Zechariah 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.

Many of us were taught to expect a triumphant, kingly Messiah who would establish the Jewish nation and bring in a lasting reign of peace. What we may not have been taught is that the Bible also describes a Messiah who was first supposed to come in humility, riding on a donkey, to accomplish his mission to reconcile us to God. World peace cannot come unless our own hearts first find peace.


He will be Crucified -- Psalm 22 (Read Psalm 22)
Psalm 22 is a picture of the crucifixion -- years before crucifixion was the accepted method of capital punishment. The parallels between this Psalm written nearly 1,000 years before Messiah and the account of Yeshua's death are undeniable.


He will be a Suffering Servant -- Isaiah 53 (Read Isaiah 53)

This is perhaps the most powerful of all the Messianic prophecies. The prophecy actually begins in chapter 52 verse 12. It describes the a Messiah who would die as an innocent sacrifice for the sins of the Jewish people. The Jewish Messiah, Yeshua, was "like a lamb led to the slaughter," an innocent sufferer who died on behalf of others.


Israel Will Mourn for Him -- Zechariah 12:10
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

In the future, our people will recognize that "the one they have pierced" was Yeshua, the Messiah. We will mourn as if we ourselves bore the guilt for this terrible event. No human -- Jew or Gentile -- can be held responsible for the death of the Messiah. He died because it was God's plan for him to die. Our people will clearly see that the one whom God sent to deliver us, but whom we rejected, was Yeshua.


There is no person in all of recorded history who fits this description more perfectly than Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew).



The tune playing on this page is called 'Hatikva' or 'The Hope' and is the Israeli National Anthem.





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