the Old Testament is full of messianic prophecies and promises that foretold Jesus’ arrival. according to Ray Konig at about-jesus.org, “Scholars differ in their answers, generally ranging from about 200 to 400.” and “Another scholar, Alfred Edersheim, concluded that there at least 456 passages in the Old Testament that Jewish Rabbis historically have interpreted as being about the Messiah.” i am currently preparing for a lesson about the events surrounding the arrival of Jesus and, to help myself prepare, have chosen to research a few of these prophecies and their significance. all of the scripture references are taken from the King James Version (Tyndale, 1987).
the first of these prophesies is given to the serpent in the book of Genesis, “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.” (Genesis 3:15) God spoke to the serpent and let it know that there would be hostility between the seed of the woman and the devil’s devices. the anger or temperament between the two groups would continue beyond this encounter. not only would her immediate relations be a source of resentment for the fallen angel, but “the” seed would come to “crush evil at his own expense”. (Konig) the bruising of Christ would ensure that the sin unleashed in the garden would not have to lead to the demise of humanity. in Luke 3:23-38, the author details the family lineage from Jesus, all the way back to Adam, to solidify Jesus as the seed of the woman, the mother of all living.
the second of these prophesies i am studying is a promise made to Abraham. through obedience to God, Abraham not only left his family and traveled to a strange new land, but he also proved he would not withhold anything from the Lord when he came to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. God answered this devout act with, “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:17-18) it is Matthew who writes in his first chapter of Jesus’ son-ship to Abraham, which would have been a crucial detail to the Jewish community of the day. inheritance and lineage were everything to these chosen people, and it had to be in order according to God’s plan and promise. the Messiah would indeed save His people from their sins; however, they did not comprehend at the time that “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”. Christ’s sacrifice, in place of Isaac’s, opened the door for us all to become children of Abraham and heirs of righteousness.
finally, Nathan relays to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” in this passage, i’m sure that David assumes this is speaking of his son Solomon’s future, but we rarely see the big picture. Matthew also covers the Davidic lineage to ensure that you can plainly see the heritage to the throne that the messiah was to fulfill. Isaiah 11 brings clarity to this “rod out of the stem of Jesse”. Isaiah speaks of the spiritual gifts and authority of this “rod” and in verse 10, he says, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Jesus has claimed David’s throne for eternity!
as i mentioned, there are hundreds of prophecies regarding Jesus, His coming, and His purpose. for the sake of this study, i believe it is evident that Jesus fulfills all of the requirements that the Messiah would need by way of heritage. He has bruised the head of the serpent and stripped him of all power. Jesus has fulfilled all of the law and the prophets, and all people and nations have become joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). the possibilities for His Kingdom are without limit. the church can hold as many as “the stars of heaven” and “the sand which is upon the sea shore.” all that is left for us to do is, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that [the lord’s} house may be filled.”