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SIMPLIFIED JOURNEY (19): Messianic Prophets

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?” – Jesus, Luke 24:25-26

This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. – Jesus, Luke 24:44

Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. – Peter, Acts 3:24

In a real sense, every prophet of the Old Testament told of the coming of the Christ. The entire Hebrew Bible testifies, “Someone is coming!” At the time of the Fall when man was ejected from the Garden of Eden God promised that the coming Seed of Woman would bruise the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). In the very last chapter of the Old Testament, the prophet wrote:
The Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,” says the LORD Almighty. – Malachi 4:2
From first to last, the Old Testament is about God’s plan to restore fallen humanity to where man was before he sinned.
The writing prophets spoke much of God’s plan to send a Savior, even though they themselves did not understand the fullness of which they wrote:
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and the circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven…. – 1 Peter 1:10-12
Yes, the prophets called Israel to turn away from being like the nations around them and walk in the ways of the LORD. They also warned of impending judgment for their sins. They also had an eye focused on the glorious time when Messiah would come and make things right.
This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.”
The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. – Isaiah 2:1-4
The Coming One will be a ruler like David:
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. – Isaiah 9:6-7
The King will be mighty in power, but He will also be a suffering servant who brings justice quietly.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on Him and He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. In His law the islands will put their hope. – Isaiah 42:1-4
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried out sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. –
These are but a few of the passages in Isaiah that speak of the beauty and glory of the coming age of Messiah. Even from these few, you can see why some call Isaiah the fifth (or should it be the first) Gospel.
Isaiah was not alone in speaking of Messiah, however. The other prophets did as well.
Jeremiah, who prophesied in a time of great covenant breaking (cf. Jeremiah 6:16-20), told of a time when God would establish a new covenant with His people (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:8-12).
Daniel names Messiah, for he said: “From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens’…” (Daniel 9:25; see also v. 26). Here Anointed One translates the Hebrew word Messiah. The KJV here has Messiah. The Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Old Testament made during the inter-testament period, has χριστοῦ or Christ.
The prophets have much to say, not only about the coming of the Christ, but also about His kingdom. They talk about how it will be a kingdom of peace and righteousness. They speak of the Holy Spirit that will be poured out, not only on Messiah, but also on all of God’s servants. They wrote of the fact that God’s blessings would be on all the nations, not just Israel and Judah.
In looking to the last times, they also see the new heavens and the new earth where, God says, “I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my eople; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.” In that New Jerusalem, God said, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Then He adds:
“The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD. – Isaiah 65:17-25
If you want a rewarding study of the Messianic prophecies, read the New Testament in a Bible with good center column references. Note all of the cross-references to the prophets. Study the context, both in the prophets and in the New Testament. You will be amazed at how much the New Testament draws on these books. Or, you could do the same thing in reverse: read the Old Testament prophets and note the New Testament references, especially the quotations.
This post merely touches the hem of the garment. If you are not familiar with the Messianic prophecies, I hope this will stimulate you to dive deeper into them than you ever have. You will be richer for it.

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