2 - The Divinely Human Messiah

Some biblical scholars have ascertained that there are more than three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament that pertain to the Messiah of Israel. I will discuss a representative few of them and show the fulfillment of these prophecies by Jesus Christ according to the New Testament. I will start with those passages that predict the birth of the Messiah on earth. The next chapter will deal with those prophecies that describe His life and the chapters after that will finish with the prophecies that predict His suffering and death.

As any Journalism 101 class would teach, a writer must answer six questions when he is reporting the facts of this story. In the subject at hand they are: Who is the Messiah? Why is the Messiah coming? How will the Messiah come? Where will the Messiah be born and live His life? What will the Messiah do? When will the Messiah come? Part One of this book will answer each of these questions. 

The Messiah: In the Beginning

At the very beginning of the Bible God let mankind know that He would send a special person to redeem humans from the sinful evil that will become their lot in life. In the third chapter of Genesis God warns the Devil, who had just beguiled humans into sinning against Him, that He will send a being that will overcome him. God said:

"And I will put enmity between you [i.e., the Devil] and the

woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall

bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel."

- Genesis 3:15

God announces that the seed or child of a woman will vehemently oppose the works of Satan. This passage has some very interesting wording in it. God specifically said that it would be the seed of a woman who would do God's work in defeating the Devil. Biology has taught us that it is the seed or semen of a man that results in the birth of a human being. Here though, God makes clear that no man will be involved in the birth of this child. This is the first hint that the birth of God's Savior of mankind will have a very unique birth.

This child will do fatal damage to the Devil and his works as is made clear by the phrase "bruise your head". Conversely, Satan will only "bruise" this child's heel. Both of these expressions are referring to the crucifixion of Jesus through which He gained the victory over sin and death.

I believe this prophetic verse is the first mention in the Bible that the Devil will attack God's Savior unsuccessfully. The fulfillment of this prophecy will have eternal consequences.

Fulfillment by Jesus Christ

"He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned

from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was

manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil."1

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and

blood, Jesus also Himself likewise took part of the same;

that through death He might destroy him that had the

power of death, that is, the devil;"2

These New Testament passages give us the answers to the questions of who the Messiah is and why He came. Jesus, the Son of God, did defeat the Devil with His sacrificial death and resurrection.

As you will read in Chapter 6, Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God but He is also God the Son. Yet, as God, He came to earth as a human being in order to die for the sins of every human being that has ever lived.

Now let us look at how the Messiah would come.

The Virgin-Born Messiah

God gave to the prophet Isaiah the task of warning not only the nation of Israel concerning its sins but of also giving them hope that would come in the form of God's Messiah. In the Book of Isaiah, the prophet seems to give contradictory descriptions of what the Messiah would be like. There are passages that describe a suffering Messiah and others that deal with a kingly Messiah. The prophecy that I will discuss here concerns the nature of the birth of the Messiah and also His humanity.

"And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it

a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye

weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall

give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and

bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel."

- Isaiah 7:13-14

God is promising the House of David (i.e., Israel) that He would give to them a sign in the form of a "virgin-born" child. There has been some controversy concerning the Hebrew word "almah" which is translated here as "virgin". The primary meaning of this word is "young woman". Two facets of this issue should shed some light as to which interpretation is correct.

The first is rather obvious. Young women have been giving birth to children since the dawn of humanity. How could any young woman giving birth to a child be a sign that God used special intervention in her case?

The second reason rests upon a Greek translation of the Old Testament that was written almost three hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. This translation was completed by Jewish scholars of that era. In Isaiah 7:14 they specifically used the Greek word parthenos to translate the Hebrew word almah. This Greek word can only mean a "virgin". It would seem then that these Jewish scholars understood the intent of this prophetic verse to mean that this child would be born under unique circumstances.

Therefore, it is clear that God was promising to send a special child to Israel. God hints at the nature of this child in that He said His name shall be Immanuel, which means God with us or God is with us. Thirty-nine verses after this one God offers more attributes of this child: "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."3

This second passage confirms that Isaiah 7:14 is clearly a Messianic prophecy. The New Testament also refers to this scripture and its deeper meanings.

Fulfillment by Jesus Christ

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as

His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they

came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not

willing to make her a public example, was minded to put

her away privately. But while he thought on these things,

behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a

dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take

unto you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her

is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and

you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His

people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might

be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,

saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring

forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which

being interpreted is, God with us."4

The Messiah was to be born of a human woman without a man's involvement. The Gospel of Matthew makes it evident that the Holy Spirit accomplished this by conceiving the Messiah inside her.

One other aspect of this prophecy begs further examination. Why did God require that His Messiah be born of a virgin? Both the Old and New Testament together give the answer to this question.

God made it known very early on that human life and blood is interwoven on both a physical level and a spiritual level. In the Law that God gave to the children of Israel He said, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul."5 The writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote, "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."6 God has declared in these passages that blood and man's sinful nature are inseparable.

The apostle Paul, in discussing the sinful nature of man, wrote, "Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."7 Paul is saying that the sin nature passed through the bloodlines of Adam to all men.

As noted above, God required the shedding of blood to make atonement for human sin. In the Law, God commanded the Jews to sacrifice certain animals every year in order to fulfill this requirement. One of the prerequisites was that the animal had to be perfect (i.e., unblemished). The problem is that these animal sacrifices only covered man's sins. Again, the Book of Hebrews declares, "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins...For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."8

Therefore, God had to send a Messiah who had not been tainted by humanity's sinful blood. He accomplished this by having His Holy Spirit conceive the Messiah in the womb of a virgin. The New Testament affirms in the Book of Acts that this is what took place: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood."9 It was God's own blood that ran through Jesus' veins. In addition, Paul writing to the Roman Christians, declared, "[Jesus] Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."10 That Jesus met God's requirement that a sacrifice had to be perfect is spoken of in the New Testament: "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."11

Jesus was sinless (and therefore "unblemished") and thus was an acceptable sacrifice to God on behalf of humankind. Chapter 4 of this book will more fully explore this aspect of the Messiah.

Next, I will discuss where the Messiah would come. 

The Christmas Gift That Keeps On Giving

God gave a prophecy concerning another aspect of the Messiah's birth by revealing to the Jews where He would be born. Many people who celebrate Christmas have at one time sung the Christmas carol "O Little Town of Bethlehem". This song describes the fulfillment of a prophecy written over 2600 years ago: 

"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."

- Micah 5:2

Micah was a prophet sent by God to the nation of Israel to preach not only judgment of them for their apostasy but also their deliverance by the hand of the Messiah. This prophecy deals with their deliverance.

God tells the Jewish people that the Messiah, whom Moses prophesied of a long time before, will be born in Bethlehem. It was this prophecy that the religious leaders of King Herod's day referenced in response to his inquiry as to where the Messiah was to be born.

Fulfillment by Jesus Christ

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the

days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from

the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is He that is born

King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east,

and are come to worship Him. When Herod the king had

heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem

with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests

and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them

where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In

Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

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."12

The Gospel writer Luke also wrote of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem:

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a

decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be

taxed...And all went to be taxed, every one into his own

city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city

of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is

called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and

lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife,

being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were

there, the days were accomplished that she should be

delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and

wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a

manger; because there was no room for them in the


One interesting side note to this event is that in order to fulfill this prophecy God worked through the most powerful man on earth at that time, Caesar Augustus, the emperor of the Roman Empire.

There is another point to discuss (and relevant to the purpose of this book) concerning this prophecy of the place of the Messiah's birth. As mentioned earlier, Satan was determined to stop the will of God by hindering His plan for the deliverance of the Jews from the bondage of slavery. Satan14 incited the Pharaoh of Egypt to kill all of the Hebrew male babies in order to stop the deliverer Moses from living. Moses' parents thwarted this diabolical plan by hiding him in a basket and floating it in the Nile River where Pharaoh's daughter found him and raised him.15

Likewise, Satan inspired King Herod, the king of Judea at the time of Jesus' birth, to try to kill Jesus as an infant in order to stop God's plan for the deliverance of mankind from their bondage to sin. Herod was an evil man who had killed many members of his own family along with many of the Jewish citizens of Judea. Once again, God used the parents to save their son by having them take Him from Bethlehem to Egypt out of Herod's reach.16

I believe that Satan has already tried to stop God's plan to bring about the second coming of Jesus Christ. In Part Three of this book I will discuss this issue further.

Why Israel?

One other question that I would like to bring up is why did God send the Messiah to the nation of Israel? God created the world and all the inhabitants thereof and there have been many great countries and empires in world history. Yet He chose to bless the world through the Jewish people of Israel. God said to Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, "I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves."17 This blessing came in the form of His Son Jesus Christ.

God declares in the Old Testament that He has bestowed His divine favor upon the Jews. In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses writes concerning them: 

"For you are a holy people unto the LORD your God: the

LORD your God has chosen you to be a special people

unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the

earth. The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose

you, because you were more in number than any people;

for you were the fewest of all people: But because the

LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath

which He had sworn unto your fathers, has the LORD

brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out

of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of


It is because of this passage that the world refers to the Jews as the "chosen people". God loves the Jews and therefore sent His Messiah to redeem and reconcile them to Himself. When a Gentile woman approached Jesus for help, He said to her, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."19 Of course Jesus did help this woman but He was making a point concerning the primary focus of His mission. Later on, He said that the Gentiles would be included in God's plans: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd."20 But while Jesus was on the earth, He allowed God's chosen people to have the first opportunity to accept Him as the Messiah.

The apostle Paul also spoke of this when he said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [i.e., non-Jew or Gentile]."21

Therefore, God's plan from the beginning was to send His Messiah to Israel where the Jews lived on the land that He had granted to them. God let them know that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem as one of the many signs that He gave to them so that they would recognize Him as their Deliverer. Of course, some of the Jews did accept Jesus as the Messiah but as a nation they rejected Him.


The next chapter will examine the life of the Messiah as prophesied by God. This will answer the question as to what the Messiah was going to be like when He came to earth the first time.


1   I John 3:8

2    Hebrews 2:14

3   Isaiah 9:6-7

4   Matthew 1:18-23

5    Leviticus 17:11

6   Hebrews 9:22

7   Romans 5:12

8   Hebrews 10:1-2, 4

9   Acts 20:28

10  Romans 3:25

11  Hebrews 4:14-15

12  Matthew 2:1-6

13  Luke 2:1, 3-7

14   That Satan was behind the plots to prevent both the birth of Moses and

      Jesus can be shown by looking at the scriptures in the Bible that describe

      the purpose and nature of Satan. The name Satan means adversary or

      opponent. Satan is an adversary to both humans and God. The Book

      of Revelation calls Satan that "old serpent" (Revelation 12:3-4, 7-9),

      which is a reference to the serpent in the Garden of Eden who deceived

      Adam and Eve into sinning against God. The apostle Paul in writing about

      the Antichrist who is going to be possessed by the Devil states that he

     "opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God" (2 Thessalonians

      2:3-4). In the Old Testament it states "And Satan stood up against Israel,

      and provoked David to number Israel" which resulted in disaster for the

      Jewish people (1 Chronicles 21:1-7). Each of these verses show clearly that

      Satan is opposed to God and intent on harming God's people by hindering

      His plans. Moses' birth and life resulted in the earthly salvation of the Jewish

      people. Jesus' birth and life resulted in the salvation of all mankind. That

      Satan would not be interested in opposing God on such a monumental scale

      that involved millions and millions of people is beyond comprehension and

      would require a suspension of all logical belief.

15   Exodus 1:8-22; 2:1-10

16   Matthew 2:1-16

17   Genesis 12:3

18   Deuteronomy7:6-8

19   Matthew15:24

20   John 10:16

21   Romans 1:16

Next Chapter
Back to Contents page
Back to Homepage

3wc valid xhtml icon

3wc valid css icon