Part 5 of a series on the identity of Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus is God: fully human, and fully divine. So far in this series, we have examined several lines of evidence of Jesus’ divinity — including his own testimony about himself; what the apostles said of him; and the way God’s names and titles from the Old Testament were applied to Jesus by the writers of the New Testament.
In Part 5 of this series on Jesus the God-Man, we will take a look at the Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled at his first coming. There are of course many Scriptures fulfilled by Jesus in his earthly life — a conservative count is at least 300. But because our interest here is Jesus’ divine nature, we will narrow our focus to only those that emphasise the divinity of the Messiah.
Isaiah 7:14 foretold that “the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This prophecy was most certainly fulfilled in Jesus — a fact confirmed to us by Matthew (Matthew 1:22-23). Immanuel means “God with us”. In other words, Jesus was not only the Messiah, but God visiting His people.
Isaiah 9:6 said this of the coming Messiah: “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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” In his account of Jesus’ birth, Luke echoes phrases from this prophecy to show that Jesus was “The mighty God” foretold by Isaiah (Luke 1:32-33, Luke 2:7-12).
Isaiah 40:3 prophesied “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Matthew tells us that this was fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist, whose role was to announce the arrival of Jesus (Matthew 3:1-3). In other words, Jesus is the ‘LORD’ (יהוה) and ‘God’ foretold by Isaiah.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 declared, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” The Gospel writers clearly see this prediction of the LORD’s (יהוה) arrival fulfilled in Jesus (Luke 1:32-33, Luke 1:67-79).
Micah 5:2 foretold: “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.” Matthew quotes this prophecy as proof that Jesus is the long-expected Messiah (Matthew 2:5-6) — a ruler “whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting”.
Zechariah 12:10 records God promising to “pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced…” The context (Zechariah 12:1) makes it clear that these are the words of the LORD (יהוה) — and that it is therefore God Himself who is pierced. John leaves us no doubt that this prophecy was fulfilled in the death of Jesus (John 19:31-37).
It is also worth noting the many prophecies of Jesus’ second coming which strongly suggest that the Messiah is God manifest in the flesh on the earth. The reader can find such prophecies in 1 Chronicles 16:33, Job 19:25-27, Psalm 24:7-10, Psalm 102:16, Isaiah 24:23, Isaiah 66:15-16, Ezekiel 1:26-28, Daniel 7:13-14, Zechariah 14:3-4, Zechariah 14:16-17 and Micah 1:3-4.
A study of the ten names in Noah’s genealogy (Genesis 5:1-32) reveals another remarkable — if slightly hidden — prophecy of the Messiah. The Bible commentator Chuck Missler offers these English meanings for the names in this genealogy:
- Adam — man
- Seth — appointed
- Enosh — mortal
- Cainan — sorrow
- Mahalalel — the blessed God
- Jared — shall come down
- Enoch — teaching
- Methuselah — his death shall bring
- Lamech — despairing
- Noah — comfort
Taken together, this reads: “Man is appointed mortal sorrow. The blessed God shall come down, teaching that his death shall bring the despairing comfort.” If this isn’t a divinely hidden message, it is certainly a remarkable coincidence!
But even without it, we see a Messiah foretold in the Old Testament who would be Immanuel or God with us; The mighty God; the LORD (יהוה); a ruler whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting; and a God who is pierced. And we have the word of the Gospel writers confirming that each of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.