I find myself asking this question whenever I read through certain scriptures in the Old Testament – How can Judaism ignore the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled? As I read through certain passages, I am in awe of the specificity and accuracy of the prophecies. Then I ask myself, how can the religion of Judaism and it’s people who prescribe to these scriptures overlook some of these verses?
Prophecies implicating Jesus Christ as the “Messiah”
There are numerous verses and scriptures which implicate Jesus as being the Messiah of the Old Testament. One only has to compare the Old Testament prophecies with the New Testament fulfillment to realize Jesus was the one being foreshadowed.
One example is in Jeremiah 31:31, which discusses a new covenant being made between the Lord and his people:
31Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
This prophecy was clearly fulfilled by Jesus. After his death and resurrection, the old covenant ended between the God and his people. The practice of sacrificing of animals for sanctification ended after the ultimate sacrifice – the cross.
Prophecy about the birth of Jesus
Perhaps one of the most concise and powerful prophecies comes from Isaiah 7:14. This verse predicts the virgin birth of Jesus from Mary and the name he would don, “Immanuel”:
14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Further in Micah 5:2, we find the prophecy predicting that the Messiah (Jesus) would be born in Bethlehem:
2 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.
Prophecies about Jesus’ ministry
Throughout the Old Testament, we can find numerous verses and scriptures about Jesus Christ’s life while he walked the earth.
If we look to Isaiah 35:5-6, we find examples of the types of miracles that Jesus would perform.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Additionally in Zechariah 9:9, we find the prophecy of Jesus Christ riding through Jerusalem on a donkey for which we now celebrate Palm Sunday:
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Prophecies about the rejection of Christ
In Psalm 22, which we will explore more later, it describes the persecution of Jesus, and how he was despised by the people:
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
Later in the book of Psalms in Psalm 118:22-24, we find more foreshadowing of the rejection Jesus would face by the people:
22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the Lord‘s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Additionally in Isaiah 53:3, we find another foreshadowing of the rejection of Christ by men:
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Prophecies about the crucifixion
The Old Testament provides numerous prophecies in relation to the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Zechariah 11:12-13 provides a hyper-specific prophecy of Jesus’ betrayal by Judas. The verse is so particular that it predicts the amount of money Jesus would be betrayed for!
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.
If we turn to Isaiah 52:13-15, we find a prophecy related to the trial of Jesus. Here we find the foreshadowing of Pontius Pilate remaining silent during the “trial” of Jesus by the Jewish pharisees:
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Another Old Testament passage with many fulfilled prophecies is Psalm 22. Psalm 22, also known as the “Song of David” was estimated to have been written around 1000 B.C. The very first verse of the chapter contains a direct quote from Jesus on the cross! The first line of the chapter includes a statement made by Jesus in Matthew 27:46, as he was dying on the cross. Psalm 22:1 states:
1My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Further, the chapter goes on to describe the piercing of Jesus’ hands and feet on the cross, and how the Roman guards took his clothing in John 19:23:
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
We can also find another prophecy of Jesus being pierced on the cross in Zechariah 12:10:
10 And I will 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, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Old Testament prophecy outlining meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice
Further, in Isaiah 53:10-12, we see a prophecy explaining the very basis of the Christian faith! These verses explain the purpose of Jesus’ death and what the sacrifice meant for the salvation of humanity. It is essentially the doctrine of Christianity:
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
These are only a few of the many prophecies in the Old Testament pertaining to the coming Messiah. It is hard to ignore the fact that all of these depict some aspect of Jesus Christ and Christianity. My heart breaks for Judaism and the Jewish people who love God but overlook the blatant implications of these prophecies.
If you are of the Jewish faith and reading this article, I urge to to dive deeper and explore this topic with an open mind. The truth shall set you free.
To learn more about my stance on religion in general read my article, “Is Religion About Controlling People? Yes – Ask a Christian“.