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Do Messianic Prophecies Prove That Jesus Was the Messiah?

The Bible’s answer

Yes. While on earth, Jesus fulfilled numerous prophecies about “Messiah the Leader,” the one who would be the “Savior of the world.” (Daniel 9:​25; 1 John 4:​14) And even after his death, Jesus continued to fulfill Messianic prophecies.​—Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:​34-​36.

 What is the meaning of “Messiah”?

The Hebrew term Ma·shiʹach (Messiah) and the equivalent Greek word Khri·stos (Christ) both mean “Anointed One.” Therefore, “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus the Anointed One,” or “Jesus the Messiah.”

In Bible times, a person was often anointed by having oil poured on his head when he was appointed to a special position of authority. (Leviticus 8:​12; 1 Samuel 16:13) Jesus was appointed by God to be the Messiah​—a position of great authority. (Acts 2:​36) However, rather than anointing Jesus with oil, God anointed him with holy spirit.​—Matthew 3:​16.

 Could more than one person fulfill the Messianic prophecies?

No. Just as a fingerprint identifies just one person, the fulfillment of Bible prophecies points to just one Messiah, or Christ. However, the Bible warns that “false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.”​—Matthew 24:24.

 Could the Messiah appear in the future?

No. The Bible foretold that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David of Israel. (Psalm 89:​3, 4) However, the Jewish ancestral records going back to David have been lost, apparently having been destroyed when the Romans conquered Jerusalem in 70 C.E. * Since that time, it has not been possible for anyone to prove that he is of the royal family of David. In contrast, though those ancestral records did exist in Jesus’ time, not even his enemies successfully challenged his claim of being a descendant of David.​—Matthew 22:41-​46.

 How many Messianic prophecies are there in the Bible?

It is not possible to specify a definitive number of Messianic prophecies. For example, the method of numbering prophecies can vary even for passages that are clearly Messianic. The passage at Isaiah 53:​2-7 mentions several prophetic features regarding the Messiah. Some might count this entire passage as one prophecy, while others might view each feature as a separate prophecy.

 Some Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus

Prophecy

Found at

Fulfillment

Offspring of Abraham

Genesis 22:17, 18

Matthew 1:1

Descendant of Abraham’s son Isaac

Genesis 17:19

Matthew 1:2

Born of the Israelite tribe of Judah

Genesis 49:10

Matthew 1:​1, 3

From the royal line of King David

Isaiah 9:7

Matthew 1:1

Born of a virgin

Isaiah 7:​14

Matthew 1:​18, 22, 23

Born in Bethlehem

Micah 5:2

Matthew 2:​1, 5, 6

Called by the name Immanuel *

Isaiah 7:​14

Matthew 1:​21-​23

Humble beginning

Isaiah 53:2

Luke 2:7

Young children killed after his birth

Jeremiah 31:15

Matthew 2:​16-​18

Called out of Egypt

Hosea 11:1

Matthew 2:​13-​15

Called a Nazarene *

Isaiah 11:1

Matthew 2:​23

Preceded by a messenger

Malachi 3:1

Matthew 11:​7-​10

Anointed as Messiah in 29 C.E. *

Daniel 9:​25

Matthew 3:​13-​17

Acknowledged by God as His Son

Psalm 2:7

Acts 13:33, 34

Zealous for God’s house

Psalm 69:9

John 2:​13-​17

Proclaimer of good news

Isaiah 61:1

Luke 4:​16-​21

Public ministry in Galilee a great light

Isaiah 9:​1, 2

Matthew 4:​13-​16

A miracle worker like Moses

Deuteronomy 18:15

Acts 2:​22

Like Moses, he spoke God’s thoughts

Deuteronomy 18:18, 19

John 12:49

Cured sicknesses of many

Isaiah 53:4

Matthew 8:​16, 17

Did not draw attention to himself

Isaiah 42:2

Matthew 12:17, 19

Showed compassion for the afflicted

Isaiah 42:3

Matthew 12:​9-​20; Mark 6:​34

Revealed God’s justice

Isaiah 42:​1, 4

Matthew 12:17-​20

A Wonderful Counselor

Isaiah 9:​6, 7

John 6:​68

Declared Jehovah’s name

Psalm 22:22

John 17:6

Spoke in illustrations

Psalm 78:2

Matthew 13:34, 35

A Leader

Daniel 9:​25

Matthew 23:10

Many did not believe in him

Isaiah 53:1

John 12:37, 38

Stone of stumbling

Isaiah 8:​14, 15

Matthew 21:42-​44

Rejected by humans

Psalm 118:22, 23

Acts 4:​10, 11

Hated without cause

Psalm 69:4

John 15:24, 25

Triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey

Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 21:​4-9

Praised by children

Psalm 8:2

Matthew 21:15, 16

Came in Jehovah’s name

Psalm 118:26

John 12:12, 13

Betrayed by a trusted associate

Psalm 41:9

John 13:18

Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver *

Zechariah 11:12, 13

Matthew 26:14-​16; 27:​3-​10

Friends abandoned him

Zechariah 13:7

Matthew 26:31, 56

False witnesses testified against him

Psalm 35:11

Matthew 26:59-​61

Silent before accusers

Isaiah 53:7

Matthew 27:12-​14

Spat upon

Isaiah 50:6

Matthew 26:67; 27:27, 30

Struck on the head

Micah 5:1

Mark 15:19

Flogged

Isaiah 50:6

John 19:1

Did not resist those who struck him

Isaiah 50:6

John 18:22, 23

Government leaders conspired against him

Psalm 2:2

Luke 23:10-​12

Nailed to a stake through his hands and feet

Psalm 22:16

Matthew 27:35; John 20:25

People cast lots (gambled) for his clothing

Psalm 22:18

John 19:23, 24

Counted in with sinners

Isaiah 53:12

Matthew 27:38

Reviled, insulted

Psalm 22:​7, 8

Matthew 27:39-​43

Suffered for sinners

Isaiah 53:​5, 6

1 Peter 2:​23-​25

Seemed forsaken by God

Psalm 22:1

Mark 15:34

Given vinegar and gall to drink

Psalm 69:21

Matthew 27:34

Thirsty just before death

Psalm 22:15

John 19:28, 29

Entrusted spirit to God

Psalm 31:5

Luke 23:46

Gave up his life

Isaiah 53:12

Mark 15:37

Provided the ransom to remove sin

Isaiah 53:12

Matthew 20:28

Bones not broken

Psalm 34:20

John 19:31-​33, 36

Pierced

Zechariah 12:10

John 19:33-​35, 37

Buried with the rich

Isaiah 53:9

Matthew 27:57-​60

Raised from the dead

Psalm 16:10

Acts 2:​29-​31

Betrayer replaced

Psalm 109:8

Acts 1:​15-​20

Seated at God’s right hand

Psalm 110:1

Acts 2:​34-​36

^ par. 5 McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “There can be little doubt that the registers of the Jewish tribes and families perished at the destruction of Jerusalem, and not before.”

^ par. 40 The Hebrew name Immanuel, meaning “With Us Is God,” well describes Jesus’ role as the Messiah. His presence on earth and his works proved that God is with His worshippers.​—Luke 2:​27-​32; 7:​12-​16.

^ par. 52 The term “Nazarene” apparently comes from the Hebrew word neʹtser, meaning “sprout.”

^ par. 58 For details on the Bible chronology pointing to 29 C.E. as the year of the Messiah’s arrival, see the article “How Daniel’s Prophecy Foretells the Messiah’s Arrival.”

^ par. 127 This prophecy is in the book of Zechariah, yet the Bible writer Matthew says that it “was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.” (Matthew 27:9) It appears that the book of Jeremiah was sometimes placed first in the section of Scripture called “the Prophets.” (Luke 24:44) Matthew apparently used “Jeremiah” to refer to that entire collection of books, which included the book of Zechariah.