Was Jesus the Messiah?
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
Summary: Jesus claimed to be God. Could He have been telling the truth? Study for yourself the Old Testament prophecies that point to Him.

Was Jesus an imposter, or was He the Messiah, the Son of God?

This is the vital question we all need to answer for ourselves. One thing is sure, Jesus has created more controversy than any other religious leader.

He made some astounding claims. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). The tension such a statement creates between the various religious systems cannot be readily resolved.

Either Jesus was right, or He was not; compromise seems impossible. If He was right, then this controversy will escalate to its final conclusion. It will culminate in the glorious return of Christ to this earth to reclaim His dominion and to judge the living and the dead. If He was wrong, then according to the various belief systems, the Messiah has not yet come, or he has come a number of times in the form of world teachers, or he will not come at all.

Who is right? Let us consider the evidence.

A Look At the Prophecies: Was Jesus the Messiah?

In his book Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell lists 60 Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. Let us single out a few here for closer examination:

1. He was born of a virgin.

Prophecy Fulfillment
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). And Joseph...kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus (Matthew 1:24-25 NASB).


2. He was born in Bethlehem.

Prophecy Fulfillment
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). Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea (Matthew 2:1).

3. He had a ministry of miracles.

Prophecy Fulfillment
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped (Isaiah 35:5). And Jesus went about all the cities and villages...healing every sickness and every disease among the people (Matthew 9:35.

4. He entered Jerusalem on a donkey. 

Prophecy Fulfillment
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 NASB). They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. (Luke 19:35 NASB).


5. He was betrayed by a friend. 

Prophecy Fulfillment
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me (Psalm 41:9 NASB). Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him (Matthew 10:4 NASB).


6.  He was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, and

7.  Judas threw the money into the temple, and it was given to the potter for his field.

Prophecy Fulfillment
So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD (Zechariah 11:13 NASB). And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed...The chief priests...with the money bought the Potter's Field (Matthew 27:5-7 NASB).


  8. He made no answer under accusation.

Prophecy Fulfillment
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth (Isaiah 53:7 NASB). And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer (Matthew 27:12 NASB).


9. He was physically abused.

Prophecy Fulfillment
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities...And by His scourging we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 NASB). Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him to be crucified (Matthew 27:26 NASB).


10. His hands and feet were pierced.

Prophecy Fulfillment
They pierced my hands and my feet (Psalm 22:16 NASB). When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him (Luke 23:33 NASB).

11. He was crucified with thieves. 

Prophecy Fulfillment
He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12 NASB). At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left (Matthew 27:38 NASB).

  12. Soldiers divided His garments and cast lots for them.

Prophecy Fulfillment
They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots (Psalm 22:18 NASB). Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier, and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be" (John 19:23-24 NASB).

13. He was offered vinegar.

Prophecy Fulfillment

They also gave me gall for my food And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21 NASB).

They gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink (Matthew 27:34 NASB).

14. He had no bones broken. 

Prophecy Fulfillment
He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken (Psalm 34:20 NASB). but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs (John 19:33 NASB).

15. He was buried in a rich man's tomb.

Prophecy Fulfillment
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death (Isaiah 53:9). there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph...And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb (Matthew 27:57-60 NASB).


Some have suggested that Jesus fulfilled these coincidentally. But according to the science of probability, the chance of any one human fulfilling a selection of just eight of these prophecies (including the one on crucifixion) is one in one hundred billion.

There are at least 60 Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. But there are more than 300 references to the Messiah in the Old Testament, and these were written over a 1500-year period. Conservative scholars estimate that the last Old Testament book was written around 450 BC. Some claim a later date, but cannot possibly push that date closer than about 250 BC, because the Greek translation of the Old Testament was completed during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-246 BC). This fact places a span of at least 250 years between the Old Testament predictions and their fulfillment in Christ. 

For more information on these predictions and fulfillments, read Christ and the 70-Week Prophecy and Is Jesus God? 

This article is adapted from Truth Matters by Professor Walter J. Veith, an international speaker who has studied Biblical issues in-depth in his quest for truth. His popular series Genesis Conflict brings the debate between Creation and evolution to a new climax as he dissects the arguments with a scientific eye. His highly-acclaimed series Total Onslaught sheds light on the state of the world today as we move to a one-world government and an anticipated apocalypse.
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