Jewish Messiah Prophecy Reveals the Hebrew Messiah
Messiah prophecy in the Hebrew Bible answers: What is the Messiah? Who is the Messiah? When does the Messiah come? What are his two missions?
All these questions will be answered directly from Jewish Messiah prophecy:
- What is the Messiah -- human, superhuman, king, warrior?
- How is the Hebrew Messiah born?
- Does the Messiah suffer, die and rise from the dead?
- What are the Messiah's two missions?
- Are there two Messiahs?
- When does the Messiah come?
- How does the Messiah relate to the End Times and Israel?
- Is Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah?
- How can I go to Heaven?
- How do Judaism beliefs compare with Messiah Prophecy?
Introduction: Why Study Jewish Messiah Prophecy?
The Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, was written by God to man. It is divinely inspired. God told select prophets what to write. How do we know that? Because only the Tanakh has prophecies written hundreds of years before their fulfillment. Many have already been fulfilled and some are yet future. Many of these prophecies concern the Messiah.
It is prophecy which sets the Tanakh above all other writings. No other writings contain 100% accurate predictions because they are NOT divinely inspired as the Tanakh is. Only God can write about future events that happen exactly as predicted!
Prophecies about Israel are prime examples. The rebirth of the nation of Israel occurred miraculously on May 14, 1948. This prophecy from Isaiah 66:8 foretold the event:
"Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children."
Many other prophecies have been fulfilled since May 14, 1948. The Six Day War, taking of Jerusalem and leaving Gaza are just a few examples.
You must decide which is more important to you -- the Tanakh or other Jewish sources. Jewish Messiah prophecy is the key that unlocks the secrets of the Messiah.
Please study the sections in order or you may arrive at a wrong conclusion. Many sections will include Judaism Beliefs about what you are reading. They were paraphrased from various websites and are there for comparison. If you only want to read what the Tanakh says, you may skip the Judaism Beliefs or look at them later.
Note 1: You can translate this website into 81 different languages. Click on the last menu selection on the left.)
Note 2: In the Tanakh, God is spelled out and is not abbreviated G-d. It will be spelled out here like in the Judaism Bible. There are no restrictions in the Tanakh regarding this.
Prerequisite to Finding "Who is the Messiah?"
Before we can find the ultimate answer "Who is the Messiah?", we must discover "What is the Messiah?". Jewish views are varied on this question. They include a mere human, superman, prophet, king, and divine being. But what does the Tanakh say? The Tanakh consists of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings.
We start by examining Jewish prophecy relating to the birth of a special person in the Tanakh. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden when they broke his commandment not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. At that point they became sinners condemned to hell along with their offspring. That includes all of mankind.
Psalm 51:5 proves that original sin is real. Everyone is a sinner. Some people even go as far to say that there is NO sin. That’s merely an excuse for doing anything they please while believing there will be no consequences from God. The Tanakh is at odds with this humanistic view. The consequence is an eternity in hell. King David confirms being born in sin:
Psalm 51:5 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Now look at these two Messiah prophecies which predict the coming of a Messiah:
Isaiah 9:6 6For 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.
Micah 5:2 2But 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.
These messiah prophecies clearly indicate that a human son (no metaphor) is born, he shall be a ruler, he is the Mighty God and he is from everlasting which means he is eternal. The ruler is the Hebrew Messiah and he is also God come in the flesh!
Another verse which shows that God is eternal with no beginning or end is his response when Moses asked him who shall I say sent me? God replied "I AM" meaning he has no beginning or end. He is eternal.
Exodus 3:14 14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
This also coincides with the messiah prophecy verses you just read. The son that is born is also eternal; therefore, he is must be God incarnate. The word "son" is no metaphor. It refers to a human child.
But there is a problem. The Hebrew Messiah had to come from Adam’s line, but Adam was now a sinner. God is sinless so God cannot come in the flesh if that flesh is sinful. How did God solve the problem?
Observe this Messiah prophecy:
Isaiah 7:14 14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Note that Immanuel means “God with us”. More on the virgin birth will be covered below in "Judaism Belief 1".
Judaism Belief 1: The Messiah is Not Born of a Virgin
What about the Jewish objection concerning the word for virgin, `almah, means a young woman and not a virgin. The word `almah is used seven times in the Tanakh to refer to a young woman:
- Genesis 24:43
- Exodus 2:8
- Psalm 68:25
- Proverbs 30:19
- Song of Solomon 1:3;
- Song of Solomon 6:8
- Isaiah 7:14
Before jumping to an incorrect conclusion, one must always take a word in the proper context. The same word can imply very different things. The word “nail”, for example can mean a finger nail or a nail you hit with a hammer. The use of `almah in all of the above passages implies a virgin by context. Here are some quotes from learned people who have studied this word:
"There is no instance where it can be proved that 'almâ designates a young woman who is not a virgin. The fact of virginity is obvious in Gen 24:43 where 'almâ is used of one who was being sought as a bride for Isaac." (R. Laird Harris, et al. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, p. 672.)
“There is no place among the seven occurrences of `almah in the Old Testament where the word is clearly used of a woman who was not a virgin.” – Gresham Machen
“… but in biblical usage, the word denotes a virgin in every case where its meaning can be determined.” Willis J. Beecher, “The Prophecy of the Virgin Mother”, 179-80.
Since the first six passages clearly indicate a virgin, it can be assumed that Isaiah 7:14 also fits into the same category. There is no reason to take exception with all the rest of the Tanakh verses.
The virgin birth means that the human mother could not have a human father. A human mother AND a human father would produce a sinful son. The father had to be divine or the son could not be divine.
Alright, you may ask, but how can BOTH the Son and the Father be God? The next section explains that mystery in detail directly from the Tanakh.
The Mystery of God
Most Jewish people who believe in God will agree that there is only one God (correct) and will often quote this passage from the Torah as proof:
Deuteronomy 6:4 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
In Hebrew it reads “Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad.” The last word is echad which means “one” in English. This word, however, is a compound-unity-noun. It is like the English collective noun which refers to a unit of something, but the unit is made up of more than one element. The word “family” is an example. A family unit is made up of two or more members.
The Tanakh has many examples as well. Echad is used to describe the cluster of grapes that the twelve Hebrew spies brought back from the land of Canaan in Numbers 12:23. The one cluster is made up of many grapes. In Ezra 2:64 the word echad is translated “whole congregation” which had 42,360 members.
The Tanakh clearly teach that there is ONE GOD consisting of two or more separate persons. Look at the following Torah passages where God uses the “us” word as he talks to the other members of what we shall see is the Tri-unity of God. This clearly shows that God consists of more than one Person:
Genesis 1:26 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 3:22 22And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Genesis 11:6-7 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, ... 7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
The above Torah texts show the first person of the Tri-unity God speaking. The Tanakh calls Him Father; in other words, He is God the Father.
Isaiah 63:16 16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Now we meet the second person of the Tri-unity God. He is the Son of God.
Proverbs 30:4 4Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?
Daniel 3:24-25 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, andspake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
The Tanakh also speaks of the third member of the Tri-unity God – the Spirit who is a Person and not just a spiritual force:
Nehemiah 9:20 20Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.
There are additional verses which distinguish the three Persons of the Tri-Unity God in the Tanakh but they are not covered here.
The Tri-unity God
Is God three persons? You can plainly see that the Tanakh teaches there are three Persons who make up the Tri-unity God. If you deny it, you are rejecting the Tanakh.
Tri-unity of God Explanation
How can there be three distinct Persons and yet only ONE God? Let’s look at some earthly examples. A hard-boiled egg has three parts – the shell, the white or albumin, and the yolk. Each provides a different function but there is still only one egg.
The U.S. Government is another example. It has three different branches: Executive, Legislative and Judicial, performing three different functions, but here is only ONE U.S. government.
Although there are three separate Persons in the Tri-unity God, they function in perfect unison as ONE GOD. Each Person is equal in form and power to the other two but each Person performs a different function.
The three Persons of the Tri-unity God are the Father, Son and the Spirit. The Father is in charge. He is referred to as God by the Son even though the Son is identical to the Father.
It's like triplet men who form a company. They are identical in every way but one holds the office of president and the others must obey him in company matters.
The Hebrew Messiah had to have a Person of the Tri-unity God in place of his human Father or else he would be imperfect like Adam. That’s why the Messiah had to be born of a virgin with his human father replaced by God the Spirit.
So the question "What is the Messiah?" has been answered. He is the Son of God incarnate -- taking on human form.
Here we look at the first 2 of 19 Jewish beliefs and see how they compare to the Tanakh. They are all numbered in red.
Judaism Belief 2: The Tri-unity of God is False
Judaism belief rejects God being three persons; however, the Tanakh plainly teaches it as we have just read. One Jewish scholar even said "Why not five persons?". He obviously did not study the Tanakh which says three.
Judaism Belief 3: The Messiah is Only a Prophet
Judaism says that the Hebrew Messiah is merely a prophet and then builds rules around this supposition to determine who is eligible to be the Messiah. The Messiah prophecy from Isaiah 11:2 is used.
Isaiah 11:1,4 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
But when you look at the whole chapter, especially verse four, you see that it does not refer to a prophet but to the Branch who is God the Messiah. Verse four says that He will smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of his lips. No human can do that to the entire earth!
The Branch cannot be a mere prophet. He has to be divine and come from the line of Jesse (David's father) which means he also has to be human.
Next is the Messiah's first mission which may surprise you.