Proof that the Bible is God’s Word, as well as, that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah lies in the prediction and fulfillment as to when the Messiah (Savior) would come. There are 3 general and 1 specific predictions as to the time of Messiah’s coming.
1. Messiah must come before the tribe of Judah lost its tribal identity. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the obedience of the people be.” – Gen. 49:10.
The word “scepter” in this passage does not necessarily mean a king’s staff. The word translated “scepter” means primarily a “tribal staff.” The tribal identity of Judah shall not pass away – as did that of the other ten tribes of Israel – until Shiloh come.
For ages, both Jewish and Christian commentators have taken “Shiloh” to be a name of Messiah. It means “Peace” or “One sent.”
Even though Judah, during the 70-year period of their captivity at Babylon, had been deprived of national sovereignty, they never lost their “tribal staff,” their national identity; and they always had their own “lawgivers” (judges) of their own, even in captivity (Ezra 1:5, 8).
At the time of Christ, though the Romans were overlords of the Jews, the Jews had a king in their own land; moreover, they were to large extent governed by their own laws, and the Sanhedrin of the nation still exercised its authority. But in the space of a few years, during the year when Jesus was twelve years of age, when He appeared publicly in the temple (Lk. 2:41-52), Archelaus, the king of the Jews, was dethroned and banished. Coponius was appointed Roman Procurator, and the kingdom of Judah, the last remnant of the former greatness of the nation Israel, was formally debased into a part of the province of Syria. For almost another half century, the Jews retained the semblance of a provincial governmental structure; but in 70 A.D. both their city and their temple were destroyed by the armies of Roman General Titus, and all semblance of Jewish national sovereignty disappeared. But the remarkable thing is this: Messiah (Shiloh) came before Judah lost its tribal identity, exactly as stated in Genesis 49:10.
2. Messiah must come while the second temple was still standing. “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts… They glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord or hosts; and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of hosts” – Haggai 2:7-9.
Malachi confirms the prediction in Haggai 2:7-9; “the Lord shall suddenly come to His temple. This prediction in Malachi, as well as the one in Haggai, could not be fulfilled after the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. So, if Messiah came at all, He had to come before the temple was destroyed. Zechariah 11:13 also demands that Messiah come before the destruction of the Jewish temple, for that prediction speaks of “the 30 pieces of silver” being “cast to the potter in the House of the Lord” (the temple) – Zech. 11:13. In Psalm 118:26, the prophetic pen informs us that the people who should welcome Messiah would say not only “Blessed be He that comes in the name of the Lord” but also “We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord” – Psa. 118:26. That is, from the House of the Lord (the temple) the people will bless Him when He comes.
This was beautifully fulfilled in the life of Jesus. When He approached Jerusalem, for His triumphal entry, the people said, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” – Matt. 21:14, and there can be no doubt that those who were healed in the temple “blessed Him in the House of the Lord,” even as Psa. 118:26 said they would! And there is another definite fulfillment to the prediction: Matt. 21:15 tells us that the children cried in the temple, saying, “Hosanna to the son of David.” Surely, “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings You have perfected praise” – Psa. 8:2; Matt. 21:16 – and God used children to fulfill His prediction given in Psa. 118:26 that Messiah should be blessed in the House of the Lord!
There are at least five Scriptural predictions of the coming of Messiah that demand that He come while the temple at Jerusalem was still standing. This is a fact of great significance, since the temple has not been rebuilt since its destruction in 70 A.D. These five Scriptural are: Haggai 2:7-9; Malachi 3:1; Zechariah 11:13; Daniel 9:26, and Psalm 118:26.
Therefore, the public entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and into the temple as recorded were all prearranged and predicted and are part of the perfect Plan that foretold Messiah and His activities when He should come, and then perfectly fulfilled the blueprint in the movements of Jesus of Nazareth when He came. See Matt. 21:1-16; Mk. 11: 1-10; Lk. 19:29-40.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God…and the blind and the lame came unto Him in the temple; and He healed them … and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David;” – Matt. 21:12-15.
Two other intensely interesting Scriptures bear on this; when the child Jesus was taken to the temple by His parents, as recorded in Luke 2:25-32; also, when Jesus was a boy of 12 was “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors … and all that heard Him was astonished at His understanding” – Lk. 2:46-47.
After years, yea centuries, of waiting, Messiah suddenly came to His temple! – Mal. 3:1. Then a few years later, God with a dramatic gesture destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem, even as Jesus had told the people – Matt. 24:2. And on the old temple site now stands a heathen shrine, the Mosque of Omar. Providence, by these significant facts, is saying to all Jews, to all people everywhere, Messiah has already come! He can’t come now; there is no temple. Messiah had to come 1900 years ago, before He had the temple destroyed.
Either Jesus of Nazareth is the true Messiah, or there is no Messiah, no prophecy, no Word of God, no God, no objective truth; and then all history, as well as all the future, is as meaningless as the babbling of a dribbling idiot and as purposeless as the driftwood on the outskirts of a maddening whirlpool.
3. Daniel says something remarkable about the coming of Christ relative to the temple. In giving the time-table from his time to the coming of Messiah (see the next paragraph), Daniel makes it very clear that Messiah will come and be “cut off” (die) before the “people (the Romans) of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary” (the temple) – Dan. 9:26. Since we have already discussed this under point “#2”, we pass on to our next fact.
4. Messiah must come 483 years after a specific date in Daniel’s time. This definite prediction as to the exact time of the coming of Messiah is one of the most wonderful prophecies in the entire Bible. It establishes the date of Messiah’s advent almost 500 years before He came.
Here is the prediction:
“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” – Dan. 9:25-26.
The date of the “commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” was the decree by Artaxerxes in 444 B.C., granting permission to the Jews to return to Palestine and rebuild the city of Jerusalem (see Neh. 2:1-8).
The Hebrew word translated “weeks” in the Scripture quoted above (Dan. 9:25-26) means “sevens” or heptads, and is used for years. (See Lev. 25:8; Gen. 29:27-28). In other words, the “seventy sevens” that are prophetically determined on Israel and on the holy city, with specific events (Dan. 9:24), is a period of 490 years. This period is divided into 3 sections: (1) Seven “weeks”, or seven sevens of years – the 49 years the prophet allotted for the rebuilding of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah and Ezra and those associated with them. History tells us it took 49 years to do this rebuilding job; (2) A second period of 62 “weeks”, or 434 years, which would bring the time to Messiah; (3) The 70th “week”, a period of seven years some time after the coming of Messiah.
We now are especially interested in the period “from the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” to “Messiah the Prince,” which totals to a period of 483 years. Sir Robert Anderson in his book, The Coming Prince, figured it out, and gave the world his findings. We quote from the facts he presents:
He starts with March 14, 444 B.C., the date of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem(some authorities differ as to the exact date, the dates given ranging from 454 to 444 B.C., within a ten-year period. In any event, the 483 years that begin with this event bring us to the time of Jesus); and he ends the period with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (which he believes was the official presentation of Messiah as “Prince” to Israel. Cf. Lk. 19:38-40 with Zech. 9:9). After careful investigation and consultation with noted astronomers, he gives these startling findings: From 444 B.C. to 32 A.D. is 476 years; 476 x 365 is 173, 740 days; from March 14 to April 6 (the day of Christ’s triumphal entry) is 24 days; add 116 days for leap years, and you get a total of 173,880 days. Since the “prophetic year” of the Bible is always 360 days, the 69 “sevens” of this prophecy in Daniel (69 x 7 x 360) is 173,880 days! And so, the time given by Daniel from the “commandment to restore and build Jerusalem” to “Messiah the Prince” comes out perfectly – to the very day!
This is a genuine prophecy, as detailed as a road map, with no taint of ambiguity; and it is a prediction that can be proven true. It is a sign that points unerringly to Jesus of Nazareth who was “Messiah the Prince,” who was “cut off” (by a violent death) but not for Himself. When Jesus began His public ministry, He said significantly, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand” – Mark 1:15. Messiah must be born at some time; it might have been in any century, in any year; but with absolute certainty the exact year, the very month of a notable event in His life, is foretold.
It is most remarkable that within a generation of Christ’s sufferings on the cross the temple was destroyed, the Jewish priesthood ceased to exist, the sacrifices were no longer offered, the Jews’ genealogical records were destroyed, their city was destroyed, and the people of Israel were driven out of their land, sold into slavery, and dispersed to the four corners of the earth! Since those dreadful national judgments fell on Israel, it has been utterly impossible for a “Messiah” to come with proper “credentials,” such as the Old Testament demands, and such as Jesus of Nazareth presented.
(The above information was taken from Fred Meldau’s Messiah in Both Testaments, pages 29-35).
Some other prophecies that were predicted and then fulfilled by Jesus Christ are:
- Gen. 22:18 – The Messiah would be of the seed (a descendant of) of Abraham – Gal. 3:8, 16; Matt. 1:1.
- Isa. 11:1 – He was to come through the family line of Jesse – Lk. 3:23, 32.
- Psa. 132:11; Jer. 23:5 – He’s to be of the seed of David – Acts 13:22-23; Lk. 3:23, 31.
- Isa. 9:7 – He’s to be heir to the throne of David – Lk. 1:32-33.
- Gen. 49:10 – He’s to come from the tribe of Judah – Heb. 7:14; Matt. 1:2; Lk. 3:33.
- Isa. 7:14 – He’s to be born of a virgin and called Immanuel – Matt. 1:18-23.
- Micah 5:2 – He’s to be born in Bethlehem of Judea – Matt. 2:1, 6.
- Psa. 72:10 – Great people were to present gifts to Him – Matt. 2:1-11.
- Hosea 11:1 – He would come out of Egypt – Matt. 2:14-15.
- Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1 – He’s to be preceded by a forerunner before entering His public ministry – Lk. 1:17; Matt. 3:1-3.
- Deut. 18:15-18 – He’s to be a prophet like Moses – Acts 3:20-22.
- Psa. 45:7; Isa. 11:2; 61:1-2 – He’s to have a special anointing by the Holy Spirit – Matt. 3:16.
- Psa. 110:4 – He’s to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek – Heb. 5:5-6.
- Isa. 9:1-2 – His ministry was to begin in Galilee – Matt. 4:12, 15-23.
- Zech. 9:9 – He was to enter Jerusalem to bring salvation – Matt. 21:1-5; Mk. 11:7, 9, 11.
- Hag. 2:7-9; Mal. 3:1 – He was to enter the temple – Matt. 21:12.
- Psa. 69:9 – His zeal for the Lord is spoken of – John 2:17.
- Psa. 78:2-4 – His manner of teaching was to be by parables – Matt. 13:34-35.
- Psa. 8:2 – He was to be adored by infants – Matt. 21:15-16.
- Isa. 35:5-6 – His ministry was to be characterized by miracles – Matt. 11:4-6; Jn. 11:47.
- Psa. 69:8; Isa. 53:3 – He was to be rejected by His brethren – Jn. 1:11; 7:5; Lk. 23:18.
- Psa. 69:4; 35:19; Isa. 49:7 – He was to be hated without a cause – Jn. 7:48; 15:24-25.
- Psa. 41:9; 55:12, 14 – He was to be betrayed by a friend – Jn. 13:18, 21.
- Zech. 13:7 – He was to be forsaken by His disciples – Matt. 26:31-56.
- Zech. 11:12 – He was to be sold for 30 pieces of silver – Matt. 26:15.
- Zech. 11:13 – His price (30 pieces) was to be given for the potter’s field – Matt. 27:7.
- Micah 5:1 – He was to be smitten on the cheek – Matt. 27:30.
- Isa. 50:6 – He was to be spat on – Matt. 27:30.
- Psa. 22:7-8 – He was to be mocked – Matt. 27:31, 39-44.
- Psa. 50:6 – He was to be beaten – Matt. 26:67; 27:26, 30.
- Psa. 22:16; Zech. 12:10 – His hands and feet were to be pierced – Jn. 19:18, 37; 20:25.
- Psa. 22:17-18 – His clothing was to be gambled for – Matt. 27:35-36.
- Ex. 12:46; Psa. 34:20 – Not a bone of Him was to be broken – Jn. 19:33-36.
- Psa. 69:21 – He was to be given vinegar to drink – Matt. 27:34.
- Isa. 53:12 – He was to be numbered with transgressors (thieves) – Lk. 22:37.
- Psa. 2:7; 16:10 – He was to be raised from the dead – Acts 13:33; Lk. 24:6-7.