Prophecies About The Messiah


Printer Friendly version.



Messianic prophecy refers to Old Testament predictions of the God-appointed King who would rule the nation of Israel and the whole earth. It was predicted this King would be a descendant of David.

“Messiah” is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic word “mesiha” which is related to the underlying Hebrew word “masiah”. “Masiah” is derived from the Hebrew word “masah” which means “to anoint, smear with oil”. The word “masiah” is most frequently used in the Old Testament in reference to the king of Israel having been anointed (see 1 Samuel 26:11 and Psalm 89:20).

The primary sense of the title “masiah” or anointed one in 1 Samuel 26:11 related to the king as an anointed, elected, set apart and therefore honoured man of God. But the word “messiah” in later Jewish history came to mean more a king who would appear in future and rule on the throne of David.

David was seen as the ideal king of Israel. So the future Messiah was believed to be like him. The covenant which God made with David was a foundation of this (see 2 Samuel 7:1-17).


What does “anointing” mean?


In the Old Testament, being anointed with oil by God’s human representative symbolised being sanctified – set apart as God’s possession for His use and purposes [1] – and being consecrated or devoted to Him. [2]

When God anointed a person, He empowered the person by the Holy Spirit to fulfil the purposes for which He had anointed Him. [3] Acts 10:38 says: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil…” 1 John 2:27 refers to the Holy Spirit living in believers as being one aspect of the anointing given by God.


Prophecies about the future King sitting on David’s Throne:


·         Jeremiah 33:14-17 promises a continuation of the Davidic line of kings.

·         Isaiah 9:6-7 foresees the glorious splendour of the coming King sitting on David’s Throne.

·         Micah 5:2 predicts the birth in Bethlehem of the King who is David’s descendant.

·         Zechariah Chapters 9 and 12 describe the nature of the Messiah’s Kingdom and reign.

·         Daniel 7:13-14 speaks of the “Son of man”. In Daniel’s time, this phrase was not connected by the Jews with the Messiah. But it was later interpreted this way.

·         Isaiah 61:1-3 is a wonderful prophecy of what the Messiah or Anointed One would do in later times. Jesus Christ mentions this prophecy being fulfilled by Him (see Luke 4:18-21).

·         Isaiah 11:1-16 speaks of a descendant of David who would be filled with the Holy Spirit.

·         Isaiah 16:5.

·         Jeremiah 23:5-6.

·         Jeremiah 30:9.

·         Jeremiah 33:14-17.

·         Ezekiel 34:22-31.

·         Ezekiel 37:24-28.

·         Zechariah 6:12-13. (This is a promise Jesus Christ would be the Ruler on David’s throne, the High Priest and the Builder of God’s Temple.) Melchizedek combined the functions of a priest and king. Jesus Christ was similar to this.


The word “Christ”


The word “Christ” is the equivalent of the Hebrew “Messiah”. The Greek word “christos” means “anointed”. In the New Testament, “christos” is closely related to anointing and to the thread of Old Testament teaching which hints that a special Anointed One would come and set the world right. In Mark 14:61-62, Jesus links the Old Testament teachings on the Christ or Messiah and the Son of Man.


Two false Jewish views of the Messiah


Among many Jews during the period between the finish of the writing of the Old Testament and Jesus’ time, there were two differing false views of what the future Messiah would be:


1.       One view was of a purely national Messiah who would appear as a man and take on the kingship over Judah to deliver it from the foreign oppressors. This Messiah was not divine.

2.       The other view was of a divine Messiah from heaven, who was not fully human, did not have human limitations and would establish the Kingdom of God on Earth.


Because Jesus Christ did not match either of these wrong views, many Jews rejected Him.


Bible Study Questions


1.         What does the Hebrew word “masiah” or in Greek “messiah” mean?

2.         What does it mean to be anointed by God through His human representative?

3.         What does the Greek word “Christos” mean?

4.         State what were the two wrong views which many Jews living between the finish of the writing of the Old Testament and Jesus’ time, had of the future Messiah.


[1] See Exodus 29:36 and 40:9-10.

[2] See Leviticus 8:10-11.

[3] See 1 Samuel 10:1, 10:6, 16:1 and 16:13.

All original work on this site is Copyright © 1994 - . Individuals may take copies of these works for the purpose of studying the Bible provided a copyright notice is attached to all copies.   Questions regarding this site should be directed to the .