In Genesis 3:15, God said, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel." According to some biblical experts, this is an oblique reference to the coming of Messiah.
This is taken by many as one of the earliest Messianic prophecies describing Satan's brief victory over the Messiah and the Messiah's ultimate victory over Satan. It is mentioned here because the offspring (Messiah) is described as being of the woman (Eve). This is extraordinary as the nation of Israel has always been patriarchal; people are mentioned in terms of their fathers, not their mothers. Because of this, many see this verse as also being a prophecy of Messiah's birth through a virgin
Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus)
The Book of Genesis also makes reference to the importance of the lineage or the heritage of the coming Messiah. In Genesis 12:3, God says to Abraham. "In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed." This is a reference to the influence that the descendants of Abraham will have over all the earth and is also seen as an indication that, "...the Messiah would descend from Abraham as Messiah is the source of all true blessings." (Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus)
The bloodline of the coming messiah is therefore seen to extend from Isaac to Jacob then to the son of Jacob, Judah. This lineage of Jesus Christ is often mentioned in the New Testament writings and will be discussed in section three.
It is also important to note that the question of lineage and the Messiah extends to other books of the Old Testament.
For example, in 2 Samuel 7:12-13, through Nathan the prophet, God promises King David that the ".... Messiah will not only come from his own bloodline, but will also inherit his throne."
Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus)
Furthermore, the idea of lineage and bloodline as an important factor in the coming messiah is also related to the idea of political and Kingly inheritance.
Therefore we find both Isaiah and Jeremiah emphasizing that the throne of David is seen as the place of the Messiah's Governance of the earth. "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:7) In Jeremiah we read; " 'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land'." (Jeremiah 23:5) These references to the lineage of the Messiah are continued in the New Testament, as will be referred to in the following section.
Furthermore, the issue of the lineage of David as the line of descent of the coming Messiah is also empathized in other later books of the bible such as II Kings 7:1.
The importance of genealogy in terms of the prophetic vision of the coming messiah is stressed in the following quotation.
Clearly, in order to verify the fulfillment of this prophecy it is necessary to have an accurate genealogical record. Knowing the importance of this messianic sign, the Jews kept genealogical records of all the ancestors of David. These were kept in Bethlehem, where He was born. For this reason, when it came time for the birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph and the Virgin Mary, who were of the lineage of David, had to go from their town of Nazareth to distant Bethlehem, in order to be registered in the genealogical book of the new descendants of this king.
The Book of Isaiah deserves special attention with regard to this topic as there are many prophecies about the Messiah which can be compared in terms of their fulfillment to the books of the New Testament. One of the most often quoted of the Messianic prophesies in Isaiah is the following.
For 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, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall perform this.
This important passage from Isaiah reveals not only the details of the birth of Christ but also ".... gives us vital information, as to the effects and consequences of the miraculous coming of Christ into the world in human form." (Williamson) There are of course many references to the fulfillment of this aspect, and the emphasis on the miraculous birth and nature of Christ which will be referred to in the following section.
The prophetic statements of Isaiah are some of the most illuminating in terms of the history and revelation of Jesus as the Messiah in the New Testament.
In Isaiah 9 reference is made to the history of the tribe of Israel who are in "darkness." This refers to historical, political and social aspects. Isaiah predicts the coming of the time of "light." This refers to the birth of the Messiah and is an intimation of the coming of Jesus Crisis in Isaiah 9:6.
As mentioned in the introduction to this study, the visions and prophesies of Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets can also be interpreted in a more mundane historical sense. In this view the coming of the Messiah is seen as a solution to a particular political and social reality facing the Israelites at that time. The Messiah is seen in the context of a King of the Jews who will remove their problems and oppression.
Isaiah had his eyes fixed on an ideal king. Someday, he said to his contemporaries, Judah will have the kind of king who will carry out the divine will. The character of this king will be indicated by the name which he will bear. He will have a long title which in itself signifies that he will not be inferior to any of the kings who have ruled over other nations of the world. With respect to moral qualities, he will be superior to any of them. He will be known as a wonderful counselor.
However the many characteristics and events that Isaiah attributes to the Messiah / King are found in the New Testament writings about Christ and many correspond very closely to that of the Christ figure in the New Testament.
For example, Isaiah mentioned the sense of fairness and even - handedness that that Messiah will show in terms of human governance.
There is also strong emphasis on the particular way that the Messiah will make Judgments. " He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;..." (Isaiah 11:3-5) This is particularly relevant when comparing this text with some of the central writings in the New Testament.
Furthermore the Messiah will not judge according to outward appearances. This is an aspect that is often referred to in the writings of the New Testament. The non-violent character of this Messiah and the use of words rather then force is also emphasized in the prophecies of Isaiah. This too has echoes min the wrings of the character of the Messiah in the New Testament.
Central to the vision of the Messiah in the writings of Isaiah is the vision that the Messiah will bring fairness, justice and peace to all. "Behold a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding-place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land." (Isaiah 32:1-2)
There are many other references to the Messiah which find echoes in the New Testament.
For example, in Isaiah 11:2, and 61:1, it is stated that the Messiah will be anointed with the Spirit of the True God. "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2.) And the lines from Isaiah 61:1 amplify this point;"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up…