One of the great realities of Scripture is the prophetic nature of the Bible. There are predictions made in Scripture that have already come true, and there are many that we are waiting to come true – for example the second coming of Jesus Christ. Yet, before he comes the second time he had to come the first time.
The prediction of Jesus' first coming was foretold all throughout the Old Testament. You might be wondering where does the Old Testament predict Jesus’ birth and death? I am glad you asked because we are going to look at some of these predictions.
Old Testament Prophecies of Jesus
Before we dive in and answer the question of where the Old Testament predicts Jesus’ birth and death, let’s take a moment to answer another question: How can you trust biblical prophecy? The answer is found in the very Scripture itself:
“You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
You can test the prophetic accuracy of Scripture by asking this one question: Did it come to pass? This is really the only way to know if something that is prophesied is true or not. Let’s consider some of these prophecies from the Old Testament.
Let's look at 11 places where the Old Testament accurately predicts Jesus’ birth and death. In answering the question of where the Old Testament predict Jesus’ birth and death, I want to divide the listings into two categories. We will first start with those pointing to his birth, and then those pointing to his death.
Old Testament Predictions of Jesus' Birth
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1. Genesis 3:15
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
From the very beginning, right after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, he gave indication that a savior would be coming from the seed of the woman, Eve. God revealed right away that this seed would be the one that would crush the head of the serpent. We know that seed pointed to Jesus. Moses is credited as the author of the book of Genesis. The time of his writing isn’t one hundred percent certain, but is estimated to be about 1500 years before Christ was born.
2. Genesis 12:3
“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
In this verse, God is making a promise to Abraham that he would make him into a great nation. As part of that promise he tells him that all people on earth will be blessed through you. This blessing of all mankind points to the one who would redeem peoples from every tribe and tongue on the face of the earth. The blessing of salvation was for all who would believe.
3. Isaiah 7:14
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
This Scripture points to the manner in which he will born, and also to one of the names given to Christ: Immanuel, meaning God with us. This was pointing to both his human birth and his divine nature. This was written over 700 years before Christ was born.
4. Micah 5:2
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
We know Jesus was born in Bethlehem and this Scripture tells us in advance the place Jesus would be born. This prophecy was written by Micah approximately 800 years before Christ was born.
5. Hosea 11:1
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
This prophecy was written by Hosea also approximately 800 years before Christ was born. This verse looks backward and forward. Remember the Israelites were slaves in Egypt when God brought them out. Also remember that Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the baby Jesus to avoid the slaughter by Herod. This verse can apply to both of those situations. However, it was referred to by Matthew in his writings (Matthew 2:14-15).
Old Testament Predictions of Jesus' Death
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One place we can turn to that accurately predicts Christ’s death is Psalm 22. I will highlight a few verses from this Psalm.
6. Psalm 22:1
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
7. Psalm 22:7-8
“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. ‘He trusts in the Lord,’ they say, ‘let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’”
“Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”
This Psalm was written by David approximately 1000 years before Christ came. I just want to highlight within this Psalm the many references to the actual crucifixion of Christ. I will include the New Testament reference for each of these:
- Jesus cried out “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)
- They mocked and hurled insults shaking their heads at Jesus (Matthew 27:39, Mark 15:29)
- They shouted “He trusts in the Lord, let the Lord save him” (Matthew 27:41-43)
- They nailed him to a cross piercing his hand and feet (Matthew 27:35)
- They divided his clothes and cast lots for them (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34)
The accuracy and specific nature of David’s prophecy has caused some skeptics to believe it was written after the crucifixion had already taken place. But the evidence shows this was written about 1000 years before. If someone should ever ask you where the Old Testament predicts Jesus birth and death, this Psalm should be included in the conversation. Especially if you are talking about his death.
Another great passage to turn to is Isaiah 53. The whole chapter refers to Christ, but I want to highlight a few verses.
9. Isaiah 53:5
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
10. Isaiah 53:7
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
11. Isaiah 53:9
“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.”
Again, when you read the scriptures, it is amazing how accurate and reliable Bible prophecies are. If you consider the test of the truth of prophecy, mentioned in Deuteronomy, then the Bible passes with flying colors.
What Does All This Mean?
As we have looked back to consider Old Testament prophecies, there is one thing I want you to take away from all this. The Bible can be trusted. It is the living active word of God and you can depend on what God has spoken in his word. What has been predicted has either already come to pass or it will. It’s just a matter of time. I want to leave you with two truths about Scripture that Jesus stated about the word of God:
“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18).
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
When it is all said and done and every prophecy has been fulfilled, God’s word will still be standing. You can count on that.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, teacher, author, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled to try to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.