God gives us a sneak preview of the Messiah when Jacob provides the future blessings for his sons in Genesis 49. When Jacob comes to Judah, he says:
“The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until He comes to whom it belongs
and the obedience of the nations is His” (Genesis 49:10).
This is just one of the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. It is interesting to see the other passages in the Old Testament fill in the picture of this One who is to come, to whom the scepter rightfully belongs. Here are just a few.
Old Testament Prophecies about the Coming of the Messiah
Numbers 24:17,19: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel . . . a ruler will come out of Jacob . . .”
Psalm 60:7: “Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter.”
Psalm 2:7-9: “You are my Son, today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance; the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter, you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Isaiah 42:1,4: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations . . . He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth…”
But it doesn’t stop there. In the New Testament, we see the fulfillment of the whispered Messiah in the Old Testament.
Signs of the Messiah Fulfilled in the New Testament
Revelation 21:23-24: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it…”
Revelation 22:2: “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Jesus’ authority, power, and rulership are different from the earth’s system. While it is absolute, it is good, it is invitational, and it is healing. Jesus is the only rightful ruler of the world. He is the only rightful ruler of my heart. He deserves my utmost obedience. The obedience of the nations is rightfully His.
Over the years, He has seen so much disobedience. I can’t imagine the atrocities He has witnessed. The nations and rulers have wielded power for selfish gain and fleshly exploits. So few, even in Israel’s kingly line, really reflected the true King’s heart. What grief He has carried. Isaiah 42:4 says that He “will not falter or be discouraged” until He establishes justice on earth. I am so thankful that this is promised and is a sure thing. I get very discouraged and wonder if He is paying attention to the injustices that are being perpetrated in our world.
He knows, and He is a great High Priest who can empathize with us. He is also the King who can do something about it. But He exercises His power in a different way than the worldly system. He will “rule with an iron scepter and dash them to pieces like pottery,” but only after extending His patience — for He is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
And so we wait for Him to set this world right. We heard whispers throughout the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, then we saw signs of the Messiah fulfilled in the first Advent recorded in the Gospels. And we eagerly await His second Advent, where His rulership will finally bring healing, heart-filled obedience, and light to this sin-sick world. Maranatha!
Do Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah make you long for His second coming and convict you to share the gospel with unreached people groups around the world?
You can earn your Master of Arts or M.Div. in Intercultural Studies and share the good news with those who have not yet heard it! Learn more about Grace Theological Seminary and discover the many ways we can prepare you for ministry!
Christy Hill, Professor of Spiritual Formation and Women’s Ministries, has a passion for facilitating the holistic development of men and women into mature disciples of Jesus Christ, who are transformed by the experience of God’s love and truth. Saddened by the discrepancy between accurate theology and a living faith, she seeks to help her learners acknowledge that their operant belief system (behaviors, values, attitudes, motives) reveals their true beliefs. She then seeks to aid spiritual formation by resolving the gap between one’s professed belief system (correct theology) and actual beliefs.