The Case for Jesus the Messiah – Program 1

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.; ©1989
Many prophecies about the Messiah were given hundreds or even thousands of years before Jesus was born. How could the prophets have so perfectly foretold events that would surrounds his birth, ministry and death?


Supernatural Messianic Prophecies

Program 1

Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re glad that you’ve joined us. Tonight, we have a very special program for you. I think that many people have missed the greatest argument for the existence of God that the Christian Church can present. Christians don’t seem to present this, and the non-Christian hasn’t heard this. And that is, the great, supernatural, miraculous messianic prophecies that are given in the Hebrew Scriptures hundreds, even thousands, of years before the person of Jesus Christ came on the scene.
You know, for those of you that are skeptics tonight, one thing I want you to understand is that when you take your Bible and you talk about the Old Testament or the Hebrew Scriptures in this Bible, that all of it was in existence at least 247 years before Jesus appeared on the scene. The reason I say that is, some people think that Christians wrote these and kind of just made up the text and then said these were prophecies. Now, how do we know that? Because the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, was written about 247 BC in Alexandria, and all of this material that we’re going to talk about tonight was already in existence.
Now, the question is, Were these prophecies – these statements about a future person – a Messiah, God’s very special person, were they specific enough, did they give us information enough, and did they really point to Jesus or could they point to a hundred other people?
There is nobody that I would rather have you hear than our guest tonight. And that is Dr. Walter Kaiser, who is a professor of Semitic languages and Dean of Trinity Seminary. He’s a prolific author, but he can communicate to the laymen like no other professor I’ve heard. And tonight, Dr. Kaiser, I’m so glad that you’re here with us. For the folks that are listening, start off any place you want. What is the case for Jesus Christ being the Messiah?
Dr. Walter Kaiser: Thank you, John. It’s a delight to be here. And what a case it is! It is a marvelous case! We’re not going to have time to go through all the texts. We need to do some 500 texts, almost 500 texts in the Hebrew Scriptures. So we’re not going to do that; but let’s start off by giving four pointers to the Messiah for Christmas.
Ankerberg: Alright.
Kaiser: I think most are hearing this broadcast Christmas Eve. I think we ought to set the case for four pointers from the texts themselves that say that this Messiah had to be born at this time, and that Y’Shua, or Jesus, is the one who most perfectly fits the case. I have four things I want to share with you. The first is from the prophet Micah. Micah is an eighth century BC prophet. This is 700 years before the Messiah is born, he is going to call the shots and say, “It must be Bethlehem.” And then we’re going to show that it had to be, out of all the tribes of Israel, it had to be one – Judah. That will be in Genesis 49. And then we want to show also that it had to be one family and that’s the family of David – 2 Samuel 7. Then we want to show this is more than just an ordinary person, this is “Immanuel, God with us.” That’s Isaiah 9, where this child, like no other child we ever heard of before has a name that’s called “Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” So I think I should get into the text and sort of work on those four right away.
Ankerberg: Yeah, go ahead.
Kaiser: Let’s take the first one, Micah 5:2. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall come one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins were of old, from ancient times. Or as others will say, “from the days of eternity.” What a text this is! He says, first of all, Bethlehem is where this Messiah is going to be born. And we sing, as a matter of fact, you hear it in some of the department stores, “O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see you lie tonight…” That’s why. The song didn’t come first; Bethlehem came first, then we had the song.
And he even adds here “Ephrathah,” which is the old name for the same site. There are several Bethlehems in Israel, in Palestine, but we’ve got to get the right one. And this is the one from the book of Ruth, and from Genesis, we know this is Bethlehem in Judah.
And he says, “Though you are small.” It obviously was just a village, about five miles south of Jerusalem. But he said, “Though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over all Israel, and this is one who has origins that go way back into antiquity.” “He goes all the way back to eternity” you could translate it. As a matter of fact, the word here for “from of old,” “from antiquity,” “from ancient times” is one of the names for God himself that is used in the text itself. So I think we’ve got quite a case here. Where should we look? First place: look in Bethlehem. And I think we need to look for a special Bethlehem, one that’s found in Judah.
Ankerberg: Yeah, and I think the reason that that’s so spectacular is if somebody was to say, “Look, predict, all you folks here in the audience and those of you that are watching, talk about somebody that’s going to be born 800 years from today, that will be, say, the president of the United States 800 years in the future. And I want to know the exact city he’s going to be born in. Okay? Name it right now!” Well, that’s pretty hairy! Then, the fact of the very thing that he says, “It will be from eternity” or “His days will go back into the days of everlasting;” descriptive all the way.
Kaiser: And that’s the hint, too, that he is not only true human but there’s a hint there of Deity. This is one who has origins that go all the way back to the beginning. But let’s take a second text and let’s go to Genesis, B’reshith, the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures. And here, as Jacob is saying goodbye to his children, he is now pronouncing the will. This is the reading of the will, if you please. And he is calling each of the twelve sons before him. And you would think Reuben would be the one who would get the right of firstborn. But no, he passes over Reuben; he passes over Simeon; he passes over Levi. Judah – bingo! That’s where we’re going. It’s the fourth one. And he centers in on Judah and he says to him, “You are a lion’s cub,” Genesis 49:9. And then goes into verse 10 and says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes,” or as it’s translated by some, “until the Peacemaker comes.” Or, another way to translate that word as it is in other versions, “until he comes to whom it belongs, and the obedience of the nations are his…the obedience of the nations will be his.”
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re reading from Genesis 49:10, if you’re following in the Bible. Okay?
Kaiser: Now the text here, I think, is beautiful because you have the scepter on one hand, and he speaks of this which is the symbol of authority and of leadership. And not only do you have the scepter but he speaks, too, of the ruler’s staff. So here are the two symbols of government, and they belong to one particular tribe, and that is the tribe of Judah. Then he says, interestingly enough, not only will he have the symbols of government but he says, “They will not depart from those in Judah until the one to whom it belongs,” or until Shiloh comes.” It’s not the city of Shiloh; it’s a very special Shiloh. And it is known in the Scriptures, in the prophet Ezekiel 21:27. He will refer back to this and give us the longer form of that same word and will translate it as “the one whose right it is” or “the one to whom it belongs.”
When he comes, then finally the authority will pass from Judah and will pass over to Mashiach, to Messiah, to, I think, Y’Shua. Why do I think Y’Shua? Jesus of Nazareth? Because that whole thing continued up until the time of the fall of the Second Temple. When you get up to 70 AD, goodbye; no more tribal distinctions, and Judah is gone. So “the scepter and the staff of the government will not depart from Judah until the one whose right it is comes.” I submit to you that some time prior to 70 AD, to 70 of the Christian era, as others will put it, there had to be a time when indeed this one came. And the prerogatives of government, then, belong to him. And more than that, the obedience of the nations will be his, too. All of the families of the earth, every tribe, every tongue, every nation, will be channeled to this ruler who is to come. I think that’s a fantastic case for the Messiah.
So he comes from Bethlehem and he also comes out of Judah. He is a Ruler and he is one to whom the government has been given. All authority now transferred from the tribe of Judah; for he himself comes from Judah, as we will see.
Ankerberg: Alright, those are very specific characteristics, and if you’re going to listen during this series of six programs, what I want you to do is, you can start with what you’re hearing here as a base, and we’re just going to keep on piling them on. And the fact is, whoever the Messiah is, has got to have all of these characteristics true of him. And that’s what’s going to blow your mind. It continually points to one person. Now, we’re going to give you some more after the break. Stick with us.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking with Dr. Walter Kaiser, the Dean of Trinity Seminary and Professor of Semitic Languages. And we’re setting the case for the Hebrew Scriptures showing, telling, foretelling that Jesus was the Messiah. Is it there, or did the Christians read this back in? I want you to look, because these are unique. Among all the religions of the world, only Christianity has this kind of demonstrable proof. God spoke many years in advance, and it came true in one person. It’s a miracle. It’s supernatural. And if they’re there, they prove that God exists and they prove that Jesus is the Messiah. Now, the question is, “Is it there?” And we’re setting the case in the text. Dr. Kaiser, you’ve given us two pointers and you’ve got two more to go. What are they?
Kaiser: Well, I’d like to, John, refer to 2 Samuel 7, which I think is a great text which was given to David when David had just finished building his own house. And he came along and said to the prophet Nathan (I like to call him “Nate,” because I think I know him on a friendly term), “Nate,” he said, “I think I’m going to build God a house, just like mine, out of cedar.” And Nate said, “Fine! Shalom! Go ahead and do it.” I’m giving marginal readings here. But basically, that’s what he said. “Go right ahead.”
And that night the Lord said, “Not so! You tell David ‘Thus says the Lord.’” Now, that’s the prophetic formula there. “And thus says the Lord, ‘You can’t build them, but your son will build them. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll make a house out of you, and I’ll give you a house (that is a “dynasty,” like the great houses, ruling houses, of Europe) and I’ll give to you a throne and I’ll give to you a kingdom.” 2 Samuel 7:16, where he comes up with this, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me. Your throne will be established forever.”
Well, David couldn’t understand this. For God had also said in 2 Samuel 7:14 about his son, “I will be his father; he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men and with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from” that whole series of the children, the sons, and the royal line of David, until there comes one who has all authority and a kingdom and a house and a throne that is forever.”
Now, when David finally heard this, he went into the house of God and he knelt down and he said, “O Lord God, who am I, and what is my father’s house?” I’m giving you now the substance of verse 19: “And as if this were not enough in your sight, O sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant” and he said, “and that this should be the charter for all of mankind.” A phrase there that, those of you who have a little bit of Hebrew he uses the phrase, Torah, which you know is “law,” this should be the law, and, ha Adam: “This should be the law for all mankind.”
David’s mind is exploding! He can’t believe this! That now, out of his house, that one who had been promised who would be born to the Lion of Judah, a ruler, a king, that would come from his line and who would be born in Bethlehem, which is David’s hometown, and “whose goings forth would also be from eternity.” This is quite a case. Not only does he come from Bethlehem, not only does he come from Judah; the Bethlehem prophecy, 800 years BCE; the prophecy about Judah, 1,800 years BCE! And now this prophecy from 1000 years before the common era, going all the way back, a thousand years. He said, “Look in David’s family. That’s where he is going to come from.” John, I think this is quite a case.
Ankerberg: David, obviously from the text, was absolutely stunned and the people that read that after David were stunned. And, of course, they started looking for that one. And, of course, the Scriptures are filled, going back to this promise that God gave. But this is even built on other promises.
Kaiser: There’s one more that I would like to share with you and that’s from Isaiah 9. We just can’t even begin to get into the immensity of this one. But now, not only is he from Bethlehem and from Judah and from David’s royal line, having a throne, a dynasty and a kingdom, but now, one thing more. His name is going to be a fantastic name like some child we’ve never heard before. This boy is going to be called “Immanuel, God with us.” And more than that, he says in Isaiah 9:6, “Look, you people up there in Galilee,” Galilee of the nations which was always the first to be infiltrated. They had been intermarried with Gentiles and with Jewish people and they had always been invaded first. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” And he says, “Joy has come because,” and he gives three reasons here. But the third reason, in verse 6, “because to us a child is born, a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
I tell you, that’s some child! We’ve never seen a child like that. He calls his name El Gibbor, God, the Mighty one; God the Almighty. And then he calls him Ad Olam, Everlasting Father. And he calls him, too, “Prince of Shalom,” Prince of Peace. But the one I like especially is “Wonderful Counselor;” the word “wonderful,” pele, which is used as a verb form.
Back when God gave the first one in this line to Abraham, Abraham was 100 years old, Sarah was 90, and the word came from God that she was going to have a son. And Sarah says, “That’s a yuck!” She said, “That I should have a son?! I can’t believe it! I mean, there’s biology. I’ve got to tell you, it’s impossible!” And the Lord says, “The yuck’s on you, if you don’t mind. Call him ‘Isaa-yuck.’” He made a little play, there’s a pun there. There’s a play on words. “You call that child Isaac, because,” he says, “Is anything too pele for the Lord?” “Is anything too difficult, too hard, for the Lord?” He is the miracle-working God. “Call this child Pele, Wonder-working Counselor, the Miraculous Counselor.” I tell you, that’s a great case, and I think a wonderful name for the child.
So he’s from Bethlehem; he’s from Judah; he also is from the line of David, and he is “God with us,” “Wonderful Counselor,” “Almighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” “Prince of Peace.” Some child!
Ankerberg: For the people that are watching this, that are down; that maybe Christmas has been kind of flat for them. Or maybe…the reason we did this program is that so many people think of Christ’s birth as equal to Santa Claus or Alice in Wonderland; what is the good news in what you’ve just told them?
Kaiser: The good news is right here, again, John. He says to people who are sad, who are walking in darkness, he says their joy has come to the world! And so that tune, “Joy to the World” is correct. And you ask me why? Because to the whole world, God was here. He was here! We are the visited planet. He sent this child. And the government of the whole universe rests on this child’s shoulders, and his name is Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Ankerberg: One final thing, Walter. What if somebody said, “You Christians are just reading that in”? What would you say to them?
Kaiser: I would say, “You’ll have to show me the way in which you can read it out, because I have worked with an awful lot of different translations where they’ve tried to turn this around, and every one of them self-destruct because the grammar itself won’t fit. You must play it according to the rules of the Hebrew grammar. We could get technical, but I think that the face-value of the text is fair here.
Ankerberg: Where are we going next week?
Kaiser: We’re going next week to the “beginnings.” We want to talk about beginnings. We want to talk about God’s four new beginnings as he plants this doctrine.
Ankerberg: Okay, that’s great. I hope that you’ll stick with us because this is evidence coming right from the text, and I want you to look it up and then think to yourself, “What is the significance of this? Where has this ever happened before? And is it really true that this was pointing to Jesus Christ?” If it was, if it is right now, then who is Jesus Christ and what is your relationship with him? I hope that you’ll join us next week

Read Part 2

Leave a Comment