Christians believe that Jesus, the Messiah, is God. My question is: What is the biblical basis in the messianic prophecies and other passages in the Old Testament for the belief that the Messiah must be God?

I have read this: "Why does the Messiah have to be God?" But I'm looking for the biblical basis in the OT of the belief that Jesus must be God.

  • 1
    This question asks for the biblical basis, which I have now clarified by editing the question. The possible duplicate is not asking for the biblical basis, but for a general answer to the question of why the Messiah must be God. (But it is an older question, and far too broad, so I've flagged it for possible closure.) Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 13:44
  • 2
    I see that there has been another close vote on this question. But the question as edited is now clearly on-topic here. It is not a duplicate, nor is it "primarily opinion-based." It is a biblical basis question, which is one of the regular, accepted types of on-topic questions on Christianity.SE. See: "What topics can I ask about here?" Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 22:57

3 Answers 3


In the Old Testament there are two general strains of prophecy commonly read by Christians as being about the Messiah who was to come:

  1. Prophecies of a king in the line of David
  2. Prophecies of God himself coming to his people

Judaism generally accepts the first class of prophecy as being about the prophesied Messiah, but not the second. And a strict reading of the Old Testament for passages mentioning an "anointed one" (Hebrew: מָשִׁיחַ mashiyach) and a king in the line of David generally does support this interpretation—though there are some passages that can be read as fitting into both classes of prophecy at once.

Christians commonly accept the second class of prophecies as also being about the Messiah to come, even when they are not specifically linked to a coming anointed king in the line of David.

Here are some examples prophecies that fall into this second class, or span both classes:

In the Psalms:

Lift up your heads, you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
    lift them up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.
                        (Psalm 24:7–10)

In Isaiah:

The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
    on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
    and the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
    and all the garments rolled in blood
    shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
    a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
    and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
                              (Isaiah 9:2–7)

And another in Isaiah:

The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
    that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
    and was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm brought him victory,
    and his righteousness upheld him.
He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
    and a helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on garments of vengeance for clothing,
    and wrapped himself in fury as in a mantle.
According to their deeds, so will he repay;
    wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies;
    to the coastlands he will render requital.
So those in the west shall fear the name of the Lord,
    and those in the east, his glory;
for he will come like a pent-up stream
    that the wind of the Lord drives on.
And he will come to Zion as Redeemer,
    to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the Lord.
                                                (Isaiah 59:15–20)

And yet another in Isaiah:

"Who is this that comes from Edom,
    from Bozrah in garments stained crimson?
Who is this so splendidly robed,
    marching in his great might?"
"It is I, announcing vindication,
    mighty to save."
"Why are your robes red,
    and your garments like theirs who tread the wine press?"
"I have trodden the wine press alone,
    and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
    and trampled them in my wrath;
their juice spattered on my garments,
    and stained all my robes.
For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
    and the year for my redeeming work had come.
I looked, but there was no helper;
    I stared, but there was no one to sustain me;
so my own arm brought me victory,
    and my wrath sustained me.
I trampled down peoples in my anger,
    I crushed them in my wrath,
    and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
    the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
because of all that the Lord has done for us,
    and the great favor to the house of Israel
that he has shown them according to his mercy,
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
For he said, "Surely they are my people,
    children who will not deal falsely";
and he became their savior
    in all their distress.
It was no messenger or angel
    but his presence that saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
    he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
                                            (Isaiah 63:1–9)

In Jeremiah:

"The days are coming," declares the Lord,
    "when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior."
                                      (Jeremiah 23:5–6)

In Malachi:

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. (Malachi 3:1)

These are just a few of many passages in the Old Testament that are read by Christians as applying to the prophesied Messiah, and as saying that the Messiah will not be a mere human being, but will be God himself.

  • This is interesting. If Christians interpret the above passages as the Messiah being God Himself, how do the Jews interpret them?
    – Kyoma
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 6:38
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    @Kyoma That's something you could ask over at Judaism.SE. Just be a little careful in how you word the question. For some strange reason, they're not excited about Christians coming over there and asking, "Hey, how come you don't interpret the Old Testament the way Christian do?!?" :-P Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 21:40
  • @LeeWoofenden Maybe he could ask the question in biblical hermeneutics? Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 0:34

Clear passages from OT that God Almighty claims to be Jesus are:

*Malachi 3:1

I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before ME. Then SUDDENLY the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

This alone makes it very clear- The Lord himself will come and He gives the sign of His coming as the messenger who He will send to prepare the way JUST before He arrives. He later calls him Elijah (who Jesus clarified as John the Baptist). Who suddenly appeared during John the Baptist's time? Jesus.

The verse is backed up by Isaiah and Mark Isa 40:3

A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah takes it up one notch by calling Him (Jesus) God but not only that, in another place he confirms it by calling Jesus the father/son/holy spirit.

*Isa 9:6

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Mighty God means Mighty God / Prince of peace means Son / Eternal Father means eternal Father/ Wonderful counselor means Holy Spirit.

Apart from above, we have direct link/admission in:
*Zacharia 12:10

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

God Almighty admits that He will be crucified (pierced).

  • Please review the edit (mostly done for format) to make sure that your meaning was preserved. Welcome. To attract more votes, you may wish to include or at least mention the theologians, doctrines, or biblical commentaries that support the interpretations you have provided. Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 13:32
  • Thank you for your answer. While Lee's answer gave an overview, your answer is more specific and elaborates the meaning of each verse. I have upvoted your answer. And as @KorvinStarmast said, it would be made stronger if commentaries are added.
    – Kyoma
    Commented Mar 5, 2017 at 11:32

It depends how you want to interpret the Old Testament. But you won't find a text in the Old Testament that states the messiah is God. This is why the Jews expect a messiah that is a normal human being.

  • Could you cite any passages? Passages which Christians believe that the Messiah must be God, but which the Jews disagree?
    – Kyoma
    Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 5:14
  • You can't there are no verses in the Bible that SPECIFICALLY state that, you have to either mis-translate the text, take it out of context to accomplish this or literally just come up with literal verse juggling to accomplish this. Commented May 13, 2018 at 17:01

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