Question of the week: What is the first direct prophecy of the coming of the Messiah in the Bible?
My answer: The first direct prophecy is by Moses in one of his last sermons. It is recorded in Deuteronomy 18:15–19:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
That God will provide a Redeemer appears hundreds of years earlier in the oldest book in the Bible. Job declares to his three friends:
- “I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin” (Job 14:14–17).
- “Even now my witness is in heaven; my Advocate is on high. My Intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend” (Job 16:19–21).
- “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?” (Job 17:3)
- “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25–27)
Arguably the first direct prophecy to the coming of the Messiah came from God in the Garden of Eden when he spoke to Satan after Satan tempted Eve: “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” (Genesis 3:15).