Jesus and Muhammad in Bible Prophecy

James M. Arlandson

Bible prophecy was important to Jesus (Luke 24:27), so it should be to us too.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, he understood that he was about to be numbered with transgressors. That is, he was going to be falsely arrested like a criminal.

Jesus says:

"For it is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching fulfillment." (Luke 22:37)

Two truths are found in this one verse.

First, Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah (53:12), using the formula "it is written" (cf. Mark 6:7, 14:27; John 6:45). He could have used a number of other formulas: "Is it not written?" (Mark 11:17; John 10:34); "haven’t you read the Scripture?" (Mark 12:10); "all this took place to fulfill" (Matthew 1:22, 21:4; "and so was fulfilled" (Matthew 2:15, 2:23, 13:35); "to fulfill what was said" or "spoken" (Matthew 4:14, 8:17, 12:17). Jesus and the New Testament authors knew their Bible well, and they were marking or keeping track of the events in Jesus’ life and passages in the Old Testament.

The second truth flows out of the first. Jesus sees himself as fulfilling the Old Testament. This is a remarkable belief, if you think about it. Which average Jew or even pious Rabbi or Pharisee in first-century Israel walked around the countryside believing that the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) was fulfilled in him? It may be true that when you (the reader) study the Old Testament, you can relate to a passage. Psalm 23, for example, speaks of trials and the Shepherd’s comfort and guidance. But does any reader actually believe that the entire flow of the Old Testament is fulfilled in him or her, in detail? Jesus believed this about himself. Thus, either he was wrong and insane, or he was right and sane. The Table (below) answers these alternatives.

In light of this historical context in first-century Israel and this Scriptural interpretation, it may surprise the readers that Muslims claim that Muhammad is mentioned or prophesied in the Bible. Though this is an improbable occurrence in the first place, let’s take their claim seriously and investigate it. Is there any passage that might refer to him clearly and unambiguously?

Our analysis begins with Muhammad and then proceeds to Jesus.

However, if the reader would like to omit the discussion on Muhammad, he or she may go to the fuller article that looks only at Jesus and Messianic prophecies, here.


In a verse in the Quran, two scholars, sponsored by the Saudi royal family, insert some parenthetical comments that are not found in the original Arabic.

7:157 Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e. Muhammad) whom they find written in the Taurat (Torah) (Deut, xviii 15 [18:15]) and the Injil (Gospel) (John, xiv 16 [14:16]) with them . . . (Hilali and Khan, my insertions in brackets) (cf. Suras 2:129, 159; 3:81, 164; 61:6)

In this verse, quite apart from the parenthetical insertions, Muhammad clearly connects himself to the Bible, asserting that he has been described in it and implying that he has been predicted in it. The word (ummi), translated here as "who can neither read nor write," may also mean "gentile." Maybe both meanings are true at the same time and on some level. He was an illiterate gentile. These two facts become important, shortly.

The two translators take it for granted that the Biblical references from Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John mention or prophesy Muhammad. This belief has circulated around the Muslim world for many years and has become "gospel truth." Further, Muslim propagandists have searched for clear references to Muhammad in the Torah and the Gospels (and the entire Bible). But have they been successful? Does this belief have any foundation in the Biblical texts?

To answer these questions, we proceed in two short stages. First, we look at the big picture about the culture and timeframe of the Bible and Muhammad; then we fill in the details of the big picture by mentioning articles that analyze Deuteronomy 18 and John 14.

Cultural differences

Muhammad constantly retells Bible stories and applies them to himself or reshapes them for his own benefit. Whether he was illiterate or could barely read or write is debatable, but one thing is certain: he was not a scholar, so we should not imagine him poring over dusty Bible manuscripts. He simply retold Bible stories that he had picked up over the years, as they circulated along the trade routes among story tellers and religious folk. Perhaps his assertion in Sura 7:157 is a guess. He was hoping that he could be found in the Bible. It is a big book, after all. But none of this is miraculous.

Let’s use myself as an example. I could study (or at least listen to) the huge epic of the Hindus, the Mahabharata. I could spend twenty years uttering religious words and narratives in this monumental epic that I reshape for my own purposes and benefit. I could even claim that I am found in there somewhere, though not revealing where exactly. But does this mean that it actually mentions me or prophesies that I will appear? Can I really be found in it? Of course not. I live too far outside of that culture and timeframe to be taken seriously. Further, we could use a fictitious example of a religious man who admires the epic, but who lived a thousand miles from India (he is not an Indian) and six hundred years after the epic was completed. He too could claim that he is found in it somewhere, without any specifics. Does this mean that the admirer is even remotely mentioned in it?

In both fictional examples, my and the religious man’s evidence better be clear and numerous if we want to convince others. And both of us have a lot of ground to cover because we are so far removed from the background of the epic. Also, we should be specific, if we really knew the epic. Why bother speaking in vague generalities, which push our followers to look hard for things that are ambiguous at best and absent at worst? Under these conditions, can we convince an open-minded audience, not to mention reasonable skeptics?

Finally, let’s use a real-life example, the founder of the Bahai religion.

Bahá'u'lláh (ba-haw-ol-láh) (1817-1892), born Mírzá Husayn-`Ali [in Persia], was the founder and prophet of the Bahai Faith. He claimed to fulfill the Babi prophecy of "He whom God shall make manifest," but in a broader sense he also claimed to be the Messenger of God prophesied in all great religious traditions. (Source)

Would Muslims take Bahá'u'lláh’s assertion seriously that says he is prophesied in the Quran? Christians certainly do not believe that he is prophesied either in the Old Testament or in the New. He is too far outside of both the Quranic and Biblical traditions.

In the same way, Muslim propagandists like Hilali and Khan, the two translators, above, have a lot of ground to cover about Muhammad in the Bible. In fact, they and other Muslim propagandists do not succeed in finding Muhammad in the Bible, for at least three insurmountable, unanswerable reasons.

First, Muhammad was a gentile. The prophets of the Old Testament were and must be Jews. They were not Babylonians or Egyptians, even though Moses was born in Egypt or Ezekiel was taken to Babylon. So Muhammad does not fit into Deuteronomy 18, as we shall explain more fully, below.

Second, Muhammad often confuses the Old Testament or invents stories that contradict it. Two examples follow. He makes Moses appear baffled and in need of teaching about deep truths, being led around by an unnamed servant, whom later traditions call Khidir (Sura 18:60-82). Next, Muhammad fabricates a legend that Abraham almost sacrificed Ishmael, not Isaac, at least when we accept the most common Muslim interpretation of this passage: Sura 37:99-113. It is unimaginable that a true prophet in the Biblical tradition would insult Moses like this or invent a glaring discrepancy of such importance. A true prophet would never say: "O Great King! O chief priests and Levites! Lo! Verily, Moses was baffled about some things and so was led around by an unnamed servant to be taught hidden truths! Understand this! It was not Isaac who was nearly sacrificed, but Ishmael!" The chief priests and Levites would then check the Bible scrolls and manuscripts. With such egregious errors in fact (not matters of interpretation), the "prophet" would have been laughed out of court; he would never have received a further hearing from the King or priests or Levites who knew the Torah thoroughly, after such madness.

Incidentally, these errors and inventions in the Quran explain why Muslim polemicists must always fall back to their default position. Even though the Bible comes first and is the standard by which we evaluate all other later assertions that cross its path, Muslim polemicists say that the Bible was corrupted and the Quran corrects it. But if the Bible is so corrupt, then why do they bother inserting Muhammad back into it? Maybe it is pure in the passages where they believe that Muhammad can be found. The logic is beautiful from their point of view. They cannot lose with it. Though the polemicists’ assertions are factually wrong, it would require entirely different articles to show how.

This page links to articles that show the reliability of the Bible. This page links to articles that question the incorruptibility of the Quran.

However, let’s get back to reality, and leave behind shaky-belief-above-stubborn-facts.

Here is the third reason why Muhammad does not fit into the Bible. He lived 600 years after Jesus Christ, who lived in Israel and was a Jew. As we shall see, Jesus of Nazareth fulfills the prophecies in the Old Testament infinitely more accurately than Muhammad of Mecca would, even if the prophet of Islam were a Jew. The evidence for Christ is clear and numerous.

Biblical differences

We now come to the second stage, filling in the details of the big picture. Researchers have already easily demonstrated that Muhammad does not fit the profile of a Biblical prophet or any other saint mentioned or predicted in the Bible.

Is Muhammad mentioned in Deuteronomy 18?

In this chapter (verses 15-19) Moses predicts that God will raise up a prophet like Moses from among his brothers (that is, Israelites themselves), and the people will listen to and follow him. Muslims like Hilali and Khan (the two translators) claim that Muhammad fits the description, even though he is not an Israelite.

In reply, however, this mid-length chapter in a book lists the basic arguments by Muslims and answers then point by point. It then lists the similarities between Moses and Christ.

This mid-length article also lists the characteristics of Moses and Christ and demonstrates the match between the two. The similarities and the length of the list are remarkable. Muhammad is excluded. It also lists the use of the word "brothers" in the Torah. It almost always means Israelites. But when "brothers" is used as a distant relation in only two examples, they "were spelled out and specifically identified by their name and relationship or location," like Esau and Edom (scroll down to "Who are the brethren of the prophet in Deuteronomy 18:18?").

This short article has a three way contrast between Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. One example is the prophet of Islam’s inability to work miracles according to the Quran (Sura 6:37; 28:48).

Go here and here for articles that explain Muhammad’s lack of miracles, which Allah himself proclaims about his prophet in the Quran itself.

An entire online booklet discusses Muhammad and the Bible. This section deals with Deuteronomy.

But let us assume that Muhammad shares some characteristic with Moses (e.g. both prohibit eating pork). Then this one fact is bedrock: in no way is Muhammad found anywhere in the entire New Testament, and this falsifies Sura 7:157, which says that the Gospels mention him. This leads us to the next quick section.

Is Muhammad found in John 14?

In this chapter Jesus says he will send a Helper or Comforter (Greek is paracletos) to his followers after his Ascension. The New Testament teaches that the paracletos is the Holy Spirit and that Christ fulfilled his promise in Acts 2, which describes the infilling of the Spirit and the formal creation of his church. Muslims, however, claim that Muhammad is the Helper or Comforter.

In reply, points no. one and two in this chapter answer the question. No, Muhammad is not found in John 14.

But the most thorough refutation of the claim that Muhammad is the Comforter is found in this chapter in a larger book. It even has an image of a Greek papyrus containing John 14:9-26 that shows the New Testament was not tampered with and that paracletos is the right word in the chapter, not periclytos ("much praise" in Greek; cf. Sura 61:6).

This article is a thorough refutation of a Muslim polemicist’s claim (and this polemicist is not alone) that Sura 61:6 says that Jesus prophesies the appearance of a certain "Ahmad" (meaning "Praise"). Islamic research on this issue is terribly confused and substandard.

This section of an online booklet also demonstrates that Muhammad is not the paracletos, an improbable claim in the first place.

These articles together consist of a thorough exegesis of Biblical texts, taking them in historical and literary contexts. Thus, the absence of any clear reference in the Bible to Muhammad as some sort of future spokesman for God is not surprising. Culturally and chronologically, he was too far removed from the Bible. He was also much too inaccurate about the Bible in matters of verifiable, textual facts.

The result of this quick study: Muhammad is absent from Bible prophecy and all other areas of the Bible.


After Jesus was resurrected bodily, he appeared to many disciples. Two of them were walking down a road that led to a village called Emmaus. They recounted the recent events and their disappointment that Jesus had not redeemed Israel. But they were amazed that some of the disciples said that the tomb was empty and that Jesus appeared to some of them. It was a surprise when a seeming stranger joined them in their journey. He asked them what they were talking about. They told him about their disappointment that Jesus was not everything that they had hoped for. Then Jesus revealed himself to them and rebuked them for not figuring out that these things must be fulfilled.

He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter glory?" (Luke 24:25-26)

This is the key verse from Luke’s narrative:

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (verse 27)

It is quite possible that Jesus discussed at least some of the following verses cited in the Table below, which has been taken from a longer and fuller list in this article, which also offers Interpretive Guidelines.

With very few exceptions, this list cites references only from the Four Gospels and the Book of Revelation, as fulfilling the Old Testament. In the Four Gospels Jesus speaks words and carries out actions that fulfill the Old Testament, and in the Revelation he is depicted as reigning over the kingdom of God, the ultimate fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

This Table follows the predictions that were written hundreds of years before their fulfillment, from Jesus’ birth and infancy to his death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

Jesus in Messianic Prophecies

Birth and Infancy

Old Testament


New Testament

Is. 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son.

He is born of a Virgin

Mt. 1:22-23 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son." (Lk. 1:26-35)

Mic. 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.

He is the Ruler born in Bethlehem

Mt. 2:1, 6 . . . Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea . . . 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" (Lk. 2:11; Jn. 7:42 )

Is. 7:14 The virgin . . . will call him Immanuel.

He is God with us in his incarnation

Mt. 1:23 "The virgin will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

Is. 9:6-7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. (2 Sam. 7:16)

He is the Son of David

Lk. 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Jn. 7:42 Rom. 1:3; Rev. 22:16)

2 Sam. 7:11-13 The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you . . . "I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come out of your body, and I will establish his kingdom . . . I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. "

He is the Offspring of David’s seed

Lk. 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David" . . . (Rom. 1:2-3)

Mic. 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem . . . out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." [or "from days of eternity"]

He is the eternal Ruler

Lk. 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Is. 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given . . . and he will be called . . . Mighty God.

He is the mighty God

Jn. 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Is. 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. (Mic. 5:5)

He is the Prince of Peace

Jn. 14:27; 16:33 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you."

Jn. 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace." (Eph. 2:14-17)

Hos. 11:1 And out of Egypt I called my son.

Jesus is returned from Egypt

Mt. 2:14 . . . And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Is. 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

He is anointed with the Spirit of the Lord

Mt. 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized . . . At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. (Lk. 3:21-22)

Gen. 49:10 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.

He is the Ruler from Judah

Mt. 2:6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" (Heb. 7:14; Rev 5:5)

Is. 11:10 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

He is the Root of Jesse who rules Gentiles

Lk. 3:31-32 son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse; (Rom. 15:12)

Is. 60:1, 3 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you . . . Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn."

Gentiles come to the Messiah

Mt. 2:11 On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

(Rom. 15:8-12)

Gen. 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." (Gen. 18:18, 22:18, 26:4)

All nations are blessed through Abraham and ultimately in Christ

Mt. 1:1 Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Gal. 3:8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."(Ac. 3:25-26)

Life and Ministry

Old Testament


New Testament

Is. 9:1-2 In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

People in Galilee see a great Light

Mt. 4:13-16 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

Is. 61:1-2 "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news . . . to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor."

The Spirit of the Lord anoints Jesus for ministry

Lk. 4:18-19 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor" (Mt. 4:17, 11:5; Mk. 2:2; Lk. 8:1)

Ps. 2:2 . . . His Anointed One

Dan. 9:25 The Anointed One, the ruler, comes . . .

He is the Christ, the Anointed One

Mt. 16:16 Simon Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Ps. 40:7-8 "Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

Jesus comes down from heaven to do God’s will

Jn. 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." (Heb. 10:5-9)

Is. 53:9 He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

He is sinless

Jn. 8:46 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pe. 22:22; 1 Jn. 3:5)

1 Chron. 17:13-14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'"

Ps. 2:7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."

He is God’s Son

Mt. 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Mt. 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Mk. 1:11, 9:7; Lk. 3:22, 9:35; Ac. 13:33; Heb. 1:5)

Is. 35:5-6 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

He heals blindness and deafness and other ailments

Mt. 11:4-5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." (Mt. 10:8; Lk. 7:22)

Jer. 50:6 My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray.

He ministers to the Jews

Mt. 10:6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

Is. 42:6 I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.

Is. 49:6 I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

He is the Light to Gentiles

Lk. 2:32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles. (Ac. 13:47)

Is. 53:4-5 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows . . . and by his wounds we are healed.

This is the healing ministry of God’s Servant

Mt. 8:16-17 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." (Mk. 1:32-34; Lk. 4:40-41; 1 Pe. 2:24)

Is. 42:1-3 "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 shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice. He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."

He is the Servant of the Lord

Mt. 12:15-21 Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope."

Ps. 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

He is the Lord of David

Mt. 22:41-45 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied. He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, "’The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?" (Mk. 12:35-37; Lk. 20:41-44)

Ex. 16:4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you."

He is the Bread of heaven

Jn. 6:31-33 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

Mic. 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. (Ezek. 37:24-25)

He is the good Shepherd

Jn. 10:11, 14-15 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" . . . "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep." (Heb. 13:20; 1 Pe. 5:4)

Dt. 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

He is the Prophet from God

Jn. 6:14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." (Ac. 3:22-23; 7:37)

Is. 53:1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

Who has believed his report?

Jn. 12:38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

Mic. 7:6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man's enemies are the members of his own household.

Following Jesus may divide a household

Mt. 10:35-36 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'"

Ps. 78:2 I will open my mouth in parables . . .

He teaches in parables

Mt. 13:34-35 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:  "I will open my mouth in parables . . .

Is. 6:9-10 He said, "Go and tell this people: " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

People hear and see without understanding

Mt. 13:13-15 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' (Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:4-10; Jn. 12:37-41)

Triumph and Betrayal

Old Testament


New Testament

Is. 59:20-21 "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins."

He is the Deliverer from Zion

Lk. 19:28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (cf. Rom. 11:26-27)

Zech. 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

He is the humble King riding into Jerusalem on a donkey

Mt. 21:1-5 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" (Mk. 11:1-10; Lk. 19:28-38; Jn. 12:12-16)

Ps. 118:26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. 

He comes in the name of the Lord

Mt. 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"  "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" (Mk. 11:9; Lk. 19:38; Jn. 12:13)

Ps. 69:9 For zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

He has zeal for God’s house

Jn. 2:17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Is. 56:7 "For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."

Jer. 7:11 "Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching!" declares the LORD.


His is a house of prayer, not a den of robbers

Mt. 21:12-13 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

Ps. 8:2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.

He receives children’s praise

Mt. 21:16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"

Is. 8:14 He will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.

He is the Stone that people stumble over

Lk. 20:18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces.

Ps. 118:22-23 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

He is the rejected Cornerstone

Mt. 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'"? (Mk. 12:10-11; Lk. 20:17; Ac. 4:10-11; 1 Pe. 2:7-8)

Ps. 35:19 Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. (Ps. 69:14)

He is hated without a cause

Jn. 15:25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'

Is. 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men . . . Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

He is rejected

Jn. 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Is. 65:2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.

Israel rejects him

Mt. 21:43 "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [chief priests and elders] and given to a people who will produce its fruit." (Rom. 10:21)

Ps. 41:9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

He is betrayed by a friend

Jn. 13:18 "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'"

Zech. 11:12 So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

He is betrayed for thirty pieces of silver

Mt. 26:15 So they counted out for [Judas] thirty pieces of silver.

Death and Resurrection

Old Testament


New Testament

Jer. 31:31-34 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Jer. 33:16)

He establishes the New Covenant

Lk. 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Heb. 8:8-12; 1 Cor. 11:25; Heb 10:15-18)

Is. 55:3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. (Ezek. 37:26)

He establishes the Covenant, which is everlasting

Mt. 26:28 "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Ex. 24:8 Moses . . . said, "This is the blood of the covenant."

He sheds his blood of the Covenant

Mt. 26:28 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (cf. Heb. 9:11-28)

Is. 53:6-7 The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all . . . He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

He is the suffering Lamb of God

Jn. 1:29 "Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

Is. 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

He does not defend himself at his trial

Mt. 27:12, 14 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer . . . But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge (1 Pe. 2:23)

Zech. 13:7 Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

The Shepherd is struck, so the sheep scatter

Mt. 26:31-32 Then Jesus said to [his disciples], "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." (Mt. 26:56; Mk. 14:27)

Is. 50:6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.

Is. 52:14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of a man and his form marred beyond human likeness.

Mic. 5:1 They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.

He is mocked, beaten beyond recognition, and spit on

Mk. 15:15, 19-20 Pilate . . . had Jesus flogged . . . Again and again the soldiers struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him . . . they mocked him. (Mt. 27:29-30; Lk. 22:63-65; Jn. 19:1-3)

Nu. 21:8-9 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

He is lifted up and he is the Life

Jn. 3:14-15 "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

Is. 53:12 He poured out his life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors . . .

He is numbered with transgressors

Lk. 23:32-33 Two other men, both criminals, also were led out to be executed . . . they crucified [Jesus] along with criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

Luke 22:37 . . . For it is written: "And he was numbered with the transgressors; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching fulfillment."

Is. 53:12 . . . He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

He intercedes for transgressors

Lk. 23:32, 42-43 Two other men, both criminals, were led out with him to be executed . . . [A criminal] said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Heb. 7:25)

Ps. 22:18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

They divide and cast lost for his garments

Jn. 19:23-24 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them . . . with the undergarment remaining . . . They said . . . "Let’s decide by lot who will get it."

Ps. 22:16 They have pierced my hands and my feet

His hands and feet are pierced

Jn. 20:25, 27 But [Thomas] said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, I will not believe it." Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side."

Zech 12:10 They will look on me, the one they pierced.

They look on the one they pierce

Jn. 19:34, 37 One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side . . . They will look on the one they pierced.

Ps 22:7-8 All who see me mock me and hurl insults, shaking their heads.

He is mocked by the crowd

Mt. 27:39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads.

Ps. 69:21 They . . . gave me vinegar for my thirst.

He drinks vinegar for his thirst

Jn. 19:28-29 Later, knowing that all Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a hyssop plant, and lifted it up to Jesus’ lips.

Nu. 9:12 They must not leave any of [the lamb] until morning or break any of its bones. (Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20)

He suffers no broken bones during his crucifixion

Jn. 19:36 These things happened so that Scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken."

Ps. 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

He is forsaken as the sins of the world are taken on himself

Mt. 27:46 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk. 15:34)

Ps. 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit.

He commits his spirit to his Father

Lk. 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

Ps. 16:9-10 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

He is not abandoned to decay and death

Lk. 24:5-8 But the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words. (Ac.2:29-33; 13:34-37; Eph. 1:22)

Jonah 1:17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. (Hos. 6:2)

He is dead three days and three nights

Mt. 12:39-40 He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Lk. 11:29-32; Jn. 2:19, 21)

Ascension and Reign

Ps. 68:18 When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train. You received gifts from men, even from [for] the rebellious— that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.

He ascends into heaven

Lk. 24:50-51 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. (Eph. 4:7-10)

Ps. 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.

All things are put under his feet

Mt. 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" . . . (Eph. 1:22; 1 Cor. 15:27-28)

Ps. 2:9 "You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

He rules with a rod of iron

Rev. 2:27 'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery.'

Is. 22:22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

He holds the key of David

Rev. 3:7 These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Dan. 7:27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.

He reigns over an everlasting kingdom

Rev. 11:15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

Is. 44:6; 48:12 I am the first and the last

He is the First and the Last

Rev. 22:13 "I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last."

This article has a fuller and longer list of this Table, which also offers Interpretive Guidelines for Bible prophecy.


In our conclusion, we do not need to deal with the question of Muhammad’s appearance in the Bible. The whole issue is farfetched to begin with, despite the Quran’s statement (now obviously wrong) that the prophet of Islam is mentioned in the Bible.

Instead, we focus on four purposes of Messianic prophecy and of the clear and numerous verses in the Old Testament that predict Jesus’ life and ministry from his birth and infancy to his ascension and divine reign in heaven.

First, Messianic prophecies confirm the plan of salvation for humanity. God unfolds the overarching plan in partial form in the Old Testament. But he reveals it in its fullest expression in the New Testament. As we move from the Old to the New, the key is to find salvation in Christ.

Second, Messianic prophecies demonstrate for us that we can put our faith and trust in the Lord. God speaks hundreds of years before the events are brought about. He orchestrates circumstances and fulfills them with great precision, as history progresses. We can therefore be confident that he has a master plan for world history. When we hear news about disasters, our faith does not have to be shaken.

Third, not only does he have a plan for the world, he also has one for our life. He is in control, thankfully!

Fourth, Jesus Christ fulfills the Old Testament. We no longer live under the Old Law but under the law of Christ, which is the law of freedom and the law of the Spirit.

For more analysis on how Christ fulfills the Old Testament, please go here.

To find out how Christians benefit from the Old Testament, please go to this article.

For more information on how to interpret Bible prophecy and how the New Testament authors use the Old Testament in this area, please go directly to the Interpretive Guidelines, below a longer and fuller Table in a related article.


The Table in this article is adapted from Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson (eds.), The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, pp. 219-223, Harvest House, 2004.

Herbert Lockyer, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible, Zondervan, 1973.

Copyright by James Malcolm Arlandson.

Articles by James Arlandson
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