Balaam's Prophecy of ChristStrangely, one of the earliest detailed prophecies of the Messiah came through Balaam, the prophet who was rebuked by his donkey. When Balak was attempting to get Balaam to curse Israel, the wayward prophet uttered these words instead:
And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city. (Numbers 24:14-19)
The Dake Annotated Reference Bible offers the following analysis of this prophecy on page 177 of the Old Testament:
Tenfold Prophecy of Messiah (Num. 24:17)
1. I (Balaam) shall see Him, but not now (v. 17). Balaam and all other men will see Him, for every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess His Lordship (Phil. 2:9-11). Even all rebels in hell will be tormented forever in His presence (Rev. 14:9-11; cp. Isa. 66:22-24). The literal meaning here is, "I shall have a full view of Him, but the time is far distant"; that is, the person I am prophesying about does not now exist among these Israelites, nor shall He appear in this generation.
2. He shall rise as a Star out of Jacob (v. 17). The star has been a symbol of regal power among all nations, being often used to herald the rise of, and future glory of, a monarch.
3. A Sceptre shall rise out of Israel (v. 17). This same thing was predicted by the prophet Jacob (Gen. 49:10; cp. Ps. 45:6; Heb. 1:8). It expresses the ruling power of the Messiah who was to come (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 7:13-14; Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15).
4. He shall smite the corners (extremity or uttermost parts) of Moab (v. 17; cp. Ps. 60:8; Isa. 11:14; 16:1-5; 25:10; Jer. 48:47; Dan. 11:40-41).
5. He shall destroy the children of Sheth (Seth, v. 17; cp. 1 Chr. 1:1). Seth here refers to all mankind, for all descended from Seth through Noah (Gen. 5); that is, none but Sethites were preserved through Noah and his sons. Messiah will reign until all enemies are put under His feet-those of the human race and otherwise (2 Cor. 15:24-28).
6. He shall possess Edom (v. 18; cp. Ps. 60:8-9; Isa. 11:14; 63:1-5; Dan. 11:40-41; Amos 9:12; Oba. 11-21). Edom, Seir, and Esau refer to the same country (Gen. 32:3; 36:8, 21).
7. He shall cause Israel to do valiantly (v. 18; cp. Isa. 11:14; Zech. 12:5-9; 14:14).
8. He shall come out of Jacob (vv. 17, 19; cp. Gen. 49:10; Isa. 9:6-9; 49:26; 65:9; Mt. 1:1-2; Lk. 1:32-33).
9. He shall have dominion (v. 18; cp. Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 9:10; 14:9; 2 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 11:15; 20:1-10; 22:4-5).
10. He shall destroy him that remains in the city (v. 19). This pictures a conqueror who defeats his enemies in battle and then seeks out those that have escaped, to deal with them accordingly. This Christ will do after Armageddon when He gathers the nations and determines who shall or shall not enter the kingdom (Mt. 25:31-46).
Seven Major Predictions of Moses