Do the Old Testament prophecies point to Jesus?
The connection between the Old and New Testaments is astonishing. In previous posts we have looked at some of these connections, but nothing is more profound than prophecy and its fulfillment! There are many people who have claimed prophetic abilities over the centuries but they all fall short when it comes to accurate predictions and specific fulfillment.
The difference we find in the prophecies of the Bible is that they are always 100% accurate, none have failed!
It begins as far back as the Fall of man where God immediately promises a plan of salvation (Genesis 3). God’s plan becomes clearer as it unfolds in the Covenants throughout the Old Testament:
- Genesis 3:15 – The Original Promise and curse Adamic Covenant
- Genesis 6:18 – Passed to/through Noah Noachian Covenant
- Genesis 12:3 – Expanded to Abraham Abrahamic Covenant
- Exodus through Deuteronomy – Unfolded by Moses through the Law Mosaic Covenant
- 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 – Specified David’s royal lineage Davidic Covenant
These Covenants are supported by hundreds of prophecies that point to the promise of a coming Savior, Messiah! For example…
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. –Isaiah 53:5
The book of Isaiah was written hundreds of years before the time of Jesus yet many parts of Isaiah, especially chapter 53, read like a biography of Jesus!
A prophecy of the Messiah and the Covenant Promise made sure:
I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD, that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. –Isaiah 42:6-9
Was Jesus the only one who could have fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies?
We first need to find out who wrote the prophecies concerning the coming of a Messiah, and when were they written?
- The Old Testament contains over 300 places where prophecy is given concerning a promised Messiah.
- In addition to Moses, Joshua and other Old Testament authors there are 16 prophets who wrote about the coming Messiah.
- These prophets wrote to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel from the time period prior to, during, and after their captivity and exile (Northern Kingdom to Assyria and Southern Kingdom of Judah to Babylon), ca. 855-430 BC.
- God spoke through these prophets in very different circumstances. Some prophesied to kings, some to foreign nations, and others to the people in general. God communicated to these prophets either directly, in dreams and visions, or through angels.
- Many of the prophecies are two-fold and relate to things the Nation of Israel would face both eminently and futuristically.
- These Old Testament prophets not only made predictions but they were investigative reporters and preachers. They exposed moral corruption, condemned it, and demanded repentance. They spoke for God in two main ways:
1. Proclamations: These forthtellings pointed the people back to God and His principles by…
- Condemning society’s immorality and wickedness
- Exposing religious hypocrites
- Calling out people to repent from their wickedness
- Warning of God’s wrath and judgment
- Speaking of God’s desire to forgive and restore a relationship
- Explaining God’s plan to redeem His people
2. Predictions: These foretellings came directly from God, were never small in nature, and were not generalized (like predicting a sporting event or the stock market). The predictions were specific usually concerning the Nation of Israel, in some cases concerning an individual, and in many cases pointing to the promised Messiah. The predictions…
- Related to spiritual matters
- Often focused on what would happen if the people did not repent
- In some instances, were encouraging or motivating
- Include hundreds about the coming Messiah that are fulfilled in Jesus
- Include future events (apocalyptic) yet to be fulfilled, and studying these types of predictions, or end times, is referred to as eschatology.
Prophecy is the most compelling evidence for the accuracy, inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible. No other book or person has the amazing prophetic accuracy that the Bible has! Of the 26 other “so called” religious books not one has prophetic predictive accuracy.
- The mark of true prophecy is 100% accuracy.
- 27% of the Bible contains predictive prophecy.
- The Bible’s prophecy has been 100% accurate.
Skeptics often say things like: “Couldn’t a group of Christians have just thought up these prophecies and then placed them in the Bible after the fact or, couldn’t Jesus have attempted on his own to fulfill these prophecies?”
Answer: NO WAY!
1. Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Old Testament prophecies are not made up:
- The Dead Sea Scrolls contain the entire Old Testament (except the book of Esther) and a complete copy of Isaiah, dated between 200 and 100 BC, as well as all the other prophets and prophecy passages.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls match our Old Testament today with over 95% accuracy (any errors are grammatical, spelling or word order and nothing in meaning or doctrine is affected).
2. Jesus could not have planned prophecies concerning specific circumstances of his life, for example:
- Specific details of His birth
- The time in which He lived
- Specific details of His death
If we look at the mathematical probability of just 8 prophecies being fulfilled in the person of Jesus we would find this to be equivalent to 1 chance in 10 to the 17th power. That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!
For fulfillment of 48 prophecies it would be 1 in 10 to the 157th
- That’s 1 in 10 with 157 0s after it! Imagine the number that describes the fulfillment of all the rest!
God has given us so much evidence in both nature and in His Word so that if we are willing to search for Him we could find Him. In fact He has made it plain for us to see His work and hear His message (Romans 1).
Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; “I am” God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure; –Isaiah 46: 9-10 (NASB)
Here are just a few examples of specific Messianic prophecies:
|Seed of a women and virgin birth||Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:1; 18; 24-25; Luke 1:26-35|
|Seed of Abraham||Genesis 22:18||Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16|
|Seed of Isaac||Genesis 21:12||Luke 3:23, 34|
|From the line of Jacob/Israel||Genesis 28:4; 13-15; Numbers 24:17||Luke 2:23, 34|
|Tribe of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Luke 3:23, 33|
|Jesse’s line||Isaiah 11:1||Luke 2:23, 32|
|Born in Bethlehem||Micah 5:2||Matthew 1:18, 24-25; Luke 1:26-35|
|Preceded and announced by one like Elijah who would live in the wilderness||Malachi 3:1; 4:5||Matthew 3:3; 11:10; John 1:23; Luke 1:17|
|Would be presented with gifts||Psalm 72:10||Matthew 2:1|
|Children would be killed||Jeremiah 31:15||Matthew 2:16|
|Ministry begins in Galilee||Isaiah 9:1||Matthew 4:12-17|
|Ministry peaks in Jerusalem; Messiah rides in on a donkey and appears boldly in the Temple||Daniel 9; Zechariah 9:9; Haggai 2:7; Malachi 3:1||Matthew 21:12; Luke 19:35-37|
|Will heal the blind, deaf, lame and raise the dead||Isaiah 35:5-6||All though-out the Gospel records—especially answered in Luke 7:22-23|
|Will teach the people using parables||Psalm 78:2||All though-out the Gospel records—John 5:5-9; 9:6-11; 11:43-47 etc.|
|He would have zeal for God’s house, the Temple||Psalm 69:9||John 2:15-16|
|A Light to the Gentiles||Isaiah 60:3||Acts 13:47-48|
|Rejected by His own people; will be a stumbling block||Psalm 118:22||Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:7|
|He is the Son of God||Psalm 2:7; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Samuel 7:12-16||Matthew 3:17; 16:16; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; 22:70; Acts 13:30-33; John 1:24, 49|
|He pre-existed His birth||Micah 5:2; Psalm 102:25; Proverbs 8:22-23; Isaiah 9:6-7; 41:4; 44:6; 48:12||John 1:1; 17:5, 24; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 1:1-2; 1:17; 2:8; 8:58; 22:13|
|He would be called Lord||Psalm 110:1; Jeremiah 23:6||Matthew 22:43-45; Luke 2:11|
|He would be called Immanuel||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:23|
|He would be a Prophet||Deuteronomy 18:18||Matthew 21:11|
|He would be a Priest||Psalm 110:4||Hebrews 3:1|
|He would be a Judge||Isaiah 33:22||John 5:30|
|He would be a King||Psalm 2:6||Matthew 27:37|
|He would receive a special anointing by the Holy Spirit||Isaiah 11:12||Matthew 3:16|
|Betrayed by friend for 30 pieces of silver that is thrown on the Temple floor and used to buy a Potter’s field||Psalm 43:9; 55:12-14; Zechariah 11:12-14||Matthew 10:4; 27:3-10|
|Sheep (followers) struck and scattered; forsaken by His disciples||Isaiah 53; Zechariah 13:7||Mark 14:50|
|Oppressed and falsely accused by malicious witnesses, but would not defend Himself||Isaiah 53:7; Psalm 35:11; 38:13||Matthew 26:59-60|
|Hated by mankind, mocked, beaten, whipped and crushed for transgressions of mankind—He would bear and make intersession though He had done no wrong.||Psalm 22:7-8; Isaiah 53:2-12||Matthew 26:67; 27: 26-29; John 19:11|
|Disrobed and had clothes gambled away||Isaiah 53:12||Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27|
|Executed with criminals||Isaiah 52:12||Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27|
|Hands and feet pierced for our transgression||Isaiah 53:5; Psalm 22:16||Luke 23:33; John 20:25|
|Strength drained, extremely thirsty, heart broken with grief||Psalm 22:14-15||John 19:28|
|He would be offered gall and vinegar||Psalm 69:21||Matthew 27:24|
|Would plead for mercy for His accusers||Isaiah 53:12||Luke 23:24|
|Friends would stand from far away||Psalm 38:11||Luke 23:49|
|People would stare and shake their heads||Psalm 109:25; Psalm 22:17||Matthew 27:39; Luke 23:35|
|Will ask God why He is forsaken||Psalm 22:1||Matthew 27:46|
|Will commend Himself to God (give up His spirit)||Psalm 31:5||Luke 23:46|
|His bones would not be broken||Psalm 34:20||John 19:33|
|His side would be pierced||Zechariah 12:10||John 19:34|
|Darkness will fall over the land||Amos 8:9||Matthew 27:45|
|Would be with a rich man in His death||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
|Would be resurrected from the dead||Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 41:10;118:17; Hosea 6:2||Matthew 28:6; Acts 2:31|
|He would ascend||Psalm 68:18||Acts 1:9|
|He would sit at the right hand of God||Psalm 110:1||Mark 16:19; Acts 2:34-25; Hebrews 1:3|
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. -”Matthew 5:17-18
The Apostle Peter said, “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21
Futuristic or Apocalyptic prophecy focuses on the original goal in the “Garden” when we had a perfect relationship with God and walked and talked freely with Him. In our culture today we do not have a proper perspective of eternity and the importance of knowing the owner of our eternal home. God’s plan throughout the Bible is to return us to that relationship:
The Final Goal: The Kingdom of God on Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5
A lot of this research was done by David Limbaugh in his book “Jesus On Trial.”
Join us next week as we continue investigating our “Case for Christ.”
You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in! Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.
Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.
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