Notice: The regularly scheduled meeting of the “Psychic Society” has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances!
The difference we find in the prophets of the Bible is that they are always 100% accurate.
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 (NASB)
The book of Isaiah was written over 700 years before the time of Jesus.
When I stumbled upon a book by Lee Strobel called “The Case for Christ” I was astonished to find the massive amount of historical evidence that was available concerning the person of Jesus. Lee is an investigative journalist who, as an atheist, had originally set out to disprove his wife’s Christianity. What happened instead was Lee’s own conversion based on the overwhelming amount of evidence he had uncovered.
Last week we finished our series on A Case for the Bible with evidence from the fulfillment of very specific and detailed Old Testament prophecy during the Old Testament times. But, what about prophecy that points to the coming of a Messiah (A savior promised by God)? How much evidence is there that Jesus was the person that fulfilled all of this Old Testament prophecy? As we begin this new series called A Case for Christ we will look at four commonly asked questions about Jesus:
- Did Jesus really fulfill all of the criteria established for the identity of the promised Messiah?
- What did Jesus say about himself and did he really claim to be God incarnate?
- Did Jesus really die from crucifixion on a Roman cross and then resurrect three days later?
- Did Jesus’ Disciples really tell the truth when they recorded the events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection in the first century?
The answers to these questions are foundational to the Christian faith. Christianity is based on the fact that Jesus died and rose in defeat of death, and those who believe in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16, 14:6). Paraphrasing the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:19, If Jesus did not die and resurrect we are most to be pitied.
Did Jesus fulfill all of the criteria established for the identity of the promised Messiah?
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 specifically concerning the 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 they would face both eminently and futuristically.
- These 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. Studying these types of predictions, or end times, is referred to as eschatology.
Last week we look at the mathematical probability of just 8 prophecies being fulfilled in the person of Jesus. This would be equivalent to 1 chance in 10 to the 17th power. That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!
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|
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
For further reading I highly recommend: The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel
Let me know what you think: Since Jesus fulfilled these prophecies does this make a strong enough case for him being the promised Messiah? If so then how does that impact your life?
Over the next several blogs I am going to continue to present logical reasoning and sound scientific evidence not found in the public school textbooks.
Join us next week as we continue to make A Case for Christ.
Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus as Lord.
1 Peter 3:15
This blog is part of a series. You can start the series by going back to the September 1, 2014 Introduction called A Case for Christianity: Why do we need one?