PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE CHRIST
by Wayne S. Walker
The Old Testament contains many prophecies about future events which would affect the people of Israel and the various nations round about them. As we look at the occurrences of history which have happened since that time, we find these prophecies fulfilled in minute detail. This serves as evidences that the prophecies did not originate with mere men but were spoken by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that the book which contains them must be from God. And an even stronger set of prophecies which lend credibility to the scriptures are those which pertain to the coming, life, death, and kingdom of Christ. In Acts 3.18 Peter said, "But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled."
Several events surrounding the birth of Christ were prophesied in the Old Testament. Since the blessing to all nations was to come through the seed of Abraham, it was understood that the Christ was to be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3, 22:17-18). Jesus was a descendant of Abraham (Matthew 1:1-17). David was promised that the one to rule Israel would be from His seed (2 Samuel 7:12-14). Jesus was a descendant of David (Luke 1:32-33, 2:1-4). Isaiah prophesied that a sign would be that a child would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-25). And Micah even predicted that the exact location of His birth would be Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:1-2). Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judah (Matthew 2:1-6).
Several events that occurred during the life and ministry of Christ were prophesied in the Old Testament. Space will not permit us to examine them all, but consider three from the book of Isaiah. It was foretold that the light of the Son would first shine upon Zebulun and Naphtali (Isaiah 9:1-7). Jesus began His ministry in Zebulun and Naphtali (Matthew 4:13-16). It was foretold that the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah’s identification of the Messiah) would have the power to give sight to the blind (Isaiah 41:1-7). Jesus did give sight to the blind (Matthew 11:5). And it was foretold that this Servant would go about preaching good tidings (Isaiah 61:1-2). Jesus even quoted this prophecy as being fulfilled in His work (Luke 4:17-21).
Several events concerning the death of Christ were prophesied in the Old Testament. Again, we cannot look at all of them, but here are a few examples from the Psalms. The Messiah would have His hands and His feet pierced (Psalm 22:16). Jesus was crucified with nails through His hands and feet (Matthew 27:35, John 20:25). The Messiah would have no bones broken (Psalm 34:20). While it was common to break the legs of those crucified to hasten death, this did not happen to Jesus (John 19:32-36). And the Messiah would be betrayed by a familiar friend who ate bread with Him (Psalm 41:9). Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas, after eating the Passover together (John 13:2-18).
Finally, several events pertaining to the establishment and existence of Christ’s kingdom were prophesied in the Old Testament. Moses promised that God would raise up for the people a Prophet like him (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Peter declared that Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy (Acts 3:22-24). The Psalmist foretold that Jehovah would say to the Messiah ("my Lord") that He would be a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:1-4). The Hebrew writer proclaimed that Jesus is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6-10, 7:1-16). And Daniel saw a vision of the ascension and coronation of "One like the Son of Man," who came with the clouds to the Ancient of Days and was given a kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14). Following His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down on His throne (Acts 1:9-11, 2:30-33).
Jesus Christ fulfilled thousands of years of prophetic utterances. "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people…As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began" (Luke 1:68-70). The probability that all these prophecies could find their fulfillment in the life of a single individual is staggering beyond imagination. Yet, Jesus fulfilled every one of them in minute detail–even those concerning the conditions of His birth, something over which no mere mortal has control. Only the hand of God could bring this to pass. And only the hand of God could guide the writers who made these predictions and recorded their fulfillment. Thus, the Bible shows the evidence of divine inspiration. (—taken from With All Boldness; December, 1995; Vol. 5, No. 12; p. 12)