Christ in Prophecy

CHRIST IN PROPHECY

by Wayne S. Walker

     The Bible teaches that the man known as Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. The Greek term "Christ" is equivalent to the Hebrew "Messiah" and means the anointed one of Jehovah. The coming of the Messiah and the establishment of His kingdom were clearly prophesied in the Old Testament. The word "prophecy" comes from a term that means to speak forth and thus refers to a declaration of God’s will and word. It often involved the prediction of future events because the foretelling of things and their fulfilment were sometimes necessary to provide evidence that the speaker was sent by God. Jesus claimed to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. "…O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and entered into His glory?" (Luke 24:25-26). To understand Jesus’s deity, we must understand Christ in prophecy.

     The first prophecy of the Messiah is found in Genesis 3:15, where God told Satan, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." To refer to the seed of woman is different from the normal way of speaking in the Bible, yet it reminds us that Jesus was "born of a woman" in a special way (Galatians 4:4). This "Seed of woman" becomes personalized. Satan would "bruise His feet" while God said, "He shall bruise your head." While this passage is never directly quoted in the New Testament, it is easy to make the application that Satan seemed to defeat Christ by having Him crucified on the cross, but this turned out to be only a minor blow because Christ, by His resurrection from the dead, gave Satan a crushing blow from which he can never recover.

     The next prophecy of the Messiah was made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, where God said that Abraham would receive a land, which was Canaan and was ultimately conquered by his descendants under Joshua; that his descendants would become a great nation, which they did at Mt. Sinai; and that through him all the families of the world would be blessed. In Genesis 22:17-18, this promise is repeated with the added note that in his seed all nations of the world would be blessed. Paul explains this prophecy as referring specifically to Christ (Galatians 3:16-19). The promise was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-4) and Jacob (Genesis 28:14), both of whom appear in the genealogy of Christ (Luke 3). Then a prophecy was made to Judah that the scepter would not depart from him until Shiloh comes (Genesis 49:8-10). There is some debate as to what this prophecy specifically means, but many scholars understand it generally to mean that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:11-17).

     Another prophecy of the Messiah was made to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-17. There is a possible dual fulfilment. In an immediate sense, many of the predictions were fulfilled physically by Solomon, perhaps as a type, but in a more remote sense, they were fulfilled spiritually by Christ, and the part about the kingdom being established forever could apply only to Christ. Jesus was indeed of the seed of David (Matthew 1:1). He did come to establish God’s spiritual kingdom, the church (Matthew 16:18-19, Colossians 1:13). He did build a house, which is another figure of speech for the church (Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Timothy 3:15). And indeed His throne was established forever (Hebrews 12:2, Revelation 3:21).

     Also there are other prophecies of the Messiah found throughout the Old Testament. Isaiah 7:14 predicts the nature of His birth, that "a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son." Evidence is presented to establish the fact that Jesus was born of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit rather than through the natural agency of the male seed (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-31). If anyone could testify that Mary was a virgin, she herself would know. Micah 5:2 predicts the place of His birth, that out of Bethlehem Ephrathah would come forth "the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting." The Jews understood that this particular Bethlehem, in Judea, was to be the birthplace of the Messiah (Matthew 2:1-6). And that is exactly where Jesus was born (Luke 2:1-6).

     Indeed, all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 24:44). Since the Old Testament also plainly declared that the Messiah would partake of the very nature of Jehovah and thus Himself be divine, our conclusion based on this evidence is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world. (—taken from With All Boldness; June, 2001; Vol. 11, No. 6; p. 11)

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