Christ and Prophecy

I have always been interested in finding ‘proofs’ for Christianity, if such a thing could even be done. It has led me to study apologetics, philosophy, ethics, world religions, etc. As I was reading through my Holman CSB, I found an interesting article regarding a list of related Messianic prophecy. It is from my own experience that many non-believers wrongly assume a bunch of men got together and wrote the Bible. As far fetched as this assumption is (it totally goes against an understanding of history and scholarship), it is rather widespread amongst the populace. ‘It’s just another book written by men’ they say. But is it?

With this in mind, it is amazing how ripe with prophecy the Word of God is. There are actually over 2000 prophecies, with most of them already fulfilled. For this reason, I have decided to borrow James’ Kennedy’s collection, and provide them below. As you read this, especially if you are a non-believer, ask yourself this question: Who am I reading about?

  • “Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs on my head,” (Ps 69:4)
  • “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers conspire together against the LORD and His Anointed One” (Ps 2:2)
  • “Even my friend in whom I trusted, one who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps 41:9)
  • “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered” (Zch 13:7)
  • “Then I said to them, ‘If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.’ So they weighed my wages, 30 pieces of silver. ‘Throw it to the potter,’ The LORD said to me–this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the LORD, to the potter” (Zch 11:12-13)
  • “They are striking the judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod” (Mc 5:1)
  • “I gave My back to those who beat me, and My cheeks to those who tore out my beard. I did not hide My face from scorn and spitting” (Is 50:6)
  • “They pierced my hands and my feet” (Ps 22:16)
  • “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1)
  • “Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads: ‘He relies on the LORD; let Him rescue him; let the LORD deliver him, since He takes pleasure in him” (Ps 22:7-8)
  • “They gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Ps 69:21)
  • “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me” (Ps 22:14)
  • “Yet He Himself bore our sickness, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted” (Is 53:4)
  • “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth” (Is 53:7)
  • “They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing” (Ps 22:18)
  • “He submitted Himself to death” (Is 53:12)
  • “He bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels” (Is 53:12)
  • “You may not break any of its bones” (Ex 12:46)
  • “He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken” (Ps 34:20)
  • “They will look at Me whom they pierced” (Zch 12:10)
  • “They made His grave with the wicked, and with a rich man at His death, although He had done no violence and had not spoken deceitfully” (Is 53:9)
  • “For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see the Pit” (Ps 16:10)
  • “You ascended to the heights, taking away captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious, so that the LORD God might live there” (Ps 66:18)
  • “The LORD declared to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool'” (Ps 110:1)

To this list I would add:

  • “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14)
  • “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming.” (Mic 5:2)
  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa 9:6)
  • “he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isa 49:6)
  • “Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” (Isa 49:7)
  • “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psa 2:12)
  • “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isa 53:2)
  • “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isa 53:3)
  • “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isa 53:4)
  • “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)
  • “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned– every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6)
  • “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isa 53:7)
  • “By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?” (Isa 53:8)
  • “And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” (Isa 53:9)
  • “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isa 53:10)
  • “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa 53:11)
  • “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa 53:12)

When you read through this list, ask yourself: Who is being spoken about? Clearly the answer is Jesus Christ. A non-believer, if reading these passages, may even assume that they come directly from the New Testament. However these verses were written hundreds and hundreds of years before the coming of Christ. Truly remarkable!

We would then need to ask ourselves for a proper explanation. Clearly the naturalist response is not satisfying. These verses describe in remarkable detail the life, ministry, and death of Jesus of Nazareth. There is no better explanation, given the historicity of scripture, than Divine Revelation.

You do not find such prophecy and accuracy in the writings of any of the ancient religions (work of Buddha, Mohammad, Lao-Tzu, Confucius, etc). Nor do you find an appropriate response explaining these prophetic verses from opponents of Christianity.

It truly points to the reality of the nature of Scripture: only a Figure with universal perspective and ultimate knowledge could know such detail, and we find the Word of this Figure, God, contained within the Holy Bible. What a wonderful collection it is, and what sobering conclusions this produces!

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3 thoughts on “Christ and Prophecy

    • Of course, context is important. Greater still is Canonical context. These books exists within a prophetic Canon. As you follow along this mega-narrative, you see how verses contain prophetic value. Some are clearly and self-acclaimed prophesy. Others hint at prophecies revealed in the Person of Jesus (such as the mana, and the split rock).

      When we gather these prophecies together, and follow the redemptive narrative that starts in the garden (Gen 3:15), we begin to understand this direction. We begin looking for a decedent of Eve, in the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from the lineage of David. We begin looking for this second Moses, for a King/Priest. The OT hammers away at this imagery of a prophet greater than Moses. We follow these characters like Joshua and others, who give us a prophetic depiction of the Greater One to Come.

      We get depictions of not only when and where this person will come, but his purpose (the suffering servant). We can even look at the Day of Atonement and the usage of the two scapegoats to understand what the Messiah will do: propitiation and expiation (pay the penalty of sin on our part, and remove it from our accounts). The context of Jesus makes great sense to even such events and practices.

      The entire Old Testament is not to be understand in simply a literal sense. That would be to go against the very expanding narrative in the OT. We arrive towards the end looking for our Davidic Messiah. The last OT book ends “See, I will send you the Prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes…” (Malachi 4:5). What occurs next? The coming of John the Baptist and Jesus’ ministry in Matthew.

      In other words yes, the context is absolutely essential. By context we not only mean historical, but grand canonical (Bible) context. Looking at merely a historical and literal sense of the Old Testament is a medieval rabbinical Jewish device, and was brought forward as a response to Christians claim (however this approach hardly fits those Jews predating Christ, who saw the prophetic value of the OT in pointing to a messiah).

      Understanding prophecy and its intended direction to point to the Messiah helps us understand what Scripture is trying to communicate, and why.

  1. Prophecy proves God’s plan as it is fulfilled. The fulfillment of these prophecies confirm Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah. Even the Jews acknowledge these are Messianic passages yet they refuse to believe Jesus is the promised One.

    In addition to the numerous individual prophecies found in Scripture there are patterns, types, and shadows of the Messiah. There are patterns not only about the Messiah but also about other things including the latter days. What happens in the present and in the future occurs according to the patterns of what has happened in the past. Visit my blog to see what I mean.

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