The Verdict of Reason
Last time, we began to just brush the surface of events that proved the accuracy of Old Testament prophecy. Today we’ll move to another category: The Messianic Prophecies; those concerning the coming of the Messiah. These were all written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, yet in their precision and detail they can unmistakably refer only to the life of Christ. Some have suggested that Jesus, being a man with a ‘messiah complex’, arranged his life to have fulfilled these prophecies in order to prove he was the promised Savior. While it is true that he may have been able to have arranged some of his actions to conform to the predictions of scripture, so many more were entirely out of his control. Grant Jeffrey, writing in Jesus, The Great Debate conservatively figured the probability of anyone fulfilling just seventeen of the prophecies at one chance in 480 billion x 1billion x 1 trillion. This was not some easily arranged feat. The specificity of the predictions makes that impossible. (26) Here’s a list of some of the more significant ones.
THE MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
- The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. – [Genesis 49:10] – Written: 1400 BC. Fulfilled: At Jesus‟ birth. Even later 1st century AD Jewish authorities acknowledged that Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and the House of David. In other words they acknowledged that He was, in those respects, qualified to be their King.
- The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. – [Micah:5:2] – Written between 750-686 BC. Fulfilled: At Christ‟s birth. Passage: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
- Betrayed by a friend. – [Psalm 41:9] – Written: Circa 1000 BC. Fulfilled: Most are familiar with the passages describing the last supper in Luke 22:3-4 & John 13:18, when his disciple Judas dipped the bread with Jesus before going out to betray Him. Passage: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.”
- Jesus to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, and the money spent on a “potters‖ field.” [Zechariah 11:12-13] – Written circa 520 BC. Fulfilled: Matthew 26:14-15 tells us: “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.” After Jesus was condemned to die, Judas brought the money back to the High Priests and threw it into the Temple. Matthew 26:6-7 describes what the Jewish authorities did with that blood money. “And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.” Here’s the prophecy that was fulfilled found in Zechariah 11:12-13: “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.‖ So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter‖—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.’”
- The Christ would enter Jerusalem on a donkey. – [Zechariah 9:9] – Written about 500 years before Christ. Fulfilled by Jesus when He entered in triumph on Palm Sunday. The disciples scatter when Jesus is taken. – [Zechariah 13:7] – Fulfilled in the Garden of Gethsemane. The apostles ran off as Jesus was seized. The passage reads in part: “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered.”
- Jesus would be struck and spit on. – [Isaiah 50:6] – Passage: “I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.” Matthew 27:30 records the fulfillment of that prophecy. “I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.”
- His death by crucifixion; hundeds of years before that method of death was used. – [Psalm 22:16] – Passage: “They pierced My hands and My feet.” Fulfillment: On the Cross.
- They would divide and gamble for the rights to His clothing. – [Psalm 22:18] – Passage: “They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.” John 19:23-24 describes how after they hung Him on the Cross, the Roman soldiers divided his clothing and gambled for His seamless tunic.
- Messiah‘s Mission: To suffer and die bearing the sins of all that would accept Him. – [Isaiah 52:13-53:12] – Written around 700 BC – Fulfilled: In the details of the ministry, suffering and crucifixion of Christ. That passage tells us that he will bear the sin of “many nations” as he was “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities…And by His stripes we are healed.” In Isaiah 53:7 it tells us “He opened not His mouth, He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.” Later we find that at His trial He was silent before Pilate, not attempting to defend Himself though it cost Him His life. It tells us also that he would be executed “with the wicked” (the 2 thieves on the cross), and buried “with the rich at His death,” which He was. The Christ would be “numbered with the Transgressors” yet He “bore the sins of many.” That passage tells us that He would be rejected yet make “His soul an offering for sin.” In the end, God will raise Him up with “the great” because “He poured out His soul unto death.”
And there are others – Psalm 69:21 predicted that they would give Him vinegar to drink. They did. – Psalm 34:20 recorded how none of His bones would be broken. They weren’t. – Zechariah 12:10 prophesied that he would be pierced. He was pierced by a Roman soldier to make sure he was dead. – Psalm 35:11 speaks of the false witnesses that would testify against Him. – Psalm 55:12-14 tells us that he would be betrayed by a friend. “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me … But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend. We who had sweet fellowship together, Walked in the house of God in the throng.” There are others still.18 19