Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Old Testament book of Isaiah is abundant with prophetic references---many of them pointing to Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Here are just a few of the proofs we have for Christ as God as prophesied by Isaiah, more than 600 years before Jesus walked the Earth!
Isaiah 7:14: The Virgin Birth/Jesus called Immanuel
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel"
This is fulfilled in Matthew 1:20-23. Joseph was visited in a dream by an angel quoting the verse from Isaiah. His soon-to-be-wife was the prophesied virgin. "Immanuel" means "God with us". Like the names given for Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 (Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, etc.), Jesus wasn't actually given the name "Immanuel" as his birth name. This is not what the passage means. Instead, it is saying that this is a term people will use to reference Jesus for the rest of eternity. People will say that Jesus is God in the flesh--God with us.
Isaiah 49:6: God's Salvation Will Reach the Entire Earth
This verse indicates that the message of salvation through Messiah would reach the ends of the Earth. The New Testament references the fact (and other historical writings back this up) that there were other men who claimed to be Messiah before Jesus came. In fact, this has been the case throughout history--and is even true today. (Think Jim Jones, David Koresh, Baha`u'llah of the Baha'i faith, Sun Myung Moon of the Unification church and Marshall Applewhite of the Heaven's Gate cult). The book of Acts even names some of the well-known false Messiahs of Jesus' day (Acts 5:34-39). Yet it is only through the church birthed by Christ that God's word has been spread to all the Earth. All the rest of these false Messiahs have been proven to be frauds and their "ministries" have fizzled out. A really great site for seeing people who are making decisions for Christ all over the world in real time is www.GodRev.com.
Isaiah 35:4-6 Messiah will perform specific miracles
This passage of Isaiah mentions specific miracles that will be performed by Messiah. v.5-6: "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy." Here are just a few references in the New Testament that show how Jesus was very well-known for performing these specific miracles: Matthew 9:32-35, 11:5, 15:30-31; Luke 11:14; John 5:8-9, 7:38, 9:6-7.
Isaiah 50:6 Specific events on the day Christ died
In this verse we can read about specific things that were to happen during Jesus' last day on Earth as a man. "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." The following New Testament verses confirm that this is the way Jesus was treated before the crucifixion: Matt 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1; Matt 26:67; Matt 27:30; Mark 14:65; Mark 15:19; Luke 22:63.
Though I've been a "true believer" for most of my life, it has been really refreshing to find these passages that give us even more of a solid reason to trust the history in the Bible as truth. I'm looking forward to more studies in Messianic prophecy this week!
Monday, March 29, 2010
There's six days until Easter and I'm thinking about some of the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus that have been fulfilled in the New Testament. I bet there's a lot of people who don't realize how many times the Old Testament talks about Messiah---or don't understand why that's even a big deal.
The big deal is that the most recent Old Testament book was written over 400 years before Christ was born---and many of them were written a thousand years or more before His birth. Scholars have estimated there to be around 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament--many of them are contained in those books that are a thousand years older than the Messiah they reference. This is all a big deal because this gives us more evidence for a solid belief in the truth of the Bible and the truth of Jesus as the Messiah the Jews were looking for!
Tonight I took some time to study Psalm 22. This was written by David, right around 1,000 years before Jesus' birth. I've copied the Psalm in it's entirety at the end of this post for your reference. Here are some of the ways in which God speaks through David to describe the Messiah's death---each of these are things that Jesus actually experienced, 10 centuries later, on the cross:
*v. 22:1--"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus said this as He was dying on the cross. See Matthew 27:46.
*v. 22:6-7--"despised by the people, sneered at Him" The four New Testament gospels are full of instances where Jesus was despised by the people. In fact, when Pilate asked the crowd whether he should release the murderer Barabbas or Jesus, the crowd shouted for the release of Barabbas. Pilate asked them what evil He had done and they had no answer but to demand his crucifixion: see Luke 23:15-24.
*v. 22:8--"Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; let Him rescue him, because He delights in him". This is almost word for word what the mockers at the cross say in Matthew 27:43.
*v. 22:14--"poured out like water" Water poured from Jesus' side after the soldier stabbed him in John 19:34; "all my bones are out of joint" Imagine how Jesus' body was pulled out of joint as he was yanked around and fastened to the cross. Imagine how many places his arms were pulled out of joint as the weight of His body strained them once He was upright.
*v. 22:16--"They pierced my hands and my feet" The very act of crucifixion.
*v. 22:18--"They divide up my clothing/cast lots" This detail is interesting---I wonder if God just put it there as a minor issue to solidify this prophecy years later. This is mentioned in all four gospels: Matt 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34 and John 19:24.
I hope this short study inspires you to do your own investigation and see what other Old Testament prophecies about Jesus you can find!
Psalm 22 (New American Standard Bible)
A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.
For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.1My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
2O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
3Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
4In You our fathers trusted;
They trusted and You delivered them.
5To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not disappointed.
6But I am a worm and not a man,
A reproach of men and despised by the people.
7All who see me sneer at me;
They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
8"Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."
9Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb;
You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.
10Upon You I was cast from birth;
You have been my God from my mother's womb.
11Be not far from me, for trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
12Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
15My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
16For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
17I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
19But You, O LORD, be not far off;
O You my help, hasten to my assistance.
20Deliver my soul from the sword,
My only life from the power of the dog.
21Save me from the lion's mouth;
From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.
22I will tell of Your name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
23You who fear the LORD, praise Him;
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.
24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.
25From You comes my praise in the great assembly;
I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.
26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the LORD
Let your heart live forever!
27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations will worship before You.
28For the kingdom is the LORD'S
And He rules over the nations.
29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,
All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.
30Posterity will serve Him;
It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.
31They will come and will declare His righteousness
To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.