Friday, October 3, 2008

Messiah Prophecies

In the last post, we looked at the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus. In this segment, let's look at the many Old Testament prophecies which tell about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus- all of which were described 4000- 500 years before He was born. Some skeptics try and gloss over the importance of the prophecies, claiming that Jesus and His followers molded His life to fit the prophecies- but this is impossible, especially in the explicit prophecies of His birth and birth place which state the fact of His earthly ancestral lineage, and also that He was to be born in Bethlehem, even though Mary and Joseph were living in Nazareth before He was born.Another objection is that it is all a coincidence, that you could find many of these prophecies fulfilled by other historical figures. Again though, while maybe it is possible for literally anyone to fulfill 1 or 2 prophecies- it is virtually impossible to have all 60 prophecies fulfilled by 1 person. Scientists and mathematicians have worked out the probabilities of all the prophecies. Even if 1 person fulfilled even just 8 of these prophecies- the probability is 1 in 10 to the power of 17. Now I stink at math, but even I know that those are incredible odds- that's a 10 with 17 zeros behind it! And that's only with 8 of the prophecies fulfilled. Imagine what the chances are given that Jesus Christ fulfilled every one~Let's look at some of the prophecies, and maybe we can, for ourselves see how incredible it is to have these fulfilled in Jesus.First, let's look at where the future Christ would come from- through lineage, and birthplace. In Genesis 3:15, the first book of the Old Testament, is the first prophecy. This verse not only shows that the Messiah (a title I will use for the rest of this post- for Jesus is Messiah described in the Old Testament) will be born "of the seed of a woman". All humans, as we discussed in the last post are obviously born of seed of men. This verse also describes the undoing by the Messiah,the works of Satan, when he shall "bruise His head".In Genesis 9 and 10, we have Noah and his three sons- Shem, Japheth and Ham. Today, all the nations in the world can trace their linage back to these three guys, but the lineage of the Messiah is narrowed down to the lineage of Shem. In Genesis 12, 17 and 22, we are introduced to Abraham- in 2000 BC. God makes the promise of the Messiah through Abraham's second son, Isaac, who then had 2 sons- Essau and Jacob. God chose Jacob. Jacob went on to have 12 sons- which became the 12 tribes of Israel. God chose the tribe of Judah. Out of the tribe of Judah- which included thousands of people, the line of Jesse was chosen (Isaiah 11:1-5) Jesse had 8 children, and in reading 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and in Jeremiah 23:5 we can see that out of Jesse's family, God chose the "house of David". Now, when we get to David, there is a prophecy in the Psalms, most of which were written by David- which says, "His hands and feet will be pierced" which describes the crucifixion of the Messiah- a method of death that was not even invented yet.When we get to Isaiah, we have the prophesies of the virgin birth, but there are other prophecies in Isaiah which tell of the social/political climate and the reception that the Messiah will face- from His own people, the rejection bythe Jews, the belief by the Gentiles, a voice going before Him as a "voice in the wilderness", preparing the way for Him- in the person of John the Baptist. Isaiah 8:14, 28:16, 49:6, 50:6, 52:13-15, and 60:3. Psalms 22:7,8 and 118:22. Malachi 3:1
Micah 5:2 tells the Messiah will be born in a tiny, obscure town of Bethlehem.
Verses in
Zechariah 11:11-13, Psalm 41, Jeremiah 32:6-15 and Matthew 27:3-10 all tell about the Messiah's betrayal, that He will be betrayed by a friend, for 30 pieces of silver, which will then be thrown onto the Temple floor, that the money would then be used to buy a potter's field.
Malachi 3:1, Psalm 118:26, Daniel 9:26, Zechariah 11:13 and Haggai 2:7-9 tell that the Messiah will come into the Temple (as it was still standing) which is amazing in the timeline, as the Temple was standing until 70 AD when it was destroyed and has not yet been rebuilt.
So here we have just a few of the Old Testament prophecies describing the birth, birthplace, time, life, circumstances, death and method of death of the Messiah- all of which were fulfilled in the person of Jesus.Jesus is the only person in the history of the world which proved the prophecies to be true in His first coming. He is the only one who can fill the rest of the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, His second coming. We will get to those some day soon, but next time- we'll talk about the most controversial aspect of Jesus next to His unique birth- His death and resurrection.

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