Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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7.1 Old Testament Prophecies of Jesus

Study 3 explained how God’s purpose of salvation for men was centred in Jesus Christ. The promises which He made to Eve, Abraham and David all spoke of Jesus as their literal descendant. Indeed, the whole of the Old Testament points forward to, and prophesies about, Christ. The Law of Moses, which Israel had to obey before the time of Christ, constantly pointed forward to Jesus: “The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Gal. 3:24). Thus at the feast of Passover, a lamb in perfect condition had to be killed (Ex. 12:3-6); this represented the sacrifice of Jesus, “the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7). The spotless condition which was required for all the animal sacrifices pointed forward to the perfect character of Jesus (Ex. 12:5 cp. 1 Pet. 1:19).

Throughout the Psalms and prophets of the Old Testament there are countless prophecies about what Messiah would be like. They particularly focus on describing how he would die. Judaism’s refusal to accept the idea of a Messiah who dies can only be due to their inattention to these prophecies, a few of which are now presented.


Old Testament Prophecy

Fulfilment in Christ

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1)

These were the very words of Jesus on the cross (Mt. 27:46)

“I am despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him” (Ps. 22:6-8)

Israel despised Jesus and mocked him (Lk. 23:35; 8:53); they shook their heads (Mt. 27:39), and said this as He hung on the cross (Mt. 27:43)

“My tongue cleaves to my jaws…they pierced my hands and my feet” (Ps. 22:15,16)

This was fulfilled in Christ’s thirst on the cross (Jn. 19:28). The piercing of hands and feet refers to the physical method of crucifixion used.

“They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my clothing” (Ps. 22:18)

The precise fulfilment of this is found in Mt. 27:35.

Note that Ps. 22:22 is specifically quoted as applying to Jesus in Heb. 2:12

“I am become a stranger unto my brothers, and am an alien unto my mother’s children. For the zeal of your house has eaten me up” (Ps. 69:8,9)

This well describes Christ’s feeling of estrangement from his Jewish brethren and his own family (Jn. 7:3-5, Mt. 12:47-49). This is quoted in John 2:17.

“They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Ps. 69:21)

This happened while Christ was on the cross (Matt. 27:34)

The whole of Isaiah 53 is a remarkable prophecy of Christ’s death and resurrection, every verse of which had an unmistakable fulfilment. Just two examples will be given.

“As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth” (Is. 53:7)

Christ, the Lamb of God, remained silent during his trial (Mt. 27:12,14)

“He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death” (Is. 53:9)

Jesus was crucified along with wicked criminals (Mt. 27:38), but was buried in the tomb of a rich man (Mt. 27:57-60).

It is little wonder that the New Testament reminds us that the “law and prophets” of the Old Testament is the basis of our understanding of Christ (Acts 26:22; 28:23; Rom. 1:2,3; 16:25,26). Jesus himself warned that if we do not properly understand “Moses and the prophets”, we cannot understand him (Lk. 16:31; Jn. 5:46,47).

That the Law of Moses pointed forward to Christ, and the prophets prophesied of him, should be proof enough that Jesus did not exist physically before his birth. The false doctrine of the physical ‘pre-existence’ of Christ before birth makes a nonsense of the repeated promises that he would be the descendant of Eve, Abraham and David. The early preachers emphasized that Jesus was “of David’s posterity” [Gk. Spermatos- Acts 2:29-31; 13:23; Rom. 1:3; 2 Tim. 2:8]. If he were already existing up in heaven at the time of these promises, God would have been incorrect in promising these people a descendant who would be Messiah. The genealogies of Jesus, recorded in Mt. 1 and Lk. 3, show how Jesus had a pedigree which stretched back to those people to whom God had made the promises.

The promise to David concerning Christ precludes his physical existence at the time the promise was made: “I will set up your descendant [singular] after you, which shall proceed out of your body...I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (2 Sam. 7:12,14). Notice the future tense used here. Seeing that God would be Christ’s Father, it is impossible that the Son of God could have already existed at that point in time when the promise was made. That this seed “shall proceed out of your body” shows that he was to be a literal, physical descendant of David. “The Lord has sworn in truth unto David...Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne” (Ps. 132:11).

Solomon was the primary fulfilment of the promise, but as he was already physically in existence at the time of this promise (2 Sam. 5:14), the main fulfilment of this promise about David having a physical descendant who would be God’s son, must refer to Christ (Lk. 1:31-33). “I will raise unto David a righteous Branch” (Jer. 23:5) - i.e. Messiah.

Similar future tenses are used in other prophecies concerning Christ. “I will raise (Israel) up a Prophet like unto (Moses)” (Dt. 18:18) is quoted in Acts 3:22,23, which defines the “Prophet” as Jesus. “A virgin (Mary) shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). This was clearly fulfilled in Christ’s birth (Mt. 1:23).

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||