Lesson 4: Fulfilled Prophecy

Lesson Four: Fulfilled Prophecy

Seventeen Old Testament books, from Isaiah to Malachi, are considered prophetic writings.  Bible prophecy, however, is not limited to these books.  According to Payne's Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, the Bible contains more than 1, 800 predictive passages with more than 700 subjects.  Jesus Christ is the major theme of the prophetic Scriptures.  Peter told the household of Cornelius, "To Him (Jesus Christ) all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."  Acts 10:43.  In Psalm 40:7 we find the Lord Jesus prophesying about Himself, saying, "Then I said, 'Behold, I come; In the scroll of the Book it is written of Me."  Hebrews 10:5-7 makes it clear that this is a reference to Jesus.

In our study there are too many Old Testament prediction to list about the Lord Jesus.  Let's just consider the following prophecies, which should convince even the skeptical that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God.

 

His Birth

The King of the Jews was not to be born in the city of Jerusalem, as the wise men of Matthew's gospel surmised, but rather in the little town of Bethlehem.  Who would have imagined that Jesus would be born in such an insignificant place?  Yet the prophet Micah wrote, "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 have been from of old, from everlasting."  Compare Micah 5:2 and Matthew 2:1.

The prophet Isaiah made the most astonishing prediction of all.  "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel."  Could it be?  Read the New Testament accounts of the birth of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 2.  In particular, compare Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:22, 23.

 

His Public Ministry

John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus Christ.  Isaiah predicted this, and Matthew recorded the fulfillment.  "This is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness; Prepare the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.'"  See Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3.

Isaiah also prophesied of Jesus' ministry in Galilee to the Gentiles.  When the apostle Paul addressed a Jewish mob in Acts 22, they listened until he told them that God had commissioned him to go to the Gentiles.  That made him worthy of death.  Yet Isaiah had said, "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, The way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."  Jesus began His public ministry in Galilee.  Compare Isaiah 9:1, 2 and Matthew 4:12-16.

The Jews rejected His ministry, and hated Him without a cause.  Isaiah wrote of this rejection, "He is despised and rejected of men."  It was said of Jesus, "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him."  Read Isaiah 53 and John 1:11.  In John 15:25 the Lord quotes prophetic Scripture, "They hated me without a cause."  This prophecy is found in both Psalm 35:19 and 69:4.  It was fulfilled in the Jews' rejection of Christ.

 

His Death, Burial, and Resurrection

Psalm 22 portrays death by crucifixion.  The Psalm begins, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"  These are the words spoken by Jesus, while hanging on the cross.  See Matthew 27:46.  Much could be written about this Psalm.  Compare Psalm 22:15 and John 19:28; Psalm 22:16 and John 20:25; Psalm 22:18 and John 19:24.  Death by crucifixion was a Roman form of execution, not Jewish.  Nevertheless, Psalm 22 was written by David, the king of Israel.

While Psalm 22 predicts how Jesus would die, Isaiah 53 informs us why He would die.  "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.  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."  Isaiah 53:5, 6.

Isaiah also prophesied that Jesus would be buried with the rich.  He wrote, "And they made His grave with the wicked---But with the rich in His death."  Compare Isaiah 53:9 and Matthew 27:57-60.

The apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 25:8 in 1 Corinthians 15:54.  "Death is swallowed up in victory."  What victory is that?  It is Christ's victory of sin and death in His resurrection from the dead.  Hallelujah!

Fulfilled prophecy is strong evidence for the inspiration of the Scriptures.

 

Lesson 5: The Effectual Working Of the Scriptures

 
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