Jesus Christ Prophesied Throughout the Old Testament

 In Jesus Christ

Jesus the Word

The Old Testament was written by at least 28 different men over the course of a thousand years, from Moses (circa 1,450 BC) to Malachi (circa 430 BC). Throughout, there are more than three hundred prophecies of the birth, life and death of the promised Messiah.

Despite the evidence, the Jews overwhelmingly rejected Jesus as the Messiah. The rulers, elders, chief priests and scribes expected a man who would destroy all physical enemies and establish an eternal kingdom on earth, not a carpenter from Galilee; for, as they concluded “out of Galilee ariseth no prophet” (John 7:52).

Beyond the question of why the Jews rejected Jesus, the greater question is: what are the chances of these prophecies being fulfilled by one man? In his 1958 book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner looks at the statistical improbability of one man fulfilling only eight of the prophecies.

Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.

Here are some of the key prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus, along with cross-references to the New Testament.

Note: Hovering over verse references shows up to 4 verses. Where references have 5 or more verses, clicking on the reference opens the chapter in a new tab with all verses highlighted.

Birth of Jesus

Laid in a Manger

In roughly 735 B.C. Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born of a virgin (the name Immanuel means ‘God with us’), as well as pointing to his deity.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Cross-reference: Matthew 1:18, Matthew 1:24-25, Luke 1:35

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Cross-reference: Luke 2:11

At roughly the same time, the prophet Micah not only prophesied the location of Jesus’ birth as being in Bethlehem but also that he would be of the tribe of Judah. Further, Micah also points to the deity of Christ.

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)

Cross-reference: Matthew 2:1, Matthew 2:4-6, Luke 2:4-7, John 7:42

Jesus in Egypt as a Child

In 753 B.C. Hosea prophesied Jesus being in Egypt.

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. (Hosea 11:1)

Cross-reference: Matthew 2:13-15

Jesus Preceded by John the Baptist

John the Baptist

Shortly before Jesus began his ministry, John the Baptist preached in the desert that “There cometh one mightier than I after me”. In 735 B.C. Isaiah prophesied John’s ministry in the desert.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:3-5)

Cross-reference: Matthew 3:1-3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23

Three hundred years later (430 B.C.) Malachi also prophesied John’s ministry.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)

Cross-reference: Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 1:17; 1:76

Parables of Jesus

It’s well known that Jesus spoke in parables, such as the parables of the sower, the vineyard and the fig tree. Speaking in parables was prophesied over a thousand years before Jesus’ ministry.

I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. (Psalms 78:2-3)

Cross-reference: Matthew 13:10; 13:13-15; 13:34-35, Mark 4:10-12; 4:33-34, John 10:6

The purpose of the parables was not, as is common belief, to make things easier to understand but, rather, lest those who have become blind and deaf to truth are converted.

And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:9-10)

Cross-reference: Matthew 13:13-15, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, John 12:40, Acts 28:26-27, Romans 11:8

The Price of Jesus

Price of Jesus

Judas Iscariot agreed with the chief priest that he would deliver Jesus to them for just thirty pieces of silver, which he returned when he learned Jesus was condemned to death. Since the money was the price of blood, the chief priests didn’t restore the money to the treasury but, instead, bought the potter’s field for the burying of strangers. Zechariah prophesied this in 520 B.C.

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13)

Cross-reference: Matthew 26:14-15, Matthew 27:3-10

Death of Jesus

Crown of Thorns

There are many prophecies of Jesus’ death, some of which prophesy more than one aspect. Before looking at some of these prophecies it’s necessary to know the details of his death.

Jesus was crucified along with two other men, his hands and feet were nailed to the cross and he was given vinegar and gall to drink. After six hours, and because the Sabbath was approaching, the Jews asked Pilate for the legs of all three to be broken, but when the soldiers came to Jesus they found him already dead and, therefore, didn’t break his legs. However, one of the soldiers pierced his side causing blood and water to run from his body. Afterwards, Joseph of Arimathaea, a wealthy man, asked Pilate if he could take Jesus to be buried. Pilate granted Joseph’s request and Jesus was buried in his Joseph’s new tomb.

In roughly 979 B.C. David and others penned many prophetic psalms. Psalm 22 (of David) is an incredible prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. In particular, verses 14-18 prophesy the blood and water that ran out of his side after being pierced by a spear and describe the physical effects of crucifixion, the dislocated bones and the collapsing of the chest as well as the inevitable thirst from the ordeal. It also prophesied the piercing of his hands and feet with nails, the people staring at him, and the Roman soldiers casting lots upon his parted garments.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Psalms 22:14-18)

Cross-reference: John 19, specifically: John 19:23-24; 19:28; 19:34; 19:37. Also, Matthew 27:35, Matthew 27:39, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34

Crucified with criminals

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

Cross-reference: Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27-28, Luke 22:37, Luke 23:33

No bones broken

Passover Lamb

The below verses from Exodus and Numbers, referring to the Passover lamb, are relevant since Jesus was the last sacrificial Lamb, the Son of God.

In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. (Exodus 12:46)

They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it. (Numbers 9:12)

He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. (Psalms 34:20)

Cross-reference: John 19:33-36

Pierced by a spear

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)

Cross-reference: John 19:34

Buried with the rich

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)

Cross-reference: Matthew 27:57-60

Jesus the Christ

The Bible refers to the Messiah as the Christ, the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel, the Redeemer, the anointed one, amongst many other names.

The Book of Isaiah contains many prophecies, both of Jesus and the end times, and while the Jewish Tanakh (Old Testament) includes Isaiah, Chapter 53 is known as the forbidden chapter because of its clear prophecy of Jesus being the Redeemer, the Saviour of all mankind who, in his death, bare all of our sins that we might be saved.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Cross-reference: 1 Peter 2:24. Also, 1 Corinthians 15:3, Hebrews 9:28, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:2

And in Chapter 61, Isaiah prophesied Jesus as the anointed one.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)

Cross-reference: Luke 4:16-21

The Book of Daniel contains a story of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who throws Daniel’s three Israelite friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a furnace for refusing to worship the image he created of himself, a type of the Antichrist to come. While the two verses below which mention the Son of God have no specific cross-reference, there are 46 instances in the New Testament of Jesus being referred to as the Son of God. However, what the verses below clearly show is that even the king of Babylon knew of the Son of God.

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Daniel 3:24-25)

The Deity of Jesus

Alpha and Omega

Two of the above verses prophesying the birth of Jesus also point to his deity, that he is the everlasting Father and is from everlasting. The verses are repeated here, but with different cross-references.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Cross-reference: Matthew 28:18. 1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 1:8

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)

Cross-reference: John 1:1-3, Hebrews 13:8. 1 John 1:1, Revelation 1:11; 2:8; 21:6

Inherent in Jesus’ deity is that he is God, something which Isaiah makes clear in Chapter 54.

For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. (Isaiah 54:5)

Cross-reference: John 1:1; 1:14, Romans 3:29-30, Revelation 11:15

And in Chapter 40, Isaiah prophesied that the glory of the Lord would be seen in the world.

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

Cross-reference: John 1:14

The beginning and the end, and everything in between

The Bible, as God’s word, is a complex compendium of spiritual, historical and prophetic truths. In particular, it shows us three important things: the way of salvation, how to discern spiritual truth and how we can inherit eternal life. In other words: the way, the truth and the life that is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Since God’s plan of salvation has been with us from the beginning — and Jesus as the Alpha and Omega is central to that plan — we find the Messiah present throughout all of scripture, from Genesis to Revelation and every book in between.

John the Baptist Photo Credit: Lumo Project

 

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