The Prophecies of Jesus

The New Testament does not stand alone, it is the direct outgrowth of prophecy and it’s fulfillment. The very reason that the new testament is accepted as God’s word is because it meshes in perfect union with the first testament. For the first testament does the unthinkable. Not only does is tell the historical story of the people of Israel from it’s inception; but it also contains in that story dozens upon dozens of explicit prophetic descriptions regarding the entire sum of the “ancestry, birth time, forerunner, birthplace, birth manner, infancy, manhood, teaching character, career, preaching, reception, rejection, death, burial, resurrection and ascension” 1 of one called The Christ in Greek, The Messiah in Hebrew, the Anointed One in English.

Woven throughout the text of the old testament prophets, laws, songs and history are predictions spoken and written hundreds or thousands of years before they were fulfilled to the smallest letter in their detail. It is as if at the founding of the United States of America someone had written a complete biography of Ronald Reagan. Such a feat is not only impossible but to have done so would have marked not only the character of the writer himself as being lead by God but would have marked Ronald Reagan infinitely more important than he was as a mere mortal.

To everyone who has ever wondered and perhaps still wonders if Jesus really is a savior I would urge you to consider not only the words and fulfillment but the circumstance of the prophecies of Jesus. The Prophecies were given so that you may see them fulfilled and seeing them, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.

Concerning the Character of the prophecies themselves, the Apostle Peter says " no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Pe 1:21, NASB95). Prophecy itself is not the work of daydreamers or creative writers. Prophecy is the work of God. It is not because Isaiah, Jeremiah or Moses were powerful and knowledgeable in themselves but that they were men who knew God and through whom and to whom God spoke. Through dreams, visions and even by voice the Almighty ruler of the universe and life gave them promises of a deliverer who would come and take away their sins and make them into a holy people able to walk in holiness with God.

As we enter into the study of old testament prophecies we almost immediately begin to see how clearly they described Jesus.

A Specific Person

The messiah will be born of a woman (and not a man) which is to say that his parentage is accounted as female rather than male and that in a patriarchal society! Moreover the Messiah will be a male and not a female. Both of these conclusions come from the first prophecy in Genesis 3:15 (read it). We also learn that the messiah will be wounded to death by the serpent – Satan but that the messiah will also destroy Satan the serpent as well.

With increased specificity through scripture we learn that the Messiah will come from the line of Shem the son of Noah rather than of Ham or Japeth (Gen 9:27 see note
2) Of the line of Shem he would descend from Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; gen 17:1-8; Gen 22:16-18) and his son Isaac (Gen. 17:19; 21:12) instead of Ishmael. and then Jacob (Gen. 28:13–14) and of Jacob’s line Judah (Gen. 49:10; 1 Chron 5:2, Psalm 78:67-68) and within Judah the family line of King David the son of Jesse (Isa. 11:1–2; 2 Sam. 7:12–13; cp. 1 Chr. 17:11, 14; Ps. 89:35–37; Jer. 23:5–6) was chosen as the specific family tree through which the messiah would come.

But the single most astounding and specific prediction of the Savior is that he would be born to a virgin. (Isaiah 7:13-14; Mt. 1:18, 20–23).

In these prophecies God promised something only he could deliver. A very specific person.

A Specific Place

In the later pages of the Old Testament, under the prophet Micah 5:2 we read another specific prophecy. The savior will be born in Bethlehem. Keep in mind how momentous this was. Bethlehem was a little backwater town at this point in history. A little less than ½ the size of Moweaqua – under 1000 residents.

The problem is that two people who needed to live there (Mary and Joseph) did not. They lived about seventy miles north of there in another village named Nazareth. Keep in mind that we can cover 70 miles in little over an hour in the car, but for them it was a three to six day journey over rugged terrain, on foot and Mary was by this time enormously pregnant.

A week or so ago my wife was remembering with less than fondness the difficulty of traveling long distances while pregnant. How many of you ladies would love to make that journey, over rugged terrain either on foot or perhaps worse, on the bouncy back of a mule?

So what did God do to make his prophecy come to pass? Listen to Fred Meldau has he explains:

“In 1923 at Ankara, Turkey, a Roman templeinscription was found which, when deciphered, related that in thereign of Caesar Augustus there were three great tax collections. The second was ordered four years before the birth of Christ.

Theproud Jews resented the idea of a special tax, so they sent acommission to Rome to protest it. Quirinius, the local governor ofSyria, did not have the authority to settle the problem. Those weredays of slow communications and even slower travel. The commissionfinally failed, and the Jews had to submit to the enrollment andtaxing. However, by the time the official tax collectors had workedtheir way eastward, town by town and province by province, and afterthe time-consuming delays caused by the Jewish protests, enough time elapsed that, when the enrollment was put into force in Judea, the exact time had come for the birth of the baby Jesus!” 3

God was in absolute control over the birth of the savior. He proclaimed the prophecy and he had it fulfilled! He rearanged the entire Roman tax system in order to make it happen. The Savior was a specific person, born at a specific place and also at a very specific time.

A Specific Time

There are many prophecies which help to pinpoint the time when Jesus was to come. There are prophecies about the temple, or about the Jews having autonomy. But perhaps the most significant prophecy and fulfillment is located in Daniel 9:25-26.

In Nehemiah 2:1-8 King Artaxerxes issued that decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Through Archaeology we can confirm that this happened on what we would recognize as March 5, 444 BC. In Daniel’s prophecy a total of sixty-nine periods of seven years equals a total of 483 years. Multiply that total of 360 days a year in the prophetic calendar and you come up with 173,880 days. Put the two together and you arrive at March 30 AD 33. 4 The exact day of the triumphal entry when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on donkey and the crowds all declared him both Messiah and king!

Look at the baby Jesus in the manger! Look at him but do not look at him like a normal child. He was born to a virgin woman who herself was a direct descendant of King David . Jesus is the chosen one, the very son of God our savior. No other person could ever fulfill the prophecies which were written down hundreds, even thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. And yet not one of the promises fell flat. The gospels record that it was Jesus of Nazareth who matched every genealogical requirement, every geographical requirement, every chronological requirement. The detailed fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior, The very Son of Almighty God.

He was born in Bethlehem and placed in a manger for a specific reason. Jesus of Nazareth came to bring us the greatest possible gift: forgiveness and salvation. But the prophets also hinted that while some will believe in him others will reject him. My hope and my prayer for you this morning is that you have accepted Jesus already. But if not than I want to invite you at this very moment in time to come to him humbly.

What God requires is that you turn away from sin and turn towards Jesus. In humble prayer confess to God what you’ve done wrong; indeed all of your sin. And believing on Jesus ask the Messiah to come into your heart and life and to be your Lord and savior. I know he will do it, you will be forgiven and saved. The prophet’s foretold it.

He came in order to save, has he saved you?

1Fred John Meldau, The Prophets Still Speak : Messiah in Both Testaments (Bellmawr: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1997, c1988).

2In the Hebrew of Genesis 9:27, there is no word corresponding to “he” as found in the King James Version; therefore, the verse correctly reads, “God will enlarge Japheth, and will dwell in the tents of Shem.” The Chaldee of Onkelos paraphrase of the verse reads, “and will make his glory to dwell in the tabernacles of Shem.” Fred John Meldau, The Prophets Still Speak : Messiah in Both Testaments (Bellmawr: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1997, c1988).

3Fred John Meldau, The Prophets Still Speak : Messiah in Both Testaments (Bellmawr: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1997, c1988).

4For the entire argument see p126-139 of Hoehner, Chronological Aspects [amazon title 0310262119]