More on Jesus and Old Testament Prophecies
Tom: Dave, we’ve been talking about, as you know, and as many of our listeners who follow along with us here, we’ve been going through the Doctrine of Salvation, actually the gospel. And for a number of weeks we been talking about Jesus, who alone is our Savior. And in the Old Testament, He’s referred to as the Messiah. And there were many, many prophecies that were given. Nearly all of the Old Testament is clearly pointed toward Jesus Christ, our Messiah, and there were prophecies that He had to fulfill to the letter, which was a demonstration, an affirmation, a confirmation of “many infallible proofs,” as the Word of God says, that He was indeed and is indeed our Savior, and He alone is our Savior.
One of the things I want to go through today, as we’re going through the Scriptures, are the fulfillments. If you’re going to be the Savior of the world, you have to fulfill all the prophecies. And still to our awe and amazement—not really amazement—but just in awe of how Christ did fulfill to the letter the prophecies of the Old Testament: certainly, the type of death that He was to suffer, which was crucifixion. We went through Isaiah 53, which certainly lays out elements that...lays out aspects or characteristics that you can see in the cross, done on the cross. But Psalm 22 lays out so many details that could only be crucifixion. And Psalm 22 was written by David around 1,000 BC.
Dave: Crucifixion was not practiced, or it was not known—certainly David didn’t know anything about.
Tom: Right. You know, my understanding is that it came in through the Romans, specifically, and that would have been around, maybe, 300 BC, somewhere in there. Psalm 22, beginning with verse 14: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws. You have brought me to the dust of death. (Verse 16): for dogs have surrounded me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed me. They pierced my hands and my feet; I can count my bones. They look and stare at me.”
Now, if you’re familiar with the gospels, the gospel record...
Dave: Well, it’s a powerful description of crucifixion. Tom, the prophecies, of course, were so there would be absolutely no doubt that the Messiah was who He claimed to be, if He was the real Messiah, so that you couldn’t have a phony pass himself off as the Messiah.
There are no prophecies from Muhammad, no prophecies from Buddha, no prophecies from Confucius. In fact, they didn’t even claim to be the Messiah. That concept they didn’t even comprehend. You talk about the Savior —the qualifications Jesus had to be the Savior. Save us from what? From our sins—from the penalty of our sins. The penalty that God’s infinite justice has imposed. There’s only one way, and it’s God’s way, and not only is He going to physically suffer, but He will be made the “sin sacrifice.” He will suffer the penalty that His own infinite justice requires. And only on that basis, as we’ve gone over that a number of times, can there be forgiveness.
Now, Tom, we’re talking about the death of the Messiah. Even the very fact that He would die—the rabbis didn’t understand that; the disciples didn’t understand that. John the Baptist didn’t understand that. They thought the Messiah was coming to take the throne of David, to rule and to reign. And they were looking forward to ruling on thrones with Him. So that He would be rejected by His own people—instead of His people hailing Him, that He would be rejected by them and crucified by them—Daniel said it. Daniel gives the very day the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey 483 years from the “going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem,” as we’ve mentioned, as the Scripture lays it out. In Nehemiah chapter 2, it tells you the date.
But then, what a twist! And Daniel says, “And Messiah (v. 26) will be cut off, but not for Himself.” Isaiah 53, as we’ve gone over it, tells us that the Messiah would be cut off. Somehow, this was hidden from the Jews. And the rabbis mocked Jesus on the cross! “What are you doing up there, if you’re the messiah?’ and the thieves said the same thing: “Save yourself and us. You can only prove that you’re the Messiah...if you’re really the Messiah, come down from the cross!”
And remember, Jesus, to the two on the road to Emmaus, He scolded them rather severely! He said, “You fools, and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” In other words, they were looking at one part of the prophecies, but they weren’t taking the overall picture, and, again, is something we’re trying to call our listeners—ourselves and our listeners to— “Search the Scriptures Daily.” Not just your favorite verses, but let’s see what all of it says.
And then, Jesus says, “Ought not Christ (the Messiah) to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” The second time He comes, He’s going to come in power and glory! He came as the Lamb, as Exodus:12:6 said, “Behold, there’s a Lamb coming,” and the whole congregation of the assembly of the children of Israel will take this Lamb and slay it in the evening on the 14th of Nissan—the very time when Jesus was on the cross!
Tom: Dave, we have...when we read through the scriptures, we have the benefit of the gospels and so on, so we read these, then in some ways we thing, “Well, how could the disciples have missed it? Jesus himself says, numerous times, about how He’s going to suffer, and what He’s going to do. John the Baptist calls Him “the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.” They had the Old Testament scriptures, and everything—almost everything in there—was a type of Christ, and pointing to the very death that He was going to suffer. But they missed it!
Dave: It’s apparent...
Tom: We would have missed it to.
Dave: It’s apparent that John the Baptist, when he said that, “Behold the Lamb of God who bears away the sin of the world,” he was inspired of the Spirit of God to say that. He apparently didn’t understand what he was saying. In fact, Peter tells us that we’re seeing things that the prophets desired to look into, even though they were inspired of God to tell us what was going to happen, they didn’t understand.
You know, you wouldn’t have written a story like this. If we had written this story, we would have had the Messiah coming with a big army, conquering His enemies, and so forth. And when you read Zechariah:9:9, for example, where it says, “Rejoice, O daughter of Jerusalem! Shout for joy! Behold, your King cometh!” What was He, on a white horse with a flashing sword? No! He’s riding on the colt of an ass. He is humble, and He’s bringing salvation. So, you get an insight, for example, in John 8, where it says, “Many believed on Him,” and before you know it, they’re taking up stones to stone Him! Why? Because they believed that He was the Messiah, but now He doesn’t turn out to be the kind of Messiah they want. Because He talks about sin, He wants to deliver them from sin and from self.
And they’re resisting that.
So, Messiah comes, amazingly. But He doesn’t come the way people want Him to come, the way they expect Him. And they reject Him and crucify Him! But it’s exactly what the prophets said! And it took place on the very day the prophets said it would take place.
And, Tom, we can prove from the Bible—this is what Paul...this was his modus operandus. It says, “As His manner was, He went in unto them (Acts 17) into the synagogue, and He opened the Scriptures, and He reasoned with them! Over and over the Acts, it says, “Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures, proving from the scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah. And this is how we know that Jesus is the Messiah. Not because we have some emotional attachment to Him.
And, Tom, that concerns me, because I hear a lot of sermons these days—it’s kind of a... “Well, look at how Jesus suffered, and how wonderful He is,” and so forth, and “What He did for you, wouldn’t you do something for Him?” No, I need to know on the basis of scriptures exactly what the prophets said, and that He fulfilled this, as you said earlier, to the letter! And that’s how I know that Jesus is the Messiah. And on that basis, “faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” You know, the basis of the Word of God—now I put my faith and my trust in Him, and when I open My heart to Him, the one who died for my sins, I receive forgiveness of sins, and we would certainly recommend that to anyone out there....
Tom: Some of those who would object to our being so “word” oriented, they would say, “Well, what you’re doing here is you’re taking words, and you’re knowing about Jesus, but you’re not really knowing Him.”
I really resent that, because, I mean, we quoted the chorus of Charles Wesley, “Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, would die for me?” When I read the scriptures and understand, and understand better, what Jesus did, that’s communication! That’s not just feeling...I mean, there may be emotions involved in that, but it’s not contentless.
Dave: Let’s take it from Jesus himself, in John 5, He said to the rabbi, “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life [in other words, they’re getting them just the words], but these are they which testify of Me, and you want to come to Me.”
So, I’m really brought to Christ by His Word.