Jesus in Messianic Bible Prophecies

James M. Arlandson

Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah was very important to our Lord Jesus Christ, so it should be to us, as well.

After he was resurrected bodily, he appeared to many disciples. Two of them were walking down a road that led to a village called Emmaus. They recounted the recent events and their disappointment that Jesus had not redeemed Israel. But they were amazed that several of the disciples said that the tomb was empty and that Jesus had appeared to some of them. It was a surprise when a seeming stranger joined them in their journey. He asked them what they were talking about. They told him about their disappointment that Jesus was not everything that they had hoped for. Then Jesus (the seeming stranger) revealed himself to them and rebuked them for not figuring out that these things must be fulfilled.

He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter glory?" (Luke 24:25-26)

This is the key verse from Luke’s narrative:

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (verse 27)

It is quite possible that Jesus discussed at least some of these verses listed in the Table, below.

Purposes of Bible prophecy

Bible prophecy serves at least four straightforward purposes.

First, it confirms the plan of salvation for humanity. God unfolds the overarching plan in partial form in the Old Testament. But he reveals it in its fullest expression in the New Testament. As we move from the Old to the New, the key is to find salvation in Christ.

Second, Messianic prophecies demonstrate for us that we can put our faith and trust in the Lord. God speaks hundreds of years before the events are brought about. He orchestrates circumstances and fulfills them with great precision, as history progresses. We can therefore be confident that he has a master plan for world history. When we hear reports about disasters, our faith does not have to be shaken.

Third, not only does God have a plan for the world, he also has one for our life. He is in control, thankfully!

Fourth, Jesus Christ fulfills the Old Testament. We no longer live under the Old Law but under the law of Christ, which is the law of freedom and the law of the Spirit.

For more analysis on how Christ fulfills the Old Testament, please go here.

To find out how Christians benefit from the Old Testament, please go to this article.

For more information on how to interpret Bible prophecy and how the New Testament authors use the Old Testament in this area, please go directly to the Interpretive Guidelines, below the Table.

This Table cites prophecies that follow Jesus from his birth and infancy, to his death, resurrection, and ascension—and his reign in heaven.

Jesus in Messianic Prophecies

Birth and Infancy

Old Testament

Topic

New Testament

Gen. 3:15 "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

There is enmity between Eve’s offspring and the serpent

Heb. 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

1 John 3:8 . . . The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

Is. 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

He is born of a Virgin

Mt. 1:22-23 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us." (Lk. 1:26-35)

Mic. 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel.

He is the Ruler born in Bethlehem

Mt. 2:1, 6 . . . Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea . . . 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

Lk. 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Jn. 7:42 "Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?"

Is. 7:14 The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

He is God with us in his incarnation

Mt. 1:23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

Is. 9:6-7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. (2 Sam. 7:16)

He is the Son of David

Lk. 1:32-33 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Jn. 7:42 "Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" (Rom. 1:3; Rev. 22:16)

2 Sam. 7:11-13 The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you . . . "I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come out of your body, and I will establish his kingdom . . . I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever."

He is the Offspring of David’s Seed

Rom. 1:2, 3 The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son who as to human nature was a descendant of David . . .

Lk. 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Mic. 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." [or from days of eternity]

He is the eternal Ruler

Lk. 1:32-33 "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Is. 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He is the Mighty God

Jn. 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Is. 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. (Mic. 5:5)

He is the Prince of Peace

Jn. 14:27; 16:33 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. "

Jn. 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (Eph. 2:14-17)

Hos. 11:1 And out of Egypt I called my son.

Jesus is returned from Egypt

Mt. 2:14-15 So [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Jer. 31:15 This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."

Rachel weeps for her children

Mt. 2:16-18 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

Is. 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

He is anointed with the Spirit of the Lord

Mt. 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized . . . At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. (Lk. 3:21-22)

Gen. 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

He is the Ruler from Judah

Mt. 2:6 "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" (Heb. 7:14; Rev 5:5)

Ps. 8:5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

He is incarnated as a man, lower than angels

Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Is. 11:10 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

He is the Root of Jesse who rules Gentiles

Lk. 3:31-32 son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse; Rom. 15:12 And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him."

Is. 60:1, 3 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you . . . Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn."

Gentiles come to the Messiah

Mt. 2:11 On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (Rom. 15:8-12)

Gen. 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 18:18, 22:18, 26:4)

All nations are blessed through Abraham and ultimately in Christ

Mt. 1:1 Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Gal. 3:8 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Ac. 3:25-26)

Life and Ministry

Old Testament

Topic

New Testament

Is. 9:1-2 In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

People in Galilee see a great Light

Mt. 4:13-16 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

Is. 40:3 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God."

John the Baptist is the voice in the wilderness who prepares the way of the Lord

Mt. 3:3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (Mk. 1:3; Lk.4-6; Jn. 1:23)

Mal. 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

John the Baptist is the messenger

Mt. 11:7-10; . . . Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Mk. 1:2-4; Lk. 7:24-27)

Mal. 4:5-6 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers."

John the Baptist comes in the spirit of Elijah

Mt. 17:11-13 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished". . . . Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. (Mt. 11:14 17:11-13; Mk. 9:11-13; Lk. 1:16-17)

Is. 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor.

The Spirit of the Lord anoints Jesus for ministry

Lk. 4:17-21 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Mt. 4:17, 11:5; Mk. 2:2; Lk. 8:1)

Ps. 2:2 . . . His Anointed One

Dan. 9:25 The Anointed One, the ruler, comes . . .

He is the Christ, the Anointed One

Mt. 16:16 Simon Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Ps. 40:6-8 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced [or opened]; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, "Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

Jesus comes down from heaven to do God’s will

Heb. 10:5-9 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, O God.' "First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second.

Jn. 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me."

Is. 53:9 He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

He is sinless

Jn. 8:46 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" (Heb. 4:15; 1 Pe. 22:22; 1 Jn. 3:5)

1 Chron. 17:13-14 "I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' "

Ps. 2:7 I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father."

He is God’s Son

Mt. 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Mt. 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Mk. 1:11, 9:7; Lk. 3:22, 9:35; Ac. 13:33; Heb. 1:5)

Is. 35:5-6 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.

He heals blindness and deafness and other ailments

Mt. 11:4-5 Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor." (Mt. 10:8; Lk. 7:22)

Jer. 50:6 My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray.

He ministers to the Jews

Mt. 10:6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

Is. 42:6 I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles.

Is. 49:6 I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

He is the Light to Gentiles

Lk. 2:32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles.

Ac. 13:47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

Am. 9:11-12 "In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name," declares the LORD, who will do these things. [or so that the remnant of men and all the nations that bear my name may seek the Lord]

Gentiles believe in him

Ac. 15:13-18 When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: "'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things.’"

Is. 53:4-5 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows . . . and by his wounds we are healed.

God’s Servant has a healing ministry

Mt. 8:16-17 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." (Mk. 1:32-34; Lk. 4:40-41; 1 Pe. 2:24)

Is. 42:1-4 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice. He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."

 

He is the Servant of the Lord

Mt. 12:15-21 Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope."

Ps. 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

He is the Lord of David

Mt. 22:41-45 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied. He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, "’The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?" (Mk. 12:35-37; Lk. 20:41-44)

Is. 65:1 "I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'"

Gentiles find the Lord

Rom. 10:20 And Isaiah boldly says, "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me."

Ex. 16:4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you."

He is the Bread of heaven

Jn. 6:31-33 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

Mic. 5:4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. (Ezek. 37:24-25)

He is the good Shepherd

Jn. 10:11, 14-15 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" . . . "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep." (Heb. 13:20; 1 Pe. 5:4)

Ps. 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.

He establishes brothers

Heb. 2:12 He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises."

Dt. 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

He is the Prophet from God

Jn. 6:14 After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."

Ac. 3:22 For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.’ (Ac. 7:37)

Is. 53:1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

Who has believed his report?

Jn. 12:38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

Mic. 7:6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man's enemies are the members of his own household.

Following Jesus may divide a household

Mt. 10:35-36 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'"

Ps. 78:2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old. [LXX can read, "from the beginning"]

He teaches in parables

Mt. 13:34-35 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:  "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world." [the Greek NT can read, "from the foundation or beginning"]

Is. 6:9-10 He said, "Go and tell this people": 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."

People hear and see without understanding

Mt. 13:13-15 This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah": 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' (Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:4-10; Jn. 12:37-41)

Is. 28:16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed."

He is the Cornerstone and Foundation

1 Pe. 2:6-7 For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious."

Triumph and Betrayal

Old Testament

Topic

New Testament

Is. 59:20-21 "The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins."

He is the Deliverer from Zion

Lk. 19:28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. (Rom. 11:26)

Zech. 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

He is the humble King riding into Jerusalem on a donkey

Mt. 21:1-5 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" (Mk. 11:1-10; Lk. 19:28-38; Jn. 12:12-16)

Ps. 118:26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. 

He comes in the name of the Lord

Mt. 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!"  "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" (Mk. 11:9; Lk. 19:38; Jn. 12:13)

Ps. 8:2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.

He receives children’s praise

Mt. 21:16 "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"

Ps. 69:9 For zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.

He has zeal for God’s house

Jn. 2:17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Is. 56:7 "For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."

Jer. 7:11 "Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching!" declares the LORD.

 

His is a house of prayer, not a den of robbers

Mt. 21:12-13 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

Is. 8:14 He will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.

He is the Stone that people stumble over

Lk. 20:18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces.

Ps. 118:22-23 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

He is the rejected Cornerstone

Mt. 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’"? (Mk. 12:10-11; Lk. 20:17; Ac. 4:10-11; 1 Pe. 2:7-8)

Ps. 35:19 Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. (Ps. 69:14)

He is hated without a cause

Jn. 15:25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'

Is. 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men . . . Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

He is rejected

Jn. 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Is. 65:2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.

Israel rejects him

Mt. 21:43 "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [chief priests and elders] and given to a people who will produce its fruit."

Rom. 10:21 But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."

Ps. 41:9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

He is betrayed by a friend

Jn. 13:18 "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'"

Zech. 11:12 So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

He is betrayed for thirty pieces of silver

Mt. 26:15 So they counted out for [Judas] thirty pieces of silver.

Death and Resurrection

Old Testament

Topic

New Testament

Jer. 31:31-34 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Jer. 33:16)

He establishes the New Covenant

Heb 8:8-12 But God found fault with the people and said: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Lk. 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25; Heb 10:15-18)

Is. 55:3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. (Ezek. 37:26)

He establishes the Covenant, which is everlasting

Lk. 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

Ex. 24:8 Moses . . . said, "This is the blood of the covenant."

He shed his blood of the Covenant

Mt. 26:28 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (cf. Heb. 9:11-28)

Lev. 16:15-17 "He [Aaron the high priest] shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

He is the atoning Sacrifice of Blood

Rom. 3:25 God presented him [Jesus] as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. (Heb. 9:11-28; 1 Jn. 2:2)

Is. 53:6-7 The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all . . . He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

He is the suffering Lamb of God

Jn. 1:29 Look, the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Is. 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

He does not defend himself at his trial

Mt. 27:12, 14 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer . . . But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge (1 Pe. 2:23)

Zech. 13:7 Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

The Shepherd is struck, so the sheep scatter

Mt. 26:31-32 Then Jesus said to [his disciples], "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." (Mt. 26:56; Mk. 14:27)

Is. 50:6 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.

Is. 52:14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of a man and his form marred beyond human likeness.

Mic. 5:1 They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.

He is mocked, beaten beyond recognition, and spit on

Mk. 15:15, 19-20 Pilate . . . had Jesus flogged . . . Again and again the soldiers struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him . . . they mocked him. (Mt. 27:29-30; Lk. 22:63-65; Jn. 19:1-3)

Nu. 21:8-9 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

He is lifted up and he is the Life

Jn. 3:14-15 "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

Is. 53:12 He poured out his life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors . . .

He is numbered with transgressors

Lk. 23:32-33 Two other men, both criminals, also were led out to be executed . . . they crucified [Jesus] along with criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

Luke 22:37 . . . For it is written: "And he was numbered with the transgressors; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching fulfillment."

Is. 53:12 . . . He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.

He intercedes for transgressors

Lk. 23:32, 42-43 Two other men, both criminals, were led out with him to be executed . . . [A criminal] said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Heb. 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Ps. 22:18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

They divide and cast lost for his garments

Jn. 19:23-24 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them . . . with the undergarment remaining . . . They said . . . "Let’s decide by lot who will get it."

Ps. 22:16 They have pierced my hands and my feet

His hands and feet are pierced

Jn. 20:25, 27 But [Thomas] said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my fingers where the nails were, I will not believe it." Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side."

Zech 12:10 They will look on me, the one they pierced.

They look on the one they pierce

Jn. 19:34, 37 One of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side . . . They will look on the one they pierced.

Ps 22:7-8 All who see me mock me and hurl insults, shaking their heads.

He is mocked by the crowd

Mt. 27:39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads.

Ps. 69:21 They . . . gave me vinegar for my thirst.

He drinks vinegar for his thirst

Jn. 19:28-29 Later, knowing that all Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a hyssop plant, and lifted it up to Jesus’ lips.

Nu. 9:12 They must not leave any of [the lamb] until morning or break any of its bones. (Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20)

He suffers no broken bones

Jn. 19:36 These things happened so that Scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken."

Ps. 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

He is forsaken as the sins of the world are taken on himself

Mt. 27:46 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk. 15:34)

Ps. 31:5 Into your hands I commit my spirit.

He commits his spirit to his Father

Lk. 23:46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

Ps. 16:9-10 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

He is not abandoned to decay and death

Ac 2:29-33 "Seeing what was ahead, [David] spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.

Lk. 24:5-8 But the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again." Then they remembered his words. (Ac. 13:34-37; Eph. 1:22)

Jonah 1:17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. (Hos. 6:2)

He is dead three days and three nights

Mt. 12:39-40 He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Lk. 11:29-32; Jn. 2:19, 21)

Ascension and Reign

Ps. 68:18 When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train. You received gifts from men, even from [for] the rebellious— that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.

He ascends into heaven

Lk. 24:50-51 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Eph. 4:7-10 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

Ps. 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

His enemies are made his footstool

Mt. 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."

Ac. 2:33-35 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."' (Lk. 20:41-44; 1 Cor. 15:25; Eph. 1:20-22; Heb. 1:13, 10:12-13)

Ps. 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.

All things are put under his feet

Mt. 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" . . .

Eph. 1:22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church (1 Cor. 15:27-28)

Is. 45:23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.

Every knee shall bow to him

Phil. 2:10 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Rom. 14:11)

Ps. 2:9 "You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery."

He rules with a rod of iron

Rev. 2:27 'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery.'

Is. 22:22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

He holds the key of David

Rev. 3:7 These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

Dan. 7:27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.

He reigns over an everlasting kingdom

Rev. 11:15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

Gen. 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

He belongs to the Priesthood of Melchizedek

Heb. 5:6 And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Heb. 7:1-28)

Nu. 24:17 "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.

He is the Star of Jacob

Rev. 22:16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."

Is. 44:6; 48:12 I am the first and the last.

He is the First and the Last

Rev. 22:13 "I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last."

Ps. 45:6-7 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.

He reigns over an eternal kingdom

Heb. 1:8-9 But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."

Ps. 102:25-27 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

He is eternal

Heb. 1:10-12 He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end."

Interpretive guidelines

Bible prophecy is remarkably precise, for predictions are made hundreds of years before they are fulfilled in detail. But it is not a mathematical science. We are dealing with important words and concepts rooted in language, which is somewhat fluid to begin with, though within limits. (Anyone who has translated languages understands this "play" within limits.) Biblical authors—who were human—communicated the concepts and words under the inspiration of the Spirit. But we are not dealing with "two plus two (always) equals four" without variation. This means that in analyzing this rich area of Bible prophecy, we need some guidelines as to how the New Testament authors use the Old Testament.

(1) Basic Christian doctrine of inspiration teaches that God’s Spirit inspired the authors while writing Scripture, but the doctrine also says that the authors were not machines. To use the language of today, they were not computer androids. They still had their minds intact. They had some personal freedom in conveying divine truths. They did research. Luke, for example, says that he thoroughly investigated other accounts of Jesus’ life (Luke 1:1-4). This means that the inspired New Testament authors were free to incorporate or exclude facts and events; they could paraphrase or abbreviate passages from the Old Testament.

(2) The Old Testament, according to how Jesus and the New Testament authors use it, has sometimes one or two or even three fulfillments, depending on the verse in the Old Testament that begins the process.

First, a verse in the Old Testament usually signifies and refers to a definitive event or person for the original prophet and his audience, hundreds of years before the New Testament. We must respect this original meaning and historical context.

Second, it is clear from Jesus himself and the New Testament authors that many of the Old Testament prophecies have a long-range meaning that may have escaped the clear knowledge of the original prophet or messenger who wrote them down. He may have had only a vague idea about the distant fulfillment.

An example of these two points is Psalm 22, which verbally embodies the anguished cry of King David as a godly sufferer from undeserved, prolonged, and vicious attacks. Evidently, he may have had a vague idea (cf. 1 Peter 1:10-12) that many of his words would refer to some ultimate fulfillment. Whatever David’s exact knowledge, Jesus is, after all, the most righteous and suffering man in the Biblical tradition. Thus, Matthew and John, under inspiration of the Spirit, refer to this psalm when Jesus is on the Cross.

The third fulfillment says that the Old Testament expands beyond its immediate context and further afield, possibly to the whole world. An example is the prediction in Genesis 12:3, which says that in Abraham all nations will be blessed (see also Genesis 18:18, 22:18, and 26:4). Abraham’s offspring is a blessing to humanity, for Hebrew prophets have carried the word of God to humanity, to cite only this example from the Old Testament. Then, Jesus himself is the larger and all-encompassing (and second) fulfillment of this promise since as the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1), he brings the fullest blessing of salvation (cf. Acts 3:25-26). The third fulfillment, according to the inspired Apostle Paul, flows out of the second. We who are not physical descendants of Abraham and who believe in Christ are blessed in the original promise to Abraham. "So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith" (Galatians 3:9). The church carries on the blessing beyond the Jews, to the whole world. Thus, the fulfillment flows along this line: (1) the original promise to the Old Testament patriarch, and this is still being fulfilled in the Jews; (2) the ultimate fulfillment in Christ, a physical descendant of Abraham, who brings us the fullest expression of the promised blessing; and (3) the church, which is made up of spiritual descendants (mostly Gentiles) who go well beyond the original promise that the physical offspring (Hebrews) of Abraham would be a blessing to the nations.

Thus, there is a certain fluidity in the interaction between various prophecies and their fulfillments in the Bible. A student of this sacred text learns how to interpret prophecies, as he compares verses with other verses. They may have multiple applications from the Old Testament to the New and even within each Testament. Consulting commentaries that respect the Bible is a good way to sort out this three-stage interpretation. I recommend the New International Version (NIV) Study Bible.

(3) Often the New Testament authors cite from the Septuagint or the Greek translation of the Old Testament, done in the third century BC. This translation is abbreviated as LXX or seventy, named after a tradition that seventy-two Jewish scholars worked on the translation. Citing this translation explains some minor variations in wording and phrasing, from the Hebrew Bible through the Septuagint to the Greek New Testament. But the essential message is the same (see no. 7, below)

(4) Jesus and the New Testament authors were inspired to abbreviate some passages. Two interrelated passages serve as an example: Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19. They predict and fulfill the Servant who receives the Spirit of God. Luke omits some clauses. Significantly, Isaiah says that the Anointed Servant proclaims not only "the year of the Lord’s favor," but also "the day of vengeance of God." Jesus stops at the phrase "the year of the Lord’s favor." He himself is not called to execute directly and physically divine vengeance until the Last Day.

(5) The New Testament authors do not always directly quote the Old Testament, but instead they reference a deed or word of Jesus as illustrating or fulfilling the Old Testament. For example, 1 Chronicles 17:13-14 speaks of God’s Son whose throne will be established forever. The word "forever" lifts the meaning well beyond a strictly physical descendant of David. The Four Gospel writers, for instance, everywhere explain and proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God, but they do not directly quote 1 Chronicles 17:13-14 (but see Hebrews 1:5). It is the reality behind the words that are important, not just the words on the page.

(6) The New Testament authors or speakers may paraphrase a passage in the Old Testament. This can be seen in a three-way comparison of the passages that speak of the Prophet whom God would raise up and who would be like Moses: Deuteronomy 18:18-19, Acts 3:22-23, and Acts 7:37 (see "Life and Ministry," and "He is the Prophet from God").

(7) The New Testament authors may use synonyms. The original languages of the Bible are classical Hebrew (and a little Aramaic) and common Greek of the first century. As noted, the authors of the New Testament used the Septuagint. The Bible is then translated into English (or another modern language). Translators must make choices. They may choose a word that falls within a semantic range (e.g. transgressors, lawless, rebels), but it does not match up exactly with another verse. For example, Isaiah 53:12 says that the Anointed Suffering Servant will be numbered with "transgressors." The Hebrew word is pasha‘. This means "to rebel, revolt; or transgressor, rebel, sin, sinner." Next, the Greek of the Septuagint uses anomos, literally "lawless," but it can mean "lawbreakers" or "transgressors." Then Luke 22:37 quotes Isaiah 53:12 and the same Greek word anomos. Finally, however, when Jesus was actually numbered with transgressors, Luke uses kakourgos, literally "evildoer," but it can mean "criminal." Note the semantic range that the translators into English could employ. However, the essential meaning is the same in all languages. (It is not as if a translation uses "good guys.") We should not demand verbal exactitude when the inspired Biblical authors had (limited) freedom of word choice.

Another example: Psalm 78:2 says that the prophet will speak in parables and utter hidden things "from of old." The Hebrew says qedem with min can mean "eternal, everlasting, forever, long ago, old, past." The Septuagint uses the Greek phrase "ap’ archÍs" or "from the beginning." The word "archÍ" is also used in Genesis 1:1 ("In the beginning God created"). Matthew 13:35 quotes Psalm 78:2 and uses the Greek words "apo katabolÍs" or "from the foundation or creation (of the world)" or "from the beginning." It is only natural that Matthew would use such a synonym that means "foundation" or "beginning." According to the rest of Psalm 78, God deals with and provides the foundation for his people, from the beginning.

The next points are the most important.

(8) In all these variations in wording and phrasing, nothing substantive is lost as we go from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The central ideas, concepts, and actions are still intact. They are threaded through the Bible from Genesis to the Revelation. For instance, when God says that he will establish the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34), Jesus actually does this (Luke 22:20; cf. Hebrews 8:8-12). In both Jeremiah and Luke, the concept and term "covenant" is intact, as Jesus fulfills the prophecy by his actions during the Last Supper.

(9) The most important aspect of Bible prophecy is the reality behind the words on the page. Though the Bible is highly accurate and reliable, anyone who gets caught up in verbal exactitude misses a blessing. These events actually happened, whether the New Testament author abbreviates or paraphrases or chooses a synonym. For example, Jesus really was born of a virgin. He really was the Son of David. He really was anointed with God’s Spirit to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to recover sight for the blind, and to proclaim release for prisoners and the year of the Lord’s favor. He really is the Son of God. He really did have a healing ministry, which included raising the dead. He really made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He really was betrayed. He really was crucified as the Scriptures predicted. He really was resurrected. He really ascended into heaven, where he now reigns.

All these events the Scriptures predicted hundreds of years before they happened, and Jesus fulfilled them—in reality behind the words on the page.

This article analyzes the claim that Muhammad is mentioned or predicted in the Bible. It also has a shorter Table, which is taken from the one here.

References:

The Table in this article is adapted from Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson (eds.), The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, pp. 219-223, Harvest House, 2004.

Herbert Lockyer, All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible, Zondervan, 1973.


Copyright by James Malcolm Arlandson.

Articles by James Arlandson
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