Chapter 1: Christianity's Solid Foundation - Fourth: The Messianic Proof
FOURTH: THE MESSIANIC PROOF
I mean by that the testimony of the Bible concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and the corroboration of the Old Testament by Jesus Christ. No corroboration is as compelling as that of Jesus Christ. He spoke clearly about the inspiration of the Old Testament. In Matthew 22:41-49, He mentioned the words of David in Psalm 110:1 as pronounced by the Holy Spirit. He confirmed the authenticity of the Book of Daniel in Matthew 24:15. He used the words of Deuteronomy 8:3 when He was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-4). He said to the Jews:
Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are which testify of Me. Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you - Moses, in whom you trust.
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me (John 5:39,45,46).
In Deuteronomy Moses wrote about Jesus, not Muhammad, as some Muslim scholars claim. Here is the prophecy of Moses:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear... And the LORD said to me...I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him (Deuteronomy 18:15,17,18).
This prophecy is absolutely about Jesus, not Muhammad, for the following reasons:
(a) The promised prophet must be raised up for the Jews, not for the Arabs.
(b) The promised prophet must be from the midst of Israel.
(c) The promised prophet must be from among their brethren, not a foreigner. God commanded the Jewish people concerning choosing a king, saying,
When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me, you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother (Deuteronomy 17:14,15 - NKJ).
The conditions for choosing a king must be applied to the coming prophet.
(d) The promised prophet must be like Moses.
The only one who was like Moses is Jesus.
- Moses was rescued from drowning in his childhood by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:6-10). Jesus was rescued from death in His childhood by going to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).
- Moses "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds" (Acts 7:22). Muhammad was illiterate (Surat Al-Araf 7:157). We read concerning Jesus, "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
- Moses was a miracle worker. Muhammad did not perform one miracle. Jesus performed many miracles:
- Moses was an Israelite, Muhammad was an Arab, Jesus was an Israelite.
- Jesus testified that Moses wrote about him (John 5:45,46); Peter declared that the prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 was concerning Jesus; Stephen declared that Moses’ prophecy was about Jesus (Acts 7:37). I will mention only the words of the apostle Peter:
And many other signs [miracles] truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30,31).
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you... Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities (Acts 3:22,26).
By these words, the case is closed; any claim that Muhammad is the prophet like Moses is invalid.
Now, we come to the prophecies which were recorded by the Old Testament prophets concerning Jesus Christ. These accurate prophecies challenge the mind and lead any sincere truth seeker to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Last Messenger of God, and the Savior of those who believe in Him.
All the details of Jesus’ incarnated life from His birth to His crucifixion, to His ascension, to His second coming, were foretold in a great number of prophecies in the Old Testament, hundreds of years before His birth.
I will mention a few of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus Christ.
1. His virgin birth was foretold in Isaiah 7:14.
Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.
Matthew recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy in the following words:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:18-23).
2. His place of birth was foretold in Micah 5:2.
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 going forth have been from old, from everlasting.
Note that the one who is to be born in Bethlehem is "Everlasting." His birth is not his beginning. He was with the Father from eternity. He is also to be ruler in Israel, and that part of this prophecy shall be fulfilled when He comes again.
Moreover, there were two villages named "Bethlehem," one was allotted to the children of Zebulun:
The third lot came out for the children of Zebulun... Included were Kattah, Nahallal.. and Bethlehem (Joshua 19:10,15).
This Bethlehem is situated six miles west of Nazareth.
The other Bethlehem is situated six miles south of Jerusalem, and is called Bethlehem of Ephratah and it was on the borders of Judah, thus it was called Bethlehem of Judaea. The prophecy of the prophet Micah was so accurate that it mentioned Bethlehem Ephratah or Judaea.
Matthew recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:1-2).
3. His death by crucifixion was foretold in Psalm 22:16.
In Psalm 22:16 King David said,
They pierced my hands and my feet.
Here we must note that King David died a dignified death on his bed in his palace, but the One who died on the cross and whose hands and feet were pierced was Jesus Christ.
The apostle John, who was a witness to the whole drama of the crucifixion, said:
Then (Pilate the governor) delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst (John 19:16-18).
4. His sufferings and His place of burial were foretold in Isaiah 53.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah described His sufferings in these graphic words:
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But 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. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from Judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall proper in His hand. He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:1-12 - NKJ).
In that chapter Isaiah prophesied about His place of burial:
And they made His grave with the wicked - but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth (Isaiah 53:9 -NKJ)
It is of great interest to see how this prophecy was fulfilled.
According to Roman law Jesus was to be buried with the wicked as a crucified criminal, but God fulfilled his word and that is what Matthew says:
Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed (Matthew 27:57-60 - NKJ).
5. His resurrection was foretold in Psalm 16:9,10.
King David recorded:Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:9,10 - NKJ).
On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter applied this prophecy to the resurrection of Jesus, when he said to the Jews:
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth... Him being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: "I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope, because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in your presence." Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on His throne, he foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses (Acts 2:22-32 - NKJV).
6. His ascension was foretold in Psalm 68:18)
King David recorded in Psalm 69:18:
Thou hast ascended on high...
Luke recorded the fulfillment of that prophecy saying:
And He (Jesus) led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven (Luke 24:50,51).
The Quran also mentioned the ascension of Jesus in Surat
When Allah said: O Jesus! Lo I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the day of resurrection (Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall - English translation of the Quran).
We have to remember that the Quran declares that Jesus ascended to God Himself.
After His resurrection Jesus met with His disciples and said to them:
These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. And He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day (Luke 24:44-46 - NKJ).
Jesus Christ put His stamp of authenticity on the books of the Old Testament, when He showed His disciples what Moses, the prophets and the writers of the Psalms wrote concerning Him: He showed them that His crucifixion was a "must," and that His resurrection is the evidence of His deity, as we read in the letter to the Romans:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:1-4).
7. His second coming was foretold in Zechariah:
...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)
... and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee (Zechariah 14:5)
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives...(Zechariah 14:4).
This Messianic proof is a very solid proof of the authenticity of the Bible. No wild imagination can write these prophecies and fulfill them. These prophecies were God-inspired.