Hundreds and even thousands of years BEFORE Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Old Testament Prophets predicted His coming. Their predictions were not just general ones that "a Messiah, a Saviour, will come" etc., but SPECIFIC prophecies about places, times and events that have been fulfilled in only ONE person who has ever lived--JESUS of Nazareth! In this brief lesson we have chronologically arranged several of the most outstanding Old Testament Messianic prophecies in the actual verbatim text of the Scriptures and followed them with their New Testament fulfillments.
PROPHECY: Nearly 750 years before Christ's birth, the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah prophesied: "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.
FULFILLMENT: In exact FULFILLMENT of this prophecy, Mary was a young VIRGIN engaged to be married to Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her saying that she would bear a child. "Then Mary said to the Angel, `How shall this be, seeing I have not laid with a man?' And the Angel answered, `The HOLY GHOST shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you! Therefore that holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the SON of GOD."--Luke 1:26-35. (Immanuel means "God with us", and for those of us who have received Jesus into our hearts, that's Who He IS: God is WITH us!)
PROPHECY: "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. (Prophecy given 740 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: This shows that the ancient Jews, unlike most modern ones, believed that God had a SON--Who was to be born in the flesh and Whom the prophecy said was to be called "The Mighty GOD".
PROPHECY: Micah, prophesying in the eighth century B.C., predicted the exact village where the Messiah would be born: "You, BETHLEHEM, though you are small among the clans of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be RULER over ISRAEL; Whose existence has been of old, from EVERLASTING."--Micah 5:2. (Prophecy given 710 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: The Gospel says "Jesus was born in BETHLEHEM of JUDEA."--Matthew 2:1. Although the Jews knew that their Messiah was to be born there (Matthew 2:4-6), they didn't, as a nation, accept Jesus as their ruler. Nonetheless, the prophecy says that He "IS to BE ruler". This takes place spiritually now for those who voluntarily accept His Messiahship, and will SOON take place LITERALLY by FORCE at His Second Coming!
Jesus' existence, as the prophecy says, "has been of OLD, from EVERLASTING". Jesus said, "Before Abraham was (around 2,000 B.C.), I AM."--John 8:58. He was here referring to Himself as the eternal God Who revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush as: "I AM THAT I AM"(Exodus 3:14), the eternal Son of God! (See also John 1:13,14.)
PROPHECY: The Prophet Zechariah commanded the people by the Spirit of the Lord to: "REJOICE GREATLY, O daughter of Zion! SHOUT, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your KING comes unto you: RIGHTEOUS, and having SALVATION; meek, and riding upon a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey."--Zechariah 9:9. (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: Five days before His crucifixion, as Jesus neared Jerusalem, He told His disciples, "Go into the village ahead of you, and at once you shall find a donkey tied there, and her colt with her: Untie them, and bring them to Me. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the donkey and the colt...and Jesus sat on them...and the multitudes that went ahead, and those that followed, SHOUTED, saying, `Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!'"--Matthew 21:2-10.
Imagine!--The King of kings, God in the flesh, came riding into Jerusalem, meekly sitting on the lowly colt of a donkey, just as God's Prophet, Zechariah, had predicted over 500 years earlier!--And not only did JESUS fulfil this part of the prophecy, but the MULTITUDES of Jerusalem who "REJOICED GREATLY" and "SHOUTED" praises to Him as He entered the city were further proof that indeed, Jesus of Nazareth was "the KING" of whom Zechariah had prophesied!
PROPHECY: Again Zechariah predicts: "And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my PRICE; and if not, keep it. So they paid me THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER."--Zechariah 11:12. (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said to them, 'What will you give me, if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out for him THIRTY pieces of SILVER."--Matthew 26:14, 15.
PROPHECY: "And the Lord said unto me, `Cast it unto the POTTER!--The handsome price at which they priced Me!' And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and CAST them to the POTTER in the HOUSE of the LORD."--Zechariah 11:13. (Prophecy given 487 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: "Then Judas, which had betrayed Him (Jesus), when he saw that He was condemned, repented, and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders...And he CAST DOWN the pieces of silver in the TEMPLE, and went away and hanged himself. And the chief priests picked up the silver pieces, and said, It is against the law to put this into the treasury, because it is the price paid for blood. So they decided to use the money to buy the POTTER'S Field, to bury foreigners in."--Matthew 27:3-6. The thirty pieces of silver WERE literally "CAST to the POTTER...IN the house of the Lord"!
PROPHECY: "By arrest and judgement He was taken away: And who shall speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living: For the transgression of my people was He stricken."--Isaiah 53:8. (Prophecy given 712 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: Jesus was ARRESTED by the soldiers of the High Priest.--Matthew 26:57. After judging Him in their religious court and condemning Him to death, they bound Him and handed Him over to Pilate, the Roman Governor.--Matthew 27:1-2. "While Pilate was sitting in judgement...the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd...to have Jesus executed."--Matthew 27:19-20. "Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified."--John 19:16.
Pilate himself knew that Jesus was INNOCENT and had done nothing worthy of death, and that the Jewish religious leaders only wanted Jesus executed because of their religious jealousy, yet the religious leaders used their political leverage to force Pilate to have Him crucified anyway.--John 18:28-40;19:1-16; Luke 23:13-25; Matthew 27:18.
PROPHECY: Around 1,000 B.C., King David prophesied: "Dogs have surrounded Me: A band of wicked men have encircled Me: They PIERCED My HANDS and My FEET. I can count all My bones. People stare and gloat over Me. They DIVIDE MY GARMENTS among them, and CAST LOTS upon My CLOTHING."--Psalm 22:16-18. (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.) (See also Zechariah 12:10;13:6.)
FULFILLMENT: That was written by King David, who died a natural death (recorded in 1Kings Chapter 1), so he wasn't talking about himself. But being a Prophet, he predicted the type of death that CHRIST would die! As it says in the New Testament, "then the soldiers, when they had CRUCIFIED Jesus (pierced hands AND feet), took His GARMENTS, and divided them into four parts, a part to every soldier; His undergarment remained. Now this garment was without seam, woven in one piece from top to bottom. They said therefore to one another, Let us not tear it, but let us cast LOTS for it, to see whose it shall be."--John 19:23,24.
Crucifixion, incidentally, was not practiced by the Jews of David's time. (They killed criminals by STONING!)--But David PREDICTED this type of death for the MESSIAH--a method of execution that was to become one of the principal means of execution by the Roman Empire ten centuries later!
PROPHECY: Here is another prophecy by David regarding "The Righteous", or the Messiah: "Many are the afflictions of The Righteous, but...He (God) keeps ALL His BONES: Not one of them is broken."--Psalm 34:19-20. (Prophecy given about 1,000 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: MANY of God's righteous servants have had their bones broken, especially in their martyrdom--But Jesus was "THE righteous", "My righteous Servant", as God called Him, Who through His death would "justify many" or make them righteous.--Isaiah 53:11-12. And to PROVE that He was "THE Righteous" Who would "justify many", God didn't let ANY of His bones be broken!
Jesus was crucified on the eve of the feastday of the Passover. To ensure that the bodies of the two thieves and Jesus wouldn't be hanging there on the cross during the Jews' holy day (death by crucifixion sometimes took days), they BROKE the LEGS of the thieves, causing their bodies to sag, cutting off their respiration and bringing a quick death. "But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they did NOT break His legs."--John 19:31-33.
Jesus was "the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the World" (John 1:29), and was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, a religious festival when all the Jewish households killed a lamb as a sacrificial sin offering. Right at that SAME time, Jesus, "THE Lamb of God", died for the sins of Mankind. The Lord had commanded that NONE of the Passover lamb's BONES were to be BROKEN (Exodus 12:46), and Jesus' death fulfilled this specific point also!
PROPHECY: "And He was given a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death."--Isaiah 53:9.
FULFILLMENT: In the eyes of His bitter religious enemies, Jesus was a criminal, a WICKED man, and as He died, there were "two ROBBERS crucified WITH Him".--Matthew 27:38. After His death, "a RICH man...named Joseph...went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of Jesus. And when Joseph had taken the body, he...laid it in his own new tomb"--A GRAVE with the RICH!!!--Matthew 27:57-60.
PROPHECY: "For You will not leave My soul in hell (the grave, death); neither will You allow Your Holy One to see CORRUPTION (decay)."--Psalm 16:10. (Prophecy given around 1,000 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: King David, who gave the prophecy, died and was buried in a grave and his flesh saw corruption and decay. But Jesus was RAISED from the grave and hell THREE days AFTER His death, and "His soul was not LEFT in hell (or in the grave), neither (did) His flesh see corruption (decay)."--Acts 2:27-31. As the Angel said to the mourners who came to Jesus' tomb, "He is not here, but is RISEN! Why do you seek the LIVING among the DEAD?"--Luke 24:6,5.
Jesus is ALIVE! The Scriptures show that He walked the Earth for 40 days after His Resurrection and was seen by HUNDREDS of followers!--Acts 1:3; 1Corinthians 15:4-6. He then ascended up to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the throne of God.-Mark 16:19.
PROPHECY: "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem until the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and 62 sevens (or a TOTAL of 69): The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after 62 sevens shall the MESSIAH be CUT OFF, but not for Himself."-Daniel 9:25,26. (Prophecy given 538 B.C.)
The city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed by the armies of Babylon when the Jews went into captivity and exile in 586 B.C. But 133 years later, in 453 B.C., Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of the Persian Empire, gave the Jews the commandment to go forth (from captivity into the land of Israel), "to restore and to build Jerusalem".
We know his decree was issued in 453 B.C., and that Jesus was "cut off" in 30 A.D. Therefore, if we add the 453 years B.C. to the 30 years A.D., it equals 483 YEARS. Let's see now if Daniel's specific time prophecy coincides with this:
The prophecy predicted that from the time of this decree until the death of the Messiah the Prince would be--HOW long?--"7 sevens plus 62 sevens"--or 69 SEVENS. 69 sevens would be 69 x 7, which equals 483. So Daniel predicted that 69 sevens of YEARS, or 483 YEARS, would pass between the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem and the "cutting off" of the Messiah.--And that's EXACTLY how many years DID pass between 453 B.C. and Jesus' death in 30 A.D.!--What an amazing EXACT FULFILLMENT of prophecy! And this astonishing prophecy was given in the year 538 B.C.--almost 600 years BEFORE Jesus the Messiah was crucified! It's also interesting to note that this 483-year period was divided into two periods: First a period of 7 sevens (49 years), then a period of 62 sevens (434 years). History reveals that it did take the Jews 49 YEARS from the time the decree was issued to "rebuild the walls and streets of Jerusalem". Once Jerusalem was rebuilt, it was exactly 434 years (62 sevens) later that Jesus the Messiah was crucified!
Daniel's prophecy continues with undeniable PROOF that this MESSIAH had to be JESUS:
PROPHECY: "At the end of 62 sevens shall the Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: AND the people of the RULER that SHALL COME shall DESTROY the CITY (of Jerusalem) and the SANCTUARY (the Jewish Temple)."--Daniel 9:26. In other words, ac cording to this prophecy, AFTER the Messiah's death, the city of Jerusalem AND the Jews' Temple would be DESTROYED! Was it? YES! Only 40 years later!
FULFILLMENT: After Jesus was cut off (or crucified in 30 A.D.), "not for Himself", but for the sins of the WORLD, do you know what happened to Jerusalem and to the Jews' Temple? In 70 A.D., the Roman legions of the Emperor Vespasian ("the people of the ruler"), under his son, General Titus, marched in and burnt Jerusalem to the ground and so utterly destroyed their Sanctuary that not one stone was left upon another!
Jesus Himself, in a set of amazingly detailed prophecies given 40 years before these catastrophic events, predicted EXACTLY what would happen! (See Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 19:42-44;21:20-24.)
PROPHECY: "Then he brought me back to the outer GATE of the SANCTUARY, the one facing toward the EAST; and it was SHUT. Then the Lord said unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and NO MAN shall enter in by it; because THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, HAS ENTERED IN BY IT, therefore it shall be SHUT."--Ezekiel 44:1,2. (Prophecy given 572 B.C.)
FULFILLMENT: When Jesus ("the Lord, the God of Israel") made His TRIUMPHAL ENTRY into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of an ass, He came from the Mt. of Olives and entered into Jerusalem's EAST Gate (Matthew 21:9-12), the gate which led into the TEMPLE COURTS, as it says here, "the OUTER gate of the SANCTUARY which faces toward the EAST."
In 70 A.D., the city of Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and it remained in ruins for centuries after. But in 542, the Moslem Sultan Sulieman rebuilt the walls of the city. Because the Jews who had rejected Jesus believed their Messiah was STILL to come and was YET to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Sulieman (who wanted to avoid the Jews rallying around a "Messiah" and rebelling) WALLED the "East Gate" completely SHUT, and thus unwittingly fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Ezekiel, "It shall be shut...because the Lord (Jesus), the God of Israel, HAS ENTERED in by it." And the East Gate REMAINS sealed shut until this very day!
Most Jews believe that the Messiah has not yet come, but according to these two FULFILLED HISTORICAL FACTS: 1) The destruction of Jerusalem, and 2) The walling up of the East Gate, the Messiah has ALREADY come!--And if it wasn't JESUS of NAZARETH, who WAS it?
WHO ELSE was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, was called God, rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on an ass, was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, was proclaimed innocent yet condemned unjustly to be crucified while soldiers parted His garments, was associated with the wicked in his death, was buried in a rich man's tomb and rose from the dead--all in FULFILLMENT of Messianic PROPHECY! The answer, of course, is NO one else but JESUS CHRIST!--And the prophecies that we have quoted here are only a FEW out of nearly 300 specific Old Testament proph ecies which Jesus fulfilled!
WHY did Jesus die on that cross?--Because He LOVED you! He loved you enough to take your punishment, to die and be separated from His Father for a while so that He could bring YOU the LOVE of God and ETERNAL LIFE! As another prophecy says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; each of us have turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. There was no deceit in His mouth, yet it was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer. HIS soul (Jesus') shall be made an offering for SIN, and by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant JUSTIFY (make righteous) many; and HE shall bear THEIR INIQUITIES!"--Isaiah 53:6,9-11. (Prophecy given 750 B.C.)
Jesus died for YOU!--And God gave all these prophecies and had them written down and preserved down through the centuries and millenniums so that your faith might be strengthened by them enough to BELIEVE that "God so LOVED the World, that He gave His only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life."--John 3:16. Do YOU?
God LOVES you and Jesus is just WAITING at your heart's door for you to open to Him. He says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If ANY man hear My voice, and OPEN the door, I WILL come in to him and WILL sup with him, and he with Me."--Revelation 3:20. Would YOU like to receive Jesus into your heart? If you would, sincerely pray from your heart this simple prayer: Dear Jesus, I know that I've done wrong things and I'm sorry. I believe that You died for my sins and I ask You to please come into my heart and forgive me.-And please help me to live for You and others by reading Your Word and telling others about Your Love!--In Jesus' name, amen.