Believe Become Belong

God's promise of Christ in the prophets

Has it occurred to you that the Old Testament is full of promises of Jesus Christ? The book was completed 400 years before Christ was born. This can now be proved by the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered between 1947 and 1956, having been preserved for centuries in ceramic jars hidden in caves. Jesus himself said to the Pharisees,

“Search the scriptures… for they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39)

and again in Luke 24:27,

“Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (read also verse 44)

In the confines of a small booklet it would be impossible to exhaust the references appropriate to this subject, but let us then ask a series of questions and let the Old Testament answer for itself.

THE OLD TESTAMENT LOOKS FORWARD

The message of Israel’s prophets was relevant to all ages. Though they foretold disaster and scattering for the Jews, they also spoke of hope. This hope was centred in the coming “Messiah” (the Hebrew word for “Christ”). The word means “anointed”, and all the prophets looked forward with enthusiasm to this coming Saviour. Now to the questions:-

1) OF WHICH NATION WILL CHRIST COME?

“The angel of the Lord called unto Abraham (he was the father of the Jewish nation)… By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord… thy seed (ie. Christ - see Galatians 3.16) shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:16-18).

2) IF HE WAS TO BE A JEW, WHERE WILL HE BE BORN?

“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”. (Micah 5:2 - this also tells us he will come from the tribe of Judah)

3) WHO WILL BE HIS MOTHER?

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 - his birth was a divine miracle)

4) WHO WILL BE HIS FATHER?

“The word of God came saying… I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (1 Chronicles 17:3,13 - see Hebrews 1.5)

5) WHAT KIND OF MAN WILL HE BE?

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold: mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1 - see also verses 6-7)

6) WILL THE JEWS THEN REJECT HIS MESSAGE?

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…he was despised and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3)

7) WILL THIS REJECTION INVOLVE VIOLENCE?

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter…He was taken from prison and from judgment…for he was cut off out of the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:7-8)

8) WHO WILL BETRAY HIM INTO THE HAND OF HIS FOES?

“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9)

9) WHAT KIND OF DEATH WILL HE SUFFER?

“Thou hast brought me into the dust of death… the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:15-16)

10) WILL GOD RAISE HIM FROM THE DEAD?

“My flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (original Hebrew means “the grave”); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:9-10)

11) WHERE WILL HE GO AFTER HIS RESURRECTION?

“Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1 - see also Psalm 16:11)

The quotations above are but a very small selection from the great visions of the prophets of the coming King of Israel. There is another selection which shows this great king in another role - that of king of the Jews, reigning over Israel and over the whole world.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

THE RETURN OF CHRIST

To fulfil this prophecy, Christ must return to the earth in power and great glory, and this is the main theme of the New Testament from Acts to Revelation. Read Acts 1:11. As you would expect, the prophets are as clear on the second advent as on the first. More of our time has been spent on prophecies concerning Christ’s suffering as a sacrifice for sin, because these prophecies have been fulfilled, and so give us complete confidence that those concerning his second coming as a powerful ruler of the world, will also be as accurate in every detail.

If you will take out your Bible and read Psalm 72, you will get a beautiful picture of Christ as king, after he has destroyed all opposition to his claim as God’s appointed ruler, as indicated in Psalm 2:

“I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me (i.e., Christ), Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:7-8 - the whole Psalm is very relevant)

The Old Testament abounds with references to Jesus Christ, for he is the centre of God’s purpose with this planet. He now waits in heaven to return to the earth to establish God’s kingdom and bring with him peace for the whole world (see Isaiah 2:2-4).

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