Like many new believers and I suppose all sceptics, Hugo has expressed struggles with what is written in the Old Testament. Admittedly there is a lot that we simply cannot understand. On the other hand, after thirty years of following Jesus, I’ve come to realise that the problem is mine and not the Bible’s. A line that I heard a long time ago that has been helpful to me goes like this: “All of the Old Testament points to Jesus and if you haven’t seen that while reading the OT, then you’ve read it wrong.”
While a person can enter the Old Testament from many and varied points of interest, that it points to Jesus must surely be the most important thing to be looking for when reading it. Preparing the way for Jesus is what gives the OT context. This is true for even the most difficult parts where whole, albeit profoundly evil cultures are eliminated to make room for the Israelites “through whom the whole world will be blessed.” And while there are many parts of the Old Testament that might make a person scrunch up h/her face with doubt, the parts that point to Jesus must cause us to move cautiously before rejecting what that Book says.
Professor Peter Stoner, Editor of ‘Science Digest’ has calculated that the odds of the 20 prophecies of what happened to Jesus on the last day of His life here on earth, to be 10 to the power of minus 157, against them coming true in one man, accidentally. Scientists agree that 10 to minus 50 is the same as zero - impossible.
Born of a virgin
The Prophecy - Isaiah 7:14 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call his name Immanuel.” This would not be much of a sign if it was just a man marrying a virgin.
From the seed of Abraham
The Prophecy - Genesis 22:18 (Written about 1440 years before Jesus was born)
“And in your seed all the nations of the world shall be blessed.” (God speaking to Abraham). This determines that of all the races of the world, we could look for The Saviour to come from the Hebrew race.
Son of Isaac
The Prophecy - Genesis 21:12 (Written about 1440 years before Jesus was born).
“For Isaac is the son through whom My promise will be fulfilled.” (See Matthew chapter 1 for a continuation of Jesus’ genealogy record) Abraham had two sons. God eliminates one half of the lineage of Abraham in prophesying the lineage of Jesus.
Son of Jacob
The Prophecy - Numbers 24:17 (Written about 1400 years before Jesus was born)
“I see in the future of Israel, far down the distant trail that there shall come a star from Jacob, this ruler of Israel.” Isaac had two sons. God eliminates one half of the lineage of Isaac prophesying the lineage of Jesus
Tribe of Judah
The Prophecy - Genesis 49:10 (Written about 1440 years before Jesus was born).
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Jacob had 12 sons out of which came the 12 tribes of Israel. God eliminates eleven of the twelve tribes of Israel in prophesying the lineage of Jesus.
Family line of Jesse
The Prophecy - Isaiah 11:1 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“The royal line of Jesse will be cut off, chopped down like a tree. But from the stump will grow a shoot, yes a new branch, the Messiah from the old root.”
House of David
The Prophecy - Isaiah 23:5 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“ For the time is coming says the Lord, when I will place a righteous branch upon King David’s throne. He shall be a King who shall rule with wisdom and justice.” Jesse had at least eight sons. Now God eliminates all of Jesse’s sons except David in prophesying the lineage of Jesus.
Born at Bethlehem
The Prophecy - Micah 5:2 - (Written about 750 years before Jesus was born)
“O Bethlehem you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from ages past. God, in prophecy, now eliminates all the cities and towns in the world but one for the entrance of His Son to planet earth.
Preceded by a messenger
The Prophecy - Isaiah 40:3 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“I hear a voice calling in the wilderness, make a road for the Lord.”
Ministry to begin in Galilee
The Prophecy - Isaiah 9:1 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish in the land of Zebulun and Neaphtali, by the way of the sea on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles.”
Ministry of Miracles
The Prophecy - Isaiah 35:5 & 6 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unstopped, the lame will leap like deer, the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.”
Teacher of parables
The Prophecy - Psalm 78:2 (Written over many centuries but completed about 300 years before Jesus was born). “I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old.”
Enter Jerusalem on a donkey
The Prophecy - Zechariah 9:9 (Written about 520 years before Jesus was born)
“Rejoice greatly oh My people, shout with joy, for look, your King is coming , He is the righteous one, the victor, yet He is lowly, riding on a donkey’s colt.”
Stumbling stone to the unbelievers
The Prophecy - Psalm 118:22 (Written over many centuries but completed about 300 years before Jesus was born).
“The stone which the builders rejected, has become the corner stone.”
The Prophecy - Psalm 16:10 (Written over many centuries but completed about 300 years before Jesus was born).
“For you will not leave me among the dead. You will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave.”
The following were prophesied from 1000 - 500 years before Jesus was born but were all fulfilled in one day.
Betrayed by a friend
The Prophecy - Psalm 41:9 - “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me.”
Sold for 30 Pieces of silver
The Prophecy - Zephaniah 11:12 - “If you like give me my pay, what ever I’m worth. So they counted out 30 silver coins.”
Money thrown into God’s house
The Prophecy - Zechariah 11:13 - “And the Lord told me, toss it into the temple treasury this magnificent sum they value you at. So I took the thirty coins and threw them in.”
Forsaken by his disciples
The Prophecy - Zechariah 13:7 - “Strike down the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.”
Accused by false witness
The Prophecy - Psalm 35:11 - “These evil men swear to a lie. They accuse me of things I have never even heard about.”
Quiet before his accusers
The Prophecy - Isaiah 53:7 - “He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He never said a word.”
Hands and feet pierced
The Prophecy - Psalm 22:16 - “They pierced my hands and feet.”
Crucifixion had not come into the Jewish system until hundreds of years after Psalms was written. It was unheard of at the time of Psalms.
Made intercession for his persecutors
The Prophecy - Isaiah 53:12 - “Yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors.”
Hated without cause
The Prophecy - Psalm 69:4 - “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head.”
Friends stood afar off
The Prophecy - Psalm 38:11 - My loved ones and my friends stay away, even my own family stands at a distance.”
People shook their heads
The Prophecy - Psalm 109:25 - I also have become a reproach to them. When they see me they wag their heads.”
Garments parted and lots cast
The Prophecy - Psalm 22:18 - They divided my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Gall and vinegar offered Him
The Prophecy - Psalm 69:21 - They gave me gall for my food. For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
His forsaken cry
The Prophecy - Psalm 22:1 - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
Committed himself to God
The Prophecy - Psalm 31:5 - “Into they hand I commit My spirit.”
Bones not broken
The Prophecy - Psalm 34:20 - He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.”
His side pierced
The Prophecy - Zechariah 12:10 - They will look on me whom they have pierced.
Darkness at noon
The Prophecy - Amos 8:9 - I shall make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.
Buried in a rich man’s grave
The Prophecy - Isaiah 53:9 - He was buried like a criminal in a rich man’s grave.”
Jesus had no control over the prophecies about:
1. Place of birth
2. Time of birth
3. Manner of birth
5. Manner of death
6. People’s reaction
7 Piercing, and
Once again, think about these words:
Professor Peter Stoner, Editor of ‘Science Digest’ has calculate that the odds of the 20 prophecies of what happened to Jesus on the last day of His life here on earth, to be 10 to the power of minus 157, against them coming true in one man, accidentally. Scientists agree that 10 to minus 50 is the same as zero - impossible.
To those who encountered Him but refused to believe what He taught, Jesus had this to say.
(John 5:46 & 47) Jesus said, “It is not I who will accuse you before the Father, Moses will. For you have refused to believe Moses. He wrote about Me but you refuse to believe him, so you refuse to believe Me. Since you don’t believe what Moses wrote, no wonder you don’t believe Me either.”
(Matthew 13:17) Jesus said, “For I tell the truth, many prophets longed to see what you see and hear what you hear.”
(Mark 12:36) Jesus said, “When David spoke, the Holy Spirit was speaking through him when he said it.”
(John 10:34) Jesus said, “The Scriptures cannot be untrue.”
To neglect such awesome evidence will surely come at an awesome cost. Jesus promises however that to respond positively will come with an awesome reward.
Jesus was talking about the same Scriptures we have today. In the next two verses, Jesus indicates that “all” of the Old Testament included prophecy of His coming.
(Luke 24:25 & 27) “How foolish you have been and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” And beginning with the Law and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scripture about Him.”
(Luke 24:44) Jesus said, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Of course there are parts of the OT that we simply don’t understand. However, to get caught up in what we don’t understand and ignore what we do understand doesn’t make much sense. Even the sceptic Samuel Clemens said, “It’s not the parts of the Bible that I don’t understand that scare me. It’s the parts of the Bible that I do understand that scare me.”
Good luck on your journey.