The Resurrection, Fabrication or Fulfillment?


Many critics of Jesus Christ, claim that His physical resurrection from the dead is an elaborate hoax created by the writers of the New Testament. When we examine the ancient texts of the Hebrew scriptures, we discover that the death and resurrection of the future Messiah was predicted, thousands of years before Jesus arrived on earth.

Twelve times, in the Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, the Messiah is described as being raised from the dead.

Prophecy 64
Psalms 2:7-8: The Messiah will be killed and Resurrected.

Prophecy 69
Psalm 16:9-11: The Messiah’s body will not be left in Hades.

Prophecy 70
Psalm 17:15: David’s prayer confirming that he will someday see the Resurrected Messiah face to face.

Prophecy 85
Psalm 22:22: The resurrected Messiah will someday stand in the total congregation of all those He saved.

Prophecy 91
Psalm 30:3: The Messiah will be resurrected from the grave.

Prophecy 100
Psalm 40:2-5: The Messiah being brought up from the horrible pit.

Prophecy 109
Psalm 49:15: The Messiah being redeemed from the power of the grave.

Prophecy 147
Psalm 117:17-18: The Messiah shall not die but live, the promise of a resurrection.

Prophecy 190
Isaiah 26:17-20: The Messiah’s resurrection will enable Him to resurrect all those who died trusting in Him, at a future Rapture.

Prophecy 260
Isaiah 53:10: In His resurrection, the Messiah could see all His future seed, those who would believe in Him because He was raised from the dead.

Prophecy 272
Isaiah 53:3: The Messiah’s resurrection is called: The sure mercies of David.

Prophecy 293
Jeremiah 30:9: The Messiah shall be born a descendant of David. He will be raised up (literally, raised from the dead) and be Israel’s King in the future.

When we examine this evidence from the Old Testament, we discover that a bodily resurrection of the future Savior was foretold by God—as a sign to the world that His promise of a Redeemer had been fulfilled.

Jesus dying on the cross and being raised to life three days later, was no fabrication, it was a stunning fulfillment of what God has spoken—thousands of years before. When the writers of the New Testament recorded this event, they were eye witnesses of Jesus resurrection. It was not until later that many of the disciples of Jesus realized that His resurrection was a fulfillment of these many prophecies described by the prophets of the Old Testament.

Prophecy 64, from Psalm 2:7-8 is an example of how the disciples took a familiar Old Testament verse from the Psalms and attributed it to Jesus’ resurrection:

Old Testament Prediction:

Psalms 2:7-8 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.’ ”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Acts 13:29-30 “Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead.

It was widely known during the writing of the Old Testament that the Messiah would receive an earthly kingdom as a continuation of David’s reign. It is generally accepted that Psalm 2 was written by David after his victory over the Jebusites, as described in 2 Samuel 5:7-9. As David went before the Lord, in 2 Samuel 5:17-19, the Lord assured David that he would have victory over the Philistines, Syria, and Phoenicia.

Obviously, Psalm 2 and specifically chapter 2:7-8, was written by David in response to that victory. David, also being a prophet of God, was writing concerning his future seed that someday would be king over the whole earth, forever.

Confirmation of this fact is found in Acts 4, where Peter has been brought before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander to be questioned about their declaration that Jesus was the Messiah.

Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, pointed to Psalm 2 as the confirming scripture for Jesus’ life and ministry as the promised Messiah.

Acts 4:6-8 “…Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel…

Then Peter began to explain to the leaders of Israel that what David had spoken in Psalm 2, what precisely what Jesus had accomplished in His arrival on earth:

Acts 4:25-30 “who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ (From Psalm 2) For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.

Peter is quoting directly from Psalm 2, and attributing the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, as the fulfillment of David’s prophecy of the Messiah. It is certain that it is the intent of the Holy Spirit that Psalm 2 was written about the Messiah. Although David was describing his own personal victory by the Lord, in Psalm 2, against the enemies of Israel, he was also acting in the capacity of a prophet of God in predicting the future ministry and kingdom of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

It is clear from Luke as he is the author of Acts 13:29-30, that he also believed that Psalm 2:7-8 was written for the Messiah who would be crucified and resurrected from the dead. Both Paul and Peter understood that by Jesus resurrection from the dead, He was validating His claim to be the Messiah and the one predicted by the Hebrew scriptures.

When Peter stood to address the assembly of people who were gather in Jerusalem from all over the world during the feast of Pentecost, he was also speaking to the leaders of Israel, regarding the purpose of Jesus in Israel at that time.

Acts 2:22- 24 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

The term, “foreknowledge,” is used in context with God’s knowledge of Jesus as the Messiah, the actions of the leaders of Israel in crucifying Him, and God’s promise to resurrect Him from the dead—in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

No fabrication–fulfillment

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Jesus is described as “risen from the dead.” The writers of the New Testament were not fabricating a story to deceive the world, and create a new religion, they were recording an event that God said would happen during that particular period of history.

God’s foreknowledge of Jesus coming into the world as the Messiah, being crucified and then resurrected three days later, was described extensively in the Old Testament, so that when it had occurred, the world would understand that God had kept His promise.

This is one of the important points of this book. The 365 Old Testament prophecies which come from the Hebrew scriptures, describe the fact that the Messiah will be killed and then resurrected three days later. The record of history reveals that from the time that Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead, eyewitnesses have recorded these events and they are preserved for us in the New Testament.

There is great scholarly evidence today that the gospel of Matthew which is a part of our New Testament, was actually written by Matthew himself—as early as 26 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Prophecy 69).[1]

Further information on this subject can be found in the chapter: The Resurrection of Jesus.

The following are two beautiful illustrations of Jesus’ great love for us. Though we may have denied Him, forsaken Him, or rejected Him all together, He maintains His fervent love for all of us—to the present day.

Good Nails

They hauled the large burley man, trembling, to the judgment seat of Jesus…

“Oh great Lord of the universe, behold the man who made the nails that pierced your hands and feet.”

The master rose up slowly, gently, as his eyes like fire and his beard as white as wool shone in the heavens.

He laid his mighty nail scared hand upon the shoulder of the man so full of shame, his head he could barely lift to gaze at the great King.

Jesus began to speak… “You made the nails that they pierced me with?” “Yes Great King”, the man replied.

“Oh Lord, please forgive me, I didn’t understand what I was doing…I am sincerely sorry for what I did to You.”

With all the love that brought Jesus to earth for the very purpose of dying for the sins of the world, He looked intently into the face of the broken and remorseful executioner.

“They were good nails, my friend, You are forgiven.”[2]

Isaiah described the torture and disfigurement the Messiah would experience when He suffered and died for all of us:

Prophecy 230, Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men…

While on his journey to heaven, John describes Jesus in chapter 1 of the Book of Revelation:

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…

John says that Jesus looked like a “Lamb that had been slain…”

What was there about Jesus appearance that made Him unrecognizable, and led John to the conclusion that He had been killed? Is it possible that the One who has the power to take away every injury and scar of our life—Himself still bears the scars from His torture and crucifixion?

Why would Jesus willingly bear—to the present day, the scars of His suffering?

An ever-present reminder

There was a young mother whose face was badly disfigured.

Her little girl was continually ridiculed by the children at her school because of her mother’s appearance.

When the little girl was old enough to understand, her mother explained to her that when she was a baby there was a terrible fire in their apartment. Although the mother was able to save her little girl, she herself suffered severe burns to her face and body in the process.

From that day on, this little girl was no longer embarrassed by her mother’s scarred image. Every time she looked into her mother’s face, it was a reminder of just how much she was loved.[3]

In eternity, it is possible that Jesus will also bear the evidence from His suffering that He endured to save us. Every time that we look into His beautiful scarred face, it will be an eternal reminder of just how much He loves us.

Zechariah 12:10 “And …then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

When we see Jesus for the first time, I wonder what emotions will swell up in our hearts as we behold Him with a countenance forever scarred, simply because He loved us so much?

[1] 1. Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede, the director of the Institute of Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany
2. Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996.
[2] Author unknown. This story came from my notes over the past 35 years. A large part of the story was written and paraphrased by myself. If you know the author of this wonderful story, please email me at so that I may give proper attribution to the original writer.
[3] Author unknown. This story came from my notes over the past 35 years. If you know the author of this wonderful story, please email me at so that I may give proper attribution to the writer.

Categories: Reliability of the Bible, The Claims of Jesus, The Resurrection of Jesus

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