One of the questions I am frequently asked by atheists, is how I know that Jesus is God, and He was raised from the dead. The assumption of this question is that we cannot possibly know this.
The problem with questions like these is that those who ask them, don’t understand that the Bible is really all we need to prove that Jesus is God and rose from the dead.
Any event of significance that has taken place in the history of the world, people write about what happened and give us specific details. When it comes to the appearance of Jesus on earth, His claim to be God, the miracles He performed, His crucifixion and resurrection, these events did not originate in the days of the New Testament.
One thousand years before Jesus arrived on earth and died on a cross, David wrote in Psalms 16:8-11, that the Messiah would be raised from the dead.
I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. ~Psalms 16:8-11 (NLT)
David writes that the body of Messiah will not be left in the grave to decay, He will be raised to life and live forever.
The critic will object to this conclusion and state that we are only speculating that David was writing this for the Messiah. The objections by most who doubt this verse is applicable to Jesus, say that David is speaking of himself, not someone else.
When we arrive at the New Testament, we begin to see how these obscure verses from the Old Testament, prove every aspect of Jesus’ life death, and resurrection. Notice what Peter wrote just 50 days after Jesus was raised from the dead, while speaking before a large crowd of people gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world:
“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. 25 King David said this about him: ‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 26 No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. 27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. 28 You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’ ~Acts 2:22-28 (NLT)
Peter begins by telling the people in verse 23 that Jesus was nailed to a cross and killed, according to the “prearranged plan of God.” Then, in verse 24, Peter says that God raised Jesus from the dead.
In verse 25, Peter ties the resurrection of Jesus to the verse from Psalms 16:8-11, and applies it directly to Jesus. Then in verse 29, Peter said that David did not write this scripture for himself because he died and was buried and his grave is there in Israel. Peter says that David was writing this for Jesus, the Messiah, because he was a prophet who was writing about the future when Jesus would be raised from the dead.
29 “Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. 30 But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. 31 David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. 32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. ~Acts 2:29-32 (NLT)
From this place in the Book of Acts, we can prove that what David wrote 1,000 years before Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, is personally applicable to Jesus. Peter said that David was not writing about Himself, but Jesus who was crucified and raised, as David predicted for the Messiah.
Then Peter finishes his statement by saying that “we are all witnesses of this.” Peter is with the other eleven Apostles when he said this. From this text we can see how the 400 Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah are correctly applied to Jesus. We also learn that we not only have the witness of the four Gospels for Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, we also have all of the rest of the New Testament which also describes Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and the fact that these events are supported by eyewitness testimony.
Now, you might say that these men just made the whole story up. In order to believe this, we would also have to accept that David made up his story in Psalms 16, about a Messiah who would come and die on a cross and be raised from the dead. Add to this 131 Messianic Prophecies by Isaiah, 95 others in the Psalms, and 130 additional prophecies in 25 other books of the Old Testament.
If we are to disregard the narrative about Jesus in the New Testament, then we must also disregard all that was written in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah; for they are the very same person, doing the very same things.
If we accept the idea that the Gospels are contrived, we must also accept that the entire Old Testament is also a fraud. What is predicted by the old is fulfilled by the new. If the Prophecies of the Messiah are lies and the testimony that Jesus performed the miracles these prophets predicted are lies, we are facing the greatest global conspiracy in the history of the world.
This deception began 3,500 years ago and involves 40 authors, who penned 66 books. Anyone who believes this is a fool. The fact that everything that Jesus said and did in the New Testament was predicted ahead of time by over 400 prophecies, and Jesus fulfilled every one, is empirical evidence that the testimony we read about Jesus in the narratives of the New Testament was not made up, it is all true.
This theme of an Old Testament prophecy written for the Messiah, and fulfilled by Jesus in the pages of the New Testament, is repeated over 400 times. One of the best examples of this fact is found in Jesus confrontation with the leaders of Israel:
Jesus Confounded The Leaders Of Israel
When the Pharisees gathered before Jesus to question Him, it was with the intent of publicly discrediting Him before all those who were listening. Instead, these men were themselves confounded. The text that the Pharisees used to trap Jesus was a well-known verse from Psalm 110:1a.
In this portion of scripture, The LORD God is saying to the Messiah, “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies my footstool.” The Pharisees believed that they already knew the answer to this question when they asked Jesus: “What do you think about the Christ (Messiah) Whose Son is He?” The Pharisees believed that the Messiah was the Son of David.
The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ~Psalms 110:1a
Matthew Records This Event In His Gospel
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” ~Matthew 22:41-45
Jesus asks the Pharisees, “If the Messiah is David’s son, then why did David also call Him “Lord?” In other words, how could the Messiah be both a human being (David’s son) and also Lord (God’s Son)?
These men knew and understood that this verse of scripture that Jesus referred to was about the Messiah. Only the Messiah could sit at the right hand of God. Jesus believed these verses from Psalm 110:1 were inspired by God and were true—as did these leaders of Israel. Jesus asked these teachers of the law how Messiah could be both God and a human being?
“If the Messiah is David’s son, how can He also be David’s Lord?”
This is precisely what this prophecy from Psalms 110:1a is predicting.
The Pharisees didn’t have an answer. They were bewildered, but not Jesus. The obvious answer to this question is that the Messiah will be both David’s Lord (God) and His, Son (a future human descendant), a fact that Jesus made repeatedly concerning Himself.
The reality that Jesus is both David’s son and his Lord is confirmed by Jesus’ question which He asks of the Pharisees. For those who say that Jesus never claimed to be God, this is one of many places where He clearly asserts that He is God.
When Jesus asks this question of the religious leadership of Israel, no one was able to answer Him. This is because it was generally accepted by the Jews that Psalms 110:1 was speaking of the Messiah who will also be God. If by David’s words, the Messiah is both a son and Lord, He must also be God and man.
The idea that God could be dwelling within the person of Jesus Christ was a reality that was totally unacceptable to the leaders of Israel. Yet, this is precisely what David was predicting when he penned Psalms 110:1.
Understanding this is true, how is it that a New Testament Scholar could miss this critical piece of evidence in stating that Jesus never claimed to be God? This is precisely what Bart Ehrman and the Jesus Seminar participants assert.
Here before the Pharisees, Jesus meticulously demonstrates from the Old Testament that His identity as God and Messiah is precisely what David predicted: A man who is both Messiah and God.
Background On Psalms 110
The question of whether Psalms 110 is really about the Messiah and specifically applicable to Jesus is answered.
When we examine the New Testament, we see that both Jesus and Peter state that David was the author of this Psalm.
This fact is repeated in Matthew 22:43, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, and Acts 2:33-35.
Understanding that David is writing Psalms 110 as a Prophet it is clear that his intent was to write about the Messiah.
David, …being a prophet… ~Acts 2:29-30
Thus says David…The anointed of the God…“The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me… ~2 Samuel 23:1-2
David was not writing about his own descendants because there was no Jewish king who ever became a priest. The Messiah is a Priest forever according to 2 Chronicles 26:16-23.
There was no Jewish king who ever conquered the rulers of the whole earth as Psalms 110:6 describes.
The writers of the New Testament quoted Psalms 110:1 twenty-five times and verse 4 on five occasions. In the book of Hebrews, Paul speaks ten times about Jesus as the object of Psalms 110 as the Messiah.
Correctly Translating Psalms 110
It is sometimes difficult to understand, in English, precisely what David is saying in Psalms 110:1.
The Lord (Yahweh יהוה) said to my Lord (Adonai אדני), Sit at My right hand…
Verses 1, David calls the Messiah by the name “Lord,” in Hebrew, “Yahweh-Jehovah-God,” who said to my Lord, “Adonai-Lord God Almighty.”
The terms Adonai is not a title that is less than Yahweh, but speaks of the Messiah’s might as He rules over the world.
In one of the original manuscripts, the text reads: “Jehovah said to my Jehovah.”
Because the ancient scribes so highly revered the name of Jehovah (Yahweh), it is possible that the scribes substituted “Adonai” for Jehovah in 134 Old Testament scriptures, including Psalms 110:1.
The name Jehovah should have been retained in these places because this is the correct meaning of these scriptures. Father, Son, and Spirit are all equally One God, Yahweh.
The name Adonai is Lord-Yahweh-Almighty, which carries the same definition as God. The confusion that has resulted from changing Yahweh to Adonai is that some people mistook this change as meaning that Jesus is not Jehovah, as with the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church. Even if Adonai is used, this does not diminish Jesus as less than God but supports Him as equal to God.
In the New Testament, there are several occurrences where the Greek word for God, Theos, is used. Most often, this word is used only in describing the Father. However, there are several places in the New Testament where Theos is also used to describe Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) , and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Theos).1 ~John 1:1
…of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God (Theos). Amen. ~Romans 9:5
But to the Son (Jesus) He says: “Your throne, O God (Theos), is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. ~Hebrews 1:8
In the Old Testament, the term Lord in Hebrew is Yahweh.
In the New Testament, the word Lord in Greek is Kyrios. When it is used in relation to Jesus, it always means Yahweh or Jehovah.
Kyrios is often used as a polite way to address a person, such as when we call a man, sir. It can also mean Master, as in one who rules over a servant or slave. The Greek translation of the Old Testament called “the Septuagint,” was widely used during the time when Jesus was here on earth. The word Kyrios or Lord was understood by those speaking Greek, as Yahweh or Jehovah. The Greek Old Testament translates Kyrios as Lord 6,814 times.
When we arrive at the New Testament, there are also many occasions where Lord (Kyrios) is used to describe Jesus. This is for good reason. The writers of the New Testament were attributing the title of Jehovah-God to Jesus Christ unmistakably.
It was well understood at the writing of the New Testament that Jesus Christ is Yahweh or God Himself. Why the Jehovah’s Witness church has claimed that Jesus Christ is not Jehovah-God is a great mystery. They did not come to this conclusion by the evidence of the Old and New Testament scriptures.
The translators of the New Testament understood that Jehovah-God and Jesus are one and the same person. Further, it is clear that those who knew Jesus understood and believed that He is the eternal Jehovah-God or Yahweh of the Old Testament.
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” ~John 20:28
…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ… ~Titus 2:13
But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. ~Hebrews 1:8
The Pharisees Are Stunned
As Jesus presents their own scriptures, the Pharisees are confounded. They realize that Jesus is claiming to be the one whom David is describing. These scriptures clearly prove that the Messiah will be both a human being—as He is David’s descendant—and the Lord-God of heaven.
If anyone thinks that the New Testament never intended that we would think that Jesus is God, or that Jesus Himself never claimed to be God, this is one of many places where He makes is crystal clear that He is God.
How do we know that Jesus is God and Messiah, and the Bible is sufficient to prove this all by itself? You have just seen two examples out of the 400 that were written which prove the same thing these two examples demonstrate: The narratives of Jesus are true because everything that Jesus said and did in the New Testament was predicted by the Old Testament. These 400 prophecies were written from 1,450-700 years before Jesus was born.
The Following Video Is, Perhaps, The Best Summation Of All That I Have Written Myself In “Prophecies Of The Messiah.”
Any person who is sincerely seeking to understand the Bible—what its purpose and primary reason is—will find this video a stunning revelation, and all that Jesus came to accomplish. Thank You John McArthur for this incredible presentation.
BTW, It is my belief that Ben Shapiro will soon be a believer in Jesus as his Messiah
Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, Defending the Gospel, Despised and Rejected, Messianic Prophecies, Messianic Prophecy Bible, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, Prophecy, Reliability of the New Testament, Robert Clifton Robinson, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Historical Jesus, The Miracles of Jesus, The Resurrection