What if I told you that the most important fact of the Bible is one that many people are not aware of, or often ignore altogether? Many scholars will tell you that the Bible contains a large percentage of prophecy, but they don’t tell you that the most important prophecies of this category are those which describe the Messiah.
Messianic Prophecy is so important that without a good working knowledge of these scriptures, it is impossible to fully understand the Bible. Jesus said that the entire point of the Bible is to predict, declare, and validate Him as the Messiah.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. ~John 5:39 (NKJV)
…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. ~Revelation 19:10
Upon a diligent search of the New Testament, paying special attention to the fine details that are contained within these texts, we find many hints by Jesus that tell us just how important these Messianic prophecies really are.
In Matthew chapter 11, Jesus is speaking to the disciples of John the Baptist. John is in prison and he has sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus if He is the Messiah predicted by the law and the prophets, or should they look for another. Jesus said something very important to these men:
And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it. For before John came, all the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to this present time. And if you are willing to accept what I say, he is Elijah, the one the prophets said would come. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! ~Matthew 11:12-15 (NLT)
Here in Matthew 11, Jesus states at the beginning of His ministry that all of the laws of Moses and all the prophets of the Old Testament, were writing about the coming of the Messiah. Jesus is claiming that He is the One they predicted.
The countdown for the fulfillment of the entire body of text from the Old Testament which described and predicted a Messiah who would come, began when John the Baptist arrived at the Jordan river. The prophets Malachi and Isaiah predicted and described John the Baptist in their texts:
Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple… ~Malachi 3:1
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” ~Isaiah 40:3-5 (NKJV)
All four Gospels, Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4 and John 1:23, predicted the coming of John the Baptist. His arrival was so important that Jesus called John the greatest of all the Old Testament prophets (Matthew 11:11).
Isaiah said that the Messiah would be God (אֱלֹהִים ’elôhîym) who comes to open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear, and the lame shall walk. These are things that Jesus did, and He stated that one of the reasons He performed miracles was to validate that He is the Messiah, just as Isaiah had predicted. This text from Isaiah 35 is important because the prophet told us in advance that Messiah will also be Yahweh-God, the Lord of the Old Testament.
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God (אֱלֹהִים ’elôhîym) will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. ~Isaiah 35:4-6
The Importance Of The Messianic Prophecies In Validating The New Testament
According to some critics of the New Testament, the stories that are written in these narratives are nothing more than fabrications. Is there a way that we can verify the reliability of ancient written texts and prove their stories are true?
The answer is a resounding, Yes!
Every ancient text that exists is evaluated in precisely the same way. We start with the text itself and carefully examine what is written. We look for signs of deceit and embellishment by analyzing what the writers have recorded. In all truthful narratives we find certain indicators that allow us to prove whether what we are reading is the truth or is contrived.
- Why The New Testament Is a Valid Historical Narrative
- Legal Analysis Of The Four Gospels As Valid Eyewitness Testimony
The text of the New Testament contains statements by the writers that what they are recording was for the express reason of laying down a historical narrative of true events. The men who claim to have written these texts or dictated them to other men who wrote the words down on papyrus for them, use statements such as “we know we are telling the truth”… and “we write these things so that you might know the truth…”
And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” ~John 19:35-37 (NKJV)
Notice that as John is declaring he is telling the truth about Jesus, he also includes two Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah to validate his claim.
- “Not one of His bones shall be broken“: Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20
- “They shall look on Him whom they pierced“: Zechariah 12:10
While Jesus was carrying out His earthly ministry, the disciples did not realize that He was also fulfilling all of the 400 prophecies of the Messiah. It was not until after Jesus had been crucified and rose from the dead, that these men understood He had done this.
Then they remembered that Jesus had said this. ~Luke 24:8 (NLT)
Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” ~John 2:17 (NLT)
After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. ~John 2:22 (NLT)
His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him. ~John 12:16 (NLT)
Just before Jesus was arrested and crucified, He told His disciples that after He had been raised from the dead and ascended back to heaven, He would send them the Holy Spirit who would cause them to remember everything He had said and done. The purpose of this was so that these men could write their testimony about Jesus and send this written text to the whole world.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ~John 14:26 (NKJV)
After Jesus had risen from the dead, He met two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. These men were discouraged because they had thought that Jesus was the Messiah, but then He was crucified. They didn’t know that the prophets had predicted the Messiah would be crucified. Jesus took these two through the Old Testament books which described the Messiah as suffering for the sins of the world and dying on a cross to pay their debt:
Then Jesus said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. ~Luke 24:25-27 (NKJV)
Then Jesus met with all of the disciples at once and took these men through the Prophecies of the Messiah so they could understand that He came for the express purpose of fulfilling every word written for the Messiah:
Then Jesus said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. ~Luke 24:44-48 (NKJV)
There were three eyewitnesses of Jesus whom He showed particular interest. Nearly every place Jesus went, He took Peter, James and John with Him.
Amongst these eyewitnesses we find Peter who was amongst Jesus’ most trusted disciples. We see Peter as impulsive, impetuous, and boastful in his claim to follow Jesus at all costs. We read that Jesus told Peter that all of his claims were not true, for on the day Jesus was arrested, Jesus said that Peter would deny he knew Jesus three times, before the dawn broke and the rooster crowed.
Despite Peter’s failure, Jesus also told him that after he had recovered from this mistake, he should go to the other disciples and tell them he had failed and that Jesus had forgiven and restored him to his place as one of Jesus chief witnesses.
But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” ~Luke 22:32 (NLT)
The Day Peter, James And John Saw Jesus As Messiah
In Peter’s second epistle he speaks of a day when Jesus took him, James and John, up onto a high mountain. These three men saw Jesus transformed before their eyes for the purpose of showing them what Jesus would look like in the future when He returns to earth as Messiah and King. Peter said that he heard a voice come from the sky that said: “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.
Peter said the Moses and Elijah also appears at that time with Jesus and began to discuss the details of the kingdom that would soon be established on earth in fulfillment of all the prophets words from the Old Testament. Peter stated in his second letter that that particular day, convinced him that all the prophets of the Old Testament had written about the Messiah, was written specifically for Jesus. Peter said that day forever gave him confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. and then said that we must also pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place.
Peter said that all he has written when he dictated his Gospel of Jesus to Mark, and all that he wrote in his epistles, was not a story that he and the other writer made up. Peter said that he saw Jesus raised from the dead in a physical body, and he was with Him when Jesus showed him the transfiguration of Himself on the mountain.
For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. ~2 Peter 1:12-21
Notice that Peter states that because of that particular day, when he saw Jesus transfigured into His future glorified state as Messiah, this event forever convinced him that what the prophets had written about the Messiah, was for Jesus. It convinced Peter that all of the Old Testament scriptures were written for the world so that when Jesus arrived and began to fulfill all 400 of the Messianic Prophecies in the pages of the New Testament, that the world would know that Jesus is the One whom all the prophets predicted.
Peter Validates The Synoptic Gospels
What is particularly interesting about Peter’s words in this second epistle, is that he is also referring to all three of the Synoptic Gospels which described this same event.
If the Synoptic Gospels were all made up and never happened, how is it that Peter also wrote a separate letter himself where he refers to this event in these Synoptic Gospels that Matthew, Mark, and Luke record?
In the Synoptic Gospels, we find testimony about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and the men who were responsible for this text tell us they saw and heard these things. Critics of these Gospels often state that these narratives were written by non-eyewitnesses, late in the first century.
This is not possible because Peter is describing an event that all three of the Synoptic Gospel writers included in their narratives. This means that these Gospels had to exist by 44 A.D.
In Peter’s second letter, he makes reference to all three of the Synoptic Gospels and states that these writers are telling the truth, and confirms that they were penned by the men who either saw Jesus themselves, or in the case of Luke, received the text he included in his Gospel, from the men who were eyewitnesses of these events.
Peter wrote his epistles which describe this event also written in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, after these Gospels were written. Peter’s second letter is a confirming second piece of evidence that is separate and outside the Synoptic Gospels.
Notice in all three of these Synoptic Gospels, that each writer records the event Peter is referring to in 2 Peter 1:12-21.
Peter is describing an event that is recorded by Matthew 17:5-9, Mark 9:2-10 and Luke 9:28-36
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.”
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem. Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them. Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Truth In The Differing Details
If you were paying attention to each of these three accounts of the event Peter spoke of in 2 Peter 1:12-21, you noticed that all three are describing the same event, the transfiguration of Jesus, but the specific details vary slightly. This is evidence that these three accounts are separate and distinct from each other. Read carefully the text from the three Gospels and notice the different words and phrases that each writer includes in their own Gospel. Only individuals would be capable of this. If the texts were contrived, they would be identical. People who want to deceive others, coordinate the written testimony they are going t write with the other witnesses, so that their stories agree.
In true written testimony, where there are multiple witnesses, the event and primary persons will be listed in all of the written testimony of each witness. The details of what each witness remembered, will always be different. This is because different people remember different details of the same event. We see this artifact exhibited in the Synoptic Gospels, indicating that they are truthful testimony.
Evidence From Peter’s Second Epistle
First, the second letter of Peter which refers to this event that is seen in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, demands that the Gospels were finished before Peter wrote his second epistle, because Peter refers to these Gospels in writing his second letter. Peter wrote his epistles in 66 A.D. This places the date of writing for the three Synoptic Gospels much earlier. In an Essay that I wrote in 2019, and with an accompanying book: “You Are My Witnesses,” I detail the evidence that exists to prove the Synoptic Gospels were finished by 44 A.D.
Second, Peter said that what these three Synoptic Gospels are stating about Jesus, is absolutely true and was written by the men who had seen Jesus, not by men late in the first century who never met Jesus. This second letter of Peter impeaches every assertion that the Gospels are contrived or untrue. Peter said that what these three Gospels proclaim about Jesus, is the absolute truth.
In this essay, we see just how important all the Prophecies of the Messiah are, and the great emphasis Jesus placed upon learning these scriptures. It was for this reason that I set out many years ago to learn these prophecies myself and then write a treatise which details them all in one book. After I completed “Prophecies of the Messiah,” I also assembled a Bible that contains all of these prophecies— linked together. The “Messianic Prophecy Bible,” was created for the serious student of the Bible so that the Messianic Prophecies can be studied together with the entire text of the Bible. Each prophecy is linked together with all the other prophecies from the Old and New Testaments.
It is my hope that you will grow in your own knowledge of these important prophecies written for Jesus and fulfilled by Him in the pages of the New Testament. These scriptures are so important that every person who loves Jesus should know them and have their texts committed to memory. It is after seeing these prophecies together in the Bible and learning how Jesus fulfilled each one, that we finally gain an understanding of what Jesus has done for us.
Categories: Jesus is the Messiah, Messianic Prophecy Bible, New Testament Criticism, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation through Jesus, Temptation by the devil, The Crucifixion of Jesus, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Four Gospels, The Prophecies of the Messiah, The Second Arrival of the Messiah, The Trials of Jesus