The key to the entire Bible is found in the final portion of Luke’s Gospel. In this text Jesus tells His disciples that everything He has said and done was for the express purpose of fulfilling all that the Old Testament prophets had 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, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written by the prophets that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. ~Luke 24:44-49
Jesus came to earth to fulfill the words of the prophets—to the very letter. As He would say later, not one Jot or Tittle would be left unfulfilled. As we study what Jesus said regarding the prophecies of the Old Testament, we understand that everything written from Genesis to Revelation—every word, every person, every part of the Old Testament—was written to tell the story of the Messiah that would come.
We are privileged today to have the complete Bible which describes in vivid detail, all of the predictions for the Messiah. We are fortunate that faithful men recorded the many occasions when these Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament.
The book, “The Prophecies of the Messiah,” contains over 400 of these Messianic Prophecies—researched and studied by scholarly examination over the course of the past 44 years. There are 365 chapters in this book that are organized into categories which often contain multiple prophecies within each chapter.
Every one of the more than 400 Messianic Prophecies from the Old Testament, has a counterpart in the New Testament. Beginning with the four Gospels, each writer recorded every specific instance when Jesus was fulfilling a particular prophecy that was written by these prophets for the Messiah.
Jesus said that He came into the world for the purpose of fulfilling all that the prophets wrote. Jesus’ death so fully met the requirements of the Old Testament for the Messiah that anyone today who sincerely places their trust in what Jesus has accomplished, is justified in the sight of God and receives eternal life.
The men Jesus called to follow Him were specifically chosen by God before the foundation of the world. With all their flaws, doubts, sins, and failures, Jesus began to teach and shape each man for the impossible task He had in mind; tell the world what they had seen and heard.
Jesus intended that these men would immediately write their testimony and send it to the whole world. We know this is true because the Old Testament prophets predicted that these men who saw the Messiah fulfill their predictions, would also write a testimony and send it to the whole world.
Jesus said: It was also written by the prophets that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem… ~Luke 24:47
One of the attacks that has been leveled against the New Testament today, asserts that the synoptic Gospels were not written until late in the first century, by non-eyewitnesses. If we simply read the text for ourselves we see that Jesus was emphatic that these men who had seen and heard Him, must immediately write their testimony and send it to the entire world.
Jesus told these men, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ~Acts 1:8
It was not possible for the Apostles to take the message of Jesus to the whole world unless they did so by writing letters of testimony; the Gospels narratives about Christ, and send them to the existing churches that were already established in Asia Minor. From these churches, copies were sent all over the world.
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus…which you heard before in the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world. ~Colossians 1:3-6
We know that this is exactly what happened because we have the evidence today. There are 24,593 surviving manuscript copies of the New Testament, written in twelve languages, surviving time and decay, coming to us with the same text that we find in our New Testament today.
When we carefully study the text of the New Testament we quickly learn that all 27 books emphasize the Messianic Prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. It is clear that the men whom Jesus called to follow Him, understood how important it was to record every instance when Jesus was fulfilling a specific prophecy from the Hebrew prophets.
There is far more interest today in the Messianic Prophecies than at any other time previous. It is my hope that you will discover the importance of a good working knowledge of these Messianic prophecies for a complete understanding of the Bible.
Today, the world’s leading scholars agree that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is an established fact that is based on empirical evidence. As matters of history, the events of the scourging and crucifixion are described as ranking so high in certainty that they are considered by experts as impossible to deny.
These facts are the very basis for a foundation that Jesus of Nazareth lived, died, and rose from the dead, in confirmation of the the New Testament narrative. The reason that these facts are certain is that we have the corroboration of not only the Bible, but secular history. The orders of Pontius Pilate to have Jesus scourged and crucified is documented by the Roman and Jewish governments, both hostile to the Christian religion.
One thousand years before the Disciples of Jesus recorded His death by crucifixion, David, the king of Israel, described the Messiah on a cross, dying for the sins of the world. Specifically, David recorded 17 events that would take place on this cross—all written, hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
- He will be forsaken by God: Psalm 22:1, Prophecy 71
- Die during the afternoon: Psalm 22:2, Prophecy 72
- He will be despised: Psalm 22:6, Prophecy 73
- Observers disgusted with Him: Psalm 22:7, Prophecy 74
- The precise words recited: Psalm 22:8, Prophecy 75
- He will be Born to die: Psalm 22:9-10, Prophecy 76
- Die from a ruptured heart: Psalm 22:13-17, Prophecy 77
- He will thirst: Psalm 22:13-17, Prophecy 78
- He will be hated and mocked: Psalm 22:16, Prophecy 79
- His hands and feet, pierced: Psalm 22:16, Prophecy 80
- Naked before the world: Psalm 22:17-18, Prophecy 81
- Clothing gambled for: Psalm 22:18, Prophecy 82
- He will commit Himself to God: Psalm 22:19-21, Prophecy 83
- Destroy the works of the devil: Psalm 22:20-21, Prophecy 84
- The meaning of love, defined: Psalm 22:22, Prophecy 85
- His death wins Him Rulership: Psalm 22:27-29, Prophecy 86
- Eyewitnesses will record this: Psalm 22:30-31, Prophecy 87
It is incredible that David could describe, one thousand years in advance, the specific details of something he had no personal knowledge of: the crucifixion of the Messiah. Not until 520 B.C., 600 years after David penned these words, would the first crucifixion be recorded in the Bible under King Darius, as noted in the Book of Ezra. Described by the Roman orator, Cicero, as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment,” how is it that David knew such specific details of this event, unless He had received this information, in advance, from God?
David’s description of a man being crucified and the massive dehydration that His body would experience, is quite compelling. This becomes particularly interesting when we consider that Jesus said the precise words from the cross (I thirst) that David predicted the Messiah would utter during His execution.
Old Testament Prediction:
Psalms 22:15 …My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”
John describes the stunning fulfillment of what David recorded, nearly 1,000 years before. While on the cross, Jesus understood that He was fulfilling these Old Testament prophecies from Psalm 22. It appears at this point that Jesus knew the scriptures had been accomplished by Him;
…knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, (Jesus) said, “I thirst!”
This was in fulfillment of David’s description of the Messiah at verse 15 of Psalm 22: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws.”
Jesus had been awake during the entire night before these events took place. He had not eaten nor received any water in more than 24 hours. Because of the massive blood loss inflicted by His scourging, Jesus body is in an advanced state of dehydration. This process would leave His mouth with extreme dryness and cause His tongue to stick to the inside of His mouth. How could David know what Jesus was going to experience, hundreds of years before He was born?
A Transcendent Source
This is compelling evidence that someone with prior knowledge, knew what Jesus would say, as well as what would transpire during His crucifixion. These specific details require the physical presence of a witness to recorded these events. The only problem with this assumption is that David was not there when Jesus died on the cross. He wrote this description in Psalm 22 about ten centuries before these events took place.
Crucifixion did not exist when David wrote these graphic descriptions, and neither had he, nor anyone whom he knew—ever been crucified. This terrible method of execution would not be invented for another 600 years. These facts stand as conclusive evidence that David was writing these words as he was directed, by a mind who exists outside of time. A Being who knows all the events of human history, conveyed this information—describing what Jesus would endure, into the mind of David, so that he could write the words of Psalm 22.
This is the basis and premise for all Bible prophecy: God, who alone knows all things, who made the universe, and who revealed knowledge of human history to specific men—recorded these events well in advance of their occurrence.
Messiah Was Anticipated
At the time that Jesus was born, the arrival of the Messiah was considered imminent. Even the ungodly king, Herod, was aware of the Hebrew prophecies which described the arrival of the Messiah. Herod was one of the most paranoid individuals of all time. He was said to be so afraid that someone would conspire to take his throne, that he had his wife and sons murdered. Confirmation of Herod’s vitriol fear of a usurper to his throne, comes from an extra-biblical source by a Roman writer, Macrobius, who described Herod’s paranoia:
“When he [emperor Augustus] heard that among the boys in Syria under two years old whom Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered to kill, his own son was also killed, he said: it is better to be Herod’s pig, than his son.”
This comment by Macrobius also confirms the Gospel account of Matthew 2:16-18, describing the reason for this massacre of innocent children: to kill the infant Jesus. As Herod issues an order to kill all of the baby boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and under, he also orders the execution of his own son.
This gives us an additional secular source for confirmation of Jesus existence as a child in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah 5:2 (Prophecy 321) for the birth of the Messiah, and Jeremiah 31:15 (Prophecy 294) for the unsuccessful attempt on His life.
Four facts of history that the Roman historian, Macrobius, confirms from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in their account of Jesus birth:
- Caesar Augustus was Emperor (Luke 2:1).
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:8, 2:1).
- Herod was king of Judea (Matthew 2:3).
- An attempt on Jesus life (Matthew 2:16-18).
This gives us further empirical evidence from secular history that the Gospel narratives of Jesus Christ are accurate and reliable.
Herod became aware of Micah’s prophecy of a coming Messiah who would be the King of Israel, by the ancient Prophecies of the Messiah.
The whole world knew that a King was about to be born in Bethlehem. When the wise men came from the east, crossing the borders of Israel where Herod ruled, he sent word to these men to come and tell him where this new king was located so that he could also come and “worship Him.”
The prophet Micah predicts that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, Prophecy 321.
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.
Jeremiah records the execution of children in Bethlehem, by the orders of Herod, Prophecy 294.
Jeremiah 31:15 Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 2:16-18 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
There has been some dispute regarding whether Jeremiah was writing about the murder of innocents in Bethlehem or he was specifically writing about a near-future event, the captivity of the northern kingdom.
Matthew 2:16-18 (above) confirms the words of Jeremiah regarding the lamentation and weeping of Bethlehem when Herod dispatched soldiers to kill every infant under two years of age. The near application of Jeremiah’s prophecy was intended for Rachel at Ramah who would weep at the loss of her future descendants in the northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, through Joseph, and Benjamin in the south—in 722-721 B.C. There is some discussion as to whether this prophecy may also be referring to a later occurrence in 586 B. C.
Matthew makes it certain that the murder of children which occurred after the birth of Jesus, was a direct fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy in applying it to Jesus as the Messiah.
Rachel was the wife of Joseph. Here Jeremiah describes her as weeping for the children of Israel who will be deported to Babylon in 586 B.C. Ramah was located just five miles north of Jerusalem, where all of the exiles were assembled before they were taken to Babylon. Rachel is described prophetically as weeping for her future descendants who will be taken from their homes, in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s previous prophecy of captivity for the Jews in Babylon for 70 years.
This is an interesting prophecy by Jeremiah for a couple of reasons.
First, this is a near future prophetic look at an actual event that Rachel is weeping for, the captivity of the Jews who were taken to Babylon.
Second, this is a distant future prophetic look at the actual murder of many of Rachel’s children, the young boys in Bethlehem whom Herod dispatched soldiers to execute (Matthew 2:16-18, above). Before Jesus began His ministry to save the world, satan was working through evil men to end His life.
By this example, we observe how it is possible for an Old Testament prophet to give us a word of prophecy regarding both a close fulfillment of his words, as well as future fulfillment of the same prophecy, hundreds of years later.
When we consider that Jeremiah and Micah both wrote their predictions of the Messiah about six hundred years before Jesus was born, these two prophecies become two of the most extraordinary predictions in the Bible. The details of which are confirmed by the secular, historical, accounts of Macrobius, as occurring precisely as the Old Testament had predicted, and the New Testament confirmed.
During the time of Jesus, the Prophecies of the Messiah were greatly misunderstood, due to an over-emphasis of the “traditions of the elders,” by the religious leaders of Israel.
By the time that Jesus arrived at Jerusalem, the elders of Israel had elevated their traditions above the Laws of God. Jesus scolded these men for their error. By promoting their traditions above what God had said, they made the word of God ineffective.
Matthew 15:3- 6 Jesus answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? …Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.”
The Greek word used here by Jesus for tradition is paradosis—that which is handed down. The Traditions of the elders were established procedures for how everything in the life of a Jew should be accomplished. A great example of this is seen in the comments of the elders regarding Jesus disciples who did not wash their hands before they began eating.
Matthew 15:1-2 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
If we carefully examine what the Pharisees are saying, we find that it was not any disagreement over the Laws of Moses; it was their traditions which were at issue.
Where The Traditions Of The Elders Came From:
One of the major reasons for the captivity of the Jews in Babylon for 70 years, was their constant disobedience to the commandments of God.
The Lord instructed Israel; for every six years they plowed, planted, and harvested the land, they should allow it to lay fallow on the seventh year. God promised that He would give three years of harvest on the sixth year so that there would be sufficient supply to last through the seventh year of rest.
Exodus 23:10-11 Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow.
Leviticus 25:21 Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.
For 490 years, Israel failed to rest their fields. Because the land had not been allowed its Sabbath for 490 years, Israel owed God a land-rest debt of 70 years.
God warned Israel, through Jeremiah the prophet, that if they would not honor and obey Him, the entire nation would be destroyed by a foreign enemy. God permitted Nebuchadnezzar to take Israel captive and remove the best and brightest young men from their land, and carry them back to Babylon—for 70 years. This is the exact same period of time that was owed to God for the land-rest debt that Israel had previously failed to observe. God put the entire nation into captivity to serve another nation, simply because they had failed to give one year, in seven, to rest the land.
Sidebar: To the very day, Israel departed Babylon after the 70 years of captivity. The “Servitude,” began in 605 B.C. Under Nebuchadnezzar and ended in 536 B.C, under Cyrus, See Prophecy 309 and the included charts of this chapter, for details.
If we should ever think that the commandments of the Lord are optional, we might think again—considering what God did to Israel for their disobedience.
After 70 years of exile, the leaders of Jerusalem wanted to ensure that their former error was not repeated. Ezra set out to educate the people of Israel on how best to follow the laws of Moses. He did this by founding the school of the sopherim, who were later known as the scribes.
The primary function of the sopherim school was to thoroughly explain the laws of God to the people. We see an example of this in the Book of Nehemiah Chapter 8:
Nehemiah 8:1-3 Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. 3 Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:1-3 was the beginning of the sopherim, who later became the teachers of Israel. When Ezra died, the leaders of Israel felt that an exposition of the Laws of Moses, called the Torah, was insufficient. They proposed a new guideline known as, the fence or the hedge, that should be built around the existing 613 Laws of Moses. The purpose of the hedge laws were to act as an early warning system to prevent someone from actually breaking one of the Laws of Moses. As a person would break through one of the hedge laws, they would realize that they were very close to breaking an actual law of God.
The leaders of Israel also developed what they called the Pilpul Logic which originated from the idea behind what happens when a person eats a hot pepper. As spices enhance the taste buds during a meal, these hedge laws would serve to heighten a person’s sensitivity to sin. Although these additional laws were sincerely conceived to increase awareness of what God required, their establishment added a mountain of laws for the people to keep.
The Fence Laws And The Sabbath
Concerning the Sabbath, over 1,500 fence laws were instituted to guard against any possible violation which might take place regarding the day of rest that God had commanded. Moses stated that on the Sabbath, no person could plant, harvest, thresh, winnow, or store any crop. The leaders of Israel added to these prohibitions, the Pilpul Logic, by stating that a person could not so much as walk on the grass of a field during the Sabbath. The reasons given were simple:
If while walking through a field, a stray stalk of wheat might be stepped on. This stalk might separate a grain of wheat: This would break the law of harvesting, which would in turn, break Law of Moses concerning the Sabbath. Further, if one of the grains of wheat were to fall into the edge of your garment and later the wind would blow that grain out of your garment and into the air, this would be a violation of winnowing, which would also break the law of the Sabbath. If a grain of wheat should blow out of your clothing, a small bird might see the seed and eat it, then you would be guilty of storing wheat on the Sabbath.
This is why the Pharisees were so upset with Jesus, over what they viewed as a the callous disregard of His disciples—in walking through a field of wheat on the Sabbath.
Mark 2:23-24 Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
About 200 A.D., Rabbi Judah Hansi completed the fence laws and various other teachings and combined them all into what we know today as the Mishna. Later, a commentary on the multitude of these laws was added, called the Gemara. When the Mishna, and Gemara are combined together, they are called the Talmud. The Talmud was the final authority for every law, as well as the correct interpretation of those laws.
The Pharisees taught that when God gave Moses the law on Mount Sinai, He actually conveyed to him, two laws. The written law, called “the Laws of Moses,” as recorded in the Old Testament; and the “Secret law,” also called “the Oral law.” Moses passed these oral traditions down to the elders of Israel—vocally, as they were prohibited from writing them. These secret laws were not be revealed until the need arose, at the proper time; this is, according to the Mishnah.
Moses received the oral law from God on Mount Sinai and delivered it to Joshua, who delivered it to the elders of Israel, followed by the Judges. The Judges gave these oral traditions to the Prophets and the Prophets delivered them to the sopherim of Ezra’s day.
By the time that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the traditions of the elders had developed the same authority as the Word of God. This is how the traditions of men, over time, came to outweigh and overrule the Words of God.
In this greatly expanded edition of the Laws of God, there was an entire treatise called the Yadim, which described the things which must be done during ceremonial purification. You could pour water over one of your hands during a single rinsing, but not two hands during the same rinse. If a person were to pour water over both hands at one time, he was considered, unclean.
This issue of hand washing was a subject of great concern for the elders of Israel when they questioned Jesus about the practices of His disciples: “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread?”
The Scribes and the Pharisees would go to great lengths to make certain that they correctly washed their hands before eating, yet their hearts were hard and callous and completely unprepared for the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus arrived with all the proper credentials, the leaders of Israel were unprepared to receive Him—primarily because they were heavily weighed down with so many traditions. These men had hands that were washed, while their hearts remained defiled. Jesus observed their hypocrisy and often scolded these religious leaders of Israel. It was for His opposition to their traditions and their false religion, that the Pharisees hated Jesus so vehemently.
Incredibly, the Prophecies of the Messiah predict this obscuring of the true intent of God’s law by Israel—while the Messiah would arrive for the purpose of making the law clear.
Prophecy 208 describes the Messiah—coming into the world for the purpose of clarifying the true intent of God’s law. As we look across the panorama of man’s existence on the earth: The terrible things done in the name of God, the atrocities committed against people in the world—all in the name of the Christian religion, these things took place because men did not understand God, nor His laws.
Isaiah predicts that when the Messiah arrives, He shall clearly define the true meaning of God’s law.
Old Testament Prediction:
Isaiah 42:21 The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 5:17-48 (Jesus Speaking) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
(See the balance of verses 18-48 in Matthew 5 for the full text of Jesus instructions to the Pharisees) (UKJV)
How Jesus Clarified What God Intended:
As Jesus takes the leaders of Israel through a list of seven points in the Law of God, He tells them:
You have heard that it was said… But I say to You…
The Pharisees had developed their own interpretation for the laws of God, which are described as their traditions. See Prophecy 192.
Jesus informs the leaders of Israel that their understanding of the law was incorrect. In saying this, Jesus was elevating His authority above all other authority. Only God has the right to make laws and only He retains the authority to correctly interpret those laws. This is a seldom noticed section of scripture which really speaks to the true identity of Jesus. By stating these words which Jesus said to the Pharisees, but I say to you, Jesus is claiming that He is God, the architect of all laws.
Isaiah further clarifies; when the Messiah arrives, He will clearly define and explain what the true meaning of God’s law is. Perhaps none of the elders of Israel who had read this verse of prophecy, really understood the correct meaning. It certainly appears that Isaiah was describing the law as being misunderstood until the arrival of the Messiah; He would exalt the law and make it honorable.
It was not until Jesus arrived as the Messiah, and spoke these words to the Pharisees, that anyone correctly understood their intended meaning. By His authoritative exposition of the scriptures, Jesus identified Himself as the author of these laws.
The Pharisees had interpreted the laws of God as external. Jesus brought us into an awareness that God is most interested in the inner person, the heart—where the will and the emotions reside.
To Bear Witness Of The Truth
One of the purposes of the Messiah in coming to earth was to bear witness of God’s true character and nature. Up until the time when Jesus arrived, man’s view of God was greatly distorted. Even amongst the scribes and the Pharisees—the very men whom God had entrusted the teaching and distribution of His word—they failed to know or understand the prophecies of the Messiah. The certainty of their ignorance is observed by Jesus statement that they did not recognize the time of their visitation by the Messiah.
Jesus was in constant opposition to the Pharisees, who believed that the laws of God were external. If a person did not kill or commit adultery, he was considered righteous and was regarded as fulfilling the requirements of the law. Jesus expounded and restored the true purpose and intent of God’s law—in context with the thoughts and intents of the heart, which were just as important as the actions of the body.
The Pharisees would often quote a greater, well respected Rabbi in making certain points of the law. Jesus did not quote any man. In this way, He was indicating that His authority was greater than all of their traditions, or the teaching of the greatest Rabbis.
Matthew 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”
Matthew 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
This method of teaching often confounded the people of Israel because of the authority with which Jesus spoke.
Matthew 7:28-29 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
There were two types of teachers of the law in Israel during the time that Jesus taught the people. The Torah teachers, who were only permitted to teach previously accepted interpretations of God’s law—by respected Rabbi’s. The second; the s’mikhah teachers, those who had developed such great knowledge and proficiency in the law of God that they were permitted to teach new interpretations of the law. When the leaders of Israel listened to Jesus teach, His authority and knowledge of the law was unmistakable. As a result of Jesus interpretations of the law, the chief priests and the elders asked Jesus where He received His authority to teach these new expositions of the law.
Matthew 21:23 Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”
All that the leaders of Israel knew about Jesus was that He was the son of the carpenter—Joseph and Mary from Nazareth. In their opinion, Jesus did not have the authority to make such interpretations of the laws of God.
John 6:41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
We should not miss the subtlety of this verse from John 6:41 as their is an implied derision in this statement. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? It was well known amongst the leaders of Israel that Mary was already pregnant with Jesus when she married Joseph. The Pharisees considered Jesus; the illegitimate son of an adulterous woman. In their minds, God would never give wisdom in the law of God, to a man who came from such a scurrilous background.
In fact, through the Hebrew prophets, God described the Messiah as One who would possess great knowledge in the correct purpose of God’s law.
Prophecy 192: Jesus’ interpretation of the Laws of God, in opposition to the “Traditions of the Elders”
Prophecy 208: Jesus reveals the true intent of God’s law.
Jesus informs the leaders of Israel that their understanding of the law was not correct. In saying this, He was elevating His authority above all other authority.
The Importance Of The Messiah’s Prophecies
The Prophecies of the Messiah are a difficult subject to grasp for many people today. Either by a lack of knowledge in what God has written, or a disregard for what He has said—the importance of these prophecies remain unknown to the vast majority of the world.
It was the intention of God that He would make Himself known by these pre-recorded predictions—which would validate His Son when He arrived on the earth. About 700 years before Jesus appeared in Jerusalem, the prophet Isaiah described the arrival of the Messiah and His fulfillment of over 400 prophecies, as unbelievable.
Old Testament Prediction:
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
When John wrote that Isaiah’s prophecy was written for, and fulfilled by, Jesus, he was just as shocked at the revelation of this truth as the world is today.
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 12:37-43 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Who would believe this amazing story of the Messiah when it was told them? Even so, the prophet continues that this is how the arm of the LORD is revealed. The arm of the LORD is a reference to His power. Who would imagine that the great power of the eternal God, which He predicted, would be revealed by the coming of the Messiah—under such difficult circumstances?
- Born to a poor family
- An attempt on His life as a baby
- Fleeing to Egypt to save His life
- Growing up as the son of a carpenter
- No home of His own
- No possessions except what He wore
- Rejected by the leaders of Israel
- Rejected by the people of Israel
- Arrested and convicted of crimes He did not commit
- Beaten so severely, He was not recognizable as a man.
- Crucified between two criminals
- Mocked, spat upon and ridiculed while He is dying
Isaiah asks the question: Who has believed our report? No one could have anticipated that God would send His Son into the world under such dire and difficult circumstances. Worst of all, though He came and endured such horrible treatment, His own brothers, the leaders of Israel and the common people of Israel did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, they rejected Him.
We would logically conclude that those who were entrusted with the word of God at the time Jesus arrived—would have anticipated Isaiah’s prophecy and foresee the Messiah’s rejection. The leaders of Israel should have prepared themselves to receive anyone who met the qualifications which the prophetic word required. God made it very easy to recognize the Messiah, simply by comparing His words and actions to those of the prophetic scriptures. Unfortunately, the leaders of Israel did not understand the Prophecies of the Messiah, nor were they ready to receive the kind of Messiah that Jesus presented to them at that time.
The Prophecies Of The Messiah Were Not Understood
Many of the things which Jesus had said and done at that time, were not known or understood by the disciples of Jesus when the events took place. It was not until after Jesus had risen from the dead that these men realized that He had fulfilled all the Prophecies which had been written for the Messiah.
John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
Without the prophecies of the Messiah, we would have no method by which we could validate Jesus as the Savior of the world. The disciples were uncertain who Jesus was, until they remembered certain prophecies which had been written in the Old Testament—that Jesus was fulfilling right before their eyes.
It is safe to say that these Prophecies of the Messiah are essential to our understanding of the entire Bible. Once a person realizes what was predicted of the Messiah, and how Jesus fulfilled each of these prophecies—the entire scope and purpose of the Bible comes into view.
Why was a large entourage of pagan Astrologers traveling such a great distance—across perilous terrain, just to see a newborn baby in Bethlehem?
Matthew 2:1-8 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
These men had studied the stars, as they moved through the visible sky, and they noticed something incredible. Apparently, these Magi were also students of the Hebrew Prophecies, and they believed that these scriptures were inspired and written by the God of the Hebrews to announce the coming of the Messiah to Israel.
It is likely that these wise men from the east had read the prophecy from book of Micah that predicted the coming of the Messiah at Bethlehem:
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
Along with their study of the Scriptures, these men also observed an event in the movement of the stars which led them to believe that this King, described in Malachi’s prophecy, was about to be born in Bethlehem. Confirmation of Micah’s prophecy is given to us in the narrative of Matthew’s gospel:
Matthew 2:2-4 The wise men saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Notice that these travelers from the East, had followed a sign in the heavens, which they attributed to the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy. These men considered the words of Micah as the very words of God Himself. This king who would be born, would be the key to all life and the very reason for our existence. Today, we have lost this expectation and excitement for what God has promised. We have forgotten that the God who created this vast universe—is completing a plan which He engineered and set into motion, long before any of us had come to this planet.
God is finishing what He has started. He has told us in advance how He is going to accomplish His will. He has recorded the events that will take place on the earth that will complete His purpose for this world. Those who take interest and seek to understand what God has said will be counted as the wise. None of the wicked will understand, nor will they care.
Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
May those who read the words of the Bible and understand the Prophecies of the Messiah, be counted as “the wise.”
1 1.Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
Jesus of Nazareth by Paul Verhoeven (Apr 6, 2010) ISBN 1583229051 page 39
2 Jesus Remembered by James D. G. Dunn 2003 ISBN 0-8028-3931-2 page 339
3 1.Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 pages 39-42
2.Backgrounds of early Christianity by Everett Ferguson 2003 ISBN 0-8028-2221-5 page 116
3.A Brief Introduction to the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman 2008 ISBN 0-19-536934-3 page 136
4 Ezra 6:11 (King Darius) Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.
5 By Cicero, Licona, Michael (2010). The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. InterVarsity Press,. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8308-2719-0
6 Gary Robert Fleisher, Stephen Ludwig, (2010). Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 811. ISBN 978-1-60547-159-4.
7 Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done…
8 Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius c. 395-423, Saturnalia, book II, chapter IV:11: “Cum audisset inter pueros quos in Syria Herodes rex Iudaeorum intra bimatum iussit interfici filium quoque eius occisum, ait: Melius est Herodis porcum esse quam filium,”
9 Jeremiah now turns back to the sad conditions of his day. He pictures Rachel at Ramah weeping disconsolately for the loss of her children. She was an ancestress of the northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (through Joseph), as well as of Benjamin in the south. Undoubtedly, she is lamenting the exile of her children in 722- 721 B. C. Some place the incident later at 586 B. C. The first is preferable because it relates specifically to the captivity of the northern kingdom. This, however, need not rule out her weeping for the Exile yet predicted, which occurred in 586 B. C. Ramah was a town five miles north of Jerusalem, the very place where exiles were gathered before deportation to Babylon (cf. 40:1). Rachel weeping is a poetical figure looking forward to her seeing her posterity carried off into exile. Jeremiah himself was in a camp for exiles in Ramah (cf. 40:1). She who had so longed for children (cf. Gen 30:1) is cruelly bereaved of them, but God purposes to restore them. Source: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
10 Jeremiah 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
11 Exodus 34:21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
12 Tractate Shabbat
13 All of this information is available in the Tractate Avot, Tractate Berachot, Tractate Sanhedrin, Tractate Yevamot and Tractate Eruvin.
14 Tractate Avot 10:1
15 Luke 19:42-44 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.
Categories: Buried in a rich man's tomb, Fulfilling Daniel's Chapter 9, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus is the Messiah, Messianic Prophecies, Messianic Prophecy Bible, Palm Sunday, Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus, Prophecy, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Claims of Jesus, The Existence of God, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Historical Jesus, The Historical Jesus, The Importance of the Bible, The Second Arrival of the Messiah