365 Prophecies: Prophecy 68
The Messiah, though He will be killed, His body will not decay in the grave.
Old Testament Prediction:
Psalms 16:10a “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol…”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Acts 2:29-31 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.”
It is obvious that David, who wrote Psalm 16:10 under the direction of the Holy Spirit, did not intend that he was the object of this verse. David has long since died and his flesh has already decayed from his bones.
When Peter stood before the gathering of people from many nations assembled in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, as described in Acts chapter 2, he made a point in explaining that Psalm 16:10 was not written for David but for David’s descendant who would be the Messiah. Because David was a prophet, he was led by the Spirit to prophesy these words:
“foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.”
This testimony from Peter is a sure confirmation that Jesus fulfilled Psalms 16:10, and that this prophecy was uniquely written for Him. Not only did Jesus rise from the dead on the third day after He was crucified–while He remained in the grave, His dead body was not constrained by the normal laws of corruption. Jesus’ corpse did not undergo decay or decomposition.
Acts 2:32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.”
The process of decomposition is a natural part of death. Although we often hear many details about the suffering and death of Jesus, we seldom hear about what happened to Him in the grave. David’s prophecy speaks of a complete violation of the natural laws of the universe. Everything that dies decomposes and returns the elements it contains–back to the earth. Not so with Jesus’ body. Even as He defied the natural order of death by rising from the dead, so also did His body avoid the natural process of decomposition.
How this happened is impossible to say. Jesus was dead; this we know for certain. When the Roman soldiers came to break the shin bones of the two thieves crucified next to Jesus, they found that Jesus had already expired. If Jesus was not dead, they would have broken His legs. The fact that they did not, and this information is recorded for us in the New Testament, is a sufficient testimony that He was dead. If there was any doubt about Jesus’ death, the last line of verse 34 below, describes the Roman soldier who thrust a spear into Jesus’ side, with blood and water pouring out. Medical science describes the appearance of blood and water as being caused by the rupture of the heart, which brought immediate death.
John 19:3-34 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Every aspect of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection are miraculous and beyond the normal scope of the human experience. It was as if God intentionally caused all the events of Jesus’ life to be supernatural and beyond anything that is a normal part of human life. God was publicly stating that His Son was the One and only Man who lived and died, as no other man had before, or ever since. This is the stunning testimony of the New Testament that uniquely qualifies Jesus to be the Messiah and Savior of the world.