272: Isaiah 55:3


365 Prophecies: Prophecy 272

The Messiah is given the promise of resurrection by God, called “The sure mercies of David.”

Old Testament Prediction:

Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—The sure mercies of David.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Acts 13:34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.”

John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”


Confirmation that this prophecy from Isaiah 55:3 is attributable to the Messiah, comes from Acts 13:34.

As Luke records the words that Paul spoke to the leaders of the Synagogue of Antioch, he uses the same term in Acts 13:34 above: the sure mercies of David, to describe the resurrection of Jesus Christ—which Isaiah also uses in this 272nd prophecy, to describe the Messiah. By this example, we have confirmation that both Paul and Luke believed that Jesus is the object of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah.

Paul, in speaking to these men, testified that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies that concern the Messiah.

Acts 13:32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (Psalm 2:7, Prophecy 63) 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.” (Isaiah 55:3, Prophecy 272) 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10, Prophecy 68 and 69,) 36. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

In the process of proving from the scriptures that Jesus is the fulfillment of three prophecies that he is quoting from, Paul confirms for us the reason that we have set about to study these prophecies: To accurately identify Jesus of Nazareth as the only one who has perfectly identified Himself as the One God sent to save the world.

Notice in Acts 13:32 that Paul attributes the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as a confirmation that He is the subject of this prophecy from Isaiah 53:3, which David describes as the sure mercies of David. By this affirmation that David was describing a Resurrection of his future descendant, the Messiah, this 272nd prophecy confirms that the Old Testament predicted both the Messiah’s death an His resurrection—1,000 years before Jesus arrived.

Verse 34: He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.

We know that this prophecy which describes the resurrection, was not written for David, because Paul states that David died and his body decayed and remained in the grave.

Verse 36: For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.”

Jesus is the object of this prophecy, because only He was raised from the dead after being placed in the grave for three days, yet His body had not decayed.

Verse 37: (Jesus) He whom God raised up saw no corruption…

Luke, as the author of the Book of Acts, confirms that He also believed that this prophecy from Isaiah 55:3 was speaking of Jesus and His resurrection.

The sure mercies of David spoken of here, refers to the gracious promises and loving kindnesses assured David in God’s covenant with him, in 2 Samuel Chapter 7. The Lord will build David a house, a line of descendants that will lead to the Messiah, and He will rule over a kingdom that will never end. He will be the Son of God who comes from heaven to earth, as a man; He will offer His life in exchange for all our us.

2 Samuel 7:4-14 But it happened that night that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, 5 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? 6 For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’ 8 Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. 10 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, 11 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. 12  ‘When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. Prophecy 50 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.’ ” ’ ”

God confirmed this promise to David and his future “Seed,” the Messiah, by an oath in Psalm 89 and 132.

Psalms 89:1-4  I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.” 3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’ ” Selah

Prophecy 129 Psalms 89:27 Also I will make him (the Messiah) My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.

Prophecy 130 Psalms 89:35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: 36 His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; 37 It shall be established forever like the moon, Even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah

Prophecy 151 Psalms 132:11 The LORD has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: “I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. 12 If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I shall teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.” 13 For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: 14 “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

This prophecy was fulfilled by the resurrection of Jesus, as Luke describes this event in Acts 13:34.

Jesus stated, in John 10:17-18, that the power of resurrection was His. This promise, Jesus received from the Father when He volunteered to give His life as a ransom for the whole world.

John 10:17-18  “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

It is interesting that Jesus said that “He” laid down His life at the Cross.

By this declaration, Jesus makes two incredible claims:

1. He will determine where and when He will die.
2. He will determine where and when He will rise.

From this statement, we learn that the Roman government and the Jewish authority were not in control over Jesus death. His crucifixion was by God’s design and the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies, which state that the Messiah would be put to death (Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22). Finally, Jesus announces that it was He who raised Himself from the dead (John 10:18 above).

…I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again…

Of great personal application, Jesus further states that because He has the power to lay down His own life when He chooses, the power to raise Himself to life when He chooses—He also has the power to raise those who fully trust in Him, from the dead, when He chooses.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?

The promise of Jesus to all those who put their complete trust in Him—is that we will also be raised from the dead, by the same power that He possesses which raised Him from the dead.

The greatest proof for the authenticity of the Bible as the Word of God is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything that Jesus said and did during His 33 1/2 years on earth in claiming that He has the power to grant those who trust Him, eternal life and the forgiveness of all sins, is established by His resurrection. Paul stated, in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15, that the entire foundation for our belief in Jesus as our Savior stands upon the certainty that He rose from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

The fact of Jesus’ resurrection is testified to by the witnesses who saw Him alive after they watched Him die by crucifixion. These accounts were recorded by those who saw the events take place. This testimony was then distributed to the local churches in Asia at the time. The documents that were sent to these churches were then copied letter for letter by faithful men, who continued to distribute the news of Jesus’ resurrection.

Biblical scholars Kellum, Köstenberger, and Quarles, write that the four gospels which describe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, was so firmly established in the minds of the early church, that they considered the narrative of these men—not just the words of men, but the very words of God Himself. The early church leaders described the testimony of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in accurately describing Jesus death and resurrection, as “Scripture,” on the same level with the Old Testament as Scripture, the very words of the Living God.[1]

“The fact that all the Gospels were declaring the fulfillment of the OT promises in Christ also supports the notion that the NT writers understood themselves to be writing Scripture.”[2]

Flavia Neapolis, known to the Church of Jesus today as Justin Martyr, was considered the greatest authority on the theory of the Logos (The word of God) during the second century of the church.[3]

In “Justin Martyr’s work entitled: “On the Resurrection,” he begins with the assertion that the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that predict the death and resurrection of the Messiah are substantial support for the four gospels of the New Testament which emphatically declares by eye witness testimony that they saw Jesus alive after three days.

“The truth, and God the author of truth, need no witness, but that as a concession to the weakness of men it is necessary to give arguments to convince those who gainsay it. It is then shown, after a denial of unfounded deductions, that the resurrection of the body is neither impossible nor unworthy of God, and that the evidence of prophecy is not lacking for it.”[4]

Later, Justin Martyr wrote in his “Memoirs of the Apostles,” that the gospel accounts of Jesus Resurrection were read in the early Christian church alongside the Old Testament prophets who predicted this event, as scripture, the very words of God.

“And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the the imitation of these good things”[5]

We have, today in our possession, over 24,000 copies of these original New Testament manuscripts which are virtually identical in all of our basic doctrines of the Christian faith. This confirms the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the most widely documented and substantiated event in all of human history. It is preposterous that skeptics have stated that there is no proof for the existence of the man described in the Bible as Jesus of Nazareth.

See Prophecy 245 for references that prove Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, from sources other than the Bible.

Today, those who state that the man, Jesus of Nazareth, never existed, have been completely discredited by the massive historical record, that overwhelmingly proves that not only does the New Testament accurately record the events of Jesus Christ, but these documents of antiquity are further authenticated by the records of the Romans and the Jews. One of the greatest New Testament scholars of the 20th century, Bruce Metzger, wrote extensively that all past criticism for whether Jesus of Nazareth was a real person of history has been thoroughly impeached.

“Today, no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus.”[6]
—Bruce M. Metzger

Further, we find no credible documents of rebuttal against these facts, described in the New Testament, from anyone who was alive and in Jerusalem at the time these events took place.

Amongst the most compelling of evidence that exist to the present day are the massive number of events that have transpired in virtually every nation of the world as a result of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The entire course of human history for the past 2,000 years has been altered substantially by the facts concerning Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament. No other person in the history of the world has so shaped and modified all human life as the Carpenter from Nazareth.

“One Solitary Life”

Nearly two thousand years ago in an obscure village, a child was born of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village where He worked as a carpenter until He was thirty. Then for three years He became an itinerant preacher.

This man never went to college or seminary. He never wrote a book. He never held a public office. He never had a family nor owned a home. He never put His foot inside a big city nor traveled even 200 miles from His birthplace. And though He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness, throngs of people followed Him. He had no credentials but Himself.

While He was still young, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His followers ran away. He was turned over to His enemies and sentenced to death on a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – the simple coat He had worn. His body was laid in a borrowed grave provided by a compassionate friend.

But three days later this Man arose from the dead – living proof that He was, as He had claimed, the Savior whom God had sent, the Incarnate Son of God.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the central figure of the human race. On our calendars His birth divides history into two eras. One day of every week is set aside in remembrance of Him. And our two most important holidays celebrate His birth and resurrection. On church steeples around the world, His cross has become the symbol of victory over sin and death.

This one Man’s life has furnished the theme for more songs, books, poems and paintings than any other person or event in history. Thousands of colleges, hospitals, orphanages and other institutions have been founded in honor of this One who gave His life for us.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the governments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned have not changed the course of history as much as this One Solitary Life.[7]

The effects of Jesus’ imprint on this world are seen in massive waves of events which happened all over the world—for more than 2,000 years. Entire empires have risen and fallen over the truth of the resurrection. Great churches and the communities of those saved by the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection have existed since the first accounts were written of His resurrection. Countless millions of lives have been forever changed by coming into a personal relationship with this risen Lord. The proof for the existence of Jesus and the fact of His resurrection are the most widely attested events in the history of the world.

Ignorant and biased men and women who hate God are the only controverts of these facts, and they are so few and insignificant that they have not ever diminished or affected the power of the gospel of this risen Lord.

After living some 58 years on the earth, with 39 of those years in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I can attest to the fact that He is real, alive, and that He constantly communicates with me and directs my every move. He is an ever-present help in time of need and has remained a faithful friend and provider of every good thing I have needed throughout my life. The most ridiculous statements I have ever heard by human beings is that Jesus is a myth. The only myths in this world are spun by men and women who cannot be saved by Jesus’ gospel because they refuse to believe the truth that is self-evident to the rational and clear thinkers of this age.

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy of Isaiah, as the sure mercies of David, in promising a future Messiah who would be the Son of God who would be raised from the dead after He completed His great sacrifice for the sins of all people.

[1] 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
[2] 1.D. M. Smith, “When Did the Gospels Become Scripture?” JBL 119 (2000): 3– 20 (the 1999 SBL presidential address). page 13
2.Kellum, L. Scott; Köstenberger, Andreas J.; Quarles, Charles L (2009-08-01). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (Kindle Locations 1063-1064). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.
[3] Rokeah (2002) Justin Martyr and the Jews p.22.
[4] Justin Martyr, “On the Resurrection,” Bellinzoni, Arthur J. (1967). The Sayings of Jesus in the Writings of Justin Martyr. Brill. ASIN B0007ISJW6
[5] The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. I: The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, ed. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 186). Justin Martyr,, 1 Apol. 67, from the notes of Kellum, L. Scott; Köstenberger, Andreas J.; Quarles, Charles L (2009-08-01). The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown.
[6] Bruce Manning Metzger (9 February 1914 – 13 February 2007) was an American biblical scholar and textual critic who was a longtime professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and Bible editor who served on the board of the American Bible Society and United Bible Societies. He was a scholar of Greek, New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism, and wrote prolifically on these subjects. Metzger is widely-considered to be one of the most influential New Testament scholars of the 20th century.
[7] This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”

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