Bible Prophecy Part 3: Past
Bible Prophecy Past: An Example in Christ
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
The largest problem with the above definition of prophecy is the lack of a required fulfillment. Without a true fulfillment of the specific statements uttered by the “so-called” prophet it would basically be an absolute stab in the dark, which should not be considered a prophecy by any means. Harold Camping, the preacher I mentioned in the previous blog posting, is no prophet yet all the news outlets labeled his outlandish statements as a doomsday prophecy. A day after his calculated doomsday debacle failed, one of the prominent news agencies titled their top story on Camping, “Preacher Who Got Date of Apocalypse Wrong Tries Again, Says He Was Off by Five Months.” If he was incorrect the first time, second time, third and so on, how can anyone label his deranged utterances a prophecy?
The true meaning and concept of prophets and prophecy have been lost in our modern day vernacular. Wikipedia however, does go beyond the dictionary definition of prophecy and adds that it is “a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a true prophet are then communicated to others by this true prophet.” Keep in mind that the message from that person called a prophet has to eventually be truthfully and completely fulfilled to allow that person to be considered a true prophet. It would also be preferable to have a history of proven prophecies to validate an individual or individuals as true prophets.
21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:21-22
9 As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the LORD has truly sent. Jeremiah 28:9
The prophets mentioned in the Bible had several requirements to be tested as true prophets. One of the most important tests was the accuracy in which they spoke. Their prophecy had to be 100% accurate in its fulfillment.
Old Testament Prophecy Concerning Jesus Christ
According to author Jay Barton Payne in his book, the Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, the Bible contains 8,362 predictive verses (1,817 predictions on 737 separate matters). To narrow the scope down for this posting, however, it will be beneficial to focus solely on one piece of subject matter, the One that made it all possible, Jesus Christ. The following are Old Testament prophecies that are later fulfilled in the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. This listing will give you a flavor of how prophecy is to be fulfilled Biblically so that we can look toward the future and use these same tactics to establish what is coming next in our prophetic timeline.
|1. Jesus Christ’s Birthplace|
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
This was fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-6
1 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, 2 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.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 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.
5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Note, that the wise men are taking the reading of their Septuagint reference to Micah 5:2 literally. Unless otherwise stated in the Scripture, we need to do the same when attempting to understand prophetic references as well.
|2. The Virgin Birth|
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Moses recorded this event in Genesis but if you look closely at this statement it does not make sense, biologically speaking. The seed would and should naturally come from the man. In contrast, the woman’s seed is attributed to bringing about the Redeemer. This is due to the fact that Jesus had no “human” father and was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He bypassed the sinful seed of man.
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (God with us).
This was fulfilled in Matthew 1:22-23
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Note again, that the references are taken literally and attributed as a fulfillment of the prophet that spoke in regard to this event.
|3. Appearing on a Donkey|
Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
There were several times when the followers of Christ attempted to make Him King and He refused saying “My time has not yet come” or He would simply disappear from the area. However, in Luke 19 His appointed time had come and it fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah.
This was fulfilled in Luke 19:28-44.
Always keep in mind that God has an appointed time and place for everything that He prophetically wants to fulfill. In verses 42-44 of this chapter, Christ holds the Jews responsible for knowing how important that day was, saying:
42 “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.”
As a result, the Jews were blinded from the knowledge that He was indeed their prophesied Messiah. We need to be well aware of the circumstances that surround us, so that when He comes again it will not be a surprise.
|4. The dying words of Christ|
Psalm 22:1 To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
In some instances, events match up almost word for word therefore leaving no question in its interpretation.
|5. Crucifixion of Christ|
Psalm 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
This verse indicates crucifixion may be the method of punishment, which was not devised as a form of capital punishment until about 90 B.C.
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Both of these were fulfilled in Matthew 27, Luke 23-24 and John 19.
|6. Thirty Pieces of Silver|
Zechariah 11:12-13 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Judas as we all know betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver and when he realized what the consequences were, he tried to give it back to the priests. They refused to take it back because it was “blood” money and it was against Mosaic Law to keep it.
This was fulfilled in Matthew 27:3-8.
3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” 5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
To reiterate a point, a true prophet must be fulfilled 100% and these verses easily meet that requirement. It is not by the power of the prophet that makes his predictions accurate but by the one true God, who knows the end from the beginning, that validates His Word.
|7. The Resurrection of Christ|
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Not all prophets of God know what is transpiring according to His plan in their lives… Jonah was swallowed up by a great fish which essentially established a type of resurrection that Christ, Himself used as an example of His own glorified resurrection:
Matthew 12:38-40 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
There are several types and symbols that appear in the Bible. Most often they can be interpreted within the Scripture itself. Another example would be the snake on the pole in Numbers 21:8-9; Christ uses that as a symbol of Himself in John 3:14-15: 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. That artifact had not been explained prior to Christ defining it.
Historical Proof in the Prophecy of Jesus Christ
Most scholars, historians, archaeologist and even the clergy are knowledgeable about one fact regarding Christianity, that Jesus Christ can be proven to have existed by extensive, compelling historical evidence. Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus in 155 A.D. mentioned Jesus in his writings on the great fire in Rome:
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberious at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.”
Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, a priest from Jerusalem and later the court historian for Emperor Vespasian, has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Christ outside of the Gospels. In his work the Antiquities of the Jews, he made two references to Christ. The first reference is believed to be associated with the Apostle James, “the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ.” In his second reference he wrote:
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive, accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”
These are just a few examples of the historic proof of the prophecy of Christ. I could list out many more but the post is getting a bit long as it is.
Conclusion of Part 3
Christ was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified and then resurrected on the third day according to the Scriptures, which at one time had been prophecy. He fulfilled those prophecies 100% at their appointed time and there are still many left to be fulfilled. Hopefully from some of the examples that I have used of Christ in Old Testament it will give you a flavor for how prophecy has been interpreted and should be interpreted as we go forward. If you would like more examples then I would be happy to provide them.
Keep looking up, He is coming again – I guarantee it 100%.