Is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God? (II)
Grant S. Caldwell
Whenever we make the claim that Jesus was the Christ, we invariably make reference to the Old Testament prophecies. The word "Christ" was only the Greek form of the Hebrew word "Messiah." The Messiah was that individual for whom the children of Israel longed as a result of the many prophecies which had been made concerning him. Thus, when we speak of Jesus as the Christ, we are actually referring to the Messiah, the chosen one of whom the prophets wrote.
Christ used these prophecies to prove that he was indeed the Christ of Prophecy. He said, "0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:25-27). In the scriptures, we have one of the most powerful proofs of the deity of Jesus.
Christ often came in conflict with the Jews of His day. He asked them to "Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me, and ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5: 39-40) Jesus asks only that we examine the words that were written before concerning the Messiah. If he fits the description, accept him. This in itself offers amazing proof as to the position he holds.
Does Jesus fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament-those that were Messianic in nature? In this brief article, we will not have the space nor do we have the disposition to cover all of the prophecies concerning him and the fulfillment of them. The amazing thing is that the prophecies were written as far back as 1500 years before Christ appeared on this earth.
The very first prophecy concerning Christ dealt with his human nature. (Genesis, 3:15) He would be born of a woman. He would not just simply come down from heaven as God. But he would lower himself to the status of human. The details of his birth are fully given long before it happened. He was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). He would be born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) of the lineage of Abraham (Gen. 12:3) and David (Psalm 13 2: 11). He was to be the fulfillment of all of these prophecies.
Someone might claim that Jesus just decided to do all the things that had been prophesied concerning the Messiah and thus deceive the people into believing that he was the Christ. However, it should be noted that these events surrounding his birth are matters over which he had absolutely no control at all. All of the circumstances are too obvious to be coincidental. For example, Joseph and Mary lived in Galilee, but by the decree of, Rome, they found themselves in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.
The prophecies concerning the ministry of Jesus are abundant. His ministry was to be preceded by one who would preach concerning Him. (Mal. 3: 1; 4:5) John the Baptist continually spoke of "the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world," and "He that cometh after me." He was to preach in Galilee (Isa. 9: 1) and to purge the temple (Psalm 69:9). He was to heal the oppressed (Isaiah 35 5-6) and finally to enter into Jerusalem in Triumph on an ass (Zech. 9:9).
If Jesus were only a deceiver of the people, there are things here listed which he would not have been able to do. Yet, he did all of these things; thus, proving he was in fact the Son of God, the Messiah of prophecy.
His Betrayal and Trial
Concerning the betrayal and trial of Christ, the prophets again had much to say. He was to be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9 and 55:13) for thirty pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12, 13). He was to be deserted by his own disciples (Zech. 13:7). He was to be mocked and insulted (Psalm 35:15, 16) and yet through it all remain silent (Isaiah 53:7). He would finally die by an unjust judgment (Isaiah 53:8).
Again, it would have been impossible for Jesus to have made all of these events transpire only through human ingenuity. He did indeed fulfill all of the prophecies concerning the Christ.
His Crucifixion and Burial
Notice the explicit nature of his death. He was to be scourged in advance of his crucifixion (Isaiah 50:6). He was to be given vinegar and gall (Psalm 69:21). His cries on the cross were a matter of prophecy (Psalm 22: 1; 31:5) as were the thieves among whom he was hanged (Isaiah 53:12). He was to be nailed (Psalm 22:16) to the cross but no bone was to be broken (Psalm 34:20). It was even a matter of prophecy how his garments would be disposed (Psalm 22:18). Even the matter as to where he would be laid to rest was foretold (Isaiah 53:9).
Not only would it have not been desirable for Jesus to have tried to fulfill these prophecies, but it simply would have been an impossibility. He could not determine how the Romans would treat him, who would be crucified with him, or what would be done after he was dead.
His Resurrection and Coronation
It was foretold that Jesus would not remain in the grave but would arise (Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 16: 10). After his resurrection, he was to ascend back on high (Psalm 68:18-24).
All of these matters were spoken concerning Jesus long before he Aver came upon this earth. Yet, he fulfilled every one of them in detail. It would have been impossible for him to have fulfilled all of the over three hundred prophecies concerning the Christ if he had not been the Messiah. Someone who has taken the trouble to count and calculate has said that the possibility of one person fulfilling all of these prophecies in one lifetime is one chance in 8,490,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
Jesus said he was the Messiah -- the Christ -- the Son of God and the scriptures prove it to be so. What do you say???
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 35, pp. 12-13