November 18, 2017

The Law And The Prophets Point To The Coming Of Christ

By Grover Stevens

The Bible is the Living Word of the Living God. Jehovah, the God of the Bible, is the only "God" known to man that is eternally living, intelligent, all-knowing, holy and righteous, and he alone knows the future and is able to "declare the end from the beginning" (Isa. 46:10). His Word, the Bible, the Word of God is just as living, eternal, all-knowing, holy and righteous as the person of God (Heb. 4:12; 1 Pet.1:23). Prophecy, and particularly the prophecies of the Messiah, is one of the two greatest miracles since the creation of the world, and it, together with the resurrection of Christ from the dead as an historical fact, is the most conclusive and convincing of all proofs for the existence of God, the deity of Christ, and the divine inspiration of the Bible. The resurrection is not only an historical fact, but also has its place in prophecy. The "law and the prophets" refer to the writings of the Old Testament (Luke 19:26). There are specific prophecies foretelling the coming of Christ, but also the coming of Christ is the heart and soul of Old Testament, just as the Second Coming of Christ is the basic message of the New Testament. We hear the apostle Peter as he declares, "Jesus Christ . . . which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21). The Lord Jesus said, ". . . All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44); and "search the scriptures, for . . . they testify of Me" (John 5:39).

Bible prophecies concerning the coming of Christ are the most numerous, most prominent, most specific, most extended over time, and most remote from their fulfillment, of all the prophecies ever made, thus the decided distinction of the Bible and Christ over all other books and religions.

Over 300 prophecies about the Messiah (Greek: Christ; Hebrew: Messiah) have been identified in the "Law and the Prophets," all made from the first book in the "law" to the last book in the "prophets," made between 1500 B.C. and 400 B.C., and all fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth in the first century A.D.  400 years after the last prophecy. Dr. A.T. Pierson says, "One might almost as well expect by accident to dip up any one particular drop out of the ocean as to expect so many prophetic rays to converge by chance upon one man, in one place, at one time. God has put especially upon these prophecies as to His Son the stamp of absolute verity and indisputable certainty, so that we may know whom we have believed. Mistakes in so solemn a matter are (eternally) fatal, and God meant that none should be possible" (God's Living Oracles, see "The Law" on p. 26 quoted in All The Messianic Prophecies of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer, p.17, Zondervan, 1973). Every prophecy concerning Christ has been fulfilled except his second Coming, the end of the world, destruction of death, resurrection and judgment. No man can name one prophecy concerning Christ that Jesus did not fulfill. How foolish of the Jewish people to ignore this phenomenal fact.

Sometimes the prophecies of Christ seem to be contradictory, but not so. Many of the prophecies represent him as a triumphant king and conqueror (as David was), whose dominion would be universal, and who would flourish in righteousness and peace forever; while others portray him as one despised and rejected, full of sorrow and grief, with-out esteem, oppressed and afflicted, yet meek and forbearing, as cut off out of the land of the living, and as pouring out his soul unto death. But, however great the seeming inconsistency, there is an exact fulfillment of both characters in Jesus Christ, and in no other person who ever lived. Misunderstanding of those prophecies dealing with the conquering king and his worldwide rule of righteousness and peace form the basis for the false concepts of the ancient Jews and modern Zionists and non-Jewish Millennialists. Millennialists apply the same prophecies to the second coming of Christ that the Jews do to the first. Both have missed the true meaning of these and other prophecies.

In this study we will only be able to look briefly at a few of the most remarkable of these striking prophecies. It is plain from a casual reading of the Scriptures that they fore-tell the coming of a distinguished person who was to be Savior and Lord, as is expressed by the Samaritan woman in John 4:25. This personage was to be "the seed of woman" (a virgin); the "seed of Abraham in whom all nations should be blessed"; "from the tribe of Judah"; from the "seed of David according to the flesh," yet God was to be his father and he was to be the Son of God; a "king" whom God would "set upon His holy hill of Zion" on the "throne of David" in spite of raging opposition of the people and rulers who made a "covenant with death" to prevent it; a "Prince of Peace" whose rule would be "forever"; a prophet like Moses (a deliverer and lawgiver); a "priest forever after the order of Melchizedek"; "the anointed one" or " Messiah; the righteous Branch"; "the corner stone"; "the Shepherd of Israel", etc.; even the fact that he would be "from everlasting" (Mic.5:2).

There were prophecies of his birth; the time and place of his birth; descriptive names he would bear; of his character and work; of his dual nature of both God and man (God with us, Isa. 9:7); of his death and resurrection. Scores of prophecies concerning the Messiah and his coming, nature and work are to be found in a host of TYPE and SYMBOL throughout the law and the prophets.

God's promise and prophecy of a Savior was first given as soon as a Savior was needed, back in the Garden of Eden when sin first entered into the world bringing death (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12; 6:23; etc.). In pronouncing the sentence of death upon Adam and Eve, God continued by saying, "And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent/ Satan) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (seed of woman) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). "Seed of woman" refers to the virgin birth of the Savior. Isaiah, reaffirming this fact, said, "The Lord shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14). The only person in the history of the world that was born of the "seed of woman," and not the seed of man and woman as all other people have been since Adam and Eve, was Jesus Christ. Seven hundred years later Matthew and Luke tell us that this "sign" was given (prophecy fulfilled) when Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (1:23, 34-35), and the apostle Paul refers to this prophecy in saying, "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman . . . that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Gal.4:4). Further, this "seed" was to be called Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." How foolish of some, even today, to contend that Jesus Christ was not God while he was in the flesh. Further, the fact that woman has seed was written by Moses over 3000 years before it was discovered by modern science. Satan bruised Christ's heel when he was crucified; and Christ bruised the serpent's (Satan's) head when he was resurrected from the dead (Heb. 2:14-15; Rev. 1:18).

The genealogies given in Matthew and Luke show that both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David and there-fore God's prophecies regarding Christ being of the "seed of woman" and the "seed of David according to the flesh" was literally fulfilled in spite of the fact that the royal line of David had fallen into obscurity for the past five hundred years (Acts 15:15-17). In his summary of the Bible, the Risen Christ declares "I am the root and offspring of David" (Rev. 22:16).

God further promised David that while he was "sleeping in his tomb . . . that He would set up his seed in his kingdom on his throne forever" (2 Sam. 7:12-14). God was careful to specify that the particular "seed of David" whose kingdom and throne he would establish forever was one to whom "I (God) will be His Father, and He shall be My Son." This prophecy is quoted by the God- inspired writer of the book of Hebrews and there declares to have been fulfilled "when He (Christ) had by himself purged our sins (died on the cross for our sins), and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb.1:3-5). And this is precisely what the Holy Spirit inspired apostle Peter says in Acts 2. Peter says, "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day." (Hence, David's body is in the grave, sleeping with his fathers). "Therefore being a prophet (inspired of God), and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him (David), that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh (that is, seed out of his fleshly body), He (God) would raise up Christ to sit on his (David's) throne; He (David) seeing this (that God would raise up Christ to sit on his throne  He seeing this) before spake of the resurrection of Christ, (when he said in Psalm 16 which Peter had just quoted, v. 27) "that His soul was not left in hell (hades), neither His flesh did see corruption." David had also referred to this promise of God to him in Psalm 132.

Now good people, there you have it, clearly stated, from an inspired apostle of the resurrected Christ! That Christ was resurrected to sit on David's throne as prophesied by God some thousand years earlier. That this prophecy was fulfilled by Christ when he was resurrected "to sit on David's throne" is too plain to misunderstand. Too bad for the Millennialists that Peter and David said that God's promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-14 referred to the resurrection of Christ, and not to the second Coming of Christ. And, Peter's conclusion in verses 33 to 35 clinches this point beyond all argument: "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted (Christ was then, and is now, "exalted" on David's throne), and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He (Christ) hath shed forth this which you now see and hear (the Holy Spirit). For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord (God the Father) said unto my Lord (Christ), Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make Thy foes Thy footstool." Here the inspired Apostle Peter tells us that Christ was then, is now, and will continue "being by the right hand of God ... exalted ... sitting on David's throne . . . until God makes His foes His footstool," that is, till the end of time. Referring to this same prophecy, the Divinely inspired Apostle Paul says, "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor.15:25-26). The "sitting" and the "reigning" are coextensive. Christ began reigning on David's throne when he began sitting on David's throne, and he will sit and reign on David's throne until the last enemy, death, is destroyed, and that will be at the second coming of Christ which will be the end of time (1 Cor. 15:23-26, 51-55). Furthermore, when Peter says, "And having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit" he is saying that Christ had already,  at that time, the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, when Christ was "raised up to sit on his (David's) throne," that Christ had already  received this promise  that is, the promise that the Holy Spirit made through Nathan the prophet to David as we read in 2 Samuel 7:12-14.

Peter's sermon on Pentecost also shows the fulfillment of many other prophecies concerning the coming Christ, such as Psalm 2 (See: Acts 2:23; 4:25; 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5); Psalm 110 (See: Heb. 5-7, note: 5:5-6); Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-12 (See: Rom. 15:12, Acts 15:16-19; Eph.3:4-6; Rom. 11:5; John 1:17; Eph. 3:26-29); Isaiah 28:14-18 (See: Acts 2:23; 4:25-28; 1 Pet. 2:4-10; Rom. 9:33); Isaiah 2:2-4 (See: Acts 2:17; Luke 24:46-47; Eph. 2:13-22); Dan. 2:44; etc.

The betrayal, trial, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ were foretold in such detail that unbelievers refuse to believe that these prophecies were written 400 to a thou-sand years before the fact. There is plenty of evidence that these books were written at the time assigned to them, but the fact that a translation of these books, known as the Septuagint, was made between 285 and 247 B.C., more than 250 years before Christ came, makes it absolutely certain that they are given by divine inspiration, so why argue over just how many more years before their fulfillment that they were written. Indeed, the "law and the prophets" point to the coming of Christ.

Guardian of Truth XL: 1 p. 2
January 4, 1996

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