The Use of Old Testament Scripture (VII)
The Old Testament Testifies of Jesus
Billy W. Moore
There are some who believe in God but who deny that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. They do not accept the New Testament as authentic, inspired of God and authoritative. Such persons accept the Old Testament as the Word of God (consider the orthodox Jew), thus when studying with them we cannot make our appeal unto the New Testament. However, since they will accept the Old Testament as Gods word, we can and must appeal unto it. As we have opportunity to study with such persons we must make them see Jesus in the Old Testament.
Jesus In The 0. T.
This method of preaching Christ was used by inspired men. For example, when Paul came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue, the record says. "And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from tile (lead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ." (Acts 17:1-3) When Paul reasoned with them out of the scriptures, of necessity it was the Old Testament scriptures, for this was all the Jews would have had in their synagogues, since the New Testament was not yet written. But what did Paul reason with them out of the scriptures? He was "opening and alleging" certain things. The New American Standard Version says he was "explaining and giving evidence." But what was he explaining? 1-Into what was he giving evidence? Unto two things: (1) ... that Christ must need have suffered," and (2) Christ must needs have "risen from the dead."
Christ must need to have suffered. "Christ" from Christos, means "anointed." W. E. Vine says the word "translates, in the Sept., the word Messiah, a term applied to the priests who were anointed with the holy oil." The Jews would be familiar with this term. as it had been used with reference to the High Priest (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16), of the prophets, who are called "the anointed of God" (Ps. 105:15), and of their kings, who were anointed (2 Sam. 1: 14; Cf. the anointing of Saul and of David, I Sam. 10: 1 and 16:13).
It is said, "the title . . . the Christ is not used of Christ in the Sept. Version, yet three 7 times the title was expressly accepted by the Lord himself, Matt. 16: 17: Mark 14:61-62; John 4:26." Furthermore, on the night before his death the Lord referred to himself as "Jesus Christ." (John 17: 3) When Paul explained and gave evidence to the Jews that "Christ must needs have suffered, he could appeal to such Old Testament passages as Isaiah 53 where the prophet Isaiah described the trial and death of Christ in some detail. We know that the inspired evangelist, Philip, began at this scripture and preached Jesus unto the eunuch of Ethiopia. (See Acts 8:26-39) This is only one of many passages in the Old Testament, which speaks of the suffering of the coming Messiah. Paul could establish beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus of Nazareth had suffered, for this is a well-documented historical fact.
Christ must need to have risen from the dead. Paul explained and gave evidence from the Old Testament scripture that Christ must need to "have risen from the dead." In the Psalms it was written, "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy On to see corruption." (Ps. 16: 10) Paul could refer to the recent historical event and establish that Jesus was raised from the dead. He had been seen of many witnesses, above five hundred at one time, during a period of forty days. This was in keeping with what the Old Testament spoke concerning his resurrection. Luke wrote that the resurrection of Christ was established "by many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3), and Paul would be aware of these proofs. Today we can teach the resurrection of Christ from the Old Testament, as God testified of his resurrection in prophetic words.
When Paul and Silas went to Berea they went into the synagogue of the Jews and preached Jesus. The record says, "these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed . . ." (Acts 17:11-12) When those of Berea "searched the scriptures daily" to see whether the things Paul and Silas preached were so, they searched the Old Testament scriptures. This necessarily infers that Paul and Silas appealed to the Old Testament when they preached Christ unto them. And so can we. Notice that many of them believed as a result of Pauls preaching.
Later, when Paul left Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus, they heard Apollos preaching. He was "an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures." After listening to him preach they recognized that he knew only the baptism of John, so they took him unto them "and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly." Then Apollos went into Achaia where lie "helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ." (Acts 18:24-28) When Apollos showed them "by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ," he appealed to the Old Testament scriptures. Surely we have established the point that the Old Testament testifies of Jesus, that he is the Christ. We must do the same when confronting those who reject the New Testament. Yea, we do it even with those who accept the New Testament to show the wisdom of God and the accuracy of prophecy. Peter said that the prophets of old spoke of the salvation of souls, and regarding this salvation said "the prophets have inquired and searched diligently ... searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." Then he added "unto them it was revealed, that not unto them, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them what have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven." (1Peter 1:9-12)
Thus, the prophets of old spoke not only of Christ and his sufferings, but also of his resurrection and the glory that should follow, yea, even the salvation of your souls. Notice some of the things the prophets of old said concerning Christ.
1. His Birth. Isaiah wrote, "a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son" (Isa. 7: 14). This promised one was to be "the seed of woman" (Gen. 3:151. and the "seed of Abraham" (Gen. 12:3). He was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). These promises were fulfilled as matters of fact. Many New Testament references, how their fulfilling.
2. His Life. The life of the Messiah was to be one of purity, holiness and submission unto the Father in heaven. He was to be brought out of Egypt (Hos. 11: 1) -, a harbinger, with the spirit and power of Elijah, was to prepare the way for him (Isa. 40:3-5; Mal. 3:1; 4:5). These matters could be established as having come to pass. He would perform great healings (Isa. 35:6). He was to be the prince of peace. (Is. 9: 6) Cf. Eph. 2: 14 He was to be given an entry into Jerusalem as was given to a king who had been triumphant in battle (Zech. 9:9, Cf. Jn 12:12).
3. His Betrayal. The prophet spoke of his familiar friend lifting up his heel against him. (Ps. 41; Cf. 26: 14) For thirty pieces of silver he was to he sold unto his enemies (Zech. 11: 12; Amos 2:6; Cf. Matt. 26:15).
4. His Trials. False witnesses would accuse him (Ps. 27:12; Cf. Mark 14:53-59). He would be despised and rejected (Isa. 53:3-7-, Cf. Matt 27). Even the rulers would take counsel together against the Lord (Ps. 2: 2; Cf. Acts 4:25-28).
5. His Crucifixion. He would be nailed to a cross (Ps. 22:16). He would be given vinegar to drink (Ps. 69:21; Cf. Matt. 27:34, 35; 97:48). He would be numbered with transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Cf. Luke 22:37). He must suffer alone (Ps. 22: 1; Cf. Matt. 27:46). He made intercession for the transgressors (Isa. 53: 12; Cf. Luke 23:34). He died for our sins (Isa. 53:3-5; Cf. Matt 26:28). But not a bone shall be broken in his body (Ps. 34:20; Cf. John 19:31-37).
6. His Burial. He was to be with the rich in his death f1sa. 53:9; Cf. Matt. 27:60).
7. His Resurrection. His body was not to see corruption (Ps. 16:8-11; CF. John 20: 1-10 and Act-, 2:25-31).
8. His Ascension. He was to ascend on high (Ps. 68:18; Cf. Acts 1:9-11; Eph. 4:9-11).
9. His Kingdom. When he ascended on high he was to be given dominion, glory and a kingdom (Dan. 7:14; Cf. Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Peter 3:22; 1 Tim. 6:15; Heb. 12:28).
10. A New Covenant. The prophets spoke of a new covenant being given wherein provisions would be made that iniquities would be forgiven and sins remembered no more. (Jer. 31:31-34; Cf. Heb. 6:8-13; Acts 2:38) The prophet Moses wrote that every soul must be hearken to this new prophet whom God would raise up among the Israelites. (Deut. 18:15; Cf. Acts 3:23).
Indeed the Old Testament testifies of Jesus. We are missing an opportunity if we do not use it unto this end.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 7, pp. 6-8