By Tom Roberts
Though the Old Testament and New Testament are two separate parts of the entire Bible, they are welded inseparably together in such a fashion that either is unfinished and incomplete without the other. The Old Testament points to a Messiah without seeing the promise executed. The New Testament introduces a Messiah in the person of Jesus of Nazareth but the inauguration of this Messiah is cloaked in mystery without the illumination from the past. Jesus, divorced from the prophetic imperative, would have had no mandate for his manifestation to Israel. However, given the rationale that fulfilled prophecy was a lawful essential to the identity of the Christ, it is no surprise to note that the New Testament age opened with a sense of anticipation and closed with a sense of consummation: He who had been foretold had come to Israel.
Fulfilled prophecy is the death knell to modernism and every system of doubt. Far removed from speculation and conjecture, prophecy foresees the future with a surety that acknowledges the existence of God. “For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). While one might dare to argue with the declarations of the Bible about the existence of God (e.g., Gen. 1:1), one can scarcely argue with prophecy. Deity is an indisputable fact when One has the power to see the end of a thing from its beginning, an ability inconsistent with mortal man.
Of course, there are proofs about the deity of Jesus in addition to that of fulfilled prophecy. The testimony of John the Baptist regarding his witness of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 1:34), the voice from Heaven (Matt. 3:17), the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-6), the teaching of Jesus, the work of Jesus (miracles, signs, wonders), and the resurrection, to name a few. But nothing ties the covenants together with more purpose and design than fulfilled prophecy. It shows the in-tent of God to bring a Messiah; it shows the selection of Messiah to be determinate and not accidental; it shows the power of God to guide world events to fruition; it welds revelation into one continuous whole.
In the Book of Acts, Luke presents fulfilled prophecy as a testimony that Jesus is not self-deluded, confused nor an imposter, springing unannounced by God to an unprepared nation, but as the Messiah, indeed, foretold from creation (Gen. 3:15). Pointing like the finger of God, prophecy forever identifies and certifies Jesus as the Chosen of God, sent to save the world.
Fulfilled Prophecy in Acts
Betrayal of Judas: Acts 1:16, 20 (Psa. 69:25; 109:8) Kingdom of Christ: Acts 2:16 (Joel 2:28ff)
Resurrection of Christ: Acts 2:25-32 (Psa. 16:8ff); 13:32-39 (Psa. 2:7; Isa. 55:3; Psa. 16:10); 24:14, 15 (“law,” and “prophets”)
Lordship of Messiah: Acts 2:34-36 (Psa. 110:1)
Suffering and Rejection: Acts 3:12-18; 26:22-23 (“Moses”) Christ as Lawgiver and Prophet: Acts 3:19-24 (Deut 18:15) Fulfilled Covenant – Promised to Fathers: Acts 3:25, 26 (Gen.12:3; 22:18; etc.); 13:32, 33 (Ibid.)
Rejected Cornerstone: Acts 4:11 (Psa. 118:22)
Conspiracy of rulers: Acts 4:23-28 (Psa. 2:1,2)
Scheme of Redemption: Acts 7:1-53 (Gen., Exod., Deut., Josh., Isa., Amos)
Suffering Servant: Acts 8:32-35 (Isa. 53)
Bringing in Gentiles: Acts 10:1-43; 11:18 (“all the prophets”); 13:44-48 (Isa. 49:6); 15:7-15 (Amos 9:11,12) Seed of David: Acts 13:16-24) (2 Sam. 7:12f)
Warning against rejecting Messiah: Acts 13:40-41 (Hob. 1:5) Rejection of Jesus: Acts 13:27-29 (“voices of the prophets”) Rejection of Gospel: Acts 28:25-28 (Isa. 6:9,10) Jesus is Christ: Acts 18:28 (“scriptures”)
Hope of Israel: Acts 28:20-23 (“Moses and the prophets”).
Would to God that modern Jews would take the time to read the book of Acts and search the Old Testament scriptures that are so eloquent in their declaration of the Messiah. Jesus, and only Jesus, is the embodiment of the vision given to the prophets. It is a tragedy of the greatest dimension that his people (according to the flesh) have rejected their Messiah. But we who are Gentiles glorify God every day for the mercy shown to us in allowing us to become descendants of Abraham by faith (Gal. 3:26-29). It is by grace that we are the true “Israel of God” (Rom. 9:6-8).
The book of Acts is Luke’s record of apostolic preaching which has prophecy and it fulfillment as God’s attestation of Jesus as the Messiah of promise. This volume, perhaps more than any other, spans the time between the covenants to make of them one complete statement and to give fleshly reality to the Messianic concept. This, among the other themes of this great book, is but one measure of the blessings we receive in our study of this wonderful text.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 2, p. 15
January 21, 1993