TEXT: Prophecy Isaiah 28:16-18 Psalm 118:22 Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 53:3 Isaiah 53:12 Isaiah 9:7 Zechariah 12:10 Psalm 34:20 Psalm 16:10 Fulfillment 1 Peter 2:6-7 Acts 4:8-12 Matthew 1:18 John 1:11 Matthew 27:38 Matthew 1:1 John 19:34 John 19:33 Matthew 28:9
The students will be able to tell that the cornerstone or foundation of all prophecy and of all Scripture is the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be able to explain that the fulfillment of the many prophecies concerning His birth, life, death, and resurrection, prove the validity of the prophets’ statements concerning events yet to transpire.
The foundation of the Christian religion is Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul says, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Peter refers to Isaiah 28:16 in which God speaks through the prophet, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” The cornerstone is the principal stone used in the foundation of a building and is of great importance in binding the sides of a building together. Surely a description of Christ as the cornerstone of Christian faith is correct, for He binds into one building all believers, Jew and Gentile alike. He has been “tried” to an extremity that man will never fully comprehend. He is “precious,” not only to the Father in Heaven but to all those who have found redemption through His Blood. He is “sure,” for He never fails.
Isaiah the Prophet: Generally regarded as the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. He was a prophet of the southern kingdom, Judah, at the time the northern kingdom, Israel, was destroyed by the Assyrians. He prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, during a period of time from about 740 B.C. to approximately 681 B.C. Rabbinic tradition has it that his father, Amoz (not the prophet), was a brother of King Amaziah. This would make Isaiah first cousin to King Uzziah and grandson of King Joash and thus of royal blood. Isaiah made many prophecies concerning Christ. Since all that pertained to Christ’s first coming were fulfilled in exact detail, we can readily believe that any reference to future events will also come to pass.
What is going to happen next? Today as never before people are striving to find out what the future holds. If one makes the claim that he understands prophecy, people will flock to hear him. Many are turning to fortune-tellers, astrologers, and the occult to find answers. In our lessons for this quarter, we are going to study what God inspired some of the old-time prophets to write concerning the days in which we now live. Since they also foretold Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection with 100 percent accuracy, we can believe that their predictions of the present time and of coming events will certainly happen.
- The dictionary definition of the word prophet is, “one who declares what will happen in the future, one inspired by God to teach His will to men and to announce future events.” How is it that seers, specialists in the occult, etc., of our day, appear to be correct in some cases?
Response: As your students discuss this question, they will likely bring out that Satan does have limited ability to foretell events. Just the law of averages would tell us that some of the “prophetic” words will be true. At other times, perhaps false prophets are allowed to deceive people because they have rejected truth. See 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.
- What are the qualifications of a true prophet? How can we determine if the words of a prophet in our day are true or false?
Response: A true prophet will be 100 percent accurate (Jeremiah 28:9). The students should realize that there are false prophets and they are warned to beware of them (Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 18:20-22). In answering the second question, your students’ comments should lead to the conclusion that all prophetic utterances should be within the framework of God’s Word, if they are to be believed.
- In Matthew 21:42, Jesus refers to Psalm 118:22. Why do you think He made this reference?
Response: Your students may make several suggestions in response to this question. Help them realize that Jesus was helping the people of His time to focus upon the fact that He was the true cornerstone. In so doing He referred to prophecies that had been given. Lead the class in discussing that all Scripture is inspired of God.
- Read Acts 4:11, Ephesians 2:20, and our key verse. What do these Scriptures have in common?
Response: These Scriptures all bring out that Jesus Christ is our cornerstone—our spiritual foundation—not Peter, as some claim. Ask your class why there can be no other foundation for their hope of eternal life. 1 Corinthians 3:11.
- Genesis 3:15 is the first prophetic reference to Jesus in the Bible. How do you think the salvation of a sinner “bruises” the head of Satan?
Response: Allow time for your students to offer their suggestions. The point of this question should be to bring out that when a sinner is saved and continues to walk a victorious life through Christ, Satan no longer controls that life. The salvation of man could only be brought about through the death of Christ. Thus, when a man is saved, Satan’s head is bruised through Christ—a fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15. See also Romans 8:21.
- Which Scripture in our text foretells the virgin birth? How does the fulfilling Scripture in the New Testament confirm it?
Response: Isaiah 7:14 foretells the virgin birth. Matthew 1:18 confirms it by stating that Mary was found with child before she came together with Joseph. See also Luke 1:26-35. Help your class realize that the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin was dramatic proof that He is indeed the Son of God.
- Isaiah 9:7 tells of Jesus upon the throne of David. Matthew 1:1 confirms that He was of the lineage of David. How long will Jesus actually sit on the throne of David? See Luke 1:31-33.
Response: The text given in Luke brings out that He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. This verifies the fact that Christ has been, is, and always will be.
- In Psalm 34:20 there appears an isolated prophecy concerning the crucifixion of Jesus. How does John 19:32-33 confirm this?
Response: John 19:32-33 tells us that the soldiers found no need to break the legs of Jesus—a common practice in order to hasten death—because He had already died. This confirms the prophecy in Psalm 34:20.
- Read Isaiah 53:3, then define the words despised and rejected. Using John 1:11, with these definitions in mind, write your own description of how the Jews received Christ.
Response: Allow time for several volunteers to share their answers, focusing on the fact that Jesus was looked down on with disfavor and contempt, was scorned, and was not acknowledged, believed, or received by His own people.
- In the study of this lesson we have seen how the prophecies about Christ have been fulfilled with complete accuracy. What does this reveal to you concerning the prophecies of the future?
Response: Your students’ responses to this question should bring out that these future prophecies also will be fulfilled. Use this question as a springboard to stimulate the interest in your class for the events to be studied during this quarter.
Bring a large jar of pennies. Mark one, and stir it into the jar. Then blindfold a student and tell him he has one chance to locate the marked penny. (You could let each student try if time permits.) Using this as an illustration of the law of probability, discuss with your class how very remote is the possibility of all the prophecies concerning Christ being fulfilled by chance.
Play a guessing game. Ask questions to which the children are not very apt to know the answers, but that they could know by general knowledge. Give each student the chance to answer at least one of the questions. Then point out how unlikely it would be that they would have the answers to these questions just “by chance,” and how much more unlikely it would be that what the different prophets said about the Messiah would come to pass, unless the prophecies were dictated by the Almighty God.
Use a camera or binoculars and let the students take turns focusing in on an object. Explain how turning to the left or right will make Christ out of focus. We must keep Him at the center of our lives.
Take a field trip to examine the foundation of a building, have a building contractor come to class to explain the need of a sure foundation for a building, or have a picture of an office building. Talk about the importance of the foundation, especially the cornerstone. Build around this, explaining the importance of Christ in our lives.