SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:16-21; Acts 10:34-43
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
From cover to cover, the Bible is a book of prophecy. The Old Testament contains a wide range of predictions concerning individual nations, cities, peoples, and events. However, the primary subject of prophecy in the Old Testament is the coming Messiah. His story saturates the narrative — in fact, more than three hundred Old Testament prophecies concern Him. In addition, many other passages typify or hint at the work of redemption that He would accomplish.
The New Testament documents the fulfillment of many of those prophecies and types. Hundreds of years after the era of the prophets, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, His lineage, His betrayal, His death, and His resurrection aligned precisely with what the prophets foretold. In addition, the New Testament contains prophecies about His coming back again.
Following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, as He walked on the road to Emmaus with two of His followers, He explained to them how the whole of Scripture foretold His coming. Ezekiel, Haggai, Isaiah, and others had spoken of Him because the central component of the prophets’ teachings was the coming of the Messiah who would represent, save, and restore Israel. Jesus helped the two disciples understand that He was the “thread” woven throughout all Scripture when “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we may at times be unsure about prophecies regarding Jesus. How do we know what applies to Him? And why is it so crucial for us to grasp what the Old Testament foretold about the Messiah? In this lesson, we will explore the answers to those questions and others.
- The beauty of the Creation account in the first two chapters of Genesis was marred when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. As a result, the relationship they had previously enjoyed with Him was severed, and the righteous nature with which they had been created was changed to a sinful one. In addition, the serpent who had tempted Eve to sin was cursed. God’s pronouncement to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 is the first Old Testament Messianic prophecy. How would you explain this prophecy?
- The prophecies of the Messiah span from Genesis to Malachi — the prophet Malachi said that the “Sun of righteousness” would arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2). This was part of the final recorded utterance of the Old Testament prophets. Four hundred years passed, and during all that time, devout individuals waited for the promised Messiah. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. What do the following prophecies tell us about the Messiah’s birth? Genesis 12:3; 2 Samuel 7:12-14; Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Hosea 11:1
- Long before Christ’s birth, a number of Old Testament prophets described His mission on this earth. Isaiah was one of them. Though he lived about seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, he gave us much insight about how and what the Messiah would preach. What details about the Messiah’s ministry do the following prophecies by Isaiah give? Isaiah 11:1-5; 42:1-4; 61:1-2
- Perhaps one of the most beautiful and familiar prophecies regarding the coming Messiah is found in our key verses, Isaiah 9:6-7. Four descriptive names are given for the Messiah in these verses. The words “Wonderful” and “Counsellor” could be linked together in translation as being “The Wonderful Counselor.” The other names ascribed to Him are “The mighty God,” “The everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” What do these names suggest to you regarding the character and nature of the Messiah?
- Despite the Messiah’s peaceful and healing ministry, the prophets foretold that He would be rejected by His own people and that the rulers would plot to kill Him. The prophets warned that someone who had broken bread (eaten) with the Messiah would betray Him1 for thirty pieces of silver that would later be used to buy a potter’s field.2 Upon His betrayal, the Messiah’s closest friends would desert Him.3 How were these prophecies fulfilled at the close of Jesus’ earthly ministry? Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50; 27:3-10; Mark 14:50
- The most detailed Old Testament prophecies about Jesus concern His death and resurrection — this was the pivotal moment in human history, and the most important event the world has ever known. Isaiah described how the Messiah would remain silent in the face of false accusations and would be beaten, mocked, and spat upon.4 The Psalmist foretold that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced but His bones would not be broken.5 The Savior would die among criminals,6 and people would cast lots for His clothing.7 Also, onlookers would taunt the Anointed One by telling Him to ask the Lord He spoke of so often to rescue Him.8 Jesus fulfilled these prophecies of the Messiah’s death down to the last agonizing detail during His trial and crucifixion. What does the crucifixion of Jesus mean to you?
- King David foreshadowed the Messiah’s resurrection by proclaiming in Psalm 16:10 that God would not abandon the Messiah to the realm of the dead or let the Messiah’s body decay. He also wrote that the Messiah would ascend to Heaven and sit at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1). What proof do we have that these prophecies were fulfilled by Christ? Matthew 28:5-10, 16-17, and Acts 7:54-56
- The only reasonable way to explain the many fulfilled prophecies regarding Jesus Christ is that they were of divine origin. We read in 2 Peter 1:21, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The Old Testament, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, contains over three hundred prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death, and resurrection.
Mathematicians have figured that the odds of any one person fulfilling this number of prophecies are staggering. From a mathematical perspective alone, the conclusion is obvious — Jesus Christ of Nazareth truly was the Messiah, the Son of God, who came to this earth in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Why is it so crucial for us to grasp what the Old Testament foretold about the Messiah?
Old Testament prophets offered a wide range of details about the Messiah’s life, death, and victorious resurrection. Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled these prophecies so precisely that there can be no doubt that He is the promised Messiah.
1 Psalm 41:9
2 Zechariah 11:12-13
3 Psalm 31:11, Zechariah 13:7
4 Isaiah 50:6
5 Psalm 22:16-17; 34-20
6 Isaiah 53:9
7 Psalm 22:18
8 Psalm 22:8