“To Him give all the prophets witness” (Acts 10:43).
Centuries before Christ was born, His birth, life, and sufferings were all described in the Old Testament. Christ is the only person ever born into this world whose ancestry, birth time, forerunner, birthplace, birth manner, infancy, manhood, teaching, character, career, preaching, reception, rejection, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension were all prewritten in the most marvelous manner centuries before He was born.
Who could draw a picture of a man not yet born? Surely God, and God alone. Let us briefly trace a few of the outstanding points in the comparison of Old Testament prediction and New Testament fulfillment.
The Promised Messiah
The work of redemption was to be accomplished by one person, the central figure in both Testaments, the promised Messiah. As the seed of the woman, He was to bruise Satan’s head (Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4). As the seed of Abraham (Gen 22:18; Gal 3:16) and the seed of David (Ps 132:11; Jer 23:5; Acts 13:23), He was to come from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10; Heb 7:14).
The Messiah was to come at a specific time (Gen 49:10; Dan 9:24,25; Luke 2:1,2) and be born of a virgin (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18-23) in Bethlehem of Judea (Mic 5:2; Matt 2:1; Lk 2:4,5). Great persons were to visit and adore Him (Ps 72:10; Matt 2:1-11). Through the rage of a jealous king, innocent children were to be slaughtered (Jer 31:15; Matt 2:16-18).
He was to be preceded by a forerunner, John the Baptist, before entering His public ministry (Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1; Matt 3:1-3; Lk 1:17).
He was to be a prophet like Moses (Dt 18:18; Acts 3:20-22) and have a special anointing of the Holy Spirit (Ps 45:7; Isa 11:2; 61:1,2; Matt 3:16; Lk 4:15-21, 43). He was to be a priest after the order of Melchizadek (Ps 110:4; Heb 5:5,6). As the servant of the Lord, He was to be a faithful and patient Redeemer, for Gentiles as well as the Jews (Isa 42:1-4; Matt 12:18-21).
The Messiah’s ministry was to begin in Galilee (Isa 9:1,2; Matt 4:12-17, 23). Later He was to enter Jerusalem (Zech 9:9; Matt 21:1-5) to bring salvation. He was also to enter the Temple (Hag 2:7-9; Mal 3:1; Matt 21:12).
His zeal for the Lord was to be remarkable (Ps 69:9; Jn 2:17). His manner of teaching was to be by parables (Ps 78:2; Matt 13:34,35), and His ministry was to be characterized by miracles (Isa 35:5,6; Matt 11:4; Jn 11:47). He was to be rejected by His brethren (Ps 69:8; Isa 53:3; Jn 1:11; 7:5) and be a “stone of stumbling” to the Jews and a “rock of offense” (Isa 8:14; Rom 9:32,33; 1 Pet 2:8).
The Messiah was to be hated without a cause (Ps 69:9; Isa 49:7; Jn 7:48; 15:25), rejected by the rulers (Ps 118:22; Matt 21:42), betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9; 55:12,13; Jn 13:18,21), forsaken by His disciples (Zech 13:7; Matt 26:31, 56), sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12; Matt 26:15) and His price given for the potter’s field (Zech 11:13; Matt 27:3,7). He was to be smitten on the cheek (Mic 5:1; Matt 27:30), spat upon (Isa 50:6; Matt 27:30), mocked (Ps 22:7,8; Matt 27:31,39-44) and beaten (Isa 50:6; Matt 26:67; 27:26,30).
Messiah’s Death and Resurrection
The Messiah’s death by crucifixion is given in detail in Psalm 22, and the meaning of His death as a substitutionary atonement is given in Isaiah 53. His hands and feet were to be pierced (Ps 22:16; Zech 12:10; Jn 19:18, 37; 20:25); yet not one of His bones was to be broken (Ex 12:46; Ps 34:20; Jn 19:33-36). He was to suffer thirst (Ps 22:15; Jn 19:28) and be given vinegar to drink (Ps 69:21; Matt 27:34) and He was to be numbered with transgressors (Isa 53:12; Matt 27:38).
The Messiah’s body was to be buried with the rich in His death (Isa 53:9; Matt 27:57-60) but was not to see corruption (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:31). He was to be raised from the dead (Ps 16:10; Acts 13:33) and ascend to the right hand of God (Ps 68:18; Lk 24:51; Acts 1:9; Ps 110:1; Heb 1:3).
This brief sketch of Old Testament messianic prophecies with their New Testament fulfillments is, of course, far from complete. There are actually 333 predictions concerning the coming Messiah in the Old Testament!
Since these great realizations of prophecy are true and provable, it is the duty of each individual to trust Christ for his own salvation, surrender to His Lordship and live for Him. Since the Bible tells us that man’s eternal destiny depends on trusting Christ—“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
It should be our great desire to witness to others of these facts and make them aware that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
—Condensed from The Prophets Still Speak by Fred John Meldau, published by The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry Inc., Bellmawr, NJ.