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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Old Testament prophecies related to the Messiah

Critics of the Bible have dismissed many of the prophecies of the Old Testament as being made after the fact or having been written in such vague language as to be open to almost any interpretation. Fair enough, but what about all of the prophecies dealing with the Messiah? Let's notice just a few of them:

Addressing the serpent after it caused the humans to eat the forbidden fruit, God said: "And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel." -- Genesis 3:15

After instructing the Israelites to not follow the pagan practices of the nations who inhabited the Promised Land prior to their arrival, we read: "Moses continued, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him...I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.'" -- Deuteronomy 18:15-18

We are informed that God gave Nathan this message for King David: "Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you - a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house - a temple - for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever." -- II Samuel 7:11-13

This psalm was attributed to King David: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?...But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, 'Is this the one who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!'...My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay...My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing." -- Psalm 22

After telling the Israelites that they would be punished for their sins and experience a time of dark despair, Isaiah wrote: "Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine...For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven's Armies will make this happen!" -- Isaiah 9:1-7

Isaiah also wrote: "Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot - yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited." -- Isaiah 11:1-4

And: "My servant grew up in the Lord's presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed...He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth." -- Isaiah 53:2-7

I don't know about you, but it sure sounds to me like Jesus and his disciples patterned the story of his life on these prophecies - not on some pagan mishmash! What do you think?


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