The Bible: Part 4: Messianic Prophecy
How do we know the Bible is the word of God? So far we have shown that it is because it says it is, and this is demonstrated in various ways. We have looked at the unique nature and impact of the Bible, and we have looked at the single united story that reveals a single author. Today we continue to demonstrate the divine authorship of Scripture by examining prophecy and in particular Messianic prophecy. The Bible is unique in its prophecies. Every religion has had so called prophets, very few have written down predictions to take place hundreds or thousands of years to come. The Bible stands alone in its accuracy in detail. In particular the Bible has about 300 prophecies that have to do with the central figure who would save sinful humanity, Jesus Christ. God’s saving work in Christ we have shown is the centre piece of the Scriptures, and various specific details about this Saviour are predicted from the first book of the Bible.
This has been one of my most effective tools in evangelism and I would encourage all of us to be familiar with what the Bible prophesies about Christ. Here is why it is important. The fact that God speaks through prophets about the future demonstrates the reality of God’s existence. It not only proves that He is there, but also that He is a God who is eternal, and who is able to work out the course of history according to His plan. If the prophecies of the Bible are true then there is an eternal and sovereign God who is driving history towards a revealed conclusion. If what God revealed about the Saviour Jesus Christ came true then what God says about the future judgement, and heaven and hell are true as well. The reason we should become familiar with this tool is because this was how the apostles preached the gospel. They regularly pointed out that what Jesus had just done historically before witnesses had been prophesied by the word of God. And the reason the apostles did this was because Jesus Himself did this. Think on Jesus on the Emmaus road, Luke 24:26-27, ‘Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.’ Then listen to Peter and Paul as they preach, Acts 2:30-31, ‘Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.’ Acts 13:29, ‘And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.’
There are of course those who because of an anti-supernatural bias seek to discredit these prophecies. Some have said that these OT prophecies were written after the events of Jesus life. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the Septuagint translation which was translated about 250 BC, disprove this point. Others have tried to say that Jesus self-fulfilled these prophecies. But any thinking person will see that you cannot control where you are born, how you are born, and the exact details of how you will die by another’s hand. Once the evidence is examined the unreasonableness of such arguments becomes apparent. We will look at those prophecies that have to do with Jesus birth, His nature, His ministry and His death, burial and resurrection.