The Promise Foretold in the Old Testament
Introducing Jesus Christ to the World Through the Messianic Prophecies of the Old Testament
Picture this in your mind. You are a young child on your first camp out. The counselor lets you go exploring around the campsite, but you are reminded not to go too far and to come back before it gets dark. As you explore, you begin to see things you never witnessed before, things that lure you further away from the safety of the campsite. You become so enthralled by the mysteries and pleasurable sights you observe you forget the rules the counselor gave you and you lose track of time. Soon it becomes dark and you realize you have broken the rules intended for your safety. As panic begins to set in and you imagine all the horrible creatures waiting for you in the dark, you realize you are lost. As darkness closes in and starts to blind you, not too far away from you, a faint light glowing through the trees is revealed. As you follow the light through the darkness, you know you are going where you must. However, as you advance, branches, twigs, and thorny vines entangle you, trying to keep you from reaching the light. When you finally reach the safety of the campsite, the counselor welcomes you with open arms but admonishes you for breaking the rules. Then a call is made to the more experienced campers who were sent out to search for the ones who were lost, and they slowly begin to return to the campsite, leading the inexperienced back to the safety of the light.
This portion of the study will be broken down into four parts. These sections will only provide a study of a selection of the Messianic prophecies. A deep study of the Gospels will follow later. In Part 1, we will cover the prophecies describing Who the Messiah is and His ties to Israel, to the people of God. Part 2 will point to the place, time, and events of the birth of the Messiah. Part 3 will detail the life and mission of the Messiah. Part 4 will depict the rejection and the triumph of the Messiah.
Part 1 – Who the Messiah Is and His Ties to Israel
There are more than a few prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, Jesus Christ. In this portion of the Bible study, we will discover forty of the passages that reflect the coming Messiah of the New Testament. Biblical scholars and theologians have differing opinions on which of the estimated two to four hundred verses are prophetic to the Messiah. A more direct study of the prophecies will be included in a later study.
For now, to complete this study by Easter 2021, thirty-seven Old Testament prophecies will be selected. These are not random selections, rather they are more closely aligned with the purpose of this study. From the Christian perspective, every verse is as important as the following to the person who reads it. God did breathe life into the Word through the prophets who shared the messages and the many writers inspired to transcribe into the Holy Scriptures for the generations to follow.
Could God have chosen another race of people for the ancestry of the Messiah?
What are some spiritual attributes of the Messiah that bonds the Jewish nation to Christ?
What are some attributes of the Messiah that form your personal bond with Christ?
What thought processes get in the way of accepting the truth of Who Christ is?
Our Heavenly Father is a God of promises kept.
Throughout history, and certainly, within the Bible, God has made promises with humanity that He does not break. The Holy Scriptures record a multitude of promises to varied characters regarding them or their future. To expect us to adhere to standards established when He would not, invalidates His divine authority.
To start with, we are going to look at the prophecies that addressed the Jewish people, who we know are chosen by God as His cherished possession from among the other nations (Deuteronomy 14:2). We must understand the Messiah came first for the Jewish people to redeem them to God so that through Israel all nations would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). This is what is so important to know about God and His mysterious workings. It is troubling to see so many of God’s chosen to remain blind to the Messiah that brings unity through faith between all people, blessing the world through the Jewish nation.
Why does God appoint a prophet?
What are some qualifications that enable a person to be called into service as a prophet of God?
What are some tasks that a prophet may be directed to conduct?
How can we discern whether God has truly appointed a person to become a prophet?
In the early days, as the nation of Israel grew in size and complexity, there were periods when they strayed from following God’s path or needed leadership to guide them.
God appointed persons who were upright and adhered to His design for the ethical way of living to turn His people’s hearts back to Him. Some early persons were called judges, while others were considered prophets. They each were appointed to accomplish different tasks according to the situation to bring the Israelites back into line with Yahweh’s will. A direct encounter with the presence of God proved too terrifying with many of the Israelites, so an advocate was established. In essence, they were the intermediaries that spoke for God to the people.