Understanding the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Chapter One – Part One

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.

 

Just as there are people who are directly appointed by God to the task, there are those who are deceived into believing they may be called; or even those who deliberately assume the role of prophet to lead people astray.

Moses, a prophet himself, gave the Israelites the earliest warnings against such false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:15–22). He even went so far as to instruct how they could discern false prophets from true prophets. There will be a later study on prophets and prophecy. This Messianic prophecy from Moses speaks of One who will be raised from among the Israelites, a Prophet like himself, to whom they must listen. Verse eighteen goes further to explain that the Prophet only spoke the words permitted Him by God Himself.

Moses stated that God would raise a prophet from among the Israelite people who would be like Himself. That Prophet must be listened to. The words that He will speak come from GOD. He will tell of everything commanded to Him. God promised to deal with everyone who would not listen to the messages of the Prophet proclaimed on His behalf.

To hear is to merely acknowledge someone has spoken and to take no further action. To listen is to take those words to heart, to meditate on them, and to apply them to actions for living.

Look at your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Are you going to hear with your ears to His words spoken to you and acknowledge He has spoken something important? Or are you ready to listen with your heart and be ready to live through His words a life meaningful and powerful, showing a righteous person that belongs to GOD and lives to obey His commands? Essentially, listening to the true Prophet speak on behalf of Yahweh is listening to God speaking to us. No wonder He wept for Jerusalem.

What does the Bible teach us about the human origins of the Messiah?

What claim does Israel have on the Messiah?

So, let us now delve into the foundational ancestry of the Messiah as promised by God early in Jewish history. Though the plan to redeem all humanity started at the Creation, our Heavenly Father started shaping the Jewish nation through Abram. After Abram changed the course of his life to align with God’s will, God changed the man’s name at age 99 to Abraham, promising that he would be a father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). The initial covenant between God and Abraham was established, creating the nation of Israel.

The Messiah is a descendant of Abraham, as confirmed in the birth lineage of the Gospel of Luke; and in fulfillment of the covenant between God and Abraham (Genesis 12:3).

The salvation Christ represents for the repentant believer was introduced to Jews and Gentiles alike during His human tenure, while He journeyed through his homeland, Israel. Jesus, the Son of God, was born a Jewish citizen. Israel’s greatest gift to humanity did not come from advances in technology or medicine, but in the Messiah, the true King of Kings.

What do you interpret about the term King of Kings concerning the Messiah?

What is the purpose of referring to Jesus as Lord of our life?

Who are the enemies of the Messiah?

The Messiah fulfilled a promise that a descendant of King David would come whose Kingdom would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:12–13). Isaiah prophesied that an offshoot would come from the stump of Jesse; a branch from his roots would bring fruit. Jesse is the father of David (Isaiah 11:1). After being enslaved and conquered by other nations for many generations, it is understandable that Israel longed for a powerful king to establish their nation as a powerful presence in the civilized world.

David enjoyed a deep, personal relationship with God, having been selected by Yahweh from among all the Israelites as the anointed king to replace the irascible Saul chosen by the people.

David was as close to God as humanly possible, so he wrote many psalms that reflected his love for his Creator to share with his subjects. In one such Messianic psalm, in which he first gives credence that the message came from God, David recognizes the future Messiah as his Lord, who sits at the right hand of God waiting for the appointed time. (Psalm 110:1–4). He also describes the type of rule this Messiah would have. The Kingdom of God would extend out from Zion; the Messiah will rule this Kingdom as Priest and King, representing and speaking with the authority and power of Yahweh.

Why was there opposition to the Messiah when He arrived?

Why is there still opposition to the Messiah today?

When did Jesus Christ receive His authority to rule?

Where does the Holy Spirit fit within the Kingdom of God?

Do you believe in the Trinity?

Another Messianic prophecy by David through psalms, the following passage alludes to the epic battle that has raged through the ages between God’s righteousness and the deceit of man’s resistance to living according to His will (Psalm 2:1–12). The first two verses speak of rulers and peoples in contention with Yahweh and His Anointed Son. David recognizes this is his descendant who has received the blessing of God to rule His Kingdom from Zion to the ends of the earth. David closes this psalm with a dire warning to those rulers who choose to defy God and reject his Anointed Son. Embrace the Son of God before it is too late, and you are dead; instead, serve your Heavenly Father with respect, and rejoice in awe, we receive the blessings of a mighty God. He that seeks refuge within the Lord will be blessed.

Daniel offered a Messianic prophecy from a vision that he witnessed at night (Daniel 7:13–14).

This prophet offered unusually accurate historical details of future events. The ‘Ancient of Days’ he spoke of was God. The ‘Son of Man’ was presented before the Ancient of Days. God gave Him the kingship and dominion over all the people and all the earth. Nothing could destroy this everlasting kingdom.  ‘Son of Man’ is one of the various descriptive names associated with Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to be ‘enlightened’?

What is the source of the spiritual darkness that envelopes the lives of those not connected to God?

What is the purpose of a flashlight?

Reflect back to the beginning of this portion of the study of the Messianic prophecies. If a lost camper had gone too far and could not see the light of the campsite, how could it have turned out? If the light could not guide the child back to safety, the child might have given up in despair. What if the counselor did not have the older, experienced campers that he could send out to look for the lost and inexperienced?

The Messiah is the great light that shines in the darkness for all humanity (Isaiah 8:22-9:2).

During Isaiah’s time of prophecy, the Assyrians had taken Galilee into captivity in the eighth century B.C. The prophet promised although they were enshrouded by the darkness of their oppressors, God’s Light was going to return to shine on them, the emblem of His leadership and presence. In a later prophecy, Isaiah described how Yahweh called forth Christ in righteousness and watched over Him, presenting Him as a covenant and a light for the nations to lead those living in spiritual darkness into the light (Isaiah 42:1-7). The Apostle John describes Jesus as the Light, intent upon leading those lost and living in spiritual darkness to the Kingdom of God (John 1:4-5).

After the temptation in the desert, and upon hearing of the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus went to Galilee to begin His ministry (Matthew 4:12-16).

At that moment in Jewish history, Galilee had been populated by Jews and Gentiles, so it is fitting that Jesus began to preach repentance there. This fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that the Light would return to Galilee, a testament to Jesus and His ministry that not only impacts the Jewish nation but all other people of the world as well.

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