I wanted to draw you back into the Word of God and let the Word of God speak. It is much more important that you hear the Word of God than you hear anything else. And one thing we know about the Scripture, that what it says is true and that is verified in many ways. But in particular we’re looking over the last couple of Sunday nights at the idea that the Scripture makes prophecies that are already fulfilled and, therefore, its veracity and its authenticity can be tested by historical fact.
We find that in the Old Testament there are, of course, hundreds of prophecies, and hundreds that relate to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I have selected a – a few of these and put them down in this list with some Scriptures that show the Old Testament prophecy and its corresponding New Testament fulfillment. And I just thought we would kind of read our way through these with only necessary comments if there is a point of clarification.
Let’s begin with the Old Testament prophecy that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. In Isaiah 7:14 the Scripture says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” The Old Testament word for virgin, almah, is used about five or six times in the Old Testament and in all cases, it is intended to refer to a virgin. That is confirmed in the account of the New Testament.
Matthew chapter 1 verses 21 to 23, “She will bear a Son;” – says the angel – “you shall call His name Jesus, it is He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’” The Greek term virgin is parthenos. it is the word virgin unmistakably. The Old Testament says that the Messiah will be born to a virgin, a miracle, obviously. The New Testament account verifies it, all the attending circumstances verify it as well.
A second prophecy in the Old Testament that I draw your attention to is in Genesis chapter 12 verses 1 through 3. “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.’” Here is a promise given to a barren man that he is going to be the father of a great nation. At this point he is the father of absolutely no one. He and his wife, Sarah, have never been able to produce a child.
But the promise is that out of his loins would come a great nation and that through him by means of his progeny would come blessing, blessing to all the families of the earth. Not only would he have offspring, but he would have offspring that would bless the entire earth. Verse 7 should be added to the text of verses 1 through 3. Because in Genesis 12:7, there is this phrase that is very, very important. It is the phrase, “And to your descendants,” Genesis chapter 12 in verse 7, “To your descendants.” that’s the way the NAS translates it, to your descendants. However, the actual Hebrew word translated descendants is the word seed. It is a singular word, “To your seed I will give this land.”
God promises then that Abram is going to have a nation out of his loins. That has to begin with one child. We know that child of promise to be not Ishmael, illegitimately born, but Isaac. legitimately born. And we know that through Isaac was going to come a great nation and a great nation did come. And we know that to that great nation came the oracles of God, the Law of God, the truth of God, the Scripture, the promises, the covenants and so forth, as Romans tells us. And by means of that, the nations of the earth are blessed by and through the hearing and the believing of the Word of God.
But also through that nation, that is descendant from Abram, would come the descendants, or in the Hebrew, to your seed. And in Galatians 3:16, there’s a very, very important text of Scripture in which there is an interpretation of Genesis chapter 12. Listen to what it says in Galatians 3:16. “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And to your seed,’ that is, Christ.” So Genesis 12 is saying that through the loins of Abraham would come a great nation. From that nation would come great blessing to the world. In that nation there would be a seed, a seed that is none other than Christ through whom all other promises are fulfilled.
And thus when you open the New Testament to the first page and the first verse, this is what you read. Matthew 1:1, “The book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” And there is a genealogy that follows to show you, step by step, person by person the full genealogy that begins with Abraham and ends up with Joseph the father of our Lord Jesus. The Old Testament said the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham and the New Testament confirms that indeed He was.
Also the Messiah will be a descendant of Judah, a descendant of Judah. Genesis 49:10 says, “The scepter” – that is the scepter that identifies the ruler, a scepter was the mark of a ruler, a monarch – “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Shiloh is a kind of cryptic title for the Messiah. Shiloh if you translate it, it means the one whose right it is. So the one who is the rightful ruler, the one who is the rightful heir, the one who is God’s anointed, none other than the Messiah, will come from the tribe of Judah.
When you come into the third chapter of Luke, you read the genealogy of our Lord Jesus there and Luke 3:33 says, following the genealogy of our Lord Jesus, “the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, who was the son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham who was the son of Terah, the son of Nahor.” He descends from Abraham. He descends from Abraham through Judah, one of the twelve sons of Jacob.
The Old Testament also promises that the Messiah would come as a descendant from David, as a descendant from David. In 2 Samuel chapter 7 is one of the passages of interest. It’s an interesting passage because it combines both present or immediate fulfillment in Solomon with future fulfillment in the Messiah. The two are drawn together in what is not an uncommon fashion in the Old Testament. There can be prophecies that have a near interpretation and a far interpretation, a near fulfillment and a far fulfillment.
That is somewhat common and that is the case in this one. God speaks and says to David, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. That can refer to Solomon, for Solomon was the descendant of David whose kingdom was established. It can also refer to Messiah, the greater son, the future son of David who also has been given a kingdom. Then it goes on to say, “He shall build a house for My name,” and now we know that that is in reference to Solomon.
David was not allowed by God to build a temple for God because he was a man of blood, even though it bothered David greatly that he lived in a palace of cedar and God lived in a tent. And he wanted to build the house but God would not let him build it. Nathan presumed on God and encouraged David to go ahead and build it without asking God, and Nathan was rebuked. There would be a house built for God, a house for His name but it would be built, and it was built by Solomon, the great temple of Solomon.
Beyond that, however, says the text, “I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever.” That cannot refer to Solomon. Solomon’s kingdom was anything but forever. At the end of his life, his kingdom was split into two and the entire empire was permanently divided. The text goes on, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.” Certainly a messianic indication. Then back to Solomon, “When he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of iron and strokes of the sons of men, 1but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul.” We know he’s talking He’s talking there about Solomon because He compares him to another sinner named Saul.
And then back at the end of this little section to the Messiah. “And your house and your kingdom” – David, through your loins – “shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”. And the promise here is this. That from the loins of David, not just Abraham and Judah, but in that same line, through David, would come the king who would establish the eternal kingdom. He would be of the line of David.
Jeremiah 33:14 to 16 is another text that speaks to this. “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah shall be saved and Jerusalem shall dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she shall be called:’ – that is Judah and Jerusalem – ‘the Lord is our righteousness.’” And this king who comes to establish this glorious kingdom of justice and righteousness, this one will come as a branch through David’s family.
And that again takes us back to the first verse of the New Testament, the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. You have a genealogy of our Lord in Matthew. You have another genealogy of our Lord in Luke. In both cases you have the line of Abraham through David, down to Joseph in one case, and down to Mary in the other case. So both Joseph and Mary came from the seed of Abraham, from the progeny of Abraham and through the line of David so that our Lord inherits the royal blood, as it were, from Mary, and the royal right from His earthly father, Joseph.
In Luke 1:32 we read, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” He was born of the line of David, unmistakably so, and that is why the genealogies are presented in the New Testament, to verify that. He went, of course, to pay His taxes – His father and mother did, Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, the city of David because they were from the lineage of David.
And that leads us to another prophecy, the prophecy of being born in Bethlehem, the house of bread. Micah 5:2, Micah the prophet spells it out, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,” Ephrathah is simply a secondary distinguishing title because there was also a Bethlehem in the north in Galilee in a completely different location. And in order to distinguish the right Bethlehem, it is Bethlehem Ephrathah. “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah” – so insignificant, not even having a prominent place – “from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” An eternal one will be born in Bethlehem.
And we read in Matthew 2, “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, and they were saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. And they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet’ – all the priests and scribes knew that – ‘For so it has been written: “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.”’”
The Old Testament even alludes to the fact that our Lord would also come from Egypt. In Hosea chapter 11 verse 1, we read, “When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My Son.” Out of Egypt I called My Son. Is this conflict with Bethlehem? Not at all. Matthew chapter 2 verses 13 to 15, “Now when they had departed,” – fleeing the massacre by Herod, as you remember, killing all the boys under the age of two – “behold an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, ‘Arise, take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the child to destroy Him.’ And he arose and took the child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt and was there until the death of Herod that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Out of Egypt did I call My Son.’” Again, specific perfect fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy leading us to the convincing conclusion that the author of the Old Testament is none other than God, for only God knows and ordains the future.
Another prophecy has to do with the Messiah being heralded by a messenger. As it is time for our Lord to begin His ministry after the years of obscurity, the 30 years of obscurity, He is to be announced by a prophet. Isaiah 40 verses 3 through 5, “A voice is calling” – or the familiar – “A voice is crying in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’”
This is a familiar kind of scenario. Whenever there was an arriving monarch, somebody came before that monarch to announce to the citizens that he was coming who was worthy of great honor and great accolade and great worship. And they were to make everything ready for His arrival. And the language here is not intended to indicate that, all of a sudden, bulldozers began moving. This is really spiritually analogous language. “Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, every mountain and hill be made low.”
It’s talking about the preparation of the heart. The heart needs to be made ready. All the obstacles and barriers in the way need to be removed so that the road is smooth. Every low place, every place of deep dark sin is to be lifted up. Every high place of pride and self-will and self-glory is to be brought low. Everything that is rough and uncultivated is to become a plain. And the rugged is to become a broad valley. That – that’s a call for heart preparation. And that was the ministry, as you well know, of John the Baptist who came as the forerunner to the Messiah and fulfilled that prophecy.
But there’s another prophecy in Malachi 3:1, “‘Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says the Lord of hosts.” He would come, He would come after He had been announced. And when He did come, He would come to His temple.
In Matthew chapter 3, it opens this way, “In those days, John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent,’ – that is the spiritual significance of all of those sort of physical illustrations from Isaiah 40 – ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!’” John the Baptist then becomes the fulfillment of the messenger.
Another prophecy, the killing of the children, the killing of the children by Herod. Jeremiah 31:15 says, “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children because they are no more.” And, historically, this was at the slaughter of children during the time of the Babylonian invasion. But there was a far greater event that would happen in the future in which there would be another slaughter of children to which this one looked.
Matthew chapter 2 verse 16, “When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi,” – the wise men – “he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the magi. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled saying, ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.’” So that prophecy in Jeremiah had a near reality, but a future fulfillment.
It is also prophesied in the Old Testament – Testament that when the Messiah did come and begin His ministry, He would be anointed by the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 11:2, “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Those are all dimensions, facets of the Spirit’s ministry.
“But the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him.” Isaiah 61:1 and 2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners: to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.”
And that is fulfilled in the Messiah. Matthew 3:16, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.” In Acts 10:38 it says, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” The prophet said He would be anointed by the Spirit and that is exactly what happened.
Another Old Testament prophecy, that He would be a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. This takes us back to Genesis 14, you can read that on your own, the historic occasion of Melchizedek’s appearance, who was both king of Salem and king of righteousness. In a sense, he was king of peace; he was a unique king. And our Lord was to be, according to Psalm 110:4, a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. If you go to Hebrews 7, you read about the fact that there’s no recorded origin of this man. There’s no recorded genealogy of this man. He just appears out of nowhere, having a unique isolated priesthood without the beginning and without an ending, as far as any of the historical record is concerned.
He is both a priest and a king, the only time that occurs, a king and a priest. He then becomes the picture, the prophetic type of Christ. Hebrews 5:5 and 6, “So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You’; just as He says also in another passage, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’” That is the passage in Psalm 110 verse 4. It is affirmed in the New Testament that our Lord has a priesthood that transcends the Levitical priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood is a priesthood of a different and distinct order.
Then gospel ministry takes us back to a passage I read a few moments ago from Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to prisoners, proclaim the favorable year of the Lord in the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn.” That was the prophecy, that when the Messiah came that is what He would do.
Luke 4:16 to 19, wonderful text. “He came to Nazareth, He had been brought up there; as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah these words. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’” Then he went on to say, “Today this is fulfilled in your ears.” The prophecy that He would come and have a gospel ministry, a ministry proclaiming salvation to the poor, the prisoners, and the blind and the oppressed.
The Old Testament also said that though He would be a Son of Abraham, a Son of David through the line of Judah as well, Jewish, He would have a ministry to the nations, that He would have a ministry in Galilee of the Gentiles. Isaiah 9:1 and 2, “There will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness” – the Gentiles – “will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” When the Messiah comes, He will go beyond the borders of Israel into Gentile area.
Matthew 4 gives us the fulfillment. “When Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; leaving Nazareth, came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘The land of Naphtali, the land of Zebulun, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, and those who were sitting in the land in the shadow of death, upon them a Light dawned.’”
The Old Testament also said that He would be a stone of stumbling to the Jews. Isaiah 8:14, “Then He shall become a sanctuary; but to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, and a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” That when He comes, the Jews will stumble over Him. And so they did. You can read it in Romans 9:33 that He is a stumbling stone. But most particularly, 1 Peter 2:8, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the Word and to this doom they were also appointed.” The Old Testament said it would be that way and it was that way.
Looking a little more deeply into that same reality, Old Testament prophecy says the – the Jews would reject Him. Psalm 118:22, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” Matthew 21:42, “Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, “the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone”’?” And that’s precisely the fulfillment of what the psalmist prophesied. It was also prophesied by Zechariah – this is a fascinating one – that our Lord would ride on the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation,” and then this is remarkably humble for the coming of the glorious king – “humble, and mounted on a donkey,” – not just a donkey, but – “even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
And, of course, in Matthew 21, that is exactly what happened. “When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village opposite you, immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them bring them to Me. If anyone says something to you, you shall say, “The Lord has need of them,” and immediately he will send them.’ Now, this took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.
“And the disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, brought the donkey and the colt, and laid on them their garments, on which He sat. Most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, others were cutting branches from the trees, spreading them in the road. And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after, were crying out, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!’ And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the multitudes were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’” He came on the foal, the colt of a donkey as Zechariah said He would.
He had been betrayed by a friend, prior to His death. Psalm 1 – 41:9, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, he lifted up his heel against Me.” The far fulfillment of that is also tied to Psalm 55 verses 12 to 14. “For it is not an enemy who reproaches Me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates Me who is exalted himself against Me, then I could hide Myself from him. But it is you, a man My equal, My companion and My familiar friend. We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.” These prophecies say that Jesus would be betrayed by one who ate bread with Him, one who was a very familiar friend.
Matthew 26:20 to 25, records its fulfillment. “When evening had come, He was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. And as they were eating, He said, ‘Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.’ And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, ‘Surely not I, Lord?’ And He answered and said, ‘It is he who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl; he is the one who will betray Me.” – they took bread, dipped it in the bowl to eat it – ‘The Son of Man is to go, just at is – as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.’ And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, ‘Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’ He said to him, ‘You have said it yourself.’”
Matthew 26:47 to 50 adds, “And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, ‘Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.’ And immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, ‘Hail, Rabbi!’ and kept on kissing Him.” – in the literal Greek – “And Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you have come for.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. Jesus even identified him as a friend, for he was His own familiar friend, the one with whom He had eaten.
You need to know what John 13 – I put it in parenthesis – says. Verses 18 and 19, “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen;” – says Jesus – “but it is that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” – and then Jesus says, “He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.” And our Lord quotes the passage from Psalm 41:9.
It is also prophesied in the Old Testament that Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Zechariah chapter 11, and this is an important one, Zechariah chapter 11 verses 12 and 13, “I said to them,” – and to give you a little bit of background; here the Messiah is seen speaking, the pre-incarnate Lord is seen speaking and He’s asking what He will be worth to the people He comes to shepherd – “And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give Me My wages. But if not, never mind.’” – what am I worth – “'So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the 30 shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the Lord.” Thirty shekels of silver, according to Exodus 21:32 was the price you paid for a slave who had been gored by an ox.
So they valued Him at the price of a slave, 30 pieces of silver. Matthew 26 tells us that’s exactly what they paid for Jesus. “one of the Twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. One of the Twelve named Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” And they weighed out to him 30 pieces of silver. And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.”
Matthew 27 – and I won’t read it – then records the fact that Judas was filled with remorse and went, threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed and went out and hanged himself. But then the text goes on to say this, “The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them near the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.’ And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.” That’s exactly what Zechariah 11:12 and 13 said, “‘Throw it to the potter.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter.” Here these witless, mindless men used the money to buy a potter’s field for a burial place for strangers.
Then the text of Matthew 27 says this, “Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; and they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.’”
And the people gasped here because the prophecy is in Zechariah, but Matthew tells us it was spoken through Jeremiah. How can he make that kind of mistake? I can help you with that. The Old Testament, the Hebrew Old Testament divided into three sections, the Law, the Writings, and the Prophets. The Law as the writing of Moses, the five books of the Pentateuch. The Writings are all the other historical and poetic writings, the Writings that are not the Law and are not the Prophets. The major prophets and the minor prophets, the seventeen books of the prophets in the Hebrew canon, however, begin with the book of Jeremiah. The first book in the order of the Hebrew canon is Jeremiah. So Jeremiah then became a familiar title for all the prophetic books. And so there’s no error here at all. It’s just a very Jewish way to refer to the prophets, to refer to them as Jeremiah. The Potter’s Field prophecy is there for you to see as well.
Dropping down to just a couple more, and you can read the remainder for yourself, that He would be silent as a lamb when He was arrested. Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” Matthew tells us, “while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Pilate said to Him, ‘Do you not hear how many things they testify against You?’ He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge.”
The Old Testament says that His hands and feet would be pierced, Psalm 22:16. “Dogs have surrounded Me; a band of evil doers has encompassed Me;” – this is a picture of the cross – “they pierced My hands and feet.” Zechariah 12:10, again says that “the Jews one day will look on Him whom they have pierced.” And then the fulfillment, they pierced His hands, they pierced His feet, they pierced His side. Luke 24:39 He says, “See My hands,” – after His resurrection – “see My feet, it – that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” So you can see the scars where the piercings were. He even told the doubting Thomas to put his hand on His side and feel the wound.
On the cross it was prophesied that they would give him gall, Psalm 69, for His food and vinegar to drink, Matthew 27:34, that’s exactly what they did. Psalm 22 has the Messiah on the cross saying, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46 said, “The ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’”
Psalm 22:18 says, “They divided My garments among them and for My clothing they cast lots.” And in John 19:23 and 24, again the pagan soldiers who knew nothing about the Old Testament, “when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments, made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be’; this was to fulfill the Scripture: ‘They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.’”
Psalm 34:20 tells us, “No bone of His body would be broken in His crucifixion.” That was very, very unusual. They eventually shattered the femurs to slump the body and speed up asphyxiation. But John 19:36 says, “For these things came to pass,” – they did not break his bones – “to fulfill the Scripture, ‘Not a bone of Him shall be broken.’”
They said that He would die with transgressors. Again Isaiah 53 tells us that He would die with the transgressors. That’s a rather lengthy passage. You can read it for yourself. He would be – toward the end of the passage – numbered with the transgressors. Matthew 27:38 says, “At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.” The Old Testament said He would be buried by a rich man. Isaiah 53:9, His grave was assigned with wicked men yet He was with a rich man in His death. That rich man, according to Matthew 27:57 to 60, was Joseph of Arimathea. That text says, “When it was evening there came a rich man from Arimathea.”
The Old Testament prophesied that He would rise from the dead. Psalm 16:10, “You will not abandon My soul to Sheol, nor will you allow Your holy One to undergo decay.” And Matthew 28, along with all the other gospel accounts, gives us the resurrection. The angel saying, “He’s not here, He is risen just as He said. Come see the place where He was lying.” And I put down Acts 2:31 where Peter preaches on the Day of Pentecost where he says the resurrection is a fulfillment of Psalm 16 in verse 10. The Old Testament said that He would ascend to His Father, Psalm 110:1, “The Lord says to My Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” That He would be then exalted to the right hand of the Father and that’s what Hebrews 1:3 says, “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Kind of an afterthought, I put in one more little prophecy on the disciples forsaking Him, because it’s an interesting one from Zechariah 13, that the disciples would forsake Him. The prophet said, “Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be scattered.” Matthew 26:31. “Jesus *said to them, ‘You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.”’” That’s a few of hundreds of prophecies related to the Lord Jesus Christ. They cannot all come to pass by chance.
In 1969, Professor Peter Stoner took eight of those prophecies, eight of them: born in Bethlehem, preceded by a messenger, riding on a donkey, betrayed by a friend, sold for 30 pieces of silver, money used to buy a potter’s field, silent as a lamb, hands and feet pieced. Had his math students do a study of the science of probability. They came up with one chance in ten to the seventeenth power. That’s one chance in ten with seventeen zeroes after it. And interestingly enough, some years later his grandson went back to the problem and decided it was actually ten to the eighteenth power. I’m not sure where that distinction lies.
But clear enough that the Old Testament gives us ample indication that God is its author because no one knows the future but God. In fact, Luke 24:44, “Jesus said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scripture.” Everything that was to be fulfilled, that is first coming, was. Everything else is to be fulfilled when He returns. And God will be just as accurate in that fulfillment as He was in the fulfillment during His first coming.
Father, we thank You for the Word. We thank You for the truthfulness of it. It’s stunning, really, to see the accuracy of Scripture historically validated. We hear the foolish harangue of those who discredit the Scripture, never having studied it, never having looked at it. Compared with the challenge of the Lord Jesus, who says, “Look at the Law and the prophets and the psalms, or the writings, and see that everything there written of Me will be fulfilled.” It has been and it will be.
And we put our total confidence in this book as having come to us from You, our great God. And we rejoice in such a gift that brings us to salvation and sanctification and the hope of glory. May we be faithful to be diligent in understanding the truth of Scripture so that our faith might be strengthened and our proclamation of the truth emboldened and empowered and convincing. Use us to that end, we pray, for Your own glory. Amen.
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