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The Prophecies of Jesus Christ's 1st Coming

Introduction

What's in an address? Did Jesus Christ have an address in history?--a country, race of people, city or town he could be identified to as his, that would identify him for who he was and is for all time? The following excerpts are taken from Josh McDowell's "MORE THAN A CARPENTER.

"In the Old Testament there are sixty major messianic prophecies and approximately 270 ramifications that were fulfilled in one person, Jesus Christ. It is helpful to look at all these predictions in Christ as his "address." You've probably never realized how important the details of your name and address are--and yet these details set you apart from the four [now six] billion other people who also inhabit this planet.

AN ADDRESS IN HISTORY
"With even greater detail, God wrote an "address" in history to single out his Son, the Messiah, the Savior of mankind, from anyone who has ever lived in history--past, present, and future. The specifics of this "address" can be found in the Old Testament, a document written over a period of 1,000 years which contains over 300 references to his coming…" Now this gets interesting, especially for any of you students who are into the mathematical science of probability.

"…Using the science of probability, we find the chances of just forty-eight of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person to be only one in ten to the 157th power.

"The task of matching up God's address with one man is further complicated by the fact that all the prophecies of the Messiah were made at least 400 years before he was to appear. Some might disagree and say that these prophecies were written down after the time of Christ and fabricated to coincide with his life. This might seem feasible until you realize that the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, was translated [in its entirety, nothing lacking] around 150-200 B.C. This Greek translation shows that there was at least a two-hundred-year gap between the prophecies being recorded and their fulfillment in Christ."

"Certainly God was writing an "address" in history that only the Messiah could fulfill. There have been approximately forty major claims by men to be the Jewish Messiah. But only one--Jesus Christ--appealed to fulfilled prophecy to substantiate his claims, and only his credentials back up those claims" ("MORE THAN A CARPENTER", by Josh McDowell, pp. 102,103,104).

Two more quotes from Josh McDowell's "MORE THAN A CARPENTER" should help put this study into sharper perspective. It helps to understand what some of these prophecies and Scriptures are really saying and pointing out. Josh does a pretty good job, so I'll let him continue.

"To begin, we need to go way back to Genesis 3:15. Here we have the first messianic prophecy. In all of Scripture, only one Man was "born of the seed of a woman"--all others are born of the seed of a man. Here is one who will come into the world and undo the works of Satan ("bruise his head").

"In Genesis 9 and 10 God narrowed the "address" down further. Noah had three sons, Shem, Japheth, and Ham. Today all of the nations of the world can be traced back to these three men. But in this statement, God effectively eliminated two-thirds of them from the line of Messiahship. The Messiah will come through the lineage of Shem.

"Then, continuing on down to the year 2000 B.C., we find God calling a man named Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. With Abraham, God became still more specific, stating that the Messiah will be one of his descendants (Genesis 12;17;22). All the families of the earth will be blessed through Abraham. When Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, many of Abraham's descendants were eliminated when God selected his second son, Isaac(Genesis 17; 21).

"Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau, and then God chose the line of Jacob (Genesis 28; 35:10-12; Numbers 24:17). Jacob had twelve sons, out of whom developed the twelve tribes of Israel. Then God singled out the tribe of Judah for Messiahship and eliminated 11/12ths of the Israelite tribes. And of all the family lines within Judah's tribe, the line of Jesse was the divine choice (Isaiah 11:1-5). One can see the probability building.

"Jesse had eight children and in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Jeremiah 23:5 God eliminated 7/8ths of Jesse's family line: we read that God's Man will not only be of the seed of a woman, the lineage of Shem, the race of the Jews, the line of Isaac, the line of Jacob, the tribe of Judah, but that he will also be of the house of David…" "…Isaiah 7:14 adds that he will be born of a virgin: a natural birth of unnatural conception, a criterion beyond human planning and control…" (ibid. pp. 104, 105.)

"The precise lineage; the place, time, and manner of birth; people's reactions, the betrayal; the manner of death. These are just a fragment of the hundreds of details that made up the "address" to identify God's Son, the Messiah, the Savior of the world" (ibid. p. 106).

This should help put the material in this study on the prophecies of Jesus Christ's 1st coming into proper perspective and give the various prophecies listed some meaning as to what they stand for and show us. They show us just who Jesus of Nazareth really was and is. So now let's get into the body of the study and read these prophecies for ourselves.

The Prophecies of Jesus Christ’s 1st Coming

Luke 24:12-31. “But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened. Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles [Greek: sixty stadia] from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know him. And he said to them, ‘What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?’ Then the one whose name was Cleopas [Jesus’ uncle, Mary’s brother] answered and said to him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him, ‘The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.’

Then he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. [This Bible study will attempt to give a bare skeletal outline of what Jesus must have revealed to them. Wouldn’t you have liked to have been walking to Emmaus with Jesus and these other two guys?]

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and he indicated that he would have gone farther. But they constrained him, saying, ‘Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’ And he went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as he sat at the table with them, that he took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew him; and he vanished from their sight.”

Jesus Christ is alive! This is the third day from his death, sometime Sunday afternoon. Cleopas was the brother of Jesus’ mother Mary, his uncle. Jesus is going to have some fun with these two. Our Lord and savior has a sense of humor. In verse 27 it says, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” This must have been quite an oral Bible study. This article about the prophecies of Jesus Christ’s 1st coming will attempt to piece some of those Scriptures together which Jesus must have shown them. As verse 29 indicates he must have met his uncle late Sunday afternoon on the road to Emmaus. When he was sitting and eating with them (and probably other disciples), they finally realized who he was-and then he supernaturally vanished from their sight. Now let’s try to piece together some of the prophecies of Jesus Christ’s 1st coming.

EARLY PROPHECIES OF THE MESSIAH TO COME

Genesis 3:14-15. “So the Lord God said to the serpent [who was inhabited by Satan, obviously]: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head. And you shall bruise his heel.” This phrase “the woman’s seed” is thought by many (rabbi’s and Jewish scholars and Christian scholars alike) to refer directly to the Messiah, and the serpent is referring to Satan whom God is directly addressing in verses 14-15. In crucifixion, the Romans would drive a nail or spike through the two heal bones of the victim, as one recently discovered body of a crucified Jewish person dating to the time of Christ attests to. So we see, the woman’s seed-the Messiah, Christ-is to bruise Satan’s head, while Satan shall bruise the Messiah’s heel. It is said that the one who was to become Jesus Christ, the Logos (John 1:1-11) was set apart for sacrifice for mankind’s redemption from the foundations of the world. Here we see God prophesying of the Messiah’s eventual death, way back in Genesis 3:15.

Turn next to Genesis 49:9-10, where we will see that the Messiah is to come from Judah, the Jews. He is to be a Jew. The Sceptre and the Priesthood (Lawgiver) will depart from Judah after the Messiah’s 1st coming. The Jewish line of kings ended in Daniel’s time, although the royal house of David still existed, and as Zechariah 12:10 indicates, the house of David still exists, and will be yet again in Jerusalem at Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming (read Zechariah 12.) And the Levitical Priesthood vanished in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the temple. The last part of the verse will be fulfilled at Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming, as prophesied in Ezekiel 36:1-36, the re-gathering of Israel-all 12 tribes. Genesis 49:9-10. “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall the gathering of the people be.”

Genesis 22:15-18. Abraham had just passed the supreme test of his life (verses 1-14). Verse 18 is thought by many to refer directly to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would come so that all nations of the earth could be blessed with salvation, eternal life (John 3:16). Secondarily, the millennial nation of Israel will be the Lord’s servant nation, blessing the world under the direct guidance and leadership of the Messiah (Zechariah 14:9). Genesis 22:15-18, “Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.’”

Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”


"If you've become a new-believer in Christ, you may be wondering "Where should I go to church? How'd this Christianity thing get started anyway?" For those answers go tohttp://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/choosingachurch.htm."

THE MESSIAH’S BIRTH PROPHECIES

The scribes and Jewish religious leaders knew the time that the Messiah’s ministry would come on the scene, right to the year, just as they knew the town he would be born in. Daniel 9:24-26, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore [margin: build again Jerusalem] and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince [reference to the Romans] that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary [this happened in 70A.D.]; and the end thereof shall be with a flood [prophetic term in the Bible for an army], and unto the end of the war, desolations are determined.” From this prophecy the Jewish leaders and teachers of the Law knew the Messiah was coming-down to the exact year of the start of his ministry. In prophecy one prophetic year is equal to 360 prophetic days. One prophetic day is equal to one normal year. In verse 25 where it says “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build [rebuild] Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks:…” This commandment to restore Jerusalem and the temple is the very same commandment spoken of in Ezra 1:1-11 and II Chronicles 36:22-23. This commandment is dated as having gone out in 457BC, the first year of Cyrus the Persian and is recorded in Ezra 1:1-3, which states “Now in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, ‘Thus saith Cyrus the king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah…”

Now lets figure this out. It is really simple. 7 weeks + 62 weeks = 69 weeks. 69 weeks times 7 [converting weeks to days] = 483 days. 483 prophetic days = 483 years. Going 483 years forward in time from 457 B.C. is done by subtracting 457 from 483 which = 26. But since there is no year zero, you add 1 to the 26 giving you 27 A.D., the year Jesus started his ministry. By this calculation his death was in the spring of 31 A.D. Some disagree, making their calculation dating from another decree from another later Persian king to go and rebuild the wall, received by Nehemiah. But dating from the later decree doesn’t really fit the instructions found in Daniel 9:25. So in the year 27 A.D. Jesus was walking up to John the Baptist to get baptized. If the scribes had been on the ball, they would have known to be on the lookout for him. Isn’t this amazing? The Creator God inspired these prophecies to be penned many hundreds of years in advance of their being carried out, from the year of the start of Jesus ministry, to the eventual destruction of the Romans in 70 A.D., it all happened. In verse 26, the word “prince” is referring to the Roman prince, and not the Prince of Peace. Verse 27 takes us up to the beginning of the tribulation when a world superpower will step onto the scene in Jerusalem after the Jews have built a temple or tabernacle and restarted the “morning and evening” sacrifices. Verse 27 states that this “he”, referring to the leader of this restored Roman system, will cause “the sacrifice of oblation to cease…” stopping the evening and morning sacrifices being carried out by the Levitical priesthood yet to be set up by the Jews sometime in the near future [they’re working on setting this all up right now].

THE MESSIAH’S BIRTHPLACE FORETOLD, AS WELL AS WHO HE WAS BEFORE HE WAS BORN AS A HUMAN

Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall be come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” So we see Bethlehem is prophecied to be the birthplace of the Messiah, and everybody in the world knows Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem, whether they’re Christian or not. The Arabs know it, the Jews know it. The Christmas story has been carried far and wide. But few know where to spot this prophecy, penned many hundreds of years before the event. It also identifies the Messiah as “having been from of old, from everlasting. John in John 1:1-11 identifies the one who was born as Jesus of Nazareth before his human birth as the one referred to in the Old Testament as the Lord God or the Lord, or YHVH, and called him the Word of God, which in the Greek is called the Logos. When born of Mary, the Word or Logos became God the Son. God the Son, along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit-the Triune God-Three-in-One-has existed forever. Matthew 2:1-6, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him [all the ruling class worried they’re going to lose their jobs?]. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, ‘And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.’” John 1:1-11, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness of that Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried saying, ‘This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.’” This is an amazing description of who Jesus was and is, having “been from of old, from everlasting”.

THE MESSIAH’S VIRGIN BIRTH

Isaiah 7:13-16, “And he said, ‘Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel [Hebrew for “God with us”]. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.” Before Jesus was born, both the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah had lost their kingly rulers, Israel in 721 B.C. to the Assyrian empire, and Judah to king Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian empire. Neither line of kings was restored in the land of Palestine from these dates onward. Another thing, the Jews refused to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, therefore they called him a bastard, but it is a historic fact that king Herod believed, so much so that he had all the infant boys from two years and under killed in all the land surrounding Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Let’s turn to Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-18 and see the fulfillment of this prophecy, and some more. Matthew 1:18-25, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost [“Ghost”, middle English, taken from the German word Gheist, which directly translates to the word “Spirit”. Greek: Spirit]. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publik example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS [that is SAVIOR (probably the meaning of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was the Hebrew equivalent for the name Jesus)]: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel’, which being interpreted is, God with us. [Isa. 7:13-16, which we just read.] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” Matthew 2:1-18, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.'’ When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, ‘And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.’ Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.’ When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother [notice Mary and Jesus had now moved from the manger or sheepfold to a house (some scholars believe this manger was no more than one of the local smelly caves used as sheepfolds)], and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son.’ [Numbers 24:7-8] Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet [Jeremiah 31:15], saying, ‘In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.’ But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room of this father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene [margin: that is, Branch or Separated one].’” Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler of Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” [“whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” i.e. Jesus is God, YHVH, as we have just seen, and in John 1:1-11.]. Zechariah 3:8, “Here now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” Zechariah 6:12-13, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Jesus will be King of kings upon his return, and is even now our High Priest, fulfilling part of Zechariah 6:13. Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” John 7:42, “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem…” Numbers 24:7-8, “He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of a unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.” [Remember in a passage that contains both prophecies of the Messiah’s first and second coming in the same passage, the first coming prophecy for this study will be bolded, while the 2nd coming part will be in plain text.]

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined…For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder [cf. Zechariah 14:9]: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. [Who was, is, Jesus of Nazareth? Was he just another human being like the rest of us? Isaiah was told by God to call him “Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Jesus was and is God, the second person of the Godhead.] Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

JOHN THE BAPTIST FORETOLD

Isaiah 40:3-5, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the rough places plain [or a plain place]: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Verse 3a applies to Jesus first coming, as we shall see, and was fulfilled by John the Baptist. Verse 3b-5 applies to the 2nd coming. To see how those verses are fulfilled, turn to the other study in this section, “Prophecies of Jesus Christ’s 2nd Coming.” Again, the Jews were very confused by these prophecies that combined prophecies of both the 1st and 2nd coming of the Messiah within one prophetic text. They overlooked the elements of his first coming and what it was for because in many instances, as you see, the 2nd coming descriptions overshadowed in glory the first coming descriptions. As well, in their circumstances under Roman dictatorship, they wanted a physical-military savior, not someone who would save them from their sins. They hungered for and desired to have the basic freedoms they had enjoyed under the two kingdoms, the House of Israel and the House of Judah-the basic freedoms we now enjoy as Americans, Britons and Europeans in our respective democracies. So the Jews basically overlooked the humble descriptions of their Messiah’s first coming. Let’s turn now to Matthew and see how verse 3a was fulfilled. Matthew 3:1-5, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts [Lev. 12:22] and wild honey.” John 1:23-27, “He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord’, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, ‘Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?’ John answered them, saying, ‘I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not: he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, who’s shoe latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”

THE LIFE OF THE MESSIAH, WHAT HE WAS TO BE LIKE

THE MESSIAH WAS TO BE CALLED “THE BRANCH”

Isaiah 11:3-16, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots [remember Jesus in another prophecy is called the BRANCH?]: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove [decide] with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [adder’s] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [in prophecy, the word “mountain” can mean “nation”. “Holy mountain” here means “holy nation”.] And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. [vs. 11-16 now] And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” [Some historians believe a contingent of Assyrians migrated northwestward up the Danube after their empire was conquered in the 600s BC by Nebuchadnezzar, into the area of Europe which is now modern-day Germany.] But the important part of these verses for the 1st coming to focus on is who Jesus is. The rod referred to in verse 1 refers to king David, the Branch refers to Jesus Christ.” Again, the verses that apply to Jesus Christ’s first coming are in bold, verses 1-3a. Verses 3b-16, as we can see focus on the Messiah’s 2nd coming in great glory and give some details about the Millennial Kingdom of God that he will set up to gently but firmly rule over all nations. Historically the Jewish religious leaders focused their attention on the more dramatic second coming portion of these prophecies, not knowing what to make of the portion that applied to the Messiah’s first coming as a human being, born in a smelly sheepfold cave probably in sight of Herod’s glamorous palace on the opposite side of the Bethlehem valley.

Jeremiah 23:5-8, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, ‘The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt’; but The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.’” Again we see Jesus referred to as the Branch. And again the 1st coming part of the prophecy is tiny, barely a footnote, in comparison to the 2nd coming portion, thus confusing many Jews, right to this day. Zechariah 6:12-13, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” In verse 13 it says that the Messiah shall be a priest. Hebrews 4:14-16 shows that Jesus has become High Priest for us before God the Father. After and since 70 A.D. there has been no high priest in Jerusalem. At his ascension to God’s throne in heaven, Jesus has become our high priest, fulfilling all the functions of that office. When he returns, he will be both king of the whole earth (Zechariah 14:9) and continue in the role of high priest as well. Hebrews 4:14-16, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” This is part of Jesus Christ’s job description.

THE ZEAL OF THE MESSIAH

Psalm 69:7-9, Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproach of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” John 2:13-17, “The Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, ‘Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.’ And his disciples remembered that it was written, ‘The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.’”

Psalm 118:22, “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing: it is marvellous in our eyes.” Matthew 21:42, “Jesus saith unto them, ‘Did ye never read in the scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”

THE MESSIAH WOULDN’T BE A STREET-PREACHER

Isaiah 42:1-5, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” To see the antithesis of this, turn to verse 13 and read it-oh, here it is “The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail [margin: behave himself mightily] against his enemies.” Matthew 12:14-21, “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; and charged them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, ‘Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. [Jesus was never a street-preacher, but he did practice a powerful form of open-air preaching out in the wilderness-something John Wesley and his colleague Whitefield did very effectively in the open fields and valleys of England.] A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.’”

THE MESSIAH WOULD MAGNIFY THE LAW

Isaiah 42:21, “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” Did Jesus magnify the Law, bringing it to its spiritual intent? Let’s see. Matthew 5:17-48, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass [cf. Rev. 21:1], one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [So did Jesus fulfill all at his first coming? Obviously not. All will not be fulfilled by Jesus till Revelation 21:1, when the first heavens and earth do pass away, melted down and remade in glory and splendor-to receive the New Jerusalem, the very throne of God the Father, coming down to what is now Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2-17)! But that’s stuff for another study, later maybe sometime.] Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. [This sort of destroys the warped concept of grace being a license to sin or continue to live in sin, doesn’t it? If you doubt that, read on, as Jesus magnifies the Old Covenant Law to its lofty spiritual intent.] Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. It hath been said, Whosoever shall put his away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife [or husband], saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: nor by earth: for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain [two], give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans [tax collectors] the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” As many new covenant Christians understand the Sabbath/Holy day commandments which were a part of the Ten Commandments were transformed to their spiritual intent as described by Paul in the book of Hebrews. But Jesus right here does the same thing with some of the other Ten Commandments. Adultery is taken to its thought level of lusting, murder is taken to its thought level of hating. Jesus did magnify the Law, bringing it to the thought level, far beyond the action level. Actions start in the mind. Jesus went right to the heart of the matter. So we see Isaiah 42:21 was most definitely fulfilled by Jesus.

THE MESSIAH WOULD COME THE FIRST TIME, LOWLY RIDING UPON AN ASS

Zechariah 9:9-17, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of the covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; when I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with the whirlwinds of the south.” [This part definitely is 2nd coming, suggesting the time of the Last Trumpet blast heralding Jesus Christ’s 2nd coming in power and glory.] “The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.” Again see the two separate elements of this prophecy. The bolded section was definitely fulfilled by Jesus at his first coming, the second unbolded part is yet to be fulfilled at his second coming which you can read about in the companion study about his second coming.

Matthew 21:1-9, “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, ‘Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, ‘The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.’ All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.’ And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.’”

John 12:15, “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.’ And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, ‘Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.’ These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.”

An interesting point about what they were singing. They were singing the Hallel taken from the 118 Psalm, and they were singing it to Jesus. This was customarily sung in the temple at this time of year throughout the Passover season by the temple singers. But it was not sung outside the temple toward any individual. This showed that the people, common folk, were recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, the promised King of Israel. The cutting and strawing of palm branches in the road came from the custom of cutting palm branches during the Feast of Tabernacles which pointed toward the Messianic kingdom being established on earth in Jewish teaching. [The Jews believe the Feast of Tabernacles symbolically represents and points to the Messianic kingdom of God that the Messiah will establish at his coming. This is commonly understood by many Bible scholars and historians as well as being a part of the Jewish tradition in 1st century.]. The common Jewish people were indicating by these actions that they recognized Jesus as the Messianic King of Israel, and they wanted him to establish the Messianic kingdom then and there. If for no other reason, this in itself would have stirred anger and jealousy in the ruling party of Scribes and Pharisees enough to want to see Jesus dead. Jesus, the Messiah, as proved by the prophecies outlined in this very study, will yet come again to establish this Messianic kingdom on planet earth. The companion study to this one is proof of that. But for an interesting parallel to riding on an ass, and the colt of an ass, turn to Revelation 19:11-16. Revelation 19:11-16, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God [cf. John 1:1-11]. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean [this is us, the saints! Read verses 7-10 of Rev. 19]. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

PRICE OF JESUS’ BETRAYAL FORETOLD

Zechariah 11:12, “And I said unto them, ‘If ye think good, give me my price; and if not forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, ‘Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that was prized at them.’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.” Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.” John 13:18, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.’” Matthew 26:14-15, “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot [Heb. Ish Keriot: Man of Keriot], went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, ‘What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?’ And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.” Matthew 27:3-10, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? See thou to that.’ And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, ‘It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called the field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”

PUPPET TRIAL OF JESUS

Matthew 26:57-68; 27:3-34. “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, and said ‘This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’ And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’

Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying ‘He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye?’ They answered and said, ‘He is guilty of death.’ Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?’”…Matthew 27:3-10, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘what is that to us? See thou to that.’ And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, ‘It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.’ And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.”

CRUCIFIXION OF THE MESSIAH FORETOLD IN GREAT DETAIL

Psalm 16:10. David was prophecying here. Part of this cannot apply to David’s life for David’s body has long since “corrupted”-decayed. Verse 11 is a glimpse into eternal life. But David even points to the hope of the resurrection of his own body (cf. I Cor. 15:49-54). This prophecy in verse 10 shows the body of the Messiah would not be dead long enough to see decay, and perhaps would be supernaturally protected from any decay. Jesus was resurrected after three days and nights in the tomb. Psalm 16:10-11, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hebrew: shoal, the grave]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (11) “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Next turn to Psalm 22:1, 6-18 to see a prophecy of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, penned by David when this mode of execution was not in existence. This is quite a revealing prophecy. After reading this one, we will look at it’s fulfillment in the gospels of Luke, John, Matthew and Mark. Psalm 22:1, 6-18, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me and from the words of my roaring?…But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and roaring lion. [Could Jesus have been seeing demons surrounding him at the cross. Satan is said to be as a roaring lion by the apostle Peter.] I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me [scourging rips the flesh right off the backbones and ribcage]. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

That’s quite a prophecy. Now let’s read of it’s amazing fulfillment. This was penned over a thousand years before Jesus was born of Mary. Only God can foretell the future like that, inspiring his prophets to pen the future before it happens. Luke 23:33-36, “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malfactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.’ And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar.” John 19:23-24, Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, ‘Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots [Psalm 22:18]. These things therefore the soldiers did.” Matthew 27:35, 46. “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots…And about the ninth hour (3pm) Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [Psalm 22:1] Mark 15:24, “And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.”

Matthew 27:11-53, “And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou sayest.’ And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, ‘Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?’ And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, ‘Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?’ For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, ‘Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.’ But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, ‘Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?’ They said, ‘Barabbas.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?’ They all say unto him, ‘Let him be crucified.’ And the governor said, ‘Why? What evil hath he done?’ But they cried out the more, saying, ‘Let him be crucified.’ When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children.’ Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, ‘They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads [Psalm 22:7-8], and saying, ‘Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him; for he said, I am the Son of God.’ The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Now from the sixth hour [12 noon] there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour [3pm]. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This man calleth for Elias [Elijah].’ And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.’ Jesus when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost [spirit]. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom: and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent: and the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection; and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Mark 15:23, “And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.” Luke 23:36, “And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar.” John 19:29, “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.” Psalm 69:20-21, “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar.”

ISAIAH 52-53, PENNED AROUND 740BC

In Isaiah 52:7-15, verse 7 is a prophecy about us Christians, the saints, perhaps now and in the future. Verses 8-10 is definitely a second coming prophecy. Verses 13-15 is about Jesus and his sacrifice for mankind, and how badly he was beaten, beyond recognition. This prophecy, coupled to Isaiah 53 is about Jesus Christ’s death and is 100 percent accurate. Isaiah wrote this about 740 BC. This prophecy alone is enough to verify the Bible and Jesus of Nazareth’s authenticity as the Messiah. The Orthodox Jews carry Old Testament Bibles on them in which Isaiah 53 has been deleted from the text. I wonder why? But the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and accurately dated before 100 BC. They contain the entire book or scroll of Isaiah, proving this wasn’t a “later addition” as some would like to say. Isaiah 52:1-15, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward [margin: will gather you up]”…verses 13-15, “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied [astonished] at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.”

Isaiah 53:1-12, “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes [margin: bruise] we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death [cf. Matthew 27:57]; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors [cf. Mark 15:28]; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors [cf. Luke 23:34].”

Now lets look at this prophecy about the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ more closely. Verse 7-8, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb [silent], so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment…” Matthew 26:57-68, “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests , and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death: but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. [A major point about Hebrew law here. It was illegal to hold meetings of their council at night. All these legal proceedings should have been carried out in daylight. Taken along with using false witnesses, they were railroading Jesus, taking proper judgment from him, just as Isaiah 53:8 said it would be.] At last came two false witnesses, and said, ‘This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’ And the high priest arose, and said unto him, ‘Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee?’ But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, ‘I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, ‘He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye?’ They answered and said, ‘He is guilty of death.’ Then they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, ‘Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?’” Jesus had the opportunity to defend himself legally three times, once before Caiaphas, where in reality he could have shown the illegality of holding a council trial at night, against Hebrew law, as well as speaking up to defend himself, which he didn’t. Instead he spoke something that would get him condemned in their eyes, even though it was the truth. Another opportunity came before Pilate, and a third opportunity would come before Herod, whom Pilate sent him to. Jesus used none of these opportunities to defend himself, but was silent as a lamb, as Isaiah 53:7-8 points out. He was silent and they robbed him of proper judgment, fulfilling that prophecy that was over 771 years old.

Matthew 27:11-53, “And Jesus stood before the governor [Pilate]: and the governor asked him, saying, ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ And Jesus said unto him, ‘Thou sayest.’ And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, ‘Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?’ And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, ‘Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called the Christ?’ [Interesting that even Pilate knew Jesus was called the Christ or Messiah. Nothing happened in Palestine that Pilate didn’t know about, and he had probably been following the events of Jesus’ life with amused interest due to the jealousy he was stirring among the chief priests and elders.] For he new that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, ‘Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.’ But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, ‘Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you?’ They said, ‘Barabbas.’ Pilate saith unto them, ‘What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?’ They all say unto him, ‘Let him be crucified.’ And the governor said, ‘Why? What evil hath he done?’ But they cried out the more, saying, ‘Let him be crucified.’ When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.’ Then answered all the people, and said, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children.’ [I am sure this “multitude” was made up exclusively of the temple guard and employees of the temple, and perhaps their families, pressed into this nasty service of lending support to their cause before Pilate. The general populace loved Jesus. Don’t forget, all the chief priests and elders (minus Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus) had spent half the previous night railroading Jesus into an illegal death sentence. This was done to hide this event from the general populace. When they left the high priest’s residence with Jesus to come to Pilate, they probably sent word to all the temple employees and guards who could be spared to come along and lend their support for the condemnation of Jesus before Pilate. What an evil curse this small crowd brought down on the Jewish race, a curse that would be exacted on innocent Jews down through the centuries, as history attests to. God’s not angry at the Jews. The Jews didn’t kill Christ. In reality, if you want to get technical, some Italian and Syrian Roman soldiers killed Jesus. Most of the Jewish population in and around Jerusalem didn’t even know this was taking place, and wouldn’t till after it happened. (Read Jim Bishop’s “The Day Christ Died”.]

“Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. [Scourging is done with a leather whip that had jagged pieces of glass and bone imbedded in it. When a Roman has finished scourging a person, he is near death, as it rips much of the flesh off wherever it hits. Remember Isaiah 52 said his visage was marred more than any man? That was done through this scourging.] Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. [Jesus was so weak by now that he couldn’t carry his own cross. Don’t think Jesus was physically weaker than others. He wasn’t. He was brought up as a carpenter. The scourging had brought on this weakness. Don’t forget, Isaiah 52 said he was to be marred, more than any man.] And when they had come unto a place called Golgatha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink…” Psalm 69:20-21, “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots…” Psalm 22:18, “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” “…And sitting down they watched him there; and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they; that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God: let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour [3pm] Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’”…Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from the words of my roaring? “…Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This man calleth Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom: and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent: and the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection: and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Isaiah 53:9, “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” Matthew 27:38, “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” Luke 23:23, “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.” Matthew 27:57-60, “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”

On the Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-31, “Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas [Jesus’ uncle], asked him, ‘Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?’

‘What things?’ he asked.

‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’

He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight…” [N.I.V.] You should now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the prophecied Messiah. This concludes this study on the 1st Coming of Jesus Christ.

Closing Statements

Again, Josh McDowell in his book "MORE THAN A CARPENTER" gives some pretty clear statements which I will use to close this study on the prophecies of Jesus Christ's 1st coming.

WERE THESE PROPHECIES JUST COINCIDENTAL?

"…"Why, you could find some of these prophecies fulfilled in Kennedy, King, Nasser, etc." replies a critic.

"Yes, one could possibly find one or two prophecies fulfilled in other men, but not all sixty major prophecies and 270 ramifications. In fact, if you can find someone who can fulfill only half of the predictions in Messiah in Both Testaments by Fred John Meldau, the Christian Victory Publishing Company of Denver is ready to give you a $1,000 reward.

""H. Harold Hartzler, of the American Scientific Affiliation, in the forward of a book by Peter W. Stoner writes: "The manuscript for Science Speaks has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members and by the Executive Council of the same group and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound, and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way."

"The following probabilities are taken from that book to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, "we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power." That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that "we take 10 to the 17th power silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.

"Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 10 to the 17th power of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ.

"This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 10 to the 17th power of being absolute" (Josh McDowell, "MORE THAN A CARPENTER", pp. 107, 108.)

After examining all this evidence while in college himself, as an unbeliever trying to disprove Jesus was the Messiah, and seeing it was true and Jesus was the Messiah, an argument arose in Josh McDowell's mind. Let him explain.

"At that time, though, I had quite a problem. My mind told me all this was true but my will was pulling me in another direction. I discovered that becoming a Christian was rather ego-shattering. Jesus Christ made a direct challenge to my will to trust him. Let me paraphrase him. "Look! I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20). I didn't care if he did walk on water or turn water into wine. I didn't want any party pooper around. I couldn't think of a faster way to ruin a good time. So here was my mind telling me Christianity was true and my will was somewhere else.

"Every time I was around those enthusiastic Christians, the conflict would begin. If you've ever been around happy people when you're miserable, you understand how they can bug you. They would be so happy and I would be so miserable that I'd literally get up and run right out of the student union. It came to the point where I'd go to bed at ten at night and I wouldn't get to sleep until four in the morning. I knew I had to get it off my mind before I went out of my mind! I was always open-minded, but not so open-minded that my brains would fall out.

"But since I was open-minded, on December 19, 1959, at 8:30 P.M. during my second year at the university, I became a Christian.

"Somebody asked me, "How do you know?" I said, "Look, I was there. It's changed my life." That night I prayed. I prayed four things to establish a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ which has since transformed my life.

"First, I said, "Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me." Second, I said, "I confess those things in my life that aren't pleasing to you and ask you to forgive me and cleanse me." (The Bible says, "Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.") Third, I said, "Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my heart and life and trust you as my Savior and Lord. Take over the control of my life. Change me from the inside out. Make me the type person you created me to be." The last thing I prayed was "Thank you for coming into my life by faith." It was a faith based not upon ignorance but upon evidence and the facts of history and God's Word.

"I'm sure you've heard various religious people talking about their "bolt of lightning." Well, after I prayed, nothing happened. I mean nothing. And I still haven't sprouted wings. In fact, after I made that decision, I felt worse. I literally felt I was going to vomit. I felt sick deep down. "Oh no, what'd you get sucked into now?" I wondered. I really felt I'd gone off the deep end (and I'm sure some people think I did!).

"I can tell you one thing: in six months to a year-and-a-half I found out that I hadn't gone off the deep end. My life was changed. I was in a debate with the head of the history department at a midwestern university and I said my life had been changed, and he interrupted me with "McDowell, are you trying to tell us that God really changed your life in the twentieth century? What areas?" After forty-five minutes he said, "Okay, that's enough." (ibid. p.123, 124, 125.)

To read about some of those changes in Josh McDowell's life be sure to order a copy of his book "MORE THAN A CARPENTER". They're listed on pages 125-128. But you'll want to read his whole book as well. A final word from Mr. McDowell:

"You can laugh at Christianity, you can mock and ridicule it. But it works. It changes lives. If you trust Christ, start watching your attitudes and actions, because Jesus Christ is in the business of changing lives.

"But Christianity is not something you shove down somebody's throat or force on someone. You've got your life to live and I've got mine. All I can do is tell you what I've learned. After that, it's your decision.

"Perhaps the prayer I prayed will help you: "Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Forgive me and cleanse me. Right this moment I trust you as Savior and Lord. Make me the type of person you created me to be. In Christ's name, Amen." (ibid. p. 128)
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This study has been a crude attempt to piece together some of the prophecies and their fulfillment's that Jesus must have given in his conversation with these two men, one his uncle Cleopas. For further reading on this subject be sure to order Josh McDowell's "MORE THAN A CARPENTER" ($3.99), a few quotes of which you've already read here. And also be sure to order John McArthur's "God in the Manger: The Miraculous Birth of Christ" ($9.99). Both are available online from http://www.christianbook.com or http://www.amazon.com . For the very scholarly, further study on this subject is available by ordering "What the Bible Teaches About the Promised Messiah" by Dr. James Smith (ISBN 0-8407-4239-8). It is available on http://www.amazon.com under that title for $24.95.

If you are still pondering what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/faith/whatis.htm for an excellent in-depth treatment of this subject by Dr. Charles Stanley. If you have already just made a commitment to Jesus Christ you will be wondering at this point, "Where should I go to church?" or "Should I go to a church?", and "How do I go about choosing a church?" "There are so many different ones out there--which one is best for me?" If those questions are going through your head you will be interested in how this church thing got started in the first place, and also in the subject of how to chose a church that is spiritually right and beneficial to you. Both subjects are covered in the section of this website that covers Early Church History. Log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/history2/index4.htm This link covers the start of the early Christian church. From there you will also see the link leading to the article "Choosing a Church".

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