There is a consistent story-line in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, from the beginning of creation to the future without end. The Old Testament, in many places, predicts events in the New Testament. Throughout history, God provided His people with a roadmap. He used prophets as his mediators. Prophets in the Old Testament spoke of things to watch for so that the Messiah (Jesus) would be recognized and believed. The Old Testament, written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection.
Jesus acknowledges the prophets that lived before him and he often referred to them. Writing in 700 BC (700 years before Jesus!), the prophet Isaiah (among others) wrote about the birth of Jesus, with details of his life, death and resurrection. Isaiah was a Hebrew prophet, born in Jerusalem. He was said to have found his calling as a prophet when he saw a vision in the year of King Uzziah’s death. The predictions made by Isaiah are many, such as:
• Will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
• Will have a Galilean ministry (Isaiah 9:1,2)
• Will be spat on and struck (Isaiah 50:6)
• Will be widely rejected (Isaiah 53:1,3)
• Will die with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12)
• Will be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9)
A complete list of Isaiah’s predictions of the Messiah is given at the end of this page.
Accurately predicts Jesus’ suffering, written a thousand years before Jesus was born.
An amazing account of the crucifixion of Jesus is given in Psalm 22, written by King David around 1,000 BC. This Psalm, along with Isaiah 53, gives the greatest detail, not only of what Jesus experienced physically, but also what he went through emotionally and spiritually. Psalm 22 describes in amazing detail the process and outcome of Jesus’ crucifixion a thousand years before crucifixion was first introduced or practiced! It is incredible of how closely it matches the description of the crucifixion in the New Testament.
Death by crucifixion was ultimately death by suffocation. Once a person is hanging in the vertical position, crucifixion is an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation. Jesus is at the point of complete and utter exhaustion. He had to stand up against the spikes in His feet. Slowly His breathing would have stopped. At the ninth hour, that is three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried out: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? What is this about? This is about the fulfilment of a promise. In Psalm 22 it says: “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”. In verse 15, “… my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth”. In verse 18: “They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.“
See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Jesus was put on a cross a day before High Holy Day. The Jews could not have dead man on a cross on a High Holy Day. So, in order to expedite death, they would normally break the legs of the crucified so breathing would become impossible (you can no longer push yourself up). But the bible says: None of his bones were broken (Psalm 34:20). That was not necessary, because Jesus’ breathed his last at the ninth hour.
Psalm 22 gives a detailed account of Jesus’ death, long before Jesus was born. That is significant in itself. But more significant is that it was written by someone who never in his life had seen a crucifixion. Because crucifixion had not been invented yet. The Roman empire that introduced crucifixion did not exist yet when Psalm 22 was written. Crucifixion was not a Jewish method of capital punishment – that was stoning.
Imagine this. The entire world knows that in 2001, on September 11, two planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C. and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during these terrorist attacks. Suppose there had been in existence a document written in the year 1001, which predicted this event. That was about the time of the height of the Byzantine Empire. Also the time when the Battle of Hastings was in the making, where William the Conqueror defeated Harold II, King of England. Suppose that a document had been written at that time in history which predicted that a time would come when militants associated with the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.
Such a situation would be similar to what we have in Psalm 22. The prediction would have been made even before the invention of flying, airplanes, high rise buildings, and five hundred years before the discovery of America. Such a prediction would be regarded as extremely accurate.
The Bible has withstood the test of time. By and large, the message from the Old and the New Testament is a consistent one. That message is that God loves his creation. He loves it so much that he sends messengers, throughout the Old and New Testament, with the ultimate messenger being Jesus. He loves his creation so much that he allowed himself through Jesus to go through much pain. We are left with the all-important choice to either accept Gods love or deny it.