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Series 3 - The Great Teachings of the Bible and What They Mean for You: Bible Prophecy and You

Hi, friends! Welcome to the sixth lesson in the "Bible Prophecy and You" series!

Bible prophecies predicted—in great detail—the two greatest world events, one in the past and one in the future. Those events are the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ! This lesson focuses on His first coming, "the greatest story ever told!" Many details of His miraculous and marvelous birth, life, death and resurrection were foretold in prophecies sprinkled throughout the Old Testament. This lesson will point out a relatively few of those prophecies and their fulfillments and hopefully whet your appetite to notice more and more as you continue your study of the Bible.

Consider this quote from our booklet Jesus Christ: The Real Story: "The New Testament writers cite messianic prophecies from the Old Testament more than 130 times. By some estimates the Old Testament contains 300 prophetic passages that describe who the Messiah is and what He will do. Of these, 60 are major prophecies. What are the chances of these prophecies being fulfilled in one person?"

The answer? The chances are staggeringly remote—to the point of eliminating the possibility of mere coincidence.

Lesson 6: Christ's First Coming—Prophesied in Detail!

When Jesus Christ fulfilled all the Bible prophecies regarding His life, death and resurrection, that proved absolutely that He was the promised Messiah, Son of God and "Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14).

The Bible foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ two thousand years in advance in the true story of Abraham and his son Isaac:

Abraham loved his son Isaac as much as any parent could love a child. Abraham and his wife Sarah had longed for a child, but Sarah was "barren"—unable to conceive. However, God promised them that they would have descendants, and after a 25-year-long wait, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, they had a son together whom they named Isaac. This miraculous birth was a type of the future miraculous birth of Jesus Christ.

Then when their pride-and-joy was an older teenager or young adult, God shocked Abraham with a command to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering at the top of Mt. Moriah (at the present-day Jerusalem). God was testing Abraham's faith and obedience and giving us a picture of what He would go through in giving His Son for us. As grief-stricken as Abraham was, he agreed to carry out God's command because he believed that God would resurrect Isaac in order to fulfill His promises regarding descendants.

The journey lasted three days, so in Abraham's mind, his son was as good as dead for three days. Isaac could have resisted but apparently did not. At the last second, God stopped Abraham from slaying Isaac. Abraham's faith had been proven. As a substitute for Isaac, God provided a ram.

The willingness of Abraham and Isaac to carry out God's command illustrates the willingness of God the Father and His Son to make the ultimate sacrifice because of their love for all the world. The substitution of the ram was a type of Jesus suffering the death penalty in our place. And the sparing of Isaac was a type of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. See Genesis 22 and Hebrews 11:17-19. This poignant story gives us a deeper appreciation and sympathy for the sacrifice by the Father and Son for all of us.

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The Essential Purposes for Christ's First Coming

The heavenly Father and the Son, also called the Word, are both God (John 1:1). They planned "before the foundation of the world" that the Word would one day temporarily give up His glory and power in heaven, be born as a human being and set a perfect example for mankind of how to live a godly life (1 Peter 1:20; John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 John 2:4-6).

Jesus Christ revealed God's amazing plan for enabling mankind to receive eternal life as children in the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:14-17). Jesus, as God in the flesh, then allowed Himself to be killed in order to pay the penalty of sin for all (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10).

His resurrection and return to His former glory in heaven were the final proofs that He was God and had become mankind's Mediator, Lord and Savior (1 Timothy 2:5; Acts 5:30-31; 2 Peter 1:11). In fact, the entire Bible points directly and indirectly to the past, present and future work of Jesus Christ.

Let's now take note of several important prophecies and their fulfillments.

Was the Messiah to be a descendant of King David?

Isaiah 11:1
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.

Jeremiah 23:5
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth."

Matthew 1:1
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham…

Note that Jesse, mentioned in Isaiah 11:1, was the father of Israel's greatest king, David. During Jesus' ministry, some people quickly became convinced that He was the promised "son of David." Then during Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem several days before He was crucified, "the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: 'Hosanna to the Son of David!'" (Matthew 21:9).

Was the Messiah to come from Bethlehem?

Micah 5:2
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."

Matthew 2:1
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem…

There were two Bethlehems, one in the region of Ephrathah in Judea and the other to the north, in the region of the biblical tribe of Zebulun. But Micah's prophecy is clear. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea as Micah foretold.

Would the Messiah be born of a virgin mother?

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Luke 1:26-35
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

An angel appeared first to Mary to tell her that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. The angel appeared later to Joseph to explain to him that Mary's conception was a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (Matthew 1:20-23).

Did the biblical sacrifices point prophetically to Jesus' sacrifice?

Hebrews 9:11-12
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Hebrews 10:11-12
And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…

The book of Hebrews explains how the animal sacrifices and temple rituals required of ancient Israel were a physical type of the perfect sacrifice of Christ. They pointed to the future "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The sacrifice of the lamb for Passover dramatically pointed to "Christ, our Passover [who] was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). As a fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus died on the very day of Passover. The lamb's blood on the doorposts of the Israelites' houses symbolized the shed blood of Christ who died so we can be forgiven and saved (Romans 5:9).

Would the Messiah be crucified?

Psalm 22:16
For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet.

Luke 23:33
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

John 20:25, 27
The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."…
Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

Crucifixion is the only form of execution likely to cause a piercing of hands and feet. Yet amazingly, this prophecy was stated about 800 years before the Romans started using crucifixion for condemned criminals!

Would any of the Messiah's bones be broken?

Psalm 34:20
He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.

John 19:32-33, 36
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs...
For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken."

In spite of all the brutal and cruel torment that Jesus received, God made sure that none of His bones were broken in order to fulfill this prophecy!

Would the Messiah be betrayed by a trusted friend for 30 pieces of silver?

Psalm 41:9
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

Zechariah 11:12
Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

When Jesus indicated it was Judas Iscariot who would betray Him, He said this was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Psalm 41:9 (John 13:18, 26). And Judas was indeed paid 30 pieces of silver for his traitorous act (Matthew 26:14-15).

In fact, no fewer than 29 prophecies were fulfilled in the 24-hour period leading up to Jesus' death. In a sermon by the apostle Peter, he said, "But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled" (Acts 3:18).

For more proof that Jesus Christ was God as well as human, that He lived a perfect life and then died to pay the penalty of sins for you and all mankind, please read our free booklet Jesus Christ: The Real Story.


Apply Now

Consider that with all the prophecies of His own suffering and death, Jesus knew in detail what He would have to go through. No wonder He prayed, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). Luke 22:44 explains that "His sweat became like great drops of blood" through the mental agony He experienced. Yet He was willing to do all this to pay for our sins so we can be forgiven!

Read Acts 2:36-38 and consider the response God wants from us for that great sacrifice. Take some time today to talk with God about Christ's sacrifice and the response He wants from you.

Next Lesson: Jesus Christ—The Greatest Prophet

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

Jesus Christ: The Real Story

Jesus Christ's Life and Death in Prophecy

Was Jesus Christ the Messiah?

Jesus' Amazing Fulfillment of Prophecy

The Bible Prophesied the Exact Year the Messiah Would Appear