The Golden Key of Messianic Prophecies
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] explained
to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Please check back daily during the month of December as through Christmas we’ll have an entry from The Heart of Christmas: A Devotional for the Season.
Prophecy represents one of the most powerful proofs of the divine origins of the biblical text. The book of Daniel is a classic case in point. In the midst of the sixth-century BC Babylonian captivity, YHWH reveals, through Daniel, His present and eternal purposes for Israel and the world. Daniel accurately predicts the progression of kingdoms from Babylon through the Median and Persian empires to the further persecution and suffering of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, including the Syrian despot’s desecration of the Jerusalem Temple, his untimely death, and freedom for the Jews under Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC.
Moreover, the book of Daniel prophetically looks forward to the coming of Messiah. As prophesied by Jeremiah, Jerusalem would experience a partial restoration after seventy years of exile ( Jeremiah 29:10); however, as revealed through the angel Gabriel, the return from exile was merely a type of the antitypical freedom that would be experienced through Judas Maccabeus, which itself was typological of ultimate restoration through Jesus the Messiah.
Since Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, it should not surprise us that prophecies regarding Him outnumber all others. Many of these prophecies would have been impossible for Jesus to deliberately conspire to fulfill—such as His descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:3; 17:19); His birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); His crucifixion with criminals (Isaiah 53:12); the piercing of His hands and feet on the cross (Psalm 22:16); the soldiers’ gambling for His clothes (Psalm 22:18); the piercing of His side and the fact that His bones were not broken at His death (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 34:20); and His burial among the rich (Isaiah 53:9).
Perhaps the most beloved of all Old Testament prophecies is encapsulated in the words of Isaiah, who eight centuries before the birth of Christ wrote the following immortal words: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [possessor of eternity], Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6; emphasis added). Only Messiah, born of a virgin, could match the meaning of such majestic monikers.
Not only so, but the Christ who walked through the doorway of Isaiah’s messianic prophecy, made the ultimate prediction: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. . . . After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken” ( John 2:19, 22; emphasis added).
Over the years I have discovered time and again that messianic prophecy is the golden key that unlocks the hearts of even hardboiled skeptics!
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6–7)
How could Daniel, writing six centuries before the time of Christ, have predicted what would happen hundreds of years later?
Why are messianic prophecies a golden key that unlocks the hearts of even hardened skeptics?
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.