The Messiah Test

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, November 28, 2014 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

One of the amazing things about Scripture is how it fulfills prophecy fully and completely. This past summer, Bill Seng did a 10-part series of why he believes the Bible over other religious texts and reason #4 was because of the prophecy aspects. In the last two weeks, I described some of the details involving the Canon, which we know as the Bible. Today, I will wrap up my discussion on the Canon in how Jesus fulfilled the 300+ prophecies which together can be considered the Messiah Test.

Before I get into that, recall what I wrote two weeks ago about the Canon Test. One of the requirements is 100% correct agreement. There cannot be a single contradiction when taken as a whole. The Messiah Test is the same way. There are many who have come and claimed some of the prophecies, but if said person fails just one of these criteria that person is NOT the Messiah. We have Horus, Kristna, Mithras, and others who many have used to claim that Jesus is not unique. Some of these people claim to have been born to a virgin. Some of these people claim to have performed miracles. Some of them claim to die for the sake of the people. But those are just a few of the prophecies. Some of the prophecies are very specific on what would happen during the life of the Messiah and only one person fulfilled every single one of them. Many people could fulfill a few, but to fulfill each one would require the direct hand of God himself.

I heard of one mathematician saying that the odds of one person fulfilling just 8 of these 300+ prophecies would the equivalent of filling the entire state of Texas two feet thick with quarters, then blindfolded, select the one pre-marked quarter at random. For perspective, you can drive the entire day going across Texas and never leave it. It is over 850 miles along Interstate 10, and that’s just the east-west direction. Why did there have to be so many prophecies? I can think of a good reason. It gives us a pinpointed “address” so we can easily identify who the Messiah is. Many people have come to believe in Jesus just by studying these prophecies. Each one was written over 400 years prior to Jesus’ life. How did he accomplish this? Let take a look at some of these prophecies. In writing this post, I found an awesome site that lists 353 of the prophecies, where they are found and how Jesus fulfilled them, including the references. The prophecies are in order from Genesis to Malachi and there are some duplicates due to this structure. Let’s explore some of them. The first prophecy in this list is that the Messiah would come from the seed of a woman in Genesis 3:15. This implies a virgin birth. How do we know this? In most lineages, we hear of the seed of Abraham, the seed of Isaac, the seed of David, which is male lineage. Yet, in Genesis 3:15, it is the seed of a woman. Jesus fulfilled this as recorded in Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:27-35.

Prophecy #23 in this list is that the Messiah would be a “lamb without blemish”. This picture is given with the Passover in Exodus 12:5. In the Passover, during the 10th plague against Egypt, the angel of death came to wipe out the first born of all those living in Egypt, but he would “pass over” any house that was marked with the blood of an innocent lamb that had no blemish, no spots or broken bones. Jesus is often considered the “Passover Lamb”. He had to be perfect and pure. He had to be without sin. Why? Because if he had sinned, his death would only cover his own sin. But because he was without sin and paid the debt that a sinner had to pay, it covered the cost.

Prophecies #50 and 55 come from two references but are effectively the same prophecy. The Messiah had to come from the line of David. It wasn’t enough that he come from the line of Adam or the line of Shem, or the line of Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or Judah. He also had to come from the line of David. This is also means he is a rightful ruler of the Jews, because he came from the bloodline of the kings of Israel and Judah. It really gets interesting because Matthew and Luke’s genealogies split at David. Matthew follows the line to Joseph, Jesus’ earthly adoptive father (a process that legally puts Jesus in that lineage). Luke follows the line through Mary and yet both of these lines intersect with Jesus and with David. How could anyone plot out such accuracy intentionally unless it was done so by God himself?

Psalm 22 is a major one that prophecies dealing specifically with the crucifixion. This is summarized in prophecies #75-92. Remember that crucifixion was not a known execution method at the time of David who wrote the Psalm. Crucifixion was a Roman practice that did not come into play until 1000 years later. But let me point out one specific one. #86 is the prophecy that the Messiah would be stripped naked for all men to see (Psalm 22:17-18). Public nakedness to a Jew was the ultimate humiliation. Nothing could be worse. No Jewish execution or even the execution of any of their neighbors during David’s time stooped that low. Yet the Romans did. Right before the cross would be erected, they reached down, grabbed the garments and ripped them off, giving full exposure. How would David, who wrote this Psalm 1000 years prior to the events, even think about this?

#126 reveals that the Messiah would be given vinegar in thirst. During the crucifixion, Jesus was thirsty and given vinegar on a sponge to drink. Isaiah 53:1-12 describes even more details about the Crucifixion covering #243-277. Why would an innocent man stand silent before countless false accusers?

The details these prophecies give are so specific that the best story tellers combined could not come up with such an account. And as an author and story teller in my own right, I would not be able to conceive of all these details in a time where such a situation was not conceivable. If I were to describe the brutal death of a righteous man, I would use something my immediate audience could relate to. But the specific details in these prophecies were completely foreign concepts to the authors. How could anyone predict that Jesus would be betrayed by a friend specifically for 30 pieces of silver and that those 30 pieces of silver would be cast down in the temple? Yet that is precisely what happened with Judas’ betrayal. Jesus fulfilled every one of these prophecies with exact precision. And that makes him worthy of being the fulfillment of the Canon.

With this distinction, Jesus has all the rights and authority to do with us as he pleases, to rule our lives as he wants. Does this make him sound like a slave master? Yes, but he is the perfect master. He’s not like the standard slave master we think of as we tend to picture pre-Civil War US history or ancient Egypt. He is a perfect master who does seek the best for us. And because he is the fulfillment of the Canon, it does not matter what we think of him. He is the standard, not us. He is right, not us. We can only be right by agreeing with him. He is the boss. He is the King and there is nothing we can say or do that will change that. To surrender to his will requires eating humble pie, but he is a perfect master. He is not safe as he does what he wills but he is good. And when he puts us through trials and difficulties, he sees the end result which will make us stronger and prepared for bigger and better things. Trust him. He is the Messiah. He is the King. And it is the greatest honor we could ever have to serve him. And this final question is bestowed to us all. What will you do with Jesus? Embrace him for who he is, as Lord, King, Savior, Friend? Or reject him and continue to try to rule your own life? The choice is yours, but no matter what choice you make, Jesus is still the Messiah, the fulfillment of the Canon.