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Do the Scriptures Predict Jesus?

“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” — Luke 24: 27.

“There is no unequivocal specific prediction of Jesus Christ and/or the church in the Old Testament” — The Transforming Word, Abilene Christian University Press, 2009, p. 66.

Jesus was talking to two disciples after His resurrection. They had hesitated to believe that He was risen from the dead. The Lord rebuked them saying, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). They knew some of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, but they did not trust those predictions like they should have. Jesus said they were foolish. How much worse is it today when people call themselves Christians and say there are no predictions of Jesus in the Old Testament?

God knows the future and foretells it many times in the Bible. He “calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom. 4:17). It was nothing for God to foretell the Hebrews’ bondage in Egypt or the conquests of Alexander the Great hundreds of years before they occurred (Gen. 15:13-16; Dan. 8:5-8, 20-22). It was a small thing for God to predict the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus (Micah 5:2; Isa. 53; Psa. 22; Psa. 16:10).

How can professed Christians—not atheists or skeptics—deny something this plain? Jesus said, “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). The common people in Jesus’ time understood that the Old Testament predicted the Messiah. “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth’” (John 1:45). Even the Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus admitted that their Scriptures foretold the Christ (Matt. 2:1-6). What can be said about a view that denies these predictions? In Jesus’ words, it is foolish. He said that Moses “wrote about me” (John 5:46). If Jesus taught that the Old Testament predicted Him, who is any man to say that it did not?

The Holy Spirit guided Peter to say that David prophesied of Jesus in Psalm 16:10—“For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Peter explained that David “foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ” (Acts 2:31). But the Transforming Word commentary says there are no predictions of Christ in the Old Testament. How then do they respond to these New Testament passages? Here is the “explanation.” It is an old view taught by unbelieving Jews, deists, and liberal theologians hundreds of years before the teachers at Abilene Christian University, a school founded and still supported by churches of Christ, promoted it: “New Testament speakers reinterpreted and reapplied Old Testament texts to Christ and/or the Church” (p. 66). This means, for instance, that when Isaiah said He would be led as a lamb to the slaughter, he really was not talking about the Messiah. He was describing the suffering of the Jewish nation; Philip just adapted and applied that language to Jesus because it “fit” (Acts 8:32-35)! The even more tragic part is that ACU is not the only college associated with churches of Christ that teaches this.

This is a serious doctrine. Prophecy is the strongest evidence of the inspiration of the Bible, and this view undermines that proof! It is unbiblical and foolish teaching. It directly contradicts the words of our Lord. We are shocked when we hear about some of the radical liberal ideas being taught on secular college campuses today, but what about colleges that train missionaries, preachers, and church leaders to believe ideas like this one? Let us rise up and take the sword of the Spirit and fight the good fight of faith.


West End church of Christ bulletin article for January 22, 2023


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