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Jesus Christ's Life and Death in Prophecy

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These provide a powerful confirmation of the accuracy of Bible prophecy.

The Jewish New Testament lists 52 prophecies fulfilled in Christ’s birth, life and death as stated in 81 passages in the Old Testament (David Stern, pp. xxv-xxix). In many ways the Old Testament pointed forward to Christ’s first and second comings. All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible discusses not only hundreds of specific prophecies, but many events, people, rituals and sacrifices in the Hebrew Scriptures that foreshadowed the life, death, ministry and return of Jesus Christ (Herbert Lockyer, 1973).

What were some of the prophecies Jesus fulfilled? Let’s notice a few:

• He would be a descendant of King David (Isaiah 11:1-5 Isaiah 11:1-5 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 1:1-6 Matthew 1:1-6 1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brothers; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
American King James Version×
).

• He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 Micah 5:2But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
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; Matthew 2:1 Matthew 2:1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
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).

• One would precede Him who would announce His coming (Isaiah 40:3-5 Isaiah 40:3-5 3 The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
American King James Version×
; Malachi 3:1 Malachi 3:1Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, said the LORD of hosts.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 3:1-3 Matthew 3:1-3 1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
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).

• His own people would reject Him (Isaiah 53:3 Isaiah 53:3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
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; John 1:11 John 1:11He came to his own, and his own received him not.
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).

• A friend would betray Him (Psalms 41:9 Psalms 41:9Yes, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
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; John 13:18-30 John 13:18-30 18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me. 19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that receives whomsoever I send receives me; and he that receives me receives him that sent me. 21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spoke. 23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spoke. 25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast said to him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus to him, That you do, do quickly. 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spoke this to him. 29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said to him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
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).

• The price for His betrayal would be 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12 Zechariah 11:12And I said to them, If you think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
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; Matthew 26:15 Matthew 26:15And said to them, What will you give me, and I will deliver him to you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
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).

• The 30 pieces of silver would buy a potter’s field (Zechariah 11:13 Zechariah 11:13And the LORD said to me, Cast it to the potter: a goodly price that I was priced at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 27:3-10 Matthew 27:3-10 3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see you to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. 7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Why that field was called, The field of blood, to this day. 9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; 10 And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.
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).

• Wicked people would pierce His hands and feet (Psalms 22:16 Psalms 22:16For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
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; Luke 23:33 Luke 23:33And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
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; Luke 24:38-40 Luke 24:38-40 38 And he said to them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have. 40 And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.
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).

• He would suffer execution but without the breaking of any of His bones (Psalms 34:20 Psalms 34:20He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken.
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; John 19:33-36 John 19:33-36 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they broke not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true: and he knows that he said true, that you might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
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).

• Others would cast lots for His garments (Psalms 22:18 Psalms 22:18They part my garments among them, and cast lots on my clothing.
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; John 19:23-24 John 19:23-24 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which said, They parted my raiment among them, and for my clothing they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
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).

• He would be buried with the wealthy (Isaiah 53:9 Isaiah 53:9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
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; Matthew 27:57-60 Matthew 27:57-60 57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: 58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.
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).

• God would resurrect Him from the grave (Psalms 16:10 Psalms 16:10For you will not leave my soul in hell; neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption.
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; Acts 2:30-32 Acts 2:30-32 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus Himself could not have controlled how these prophecies were fulfilled. No one can control the circumstances of His own birth, who his ancestors are and where he is born. Nor could He control the actions of others in betraying Him, putting Him to death and laying His body in the unused tomb of a wealthy man. Yet the prophets had written these remarkable details in advance up to 1,000 years earlier, foretelling precise details of Christ’s death by crucifixion long before this became common as a method of execution.

The four Gospels abound with accounts of how many messianic prophecies were fulfilled, but Christ’s closest followers didn’t recognize their fulfillment at the time. Only in hindsight were they able to recognize many prophecies recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures and how they had been fulfilled.

Many prophecies regarding Jesus Christ are yet to be fulfilled. The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy lists more than 200 prophecies of the Messiah, most of which are yet to come to pass (Barton Payne, 1996, pp. 665-670). Just as the many precise details of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection came to pass exactly as foretold, so will the many prophecies that relate to His second coming be fulfilled exactly as spelled out in God’s Word.

To learn more, download or request your free copy of our booklet Jesus Christ: The Real Story .

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