Jesus Christ and the Old Testament

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Jesus Christ and the Old Testament

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What was Christ's relationship with the Old Testament? To fully understand that, we must first consider who and what Jesus Christ is as presented in the Bible. The New Testament is a collection of historical biographies and accounts that tell the story of Jesus Christ, His life and ministry, His death and resurrection, the men He chose, and the founding of the Church. It is also about the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ, through whom we have salvation, and includes a series of letters to various individuals and groups of believers elaborating on these concepts and their implications for the way we live our lives. The New Testament ends with the book of Revelation, which describes what will happen in the Church and the world until Christ returns and reigns on earth, after which all who have ever lived will be given the opportunity for salvation in God's eternal Kingdom.

But what is the basis for these books, letters and prophecies? All are based on Jesus the Christ. Christ means "Anointed One" in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written—the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. Jesus Christ's followers called Him Jesus the Messiah. Christ means "Messiah"—the very one prophesied repeatedly in the Old Testament by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, Malachi and others. Without the Old Testament, no one would have been expecting a Messiah. The dozens of prophecies recorded by the prophets about a Messiah—prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ—are among the strongest proofs that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God.

There are many sacred writings among many different religions claiming to be holy and divinely inspired. But there is one thing that none of them do. None of them tell the future, and then, hundreds of years later, record exactly how those prophecies came to pass. That is, in essence, the story of the four Gospels—a calling to mind, a record of Old Testament references of how Jesus Christ fulfilled those prophecies of a Messiah who would be born of a virgin, who would be a divine teacher, who would be put to death, who would bring forgiveness of sin, who would rise from the dead, and who would ultimately return as a conquering king. That is the message of the four Gospels—that Jesus Christ was the Messiah who had been prophesied throughout the Old Testament.

The Jewish New Testament lists 52 prophecies fulfilled in Christ's first coming (pages xxv-xxix). Estimates of the total number of prophecies about Christ, including those of His second coming, number in the hundreds. Was Jesus of Nazareth indeed the Christ, the promised and prophesied Messiah? If the Old Testament is not valid, we don't know. If the Old Testament is not valid, we don't know whether we have a Savior. The Old Testament is the proof that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the One who was sent from God and will come again. GN