The Only Savior Of The World: Act Series #21
We are going to learn about Christ and the Old Testament. In Acts 10:43, Peter testifies in the household of Cornelius about the Lord Jesus. He says, “to him,” that is to Jesus, “give all the prophets witness.” When he said all the prophets, he’s talking primarily about the Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written.
Would you like to be able to understand the Old Testament? Would you like to get into some of the mystery rooms of the Old Testament? There is a master key that unlocks the key to the mystery rooms of the Old Testament and that master key is the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will find a Christo-centric approach to the Old Testament, it will burst aflame in your hands. If you read the Old Testament and you don’t find Jesus, you need to go back and reread it because you missed the message.
In this chapter, we will discover some of the portraits of Jesus in the Old Testament and find some of the prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament.
I. We Need To Look At The Portraits Of Jesus Christ
First, of all we are going to think about some portraits of Jesus in the Old Testament. Jesus spoke to those who were challenging him as to his authenticity and to his Messiahship. In John 5:39, Jesus looked them straight in the eye and said, “Search the scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of me.”
When Jesus said, “Search the scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life,” he was talking about the Old Testament. Now without Jesus, the Old Testament is a book of unexplained ceremonies, that won’t make sense. Also, the Old Testament is a book of unfulfilled prophecies that were given to people. Next, it is a book of unattainable standards for people to achieve. If you try to live by the Old Testament without the Lord Jesus Christ, you will not make it.
The Old Testament was completed about 400 years before Jesus Christ was born. The he Jews by that time had divided the Old Testament into three categories. These categories were the law, the prophets, and the writings.
In Luke 24, Jesus is on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. There are two forlorn disciples there, they did not understand all that had happened in Jerusalem. Jesus walks alongside of him. They don’t recognize him in his resurrection form. In Luke 24:44, we read, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms.”
The term “writings” I used earlier is the Psalms. The Jews took the Psalms and all that followed as the writings. Next, we read, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” How were they going to understand the Scriptures? They were going to understand the Scriptures by finding in the Scriptures all of the things that pertained to Jesus.
In the law, prophets, and in the Psalms or the writings, all of these things pertain to him. The law contained the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. The Prophets are located throughout the Old Testament. The Writings were primarily the Psalms.
The Jews lived under a theocracy and a monarchy. The theocracy is the rule of God and the Jews didn’t have a king. Then they cried out for a king and God gave them Saul and a succession of kings. Thus, they lived under theocracy and under a monarchy.
In the theocracy and the monarchy, there were three types of individuals that were anointed or christened. Christ means the “anointed one.” The three leaders who were anointed were the prophet, the priest and king.
The Lord Jesus Christ typified by all of the prophets, all of the priests, and all of the kings. Jesus was prophet, priest, and king. The entire Old Testament history is all about the Lord Jesus Christ. When we get to the New Testament, we find the fulfillment. In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,) we see Jesus as the prophet preaching the Kingdom of God; in the Epistles and in the Book of Acts, we see Jesus as the ascended priest interceding for the people of God; in the Book of the Revelation, you see Jesus Christ as the coming king.
I want to highlight several of these portraits and prophecies. Jesus is portrayed as the second Adam because the first Adam prophesied him. Jesus is a prophet like Moses because Moses typified him. Jesus is a priest like Aaron and Melchizedek because they prefigured him. Jesus is a champion like Joshua, whose name literally means Jesus.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the offering of Isaac there on Mount, where Jesus literally died. Jesus is a king like David. Jesus is a wise counselor like Solomon. Jesus is a beloved, rejected, exalted son and world bread supplier like Joseph. Jesus is pictured in the ark of the covenant. Jesus is the sacrifice upon the brazen altar in the tabernacle in the temple. Jesus is the mercy seat in the sanctuary, where the shekinah glory of God dwells. Jesus is the water that came from the rock. Jesus is the manna that fell from the sky. Jesus is the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness. Jesus is the Passover lamb. Jesus is the scapegoat bearing away the sins of the people. Jesus is the lion of Judah. Jesus is the good shepherd; the Lord is my shepherd. Jesus is that root out of a dry ground, born of a virgin. Jesus is the fruitful branch. Jesus is that one without form or comeliness yet altogether lovely. The Old Testament, without the Lord Jesus Christ, would be a dead-end road leading to nowhere.
An artist took the Constitution of the United States, and he painted the letters of the Constitution very carefully and shaded each letter, as you looked at the Constitution of the United States of America. You could read it all as the framers intended it to be. However, if you stepped back and looked at it, you would see that the artist had so shaded the letters in a manner to create a portrait of George Washington. In like manner, the Old Testament portrays Jesus. When one studies a all the Scriptures a powerful pictures emerges of Christ Jesus.
II. We Need To Learn The Prophecies Of Jesus Christ
The Old Testament prophets predicted the coming of Jesus Christ. God began to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus with over three hundred prophecies concerning him. There can be no mistake that Jesus is the Messiah.
The law of mathematical probability makes it totally impossible that Jesus is not the Messiah or that anyone else could claim to be the Messiah according to the law of probability. The law of probability is not an abstract law. Those of you who have life insurance policies, these are based on the law of probability. Insurance companies will insure a healthy thirty-year-old man for a modest sum, he pays on a monthly basis, for a million dollars. That is, if he dies, they will give to his survivors a million dollars. He may be paying $150 more or less, but they will give him one million dollars. Is that because they like to give away money? No, they know with exactitude what the law of probability is that this man will die in his thirties and so they can afford to do this because they know they are going to make money. They risk billions of dollars on what we call mathematical probability.
At the time of this writing I have a very close friend, who lives in Fiji. If I wanted to give him call on her phone, do you think that I can just pick up the phone and just randomly dial some numbers and expect to get him? What would be the chance, with some 8 billion people on the face of the earth, if I just pick up a phone and start punching some numbers. I would never reach him this way. Thus, I must narrow the focus.
When I pick up the telephone, I eliminate everybody on earth who doesn’t have a telephone. Next, when dial +, I eliminate everybody that lives in America because that’s the overseas number. Next, I dial 679. When I dial this number, I eliminate all the other nations in the world except Fiji. Then, I dial 893. When I dial 679, I have eliminated all of the other sections in Fiji, except Suva. Last, when I dial the remaining numbers, each number eliminates other people until I dial the last number. When I dial the last number, my friend will pick up and say, “Greetings James!”
Now, in like manner, we can dial up the Son of God. I want you to see how God keeps narrowing the focus until there is only one person who can answer on the other end, God’s Son.
God said in the Old Testament that Messiah was to come from a race, Messiah’s not to be an angel, he’s to be a man. Messiah is to be a human being. In Genesis 3:15, God said to the serpent: “And I will put enmity,” that means warfare, “between thee and the woman and between thy seed,” the word seed means descendant, “and her seed. It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his hill, heel.”
This is the first prophecy in all of the Bible. It’s found right there on the threshold of the Bible and it is called by theologians the proto evangelion, which means the first evangelistic message. A battle is prophesied between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.
Not only is the battle prophesied, but a birth is prophesied. Here is the seed. The Bible the word seed is used more than one hundred times and it always refers to the offspring of a male. However, God speaks concerning the woman, the seed of the woman. In Genesis 3:15 it’s called the seed of the woman, a prophesy of the virgin birth. Not only a battle and a birth are prophesized, but a bruising. The seed of the serpent is going to bruise his heel, the Messiah’s heel, but Messiah will crush his head.
Isn’t that an amazing truth? Right there in the beginning of the Bible you find that Messiah is going to be a human being and he is the seed of the woman. He will be a of the human race. We have just picked up the phone and dialed the first number.
The second number is there will be a section out of that race because of a man named Noah. God put Noah and his family in the ark before the flood. When Noah came out of the ark he had three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth. Noah’s three sons came out of the ark. From whom did the Messiah come from? In Genesis chapter 2:26 we read, “And he said, Bless thee the Lord God of Shem.” Messiah is going to be a Shemite or a Semite. God chose Shem. When God chose Shem, He narrowed the focus this much more and eliminated two-thirds of all of the people on the earth.
Next God chooses a nation. Because about two thousand years before Jesus was born, God came to a man named Abraham and God said to Abraham, I’m going to make a nation out of you. In Genesis 12:1-3, we read: “And now the Lord God said unto Abram, “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house into a land that I will show thee and I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing and I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee and in thee, shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
We continue to dial the numbers. First, a race. Second, a section of that race. Third, a nation out of that section of that race. However, this man Abraham had two sons, one named Isaac and one named Ishmael.
Which one is going to carry the line? In Genesis chapter 17:19, we read: “And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son and thou shalt call his name Isaac and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant.” God takes the descendants of Abraham and divides them. God tightens the focus again and He says the Messiah is going to come from a race, from a section of that race, from a nation of that race, and from a particular son in that nation.
Next, God tightens the focus even more and says there’s going to be a tribe out of that section because, Issac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Which one of these is God going to choose? God chose Jacob. When God did that, he eliminates fifty percent of all of those, of the elect. In Numbers 24:17, we read: “The prophet said, I see him, but not now. I shall behold him, but not nigh. There shall come a star out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.”
Jacob had twelve sons, but God chose one of those sons and that son is Judah. In Genesis 49:10, we read: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
We have been dialing the numbers. God chose a race and then he chose a section of a race, then He chose a nation out of that section, then he chose a tribe out of that nation, the tribe of Judah, but God is not finished yet. God keeps punching numbers on His heavenly telephone. Next, God takes the tribe of Judah and God chooses a family out of the tribe of Judah. What was that family? The family out of that tribe of Judah is the family of Jesse. In Isaiah chapter 11:1-2, we read, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Now the rod, the ruler, the kingdom is going to come from a particular family, the family of Jesse. Messiah is going to be a descendant of the family of Jesse and all the other families of Judah now are eliminated.
God is going to tighten the focus even more—not only is Messiah going to come from Jesse, but God says Messiah is going to come from a household of that family, of that tribe, of that nation, of that section of that race. What is the family? The household is David. In 2 Samuel 7:6 we read, “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, I took thee from the sheep goats and from following the sheep to be a ruler over my people over Israel.” In 2 Samuel chapter 7:12, we read, “And when they days be fulfilled, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, yet I will, I will set up thy seed after thee which shall proceed out of thy bowels,” that is, a descendant of David, “and I will establish my kingdom.”
Jesse had eight sons and seven-eighths of them were eliminated. God kept on narrowing the focus. However, He’s not finished yet. We have the house of David, but now there’s got to be a certain woman out of the household of David, out of that household, out of that family, out of that tribe, out of that tribe, out of that nation, out of that section, out of that race. This woman is to be a virgin. In Isaiah 7:14, we read, “Behold, the Lord Himself shall give you a sign, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” She will not be any daughter of the household of David. She has to be a virgin who conceives in her womb a child. A son is born of that virgin, out of that household, out of that family, out of that tribe, out of that nation, out of that section, out of that race.
With this in mind, God’s is not finished yet. The Messiah cannot be born anywhere. He has to be born in Bethlehem. He can’t be just an ordinary person born in Bethlehem. He has to be hated and sold for thirty pieces of silver. He has to be crucified by the piercing of his hands and feet. He has to be raised from the dead. When you dial all of these numbers and pick up the phone, who do you have? Jesus, the Son of God!
There are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus. I have only mentioned less than fifteen. Peter Stoner, former Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College, took all the prophecies and applied the law of probability. He said, if you were to cover the state of Texas with silver dollars from border to border, three feet deep, with one of the silver dollars being marked somewhere in all of the silver dollars; then blindfold a man and dropped him down anywhere in the state of Texas, to let him stay there and shuffle through those silver dollars. If the man reaches in and finds that one silver dollar has been marked, mathematically that would be the same probability that just eight of these prophecies would be fulfilled by one individual.
I highlighted fifteen and there are over three hundred prophecies. When you find the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Jesus is there in portrait. All of the symbols, emblems and ceremonies, picture the Lord Jesus. He’s the prophet, priest, and king. Then when you look at the fulfilled prophecies, you will conclude that this did not happen without divine inspiration?
You can trust the word of God and the God of that word. If you trust the word of God, then you certainly can trust the God of that word. The Old Testament said that somebody is coming. The New Testament said that somebody has come. The book of the Revelation says that somebody is coming again. The New Testament tells you how Jesus, who is coming, gets you ready for His second coming.
I’m not trying to prove to you that Jesus is the Messiah. The evidence lies beyond proof. True faith is rooted in evidence. True faith goes beyond evidence. True faith becomes its own best evidence. If you try to figure God out, you will die and go to hell and not have God figured out. The Bible says, “Can a man, by reasoning, find out God?” Why is that? Well, nothing will hold anything, beyond its own capacity. In other words, you cannot put two gallons of liquid in a one-gallon jug. Do you think that you can cram God into your mind? No, your mind doesn’t have the capacity to contain God and so don’t try to eliminate God that you don’t understand. In order for me to have a God that I can worship, he must be a God greater than my mentality. If I could understand God, God would be no bigger than my intellect, which is far too small a god for me to worship. Now if we could understand God, we would not need Him. We don’t have to understand him to know him.