True Bible Prophecy
What is the central thing in biblical prophecy? It is the description supplied of the Messiah many centuries before He came to this earth. A full portrait of Him was drawn in advance: one inspired artist after another adding fresh details, until the picture was complete. The prophets, with one consent, gave witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, so that nothing befell Him and nothing was done by Him which they did not foretell. Those prophecies were in the hands of the Jews, and translated into the Greek, generations before His birth, and were so well known that the apostle Paul could say to King Agrippa that he taught none other things “than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should arise from the dead.” The fulfillment exactly corresponded to the predictions made long before, for it pleased God to supply such an exact description of the Messiah that His identity should be indubitably established when He appeared among men: and thus the Jews were condemned by their prophets for rejecting Him. The supernatural character of our Lord’s humanity was declared when it was said that He should be the woman’s “seed”, conceived and born of a “virgin”. In Genesis 9, it was made known through which of the three sons of Noah the Messiah should issue, namely, Shem: for God would “dwell” in his “tents.” Later, it was revealed that Christ, according to the flesh, should be of the Abrahamic stock. Still further was the compass narrowed, for of the twelve sons of Abraham’s grandson, Judah was chosen (Genesis 49:10).
Out of all the families of Judah, He would spring from the house of Jesse. The place of His birth was specified. The very time of His advent was mentioned. So definite were the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ that the hope of Israel became the Messianic hope: all their expectations centered in his appearing. It is therefore the more remarkable that their sacred Scriptures contained another set of prophecies, telling of His being despised by His own nation and put to a shameful death.
Though Christ would preach good tidings to the meek, bind up the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives of sin and Satan, and though He should open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, and make the lame leap as a hart, yet utterly incredible as it appeared, He would be “despised and rejected of men.” His back would be smitten, the hair plucked out of His cheeks, and His face covered with the vile spittle of those who hated Him. He would be sold for “thirty pieces of silver,” brought as a lamb to the slaughter, taken from prison and judgment, cut off out of the land of the living. His death by crucifixion was revealed a thousand years beforehand. So too His being crucified with malefactors, His being derided upon the cross, His being offered vinegar to drink as well as the soldiers gambling for His garments, were all described. It is also foretold that He should rise from the dead, and ascend into heaven (Psalm 68:18).