The Bible is a book full of prophecy. Many of the prophecies in the Old Testament tell
of a time when God would change everything. This change would come when God's
Christ, or Messiah, would come into the world. The many claims made in the Old
Testament regarding the Messiah tell who He is, where He would be born, how He
would die, and that His death, unlike all men's, would not be final. If these claims are
true they point to the true author of the Bible being something other than a man, or
some men. Only a being beyond mans understanding could predict the future in detail
and understand and control the unseen things of nature. The Bible speaks about its
unchanging, all knowing, and all powerful author.
Isaiah lived in a time when God's judgement was falling on His people for their sins.
Bloodshed was common in the streets. Even children were being burned alive as
offerings to false gods. The true living God had warned His people that sin would bring
His judgement and it was coming now. Isaiah prophesied about the details of this
impending judgement, and of a later time, when God would comfort His people and
establish them. One of the best known and most beautiful prophecies about Messiah is
found in Isaiah 9. Given around 700 BC, this passage tells much about Messiah.
Verses 1 to 5 tells us that His coming will honor Galilee, that it will give light to those
that struggle in darkness, that it will free those that are oppressed and that it will bring
great joy to their hearts. Verses 6 & 7 then reveals more about these wonderful
Isaiah 9:1-7 (NIV 3)
1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past
he humbled the land
of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the
Gentiles, by the way of
the sea, along the Jordan-
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior's boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
Jesus was born 700 years later to parents from Nazareth in the region of Galilee. A
census had been commanded from Rome, so His actual place of birth was in the town
of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the city of David, since Joseph was of the line of
David. Just as verse 6 tells us, Messiah will be the "Everlasting Father", a name
reserved for God, and "Mighty God", which needs no explanation. Messiah was
foretold to be God Himself. Jesus often claimed that He was God. He did this while
honoring God the Father in all his actions. In the book of Revelation penned almost
800 years latter, as yet unfulfilled prophecies tell of Christ's return in power and glory
that will last forever. For the author to predict that God would come into the world as a
man, that his place of earthly birth would be Galilee and that he would rule forever
clearly came from somewhere other than the prophet himself. God says He is the one
who tells the future before it happens.
Later in Isaiah, the author shows us a different side of Messiah. Isaiah 53 predicts
Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection and tells us why they happened and what that
means to us:
Isaiah 53 (NIV 3)
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression [a] and judgment he was taken away.
And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
These verses tell of Jesus compassion, of His appearance, and of His trial, death and
resurrection. It also speaks of the fact that He had no children, but that after His death
and resurrection He would have many offspring. 700 years in advance Isaiah
prophesied of a man who would be God Himself, yet would suffer and die for our sins,
only to be raised from the dead to rule forever. These prophecies seem at odds, until
we look at Jesus' claims and the testimony of those that walked with Him. In Him the
apparently contradictory prophecies of Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 53 are fulfilled.
These two prophecies show supernatural events that were foretold long ago and that
happened. There are many more, over 300, messianic prophecies in the Old
Testament that tell much more about Messiah. If the Bible tells the future, it does what
no other book has done. The Bible makes audacious claims, then lives up to them.
The Bible & Prophecy
1 KJV Gift & Award Bible, Revised. Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan Corp. 2002
2 New American Standard Bible, Text Edition Anaheim California: Foundation
3 The Quest Study Bible, New International Version Grand Rapids Michigan:
Zondervan Corp. 1994
5 The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Red-Letter
With contributions by John R. Kohlenberger. Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2001