Reason #12: Fulfill prophecy
One of the most pleasant things about God is that he is always faithful to his word. I believe the main point of the creation story in Genesis chapter 1 is not to give us detailed information about how God created the world (although certainly we can draw some conclusions as to how he did it). Nor is the author concerned so much of telling us when God created the world. The main point of the first chapter is to introduce us to the major subjects of the story in history: God, mankind, and the created world. Indeed, if we do not understand correctly who God is, who we are and our role in the story and our relation to the world, then we are left confused and walking in fog. In the first chapter of the Bible it is clear that the author wants to tell us about this great, all-powerful God. One of his characteristics is that his word is always true, it can be trusted all the time and is 100% effective. Ten times in Genesis chapter 1 we see repeated “And God said . . .” What is also repeated is “and it was so.”
Consider these 2 verses on God’s promises:
Joshua 23:14 (NIV): “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.
Psalm 145:13 (NIV): “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”
God does not just keep his word regarding future promises, he also has the power to predict the future. Throughout all of Scripture we see all kinds of prophecies made regarding the fate of various nations and the specific events of the future. Perhaps the greatest prophecies of all are those which predicted the birth and life of Jesus centuries before he was even born.
In all of the Old Testament there are many passages which point towards Jesus, some are more direct, specific prophecies and others are more allusions to his life. Thus, scholars debate over the exact number of prophecies that are contained in the Old Testament. One thing is for sure, Jesus himself explained to two of his disciples that all sections of the Old Testament contained things pertaining to his own life: “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27, NIV).
In Matthew’s gospel, on 13 different occasions when writing about specific events of the life of Jesus, he uses the phrase: “this happened in order to fulfill” the Old Testament prophet [insert name of various prophets here].
Regarding some specific prophecies about Jesus that were fulfilled, here are just a few among the many:
2 Samuel 7:12-13: the prediction that Jesus would be one of the descendants of David.
Isaiah 7:14: Jesus would be born of a virgin.
Micah 5:2: Jesus would be born in Bethlehem
Isaiah 9:1-2: Jesus would minister in Galilee
Isaiah 40:3-4: Jesus would be preceded by a forerunner (who was John the Baptist)
Isaiah 53:3: Jesus would be despised and rejected
Daniel 7:13-14: Jesus would have an everlasting throne
Zechariah 9:9: Jesus would come as king riding on a donkey
Psalm 22: Jesus would be forsaken, he would suffer thirst, he would be scorned, and his hands and feet pierced.
Isaiah 25:7-8: Jesus would conquer death
Jeremiah 31:31: Jesus would establish a New Covenant
These are just a sampling and Jesus and he fulfilled them all. He is the only “candidate” who could fulfill every one of these prophecies!
In conclusion, I would like to cite Walter Kaiser, one of the most prominent (and one of my favorite) Old Testament scholars:
“As far as the case for the Messiah in the Old Testament is concerned, the relationship between the Old and New Testaments is one of strong continuity and a progressive revelation. The seminal seeds of the doctrine of the person and work of Jesus bloom and blossom in the New Testament even though the Old Testament often carried in seminal seed form much that eventually developed out of the Old. What a gracious, revealing God, and what a wonderful gift of a Savior who has come to earth once, but who is due to return once more in all his fullness and glory!”
Jesus said that he would return once again and there are many prophecies regarding this truth. We know that God’s words are always true and come to fruition and that his prophecies regarding the future never err. Oh what a delight in being able to rest in the assurance of our future!
Questions to consider:
Do you trust that God is always faithful to his word?
Are there any promises of God that you need to cling to and trust?
How are you doing at being faithful to your word?
For further reading:
by Walter Kaiser
Book: Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, by Christopher J. H. Wright (One of the best books, in my opinion, on how the Old Testament points towards Christ)