The Christian Belief in Old Testament Prophecy Fulfillment

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  • 0:00 The Idea of a Messiah
  • 0:57 Prophecies to be Fulfilled
  • 2:03 Christian Doctrine on…
  • 2:51 Other Religions on Jesus
  • 4:05 Lesson Summay
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Have you ever waited for something you wanted? Try waiting hundreds, if not thousands, of years. That's how long that Christians believe the world waited for the Messiah, one of the many roles of Jesus Christ.

The Idea of a Messiah

By the first century AD, the Jews had already been through a great deal. According to their histories, they had been enslaved by the Egyptians, had their temple destroyed, and were forced into exile by the Babylonians. Recently, they had been caught up in bigger events and had been conquered by the Roman Empire, the preeminent military and cultural force of the Mediterranean Sea.

Simply put, things were not looking good for the idea of independence for the Jewish people, much less a glorious future led by someone known as the Messiah, the anointed one chosen by God to restore the Jewish people to Israel while bringing forth a peaceful world. As impossible as it seemed at the time, that's what their prophecies seemed to hint at. Complicating matters was the fact that a man had appeared from the region of Nazareth whose followers claimed that he was exactly that person. His name? Jesus Christ.

Prophesies to be Fulfilled

It was not enough just to claim being the Messiah. Instead, you had to fulfill all the requirements of the various prophecies that foretold of his arrival. By the time Jesus arrived 2,000 years ago, there were plenty of these. Prophecies existed to explain every conceivable detail about the Messiah, ranging from his family to where he was born and even the day of his death. These can be found throughout the Old Testament of the bible, from the first pages of Genesis to the writings of prophets like Isaiah and Micah. Zechariah 9:9 specifies how the Messiah would enter Jerusalem, while Isaiah 9:1 discusses where he would preach. Dozens of other examples of specific predictions exist throughout the Hebrew scriptures.

However, just as you'd expect from the prophecies, there is quite a bit of room for interpretation as to how one would actually go about fulfilling them. As a result, there is considerable disagreement among Jews, Christians, and even Muslims as to whether Jesus fulfilled those requirements.

Christian Doctrine on Fulfilled Prophesies

For their part, Christians believe that Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies. In fact, no small part of scholarship has been written with the sole purpose of proving that. To some degree, the Gospels, the four books of the New Testament that tell the life and teachings of Jesus, focus on proving that Jesus did, indeed, fulfill the prophecies. In some places, the bible seems conscious of this fact and points it out directly.

That does not mean that the proof of prophecies is no longer inspiration for writers, however. A cursory internet search turns up dozens of websites all claiming to have varying numbers of prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. These sites feature any number of interpretations of Christianity, but they all agree on the fact that Jesus satisfied the prophecies.

Other Religions on Jesus and Prophesies

So what do Jewish people say? After all, these were their prophecies and with more than two billion people claiming that Jesus is the Messiah, surely Judaism has an opinion on the matter. Simply put, most Jewish people don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Some Jewish leaders go as far to say that Jesus was an excellent teacher but in the end, he was not the Messiah.

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