**Old Testament Saints**

Were Old Testament Saints Born Again?

Recently a discussion arose on this blog about the status of people who followed after God before Christ died.  In this entry I will attempt to show that old testament saints were born again and had the same status before God as we do today.  This is not to say that the experience of a believer before Christ and those who believe after Christ are exactly the same, but I believe there is more continuity between the experiences then often assumed.  We will begin our discussion with a brief examination of John 3:1-10:

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?

Here Christ is explaining that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.  He offers no date as to when this type of experience is to begin, it reads as if one must already be born again to enter the kingdom.  But I want to draw attention to the last line in particular; Jesus assumes that Nicodemus should know this.  Jesus is not laying down a new teaching here, this is what the Old Testament teaches and as a teacher of Israel you should know this.  It is taught and shown throughout the Old Testament (as well as the new) that one is saved by being born again, this is the simplest reading of this passage.  For the purposes of this entry the question of what “water” refers to in this passage will be left aside and we will examine only the role of God’s Spirit in this action.   To prove this several passages will be examined that shows this.

So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him (Num 27:18).

With Joshua (see also Caleb Numbers 14:21) we have a clear example of an OT saint who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and  Romans 8:7-11 explains that the indwelling of the Spirit is what gives life to the believer (a more detailed explanation of what Jesus was discussing with Nicodemus). The concept of the Spirit being in the believer is therefore not something new to the New Testament, it happened in the Old. A further explanation of what this means is given in the New Testament, but although Christ’s connection to the the Spirit is not explained until the New Testament does not mean it did not exist in the Old. The OT saints understood in part, but they still understood part (or should have) and took part in the Spirit.

And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live (Deu 30:6).

The saints in the OT had circumcised hearts, they loved God with their hearts. This can only be true of someone born again, only the Spirit can do this. Romans 2:8-29, explaining further on this as the NT does,  making it clear that this is done through the Spirit.

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you (1Sa 13:14).

Here we see why God choose David to be king; He wanted someone who was after Hid own heart.  Could someone be after God’s heart and not be born again?  Romans 8:8 says that “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  How does one leave the flesh but by being born again?  How can one please God but by being after His heart?

When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day (1Sa 10:9).

Often it is assumed that being given a new heart by God is what makes one born again and that it happens only in the New Testament, yet the one instance where it is explicitly said to have happened in scripture takes place in the Old Testament.  King Saul when he was made King by God was given a new heart.  We also see in Ezekiel 18:31 God telling people to turn away from their sin and embrace a new heart.  The people in the OT had an understanding of what this meant and had the ability to do so.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar (Psa 51:10-19).

Here we have King David in the OT touching on all aspects of what it means to be born again.  The Spirit, joy in salvation, true worship of God, and a heart set after God.  Of course this passage brings up the question of if someone can have the Spirit taken away from them or not, and is the answer different in the OT from the NT.  Although I have recently become convinced that someone can have the Spirit removed both in the OT and the NT, I do not believe a view that holds that the Spirit can be removed in the OT and not the NT proves that OT saints were not born again.  Is not being able to give up one’s salvation what it means to be born again?  What scriptures that discuss being born again makes that the central point?  It may be argued that it is a difference between the OT and NT (and as I admitted at the beginning there are differences) but I don’t believe it’s a difference (assuming it is different which will take a whole other entry to work out) that has anything to do with what it means to be born again

All of this now begs the questions; if the saints in the Old Testament were born again how were they before Christ?

When this topic was discussed in another blog entry a few weeks ago John 1:12-13 was brought up as proof that a direct knowledge of the incarnate Jesus was needed to be born again, but is that what that passage teaches?

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2  He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Joh 1:6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
Joh 1:7  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.
Joh 1:8  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
Joh 1:9  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
Joh 1:10  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
Joh 1:11  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him..
Joh 1:12  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Joh 1:13  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus does not come and dwell incarnate in this passage until verse 14 when the Word becomes flesh, yet verse 12 and 13 speak of being born of God.  How is that possible?  Verses 10 and 11 explain; Jesus was in the world He just was not incarnate yet.  The saints in the Old Testament received Christ in this form and were born again.  They did not fully understand who it was that they were embracing, but they trusted God and had faith that He would send a Messiah who would save them from their sin.  This was the experience of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2.  They had placed their faith in a coming saviour, they embraced Him even though He had not yet been born.  For this they were part of those who became children to God, they were born again.

The Christ was  known to those in the Old Testament through the shadows in the temple, through the prophets, and through their history as a nation.  Trusting in God and His Messiah was how one received the Spirit of god, how one was given a new heart and how one loved God.   Those who believe that the Old Testament saints were not born again must show how the born again experience we have today differs in these regards.

21 Responses to “Were Old Testament Saints Born Again?”


  1. 1 Colin Aug 5th, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Jesus does not come and dwell incarnate in this passage until verse 14 when the Word becomes flesh, yet verse 12 and 13 speak of being born of God. How is that possible? Verses 10 and 11 explain; Jesus was in the world He just was not incarnate yet. The saints in the Old Testament received Christ in this form and were born again. They did not fully understand who it was that they were embracing, but they trusted God and had faith that He would send a Messiah who would save them from their sin. This was the experience of Simeon and Anna in Luke 2. They had placed their faith in a coming saviour, they embraced Him even though He had not yet been born. For this they were part of those who became children to God, they were born again.

    Bryan, I agree with this passage here and the concept. However, I think it should be obvious from this statement that the fundamental nature of salvation in the OT is a looking ahead, when the nature of it in the NT is a looking behind. One is the hope for a future atonement the other is an embracing of atonement that has happened. I don’t disagree that OT saints were saved, but is it not apparent that the nature of their salvation was slightly different?

  2. 2 Chris A Aug 5th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    When we look at how the Holy Spirit operated among people in the Old Testament, there are many differences. The Holy Spirit came upon certain individuals for specific tasks at specific times – the priest, the king, the prophet. However, the common man was not anointed like they were. Aside from the Holy Spirit manifesting in a glory cloud or a pillar of fire, the average person would have never experienced the Holy Spirit. His presence was in the Holy of Holies and only the priest had access to that place and only on occasion. Even those particular individuals who were given access to the Holy Spirit – either by anointing or by way of the Holy of Holies – the Spirit did not reside continually with them, much less in them.

    There are scriptures in the Old Testament like Numbers 27:18 that speak of the Holy Spirit being “in” someone, but when you look at the collective body of other scriptures and interpret the less clear passages with the more clear passages, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit did not abide in individuals during this time. The Holy Spirit’s only earthly abode was the Holy of Holies. Look at the account of what happened when Jesus died as recorded in Matthew 27:

    50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

    51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

    What is the significance of the veil of the temple being ripped? That’s where the presence of God had resided under the Old Covenant. This signified an altogether new dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.

    Notice what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:

    1For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

    2For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven,

    3inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

    4For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.

    5Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

    Notice the language here. Paul is using the term “tent”, an OT reference to the tabernacle where God’s presence lived, to describe the human body. It is clear that the tabernacle was a type of that which was to come, namely God living in men. Second Corinthians 6 also calls the Christian’s body the temple of God.

    16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
    “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
    AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
    17″Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
    “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
    And I will welcome you.
    18″And I will be a father to you,
    And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
    Says the Lord Almighty.

    Even though Paul quoted Jeremiah, he alluded to the fact that the new birth in this present covenant was the fulfillment of the OT prophecy. Could you imagine someone in the OT claiming that they were the temple of God? They would have considered that blasphemy! In fact, that’s what they accused Jesus of. They knew only of a temple made with hands.

    The concept of being a child of God is not even a very prominent theme in the Old Covenant. The Hebrews considered themselves sons of Israel, but not literal sons of God. They were the children of God in one sense, but not in the sense of being in Christ.

    “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29)

    Jesus was the firstborn of this godly line that, before his incarnation, did not exist. In order to be born again into this line, on must be “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Under the present covenant God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, enabling us to call God our Father (Galatians 4:6).

  3. 3 Colin Aug 5th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    It is clear that Chris and I have had the same instruction on this issue somewhere.

  4. 4 Bryan Aug 5th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Colin, I’m not sure what you mean by “nature of their salvation”. Yes, one was looking forward to an event and we are looking back to that event but I don’t see how that changes the nature of salvation since it’s the same salvation that is being looked it. Knowledge of it varies, but I think the actual act is the same.

    Chris, can you prove “The Holy Spirit came upon certain individuals for specific tasks at specific times – the priest, the king, the prophet. However, the common man was not anointed like they were” without an argument from silence? The OT tells the story of priests, kings, prophets and such so of course the focus will be around their interaction with the Spirit. Why should I assume their interaction with it would be significantly different from the common man?

    I understand the story in Matthew 27 very differently then you do it seems. I understand the veil being ripped because sin which separates us from God was dealt with, not because we now have access to the Spirit. We can approach God because there is now no barrier between us and Him. Yet, those who looked forward to this event had the benefit of it just as those of us who look back to it have the benefit. Perhaps it’s what Calvinism I still have but I don’t see Christ’s death as temporally bound I guess.

    Regarding 2 Corinthians 6, did the OT saints then not have a guarantee of their salvation?

  5. 5 Chris Austere Aug 5th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    “Chris, can you prove “The Holy Spirit came upon certain individuals for specific tasks at specific times – the priest, the king, the prophet. However, the common man was not anointed like they were” without an argument from silence? The OT tells the story of priests, kings, prophets and such so of course the focus will be around their interaction with the Spirit. Why should I assume their interaction with it would be significantly different from the common man?”

    Can I prove that the Holy Spirit only came upon these individuals? No, I wouldn’t use the word “prove” but I think it is implied in the Old Testament narrative and in the type of the tabernacle. I think even the fact that the day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel’s prophecy, according to Peter in Acts 2, demonstrates quite clearly that the power of the Holy Spirit was something foreign to the common man. Even if we view Matthew 27:18 strictly in the way you do, there is an implication of separation from God that does not exist in New Covenant redemption.

    “Regarding 2 Corinthians 6, did the OT saints then not have a guarantee of their salvation?”

    Who said they didn’t? My point in referencing that scripture was to point out the evident fulfillment of, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM.” Paul points to this scripture as being synonymous with being the temple of God. I don’t know how we can escape the fact that the Old Testament type foreshadowed the New Testament anti-type. It is plainly pointed out here.

  6. 6 TIMFRY Aug 9th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    born again ?
    While most of your study is correct about OT & NT salvation. OT people
    were looking ahesd to something big. IT is a difference in relationship to GOD,that a person under GRACE has attained. Before CHRIST was sacrificed man could not enter the HOLY of HOLYS,where only an anointed PRIEST could enter & only ONCE a year. THE PRIEST became in a sense; GODS representative to work earthly affairs. This was symbolisum at it’s highest.
    When, GOD ,in the flesh, “CHRIST” paid the final sacrifice there was no longer a need for the Jewish Temple, or the VEIL. FOR, (NOW/TODAY),in the new tesament we as children born of GOD become that TEMPLE and our NEW relationship is established that lets US enter the HOLY of HOLYS,into the very presence of GOD the FATHER who was, in the old testiment, contained in the “ARC of THE COVENNANT”, that used to be positioned behind the VEIL. NOW/TODAY we as (BELIEVERS) have access to GOD the FATHER and contain within us the FULLNESS of the GOD HEAD, & we cry abba FATHER. OUR faith is not our own doing, it is the GIFT of GOD SENT by the conviction of the HOLY SPIRIT ,WHO works amoung men. therefore it was the fore thought of GOD that brought you & me to the knowledge of truth. THAT WE are ALL sinners in HIS sight but HE has reasoned from before the foundation of EARTH to save some , as many as would accept. WE now become HIS representatives on EARTH to do HIS will (that being: for US to show the WORLD CHRIST ,who showed the WORLD, GOD the FATHER).WE are now HIs representative in EARTHLY matters. TILL HE COMES AGAIN to establish HIS reign on EARTH.
    I hope i’ve been of help
    TLF

  7. 7 Jesse Jan 3rd, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Chris,
    The Holy spirit came appon believers in the new testament as well. Check it out. New testoment saint were also moved by the holy spirit. Acts: The view u have about the holy spirit “coming upon the prophet” was not just localized to the old testament. good verbage though

  8. 8 Chris A Jan 5th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Jesse, I didn’t mean to suggest that the Holy Spirit did not come upon New Testament believers, just that He did not indwell Old Testament believers the same way he presently does. Actually, I believe that there is an experience subsequent to being born again in this dispensation – that is, being baptized in the Holy Ghost. As Jesus said,

    “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

    Acts 1:8

  9. 9 Francis Drake Feb 1st, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Interesting post, and good comments! All stuff on my heart.
    I was doing a search for something I was just about to post and came across yours.

    A question?
    What is the first verse of the New Covenant?
    Most would respond with Matt.1v1.
    However Jesus tells us clearly.–

    Mat 26:27 And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of it.
    Mat 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

    From this, and much more elsewhere, it is clear that, to Jesus and the disciples, that all of the Gospel period, all of the ministry of Jesus to that very point, was a seamless continuation of the OLD COVENANT.

    If the disciples had never been told, as indeed they hadn’t, that there was a new covenant to happen shortly, they would never in a million years start to think in anything other than OLD COVENANT thought patterns.

    With this in mind we need to reconsider a whole lot of dogmatic, doctrinal points.ie.—-

    1) The whole “Born again” verses of John3 were taught by Jesus whilst in the OLD COVENANT, therefore they are OLD COVENANT. ie all the OLD COVENANT saints were born again, otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have derided Nicodemus, who was still an OLD COVENANT man.

    2) Jesus taught about being filled with the Holy Spirit, whilst ministering in the OLD COVENANT, therefore the Holy Spirit was available to the disciples as OLD COVENANT believers, in the manner of the previous old covenant believers, the patriarchs, etc. who were filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Luk 11:11 For what father of you, if the son asks for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake for a fish?
    Luk 11:12 Or if he shall ask for an egg, will he give him a scorpion?
    Luk 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father GIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask Him?

    Note Jesus does not differentiate in what manner the Holy Spirit would come, within or upon. The disciples for their part would obviously be thinking of Elisha or Isaiah. We must not try to insert dogmas about how, that do not exist in either their minds or that of Jesus.

    Once we realise that Jesus had his ministry in the OLD COVENANT, it starts to clarify a whole lot of stuff that causes controversy.

    Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven being at hand. This is not as some bible commentaries make out, ie. the next big event after the ministry of Jesus. The Kingdom being at hand was the concept of there being another Kingdom besides the one the natural eye could see, the Kingdom where God was enthroned. This is where Jesus lived and did, on earth, what he saw his Father doing in His Kingdom.

    The Kingdom of God was the one Elisha showed his servant.

    2Ki 6:15 And the servant of the man of God arose early and went out. And, behold, an army surrounded the city, and horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, Alas, my master! What shall we do?
    2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Do not fear, for those with us are more than those with them.
    2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed and said, I pray You, Jehovah, open his eyes so that he may see. And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

    There is far too much to explore along this line in a comment. I hope others can enlarge on it and reveal even more interesting nuggets!

  10. 10 Chris A Feb 2nd, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Francis,

    Thank you for your contribution, but I must respectfully disagree. Because Jesus was bridging the gap between the Old and New Covenants, he began to gradually introduce new concepts throughout his ministry. I think the Last Supper/Passover example is a good one. Obviously Jesus had yet to shed his blood for the remission of sins, but he spoke to what was about to take place that would ratify the covenant. Another example is when Jesus said,

    22And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

    23And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

    24Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

    (John 16:22-24)

    Notice that the phrase “in that day” is forward-looking. When he says “hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name” he was teaching about a progressive principle of prayer that until that time they had not known, that is prayer – not to Jesus – but to the Father in the name of Jesus. Because Jesus spoke the words of the Father they were, up until that point, able to ask Jesus anything they desired; but because he was to ascend into heaven that was to mark a new era following the interim, an era only made valid when Jesus was fulfilling his ministry as High Priest (see Hebrews).

    I don’t know if I would pin down a first passage of the New Covenant, but if I were hard-pressed to do so, it would be this one:

    1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

    2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

    3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

    4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    (Acts 2:1-4)

    By this time, Jesus had begun his ministry as High Priest, having been seated at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for us, after the fulfillment of what he had predicted: the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the saints in order to accomplish the Great Commission, which is essentially a continuation of Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation. I think Peter’s reference to Joel’s prophecy following the outpouring of the Spirit is also evidence of the entrance into a New Covenant era.

    16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

    17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

    18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

    19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

    20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

    21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    (Acts 2:16-21)

  11. 11 Atanamis Feb 3rd, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Chris, your points don’t really conflict with those of Francis that I can see. You both seem to agree that most of the Gospels do not constitute the “New Covenant” proper. Since Jesus specifically indicated that communion was an observation of the “new covenant”, Francis is correct in suggesting that this was the introduction of a new concept. You are right though that the new covenant had as a pre-requisite Christ’s death. This is why all it took for the man next to Jesus on the cross to be saved was to put his confidence on Jesus. It was a shift from the idea that someday God would somehow address man’s sins to a specific knowledge of how that would happen. The church didn’t begin to fully experience the “new covenant” until the Holy Spirit came, but it began the moment Christ died.

    Regarding the other points by Francis:
    1) Obviously Jesus would not have condemned Nicodemus for ignorance if the concept of being born again was different than the OT saints. This is likely the strongest argument that they WERE (followed by Romans 4).

    2) Jesus was teaching people to pray “just as John taught his disciples”. The idea was to help the people understand how to talk to God, and the answer was to openly share about your needs. This is DEFINITELY consistent with OT saints.

    3) I think the “Kingdom of God” part is less clear. Clearly God’s Kingdom already exists in heaven (see the Lord’s prayer for an example), but I am unsure whether the “coming” of it refers to the church, angels, or the future conquest of Revelation. I’d probably need to study the word choice and context a lot more to be able to offer an opinion here.

  12. 12 Chris A Feb 3rd, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    “1) Obviously Jesus would not have condemned Nicodemus for ignorance if the concept of being born again was different than the OT saints. This is likely the strongest argument that they WERE (followed by Romans 4).”

    I don’t think Jesus’ conversation can be construed as a condemnation, and I don’t think Jesus was accusing him of being ignorant, although the King James (and perhaps other translations) seem to infer that. Let’s look at the exchange in John 3 from the NIV.

    3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

    4″How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

    5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    9″How can this be?” Nicodemus asked..

    10″You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

    In verse 10, where the NIV says, “Do you not understand these things?”, the KJV says, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” Which is correct? I think by examination of the context, that the NIV is probably more accurate. I say this because Jesus was responding to a question regarding how it could be possible for someone to be born again, an apparently foreign concept to this pharisee. So Jesus wasn’t accusing him of not knowing something clearly laid out in the Old Testament. Jesus’ mention of Moses and the serpent on the poll foreshadowed the work of redemption that would be necessary in order for people to be born again. Jesus only referenced the Old Testament scripture to explain what he was about to fulfill.

    Now if we go back to the beginning of John’s account in chapter 1, we see this:

    10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    The fact that John introduces the concept of the New Birth in connection with the coming of Christ suggests to me that this is a uniquely New Covenant reality. I think that also agrees with the gist of the exchange between Nicodemus and Jesus.

  13. 13 DBT Feb 3rd, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    The KJV is a really bad translation, and while the NIV isn’t great either, it’s significantly better than the KJV. The NASB, TNIV, or ESV are the best..

  14. 14 Atanamis Feb 4th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    DBT, you’re an idiot. You’re summarizing a massively complex issue in two incredibly trite and naive statements. The first stupid thing you do is fail to define a “good” translation.

    Those who hold to “KJV only” normally base this claim on the manuscripts on which it is based. While I don’t agree that the manuscripts it is based on are necessarily better, determining a criteria for manuscript selection is a huge subject with many details to take into account. Arguably, an unclear translation of a superior manuscript may or may not be preferable to a clear translation of an inferior manuscript. It was also translates into a “different language”, its target being people living hundreds of years ago and speaking in a much different way than today.. You might as well complain about the Septuagint being a “really bad translation”.

    The NIV deliberately seeks an “idea to idea” translation of the original manuscripts, and was painstakingly translated, reviewed and revised. Arguably, this is a superior model for translation than “word for word” translations (including the KJV and ESB) since it provides a superior quality English understanding of the original meaning. Doing so does make word studies and original language lookups far more difficult though.

    The Contemporary English Version deliberately did language studies of magazines and other popular culture materials to mirror readability with truly modern English. It takes the “idea for idea” to the extreme, and focuses on communicating meaning over foreign grammar structure. It is the only winner of a “Plain English Campaign” award, a secular organization that rates clarity of published documents.

    Arguably all versions described OTHER than the KJV are inferior due to their restrictive copyright agreements. The organizations involved are apparently all more interested in revenue than in allowing the free spread of the gospel, and most place restrictions on the copying of more than 25% of any one book. My main point is that different versions serve different purposes, and that only a complete idiot would trivially dismiss any faithful interpretation of the Word of God. ALL of these translations have brought people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and ALL of them can be used to know our Creator better. You are more than welcome to prefer whatever (accurate) translation you like, but to call a translation “really bad” is uncalled for.

  15. 15 Atanamis Feb 4th, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Chris, why restrict ourselves to 2 or 3 translations:
    http://bible.cc/john/3-10.htm
    ==-==
    International Standard Version (©2008)
    Jesus answered him, “You’re a teacher of Israel, and you can’t understand this?

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    Jesus told Nicodemus, “You’re a well-known teacher of Israel. Can’t you understand this?

    King James Bible
    Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

    American King James Version
    Jesus answered and said to him, Are you a master of Israel, and know not these things?

    American Standard Version
    Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things?

    Bible in Basic English
    And Jesus, answering, said, Are you the teacher of Israel and have no knowledge of these things?

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    Jesus answered, and said to him: Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?

    Darby Bible Translation
    Jesus answered and said to him, Thou art the teacher of Israel and knowest not these things!

    English Revised Version
    Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things?

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    Jesus answered and said to him, Art thou a teacher of Israel, and knowest not these things?

    Weymouth New Testament
    “Are you,” replied Jesus, “‘the Teacher of Israel,’ and yet do you not understand these things?

    World English Bible
    Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things?

    Young’s Literal Translation
    Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Thou art the teacher of Israel — and these things thou dost not know!
    ==-==

    Plenty of these seem to suggest that being “born again” was not a concept new to the new covenant. I suspect we will have to dig into original language studies to get further though, since clearly not all of the translations provide the same clarity of meaning.

  16. 16 Chris A Feb 5th, 2009 at 8:13 am

    “Plenty of these seem to suggest that being “born again” was not a concept new to the new covenant.”

    Well, I think the important thing to realize is the context of their conversation. Verse 10 in and of itself should not be taken out of context to make a case for or against the new birth being a distinctly New Covenant concept. When Jesus responded (and I’ll just pick one), “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things?” it was a response to the explanation he gave in verses 5-8, not something spoken of in the Old Testament. So using that verse to make an argument that Jesus was accusing him of ignorance of a concept for which he should already have been aware just doesn’t make sense.

  17. 17 DBT Feb 9th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    The KJV comes from the Vulgate, which is from the 5th century (that’s 400 years after the original autographs were written), while the ESV and TNIV are from much earlier manuscripts. Get your facts straight before you call someone an idiot, otherwise you’ll look the fool like you do right now.

  18. 18 DBT Feb 9th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    If you want to read more about this, check out Fee’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. I don’t agree with all of their tastes in translations, but they do a solid job of eliminating the KJV as an option.

  19. 19 Colin Feb 10th, 2009 at 3:30 am

    while the ESV and TNIV are from much earlier manuscripts.

    Some of those earlier manuscripts are gnostic.

  20. 20 Chris A Feb 10th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I try to read different translations. I am fond of the King James because of its poetic value, but I understand its limitations. I do not, however, believe it came from the Latin Vulgate. I think you are thinking of the Catholic Bible.

    But as to the manuscripts debate, I have never been convinced that the supposedly older ones are necessarily better. For instance, the NIV, which is taken from the ones that are supposed to be older omits verses that are found in the King James. Its possible that the verses were added later, but I don’t think so. Who knows? But really it’s a non-issue to me. I’m not dogmatic one way or the other.

    DBT, as far as you being called an idiot, don’t sweat it. For some people, insulting others is a way people mask their own insecurity. They feel better about themselves by putting others down. Such insults are not a testimony of your level of intelligence, but their own carnal nature. We should pray for people like this.

    “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

    Matthew 5:44 (KJV)

Did the OT prophesy Jesus coming from Nazareth?

“…and being warned by God in a dream, he [Joseph] departed for the regions of Galilee, and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene,” (Matt. 2:23).

The question is, “Where is Nazareth spoken of in the Old Testament that stats that Jesus would be called a Nazarene?”

There is no direct Old Testament citation that prophesies the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. In fact, Nazareth (approx 1800 people at the time of Christ) is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament or in the apocrypha. But, we have two possible explanations.

First, Matthew does not say ‘prophet’, singular. He says ‘prophets’, plural. It could be that Matthew was referring to several Old Testament references to the despised character of Jesus (i.e., Psalm 22:6, 13; 69:10; Isaiah 49:7; 53:3; Micah 5:1). Nazareth held the Roman garrison for the northern areas of Galilee.1 Therefore, the Jews would have little to do with this place and largely despised it. Perhaps this is why it says in John 1:46, “And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.'” So, it could be a reference not to an actual location, but the maligned character of the Messiah even as Nazareth was maligned for housing the Roman garrison and that Matthew was using it in reference to the implied hatred of Christ.

Second, there could be a play on words that Matthew was referring to. In Isaiah 11:1 it says, “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. In Hebrew, the word for “branch” is netzer, “NZR” which letters are included in NaZaReth. It seems that Matthew was referring to the branch, the Nazarene, in turn a reference to God’s raising up of the Messiah. Clearly, Matthew was not exegeting Isaiah, but it seems he was referring to the Branch.

Deity Of Christ In Old Testament

There are scriptures about the deity of Christ in Old Testament times. Those who have not read the Bible for a very long time, may not know about the deity of Christ in Old Testament times. In the Gospels, Jesus referred to Himself many times as God or deity when confronted by the Pharisees about who He is. For example, in the book of John, Jesus tells the Pharisees “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM”. This reference to Himself as “I AM” or God, is the same statement that God made to Moses in Exodus chapter three. This is one of the boldest, most clear statements Jesus ever made in the Gospels about the Lord’s diety. The Pharisees knew exactly what He was saying, and wanted to stone Him for it. It is incredible that the Lord was quoting the Tanakh to them about references to Himself. Rather than humbling themselves and opening their eyes and hearts, they felt they had to prop up their pride and deride Him for speaking to them, or teaching them about the scriptures. To them, the Lord was unlearned, but seemed to have a special insight into the Tanakh. In reality, there are numerous references to Jesus in the Old Testament.

What does deity mean? It is making a claim to being a King or royalty. In this case, THE King or Creator of the universe. The Jewish people thought the Messiah would be a military king, and did not consider that their need required a spiritual King of their hearts. This is exactly what Jesus, promised Messiah was, and this is why they did not accept Him as their Messiah. They were not looking in the right place. However, there are references to Jesus in the Old Testament that the Jewish people read, but do not understand as being prophetic references to Him. For example, in the book of Micah, there is the description about the Lord’s birth in Bethlehem. The story goes on to describe the Lord’s deity and scope of rule. The scripture says “But you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me, the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting . This term “from everlasting” literally means “the days of eternity”.

Attached to this verse is yet another reference to the deity of Jesus in Old Testament times in the book of Isaiah. In Isaiah it says “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, The Everlasting Father”. At the beginning of this reference to Jesus in the Old Testament, is a description of the Lord’s birth. “Unto us a Son shall be given..”. So, in the same reference is His birth, and it ends with the description of the Lord being the “Everlasting Father”.

Another reference to the deity of Jesus in the Old Testament, actually begins with a reference given by the Lord to Pilate in the Gospels. When being questioned, Pilate asks Christ if He is the king of the Jews. The Lord says this in verse 36: “My kingdom is not of this world”. A cross reference to this verse is Daniel chapter 2 verse 44. In this reference is a description of the kingdom the Lord is talking about. “And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever”. Here is a description of the Lord’s kingdom, which is spiritual, of the heart. An earthly king can never reign in the hearts of mankind, and so the only king who can reign spiritually is a king who is an everlasting God, absolute deity.

References to Jesus in the Old Testament are in several places. They are in the book of Daniel, in Isaiah, in Psalms and in Micah. Many of these reference Him as the coming Messiah, his place of birth and the scope of His kingdom. One day He will come again to the Earth as the Judge, and will create a new heaven and new Earth, where He will reign forever in a literal kingdom. So, He will be in both men’s hearts and reign physically. All kingdoms of the new Earth will bow to Him. Perhaps this is why the Lord said that His kingdom is not of this Earth, because he was speaking in a dual manner – His kingdom is both of men’s hearts and one day, on the new Earth.

References to the deity of Christ in Old Testament times were always speaking of what would happen in the future, both in the not too distant future, and the future thousands of years hence as well. Therefore, the Jesus in the Gospels is also the God of Israel spoken of in the Old Testament. Because the Jews never accepted Jesus as the coming Messiah, and therefore do not accept the New Testament, then they do not have the benefit of the references Christ made to Himself in the Old Testament or Tanakh. However, Christians have a wonderful opportunity to present these truths to them and show the Jews the deity of Christ in Old Testament times, contrasting and cross-referencing comments by Jesus in the Gospels. There is no doubt that Jesus is God or deity. All it takes is a comparison of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah with New Testament comments made by Jesus.

Jesus’s Use of Deuteronomy in the Desert

A Case Study in Matthew’s Use of the Old Testament

It has sometimes been said that New Testament writers in general–and Matthew in particular–use the Old Testament in random (if not unscrupulous) ways to make their points. This study aims at examining Jesus’s use of Scriptures in Matthew 4 as a case study for how the Scriptures are cited throughout Matthew’s gospel.

Introduction

The issue of Matthew’s use of Old Testament Scriptures (in the form of direct quotations as well as allusions) is a vast and complex study. This is true not only for “untutored” students of the Bible, but for scholars as well.1 Given the space constraints with this paper, it seems appropriate to narrow the focus down to one particular case study; namely, the temptation of Jesus in the desert, as recounted in Matt 4.1-11. This passage seems particularly appropriate, since the use of Scripture here is in the forms of both allusion and quotation, and since it is a key point in revealing Matthew’s conception of salvation-history.2

More specifically, this paper aims to deal with Matthew’s presentation of Jesus fulfilling Scriptures both by allusion and by Christ’s own quotations from Deuteronomy when he is tempted by Satan. It is the argument of this paper that these Old Testament references in Matthew’s gospel give insight into, and help develop, the larger Matthean motif of Jesus being the (antitypical) fulfilment of Israel’s history.3 Time will first be taken to examine the context surrounding the temptation account in Matthew so as to analyze the larger themes in the narrative. Secondly, the specific temptations themselves will be studied to show the precise parallelism which Matthew presents between Jesus and Israel in the desert and how Jesus is portrayed as the fulfilment of all the Pentateuch—not just the Prophets.

Jesus’ Use of Scripture in His Temptation

Contextual Observations—Jesus Fulfilling Israel’s History

There are many events in Matthew’s gospel which precede Jesus’ temptation, but yet give much insight into a major theme being drawn upon within the temptation narrative itself. This theme has been variously described as a “new Israel / Exodus” motif,4 or a “new Moses” motif.5 As he is seemingly always able to do, Carson suggests that it is possible to take the best of both worlds, and—while subtly perceiving the Moses motif—one would do best to understand Jesus’ citation of Scriptures in these temptations “in terms of Israel-Christ typology.”6 In this way Christ may truly be preserved in Matthew’s view as the true Moses, as well as the true Israel: Jesus is the fulfilment of all that came before him. Thus Carson can conclude that “we must rid ourselves of conceptions of fulfillment which are too narrow. Jesus fulfills the entire Old Testament—the Law and the Prophets—in many ways.”7 To see both themes present is the best solution, to be sure, since the vast amount of data for either argument can, for the most part, be used for both arguments. And the richness of fulfilment in Christ should not in any way be minimized wherever it is at all valid.

There are no less than four events from the immediate context in Matthew which must be taken into account before one may interpret Jesus’ temptation aright. The first is Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt (Matt 2.13-15). In Matthean theology of fulfilment, this associates Jesus with the people of God, since Hosea records that the “son of God” would be called out of Egypt; which in its original context, definitely referred to the nation of Israel and no other.

The second event to be considered is the “slaughter of the innocents” (Matt 2.16-18). Zaspel argues that the “slaughter of the children (is) significant” here because it matches up Christ’s life and birth-years with Moses,8 but the text Matthew quotes from Jeremiah seems to tie Jesus’ life in with the “filling-up of Israel’s story” theme more predominantly. That being said, Zaspel’s point must be allowed to stand that “the wording of 2.20 (‘for they are dead which sought the young child’s life’) is strikingly reminiscent of Exodus 4.19,”9 thus allowing for the continuation of the “new Moses” theme as well. Even if nothing else could be shown conclusively, these two events definitely serve to confirm in the mind of the reader that the true “Son of God” had to have all the genuine experiences of the “son of God” spoken of in the Old Testament. In other words, Jesus is described as living out the history of Israel.

The third event to be noted is that which occurs in the verses immediately preceding the temptation: the baptism of Jesus (Matt 3.13-17). After being baptized, Jesus has the Spirit of God descend on him, while the Father declares from heaven that Jesus is, in fact, his (true) Son. This serves to validate Matthew’s declaration that Jesus would take on the exclusive title of “Son of God” (cf. 2.15), and it also continues to lay the foundation for the temptations which will come from Satan’s voice (contra the voice of God here at his baptism).10 Christ is portrayed as the one who takes on the story of Israel and develops it “as the One who gives meaning to all who went before Him.”11 It is immediately following this event that Jesus is “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4.1).12 It is important to see in the flow of thought that the baptism narrative immediately precedes Jesus’ fast and wandering in the desert for a time.. This is precisely parallel to Israel’s journey through the Red Sea, and then temptations to not trust God, to put God to the test, and to worship other gods.

Before actually focusing attention specifically on the temptations, however, one more event should be considered, and that is the Sermon on the Mount, which immediately follows the temptations in Matthew’s construction. This is significant for both fulfilment themes discussed thus far. In the Sermon on the Mount, the portrayal of Christ as the new Moses, however, must be allowed the place of prominence.

The whole narrative in both cases (Exodus and Matthew) proceeds in the same direction: childhood, exodus through the Red Sea/baptism in the Jordan, wilderness temptation, mountain, law. … In fact, the language of the mountain scene, in which Jesus ascends and descends (5:1, anabainō + eis to horos; 8:1, katabainō + de autou apo horous) is virtually identical to the Septuagint description of Moses at Sinai (Exod. 19:3, 12, 13, 14; 24:12, 13, 18, etc.; 34:29).13

These and various other details are discussed before Zaspel concludes that the Moses / Sinai motif “is extensive and quite beyond coincidence.”14

It is essential to have this contextual framework in place in order to properly understand the picture of Christ that is being given in the temptation account of Matthew 4.1-11. In these verses we see that Jesus himself must continue to fulfil / fill-up the meaning of all of Israel’s history, which has prophesied of him. The temptation narrative is cast against the background of the story of Israel: Will the Son of God be victorious where the son of God has failed?

The Temptations of Christ—Fulfilling the Destiny of the Son of God

In contrast to the Sermon on the Mount where the main comparison is between Jesus and Moses, the temptations of Christ have to do with Jesus as the true Son of God and fulfilment of Israel almost to the exclusivity of the other theme. Davies states flatly that “Jesus is to be regarded in relation to the people of Israel, not with Moses as such” (in this section).15 This “mingling” of themes even within a close context tends to give that much more credence to the “balanced approach” advocated by Carson in all his works on this topic. As France argues, Jesus’ continual quoting from one small passage in all three cases “suggests that (this particular) passage was especially in Jesus’ mind at the time, as a prefiguration of his own experience. He was learning the lessons which God had intended Israel to learn in the desert.”16

A. The First Temptation and Response.

Prior to Satan’s coming to tempt Jesus, we are told that he has fasted for forty days and nights in the wilderness, which continues the parallel between his experience and that of Israel.17 Given the declaration from heaven (“This is my beloved Son”) in the immediate context, there can be no doubt that Satan attempts to tempt Jesus in a similar manner to how he tempted Adam. Thus he calls into question what God has made clear: “If you are the Son of God,” then you should prove it. Now as it is commonly known,

the Messianic Age, among other things, was expected to reproduce the characteristics of the time of Moses, which had been marked by the gift of manna, and Jesus, who is at the same time Messiah and New Moses, is here tempted by Satan to reproduce the miracle of the giving of the manna by turning stones into bread.18

Thus Satan, in effect is tempting Jesus by saying, “Since19 you are the Son of God, you should do what Moses did (and what you’re expected to do) and produce bread to eat in the desert.”

This temptation should not be downplayed, as we are apt to do.

The poignancy of this question is lost upon most of us, for we have generally escaped the pinch of want, but for Jesus it plumbed the depths of reality. Himself the son of a poor laboring man, living among a people who were for the most part rather intimate with hunger, he knew full well that human existence was literally a hand-to-mouth affair.20

Jesus responds to the first temptation, however, by quoting Scripture. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”21 In the context of the passage which Jesus cites, Israel had wandered in the desert for forty years as punishment from God, so that he might humble them and know what was in their hearts, whether they would keep his commandments or not—whether they would depend on him wholly to provide what they needed, as he desired, or whether they would turn to their own complaints or rely on their own abilities to provide for themselves.22

In this passage Jesus makes it absolutely clear on whom he depends. He has wandered in the desert for forty days, and is now learning humility, being tested so that all would know what is in his heart—and he depends on God alone, like the True Son of God should. Christ succeeds where Israel failed before him.

B. The Second Temptation and Response.

Rather than simply using the events fresh in Jesus’ mind to tempt him again, Satan adjusts his attack and tempts Christ with a combination of Scripture (truth) and falsehood. Again, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written…” and Satan quotes an Old Testament passage which rightly refers to the Messiah (though only by secondary referent).23 Here it is as if Satan is saying, “If you are so sure in the Word of God, and if you fully rely on him as you say, make God fulfil his promise..”

When Jesus responds to the second temptation, he shows that he is not persuaded at all, and corrects Satan’s twisting of Scripture, by quoting his own. Jesus quotes again from Deuteronomy (what Israel was to have learned in the wilderness, he must know), and a passage very close to the one he has already cited. This time he quotes Deut 6.16, making it clear that God is not to be tested. As it has been pointed out, it is not hesitation or lack of trust in God’s protection that makes Jesus refuse to jump from the pinnacle of the temple, but rather, he knows that Scripture teaches those who are faithful will not demand or use any kind of “manipulative bribery” to get from God want they want.24

The passage which Jesus quotes is completed by the phrase “… as you tested him at Massah,” (which itself means “testing”) referring to the people’s rebellion against God when they had no water after being delivered out of Egypt.25 When all the historical details are put in place, it can be seen that “for both Israel and Jesus, demanding miraculous protection as proof of God’s care was wrong; the appropriate attitude is trust and obedience.”26 Once again, the Son of God must fulfil all that is commanded by God where the son of God had hitherto failed.

C. The Third Temptation and Response.

The third temptation of Jesus is—in keeping with the fulfilment of Israel’s story motif—also a temptation into which the Israelites had fallen in the wilderness. While there is no direct quotation of Scripture here in Satan’s temptation, both he and Jesus plainly know that the Messiah is to rule over all the earth eventually.27 Much of the temptation here, then, lies in the potential of side-stepping the cross. In Satan’s temptation, Jesus would be able to enjoy ruling all the kingdoms of the world “in their splendour” without ever having to remove their sin and suffer for their souls.28 He could (Satan suggests) achieve the sovereignty his seeks “apart from the way of the cross.”29

Jesus’ response, again, is to quote Scripture from what Israel had been commanded in the desert (Deut 6.13): “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” Of course, this is the lesson that Israel had never learned, and this is the reason they needed a Saviour; this is why Christ did in fact have to come and suffer. Jesus’ flat out rejection of worshipping anything other than God himself provides a stark contrast with Israel, and leaves no doubt as to his own true Sonship.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are no fewer than two main thoughts which must be expounded. To be certain, there are more, but within the scope of this paper these two must be highlighted.

A. The Authority of Scripture.

Gramatically, in Matthew’s temptation account, when Jesus quotes the Old Testament, he simply uses the word gegraptai. In his discussion on the weight of the various formulae used by New Testament authors when quoting the Old Testament, B.B. Warfield says that “the significance of these formulas is perhaps most manifest where they stand alone as the bare adduction of authority without any indication of any kind whence the citation is derived.”30 In other words, Jesus intentionally leaves off any indication as to where and when who said what, but rather makes the simple claim, “It is written.” In doing so, he makes it clear that for him it is sufficient that it is written, and whatever is written is absolutely authoritative and beyond questioning or exception. For the one who has not come to abolish the Law and Prophets, but to fulfil them (Matt 5.17-20), it is of utmost importance for Jesus to live in “humble submission to Scripture” 31 in order to fulfil them in the fullest possible sense of that word.

B. Jesus’ Self-Perception—A Knowledge of His Place in Redemptive History.

While it is clear that Jesus knows he is the “Son of God,” as the voice had just declared from heaven, he also knows where he stands in the line of redemptive-history. As Carson states, “Jesus does not conceive of his life and ministry in terms of opposition to the Old Testament, but in terms of bringing to fruition that towards which it points.. Thus, the Law and the Prophets…find their valid continuity in terms of their outworking in Jesus.”32

This is especially revealed in this passage, dealing with Christ’s temptations for several reasons. If we see Jesus as the fulfilment of all that the Law and Prophets looked forward to here, then that is determinate in many ways for the rest of our understanding of who Christ is, for here he is revealed in a very particular way:

It is to be noticed here, if anywhere, we are in touch with the true self-estimation of Jesus. The narrative can hardly have come from anyone except himself, and it shows him not in public debate, but alone with the tempter. His use of Deuteronomy here is, therefore, no mere teaching device, but reflects his own basic conception of his status and ministry. And it is in typological terms: he not only wished to be seen, but saw himself, as Israel, tested and taught in the desert as God’s ‘son’ Israel had been.33

In other words, the temptation of Jesus, alone in the desert reveals to us, not how Jesus teaches us to understand him, but how he in fact sees himself.34 And when Jesus sees himself, he acknowledges that he is the fulfilment of Israel, the true Son of God toward whom all things have been pointing up until that moment in redemptive-history. He himself is the climax and the fulfilment of the plot. In short, “‘The history of Israel is taken up by him and carried to its fulfillment.’ The antitype, as always, is greater than the type. Old Testament Israel had failed; Jesus must succeed.”35 And we praise him that he did!

———————————–


Works Consulted


Blomberg, Craig L. Matthew. NAC. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992.


Carson, D.A. and John D. Woodbridge, eds. Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.


Carson, D.A. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World: An Exposition of Matthew 5-10. Grand Rapids: Global Christian Publishers, 2001.


Carson, D.A. “Matthew” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the NIV, v.8. Frank Gæbelein, ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.


Davies, W.D. The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989.


Donaldson, Terence L. Jesus on the Mountain: A Study in Matthean Theology. Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, 1985.


France, R.T. Jesus and the Old Testament. London: Tyndale Press, 1971.


France, R.T. Matthew. TNTC. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.


France, R.T. Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1989.


Garlington, Don B. “Jesus, the Unique Son of God: Tested and Faithful.” Bibliotheca Sacra, 151.603 (1994), 284-308.


Gundry, Robert H. The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthew’s Gospel, with Special Reference to the Messianic Hope. Leiden: Brill, 1975.


Hagner, Donald A. Matthew. 2 vols. WBC. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995.


Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. NCB. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1972.


Keener, Craig S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.


Liefeld, Walter L. “Luke” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the NIV, v.8. Frank Gæbelein, ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.


Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to Matthew. PNTC. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Nolland, John. The Gospel of Matthew. NIGTC. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.


Storms, Sam. “The Hermeneutics of Eschatology.” Online article available from: http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article.asp?id=391.


Taylor, Arch. B., Jr. “Decision in the Desert: The Temptation of Jesus, in the Light of Deuteronomy.” Interpretation, 14.3 (1960), 300-309.


Taylor, N.H. “The Temptation of Jesus on the Mountain: A Palestinian Christian Polemic Against Agrippa I.” JSNT, 83.1 (2001), 27-49.


Thielman, Frank. Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.


Warfield, Benjamin Breckinridge. The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1970.


Wells, Tom and Fred Zaspel. New Covenant Theology. Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2002.


Williamson, Lamar. “Matthew 4:1-11.” Interpretation, 38.1 (1984), 51-55.


Zaspel, Fred. “New Covenant Theology and the Mosaic Law: A Theological and Exegetical Analysis of Matthew 5:17-20.” Online article available from the Biblical Studies website: http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/hermenutics/new_c_law.htm.


Zaspel, Fred. “The Theology of Fulfillment.” Online article available from the Biblical Studies website: http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/eschatology/fulfllnt1.htm.

1 D.A. Carson, “Matthew” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, v.8, Frank Gæbelein, ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 27. Carson explains, “Untutored Christians are prone to think of prophecy and fulfillment as something not very different from straightforward propositional prediction and fulfillment. A close reading of the NT reveals that prophecy is more complex than that.” While expecting simplicity and finding complexity may be the problem for those “untutored,” arriving at conclusions which bring any sort of consensus is the problem for scholars: “Such problems have been extensively studied with very little agreement.”

2 This passage is particularly illuminating as it has a parallel in Luke 4.1-13 to which it may be compared. In the comparison of the two passages, Matthew’s emphases become apparent. Carson (“Matthew”, 111), notes that Luke “inserts his genealogy between the two (baptism and temptation), suggesting a contrast between Adam, who though tested in the bliss of Eden yet fell, and Jesus, who was tested in the hardships of the wilderness, yet triumphed.” In this way, Luke’s contrast (Christ versus Adam) is different than the theme in Matthew’s mind (Christ as the fulfilment of Israel’s story) as it will be shown. The slight differences in chronology of the temptation are probably tied to these thematic differences as well. As Moisés Silva notes, not only is chronology not the most important thing in these passages, but neither one of the authors appear to be attempting to make a case for their own chronology. For these reasons (and the others he discusses), the differences in these synoptic accounts do not call the authority or inspiration of either account into question (cf. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, eds., Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986], 110-112). Both the differing theological emphases and the intentionally differing chronologies are brought together well by N..H. Taylor: “Good reasons for their respective orders can be discerned in the theology of each evangelist. Luke brings his narrative to a climax in the Temple, reflecting his eschatology and salvation-history. Matthew, on the other hand, attributes particular significance to the mountain as a place of revelation…” (from “The Temptation of Jesus on the Mountain: A Palestinian Christian Polemic Against Agrippa I,” JSNT, 83.1 [2001], 33). Donaldson (Jesus on the Mountain: A Study in Matthean Theology [Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT Press, 1985], 203-205) agrees that different motifs are being presented, but argues strongly for a distinctly Matthean salvation-history being presented in these very temptations. In further defence of the selection of this text as representative, Carson speaks of Christ’s own use of Scriptures in Matthew’s recounting and posits that this text, particularly indicates “the way he perceived his own relation to Israel” (“Matthew”, 111).

3 Though this is the focus of this paper, it must not be assumed that this is the only function of Matthew’s citations of Scripture which are complex and variegated. What can be clearly seen, however, is that an understanding Matthew’s presentation of Jesus as the antitypical fulfilment of Israel’s story is essential for interpreting this pericope aright, as this paper intends to show.

4 Cf. R.T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament (London: Tyndale Press, 1971), 50-53; and especially W.D. Davies, The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989), 45-48. Both of these authors argue that there is very little by way of “new Moses” imagery, but most definitely a strong connection with Christ and Israel.

5 Fred Zaspel, for example, in all his works argues for the “new Moses” motif, which seems to make sense in the context immediately following, where Jesus functions as the new Moses, re-issuing God’s Law (ie. the Sermon on the Mount in ch. 5). Zaspel argues for a new Moses theme exclusively. Cf. Fred Zaspel, “New Covenant Theology and the Mosaic Law: A Theological and Exegetical Analysis of Matthew 5:17-20” and “The Theology of Fulfillment.” Cf. Donaldson, Jesus on the Mountain, 92-93; also, Thielman, Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 91-93.

6 Carson, “Matthew,” 111. This is contra John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 162, who says that Israel typology is “not the key to an understanding of the temptations.” The arguments provided in the rest of the paper will argue for the importance of understanding the Israel-Christ typology.

7 D.A. Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World (Grand Rapids: Global Christian Publishers, 2001), 39.

8 Zaspel, “The Theology of Fulfillment.” Along the same lines, Thielman lists no less than five direct parallels between the life of Moses and the life of Jesus in the first two chapters of Matthew alone (Theology of the New Testament, 91-92).

9 Tom Wells and Fred Zaspel, New Covenant Theology (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2002), 93. Compare Matt 2.20 “τεθνήκασιν γὰρ οἱ ζητοῦντες τὴν ψυχὴν τοῦ παιδίου and Exodus 4.19 in the LXX “τεθνηκασιν γαρ παντες οι ζητουντες σου την ψυχην”.

10 Donaldson, (Jesus on the Mountain, 91-92) states, “The temptation is certainly not that Jesus should doubt the fact of his Sonship. Nor is its central thrust that Jesus should adopt another pattern of messiahship, even though current Jewish messianic expectations stand in the background of Satan’s appeals.. Rather, the heart of the temptation is to be found in an attempt to induce Jesus to be unfaithful to a pattern of Sonship conceived in terms of the relationship between ideal Israel and the divine Father. It is a temptation away from Sonship, rather than towards any specific pattern of messianism.” Sonship here, then, is ultimately tied up not with ontological categories which could never be denied, but rather, with the work and the will of the Father, and the Son’s obedience to him.

11 Don B. Garlington, “Jesus, the Unique Son of God: Tested and Faithful” (Bibliotheca Sacra, 151.603 [1994]), 284.

12 Matt 4.1. Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations taken from the English Standard Version, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

13 Wells and Zaspel, New Covenant Theology, 93.

14 Ibid.

15 Davies, Setting, 45.

16 France, Jesus, 50-51.

17 So Carson, “Matthew”, 112. It is perhaps significant to note, as Keener does (A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999], 136), that even here the symbolism / identification is split between Israel’s forty year wandering and Moses’ forty day fast there (Ex 24.18; 34.28; Dt 9.9, 11, 18, 25; 10.10). Cf. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 72.

18 France, Jesus, 51.

19 As Carson notes (“Matthew”, 112), the ei + indicative construction of the temptation “does not so much challenge his sonship as assume it to build a doubtful imperative. … Sonship of the living God, he suggested, surely means Jesus has the power and right to satisfy his own needs.” Morris adds to this thought, however, saying “while yet the ‘if’ suggests a little doubt: it might be well to bring some proof of this. Jesus’ special position is implied in the Son of God; that Son should be able to do a small thing like make stones into bread” (Gospel According to Matthew, 73).

20 Arch. B. Taylor, Jr., “Decision in the Desert” Interpretation (14.3 [1960]), 302.

21 Cited from Deut 8.3.

22 Carson, (“Matthew”, 112): “Jesus’ fast of forty days and nights reflected Israel’s forty-year wandering (Deut 8:2). Both Israel’s and Jesus’ hunger taught a lesson (Deut 8:3); both spent time in the desert preparatory to their respective tasks. … The main point is that both ‘sons’ were tested by God’s design.”

23 Carson (“Matthew”, 113) asserts that the text cited by Satan “refers to anyone who trusts God and thus preeminently to Jesus” (emphasis added).

24 Carson, “Matthew,” 114.

25 Exodus 17.1-7.

26 Carson, “Matthew,” 114.

27 Donaldson rightly, it seems, notes that Satan draws the basis of underlying assertion in this temptation from Ps 2.6-8, where the “son of God” is given absolute sovereignty (Jesus on the Mountain, 91).

28 Carson, “Matthew”, 114.

29 Craig L. Blomberg, Matthew: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), 85.

30 The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970), 239-240.

31 For elaboration on this thought, see David G. Dunbar, “The Biblical Canon” in Carson and Woodbridge, eds., Hermeneutics, 318-319.

32 Carson, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, 39-40.

33 France, Jesus, 51.

34 Likewise, Carson: “The account could only have come from Jesus, given to his disciples perhaps after Caesarea Philippi. Therefore it gives an important glimpse into Jesus’ self-perception as the Son of God, and, judging by the Scripture he quotes, the way he perceived his own relation to Israel” (“Matthew”, 111). This pericope is of double importance, then, as it links Matthew’s use of Old Testament Scriptures and his fulfilment themes back to another source: not Q, but Christ himself!

35 France, Jesus, 53.

Proving Jesus is the Messiah from the Old Testament

At the time of Jesus and the apostles the only Holy Scriptures available is what we today call the Old Testament. The New Testament began primarily as letters or epistles written to the churches or to individuals beginning around 50 A.D.

Let’s notice what the apostle Paul told Timothy: “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15 NKJV).

Notice that the Old Testament scriptures can make you wise for salvation.

Now let’s notice what Jesus said to His disciples: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! {26} “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” {27} And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:25-27 NKJV).

Jesus expounded the Scriptures concerning Himself starting with the first five books of the Old Testament, the law that Moses wrote, and He expounded the writings of the Prophets. How much time did Jesus spend with His disciples in going through these passages? This must have taken Jesus several hours to expound these scriptures.

Two books in the New Testament, Matthew and Hebrews, are written to the Jews. If you think there is a possibility that you will be discussing the New Testament scriptures with Jewish people, then read these two books to see how Matthew and the writer of Hebrews witnessed to the Jews.

There is a “story thread” that runs through the Old Testament of the Coming of the Messiah. When we come to the end of the Old Testament, the entire Story of the coming Messiah has been pre-written and cannot refer to any other Person in History.

There is a saying: “The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.” The following Old Testament scriptures plainly point forward to the Coming of the Messiah. The New Testament scriptures reveals what the Old Testament conceals, that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He fulfills all of the Old Testament scriptures.

There are over three hundred Old Testament prophecies that discuss the Messiah. In this Bible Study type article, we will take a look at a few of these prophecies. We will look at the Old Testament portrayal and then see where it is fulfilled in the New Testament.

1 – Messiah to be the seed of the Woman

(Genesis 3:15 NKJV) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

(Galatians 4:4 NKJV) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”

Diciples Study Bible: This is the first foregleam of the gospel. The seed or offspring of the woman is Jesus (Galatians 4:4). The bruising of His heel is the crucifixion. The crushing of the serpent is the provisional overcoming of the evil one by the cross (Hebrews 2:14) and the ultimate overcoming at the final appearing of Christ (Revelation 20:10). Christians are encouraged by the victory of Christ, from the first to the last of our Bible (Romans 16:20).

2 – Messiah to be the seed of Abraham

(Genesis 12:3 NKJV) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Ryrie Study Bible: Vs. 12:3 bless . . . curse. Abraham’s relation to God was so close that to bless or curse him was, in effect, to bless or curse God. See examples in 20:2-18; 21:22-34; 23:1-20. in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. This promise was fulfilled in the coming of Abraham’s seed, Christ (Galatians 3:8, 16).

(Genesis 18:18 NKJV) “since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

(Luke 3:23 NKJV) Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, ….. {34} the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,”

(Matthew 1:1 NKJV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:”

(Acts 3:25 NKJV) “You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

(Galatians 3:16 NKJV) Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

3 – Messiah to be of the tribe of Judah

(Genesis 49:10 NKJV) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Believer’s Study Bible: “The “scepter” was a symbol of kingship, indicating the preeminence of Judah as the theocratic head over later Israel. “From between his feet” is a picture of the head of state or chieftain, seated with his wand of office held before him, and extending down to his feet. Judah’s superiority of character had appeared early, when he proposed to sell Joseph rather than take his life (37:26 ff.). Judah’s character rose higher when he offered himself to Jacob as a pledge for Benjamin and pleaded with Joseph on Benjamin’s behalf (43:9, 10; 44:16 ff.). The coming of “Shiloh” is not to terminate the reign of Judah, but it is the coming of “Shiloh” which would bring about Judah’s rule over the nations. “Shiloh,” therefore, is a reference to the Messiah, and the patriarch is here proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. Some commentators translate “Shiloh” as “to whom it belongs,” indicating that the scepter will remain in Judah until the Person comes to whom rulership belongs.”

(Hebrews 7:14 NKJV) For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.

(Matthew 1:1-2 NKJV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: {2} Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.

4 – Messiah to be of the seed of Jacob

(Numbers 24:17 NKJV) “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.

(Numbers 24:19 NKJV) Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.”

(Matthew 1:1-2 NKJV) The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: {2} Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.

5 – Messiah to be of the seed of David

(Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV) For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name 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, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

(2 Samuel 7:12-16 NKJV) “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. {13} “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. {14} “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. {15} “But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. {16} “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”‘

(Psalms 89:3-4 NKJV) “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: {4} ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'”

(Psalms 132:11 NKJV) The LORD has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it: “I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.

Disciples’ Study Bible: “JESUS CHRIST, Foretold–This verse recalls once more the promise of a perpetual heir for David’s throne. It is related to Psalms 89 and is reaffirmed in the New Testament (Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:32; Acts 2:30; 13:23; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8). No physical kingdom lasts forever. Jesus as David’s heir is the rightful successor and the fulfillment of the promise. His kingdom is eternal.”

(Luke 1:32-33 NKJV) “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. {33} “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

6 – Messiah to be a prophet like Moses

(Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me (Moses) from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,” ….. {19} ‘And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

Believer’s Study Bible: “Prophets (navi^, Hebrew) were God’s spokesmen to His people. They would be from among the Israelites (vv. 16-22) and would function as Moses had. Although this prophecy included all the true prophets the Lord would send, its ultimate fulfillment would be in Christ (cf. Luke 9:35; Acts 3:22, 23; 7:37). Note from the test of a true prophet in v. 22 that one of his characteristics was that he could predict the future, and he would do so with flawless accuracy.”

(John 1:45 NKJV) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote; Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

(Acts 3:22-23 NKJV) “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. {23} ‘And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

(Acts 7:37 NKJV) “This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’

7 – Messiah to be the son of God

(Psalms 2:7 NKJV) “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

Ryrie Study Bible: Vs. 2:7 My Son. The legitimate Davidic king (2 Sam. 7:14). Today I have begotten You. The day of coronation. The New Testament relates this to Christ’s resurrection (Acts 13:33-34; Rom. 1:4; Heb. 1:5; 5:5).

Disciples’ Study Bible: JESUS CHRIST, Foretold–This Old Testament riddle became a New Testament affirmation. The answer Christians give to each of these questions is Jesus Christ….. The angel of the annunciation identified Him as the Son of God (Lk 1:35). Jesus was declared to be the Son of God at His baptism (Mt 3:17). He acknowledged His sonship before the high priest (Mk 14:62). Paul affirmed the special sonship of Jesus (Ro 1:4). Peter’s confession (Mt 16:16) identified Jesus as “Christ, the Son of the living God.”

(Luke 1:32 NKJV) “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.

(Matthew 3:17 NKJV) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

8 – Messiah to be born of a virgin

(Isaiah 7:14 NKJV) “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

(Luke 1:27 NKJV) “to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.”

(Matthew 1:18-25 NKJV) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. …… {22} So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: {23} “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

(Luke 1:26-35 NKJV) Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, {27} to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” …. {34} Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” {35} And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

9 – Messiah would be born in Bethlehem

(Micah 5:2 NKJV) “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

(Matthew 2:1 NKJV) Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,

(Luke 2:4-6 NKJV) Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, {5} to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. {6} So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

Comment: This is a very important prophecy that proves that Jesus was the Messiah. A person who is a fraud could not predict where he was born.

10 – Messiah would be a refugee in Egypt

(Hosea 11:1 NKJV) “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

(Matthew 2:15 NKJV) “and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

11 – Messiah would grow in Galilee

(Isaiah 9:1-2 NKJV) Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, As when at first He lightly esteemed The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, And afterward more heavily oppressed her, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, In Galilee of the Gentiles. {2} The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.

(Luke 2:39-40 NKJV) So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. {40} And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

12 – Messiah’s coming would invoke the death of many babies

(Jeremiah 31:15 NKJV) Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

(Matthew 2:17-18 NKJV) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: {18} “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”

Comment: Jesus was the only male boy of his age because all of the others had been killed.

13 – Messiah would preach the gospel of the kingdom of God

(Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV) “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; {2} To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, {3} To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

(Luke 4:16-19 NKJV) So He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. {17} And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: {18} “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; {19} To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

14 – Messiah would provide salvation to all nations

(Isaiah 42:1-6 NKJV) “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. {2} He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. {3} A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. {4} He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” {5} Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: {6} “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles,”

(Matthew 12:18-21 NKJV) “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. {19} He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. {20} A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; {21} And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

15 – Messiah would become our Sacrifice and Healer

(Isaiah 53:5-6 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Believer’s Study Bible: The word “wounded” (meholal, Heb.) literally means “pierced.” The vicarious and substitutionary nature of His suffering and death, in which Jesus laid down His own life in behalf of every man who would accept His redemption, is set forth (cf. 1 Pet. 2:24, 25).

(1 Peter 2:24-25 NKJV) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.. {25} For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

16 – Messiah would conceal His word by speaking in parables

(Isaiah 6:9-10 NKJV) And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ {10} “Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed.”

(Matthew 13:14-15 NKJV) “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; {15} For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’

(Matthew 13:34-35 NKJV) All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, {35} that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

17 – Messiah would be rejected by the rulers

(Psalms 118:22 NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

(Matthew 21:42-44 NKJV) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? {43} “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. {44} “And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”

18 – Messiah to perform miracles

(Isaiah 35:5-6 NKJV) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. {6} Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert.

(John 11:47 NKJV) Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs.

(Matthew 11:3-6 NKJV) and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” {4} Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: {5} “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. {6} “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

19 – Messiah as intercessor

(Isaiah 59:16 NKJV) He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “intercession” as the act of interceding which is defined as “to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences : MEDIATE”

(Hebrews 9:15 NKJV) And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

20 – Messiah would be a shepherd and His flock scattered

(Zechariah 13:7 NKJV) “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.

(John 10:11-16 NKJV) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. …. {14} “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.

(Matthew 26:31 NKJV) Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

21 – Messiah would make a triumphant entry into Jerusalem

(Zechariah 9:9 NKJV) “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

(Matthew 21:5 NKJV) “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'”

22 – Messiah would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver

(Zechariah 11:12-13 NKJV) Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. {13} And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”; that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.

(Matthew 27:9 NKJV) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,”

(Matthew 27:3 NKJV) Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

23 – Messiah would die besides criminals and buried by a rich man

(Isaiah 53:8-9 NKJV) He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. {9} And they made His grave with the wicked; But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

(Matthew 27:38 NKJV) Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.

(Matthew 27:57-60 NKJV) Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. {58} This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. {59} When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, {60} and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

24 – Messiah given Vinegar and Gall

(Psalms 69:21 NKJV) They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

(John 19:29 KJV) Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

Strong’s Concordance G3690. oxos, ox-os’; from G3691; vinegar, i.e. sour wine:–vinegar.

(John 19:28-29 NKJV) After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” {29} Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

(Matthew 27:34 NKJV) they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.

25 – Messiah’s garments – They would cast lots for them

(Psalms 22:18 NKJV) They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

(John 19:23-24 NKJV) Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. {24} They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

26 – Messiah – Not one bone would be broken

(Exodus 12:46 NKJV) “In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.

(John 1:29 NKJV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

(1 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV) Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

(John 19:31-36 NKJV) Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.. {32} Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. {33} But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. {34} But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. {35} And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. {36} For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.”

27 – Messiah would be pierced

(Zechariah 12:10 NKJV) “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

(Psalms 22:16 NKJV) For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;

(John 19:34 NKJV) But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

28 – Messiah would be forsaken by God

(Psalms 22:1 NKJV) My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?

(Matthew 27:46 NKJV) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

29 – Messiah was to die as a sacrifice for sin

(Isaiah 53:5-6 NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

(Isaiah 53:10-12 NKJV) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. {11} He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. {12} Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

(John 1:29 NKJV) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

(Acts 10:43 NKJV) “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

30 – Messiah was to be raised from the dead

(Psalms 16:10 NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

(Acts 2:22-24 NKJV) “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know; {23} “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; {24} “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.

31 – Messiah is now at God’s right hand

(Psalms 110:1 NKJV) The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”

(Luke 24:50-51 NKJV) And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. {51} Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

(Hebrews 1:3 NKJV) who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

(Hebrews 8:1 NKJV) Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,

In Conclusion:

When the apostle Paul was in prison, he like Jesus, expounded the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Jesus starting with the first five books of the Old Testament, the law that Moses wrote, and He expounded the writings of the Prophets. “So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him (the apostle Paul) at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts 28:23 NKJV.) ….. {30}”Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, {31} preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

We have seen from our study of the Old Testament Scriptures that we can prove that Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Testament.

We have seen that the New Testament reveals what the Old Testament concealed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed.

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