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What Is Jesus' Relationship to Biblical Prophecy? (Y1.T2.D11)

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

Unsplash; "Aaron Burden"


Jesus' relationship to prophecy begins when he identifies himself as the promised Messiah in Luke 4:16–21. That proclamation leads us to examine if his life fulfilled that role.

According to

J. Barton Payne, has found as many as 574 verses in the Old Testament that somehow point to or describe or reference the coming Messiah. Alfred Edersheim found 456 Old Testament verses referring to the Messiah or his times. Conservatively, Jesus fulfilled at least 300 prophecies in his earthly ministry.

Numbers this high are hard to visualize, so consider this article on, where a Westmont College professor utilized twelve different classes of approximately 600 students. After identifying circumstances where men couldn’t conspire together "to fulfill a particular prophecy. They made their estimates conservative enough so that there was finally unanimous agreement even among the most skeptical students."

He encouraged other skeptics or scientists to make their own estimates to see if his conclusions were more than fair before submitting his figures to a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation for review.

Upon examination, they verified that his calculations were dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. For example, concerning Micah 5:2, where it states the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, the professor and his students determined the average population of BETHLEHEM from the time of Micah to the present; then they divided it by the average population of the earth during the same time period. They concluded that the chance of one man being born in Bethlehem was one in 300,000.

In the end, they came up with eight different messianic prophecies and their relative factors, which calculated the probability is one in 10,00,000,000,000,000,000:

To illustrate how large the number 10^17 is (a figure with 17 zeros), the professor gave this illustration: . . . Suppose that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They’ll cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up the one silver dollar that has the special mark on it. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time.

Knowing this, the fact that Jesus fulfilled 300 makes his relationship to messianic prophecy rock solid. And he isn't finished.

In today's passages, Jesus tells the Pharisees that he is the "light of the world" (John 8:12), which the WEB version on cross-references to Isaiah 60:1: "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and Yahweh’s glory has risen on you."

When Jesus quoted the first verse of Isaiah 60, he also knew what was written in verse 19:

The sun will be no more your light by day;

nor will the brightness of the moon give light to you,

but Yahweh will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

This prediction matches the description of a new city—in Revelation 21:23—that "has no need for the sun or moon to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb."

He also predicted his own death, saying, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he" (John 8:28). And "As he spoke these things, many believed in him" (John 8:30).

That last verse sums up the purpose of true prophecy. Consider what is written in 1 John 4:1–3:

Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.

Jesus is the one "who is and who was and who is to come" (Revelation 1:8), and his relationship to prophecy is all-encompassing.

The Evidence Exists

12 Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come,

and Yahweh’s glory has risen on you.

2 For, behold, darkness will cover the earth,

and thick darkness the peoples;

but Yahweh will arise on you,

and his glory shall be seen on you.

3 Nations will come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your rising.

4 “Lift up your eyes all around, and see:

they all gather themselves together.

They come to you.

Your sons will come from far away,

and your daughters will be carried in arms.

5 Then you shall see and be radiant,

and your heart will thrill and be enlarged;

because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you.

The wealth of the nations will come to you.

6 A multitude of camels will cover you,

the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah.

All from Sheba will come.

They will bring gold and frankincense,

and will proclaim the praises of Yahweh.

7 All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you.

The rams of Nebaioth will serve you.

They will be accepted as offerings on my altar;

and I will beautify my glorious house.

8 “Who are these who fly as a cloud,

and as the doves to their windows?

9 Surely the islands will wait for me,

and the ships of Tarshish first,

to bring your sons from far away,

their silver and their gold with them,

for the name of Yahweh your God,

and for the Holy One of Israel,

because he has glorified you.

10 “Foreigners will build up your walls,

and their kings will serve you:

for in my wrath I struck you,

but in my favor I have had mercy on you.

11 Your gates also shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, and their kings led captive.

12 For that nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

13 “The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress tree, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

14 The sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you;

and all those who despised you will bow themselves down at the soles of your feet.

They will call you Yahweh’s City,

the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

15 “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated,

so that no one passed through you,

I will make you an eternal excellency,

a joy of many generations.

16 You will also drink the milk of the nations,

and will nurse from royal breasts.

Then you will know that I, Yahweh, am your Savior,

your Redeemer,

the Mighty One of Jacob.

17 For bronze I will bring gold;

for iron I will bring silver;

for wood, bronze,

and for stones, iron.

I will also make peace your governor,

and righteousness your ruler.

18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land,

nor desolation or destruction within your borders;

but you will call your walls Salvation,

and your gates Praise.

19 The sun will be no more your light by day;

nor will the brightness of the moon give light to you,

but Yahweh will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

20 Your sun will not go down any more,

nor will your moon withdraw itself;

for Yahweh will be your everlasting light,

and the days of your mourning will end.

21 Then your people will all be righteous.

They will inherit the land forever,

the branch of my planting,

the work of my hands,

that I may be glorified.

22 The little one will become a thousand,

and the small one a strong nation.

I, Yahweh, will do this quickly in its time.” (Isaiah 60:1–22)

13 The Pharisees therefore said to him, “You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.”

14 Jesus answered them, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don’t know where I came from, or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh. I judge no one. 16 Even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. 17 It’s also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid." (John 8:1–17)

6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death. At the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall remove the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 17:6–7)

18 "I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.”

19 They said therefore to him, “Where is your Father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple. Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. 21 Jesus said therefore again to them, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins. Where I go, you can’t come.”

22 The Jews therefore said, “Will he kill himself, because he says, ‘Where I am going, you can’t come’?”

23 He said to them, “You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world. 24 I said therefore to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”

25 They said therefore to him, “Who are you?”

Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you. However he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world.”

27 They didn’t understand that he spoke to them about the Father. 28 Jesus therefore said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. 29 He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn’t left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

30 As he spoke these things, many believed in him.(John 8:18–30)

Meditation Moment

Dear God,

I understand no prophecy ever came by the will of man, but God spoke through holy men moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) so I could know You. Everything You did or will do was revealed to Your servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). With my heart I believe, and with my mouth I confess Jesus is Lord—fully accepting Your salvation (Romans 10:10).


Meditation Music Link


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