The Fulfillment of God's Promise


The Christmas season is special for many reasons- the time we get to spend with family, the food we get to eat, the presents we get to give and receive- but above all else, it is special because we remember the fulfillment of God’s promise through the birth of Jesus.


Paul eloquently writes in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive adoption as sons.” It is sobering to think of the generations of Israelites that came before that day who patiently awaited the fulfillment of God’s promise to them.


But, how can we be sure that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel? How could so many of the Jews in His day not recognize Him as the Messiah? What proof is there that He was truly God’s Anointed One? In today’s article, we will be proving Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise by looking at two convincing proofs: the profile evidence and the fingerprint evidence.


The Profile Evidence


If you have ever watched an episode of Criminal Minds, you know that the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) convict suspects by analyzing the profile of the individual who committed the crime. What color was their hair? What car were they driving? What clothes were they wearing? If the BAU comes across a person that fits the profile they are looking for, they can know that the person committed the crime. In the case of Jesus, we can know if His claims to be God are accurate by analyzing His attributes to see if He fits the profile of the God we see in the Old Testament Scriptures.


So, what was the profile of God in the Old Testament? God is described as omnipresent (Jeremiah 23:24), as omniscient (Psalm 147:5), as omnipotent (Jeremiah 32:17), as eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27), and as immutable (Malachi 3:6). If Jesus himself is God, then He must fit the profile of God that we see in the Old Testament.


A common point that skeptics make against the divinity of Jesus is the language in the Scriptures that makes it seem that Jesus was begotten, or came to be, which would undermine the eternal attribute of Jesus. We see in many translations of John 3:16 that Jesus is called the “begotten”, or brought about, son of God. This verse can easily put a skeptic into a tailspin. How can Jesus be God if God had to bring Him into being?


If we look back at the original Greek word, monogene, we see that it means “unique one”, and in the first century, this verse was used in a way to describe Jesus as the “unique one” of God. From this evidence, we can conclude that the original language did not intend to describe Jesus as being brought into being, but rather that He was the unique one of God.


Another verse that seems to undermine Jesus’ eternality is Colossians 1:15, in which Paul calls Jesus the ‘firstborn of all creation. This is an obviously confusing text. How could Jesus be the firstborn of all creation if He is eternal? In the Old Testament, the term firstborn was used in reference to the family member who would receive the lion's share of the estate or would become the next king in the case of a royal family. The word firstborn, in Bible times, referred to the family member with the rights to the father.


In using the word firstborn, Paul is describing Jesus as the One with the rights to the Father, as opposed to actually being born or brought into existence. We can affirm this by looking a little further down at Colossians 2:9 where Paul says, “For in Him all the fullness of the deity dwells in bodily form,”. Paul would not contradict himself by claiming that Jesus is the ‘firstborn’ and the ‘fullness of the deity in bodily form’ in the same letter. By looking at the contextual and historical evidence of the word ‘firstborn’, we can see that Colossians 1:15 does not undermine Jesus’ eternality.


We have affirmed Jesus’ eternality, but what about the other attributes of God? Is Jesus omnipresent? In Matthew 18:20, Jesus states “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”


Is Jesus omniscient? In John 16:30 Jesus’ disciples state, “Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this, we believe that You came from God.”


Is Jesus omnipotent? In Matthew 28:18, Jesus says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth.” Lastly, is Jesus immutable? The writers of Hebrews pens in chapter 13 verse 8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”


It is clear that Jesus fits the exact profile of God and through this evidence, we can conclude that Jesus’ claims to be God are true!


The Fingerprint Evidence


A common practice in criminal law is using fingerprint evidence to convict a criminal. If a fingerprint is found on a surface near a crime scene, law officials can try and match the fingerprints of a suspect with the fingerprint found on the crime scene. If it matches, then law officials can be sure that the person in question was responsible for the crime. If it doesn't match, then it is likely that they were not at the crime scene.


In His wisdom, God left fingerprint evidence for the Messiah through Old Testament prophecy, and only His true Messiah can fit this fingerprint evidence. In the Old Testament, we find over three hundred prophecies about the coming Messiah, ranging from the location of His birth to His genealogy, to how He would die.


God wanted to be sure that His promised Messiah would be recognized, so that we may be sure when and how His promise would be fulfilled.


Let’s first take a look at the life of Jesus in comparison to the Old Testament prophecies. Does Jesus fit the fingerprint evidence?


  • In Genesis 28:14, it is prophesied that the Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. In Luke’s gospel, he provides a genealogy of Jesus, and in Luke 3:34 he notes that Jesus was a descendant of Jacob.


  • The prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 7:14 that, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” This prophecy is fulfilled in the Christmas child, as we see in Luke 1:35, “The angel answered and said to her, ‘the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”


  • Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in the little town of Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 says, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus, as we read in Matthew 2:1-6.


  • The prophet Isaiah also wrote in Isaiah 40:3-4 that the Messiah would be preceded by a forerunner. The Scripture makes clear in John 1:23 that the man in the wilderness, John the Baptist, was the one who paved the way for the Lord Jesus Christ.


  • In Zechariah 11:12-13, we read that it was prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed with thirty pieces of silver and that the silver would be given to a potter. Amazingly, in Matthew 26:15 and Matthew 27:6-8 this prophecy was fulfilled to the letter.


It is evident in just these five prophecies that Jesus is beginning to fit the fingerprint of God’s prophesied Messiah. However, despite the many prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, many skeptics use counterarguments to debunk these fulfilled prophecies. As any good investigator would let's look at these skeptical views to test their validity.


The first argument is the coincidence argument. The skeptical view here is that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies by accident. His life somehow matched the prophecies of old without any supernatural plan at work. We can quickly dissolve this argument with a simple mathematical analysis of the situation.


In Jesus’ life, He fulfilled to the letter over three hundred Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. If Jesus had just fulfilled forty-eight of these three hundred prophecies, the mathematical probability of that happening by random chance would be one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion. In case you don’t like counting, that is twelve trillion.


We cannot even comprehend a number that high and that is the probability of Jesus fulfilling just forty-eight of the three hundred fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah! It is a simple mathematical fact that the coincidence argument is virtually impossible.


The second argument from skeptics is the altered gospel argument. This argument points to the possibility that the gospel writers fabricated the details of their writings to make it appear that Jesus had fulfilled these prophecies. In God’s wonderful wisdom, we see that he created checks and balances both inside and outside of the Christian community to eliminate any skepticism.


When the gospels and the epistles were being circulated, scores of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life, both Jewish and Christian, were still alive and would have called out the writers of the New Testament if they were falsifying the story of Jesus to make him out to be the Messiah.


Furthermore, we see the disciple Matthew in his gospel being very clear that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. Matthew was brutally killed in AD 60 by way of being staked and speared to the ground for preaching the gospel in Ethiopia.


Logically, Matthew would not have been willing to sacrifice his life for something he knew was a lie and because of Matthew’s willingness to die, we can have confidence that everything he wrote down in his gospel is true.


The third argument amongst skeptics is the intentional fulfillment argument. Skeptics claim that Jesus merely lived his life in a way to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. While this claim could be true for some of the fulfilled prophecies, such as Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:8-10), it is impossible for many of the other prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, such as being born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem and being a descendent of Jacob.


This argument is quickly dissolved when we see that many of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled were completely out of his control and could not have been fulfilled by his own doing.


The final argument among skeptics, especially Jewish skeptics, is the context argument. In this case, skeptics state that Christians misinterpret passages and rip them out of context to have them fit the story of Jesus.


A common example that skeptics use is Isaiah 7:14, in which the prophet states that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. The claim is that this verse was mistranslated so that the word virgin appears in the text when the original language simply uses the Hebrew word almah which means young woman and not necessarily a young woman who is a virgin, and that the Hebrew world bethulah would have been used to depict a virgin woman.


However, in the latest and most detailed linguistics studies of the Hebrew language, we have learned that the Hebrew word bethulah could refer to a widow or divorced woman, and not always a virgin. The original Hebrew word in the text, almah, was never used of a non-virgin, therefore it was the best word in the language to do the job of implying virginity. This example, among others, proves the validity of Jesus’ life matching the prophecies written in the Old Testament.


Conclusion


What proof is there that Jesus was truly God’s Anointed One? Well, the proof is in the pudding. Jesus not only fits the exact profile of the living God, but He matches the exact fingerprint of the prophesied Messiah in the Old Testament Scriptures.


This Christmas season, we can be confident that our faith in Christ being the Messiah is not in vain. Not only do these proofs provide evidence of Jesus being the Messiah, but they provide assurance that Jesus Christ is truly alive.


As you enjoy time with family and friends this week and celebrate the coming of our Savior, meditate on these truths and allow them to provide you with a peace that can only come from God. Jesus Christ is our Messiah and this week we celebrate His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection, which sets captives free.


Sources:

Strobel, L. (2009). The case for Christmas. Zondervan.

55 Old testament prophecies about jesus. Jesus Film Project. (n.d.). Retrieved December 21, 2021