Can I trust the Bible? - Part 4
Can we really believe the Old Testament?
What Jesus said about the Old Testament
One of the reasons we can have confidence in the Old Testament, and therefore the Bible as a whole, is the fact that Jesus had confidence in the Old Testament.
The Old Testament was the Bible that Jesus read, believed and taught (the New Testament had not yet been written). Through studying the Old Testament, Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52). Jesus’ public ministry began with him reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah and stating that his ministry was to fulfil the Old Testament promises about his coming (Luke 4:16-21).
Here's a few other ways that Jesus endorsed the Old Testament:
- Jesus said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
- He related the experience of Jonah as fact (Matthew 12:40).
- He quoted Scripture in His desert battle with Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).
- He referred repeatedly to the Scriptures in His teaching (Matthew 5; Mark 2:23-28; John 3:14-15).
- Jesus came to fulfil the Old Testament (Matthew 5:17; Luke 4:16-21; 24:25-27, 44-49).
- He regarded the teachings, historical details, and events of the Old Testament as accurate.
- Jesus used the Old Testament as his court of appeals (Matt 5:17-20; 22:29; 23:23; Mark 12:24)
- In times of crisis Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, indicating that it was his source of truth, solace and defence.
- Jesus repeatedly taught that Old Testament prophecy had been fulfilled.
- Jesus taught that the Old Testament was perfectly inspired and totally truthful Scripture. Jesus devoted his ministry to teaching the Old Testament, defending the Old Testament, fulfilling the Old Testament, and using the Old Testament.
- By the time of his birth, the content of the Old Testament was a settled matter, and Jesus accepted, learned, and taught the Old Testament as we have it without modification.
Jesus fulfils hundreds of prophecies
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8
In many ways, the Old Testament is a series of promises that God makes, and the New Testament is the record of the fulfilment of those promises.
Jesus clearly states that his ministry was an Old Testament ministry. What he means, is that his ministry was to fulfil all of the Old Testament promises and longings that pointed to him.
Neither Islam nor any other world religion or cult can present any specific prophecies concerning the coming of their prophets. However, in the Old Testament we see hundreds of fulfilled prophecies extending hundreds and sometimes thousands of years into the future.
Speaking of prophesy, there are over 300 prophecies from the Old Testament that are fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament. Here are just some of them;
- 700 years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be born of a virgin who would conceive by a miracle (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25)
- Of the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33)
- Descended from Jesse (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:32)
- Of the House of David (Jeremiah 23:5; Luke 3:31)
- Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1)
- Preceded by a messenger (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1-2)
- Hosea promised that Jesus’ family would flee as refugees to Egypt to save his young life (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:13-15)
- Malachi prophesied that Jesus would enter the Temple. Since that Temple was destroyed in AD 70, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled anytime after AD 70 (Malachi 3:1; Luke 2:25-27)
- Zechariah prophesied that the Christ would ride into Jerusalem, not on a mighty war horse, but on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:35-37)
- Betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Matthew 26:48-50)
- For 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15)
- Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be silent before his accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12)
- That his hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)
- 1000 years before the birth of Jesus (and hundreds of years before the invention of crucifixion), David promised that Jesus would be crucified (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)
- Crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
- Interceding for his persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
- Having his garments parted and lots cast for his garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
- Gall and vinegar offered to Him (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34)
- His bones not broken (Psalm 34:20; John 19:34)
- Zechariah prophesied that Jesus’ side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
- Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
- 1000 years before the birth of Jesus David promised that Jesus would resurrect from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:25-32)
The amazing Bible
How is all this possible? Luck, coincidence, fluke or scam? Certainly not! It's all God's amazing work.
The Bible is a miracle of literary accomplishment. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 puts it this way;
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
And 2 Peter 1:21 says “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
So, if Jesus trusted the Old Testament to be God’s True Revelation, who am I to argue!