Christ in the Prophets Part 1

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27.

One of the greatest proofs of the inspiration of the scripture lies in the realm of fulfilled prophecy. Indeed there is indisputable and overwhelming evidence in scripture that the Old Testament prophets spoke with divinely given accuracy concerning events that were yet to come in their day. Human history itself testifies to the fact that what these prophets foretold has already been substantially fulfilled, which gives us great confidence that the things they spoke about that still lie in the future, will be likewise fulfilled with pin-point accuracy.

When we speak about prophecy being fulfilled we must remember that the death penalty was to be exacted from a prophet in Israel whose prophecy was not accurate. Duet 5:13 & 18:20-22. Hence prophets would be reluctant to speak unless they had definitely received a word from God. Dr. A. T. Pierson has identified three things by which prophecy can be tested:
• It must be such that no human foresight could have guessed it.
• The prophecy must be given in sufficient detail to exclude shrewd guesswork.
• There must be sufficient lapse of time between the prophecy and its fulfillment, to preclude the possibility of the prophet affecting the result.

It can be said with absolute certainty, that the prophets of the Old Testament meet all of the stringent criteria that Dr. Pierson mentions. Biblical prophecy is not to be compared with the vague and wild predictions of the horoscopes, astrology or the crystal ball gazers of our day.
We are dealing with God-given predictions concerning the future, whether it concerns persons, nations or world events, and they have His authority behind them.

Our subject in this study is Christ in the prophets, and considering the vast amount of material that is at our disposal, and the time frame available, our study will necessarily be limited to what the prophets had to say about Christ in four different spheres:
• The Eternity of His Being
• The Incarnation
• His Perfect Servanthood
• His Coming Kingdom and Glory


THE ETERNITY OF HIS BEING


The book of Proverbs provides us with an awesome view of the pre-incarnate Christ. Prov. 8:21-31. We learn that Christ not only predated all of creation, but that He Himself was the creator.

When we come to the New Testament this fact is underscored time and time again. John commences his Gospel by presenting Christ the Son as the pre-incarnate one, co-existent and co-equal with God. John 1:1. The writer to the Hebrews also takes up this theme and begins his book with the Eternal Son as the ‘Brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.’ We can say with the poet: ‘Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, Hail, Incarnate Deity.’

Isaiah 6 also affords us a unique glimpse of the pr-incarnate glory of Christ. Isaiah saw him ‘….high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.’ Not only so but the seraphim, these unfallen creatures, were seen to cover their feet and their faces, and to be ceaseless in their chant of worship – ‘Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, all the earth is filled with His glory.’ Such was the power of the glory of God in that Holy place that the pillars of the house were shaken and the house was filled with smoke. Isaiah looked upon such scenes and cried in despair ‘I am undone…’ or literally, ‘I am ruined.’ The wonder of it is, that the Lord was prepared to leave such scenes of pristine Holiness, and unfailing worship to come to our world to die for such wretches as we are. How this magnifies the abounding Grace of God.


THE INCARNATION


ISAIAH:

It is Isaiah who prophecies with pin point accuracy how that the same one who was seen in Isaiah 6 was manifested in the flesh. Isaiah writes ‘Behold the virgin shall conceive and be with child, and shall call his name Immanuel.[ meaning God with us.]’ Isa. 7:14. Matthew records ‘Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.’ Mt 1:22-23. John records with powerful simplicity: ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’

Isaiah 7:14 relates the incarnation from the view point of human observation, but when we come to Isaiah 9 we are given an entirely new perspective on the incarnation. Isaiah wrote: ‘Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.’ Isaiah 9:6. This statement gives us the Divine perspective on the incarnation. Some have taught the error that Christ assumed His Sonship when He came into the world, but this verse, and many more, teach us that the relationship of Father and Son was eternal. The Lord Jesus, speaking as Son to the Father said ‘Thou lovest me before the foundation of the world.’ John in his Gospel records time after time that ‘the Father sent the son into the world.’ This indicates that the Son was such in eternity, and that as such He was sent by the Father. The relationship of Father to Son was not one that came into being at Bethlehem. It belongs to the eternities.

MICAH:

Micah pin-points the very village where Christ would be born. We read ‘But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.’ Micah 5:2. It should be noted that Mary and Joseph would never have made the choice to journey to Bethlehem by choice, given the advanced stage of Mary’s pregnancy and the hazardous journey to be taken on the back of a donkey. But God took matters out of their hands and Caesar in Rome decreed that each person must return to the place of their birth for a census to be taken, and hence Mary and Joseph went made to go to Bethlehem and thus without their knowing, fulfilled the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.

HOSEA:

Hosea writes ‘When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.’ Hosea 11:1. Here the prophet is thinking primarily about the exodus from Egypt under Moses where Jehovah’s message to Pharaoh was – ‘And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me:..’ Exodus 4:23. However as in many other scriptures the references to Israel are also applicable to Christ as Son of God. The question of whom the prophet Hosea is speaking is finally settled for us when Matthew writes in his Gospel ‘that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.’ Matthew 2:15. Here again we are confronted with evidence of Divine intervention. As in the case of Mary and Joseph being directed to Bethlehem for the birth of the Lord Jesus as the prophet Micah had foretold, so also here. The flight to Egypt was not engineered by Joseph and Mary, but it was the wicked edict of Herod to slay all the males in Israel under 2 years of age, that drove Joseph and Mary to Egypt. Here we again we see the mystery of the sovereign movements of God and how that God can make the wrath of God to praise him. Herod was used as an instrument in God’s hand to bring about the fulfilment of Hosea’s prophecy concerning Christ coming out of Egypt.

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William Burnett

William Burnett was born and raised in Scotland, and spent his entire professional life in the Oil refining industry. He was seconded to Canada by his employer in 1972, and accepted early retirement in 1994. He has been a "tentmaker," - working in business, whilst ministering among the assemblies - since his late teen years. Early retirement has enabled him to undertake a much wider sphere of itinerant ministry throughout North America, and abroad. He also sits on the board of Counsel Magazine, and contributes regularly to various publication, including Uplook, Precious Seed and the Choice Gleanings Calendar. He and his wife Beth reside in Oakville, Ontario, where they are in happy fellowship in Hopedale Assembly. They have three married sons, and eight grandchildren.