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Defeating Doubt

In this day and age it is so easy to doubt. There is much that can challenge my faith: the stout atheist, the dogmatic evolutionist, those who are from other faiths, and so much from the world we live in and from those who just don't care. There are hard challenging questions out there - and there are a few questions where I remain dissatisfied with the 'standard' Christian answers. In fact I find neither certainty nor comfort in debates between faiths or opinions of this sort.

I remember a friend of mine being healed by God, I remember when God healed me. I've been encouraged by numerous speakers in many different churches across the world. I've read some wonderful Christian material. I've been enriched as I listened to a few well-known personalities. But it's interesting to me that when I am deeply challenged, I do not think back on any of these things or find security in them. I only think back on the Word of God, the Bible. Within His Word I find security and all that I need to satisfy my doubts - my sometimes very real doubts - regarding what I believe.

I find that The Word of God is the bedrock I need - not these other experiences or science/faith/evolution debates or standard 'Christian answers' to hard questions. Specifically - I find that the way the Bible is constructed, what it says, the way it's said - provide all the evidence I need that it is trustworthy, that it is The Word of God, that God exists, and specifically that the message, ministry and purpose of Jesus is very real.

In other words I find the Bible to be self-evident.

This passage in the new testament talks about Jesus being 'the Word', that he was with God from the beginning of time, and that the world and everything that has been made was created through Him, that he was pre-announced by a man called John, that Jesus came into the world, and that those who believe in Him have the right to become children of God.

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-14

This is a profound claim, and it can be demonstrated as being true. Throughout the old testament there are pointers to a special person, an 'Anointed One', a 'Messiah the Christ'. And the more time one spends looking and digging, the more of Christ there is to be found in the old testament.

I find my doubt dispelled by reading through these passages. I've ordered them below as follows:

I hope they encourage you also.

John Bell
December 31st 2005
Irvine, California, USA.

  • How it started - at the beginning:

    • In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1.
    • God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31a.
      God created the world perfect...

    • And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15
      ..but Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Pointers start here - just after the disobedience of Adam and Eve. This is the curse God gave to the serpent [Satan] for deceiving Eve. Here there is an indication of a future offspring that although wounded will crush him.

  • A reminder as to the state of mankind:

    • The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. Genesis 6:5-6.

    • God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Psalm 53:2-3.
      No one is right before God.

    • All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6.
      Even good works don't measure up to Gods standards.

    • Then Job replied: "Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God? Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand. His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?' God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet. "How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? ..... "He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot. Job 9:1-14, 32-35.
      Job points out the impossibility of approaching God - and yearns for an arbitrator.
  • Hints of a future blessing through a descendant of Abraham, Jacob, Judah, and king David:
    • I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Genesis 12:3.
      This is the promise God gave to Abraham. Also indicating a blessing to all through Abrahams descendants.

    • The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Genesis 22:15-18.
      A repeat of the same promise made earlier - but re-enforced by the near sacrifice if his one and only son (Genesis 22:1-18). Here a ram is substituted for Isaac.

    • Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. Genesis 28:14.
      This is God's promise to Jacob during his dream at Bethel (Genesis 28:10-15) - again indicating a blessing through his offspring.

    • The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. Genesis 49:10.
      A part of the blessings Jacob gave to his sons before he dies. This part of the blessing was to Judah.

    • Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. 2 Samuel 7:16.
      This is the word of the LORD concerning king David.

  • Longer passages that reemphasize the promise to David and talk of an Anointed One, a Son, a son of man, a desired of all nations, of Gods 'his holy arm', of a child born whose government and peace will not end, a light for the Gentiles, a Righteous Branch...

    • Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2.
      A clear indication of an 'Anointed One', of a Son whose nations are his inheritance.

    • O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8.
      Giving praise to God for what he's done, including the establishment of 'the son of man'...

    • "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14.
      The phrase 'son of man' in another context.

    • I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:21-23.

    • The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: "One of your own descendants I will place on your throne- if your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever." For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: "This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it- I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy. "Here I will make a horn grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on his head will be resplendent." Psalm 132:11-18.
      A re-emphasis of the promise to David.

    • Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend. Job 16:19-21.
      A reference to an intercessor in heaven.

    • For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

    • A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. Isaiah 11:1-5.
      A 'Branch' that 'will bear fruit'.

    • Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Isaiah 35:3-5

    • You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:9-11.

    • "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope." This is what God the LORD says— he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:1-7.

    • And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength- he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." This is what the LORD says— the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel— to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: "Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." Isaiah 49:5-7.
      Not only to restore Israel, but also 'a light for the Gentiles' (everyone else who are not Jews).

    • Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I." How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:6-10.

    • "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:1-3.

    • The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, Isaiah 61:1-2.

    • "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:5-6.

    • "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." Jeremiah 31:31-33.

    • 'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 'In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land.' Jeremiah 33:14-15.

    • I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. Ezekiel 34:23-24.
      Ezekiel wrote a few hundred years after David - so this is a figurative. See also the well known Psalm 23 to understand the use of the term 'shepherd' here.

    • "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. Haggai 2:6-7.

    • 'Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.' Zechariah 3:8.

    • "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. " Daniel 9:25-27.
      This is a much quoted prophecy from Daniel - and much abused to try and predict the 'end times'. However this passage is of great interest as it includes a description and timing for 'the Anointed One' (alternatively translated as 'Messiah the Prince'). Here after a set time (62+7 sevens) the Anointed One comes and is also 'cut off' and 'will have nothing'. A classical interpretation demonstrates that this period actually ended during the time Jesus was on earth.

  • So who is this person? Who else can this be but Jesus? Here are some more old testament passages re-enforce the fact that Jesus is Gods Anointed One. These are some very specific prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus:

    • See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. Malachi 4:5.
      See Matthew 11:7-15, John 1:6-9.

    • "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:1-3.
      See Matthew 11:7-15, John 1:6-9.

    • A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 40:3-5.
      Again Matthew 11:7-15, John 1:6-9.

    • "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. " Micah 5:2.
      From this Jews knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem - Matthew 2:3-6.

    • Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel means 'God with Us'.
      See Matthew 1:18-25.

    • This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more." Jeremiah 31:15.
      See Matthew 2:16-18.

    • "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1.
      See Matthew 2:14-15, 19-20.

    • Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan- The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:1-2.
      Matthew 4:12-17.

    • Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. Psalm 107:28-29.
      Mark 4:35-41.

    • O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. Psalm 78:1-3.
      Matthew 13:10-17.

    • He said, "Go and tell this people: " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed." Isaiah 6:9-10.
      Also Matthew 13:10-17.

    • Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9.
      See Matthew 21:1-11.

    • I told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it." So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter" - the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter. Zechariah 11:12-13.
      This points to an incident that can be read in Matthew 26:14-16 and Matthew 27:1-10.

    • Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. Psalm 41:9.
      A reference to Judas (Matthew 26:22-25)

    • I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Isaiah 50:6.
      Jesus was mocked and spat on before he was crucified (Matthew 27:27-31)

    • They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. Psalm 69:21.
      See Matthew 27:34.

    • Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. Psalm 22:12-18.
      Psalm 22 is regarded as a description of a crucifixion from the point of view of one being crucified. This section talks of pierced hands and feet, garments divided, and lots cast for clothing. See Matthew 27:35. This Psalm is also one Jesus is thought to have said on the cross - compare Matthew 27:46 with Psalm 22:1.

    • "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. Zechariah 12:10.
      Not only were hands and feet pierced, but also his side (John 19:33-37).

    • he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Psalm 34:20.
      See John 19:33-37 for this also.

    • If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance. Deuteronomy 21:22-23.
      Interesting law which applied to Jesus. He was buried on the same day. John 19:31-37.

    • See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him —
      his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.

      Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

      Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

      We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

      Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
      Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

      This describes a 'man of sorrows' revealing the 'arm of the LORD'. It was 'the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer', silently slaughtered. He was killed and buried with both the wicked (Matthew 27:44) and the rich (Matthew 27:57-60). This set of verses also explain why Jesus had to die - he was a 'guilt offering', justifying many, bearing 'their iniquities'. He 'bore the sin of many' and 'made intercession for the transgressors'.

  • Note that it was important that Jesus did not remain dead - but had to rise again to demonstrate power over death, and hence power over sin. Compare these old testament passages with Matthew 28:5-7.

    • Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. Psalm 16:9-10.

    • I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25.
      Job is one of the oldest books of the Bible. Compare this with John 1.

    • After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Hosea 6:2.
      Indication here of restoration after 3 days. Some other parallels from the old testament - one of the plagues in Egypt was 3 days darkness (Exodus 10:21-23), Esther asked all the Jews to fast for three days and nights prior to her appearing illegally before the King to grant a request to save the Jews. (Ester 4:15-16), and of course Jonah was in the big fish for 3 days (Jonah 1:17) - an event Jesus used when he prophesied His own death and resurrection (Matthew 12:40).

  • Finally, consider the following events in the old testament that also pointed to the life of Jesus:

    • Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:13-14.
      A clear pointer to the sacrifice of Gods one and only Son. Also very interesting is the saying 'On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided' as this is the same mountain where Jesus is said to have been crucified.

    • He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. Genesis 28: 12-14.
      This is the dream Jacob had at Bethel, where heaven opens where Jacob sleeps. It's worth considering that heaven did not open to a place (Bethel) but to a person - through a descendant of Jacob. Consider Jesus as the ladder - Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6). He also said "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." (John 1:51).

    • But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7.
      The story of Joseph can be viewed as a reflection of the life of Jesus. Both are greatly loved by their fathers, are hated by their brothers, are conspired against, are accounted as dead by the father. Also (from the fathers point of view) are seen alive again in glory. The end result is not to punish their families but to save them. Of Jesus: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17.

    • Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Exodus 12:21.
      The Israeli families were spared from Gods judgment through the sacrificial blood of a lamb. Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7). In fact there are many parallels that can be made with Jesus and the requirements of a Passover lamb: a choice male in the prime of life, without blemish, be kept under scrutiny, no bones broken, to be slain, to have blood applied in the right manner, and provides protection from God.

    • When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. Exodus 16:15.
      They called it manna - bread from heaven. They ate it for forty years (Exodus 16:35) and without it the people of Israel would have perished. Jesus is 'the bread of life' - our bread from heaven. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

    • The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:8-9.
      This is an interesting analogy - sin on a pole. People who looked at this (i.e. had faith that this act would heal) were healed from the snake bite and lived. Jesus took on our sins - He became our sin (2 Cor 5:21) - when He was crucified. When we look to Him - when we believe in what He did for us, we are healed also.
      That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10.

    • Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words." Exodus 24:8.
      This happened after reading Gods laws, and after the people of Israel agreed to obedience. Compare with Jesus words at the last supper (Matthew 26:28).
      In fact much more can be said about old testament sacrifices (to cover sins), the tabernacle & temple (God amongst the people), and Jesus:

      All sacrifices can be seen as pointing to Jesus in different ways:
      • The whole burnt offering - a totally consuming offering - embodied by Jesus in His life and death.
      • The grain offering - Jesus is the bread of life John 6:35. Also Jesus reminded us that a grain dies before sprouting again to bear much fruit John 12:24.
      • The peace offering - Christ is our peace who reconciles us with God - Romans 5:1.
      • The sin offering - compulsory to cover unintentional sins - Romans 8:3.
      • The guilt offering - for offense causing loss. Isaiah 53 talks about the suffering servant as a guilt offering.

      The Tabernacle and Solomons temple represent God on earth amongst His people (Exodus 40:34-35, 1 Kings 8:10-13). Jesus was God on earth (John 1), and he alluded to himself as a temple (John 2:19).

    • 'If one of your countrymen becomes poor and sells some of his property, his nearest relative is to come and redeem what his countryman has sold. Leviticus 25:25.
      This concerns the Kinsman-Redeemer. Note that God had by this time redeemed all of Israel from Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:8). Part of the law provided that the nearest relative of someone overwhelmed with debt could step in to pay, thus saving someone from slavery or destitution. This person needed to be near of kin, be able to redeem, be willing to redeem, and redemption was completed once the debt was paid. With regard to our sin before God, only Jesus can satisfy all this for us: near of kin (through incarnation in human form), is able to redeem, was willing to redeem, and has already paid the price in full!
      (Another aside: the book of Ruth tells of another redemption. Ruth was the great-grandmother of David.)
  • But Moses replied, "Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!" Numbers 11:29.
    Of course this became possible after Jesus returned to Heaven - Acts 2:1-4.

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