Let us look at the actual prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures which pointed to a Messiah. His history was, in fact, written before he was ever born, as you will see from the following pages. Most of these you will remember having read about in the Gospels, where it was mentioned how each prophecy was fulfilled.
"And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham and said .... and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." - Genesis 22:15-18.
A prophet, Balaam, son of Beor, said: "There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel." -- Numbers 24:15-17. This refers to the Star of Bethlehem, Christ Jesus, King of the Jews.
The dying Jacob said: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till he come that is to be sent; and he shall be the expectation of nations." -- Genesis 49:10.
The sceptre spoken of -- meaning the respected center or Holy Land which all still look to for its nearness to the great scene of Calvary.
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him . . . In that day shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek." - Isaiah 11: 1-6, 9-10.
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." -- Isaiah 7:14.
"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." -- Micah 5: 2.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." -- Isaiah 9:6.
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." -- Isaiah 40: 1-4.
"Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy Savior cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him." - Isaiah 62:11.
"The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me . . . " -- Isaiah 61: 1.
"He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son." --II Samuel 7:13-14.
"The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." -- Psalms 2: 7.
"He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth." -- Psalms 89:26-27.
"He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
"And it shall be said in that day, Lord, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." -- Isaiah 25:8-9.
"He hath found out all the ways of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men." -- Baruch 3:36-37.
"The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken . . . And I will put my words into his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." -- Deuteronomy 18: 15-19.
"Therefore, my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" -- Isaiah 52: 6-7.
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." -- Jeremiah 31: 31-33.
"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old." -- Psalms 78: 2.
"I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick, but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with Judgment." -- Ezekiel 34: 15-16.
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
"A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law." -- Isaiah 42: 1-10.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." -- Zechariah 9: 9.
"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord . . ." -- Psalms 118:24-26.
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Read most of Chapter 53 of Isaiah.
"Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior." -- Isaiah 45:15.
"I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien to my mother's children. For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me." -- Psalms 69:8-9.
"Therefore, let us lie in wait for the righteous: because he is not for our turn, and he is clean contrary to our doings: he upbraideth us with our offending the Law, and objecteth to our infamy the transgressions of our education. He professeth to have the knowledge of God: and he calleth himself the Son of the Lord. He was made to reprove our thoughts. He is grievous unto us even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of another fashion. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits: he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness: he pronounceth the end of the just to be blessed, and maketh his boast that God is his father." -- Wisdom 2:12-16.
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rules take council together, against the Lord, and against his anointed . . ."
-- Psalms 2: 2.
"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.-- Psalms 41:9
"Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." -- Psalms 69:20-21.
"For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him." -- Psalms 71:10-11.
"If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was priced at of them." -- Zechariah 11:12-13.
"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." -- Zech. 13: 7.
"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." -- Isaiah 53: 7.
"They pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." -- Psalms 22:16-18.
"And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." -- Zech. 13: 6.
"He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken." -- Psalms 34:20.
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed.: -- Isaiah 53: 5.
"Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors." -- Isaiah 53:12.
"My flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." -- Psalms 16: 9-11.
"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." -- Isaiah 11:10.
"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for their possession." -- Psalms 2: 8.
"Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." -- Psalms 110: 1.
"At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands." -- Isaiah 17: 7-8.
"And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish, . . . his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats."
-- Isaiah 2:17-20.
"Listen, O isles, unto me: and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb . . . and now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, and to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth . . . Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to thee." Isaiah 49:1, 5-6, and 18.
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." -- Daniel 7:13-14.
These extracts, which might easily be increased in number, are taken from the Bible as preserved by the Jews; the books of which this Bible was composed having been edited many centuries before Jesus, and altogether embracing a period of more than fourteen hundred years.
These fragmentary passages form so complete and detailed a picture of the Messiah, it might easily be believed that they were written by the evangelists after his advent. All the essential features are found there: his kinship with Abraham; his descent from Jacob and David. Jesus' birth from a virgin, the universal expectation directed towards him, his birth in the little town of Bethlehem.
Jesus origin from everlasting to everlasting in the Bosom of God, his Divine Sonship, his identity as Savior, his flight into Egypt, his retreat into the despised land of Nazareth, the coming of his predecessor, and his divine unction by the fullness of the Spirit.
Jesus did function as prophet, evangelist, and miracle-worker. His character personified the goodness without limit, and the infinite gentleness. Then we look at the mystery wherein his divine nature was wrapped. The persecution and hatred by which he was pursued, all the details of the death he was to undergo, his agony, his betrayal for thirty pieces of silver by one of his own disciples, the cross he was to bear, his burial, his resurrection, and, last of all, his dazzling triumph proclaimed before the face of the world over death, which is least thought of, taking into consideration all that was accomplished through him by the Father and the Host.
In the full light of history, Jesus' undermining of idolatry, by the terrible chastisement of his persecutors at the hands of the Gentile world, by the establishment of his Father's Word and reign in the midst of that world which, in attacking Jesus proved his indestructible power and his eternality.
All of the documents, the writings dispersed and scattered through the ages, are like the stones of some huge edifice, hewn and carved by unknown workmen, under the inspiration of an invisible architect whose designs were not fully disclosed to any creature.
When Jesus Christ appeared, he revealed in his person and work, in his way of teaching of the way God created the Earth and this Solar System -- and life, the mystery which had been hidden from all generations past.
One by one he accomplished all the prophecies, and realized in every detail what they had announced: this he said to all, and endeavored to persuade his nation of it.
The doctors refused to understand him; they could not grasp the spiritual meaning of the symbolical language used by their prophets, nor free themselves from their pride of race and religion.
Revolted by the elements of sorrow, humiliation, and death, which were among the essential characteristics of the true Messiah, they were unable to raise themselves to his divine nature, and to unite in a bold synthesis the double mystery of divinity and suffering humanity united in him.
The people could not recognize the imperfection of their law which was to disappear before the living law of Christ, and though their obstinate blindness before the Messiah had been announced by their prophets, they never suspected their obstinacy and blindness and dashed themselves against the cornerstone whereon was to be erected the whole building of God.
Some few, chosen from among the ignorant and simple, those whom were the most despised, were alone initiated into this Messianic truth; they learned in the school of Jesus, what the wise of their nation had been unable to see.
Their faith, illuminated by the Spirit, confessed the divine Sonship and the awful mystery of the sorrows of the Son of Man; they recognized in him the invincible Lion of Judah.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, endured to be slain. It is to these poor uneducated men that we are indebted for the knowledge of him who, being in the form of God, made himself of no reputation, while in the form of Man. Jesus was obedient to his Father, even to the death on the cross -- the punishment which was given to slaves.
What an effort was required for those men of antiquity to behold the humble Jesus and to recognize in him any greatness!
He began life quietly, a descendant of an ancient but subjugated race that had lost all political power and was captive to the hated Romans.
Unlike many false messiahs of Palestine he evinced no desire to restore its vanished greatness. His friends were in no way conspicuous for their splendid intellects or even their personal gifts.
Jesus' teachings appealed primarily to the uneducated. They left the theologians of his own country unconvinced, and even his relatives once suspected that he had gone mad. They rejected the announcement of the Eucharist, and brought him to an end as one of three condemned criminals, ridiculed and despised. Remember this crucifixion was destined to take place.
The unhappy aspect of this picture has lost some of its appeal. But if this should be the Christian way of life, then we must face the fact that a Christian is called upon to act in contradiction to the world's ideas of greatness. This is the thing that is required of Man, that he shall give up the World and "Follow Me," spake Jesus Christ.
Christ Jesus reversed all past ideas of grandeur, but this position was chosen by God (Infinite Power). For God to give the Word to Jesus Christ, the Savior, whom in turn would and did pass it on to Mankind.
Through the Word man had free choice and true freedom of choice. For he revealed God's Idea of what the Will of God was, that reveals God's Idea of what is good for Man.
In repudiating Jesus, in their determination not to understand him, the Jews lost the true sense of their Book. They preserve it, however, and read it; but do not understand it: for them it is a closed and sealed book.
The Messianic idea, the hero and his work, are its bond of unity and life; and these things escape their notice: they are without meaning except as explained by the doctrine, the person, and the work of Jesus.
Now here is an event unique in history, we commend to all who reject prophecy and the prophetic books. The whole Bible is messianic. If we seek for its spirit, its most profound and truest sense, we find that it looks to the coming of Christ - to this future deliverer it promises him, calls upon him, describes him in figures, and prepares the way for him. The greatest doctors among the Jews, who wrote the Targums of the first and second centuries, Onkelos, Jonathan and Akiba, never hesitated thus to interpret the sacred Book. The passages we have quoted had no difficulty for them; for grand words of the seers of Israel apply only to the prophet who was cast out by the Sanhedrin, to him who triumphed on the cross.