Thursday, January 19, 2017

So Who Was Jesus Really?

Jesus is in the Old Testament Too?

Hi friends! I haven't posted for a while, but I just recently put together an article on how Jesus fulfilled prophecies and predictions from the Old Testament. I always find this super fascinating and it hugely has encouraged me in my faith by affirming to me that Jesus really is all that He said He is. Hope you enjoy!

We believe that since day one of humans falling away from God, He has been working through his continuous rescue mission to build the bridge between Himself and humans again. All of history records this, as we can see through studying the texts of the Bible front to back, and this plan to save a broken world is perfectly and totally executed through God coming into our world and being an active defender and close friend to mankind, through His Son, Jesus. The Bible was written by 40 authors over 1500 years, throughout multiple regions, in multiple dialects. This article will expand on how both the Old and New Testament (The Jewish Tanakh and the Bible), as well as many other ancient religious texts, testify to how God planned to save the people through the Messiah, Jesus, since the beginning of creation.

In the beginning of creation, God made the Heavens and the Earth, as well as plants, animals, and mankind. He declared humans to be “very good” and designed us to have a fulfilling relationship with total access to Him.

Genesis 1:26, John 1:1
When God creates humans, He declares, “let US make man in OUR image.”
The trinity—Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit are One

However, while God made us in His image, He also gave us free will—ultimately humans chose to disobey Him and pull away from a close-knit relationship with Him. Falling into sin, which means disobedience in missing the mark of God’s perfect standard for us, we became slaves of the devil. However, God immediately revealed his plan to face the problem of sin entering the world. He proposed the promise to someday conquer over Satan and be victorious through one of Eve’s descendants, introducing the whole plotline of the Bible and history:


Bible Reference:                                     Old Testament Prophecy:                                                      How Jesus Fulfilled It (New Testament):
Genesis 3:15, Hebrews 2:15
Immediately following the fall of mankind, God lays out consequences to the serpent who lured Adam and Eve into sin (later revealed to be the devil in Revelations), Adam, and Eve. Through this, He foretells how a descendant of Eve will eventually crush Satan but in return be hurt, or “bruised” by him.
What Jesus accomplished in His crucifixion 
 on the cross freed humans from Satan by taking 
the punishment deserved of humans upon Himself. 
In doing so, He “crushed” the head of Satan the 
serpent by destroying his power, but greatly 
suffered through experiencing Hell (abandonment 
by God while carrying the world’s sin) through 
Genesis 5:32-10:1, 1 Peter 3:21
However, when sin overflowed greatly, God baptized the earth to symbolize how cleansing must occur when the world goes darkly amiss again.
This points to the greater symbolism of Jesus 
baptizing us with the Holy Spirit to cleanse us 
from our sins, cleaning us with water.
Genesis 12:2-3
After the people began to grow and migrate, God called up one man named Abraham for His purpose of restoring humanity from sin. He promised Abraham that through his descendant God would bless all the people of the world. From this, we see God hasn’t given up on humans but is on a continuous rescue mission to bring us back to Him.
Abraham’s eventual descendant, Jesus, would bless 
all the world with salvation, bringing back all Jews 
and Gentiles to a restored full communion with God, 
which Adam and Eve had severed in their disobedience.
Genesis 15:4
Though Abraham suffered shame in not being able to have children, God promised that Abraham would have as many descendants as stars in the sky and sand on the sea.
The number of brothers and sisters in Christ who are 
saved is innumerable, and Revelations explains Heaven 
to be a great multitude of tribes, tongues, languages 
praising God beyond number.
Genesis 15:17-18
To prove He would keep His half of the promise, God walks between the half broken bodies of animals to make a covenant (promising his half of the promise) with Abraham, but Abraham does not have to as he falls asleep (Abraham wasn’t able to fulfill his half of the promise then, as he was still a flawed human).
Jesus told his disciples that his body would be broken 
for mankind like the bread he broke at the last supper. 
Jesus represents the great covenant: like the animals 
cut in half that people walked through to make a promise, 
we must go through Jesus’s broken body to be with God. 
Abraham, and all his descendants (including us) thus 
make our half of the promise to God today by walking 
through the broken body of Jesus to be with Him.
Genesis 22:2
God tests Abraham’s devotion by calling him to sacrifice his only first born son on Mount Moriah to demonstrate how much he loves God. God stops him before he sacrifices his son, however, saving Isaac.
With Jesus, God sacrifices His firstborn and only son 
on Mount Moriah to demonstrate how much He loves us. 
Rather than stopping the sacrifice, He goes all the 
way through with it and kills His own son.
Genesis 28:12, John 1:51
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, dreams of a stairway to Heaven where angels descend to earth and there is restored communion between man and God.
Jesus calls Himself the stairway to Heaven upon which 
the angels can descend to Earth on.
Genesis 37:28-end of Genesis
Jacob’s son, Joseph, is betrayed and sold by his 12 brothers into slavery in a foreign land with purchase by silver, falsely accused and suffering, then elevated to the top of the nation under the king, welcoming his father into this land. God uses him to save all the Israelites and Egyptians, and though others intended for evil, God made this good and brought salvation.
Jesus is betrayed and sold by his 12 disciples into a 
type of slavery in a foreign land (Earth) with Judas 
 betraying him with silver, falsely accused and suffering, 
elevated to the top of the world under Yahweh (God) king 
and welcomes His father God into this land of Earth by 
making communion with God possible. God uses Him to save 
all the people of the world, and though others intended 
with evil to kill Him, God made this good by bringing salvation.

However, after Joseph welcomed Israel into the land of Egypt, a new pharaoh arose and the Israelites fell under slavery when Pharaoh began to feel threatened by how large their population was growing. Still, God prophesied He would send a Deliverer to rescue the people out of captivity.

Exodus 1:15
Now under Egyptian slavery, all the babies are killed in a massacre as the Pharaoh fears the Deliverer who is prophesied to rise from the people and save them, but Moses is preserved in Egypt
Upon Jesus’s birth, all the babies are killed in a massacre as Herod the Great fears the Messiah who is prophesied to rise from the people, but Jesus is preserved in Egypt.
Exodus 3:7-10, Exodus 11
Moses is called by God to deliver the people from suffering out of bondage, and the firstborn of the ruler, Pharaoh’s, must die for the people to pass out from bondage. An innocent lamb must be killed for the freedom of the people. The blood of the lamb on their doorway saves them.
Jesus is the deliverer for the people suffering under bondage to the devil. The firstborn of the ruler, God’s, must die in order for the people to pass out from bondage. The innocent lamb of God had to be killed. The blood of God, the lamb, is what saves us.

Exodus 12, John 1:29
The Passover: Once a year, a lamb was sacrificed on the behalf of the people’s sins, with its blood covering them before God. The lamb had to be blameless, spotless, with no broken bones.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed on Passover Day, with His blood covering the people before God. He was blameless, spotless, and had no broken bones (this was rare, as the people’s bones were always broken on the cross for a quicker death; however, by the time the Roman soldiers checked Jesus, He was already dead, as stabbing Him proved).
Exodus 16, John 6:35
Freed from Egypt and now wandering in the wilderness, the people cried out for food to survive, and God sent them bread from Heaven.
We cry out for life, and God sent us the “bread of life” from Heaven. Jesus calls Himself the bread of life in the wilderness, as He was given from heaven to supply us.
Numbers 21:8-9, John 3:14
Also in the desert, the people are suffering as a consequence of their sin by serpent attacks. They raise their eyes to the bronze snake Moses is called to lift on a stick, and when they look at the snake raised on the pole, they are reminded of their sins, repent, and are saved.
We as people are suffering as a consequence of our sin by “serpent” (the Devil from the garden of Eden at creation is the serpent) attacks, we raise our eyes to Jesus lifted up on the cross, and when we look at Him raised on the pole, we are reminded of our sins, repent, and are saved.
Numbers 20:11, Zechariah 13:7, Matthew 26:31
When the people cried out for water, Moses strikes the rock and living water flows out.

God says “I will strike the Shepherd” and Jesus is the Shepherd and the Rock struck by God. When God struck Jesus on the cross, Jesus said streams of living water (the Holy Spirit) would flow from Him, as now those who believe in Him have the Holy Spirit like streams of living water flowing from them.

After Moses led the people out of Egyptian land, they still doubted God’s goodness, so He had them wander forty years in the desert while teaching them to trust Him again. Trust would be vital in these next years as God established them as a people group and nation, and it was necessary that they learn this before entering battle. God anointed a new leader, Joshua, to take them into the Promised Land at the end of this time. Throughout these years, God showed them miraculous signs and wonders like parting the Red Sea, appearing to them by cloud in day for shade and fire in night to guide them with warmth and protection, sending them water and fresh food, and fighting their battles. He proved Himself to be their King and Lord, and after defeating the city of Jericho, led them into their own land, the very land He had promised hundreds of years ago to Abraham.

Overtime, He used a series of judges to lead the people with wisdom from God. Eventually, the people cried out for a king “to be like all the other nations” and God chose for them a King of their approval and standard: King Saul. Saul, easily persuaded by the people, fell under their influence and chose to please them rather than God, leading him to disobey the Lord. After this, God raised up a ruddy shepherd boy named David to be the new King, as he was a “man after God’s own heart.” David desired to build a temple for God to live in, that He might be close to His people in a permanent dwelling, and though the temple was never meant to contain God, God prepared David’s son, Solomon, with blueprints on how to build this dwelling place.

Exodus 26:33, Matthew 27:51
God made plans for a temple among the people, showing that He still desired to live among them, though there was separation between Him and them with a curtain sectioning off the Most Holy Place of His presence (The Most Holy Place has the same dimensions as God’s city in Heaven, showing that when we enter Heaven we are always in His presence)
Jesus called Himself the temple, as God lives in Him as His house, prophesying before He died that he would destroy and rebuild the temple in three days (his body on the cross), thus prophesying His resurrection in three days. He was the temple, because He was God coming to live among us, and when He died, an earthquake broke the temple and ripped the curtain in two, which was a visual representation of the divide between God and man removed, as God comes through from the other side of the curtain to be with us.
1 Samuel 16, John 10
God prepares the people for the idea of a “Shepherd King”, also promises David that one of his descendants will sit on the throne forever and be the eternal king of Israel
Jesus is the Shepherd King, the eternal King of Israel, and the descendant of David. He was called by the people of His time “Son of David”, referring to being the King of the line of David back to restore His people and rescue them.
Ruth, Ephesians 2:19
Ruth was the foreigner in the land of Israel with no respect but looked upon with grace and mercy from the kinsman redeemer with high standing who gave her dignity by taking her as his bride
We were the foreigner in a land rejected with no respect but looked upon with grace and mercy from our kinsman redeemer with high standing who gives us dignity by taking us as His bride (God calls the church His pride who He loves)
Psalm 22
David starts Psalm 22 with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He continues with prophecies of suffering describing evil men surrounding him, casting lots for his clothes, being thirsty, not having any bones broken, dying among “sinners”, buried with the rich, but someday bringing together all worship of God so generations will proclaim how God brought back all people to Him
Jesus says on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” because the sin of the world is on Him and He suffers literal Hell on the cross, separation from God because God cannot be with sin. He also reveals how He, as God, hears and memorizes our prayers, as He did with David’s Psalm. He was surrounded by evil men, with lots cast for his clothing, thirsty, none of His bones were broken, died among criminals, buried in a rich man’s grave, and brought together the worship of God where today generations tell one another how God brought back all people to Him
Psalm 23, Ezekiel 34
David prophesies of God being the Good Shepherd of His people and so does Ezekiel
Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, saying that He restores souls, bringing the scattered and afraid sheep back, defeats the power of the evil one (the devil), and lays His life down for His sheep, as the Good Shepherd come to lead the people
Psalm 110:1, Mark 16:19
David says, “The Lord said to My Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies into your footstool”
An explanation that the Lord is in the trinity and God lifting up Jesus over his enemies who mocked Him

David was a King who followed the Lord, but after him came a series of kings who worshipped different idols and turned the people far from God. Eventually, the people of Israel fell so far away that, although God warned them through prophets to return to Him, He let them go into exile under other nations. The kingdom of Israel was divided into Israel (North) and Judah (South). Assyria conquered the North and Babylon took captive and carried away many of the Israelites to Babylon. Judah would then go from kingdom to kingdom, exiled under Babylon, Persia, Hellenistic Greeks, and Rome. But even in the exile, God promised them that He was just as faithful and present in their suffering and even prophesied through prophets that He would someday deliver them from their captivity through a Messiah “Savior”.

Micah 5:2, Hosea 11:1, Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 9:1, Matthew 2:23, Matthew 4:13-16, Matthew 2:14-15, Matthew 2:1
The people are cast into exile and begin to cry out for deliverance from God: the Messiah is to be born from Bethlehem, but coming out also of Nazareth, staying in Egypt for a short while, and honoring Galilee by the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus is born in Bethlehem, but raised in Nazareth as his parents happen to visit Bethlehem during his birth to complete the Roman Census in their birthplace, as required. They flee to Egypt for a short while when Herod is killing babies to target the Messiah, and Jesus does ministry in Galilee, thus baptized in the Sea of Galilee and honoring it.

Esther 8:3, Romans 8:34
Esther, given her position before the king, goes before Him—putting her life on the line—in order to plead for the lives of her people.
Jesus, given his position as the son of God, goes before God—eventually putting his life on the line and dying—in order to plead for the lives of people.
Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:16
“The mothers of Rachel mourn” as her children are slaughtered in a massacre (her child was Judah)
The babies are killed by Herod the Great in attempts to murder the Messiah in Bethlehem (of the tribe of Judah)
Job 39:9, Luke 2:7
God tells Job that the oxen stays by God’s manger at night
Jesus is born in a stable among oxen by his manger
Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:34
The Savior of the people will be born of a virgin, and this will be the sign that he has come
Jesus is born of the virgin named Mary
Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 11:14
The Messiah will be preceded by the Spirit of Elijah, a messenger would prepare the way for him
John the Baptist precedes Jesus, carrying the spirit of Elijah by calling the people back to God, to repent in a backwards nation and shadowing Elijah’s ministry
Genesis 12:3, Genesis 17:19, Numbers 24:17, Luke 3
Messiah would come of the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah (the scepter would never leave Judah’s line as Jacob promised his son, meaning the kingship would be here)
Jesus came from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribe of Judah, being the one to hold the scepter as the king of the Jews.
Luke 1:32
The messiah would fulfill the throne of David by being heir and restoring the Davidic throne
Jesus came from the line of David and claimed He was the Son of David, making claims to be the eternal king prophesied to David
Psalm 69:8, Isaiah 53:3, John 1:11, John 7:5
The Messiah would be rejected by his own people
Jesus was continually rejected at his own hometown and eventually betrayed by his own people
Deut 18:15, Acts 3:20-22
He would be a prophet
Jesus prophesied to the people and they called him a great prophet, revealing things a man could not know aside from God
Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 5:5-6
He would be a priest by the order of Melchizedek

Jesus was the final priest, as the priest’s job was to offer a sacrifice on behalf of the sins of the people, and the priest was required to be pure and holy to do so. Only after the priest’s sacrifice would the people be forgiven.
Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23
They will call him Immanuel, meaning God is with us
They called Jesus Immanuel at his birth, as God is literally with us
Psalm 78:2-4, Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35
He would speak in parables
Jesus told all his stories in parables
Zechariah 9:9, John 12:13
He would ride in on a donkey, the colt of donkey, gentle like a king

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey colt Palm Sunday on his unofficial coronation by the people as they shouted “Save us!”
Isaiah 42:3, Matthew 11:28-29
He would be gentle and not discourage or break the bruised reed, the people suffering or in pain or losing hope in God
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Isaiah 35:5, Isaiah 42, Matthew 11:1-19
He would open the eyes of the blind, heal the sick, raise the lame, give the prisoners hope, free the captives
This is the heart of the ministry of what Jesus did when He came onto earth, revealing the issues and people closest to God’s heart
Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12-13. Luke 22:47, Matthew 26:14, Matthew 27:9
God told the prophet Zechariah he would be betrayed for silver and the money used to buy a potter’s field
Jesus was betrayed with silver and the money used to buy a potter’s field
Isaiah 50, Psalm 22, Zechariah, Isaiah 53
Messiah would be falsely accused, silent before his accusers, led like a lamb to the slaughter, spat up and struck, hated without cause, killed with “sinners”, buried with the rich, his clothes gambled for by evil men, mocked and ridiculed, his side would be pierced, he would drink vinegar,
Jesus was killed, mocked, whipped, spat upon, and persecuted by the Romans officials and crucified on the cross
Zechariah 12:10, John 19:34
God says they will Looked upon Him and mourn as one mourns for a firstborn son they have pierced
Jesus the firstborn of God was pierced in the side and in the hands on the cross
Isaiah 35
God prophesied through Isaiah how we have all gone astray from God, but He would lay the suffering that should have been our punishment on the Messiah, and He would bear the sins of many, making intercession for the transgressors
Jesus suffered on the cross so that God would punish Him, the perfect substitute who had no sins to pay of His own accord, instead of punishing humans with Hell
Daniel 7:13-14
Daniel, one of the prophets in Babylon during the exile, saw a vision from God in which he saw one who looked like a human (Son of Man) come into God’s presence as the great ruler and king with totally power and glory
Jesus called Himself the Son of Man, making a reference to this specific passage and proclaiming that He was here to fulfill this prophesy of God’s ruler coming as a human

So Who Was the Messiah Anyways???
Around 4-6 B.C. in Israel a man named Jesus rose out of Nazareth, born from the line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David, and born in Bethlehem to a virgin woman named Mary. He grew up wise and obedient to His parents and by age thirty began to refer to Himself as the Son of Man, the Son of David, and the Messiah of the people. He carried the burdens and suffering of the Israelite people upon His shoulders, healing the lame, the diseased and lepers, the blind, and raising the dead. He was a “friend to sinners” like prostitutes and tax collectors and gave radical teachings such as “one should love their neighbor as themselves,” love their enemies, and love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. He made God claims, calling Himself “one with the father God”, and claimed to have the authority and power to forgive sins, a judgment determined only by God. He fulfilled all of these prophecies of the Torah and the Books of the Prophets, and the people wanted to make Him their King, as many believed He was the Messiah God had promised.
All of His ministry lasted within a span of three years and occurred in a region smaller than the size of New Jersey. Many today proclaim Him to be a prophet, a good teacher, a lunatic or liar, or even a legend. Some call Him God.
The Jews had waited a long time for a Messiah, and since the beginning of creation, God prophesied to Adam and Eve after they sinned and pulled away from Him that He would redeem them from their sin and make them His own again someday. While Israel awaited its political savior from the Romans, I believe God had something in mind much bigger than that—He was planning to rescue them as their spiritual savior from captivity under sin. The people, disappointed by Jesus not taking action to overthrow the Romans with a rebellion, and the Pharisees, threatened by Jesus’s harsh remarks against their hypocrisy and frightened by His claims to be God, turned Him over to be brutally flogged, mocked, and crucified naked before all the people. A perfect God died in place of His people, taking their punishment for sin upon Himself. He came into our world, entered our suffering, and treated Jesus like the worst sinner so He could treat sinners like Jesus.
Jesus claimed, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). He also explained how, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17).
Because Jesus died on the cross in our place, restored communion with God and ultimately an eternity close to Him in Heaven doesn’t require us climbing up a ladder of good works, but God climbing down and carrying us up. It calls for us to put our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, to confess that we need Him to save us from our sins, and to turn away from our sins and believe He can save us. Ultimately, it requires surrendering our life up to Him, and when we do, we find Him enter in our life, dwelling within us, and giving us the restored hope, peace, joy, and ultimately full love that comes from knowing the God who created us and is Love Himself.
Mark and Matthew both record a pivotal passage where Jesus asks His disciples in the midst of varying opinions, “but what about you? Who do you say I am?” At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what others think—either He is the Savior of the world and thus your Savior or He was a liar and not a Savior at all—in a rational sense, both are not possible. God calls us each to decide personally who He is, and since I’ve surrendered to Him, He has grown, challenged, and fought for me throughout the greatest sixteen years of my life. As Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

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