Jesus Died to Fulfill Scripture

I will never forget one of my first Bible studies as a new Christian in college. Our pastor had a humble spirit and a brilliant mind with a PhD in Hebrew. Sitting in a circle with maybe a dozen other young men, the few months he spent carefully taking us through the Old Testament showing us prophecy after prophecy about Jesus Christ shocked my mind, changed my soul, and altered my life.

Perhaps the greatest argument for the divine inspiration and perfection of the Bible is the fulfilment of prophecy. Roughly 25 percent of the Bible was prophetic when written, predicting the future and preparing God’s people for it.

On this point, one scholar has said of the Bible, “The ancient world had many different devices for determining the future, known as divination, but not the entire gamut of Greek and Latin literature, even though they use the words prophet and prophecy, can we find any real specific prophecy of a great historic event to come in the distant future, nor any prophecy of a Savior to arise in the human race . . . [Islam] cannot point to any prophecies of the coming of Mohammed uttered hundreds of years before his birth. Neither can the founder of any cult . . . rightly identify any ancient text specifically foretelling their appearance.” [1]

Regarding the importance of prophetic biblical prophecy about Jesus, Bible scholar J. Dwight Pentecost says, “some people have given such intensive study to the subject of prophecy that they have completely missed seeing the Lord Jesus Christ in their study of the Word. The Scripture was given to us to reveal Him. He is its Theme. He is the Center about which all the Scripture revolves…The first great result of the study of prophecy is that the prophetic Scriptures prove to us the authority of the entire Word of God. The Bible is different from every other religious book. There is no other book upon which a religion has been founded which includes prophecy within it…There is no greater test or proof of the inspiration, validity, authority, and trustworthiness of the Bible than the proof of fulfilled prophecy.” [2]

In our lengthy study of John’s gospel, we discover one example of fulfilled prophecy in John 19:23-24. When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things.

This was a fulfilment of prophecies given roughly 1,000 years prior in Psalm 22:1, 16-18 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?… For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Do you believe that Jesus is the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy? Why or why not?


[1]Wilbur M. Smith, The Incomparable Book (Minneapolis, Minn.: Beacon, 1961), 9–10.

[2]J. Dwight Pentecost, Prophecy for Today (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1971), 14–15.

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