The Old Testament Preaches the Gospel
Luke 24:25-27: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Jesus said this to two of His disciples whom He was conversing with after His resurrection. They did not recognize Jesus at this point and they were speculating about reports they had heard which suggested He was alive after He was crucified, yet they were still uncertain at that point. Jesus rebuked them for not being utterly certain about His resurrection, since the Hebrew Scriptures, what we now know as the Old Testament, already testified of Christ’s sufferings and the glory that should follow afterwards.
In a recent study we’ve done called “Messianic Scriptures in the Old Testament” it was proved that a Biblical understanding of the Lord’s Christ or Messiah sees Him as the supreme authority figure whom all must bow before and be obedient from the heart to in order to be in the grace of God. In another recent study we looked at the implications of Christ’s resurrection. His resurrection proved that He is that supreme authority figure whom the Old Testament constantly alluded to, while in turn validating the entire Bible. We’ve also done studies in the past showing Christ foreshadowed in the Old Testament. Here we’ll go further, showing an example of how the Gospel of Christ itself can be preached from the Old Testament.
The Apostle Paul was able to effectively preach the Gospel using only the Old Testament and the facts about Jesus which were well attested to and could be verified by multiple living eyewitnesses.
Acts 17:1-4: “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.”
You can show what Christ would accomplish, and the call to respond appropriately to Him, right from the Book of Isaiah. His despised beginnings, the healings which He would perform, His rejection by His own people, His bearing the sins of guilty mankind in His death, His resurrection, and the call to repent and be obedient to His righteous authority in order to obtain His mercy. These are all seen within a very short span in Isaiah. And not only that, but Isaiah also speaks about Christ’s second coming and the eternal implications for each person based upon their response to the call of His Gospel.
Despised and rejected of men (even before His crucifixion).
Isaiah 53:1-3: “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 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.”
His healings (the Apostle Matthew applied the following phrase to Christ’s healings during His public ministry).
Isaiah 53:4a: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”
He is rejected and crucified anyways, in spite of all the good which He did.
Isaiah 53:4b: “yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Yet God had an exceedingly great purpose in allowing this.
Isaiah 53:5-6: “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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
He would also go willingly to His death. He would indeed die, it would be a death for transgressors, and the language in verse 8 clearly shows that this is an individual and not Israel as a nation.
Isaiah 53:7-9: “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 openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”
It would be the Father’s own will and good pleasure to see to it that this happened due to the atonement for sin it would accomplish and due to how His faithful One would afterwards sit as a Priest to justify many in His exalted state. We see that this guiltless individual, who is of such worth that He could die to have His soul made an offering for sin yet lives and is witnessing the reward of His suffering.
Isaiah 53:10-12: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 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; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Along the same lines, we see the Messiah, (King David’s own Lord!), exalted to be a Priest and a King at God’s right hand in the one hundred and tenth Psalm. We also see there His own violent return to execute vengeance upon His enemies. Jesus is not a Pacifist. Rather, His first coming was intended to save us through His atoning death. His second coming will be in power to destroy His enemies and establish His righteous kingdom as He assumes the power over mankind which is already rightfully His. And we also see in this Psalm that this powerful coming would be after He had lived as a flesh and blood human. This proves that the Scriptures which show a suffering Messiah, and those Scriptures which show the Messiah as a King reigning in glory, do indeed speak of the same person at different times. Note the last sentence of this Psalm.
Psalm 110: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”
Is Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah? Besides the Scriptures which should how the Messiah would die and rise again, and the Scriptures like the clearly Messianic Psalm 22 which speak of a slow death by piercing, and without getting into many other Scriptures that are Messianic in nature which apply to Jesus and not others, we’ll just look at two very basic facts about the Messiah which whittle down the potential candidates to males born in one small town in a period of less than 600 years.
The Messiah must be born in Bethlehem (and this Scripture also shows how the Messiah would be God incarnate).
Micah 5:2: “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.”
And not only must He be born in Bethlehem, but He must come to the second Temple while it stands, as that is the Temple which was being built in Haggai’s time. The Second Temple only stood from 516 BC to 70 AD.
Haggai 2:6-9: “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.”
We know that the Jews in general forsook Christ’s peace by rejecting Him, not only in crucifying Him but also by rejecting the testimony of Him by His Apostles afterwards. The second Temple was thus destroyed in AD 70. That is the Temple in which God told the Jews through Haggai that the desire of all nations would come to.
Isaiah chapter 54 goes on to speak about how the gentiles would be called to Israel’s Messiah. It’s been proven in several previous studies that Israelites who reject their own Messiah forsake their part in God’s covenant with Israel, while gentiles who receive Israel’s Messiah are grafted into God’s covenant with Israel. This explains why and how God’s covenant with the Christian church, and God’s covenant with Israel, are one and the same (compare Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 8:8-12 and Ephesians 2:11-22).
And then in Isaiah chapter 55, we have the call to be obedient to the Messiah in order to be justified by Him and obtain an interest in His covenant. The Gospel went forth into the world through Israelites who believed in the Messiah. They called the gentiles with the same Gospel call which they had received.
(Note as we read here that it was also well known in Isaiah’s time that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David who would reign on David’s throne, since God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel chapter seven to establish the throne of his son forever obviously applied well beyond Solomon to one who is much greater than Solomon).
Isaiah 55:1-7: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
Isaiah even eventually gets into terrible descriptions of the Messiah’s second coming as He takes vengeance on His enemies who are disobedient to His kingdom. These have no part in the redemption which they had been offered through His atonement. These will be shown no mercy.
Isaiah 63:1-6: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.”
Isaiah 66:15-16: “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many.”
Isaiah thus ends with the Messiah’s faithful servants worshiping Him in His kingdom, with the wicked held in derision and guaranteed eternal condemnation.
Isaiah 66:23-24: “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
The Hebrew Scriptures culminate in Jesus Christ and the New Testament. Mohammed and Islam though are not the culmination of the New Testament Scriptures, as the New Testament perfects and completes the revelation of the Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Scriptures). Salvation is of the Jews; and that salvation is in Jesus Christ whom the Hebrew Scriptures point to as the King and Redeemer who has a right to the wholehearted worship and obedience of every individual. There is truly salvation in no other. The Apostles thus retained the Hebrew Scriptures as the foundation of Christianity and referenced them constantly to reinforce the truths which they were preaching.
Thus, the Apostle Paul concludes his epistle to the Roman Christians with these words found in Romans 16:25-27: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.”
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]