By Larry Rich
God uses many ways to draw people to Himself through His Holy Spirit – and one of these ways is fulfilled prophecy. There are many prophecies in the Bible that already have been fulfilled. In this article, we will consider prophecies about the Messiah and prophecies about the nation of Israel. Resources for evangelism are found in numerous prophecies about Messiah fulfilled in Yeshua (Jesus), including Micah 5:2, Isaiah 53, and Daniel 9:24-27.
Micah 5:2 predicted that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This was remarkable because Bethlehem was a small town a few miles south of Jerusalem. Furthermore, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, in the land of Galilee. But the emperor had arranged for a census to be called in which all would go to their home town for taxation purposes. Though Mary was in the last stage of pregnancy, she and Joseph made the long trip to his home town of Bethlehem. There Yeshua was born (Luke 2:7) in a stable, because there were no rooms left in the inn, as many travelers had come into town for the census. What a remarkable work of God to fulfill His word!
Isaiah 53 is a classic chapter portraying the life, death, and resurrection of Messiah. He would be despised by many (53:3), He would give his life for us and take our sins upon Himself (53:7), He would suffer (53:10) and be resurrected (53:10-12). Many Jewish people, when reading Isaiah 53 for the first time, have thought that these words must be from the New Testament, since they paint such a clear portrait of Yeshua. It is astonishing that these verses are in fact from the Hebrew Bible; they were written by Isaiah over 700 years before Yeshua was born!
Another powerful Messianic prophecy is Daniel 9:24-27, which depicts the time of Messiah that was to come 490 years after the rebuilding of the Temple. Though there have been different chronologies, this Daniel prophecy is a remarkable indication of predictive prophecy and its fulfillment. The power of this prophecy was demonstrated to me when it became the primary source for an Israeli Jewish woman who came to faith after she attended a Bible study in my home. Some time later, she said that the predictions in Daniel 9:24-27 concerning the time of Messiah resulted in her putting her faith in Yeshua.
Isaiah 9:6-7 is another passage that describes the Messiah who was to come and the resulting benefit to the nation. The child who was to be born would have the government upon his shoulders, and that government would never end. This child would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. These verses were written some 700 years before the time of Yeshua.
In addition to prophecies about the Messiah, prophecies about the nation of Israel are also a valuable evangelistic tool. In biblical times, the nation of Israel fell into Sin and God warned that the punishment would be sending the remnant into exile in Babylon. Unfortunately, the Israelites’ grievous sin against the Lord did not stop – and the nation was invaded, the Temple sacked and burned, and Israel was carried into Babylon (II Kings 25). This exile was to last for seventy years.
Another remarkable prophecy is seen in Isaiah 66:8, which portrays the rebirth of Israel in later times:
Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
On May 14, 1948, a country was indeed brought forth in a day. The British had given their mandate over Palestine to the United Nations, and Israel proclaimed her statehood. The U.S. President at the time immediately recognized the State of Israel. For most of the past 2,500 years the Jewish people had been under foreign control, but in a single day Israel became an independent nation.
These prophecies are just a few brief examples of prophecies that can be useful evangelistic tools. They point to a God who is active in His universe and to a Messiah who fulfilled the words of the prophets.
Fulfilled prophecies serve as evidence for God’s working in human history. They testify that the Gospel message is true. For many people, these tools show that the Scriptures are accurate and reliable, and this results in increased openness to the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah.