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The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance ~ The Old...
The Evidence Of Faith’s Substance ~ The Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus Christ as the Suffering Servant
October 14, 2012
The Old Testament Prophecy of Jesus Christ as the Suffering Servant
By Ed Croteau
Well, I promised we’d start looking at the incredible hard data for the truth claims of Christianity, so let’s start with one of the most famous: Isaiah chapter 53 and the incredible prophecy of Jesus Christ as the Suffering Servant. Here’s the history:
In 1947, young Bedouin shepherds, searching for a stray goat in the Judean Desert, entered a vacant cave and found sealed jars filled with ancient scrolls. That initial discovery by the Bedouins yielded 7 scrolls and began a search that lasted nearly 10 years, eventually producing 1,000’s of scroll fragments from 11 of the Qumran caves. This was the discovery of what we know today as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contain manuscript copies of the entire Old Testament except the book of Esther.
Historical, paleographic and linguistic evidence established the date of scrolls and the Qumran ruins to the late 2nd Temple Period, a time when Jesus of Nazareth lived. The scrolls were kept and preserved by the Essenes, a Jewish sect who inhabited Qumran (among other locations) from about 125BC to 68AD, when the Romans destroyed the settlement. They were students of Scripture and separated themselves from the world, regarding themselves as “God’s elect” who would only fight in the final battle with the “sons of darkness” at the end of the world.
These manuscripts date to 125 BC, or 125 years before Jesus Christ. Before their discovery, the earliest copy of any Old Testament manuscript was the Cairo Codex, dating to 895 AD (895 years after Jesus Christ). So, if these Dead Sea Scrolls match the handwritten Old Testament copies we have today, we can logically conclude the Old Testament was reliably transmitted across the centuries before Christ.
But the most incredible find that points directly to Jesus Christ is found in the two Isaiah Dead Sea Scrolls “A” and “B”. The book of Isaiah contains numerous prophecies of a future Messiah, who will come to earth one day to show God’s love for mankind by voluntarily paying for mankind’s sins. Nowhere is this detailed out for us than in Isaiah chapter 53.
The Isaiah Scrolls “A” and “B” match our Bible’s book of Isaiah in over 95% of the text, with the 5% being minor variations in spelling. As far as Isaiah chapter 53, read Josh McDowell’s words below (taken from his book ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict’): “Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, only 17 letters are in question. 10 of these letters are simply spelling changes (no impact on the meaning), 4 are stylistic differences (conjunctions), and the remaining 3 letters are in the word “light”. In Isaiah 53, for the 166 words, there is only one word (3 letters) in question after 1,000 years of transmission, and this 1 word does not change the meaning of the passage.”
So any claim by a skeptic, that someone just added prophecies of Jesus into the Old Testament after His death, has been refuted by this data in the Dead Sea Isaiah Scrolls. But can we really claim that what was prophesied in Isaiah 53 before Christ is really pointing to Him? For example, in Acts 8:26-35, as the Ethiopian eunuch was reading Isaiah 53, he asked Philip “Of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”
Anyone who honestly wants to answer that question for themselves has only to follow the trail of seven major evidences.
Let’s do it together.
1. Isaiah 53:1-2 = Messiah will have an obscure lineage fulfilled in Jesus = John 12:37-38, Luke 2:7
2. Isaiah 53:3-4 = Messiah’s rejection fulfilled in Jesus = Matthew 13:54-57, John 1:10-11, John 9:39-41
3. Isaiah 53:5-6,8 = Messiah punished for us fulfilled in Jesus = Romans 4:24-25, 1 Peter 2:24-25
4. Isaiah 53:7 = Messiah’s silence fulfilled in Jesus = Matthew 26:62-63
5. Isaiah 53:9 = Messiah’s sinlessness fulfilled in Jesus = Matthew 27:38,57-60, 1 Peter 2:21-22
6. Isaiah 53:10-11 = Messiah’s sacrifice for us fulfilled in Jesus = Romans 8:32, 2 Corinthians 5:21
7. Isaiah 53:12 = Messiah’s triumph fulfilled in Jesus = Colossians 2:15, Mark 15:27-28, Luke 23:34
No other person in history fulfills just these seven prophetic descriptions of the Messiah. Jesus Christ stands alone as the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. Next week, I’ll lay out the other major nineteen prophecies on Jesus Christ just from the book of Isaiah alone! Stay tuned…
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence”.
He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.
R-7 SCHOOL DISTRICT CANCELLED ON Wednesday, Feb. 2