By Ron Bartanen
The long-held Jewish expectation of the coming of the Messiah (Christ, Anointed One) was based upon the promises given in the Scriptures. Beginning with the promise of the woman’s “seed” bruising the serpent’s (Satan’s) head (Genesis 3:15), other promises followed. Of the sons of Adam and Eve, Seth was chosen of God to begin that lineage (Gen. 4:24-25). Later, as God sought to bring destruction upon an increasingly wicked world, one of Seth’s descendants—Noah—“found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8), and was spared, with his family. God made choice of his sons, choosing Shem to be the seed-bearer.(Gen. 9:26-27). His descendants are identified as Semites—the Jews and Arabs. From the lineage of Shem God called faithful Abraham, giving him promise that all nations would be blessed in him (Gen. 12:3). Of his sons, one was the son of promise--Isaac (Gen. 17:`19; 26:4). Isaac had twin sons, Jacob and Esau, and God chose Jacob (later named “Israel”) as the one through whom the seed would come (Gen. 27:29). Of Jacob’s 12 sons, to be the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel, Judah was chosen to be ancestor to the coming lawgiver (Messiah) (Gen. 49:8-10. Almost 600 years later David was established as king over Israel, and to his house (descendants) “for ever” (2 Sam. 7:8-16). About 300 years later, and about 700 years before Jesus Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah was to prophesy of the birth of a child whose name would be called “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” who would occupy the throne of David “even for ever” (Isa. 9:6-7). The New Testament identifies that promised “seed” of woman, Seth, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David as Jesus Christ.
While Jewish Scripture had been given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and so-recognized by the Jews, yet they failed to see that the Messiah (Christ) they were expecting must, “according to the Scriptures” , die for our sins, be buried and resurrected (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The death of the Christ had been foreseen in the numerous blood sacrifices under the Old Covenant. A few of the passages depicting His death are Psa. 22; Isa. 53:1-11; Dan. 9:26a; Zech. 12:10; 13:6-7.
Not anticipating the Messiah’s death, they also overlooked scriptures that spoke plainly of His resurrection. David had plainly indicated this in Psa. 16:10: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades), neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption [decay].” Peter was to later quote this passage as he preached Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:4). Paul did likewise in Acts 13:33-35. As the earlier verses (vs. 1-18) of Psa. 22 prophesied of the death of the Messiah, verses 19-21 has the suffering Savior praying for deliverance “from the lion’s (Satan’s) mouth”, which is then followed in verses 22-24 by a praise-hymn, thanking God for delivering Him. The suffering Christ of Isa. 53, after being seen as “cut off” from the living, has His days prolonged (vs. 8 & 10).
In the Old Testament Scriptures God also used symbols or types to prefigure things to come, including Jesus’ death and resurrection. Isaac, as the promised son of Abraham, was typically, though not literally, offered by Abraham as a burnt offering on a mountain of Moriah, near Jerusalem, but his life was spared, which is seen as typical of Jesus being offered on Mt. Calvary in Jerusalem, and His life being spared in the resurrection. The writer of Hebrews recognized this symbol, when he wrote that Abraham accounted “that God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead: from whence also he received him in a figure” (Heb. 11:19). The account of Jacob’s beloved son, Joseph (Gen. 37-47) may, in many respects, be seen as a type of Christ. Rejected by his brothers, (symbolic of the rejection of Christ by the Jews, he was put in a pit (symbolic of death) and emerged from the pit (symbolic of resurrection), and goes into the far country of Egypt where he is enthroned, second only to the Pharaoh (symbolic of Jesus’ reign at the Father’s right hand in the far country of heaven). There he became the savior of his people and others by providing grain for bread (symbolic of Jesus’ provision of the bread of life in His mediatorial reign). Jesus made reference to “the sign of the prophet Jonah” as being typical of His resurrection from the dead, saying, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-40).
While many, including religionists, minimize the reliability of Scripture, and even treat the resurrection of Christ as a myth, His resurrection stands as a verification of Scripture and also of His being the Son of God (Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:3-4). Death, the enemy feared by all (Heb. 2:15), has been vanquished by Him who has “the keys of death and of Hades” (Rev. 1:17-18). Have you been buried and raised with Him? (Rom. 6:3-4)
- Ronald Bartanen is a retired minister who for many years served the Lord's church in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. After the passing of his beloved wife, Doris, Ron has relocated from Illinois to Florida where he is near family. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org