Brian G. Chilton: Examining Old Testament Messianic Prophecies About Easter

My class and I recently completed a wonderful Ph.D. seminar entitled Issues on Messianic Prophecy with Dr. Randall Price and Dr. Ed Hindson at Liberty University. Unfortunately, messianic prophecy has received less attention than in times past. Even in evangelical circles, hyper-critical views are being taken on the Old Testament which seemingly lessens any apologetic power when considering a future eschatological messiah (Note: I use the capitalized “Messiah” when referring to Jesus and the lower case when referencing the position). Other evangelicals are deemphasizing the importance of the Hebrew Bible (i.e., Old Testament). However, when keeping the prophecy in context, especially the context of the entire book, it is surprisingly clear that the prophet was speaking about a future blessed Redeemer who would bring forth a new covenant.

At Christmastime, we often ponder the prophecies of Isaiah when contemplating the Messiah’s miraculous birth and the prophecy of Micah when considering his birthplace. But as we approach Easter, did you realize there are prophecies pertaining to Easter? This article will examine a few of those prophecies.

Genesis 3:15

“I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15, CSB).

Genesis 3:15 is the earliest messianic prophecy in the Bible. In this prophecy, God speaks to the serpent and notes that there would be hostility between him and the offspring of the woman. She would have an offspring that would crush the serpent’s head and the serpent would strike the offspring’s heel. While this prophecy may not explicitly reference the resurrection, it does so implicitly. The writer of Hebrews notes that through the death of Jesus the power of the devil was destroyed. John also denotes the same in 1 John 3:8. But the ultimate victory over death came by the resurrection of Jesus on the first resurrection morning. For victory to occur, death must be defeated. Jesus did just that.

Psalm 2:7-8

“I will declare the LORD’s decree. He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.’ Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps. 2:7-8, CSB).

This prophecy may require a bit of explaining. In Psalm 2, the Messiah is coronated as the ruler of the earth. In verse 2, the psalmist shows that the rulers of the world conspire against Messiah. They conspire to destroy the Holy One of God. However, the Lord laughs from heaven. Verses 7-8 describe a time when the Anointed One’s identity is displayed before all. Paul, in an early sermon summary recorded in Acts, views this as being fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus. After thoroughly reading Psalm 2, I would wholeheartedly concur.

Psalm 16:10-11

“For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay. You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures” (Ps. 16:10-11, CSB).

Psalm 16 is a psalm of David. In this psalm, David asks for God’s protection using the term shamar which means to keep watch over a person like a shepherd. At the end of the psalm, David notes his confidence in that God would not leave him in the grave. God’s holy one would not see decay. This not only points to David’s confidence in the resurrection but is ultimately fulfilled in the Messiah as is noted by Peter in an early sermon summary in Acts 2:25.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brian G. Chilton