J. Hampton Keathley III
One of the authenticating proofs for the inspiration of the Bible, which at the same time authenticate the claims of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only Savior of the world, are the many fulfilled prophecies which find their fulfillment in the person and life of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth. We have in the Holy Scripture, an array of prophecies which extend over hundreds of years and yet find their complete fulfillment in the short thirty-year life span of one person, Jesus of Nazareth, many being fulfilled in one day. These prophecies truly accomplish the purposes of the Gospel writers as they carefully pointed to the person, words, and works of Christ.
“But these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” ( John 20:31)
“But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled” (Matt. 26:56).
And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:25-27).
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
The following twenty-five Old Testament prophecies deal with events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ including His betrayal, trial, death and burial. They were uttered by many different voices and over a period of 500 years, yet they were all fulfilled within twenty-four hours on the day that He died for the sins of the world.
Prophecies Relating to Christ’s Crucifixion
1. Sold for Thirty Pieces of Silver
Prophecy: Zechariah 11:12 And I said to them, “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!” So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.
Fulfillment: Matthew 26:14-15 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver.
2. Betrayed By a Friend
Prophecy: Psalm 55:12-14 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend. 14 We who had sweet fellowship together, Walked in the house of God in the throng. (See also Psalm 41:9; Zech 13:6).
Fulfillment: Matthew 26:49-50 And immediately he went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him.
3. The Money Cast to the Potter
Prophecy: Zechariah 11:13 Then the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.” So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:5-7 And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 And they counseled together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.
NOTE: Notice that in both prophecy and fulfillment we find stated that (1) it was silver; (2) there were 30 pieces (Matt. 27:3); (3) they were thrown down; (4) they were cast down in the House of the Lord; and (5) the money was used to purchase the potter’s field.
4. The Disciples Forsook Him
Prophecy: Zechariah 13:7 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones.
Fulfillment: Matthew 26:56 “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled. (See also Mark 14:27)
5. Accused by False Witnesses
Prophecy: Psalm 35:11 Malicious witnesses rise up; They ask me of things that I do not know.
Fulfillment: Matthew 26:59-60 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death; and they did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, . . .
6. Smitten and Spit Upon
Prophecy: Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:30 And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.
NOTE: Note here the details that correspond in both prophecy and fulfillment (1) He was to be smitten, (2) He was to be smitten on the face (as well as the other parts of the body). See Luke 22:64. (3) He was to be spit upon, and (4) He was to be spitten upon in the face.
7. Dumb Before His Accusers
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:12-14 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.
8. Wounded and Bruised
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:26, 29 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified. . . . And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
9. Fell Under the Cross
Prophecy: Psalm 109:24 My knees are weak from fasting; And my flesh has grown lean, without fatness.
Fulfillment: John 19:17 They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. Luke 23:26 And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.
NOTE: Evidently the Lord was so weak that His knees gave way under the weight of the heavy cross. So they had to put it on another.
10. Hands and Feet Pierced
Prophecy: Psalm 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.
Fulfillment: Luke 23:33 And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
NOTE: Christ was crucified in the customary Roman manner, the hands and feet being pierced by huge spikes which fastened the body to the wooden cross. See John 20:25-27 “ . . . except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails . . . Then said He (Jesus) to Thomas, reach hither thy finger and behold My hands,” etc.
11. Crucified with Thieves
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.
Fulfillment: Mark 15:27-28 And they crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28 (And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And He was numbered with transgressors.")
12. Prayed For His Persecutors
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. (emphasis mine)
Fulfillment: Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
Here Jesus, as foreseen by Isaiah, “interceded for the transgressors” who nailed him to the cross.
13. People Shook Their Heads
Prophecy: Psalm 109:25 I also have become a reproach to them; When they see me, they wag their head.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads.
14. People Ridiculed Him
Prophecy: Psalm 22:8 “Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:41-43 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him. 43 “He trusts in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He takes pleasure in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
15. People Astonished
Prophecy: Psalm 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;
Fulfillment: Luke 23:35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”
16. Garments Parted and Lots Cast
Prophecy: Psalm 22:18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.
Fulfillment: John 19:23-24 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 They said therefore to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
NOTE: How exact the inspired prophecy! The garments were to be parted among them, but the vesture was to be awarded to one by lots. These were statements that would appear almost contradictory unless explained by the record of the scene at the cross.
17. His Forsaken Cry
Prophecy: Psalm 22:1 For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? “that is, “ My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ?”
18. Gall and Vinegar Given Him
Prophecy: Psalm 69:21 They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Fulfillment: John 19:28-29 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth.
19. Committed Himself to God
Prophecy: Psalm 31:5 Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.
Fulfillment: Luke 23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.” And having said this, He breathed His last.
20. Friends Stood Afar Off
Prophecy: Psalm 38:11 My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague; And my kinsmen stand afar off.
Fulfillment: Luke 23:49 And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee, were standing at a distance, seeing these things.
21. Bones Not Broken
Prophecy: Psalm 34:20 He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken.
Fulfillment: John 19:33, 36 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; . . . 36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken. “
NOTE: It is profitable to notice two other prophecies concerning His bones which undoubtedly had an exact fulfillment, although such is not stated in Scripture in so many words. We draw our conclusions from honest inference. (1) Psalm 22:14 “All my bones are out of joint.” Hanging on the cross by the hands and feet would easily disjoint the bones, especially when we remember that the body was fixed to the frame while lying on the ground. (2) Psalm 22:17 “I may tell all My bones.” He was left hanging on the cross naked (John 19:23) and all His bones could thus easily be seen. The extension of the body and the wasting pangs of crucifixion would make the bones more prominent than usual.
22. Heart Broken
Prophecy: Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.
Fulfillment: John 19:34 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
NOTE: The blood and water running out of the pierced side presented an evidence that the heart had literally burst.
23. His Side Pierced
Prophecy: Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
Fulfillment: John 19:34-37 but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” Not a bone of Him shall be broken. “ 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
24. Darkness Over the Land
Prophecy: Amos 8:9 “And it will come about in that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “That I shall make the sun go down at noon And make the earth dark in broad daylight.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.
NOTE: The Jews reckoned twelve hours from sunrise to sunset. This would make the sixth hour about noon, and the ninth hour near three o’clock.
25. Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb
Prophecy: Isaiah 53:9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
Fulfillment: Matthew 27:57-60 And when it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given over to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.
Old Testament Prophecies
Relating to the Person of Christ
1. His first Advent
The Fact: Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:15; Psa. 89:20; Isa. 2:2; 28:16; 32:1; 35:4; 42:6; 49:1; 55:4; Ezek. 34:24; Dan. 2:44; Micah 4:1; Zech 3:8.
The Time: Gen. 49:10; Num. 24:17; Dan. 9:24; Mal. 3:1.
His Divinity: Psa. 2:7, 11; 45: 6-7, 11; 72:8; 102:24-27; 89:26-27; 110:1; Isa. 9:6; 25:9; 40:10; Jer. 23:6; Micah 5:2; Mal 8:1.
Human Generation: Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 21:12; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:14; Psa. 18:4-6; 50:22-23; 89:4, 29-30; 132:11; Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15.
2. His Forerunner
Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1; 4:5.
3. His Nativity and Early Years
The Fact: Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Jer 31:22
The Place: Num. 24:17, 19; Micah 5:2
Adoration by Magi: Psalm 72:10, 15; Isa. 60:3, 6
Descent into Egypt: Hosea 11:1
Massacre of Innocents: Jer 31:15
4. His Mission and Office
Mission: Gen. 12:3; 49:10; Num. 24:19; Deut. 19:18; Psa. 21:1; Isa. 59:20; Jer. 33:16
Priest Like Melchizedek: Psalm 110:4
Prophet Like Moses: Deut. 18:15
Conversion of Gentiles: Isa. 11:10; Deut. 32:43; Psa. 18:49; 19:4; 117:1; Isa. 42:1; 45:23; 49:6; Hosea 1:10; 2:23; Joel 2:32.
Ministry in Galilee: Isa. 9:1-2
Miracles: Isa. 35:5-6; 42:7; 53:4
Spiritual Graces: Psa. 45:7; Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 53:9; 61:1-2
Preaching: Psa. 2:7; 78:2; Isa. 2:3; 61:1; Micah 4:2
Purification of Temple: Psa. 69:9
5. His Purpose
Rejection by Jews and Gentiles: Psa. 2:1; 22:12; 41:5; 56:5; 69:8; 118:22-23; Isa. 6:9-10; 8:14; 29:13; 53:1; 65:2
Persecution: Psa. 22:6; 35:7, 12; 56:5; 71:10; 109:2; Isa. 49:7; 53:3
Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem: Psa. 8:2; 118:25-26; Zech. 9:9
Betrayal by Own Friend: Psa. 41:9; 55:13; Zech 13:6
Betrayal for Thirty Pieces: Zech. 11:12
Betrayer’s Death: Psa. 55:15, 23; 109:17
Purchase of Potter’s Field: Zech 11:13
Desertion by Disciples: Zech 13:7
False Accusation: Psa. 27:12; 35:11; 109:2; Psa. 2:1-2
Silence Under Accusation: Psa. 38:13; Isa. 53:7
Mocking: Psalm 22:7-8, 16; 109:25
Insult, Buffeting, Spitting, Scourging: Psa. 35:15-, 21; Isa. 50:6
Patience Under Suffering: Isa. 53:7-9
Crucifixion: Psa. 22:14, 17
Offer of Gall and Vinegar: Psa. 69:21
Prayer for Enemies: Psa. 109:4
Cries Upon the Cross: Psa. 22:1; 31:5
Death in Prime of Life: Psa. 89:45; 102:24
Death with Malefactors: Isaiah 53:9, 12
Death Attested by Convulsions of Nature: Amos 5:20; Zech 14:4-6
Casting Lots for Vesture: Psa. 22:18
Bones not to be Broken: Psa. 34:20
Piercing: Psa. 22:16; Zech 12:10; 13:6
Voluntary Death: Psa. 40:6-8
Vicarious Suffering: Isa. 53:4-6, 12; Dan 9:26
Burial with the Rich: Isa. 53:9
6. His Resurrection
Psalm 16:8-10; 30:3; 41:10; 118:17; Hosea 6:2
7. His Ascension
Psalm 16:11; 24:7; 68:18; 110:1; 118:19
8. His Second Advent
Psalm 50:3-6; Isa. 9:6-7; 66:18; Dan 7:13-14; Zech. 12:10; 14:4-8.
Dominion Universal and Everlasting: 1 Chron. 17:11-14; Psa. 72:8; Isa. 9:7; Dan 7:14; Psa. 2;6-8; 8:6; 110:1-3; 45:6-7
J. Hampton Keathley III, Th.M. is a 1966 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a former pastor of 28 years. Hampton currently writes for the Biblical Studies Foundation and on occasion teaches New Testament Greek at Moody Northwest (an extension of Moody Bible Institute) in Spokane, Washington.