The Amazing Prophetic Claims of the Lord Jesus Christ
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. *
There are so many strong and clear evidences of the perfect and unique truth of Christianity that those who remain skeptical were said by the great apostle Peter to be "willingly ignorant" (2 Peter 3:5), and by the apostle Paul to be "without excuse" (Romans 1:20). The great king David concluded that only "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1), and wise king Solomon asserted that, "The fear of the Lord" is the very "beginning of knowledge" and "wisdom" (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).
Innumerable evidences of creation can be found in the study of science and of God's providence in the study of history, but undoubtedly the greatest evidences of all are in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The miracle of His virgin birth, His sinless life, His mighty works, His incomparable teachings, His volitional death as the necessary and sufficient sacrifice to redeem us from sin and death, and then His glorious bodily resurrection from the grave and ascension back to heaven are true facts of history which can only be explained by the revealed truth that He was God incarnate, the eternal Word made flesh, the Creator who became our Savior and has promised soon to return as our King of kings and Lord of lords. He was indeed the virgin-born babe whom we sing about at Christmas time, but He is infinitely more than that.
And then there are His amazing claims about the future effects His ministry would have on the world! The evidences do not end with His return to heaven, but continue to pour forth year after year in the ongoing fulfillment of His remarkable prophetic claims.
His Indestructible Words
For example, consider the humanly incredible words of the Lord Jesus in the following prophecy.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35).
But how could any mere man (if that's all He was) ever make such an outlandish prophecy? He must have been either mad or a king-sized deceiver! As far as human credentials were concerned, He seemingly had none. His supposed father was an ordinary carpenter, he had no formal education and had never held any kind of office; He had written no books or any other writings, so far as we know. He lived in the despised village of Nazareth and had never traveled to other lands. He had a few disciples, but they also were unlearned and unimpressive, and the political and religious leaders of the nation were plotting to silence Him before He could recruit any others. It seems absurd for such a man as this Jesus, from Nazareth, to presume to claim that His teachings would survive His own short life-span, let alone outlast heaven and earth.
But His words have, indeed, endured for well over nineteen centuries, and they are now known and taught all over the world. This is nothing less than an amazingly fulfilled prophecy. The earth is still here, of course, but looking more fragile every day, and there is no doubt remaining that the words of Christ will last at least as long as the earth remains.
The Lord Jesus also asserted that the collection of words we know today as the Old Testament would last forever in the following remarkable claim.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).
This also was a tremendous prophecy, and so far this also is still being fulfilled. The ancient Hebrew Scriptures were meticulously copied by hand by trained scribes, generation after generation, until finally the invention of the printing press made accurate reproductions easy and plentiful.
The prediction of permanence for the Scriptures had been often made in the Old Testament itself. For example,
The words of the LORD are pure words: . . . Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever (Psalm 12:6-7).
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever (Isaiah 40:8).
For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever (Psalm 119:160).
Christ, in His wonderful wisdom, accepted and reinforced this eternal character of the Old Testament, but then He had the audacity, it would seem, to give His own words the same everlasting authority. "Never pass away, indeed!"
Could any prophecy have ever seemed so foolish and impossible to come true? Just a few days after He made it, He was executed as a blasphemer. His Jewish countrymen rejected His words; the Greeks and Romans ridiculed them and killed His disciples who tried to preach them. Then, five centuries later, Mohammed and the Muslims distorted them and wedged some of them into their own militaristic religion, conquering with the sword much of the known world. One major group of professing Christians forbade all but their indoctrinated clergy even to possess or read His words, and eventually the pseudo-intellectualism of the evolutionary humanists attempted to destroy them altogether by explaining them away.
Yet despite all the bloody persecutions, Bible burnings, and evolutionary dissimulations through the ages, the words of the Lord Jesus in particular and the Judeo-Christian Scriptures in general have been more widely known and distributed around the world than any other book in history. "My words shall not pass away," He said, and this amazing prophecy has been and is still being wonderfully fulfilled. That fact is in itself proof of His omniscient deity.
His Magnetic Death
Another remarkable prophecy had to do with Christ's imminent crucifixion and death. Several times, He had told His disciples that He would soon be crucified and then be raised back to life on the third day. But then He added another strange note to the prediction.
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me (John 12:32).
As to what He meant by being "lifted up from the earth," the narrator, John, explains.
This he said, signifying what death he should die (John 12:33).
He had already told them that He would be crucified (e.g. Matthew 20:18-19) in Jerusalem, but now he used a seemingly unlikely expression "lifted up" instead of the more pragmatic "crucified."
Jesus had used the same word three years earlier in talking with the Pharisee Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish council and highly respected teacher in Israel.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14-15).
It is obvious that the Lord is here suggesting some kind of parallel meaning (or typological meaning) of His imminent crucifixion to the strange record of the brazen serpent impaled on a pole back in Moses' day.
"Fiery serpents" had slain many Israelites in the wilderness because of their sinful complaining against God and Moses. When they repented, any one who had been bitten could be healed by simply looking upon the impaled serpent (Numbers 21:4-9), thus showing saving faith in God's Word. The spiritual picture is one of sin being judged by slaying the serpent, as it were, transferring the death penalty from the repentant and believing sinner to the one that would otherwise have been the instrument of death. Thus "seeing" in faith, the slain substitute would provide healing and restoration.
Similarly, those who would look in faith on Christ lifted up to die on the cross would receive forgiveness and salvation unto eternal life.
But just how would the sight (in the mind's eye, of course) of Christ dying on the cross "draw all men" unto Him. Death by crucifixion was a hideous death, about as repugnant a sight as could ever be imagined. It was normally the type of death pronounced on wicked criminals--such as the two men crucified at the same time as Christ.
Yet this strange prophecy has also been remarkably fulfilled. The old, old story of Jesus on the cross has become, not an ugly tale of a dying criminal, but a love story, a story of God so loving the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and a story of Christ so commending His love toward us that, while we were yet guilty sinners, He died for us (see John 3:16; Romans 5:8).
And it has indeed drawn men and women and children in every nation to Him, just as He prophesied it would.
The cross has become a symbol of love and caring, not merely of sin and death. It adorns church steeples and ladies neck chains and humanitarian organizations everywhere. It still does speak of sorrow, even marking many gravesites, but also of hope, for the testimony of the empty cross is also one of ultimate victory over death. Although Christ was lifted up to die on the cross, it is empty now, and so is the tomb where they buried Him, for He is alive for evermore at the right hand of our Father in heaven.
He has truly been "lifted up," not just on the cross to die, but then also lifted up in His Spirit from Hades, where He had descended for a time to proclaim His victory to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:19), then lifted up in His resurrected and now glorified body from its three-day rest in the tomb, and then finally lifted up to the heaven of heavens beyond the starry sky.
It is significant that the Greek word for "lifted up" (hupsoo) can also mean "exalted" and is often so translated. For example, listen to "Peter and the other apostles" proclaim fearlessly to the priests from whom they had been hiding only a few days before:
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:30-31).
Lifted up was He to die, but now in heaven exalted high! (Philippians 2:8-9). And all who are drawn to Him in faith and who then look up on Him as their Prince and Savior shall never perish but have everlasting life.
His Guiding Light
There are still other amazing prophetic claims made by the Lord Jesus which would be absolutely incredible for anyone to make but God Himself.
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).
It is the sun, of course, that provides the physical light for our world, as well as all the complex of radiant energies that sustain life in the world. Not only light to see by and heat to move by, but also (through photosynthesis) food to live by and (through energizing the hydrologic cycle) water to survive by. In fact, all energy utilized on the earth except its radioactive minerals and its own internal heat comes ultimately from the sun.
And here the Lord Jesus even compares Himself to the sun, claiming that He will be the world's spiritual light just as the sun is its physical light. Surely such a claim could only be made by an insufferable egomaniac or by a man completely out of His mind, His skeptical listeners must have thought.
That is, if the claim were not true! But it has proved true for almost 2,000 years. Jesus Christ has been the spiritual light of the world. More great art and literature have been inspired by Him, and more beautiful music written about Him, then by or about any other man in history. More hospitals, more schools and colleges, more charitable organizations, more missionary outreaches to the poor in many nations have been established by His followers in His name than any other. People observe Christmas and Easter all over the world because of Him,even those who do not believe in Him. And most nations fix their calendars around His birth.
Furthermore, there are millions upon millions of people who gladly testify that He is indeed the light of their personal worlds. Those who follow Him have not walked in darkness but have had the light of life. They have individually experienced the reality of that wonderful promise in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." They have believed His indestructible words, been drawn magnetically to His cross, repented of the sins which helped place Him there, and rejoiced in His bodily resurrection which assures them of justification before their holy Creator God, and their lives have been changed. Ever since they trusted Him, He has indeed been to them the light of life and they no longer walk in darkness.
Along with His guiding light, He has been to them the bread of life and the water of life, fulfilling two other amazing prophetic promises.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever (John 6:51).
Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14).
No ordinary man, be he ever so talented and powerful, could ever make such promises and then make them come true in human lives, but the Lord Jesus Christ is no ordinary man. He was true man, of course, in every way a man as God intended man to be, but He was also God the Creator, the eternal "Word . . . made flesh" (John 1:1, 14), and He can and does fulfill all His amazing claims.
The Master Fisherman
"Follow me," He said, "and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). These words were spoken to His first followers, and they did follow Him, and they did become true soul winners--Peter and John, Thomas and Philip, and the others. But later He also imposed what seemed an impossible commandment upon his small group of theologically untrained and politically naïve Jewish laymen:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).
Not only did He make what seemed an impossible demand, but then followed it up with a correspondingly incredible prophecy.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
These fearful, uneducated, provincial Jews were thus expected to take the gospel of their internationally unknown and locally hated leader to "every creature" and "unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Impossible! Ridiculous! It could never happen. Surely in just a few months, their whole movement was bound to collapse and soon be forgotten.
Yet, today, all over the world His gospel is indeed being preached--not only by thousands of trained and dedicated missionaries, but also by radio, television, movies, videos, books, and now even by the Internet. The twelve whom He first called have multiplied greatly; today some of every nation and almost every tribe and tongue now call Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord. This impossible prophecy has, like the others, been wonderfully fulfilled.
The Invincible Church
Now all these Christian believers called out of every nation and every walk of life obviously come with many different interests and backgrounds, as well as languages and customs. But they all have one vital motivating purpose in common. They have all believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Redeemer and Savior.
As such, they all belong to "the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven" (Hebrews 12:23). This wonderful body of believers is now growing all over the world, with some passing daily into the heavenly assembly above while others are being added to its numbers here on Earth: "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).
And, as this growing assembly is seeking to preach the gospel to every creature, even to the uttermost part of the earth, they are perpetually encountering all kinds of opposition, orchestrated and energized by Satan, who would destroy them all if he could.
But he cannot! The Lord Jesus has made yet another amazing prophetic promise:
And Jesus answered and said unto [Peter], . . . upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:17-18).
The "rock" which the gates of hell cannot withstand is nothing less than the great confession that had been verbalized by Peter but which has been shared by all true disciples of Christ in all the centuries since. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16).
The true deity of Christ and the Father/Son relationship that He shares with God the Father have been opposed bitterly right from the beginning, along with the fact and the meaning of His death and resurrection. The Jewish and Roman persecutors have failed to stop it and so have the Moslem hordes, the Communist and Nazi butchers, and even the rationalism of the pseudo-intellectuals.
But who could have imagined that those unimpressive first eleven disciples could possibly be the vanguard of a great army that would eventually penetrate the very gates of hell itself? They would deliver one by one multitudes of souls who were almost entering hell's darkness out into the beautiful light of God's redeemed world. The true church of the true Christ has indeed been victorious time after time in its battle with Satan over the souls of men, and Christ's unlikely prophecy has indeed been fulfilled again and again and again.
There are many other fulfilled prophecies that first came from the Lord Jesus (e.g., the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans followed by the world-wide Jewish dispersion) but the ones we have already considered surely make the point. These prophecies, seemingly so impossible and even foolish when uttered, have become an amazing testimony to the omniscience and omnipotence--therefore the full and unique deity of the one who made them two thousand years ago--as we watch them all being fulfilled today, before our very eyes.
Dear reader, if you have not already found Him to be the light of your own life, you would surely do eternally well to receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as your Savior from sin and hell, trusting Him with the destiny of your soul. He has proved beyond doubt that He can and will keep His Word!
* Dr. Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) was Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.