Can the Resurrection of Jesus Christ be found in the Old Testament?
Dr. Reagan: Did you know that one of the most remarkable prophecies in the Bible describes the death of Jesus in detail? What makes it particularly remarkable is that it was written more than one thousand years before Jesus was born and more than 700 years before the Romans perfected crucifixion as a method of execution. You can find that prophecy in Psalm 22.
Psalm 22:22-25 — Messiah's Resurrection
Nathan Jones: Now, in Psalm 22, between verses 21 and 22, the greatest miracle in history occurs — the resurrection of the Messiah. The event is not specifically stated, but it is certainly inferred.
Verse 21 ends with a prayer for deliverance from Satan's attack, and verse 22 begins with a song of celebration thanking God for answering the prayer. Verse 22, "I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has he hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard. From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him."
Dr. Reagan: Oh, I praise God for the promise of the Resurrection that is clearly inferred in these verses! Incidentally, the most direct prophecy concerning the Resurrection in the Old Testament is found in Psalm 16:10 where David wrote these words: "You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; neither will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay."
Nathan Jones: In the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that He would be killed and resurrected. It was one of His most frequently stated prophecies. For example, in Matthew 17:22-23 He's quoted as saying: "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day."
Luke records the fulfillment of these resurrection prophecies in the following way in Luke 24:1-7: "But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they [a group of women] came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothes; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, 'Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.'"
Psalm 22:26-31 — Messiah's Blessings in Victory
Dr. Reagan: The last six verses of the Psalm give us a summary of the glorious consequences of the Lord's passion on the cross. The first one is the most important. It's salvation for all who put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Here's how it reads in verse 26, "The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek Him will praise the Lord, let your heart live forever!" The Apostle Peter sums up the meaning of this verse over in 1 Peter 2:24 where he writes, "He Himself [Jesus] bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
Nathan Jones: The second blessing of the Cross that is mentioned in Psalm 22 has to do with the obedience of Jesus. It says that His submission to the humiliation of the Cross will result in His glorification before all the nations of the earth when He returns to reign over the world. Here's how the psalmist expresses it verse 27, "At the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord's, And He rules over the nations."
Dr. Reagan: When the Lord's glorious reign begins, all the Redeemed will be prospered, while those who are condemned by their unbelief will bow before Him and confess Him as King of kings and Lord of lords before being consigned to Hell. Verse 29 of Psalm 22 reads as follows, "All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, all those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, even he who cannot keep his soul alive." Over in the book of Isaiah he puts it this way, "Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." This is affirmed in the New Testament in Romans 14 and Philippians 2.
Nathan Jones: Just think of it, a day is going to come when Hitler and Stalin will bow and confess the lordship of Jesus, as will Madeline Murray O'Hare, Charles Darwin, and every other nefarious person who has ever lived. But, it will have no impact upon their eternal destiny. Only those who make the confession in this life will receive the blessing of having their "hearts live forever."
Dr. Reagan: The final consequence of the Cross that is mentioned in Psalm 22 is that during the millennial reign of Jesus the Redeemed who will be in glorified bodies will teach those who are born during that time of the righteousness of Jesus and of the all-sufficiency of His sacrifice on the Cross. The psalm concludes with these two verses: "Posterity will serve Him; it will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has performed it." Notice again the last phrase of Psalm 22, "He has performed it." Literally, in the Hebrew it says, "It is finished." This fact has prompted some scholars to theorize that as Jesus hung on the Cross, He quite likely quoted all of Psalm 22 beginning with the words, "My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?" and ending with the words, "It is finished." The witnesses then simply wrote down the opening and closing words which were recorded in the Gospels.
Response to the Passion
Dr. Reagan: As we conclude our consideration of Psalm 22, one thing is certain — the fulfillment of the prophecies of Psalm 22 in the life of Jesus confirms Him to have been the promised Messiah. This fact raises a crucial question and the most important question of your life — "Who is Jesus to you?"
Nathan Jones: When Jesus was tried by the Roman authorities, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked the assembled mob, "What shall I do with this Jesus who is called the Messiah?" That is the most important question in the universe. So, let me put Pilate's question to you. What will you do with Jesus? Will you accept Him as Lord and Savior, as did the thief on the cross? If so, then you will receive the same promise as did the thief. Jesus said to him, "You shall be with Me in Paradise."
Dr. Reagan: Or, will you simply wash your hands of Jesus, as did Pilate? If so, then your destiny will be one of eternal separation from God in Hell. Your eternal destiny — Heaven or Hell — depends upon your answer to one question: "Who do you say that Jesus is?"
Nathan Jones: The Bible says that every person on planet earth is under either the wrath of God or the grace of God, because these are the two ways in which God deals with sin. Are you under wrath or grace? You can move from wrath to grace by putting your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. And, do it today. Do not delay!
When you do so, it's important that you seek out a Bible believing church where you can manifest your new faith in public confession of Jesus and in water baptism. You need to get involved in the fellowship of a local church where you can begin to grow in the image of Jesus through systematic Bible study and prayer.