Predictions, Illustrations, and Examples

  • Predictions – Some prophecies include predictions, but most do not. For a prediction to be useful as evidence, it must be clear to the original audience.  Many strange doctrines have arisen from people who assume predictions when no inspired writer said so.
  • Historical References – Some New Testament quotations of the Old Testament are reminders of God’s history.
  • God’s Illustrations – Often, God built illustrations to be used later so that we could understand a concept.
  • Timeless Truths – Some references are just reminders of something that was said before and is always true.
  • Examples – Some references remind us of either successful or unsuccessful attitudes of the past.

Predictions about the Forerunner

  • Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4 – 6, John 1:23 (Isaiah 40:3 – 4) The gospel writers all applied this prediction from Isaiah’s Messianic song (40 – 59) to John the Baptist.
  • Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 7:27 (Malachi 3:1) Jesus confirmed that John the Baptist had accomplished this promise.
  • Luke 1:17 (Malachi 4:5 – 6)  The father of John the Baptist was told that his son would accomplish this promise.

Physical Predictions about the Messiah

  • Matthew 2:6, John 7:42 (Micah 5:2)  Micah announced that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.
  • Matthew 11:5, Luke 7:22 (Isaiah 35:5) Isaiah 32 – 35 is a Messianic song.   Jesus applied it to Himself as proof to John the Baptist.
  • Luke 22:37 (Isaiah 53:12) Just before departing for the Garden, Jesus applied this poem to Himself (Isaiah 40 – 59).
  • John 19:37 (Zechariah 12:10)  John confirmed that the description by Zechariah about the Messiah happened, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”
  • Hebrews 5:6 (Psalm 110:4) The author of Hebrews used this psalm to connect the allegory of Melchizedek; the Messiah would be a priest like Melchizedek.
  • 1 Peter 2:22 – 24 (Isaiah 53:5, 9) Peter used a description of the Messiah to encourage Christians to bear injustice well, to accomplish the prediction that citizens of the eternal Kingdom would be transformed by God (g., 55:13).
  • The prediction that the Messiah would be a descendent of David is not specifically quoted in the New Testament. Rather, the fact was assumed and used to carry an argument to the next point.  In Matthew 22:41 – 45, Jesus used the fact that the Pharisees already believed it to ask a question about how David could call Him Lord.  In Romans 15:12, Paul cites Isaiah11:1, a clear prediction that the Messiah would be from David, to make the point that the Messiah was to be over all nations, so citizens of the eternal Kingdom should accept those of other cultures.

Predictions about the Character of the Messiah

  • Matthew 12:18 – 21 (Isaiah 42:1 – 3) This Messianic poem is referenced by Matthew to explain why Jesus did not oppose the religious leaders with force, why He was gentle, and why His message was for Gentiles, too.
  • Matthew 22:44, Acts 2:34 – 35, Hebrews 1:13, 10:12 – 13, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42 (Psalm 110:1)  The psalm was understood to be messianic long before Jesus.  Jesus asked the Pharisees how David could call his descendent, Lord.  They could not answer, and this question made them cautious in the future of asking too many hard questions. The rabbis had missed the point that the Messiah was also God.  Peter used this same quotation in Acts 2 to prove that the Messiah had all authority over the Kingdom of God.  The author of Hebrews used it the same way in 1:13, and to prove that the Messiah would be sacrificed only once in 10:12 – 13, putting an end to the sacrificial system.
  • John 6:45 (Isaiah 54:13)  Jesus applied this line from a long Messianic song (Isaiah 40 – 59) to Himself, making the outrageous claim that those serious about God would come to Him in the same way that the Israelites collected manna.
  • Hebrews 1:5 (2 Samuel 7:14) This promise about an eternal kingdom was about Jesus in which He is called Son.  The angels were never called anything so personal or important.
  • Hebrews 1:8 – 9 (Psalm 45:7)  The writer of Hebrews chose this brief description of the Messiah as being representative of God’s higher regard for the Son than for angels.

Predictions about the Time of the Messiah or Slightly After

  • Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14 (Daniel 9:25 – 27)  Jesus applied Daniel’s prediction to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
  • Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, 14:62, Luke 21:27, 22:69 (Daniel 7:13 – 14) Jesus applied this prediction to the period between the beginning of the Kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  The religious leaders understood this to be Messianic, so were upset when Jesus applied it to Himself.
  • Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:27 (Zechariah 13:7)  Jesus cited Zechariah’s description of the time of the Messiah as about to happen.  This included (Zechariah 12:10 – 14:21) the end of prophets and unclean spirits, the disciples of the Messiah being scattered, Jewish response rate about one-third, and Jerusalem destroyed
  • Acts 2:17 – 21, Romans 10:13 (Joel 2:28 – 32)  Joel wrote of a day after the captivity (3:1).  Peter asserted that the scene at Pentecost was what Joel envisioned.  Paul continued the logic as a call for evangelism.

Predictions about the Eternal Kingdom

  • Acts 13:47, Luke 2:32 (Isaiah 49:6) The prophet Simeon applied Isaiah’s messianic words to the infant Jesus.  Paul and Barnabas used the same quotation to remind Jews that Gentiles were included in the messianic kingdom.
  • Acts 15:16 – 18 (Amos 9:11 – 12)  James cited this passage to show that God had planned for Gentiles to be in the Kingdom.
  • Romans 9:26 , 1 Peter 2:10 (Hosea 1:10, 2:23)  Paul and Peter confirmed that this promise of God was accomplished in the church, not the return under Ezra.
  • Romans 9:27 – 29 (Isaiah 1:9) Paul cited this prediction to remind Jewish Christians that they were the few survivors.  (Also Isaiah 10:22)
  • Romans 10:20 – 21 (Isaiah 65:1 – 2)  Paul cited a facet from a long and well-known prediction (Isaiah 60 – 66) about the eternal kingdom to point out that Gentiles were to be included.
  • Romans 11:8 (Isaiah 29:10) God planned for Israel to have a low response rate to the Messiah at first, until the fullness of the Gentiles came in (Romans 11:25).
  • Romans 11:26 – 27 (Isaiah 59:20 – 21)  Paul cited this description from a very long prophesy about the eternal kingdom (Isaiah 40 – 59) to remind the early Christians that God’s plan was for the Gentiles to enter the Kingdom (g., 49:6) before the faithful of Israel would turn.
  • Romans 11:34, 1 Corinthians 2:16 (Isaiah 40:13 – 14) In Romans, Paul cited Isaiah’s predictive description of the eternal Kingdom to explain why such a small portion of Israel had responded yet. In 1 Corinthians, Paul combined the prediction of transformation (g., 55:13) to conclude that citizens would be able to understand although outsiders cannot.
  • Romans 14:11 (Isaiah 45:23)  Paul cited Isaiah’s predictive description of the eternal Kingdom as a reason not to judge how others chose to live for God.
  • Romans 15:12 (Isaiah 11:10) Isaiah predicted that the Messiah’s kingdom would be for all nations.
  • Romans 15:21 (Isaiah 52:15) Paul applied the prediction of Isaiah that many nations will be included.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9 (Isaiah 64:4)  Paul cites a facet from a long and well-known prediction (Isaiah 60 – 66) about the eternal kingdom to point out that God’s actions are well beyond human accomplishment.  The last phrase in the quote is not in Isaiah, but rather should be seen as Paul’s paraphrase of the context in Isaiah.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:21 (Isaiah 28:11). The remnant of Israel would be taught by those of foreign languages, the Gentiles.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:55 (Hosea 13:14) Hosea wrote that Ephraim should be wise and give birth to something new that would break the power of death.  But because Ephraim did not, God had no compassion for them.  Paul used the passage identically, that we should turn loose of the natural man and let something new be born so that death will have no power.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:2 (Isaiah 49:8) Paul used the fact that Isaiah’s prediction was currently being accomplished as a motivator to evangelism.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:17 (Isaiah 52:11) Paul cited Isaiah’s prediction that the citizens of the eternal Kingdom will come out of a corrupt system.
  • Galatians 3:6 (Genesis 15:6)  Those of faith are the descendants of Abraham, inheritors of the promise.
  • Galatians 3:8 (Genesis 12:3, 18:18, 22:18) Justification by faith was promised at the time of Abraham.
  • Galatians 4:27 (Isaiah 54:1) Paul quoted the result of Jesus “surrendering Himself to death;” the lowly would rejoice in the Kingdom.  They would be the children of promise, like Isaac, miraculously born.
  • Hebrews 2:13 (Isaiah 8:17 – 18) The Hebrew writer noted that the Messiah would call His followers His children, not servants like the angels.
  • Hebrews 8:8 – 13, 10:16 – 17 (Jeremiah 31:31 – 34)  The author of Hebrews used this passage to remind Jewish people that a new covenant implies the end of an old one and one perfect sacrifice.
  • Hebrews 11:18 (Genesis 21:12) God promised that Abraham’s line would be through Isaac, not Ishmael.  This referenced when Abraham sacrificed Isaac, that Abraham’s faith was such that God would figure out how to make it happen even if he killed Isaac.
  • 1 Peter 3:14 (Isaiah 8:12) Isaiah predicted that the majority of the Jews would not follow the Messiah, but advised the faithful not to be troubled.
  • Revelation 5:10, 1:6 (Isaiah 61:6) John cited a facet from a long and well-known prediction (Isaiah 60 – 66) about the eternal kingdom to point out that all Christians are priests

God’s Illustrations

  • Matthew 1:23 (Isaiah 7:14) God built an illustration from the troubled times of Israel (Syria then Assyria) to parallel the time of the Messiah (Herod then Rome).
  • Matthew 2:15 (Hosea 11:1)  Matthew applied Hosea’s prophecy to Jesus, implying that the life of Jesus was illustrated in advance by the “life” of the nation of Israel that was so often ignored and would end in violence, but then to produce an eternal kingdom.
  • Matthew 2:18 (Jeremiah 31:15)  Jeremiah 40:1 records that the Israelites were collected by the Babylonians at Ramah for deportation.  The majority of those collected there were executed.  Jeremiah 31 gave hope of return to the survivors.  Matthew revealed that God planned the deportation from Ramah to serve as an illustration of Herod’s deed.
  • Matthew 4:15 – 16 (Isaiah 9:1 – 2) God designed difficulty for some northern tribes who later would return and see the light as an illustration of their response to Jesus.
  • Matthew 8:17 (Isaiah 53:4) Isaiah was predicting that the Messiah would bear our spiritual, not our physical, ills.  Matthew revealed that the physical healings of Jesus were an illustration (fulfillment) of that concept.
  • Matthew 9:13, 12:7 (Hosea 6:6)  Jesus used Hosea’s conclusion twice to reply to legalists whose religion focused on themselves and not the needs of others.
  • Matthew 13:14 – 15, Mark 4:12, Luke 8:10, John 12:40, Acts 28:26 – 27 (Isaiah 6:10)  Jesus quoted Isaiah in answer to the question of why He spoke in parables (historical references brought to the present).  Jesus noted that those who wish to open their eyes would understand.  The others would not.  John noted that many of the rulers believed.  Paul used the same passage to explain why only some of the Jews in Rome accepted Jesus as the Messiah.
  • Matthew 13:35 (Psalm 78:2) The rest of this psalm is a recounting of the history of Israel, and God’s grace despite that history.  The parables made sense to Jesus’ Israelite audiences because each one described their own history.  Jesus’ teaching consisted mostly of historical allegories.
  • Matthew 21:5, John 12:15 (Zechariah 9:9)  Zechariah promised protection from Greece and others through peace.  Alexander did not invade Israel, rather honoring Jehovah, but he did destroy Philistia and Lebanon.  The discerning would find a prediction due to the word, King.  Matthew emphasized the illustration of victory through peace.  John focused on the prediction of a Davidic king
  • Luke 4:18 – 19 (Isaiah 61:1 – 2) Jesus read this passage to those attending the synagogue in Nazareth and applied it to Himself.
  • John 2:17, Romans 15:3 (Psalm 69:9)  The disciples saw that many descriptions fit Jesus.
  • John 12:38, Romans 10:16 (Isaiah 53:1 – 2) John and Paul used the same passage differently.  Paul used the prediction that the majority of Israel would reject Jesus at first because of His humility and afflictions.  John used the prediction as an illustration of those upon whom Jesus’ physical miracles had no impact.
  • John 13:18 (Psalm 41:9)  Jesus quoted this as being just like Judas.
  • John 15:25 (Psalm 69:4, Psalm 35:19)  Jesus cited this psalm as being illustrated in Him, being hated without cause.
  • John 19:34, 28, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34 (Psalm 22:18, 15, 1) The illustration of the Psalm was built in advance to explain Jesus’ attitude.
  • John 19:36 (Psalm 34:20)  In v 19, the psalmist noted that “hardships in plenty beset the virtuous.”  But, not a bone will be broken.  Jesus fit the description.
  • Acts 1:20 (Psalm 69:25) The disciples concluded that Judas’ end was fitting, as the psalmist had prayed concerning the wicked.
  • Romans 11:9 – 10 (Psalm 69:22) Paul clarified this psalm, that this condemnation was not irrevocable.  Modern translators would have done well to take Paul’s lead on the correct rendition.
  • Ephesians 5:31, 1 Corinthians 6:16, Matthew 19:5 Mark 10:6 – 8 (Genesis 2:24) Marriage was instituted to be an illustration of the relationship of Christ and His church.

Timeless Truths

  • Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4 (Deuteronomy 8:3) Jesus responded with this timeless truth to Satan’s first temptation.
  • Matthew 4:6 (Psalm 91:11 – 12) Satan tried to misapply this psalm as a temptation to Jesus.
  • Matthew 4:7, Luke 4:8 (Deuteronomy 6:16) Jesus cited this timeless truth in response to Satan’s misapplication of a promise.
  • Matthew 4:10, Luke 4:10 (Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20) Jesus cited this timeless truth in response to one of Satan’s temptations.
  • Matthew 7:23 (Psalm 6:8) Jesus repeated a timeless truth to close a parable.
  • Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46 (Isaiah 56:7 , Jeremiah 7:11) Jesus cites an argument about being consistent from Jeremiah and another about “all nations” from Isaiah.
  • Matthew 21:16 (Psalm 8:2) Jesus reminded the scribes that God has always been able to be praised from powerless quarters.
  • Matthew 27:9 – 10 (Zechariah 11:12 – 13)  Concerning the apparent error by Matthew, Doddridge suggests that we should follow the ancient Syriac translation, which omits Jeremiah’s name.  Zechariah was writing about his own time, against the Persians who governed them.  The Persians valued God as a wounded slave (Exodus 21:32).  Matthew applied that scene to the Chief Priests of Jesus’ day.  “Fulfilled” implies that God set up the illustration five centuries earlier so people would know that their leaders were not just incompetent, but insulting.
  • Mark 9:48 (Isaiah 66:24)  Jesus used the last verse of Isaiah as a reminder of the timeless truth of Judgment.
  • Luke 23:46 (Psalm 31:5)  Jesus used this short quotation to describe a wide range of thoughts: refuge (v1), ransom (v5), troubles (v7), grace (v9), reproach (v11), trust (v14), deliverance (v15), and more.
  • Acts 7:49 – 50 (Isaiah 66:1 – 2)  Stephen reminded his audience that a temple is a symbol, not the literal dwelling of God.
  • Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38 (Habakkuk 2:4)  Paul cited a timeless truth from Habakkuk, who had in primary view the virtue of patience.
  • Romans 3:10 – 17 is a collection of phrases from various prophets (Psalm 14:1 – 3, 5:9, 140:3, 10:7, 36:1, Isaiah 59:7 – 8) describing wicked people. Paul was not implying that all people are this way, since there are innocent people in each passage whom the wicked torment.  Paul’s point, based on the contexts, is that much wickedness is in the world, not that all people are desperately wicked.
  • Romans 4:7 – 8 (Psalm 32:1)  Paul quoted the first two verse of this psalm, but intended the whole poem.  This is the story of a man who “at last…admitted to You I had sinned.”
  • Romans 12:20 (Proverbs 25:21 – 22) Paul used this proverb in the same way as Solomon wrote it.  The purpose of doing good for an enemy is to perhaps evoke guilt leading to repentance, not as vengeance.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:19 (Isaiah 29:14) Paul quoted Isaiah to show that mechanical religion makes one blind to spiritual things, and, despite that failing by people, God will do another great thing to get their attention.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17 (Jeremiah 9:23 – 24) Paul cited Jeremiah’s concept of boasting, especially in light of the temporary nature of earthly glory.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:20 (Psalm 94:11) Paul used a familiar psalm to remind his readers of the obvious; God is smarter than we are.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:26 (Psalm 24:1)  Paul uses the first line of this short Psalm to emphasize that the one “who may ascend the hill of the Lord” is the one “who has clean hands and a pure heart” (v. 3 – 4).
  • 1 Corinthians 15:32 (Isaiah 22:13) Often attributed to the Epicureans, this line came from Isaiah concerning those who deny the concept of resurrection on the last day.
  • Ephesians 6:14 – 17, 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (Isaiah 11:5, 52:7, 59:17) Isaiah’s messianic poems about the spread of the gospel were cited by Paul as a motivation to evangelism.
  • Hebrews 1:10 – 12 (Psalm 102:25 – 27) The author of Hebrews was making the point (Hebrews 1:4) that the Messiah is higher than the angels.  The purpose of the quotation of the psalm was not to remind them that God is eternal, but that, as the psalm says, God will answer the prayer of the abandoned (v17) so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord (v18) and set free those doomed to die (v20) to a permanent home with God (v28).
  • Hebrews 3:7 – 11 (Psalm 95:7 – 11) The author of Hebrews reminded his readers that being a part of Israel may not result in reaching the promised rest.  Faith is the deciding factor.
  • Hebrews 10:5 – 7 (Psalm 40:6 – 7)  The psalm described the lifestyle of the righteous, which Jesus displayed.  The New Testament application is that this righteousness was outside of the Law.
  • Hebrews 12:5 – 6 (Proverbs 3:11 – 12) The author of Hebrews reminded his audience that difficult times were normal for the people of God.  Likely it is included to refute the false doctrine that prosperity is a sign of God’s endorsement.
  • Hebrews 13:6, Matthew 21:42, Acts 4:11, Matthew 21:9, Matthew 23:39, Mark 12:10 – 11, Luke 20:17 (Psalm 118:6, 22, 23, 25, 26) This psalm was quoted six times in the New Testament.  In each case, the author intended us to recall the whole psalm, not just one line.
  • James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5 (Proverbs 3:34) James quoted the end of a passage about wisdom, preparing his readers to resist the proud who desire leadership roles.  Peter does the same.
  • 1 Peter 1:24 – 25 (Isaiah 40:7 – 8) Peter applied this Messianic poem to the gospel.  James 1:10 – 11 used the same imagery without referencing Isaiah.
  • 1 Peter 3:10 – 12 (Psalm 34:12 – 16)  Peter reminded his readers of a timeless principle from the psalms, that God hears the righteous, but not the wicked.
  • 2 Peter 2:22 (Proverbs 26:11) Peter and Solomon made the same point, that only a fool would reject God.

Historical References

  • Acts 7:30 – 34 (Exodus 3:1 – 10) Stephen recalled the burning bush scene.
  • Acts 7:42 – 43 (Amos 5:25 – 27)  Stephen recalled this sad comment from Amos in his speech about Israel’s history of faithlessness.
  • Romans 9:13 (Malachi 1:2 – 3)  Malachi’s point was that both Edom and Israel had the opportunity to return, but by the power of God, Israel was enabled, but Edom was thwarted.  Paul’s point was to show that Israel existed in the first century by the promise of God, not by its own power.
  • Romans 11:3 – 5 (1 Kings 19:1 – 18) Elijah was ready to give up and die because he thought he was the only one left who cared about God.  God let him know that this was not the case.  Paul’s point was the same for Christians.

Examples

  • Matthew 5:21, 5:27, 19:18, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20 (Exodus 20:12 – 16, Deuteronomy 5:16 – 20) Jesus gave examples of commandments.
  • Matthew 5:31 (Deuteronomy 24:1) Jesus gave an example of a law.
  • Matthew 5:33 (Leviticus 19:12) Jesus gave an example of a law.
  • Matthew 5:35 (Isaiah 66:1) Jesus used a description from Isaiah about Jerusalem.
  • Matthew 5:38 (Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21) Jesus gave an example of an instruction from the Law.
  • Matthew 5:43, 19:19, Luke 10:27 (Leviticus 19:18) Jesus gave an example of an instruction from the Law.
  • Matthew 12:40 (Jonah 1:17) Jesus referenced the length of time Jonah was in the big fish as an example of how long He would be in the tomb.
  • Matthew 15:4, Mark 7:10 (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 5:16, Exodus 21:17, Leviticus 20:9) Jesus cited laws about honoring parents.
  • Matthew 15:8 – 9, Mark 7:6 – 7 (Isaiah 29:13) Jesus noted that His audience had the same problems as those of Isaiah.
  • Matthew 18:16 (Deuteronomy 19:15) Jesus cited a law about witnesses.
  • Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:29 – 31, Luke 10:27 (Deuteronomy 6:5) Jesus cited “the greatest commandment.”
  • Luke 23:30 (Hosea 10:8) Jesus borrowed a line from another catastrophe to describe the destruction of Jerusalem.
  • John 6:31 (Psalm 78:24) Illustrating that the audience expected historical references in the way Jesus taught in parables, they quoted this same psalm back to Him.
  • Acts 1:20 (Psalm 109:8) The apostles cited this psalm concerning Judas, certainly intending the entire psalm, although the point at hand was filling Judas’ former position as one of the Twelve.
  • Acts 13:41 (Habakkuk 1:5)  Paul warned his audience not to dismiss his outrageous message because it was impossible.  God’s dealings with Israel were full of impossible events.
  • Romans 2:24 (Ezekiel 36:20 – 23, Isaiah 52:5)  Paul reminded Jewish Christians that poor conduct defames the character of God.
  • Romans 3:13 (Psalm 140:3) This is another of the series of quotations from Paul that he used to show that God was familiar with evil in the Kingdom.
  • Romans 3:18 (Psalm 36:1)  As with Psalm 5:9, Paul cited this short description of “the wicked.”  It is not a description of people in general.
  • Hebrews 1:7 (Psalm 104:4) The point being made by the psalmist concerned the greatness and power of God, one example being that He uses spiritual beings as messengers and servants.
  • Revelation 20:7 – 8 (Ezekiel 38:1) John used the image of Gog, who was a prince of Magog destroyed by many forces brought to bear by God, as an example of how Satan would be quickly destroyed as soon as he was released from the abyss.