Two Great Themes of Prophecy

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The two great themes of prophecy in the Old Testament are—
(1) “The sufferings of Christ”; and
“The sufferings of Christ” have all been fulfilled. “The glory that should follow” is future as to its manifestation to the world. And just as surely as the prophecies of “the sufferings of Christ” have been fulfilled, so surely will the prophecies of the coming glories be fulfilled.
Christianity stands or falls with the person of Christ. His claims are either divinely true, and overwhelming in their demand for acceptance on the part of everyone, or else they are the highest conceivable point of blasphemy ever reached. He is either “God... manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:1616And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)), supremely good and true, or else He is the greatest impostor that has ever sought to palm himself off on the credulity of mankind There can be no question as to Him. He is what He said He was, the incarnate Word, “God manifest in the flesh,” the Savior of the world. There can be no other true conclusion.
Just in the same way the Bible stands or falls with Christ. Through the Bible we are made aware of His history, His claims, all that is set forth concerning Him. The Bible is either the best book in the world or the worst—the best, if it brings before us the true revelation of God in Christ; the worst, if it be not true. Language utterly fails to extol the one, or to denounce the other. It is either superlatively good or intolerably bad. But the influence of the Book is only good. It is God's message to us, a message of supreme importance and blessing.
How then does the Old Testament, in which are found these two great themes spoken of in 1 Peter 1:1111Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. (1 Peter 1:11), present Christ to us? It has been well said that—
1. The Pentateuch gives us the FIGURES of Christ;
2. The Psalms give us the FEELINGS of Christ;
3. The Prophets give us the FORETELLINGS of Christ; and whether figures or types, or feelings, or foretellings, all are prophetic. The New Testament gives us the fulfillment of the Old. Thus—
4. The Gospels give us the FACTS of Christ;
5. The Epistles give us the FRUITS of Christ; Christ is THE great Figure in history, beside whom all others are as naught. He is the Incomparable, the Infinite, the Eternal.
There are over three hundred distinct prophecies of Christ scattered over the pages of the Old Testament.
It is possible to make a fortunate guess of a future event and claim for it the dignity of a prophecy, but every item added to the prophecy is a matter of geometrical progression, rendering it much more difficult of fulfillment, until by the addition of a very few items it becomes absolutely impossible of fulfillment on the score of chance, or of fortunate guess.
Suppose some five hundred years ago some one prophesied that in the nineteenth century a queen should reign over Great Britain and Ireland. This might without much stretch of imagination come true. But suppose the prophet said she would ascend the throne when she was eighteen years old, marry when she was twenty, become the mother of nine children, a widow at a comparatively early age, and reign for over sixty years; that further, she should be born in Kensington Palace and die at Osborne House; and it all became true; then such a prophecy is clean lifted out of the region of chance, and becomes established beyond question as a prophecy of foreknowledge.