Revelation 4:1 introduces a section of Scripture that details “things which must be hereafter.” What follows are prophecies of the “end times.” We have not yet reached the tribulation, the revelation of the Antichrist, or other “end-time” events. What we do see is a “preparation” for those events.
Jesus said that the last days would be preceded by several things: many false Christs would come, deceiving many; we would “hear of wars and rumors of wars”; and there would be an increase in “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:5-8). Today’s news is full of false religions, warfare, and natural disasters. We know that events of the tribulation period will include all that Jesus predicted (Revelation 6:1-8); current events seem to be a build-up for greater trouble ahead.
Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” 1 Timothy 4:1.
The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and because of people who actively “oppose the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The list of things people will be in the last days—lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power—(2 Timothy 3:1-2) fits our modern age exactly.
The prophecies concerning apostasy are being fulfilled, the 21st-century world has embraced moral relativism, a philosophy which is tainting even the church. For example, many denominations are having a hard time defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, and many religious leaders today are openly supporting homosexuality. The Bible has become subordinate to the modern church’s quest for a more appealing “truth.” Perilous times spiritually.
The formation of the European Union—and the fact that we have a reunified Germany—in light of biblical prophecy. The “ten toes” of Daniel 2:42 and the ten-horned beasts of Daniel 7:20 and Revelation 13:1 are references to a “revived” Roman Empire which will hold power before Christ returns. Although the precise political structure has yet to be formed, the pieces can be seen as falling into place.
In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, and this, too, has ramifications for the student of Scripture. God promised Abram that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-time prophecy, because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8).
While there is no biblical proof that the things mentioned above are prophecy fulfilled, we can see how many of these events are similar to what the Bible describes. In any case, we are to be watching for prophecy fulfilled because Jesus told us that the day of the Lord—His return for His own—would come like a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10), unexpected and unannounced. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" Luke 21:36
The Bible is the story of human history and God’s work in it. The most significant event in human history is the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. The story of this event permeates the text of Scripture. The creation account shows us God’s sovereignty over His creation. The fall shows us why we need a savior. The history of Israel shows two significant things: 1) the historical context of the coming of the Son of God incarnate, and 2) humanity’s inability to save itself through works, thus, its need for a savior.
The gospels tell the story of Jesus the Savior on earth, and much of the rest of the New Testament teaches how to live in this age in light of Jesus’ work on our behalf. The prophecies of the Bible, particularly in Daniel and Revelation but also elsewhere, show what Jesus as Savior is saving us to (eternal paradise) and from (eternal damnation in hell).
The story of Jesus saturates the metanarrative of the Bible, and prophecies of His first advent are found throughout the Old Testament. Allusions to Him also come up in micro ways, as many people and events hint at the work He would accomplish. As many as 574 verses in the Old Testament point to, describe or reference the coming Messiah. 456 Old Testament verses refer to the Messiah or His times. Conservatively, Jesus fulfilled at least 300 prophecies in His earthly ministry.
So, the question of how many prophecies Jesus fulfilled is difficult to answer with precision. Should we count only direct messianic prophecies? Do we count repeated prophecies twice? How about allusions and indirect references to the ministry of Christ? And what about types? A type is a prophetic symbol: a person or thing in the Old Testament that foreshadows a person or thing in the New Testament. So, while Isaiah prophesies the Lord will offer good news for the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1), Boaz lives this out, acting as a type of Christ (Ruth 4:1–11).
Below is an attempt to list the types and prophecies given in the Old and New Testaments that Jesus has fulfilled, it is not complete.
Adam is a type of Christ because both their actions affected subsequent generations of people. Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 5:14Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb. Exodus 12:1-11; John 1:29-36The rock that produced water for Israel points toward Jesus and the living water. Exodus 17:6; John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 10:3-4The tabernacle where God dwelt among the Israelites is a type of Jesus, God with us. Exodus 25:8; Isaiah 7:14; 8:8, 10; Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:14; 14:8-11The feast of unleavened bread represents the purity of Jesus; Jesus’ burial is like a kernel in the ground, waiting to burst forth in life. Leviticus 23:6; 1 Peter 2:22The feast of first fruits represents Jesus as the first fruit from the dead. Leviticus 23:10; 1 Corinthians 15:20Those who looked up at the snake on a pole were saved. Those who "look up" at Jesus on the cross are saved. Numbers 21:8-9; John 3:14-15Boaz is a type of Christ the redeemer. Ruth 4:1-11; Ezekiel 16:8; Galatians 3:13; 4:5; Colossians 1:14Jonah was in the fish for three days. Jesus’ body was in the grave for three days. Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40
Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling the amount of prophecy Jesus fulfilled is mathematicians put this way:
1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power:
1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!
It is the detail of these prophecies that mark the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Only God could foreknow and accomplish all that was written about the Christ. This historical accuracy and reliability sets the Bible apart from any other book of record.
The New Testament was written after the death of Jesus the Christ. Archeologists have found thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament. Some of these pieces of manuscript are dated less than 100 years after the original letters were written. In terms of historical reliability, the Bible is superior to any other ancient writings.
The serpent and the "seed" of Eve will have conflict; the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent. Jesus is this seed, and He crushed Satan at the cross. Genesis 3:14-15; Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:14God promised Abraham the whole world would be blessed through him. Jesus, descended from Abraham, is that blessing. Genesis 12:3; Acts 3:25-26; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16God promised Abraham He would establish an everlasting covenant with Isaac’s offspring. Jesus is that offspring. Genesis 17:19; Matthew 1:1-2God promised Isaac the whole world would be blessed by his descendent. That descendent is Jesus. Genesis 28:13-14; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 1:33; 3:23-34Jacob prophesied Judah would rule over his brothers. Jesus the king is from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 1:32-33The Jews were not to keep the Passover lamb overnight. Jesus was buried the day He died. Exodus 12:10; Numbers 9:12; John 19:38-42The Jews were not to break the bones of the Passover lamb. Jesus’ bones were not broken on the cross. Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; John 19:31-36The Jews were to devote the firstborn males to God. Jesus is Mary’s firstborn male; He is also the "firstborn" over creation and the "firstborn" of the dead. Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:13; 8:17; Luke 2:7, 23; Colossians 1:15-18Moses promised another prophet like him would come. Jesus is that prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19; Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; 24:19; John 6:14; 7:40God told the Jews to never leave the body of someone who had been hanged overnight. Jesus was buried the day He died. Deuteronomy 21:23; John 19:31-36; Galatians 3:13The word of God will be in hearts and mouths. Jesus is the Word who is in the hearts of His followers. Deuteronomy 30:14; John 1:1; Matthew 26:26Moses promised God would atone for His people. Jesus’ sacrifice is that atonement. Deuteronomy 32:43; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17God promised David his offspring would rule forever. Jesus is descended from David, although His literal reign has yet to begin. 2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16, 25-26; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14, 23-27; Psalm 89:3-4, 35-37; 132:11; Isaiah 9:7; Matthew 1:6; 19:28; 21:4; 25:31; Mark 12:37; Luke 1:32; 3:31The nations, people, and rulers plot against the Lord and His anointed. The Sanhedrin, the crowd, Herod Antipas, and Pilate plotted against Jesus. Psalm 2:1-2; Matthew 12:14; 26:3, 4, 47; Luke 23:1, 7God will tell someone He is their Father. God told the crowd at Jesus’ baptism that He is Jesus’ Father. Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35David believes God will not abandon him to the grave. Jesus rose from the grave. Psalm 16:9-10; 30:3; 86:13; Isaiah 26:19; Luke 24:6-8; John 20David cries out that God has forsaken him. Jesus uses the same words on the cross. Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46David says his enemies mock and insult him. Jesus endured the same on the cross. Psalm 22:7; Matthew 27:38-44David’s tormentors tease him, telling him to have God rescue him. The people said the same to Jesus. Psalm 22:7; Luke 23:35, 39David describes his physical torment. The description matches the condition of someone who is being crucified. Psalm 22:14-15; John 19:28David says that "dogs" surround him and pierce his hands and feet. Gentile soldiers put nails through Jesus’ hands and feet. Psalm 22:16; John 19:16; 20:20; Acts 2:23David says that others divide his clothing. The Roman soldiers took Jesus’ clothes. Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24David says false witnesses will testify against him. False witnesses did testify against Jesus, although they didn’t have matching stories. Psalm 27:12; 35:11; 109:6; Matthew 26:60; Mark 14:55-59David says he commits his spirit to God. Jesus used the same words on the cross. Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46God will protect the bones of the righteous. Jesus’ bones were not broken on the cross. Psalm 34:20; John 19:31-36David talks of being hated without reason. Jesus was hated without reason. Psalm 35:19; 69:4; John 15:24-25The psalmist says his friends will abandon him. The disciples abandoned Jesus. Psalm 38:11; 88:18; Matthew 26:56-58; Mark 14:50David says he has come to do God’s will. Jesus came to do God’s will. Psalm 40:6-8; Matthew 26:39, 42; John 6:38; Hebrews 10:5-9David talks about being betrayed by a friend. Jesus was betrayed by Judas. Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; Matthew 26:14-16, 23; Mark 14:10-11, 43The psalmists say God will rescue them from the land of the dead. God resurrected Jesus. Psalm 49:15; 86:13; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6-8; John 20The Lord ascends on high, bringing captives with Him. Jesus ascended to heaven, and believers go to heaven. Psalm 68:18; Luke 23:43; 24:51; Acts 1:9David says he will be rejected by his siblings. Jesus’ brothers refused to believe who He was until after the resurrection. Psalm 69:8; Mark 3:20-21, 31; John 7:3-5David has "zeal" for God’s house and His honor but will be reproached. Jesus showed that zeal by cleaning out the temple and was questioned by the Sanhedrin members. Psalm 69:9; Mark 11:15-17, 27-28; John 2:13-18; Romans 15:3David talks of being fed gall and vinegar. Jesus was offered gall and vinegar on the cross. Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34, 48; Mark 15:23; Luke 23:36; John 19:29Solomon asks God for foreign kings to bring him gifts and honor. The magi did so for Jesus. Psalm 72:10-11; Matthew 2:1-11Solomon tells God that as king he will deliver the needy and weak. Jesus did this. Psalm 72:12-14; Luke 7:22The psalmist says He will speak in parables. Jesus spoke in parables. Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:3, 35God says He will make David His firstborn. Jesus, David’s descendent, is God’s firstborn. Psalm 89:27; Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15David’s enemies attacked him, but he refrained from responding. Jesus forgave His enemies. Psalm 109:3-5; Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34David asks that his betrayer’s life be short and his position be taken. Jesus’ betrayer, Judas, died, and Matthias took his place. Psalm 69:25; 109:7-8; Acts 1:16-20David says his Lord will be made a priest of Melchizedek. Jesus is a priest of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:1-6; 6:20; 7:15-17The psalmist says the stone the builders reject will become the cornerstone. Jesus was rejected by the Jewish leaders, but He is the basis of God’s salvation. Psalm 118:22-23; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17; John 1:11The Lord will redeem Israel from her sins. Jesus redeemed Israel. Psalm 130:7-8; Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:68God told Ezekiel the people would not understand what He was doing. Jesus used parables to keep casual observers from understanding His teaching. Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:14-15God promised that a virgin would conceive. Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived. Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-35God promised to send a Son who would be "God with us" ("Emmanuel"). Jesus is that Son. Isaiah 7:14; 8:8, 10; Matthew 1:21-23; John 1:14; 14:8-11God promised a "stone" that people would trip over. Jesus is that stone. Isaiah 8:14-15; Matthew 21:42-44; Romans 9:32-33God promised the land of Zebulun and Naphtali and "Galilee of the nations" a light for their darkness. Jesus is that light; at the time of Jesus, Galilee was a mix of Jews and Gentiles. Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:12-16God promised David His Spirit would rest on his offspring. Jesus is that offspring. Isaiah 11:1-2; Matthew 1:1, 6; 3:16; Mark 1:10Gentiles will come to God. A centurion and a Syrophoenician woman came to Jesus; the Gentiles in Pisidian Antioch responded to Paul’s gospel message. Isaiah 11:10; 42:1; 55:4-5; Hosea 2:23; Matthew 8:5-13; Mark 7:24-26; Acts 13:48God promised a time when the blind would see. Jesus healed the blind. Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; Matthew 9:30; 11:5; 12:22; 20:34; 21:14; Mark 10:52God promised a time when the deaf hear. Jesus healed the deaf. Isaiah 35:5; Matthew 11:5; Mark 7:31-37; 9:25God promised a time when the lame would be healed. Jesus healed the lame. Isaiah 35:6; Matthew 15:30-31; 21:14God promised a time when the mute would speak. Jesus healed the mute. Isaiah 35:6; Matthew 9:33; 12:22; 15:30; Luke 11:14God promised a messenger who would announce the Lord’s coming. John the Baptist is that messenger. Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:3; 11:10; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4-6God is the shepherd who tends His sheep. Jesus is the good shepherd. Isaiah 40:10-11; John 10:11God promised to put His Spirit on His servant. Jesus is that servant. Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:16; 12:18; Mark 1:10God’s servant will not cry out. Jesus told those He healed to remain quiet. Isaiah 42:2; Matthew 12:19God’s servant will be gentle. Jesus treated people gently. Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 11:29; 12:20The nations will put their hope in God’s servant’s teaching. Nations put their hope in Jesus’ teachings. Isaiah 42:4; Matthew 12:21God will send His servant as a light to the Gentiles. Jesus is a light to the Gentiles. Isaiah 42:6; 49:6; Luke 2:25-32The writer says he will not be rebellious or turn away. Jesus obeyed God all the way to the cross. Isaiah 50:5; Matthew 26:39Isaiah speaks of one who will be beaten and spit upon. Jesus was beaten and spit upon. Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67; 27:26-30The Suffering Servant will be so abused He will not look human. Jesus was beaten, whipped, crucified, and pierced by a spear. Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 26:67; 27:26-30; 35The Suffering Servant will be despised and rejected by His own people. Jesus’ tormentors rejected Him and spit in His face. Isaiah 53:3; Luke 23:18; Matthew 26:67; John 1:11The Suffering Servant will bear the abuse we deserve for our physical and spiritual healing. Jesus did this. Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:17; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:3The Suffering Servant will bear our sins. Jesus bore our sins. Isaiah 53:6, 8, 12; Romans 4:25; 1 Peter 2:24-25The Suffering Servant is like a lamb that does not defend itself. Although Jesus spoke during His trials, He never offered a defense. Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12; Luke 23:9; John 1:29-36The Suffering Servant’s people did not protest His death. Only Pilate protested Jesus’ death. Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 27:23-25The Suffering Servant will die with the wicked. Jesus died with the two thieves. Isaiah 53:9, 12; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27The Suffering Servant will be buried in the grave of a rich man. Jesus was buried in the grave of Joseph of Arimathea. Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60God ordained that the Suffering Servant would suffer and die. God sent Jesus to die. Isaiah 53:10; John 3:16; 19:11; Acts 2:23; Philippians 2:8The Suffering Servant’s sacrifice offers forgiveness of sins. Jesus’ sacrifice offers forgiveness of our sins. Isaiah 53:11; Acts 10:43; 13:38-39The Suffering Servant will intercede for His abusers. Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified Him. Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34God promises a great light to pierce the darkness of Israel and the nations. Jesus is that light. Isaiah 60:1-3; Matthew 4:16; Luke 2:32; John 12:46God promises someone to declare good news for the brokenhearted, captives, and prisoners. Jesus is that someone. Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 3:16; Luke 4:18God promises a "righteous Branch" from the line of Jesse who will do what is just. Jesus is that Branch. Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-16; Romans 3:22; 1 Corinthians 1:30A woman will weep for her dead children. Herod killed the baby boys in Bethlehem. Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18God makes a woman "encircle" or protect a man. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus in Mary. Jeremiah 31:22; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35God promises a new covenant. Jesus provides the work for that new covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34 ; 32:37-40; 50:5; Matthew 26:27-29; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:15-20"David" will return as his people’s shepherd. Jesus is that shepherd. Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24; John 10:11Gabriel tells Daniel when the "Anointed One" will be "cut off." This is the exact time Jesus is crucified. Daniel 9:24-26, Matthew 27:50God will call His "child" from Egypt. Jesus returned from Egypt when He was young. Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:13-15Israel’s ruler will be struck on the cheek with a rod. Jesus was struck on the head with a staff. Micah 5:1; Matthew 27:30The ruler of Israel will come from Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4-7God will live among His people. Jesus lived among the Jews. Zechariah 2:10; John 1:14The Branch will be a priest in the temple. Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek. Zechariah 6:12-13; Hebrews 7:11-28; 8:1-2Israel’s king will ride a donkey. Jesus came into Jerusalem riding a donkey. Zechariah 9:9; Mark 11:1-10God told Zechariah to take the thirty pieces of silver he earned and throw it to the potter. Judas took thirty pieces of silver and returned it to the priests who used it to buy the potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-15; 27:3, 6-10If someone strikes the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. When Jesus was arrested, His disciples fled. Zechariah 13:6-7; Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50The Lord will come to the temple and refine the silver and the priests. Jesus came to the temple and threw out the money changers. Malachi 3:1-3; Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15-19; John 2:13-16The son of righteousness will come. Jesus is that son. Malachi 4:2; Luke 1:78Elijah will return. John the Baptist fulfills the role of Elijah. Malachi 4:5; Matthew 11:13-14; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17; 7:27-28Jesus said He will suffer and die. Before the crucifixion, both the priests' guards and the Roman soldiers beat Jesus. Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 22:63-65; Mark 14:53, 65; 15:33-37; John 19:1Jesus said He will be handed over on the Passover. He was handed over at night, after Galileans celebrated the Passover but before Judeans do. Matthew 26:2; John 19:14-16Jesus said one of His disciples will betray Him. Judas betrayed Him. Matthew 26:21-22; Luke 22:47-48Jesus said the disciples will scatter. They did at His arrest. Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27; Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50Jesus said Peter will deny Him. Peter did so at the trial before Caiaphas. Matthew 26:33-34; Matthew 26:69-75Jesus said He will be handed over, killed, and rise again on the third day. Mark 9:30-31; 10:32-34; John 18-20Jesus said He will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, killed, and rise again three days later. Mark 10:32-34; John 18-20Simeon said Jesus will cause many hearts to be revealed. The Sanhedrin was revealed to be jealous. Luke 2:35; Matthew 27:18Simeon told Mary her soul will be pierced because of Jesus. She witnessed the crucifixion. Luke 2:35; John 19:25-27Jesus said He will rebuild the "temple" (His body) after three days. He rose from the dead after three days. John 2:18-22; Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:4