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Bible Correspondence Course

7. Prophecy and Isa al-Masih

As we have said in earlier lessons, because God sees the end from the beginning, He sometimes reveals things which are to happen in the future through prophecies. Some of the most remarkable Bible prophecies are about Sayyidna Isa al-Masih (his peace be upon us). For example, remember Isaiah 53, to which we have referred several times. These prophecies show that Sayyidna is truly the Messiah, or Al-Masih, because He has fulfilled each one of them, as we read in the Injil.

Long before Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam was born, the Jewish people realised that there were many prophecies in the Scriptures about the Messiah. When Sayyidna Isa arrived, He said to them, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me.”[1] If you read the part of the Injil called the Gospel of Matthew, you will find at least twenty-one references to fulfilled prophecies. Below we will examine just a few of them and their fulfilment.

1) Sayyidna Isa al-Masih to be born of a Virgin

Hundreds of years before Sayyidna Isa came to this earth, God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah. “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”[2] We see the fulfilment of this prophecy when Maryam (or Mary) was visited by an angel who told her she would bear a son. All this took place to fulfil what God had promised.[3]

2) Sayyidna Isa al-Masih to be born in Bethlehem

Through the Prophet Micah, God foretold that Al-Masih was to be born in Bethlehem.[4] This prophecy was well-known even to King Herod and his advisors. The Injil tells us that Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam was indeed born in Bethlehem in Judea.[5]

3) Sayyidna Isa al-Masih to Perform Miracles

Again, God said through the Prophet Isaiah, “your God will come… Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.”[6] The Gospel according to Matthew confirms this prophecy in two ways, firstly in describing Isa al-Masih’s merciful acts of healing in Matthew 9:27-34, and then later in Matthew 11:5 as we read what Sayyidna Isa told the disciples of Hazrat Yahya (John the Baptist). “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.’

4) Sayyidna Isa al-Masih to be Crucified

The crucifixion of Sayyidna Isa Saffaiyatu'llah was not an accident or simply a ghastly mistake, but Sayyidna laid down His life. This is because God wanted to bring mankind to Himself. It is so important, when understanding the good news of Isa al-Masih, to remember that He did not die unwillingly. Instead, He chose to give Himself up or to “pour out His life unto death”. [7]

In the Gospel of John we read Sayyidna’s precious words. “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10 17-18). Sayyidna Isa went to the cross, not as a weak victim, but as a strong friend of you and me, in order to save us: For, “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Sayyidna Isa al-Masih’s strength becomes powerfully clear to us as we remember that after death, He rose to life. Although Isa al-Masih died, death could not hold Him (see Lesson 10). God the Merciful and Benevolent used this amazing act to make believers pure and clean in His sight.

5) Sayyidna Isa’s Side to be Pierced

“They will look on Me, the one they have pierced.”[8] These words were fulfilled in Sayyidna Isa when one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear.[9]

6) Many More Prophecies

Actually there are many more prophecies about Sayyidna Isa than are listed here. Some of these Old Testament prophecies note the smallest details, whilst some point to very important facts surrounding Sayyidna’s death and resurrection.

For example, in the New Testament book of Acts, we find the Apostle Peter declaring that Hazrat Dawud (David) prophesied in the Zabur (Psalms) that the Messiah or Al-Masih, the Holy One of God, would rise from the dead. In Acts we read Peter quoting Dawud’s words in Psalms 16:8-11 and then preaching to the crowd:

“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here and to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God has promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, not did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:29-32).

So we have seen from all that we have explored above, that the Bible is not just a collection of books, but has one common theme. This theme, namely, of God’s dealings with men and women and their response to Him, shines throughout the whole Bible and bringing to life the prophecies regarding the coming Al-Masih. These prophecies are like ayaat or signs. When Sayyidna Isa al-Masih came, He looked back to those same signs and indicated that they were fulfilled by His own life.[10] Like most signs, however, they can easily be misread. Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam found that the Jews of His day had read the ayaat wrongly; they were expecting a victorious soldier or statesman rather than a prophet and teacher from the northern province of Galilee.

7) What do you think?

Some may say that in order to supply such accurate prophecies, like those we have looked at above, the Old Testament must have been written after the New Testament (see Lesson One), but this is not possible. However, we know that the Old Testament was already very widely circulated and even translated before the time of Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam. It would have been impossible to change the text of the Old Testament in its wide distribution. Moreover, today we have manuscripts available that have been dated many centuries before Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam.

References:

  1. [1] John 5:39
  2. [2] Isaiah 7:14
  3. [3] Matthew 1:18,22-23
  4. [4] Micah 5:2-5
  5. [5] Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-7, John 7:42
  6. [6] Isaiah 35:4-6
  7. [7] Isaiah 53:12
  8. [8] Zechariah 12:10
  9. [9] John 19:34
  10. [10] Augustine, a 5th Century Christian, once said that the Bible is connected in this way: "The New in the Old Concealed, the Old in the New Revealed".

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