Those who do not remember the past, are doomed to repeat the mistakes that others have already made. History repeats itself, but it costs more and more every time it happens again. People study history because they do not want to repeat the mistakes of others, as well as to find better solutions. The Bible also confirms the history repeats itself, and finds a great similarity between salvation and sin thousands of years ago, with the present time, and the time before the second coming of Christ. However, the Bible goes a step further: Biblical historical events are not just a description of the ancient past, but these events also represent prophecies to describe God's plan to save people. If the Bible was written only under human inspiration, it would be unlikely the events of the ancient past would coincide with the events in the future. However, if the Bible was inspired by the Spirit of God, then it is easy to explain how people from the ancient past were able to accurately describe the distant future. On top of everything, Jesus Christ interpreted historical events from the Bible as prophecies, some have been fulfilled in His life. Jesus even stated our salvation might depend on the correct understanding of the prophecies described in Biblical historical events.
The BIBLICAL HISTORY as a PROPHECY When He inspired the prophets, God chose selected events from history to be described in the Bible and presented as models of future events. These were shadows of events from the future, or a reflection of objects in the mirror. The most important historical events in the Bible are the prophecies about the Messiah who offered salvation to people who want to come back to God. Jesus said: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me." John 5:39 Because Jesus used plural - the Scriptures, therefore it appears that He claims the whole Bible testifies of Him, not just one part of the Bible. Which part of the Bible did Jesus mean to testify for Him? If you thought Jesus was talking about the New Testament - you were wrong! At the time Jesus said this, the New Testament had not yet been written, and there was only the Old Testament. So, Jesus claims that the books of the Old Testament testify of Him. Most people would remember the verses from Isaiah 53 talk about Jesus, then His place of birth prophesied in Micah 5:2, but for the majority it would be difficult to find more verses from the Torah as a confirmation. However, when Jesus claims the Scriptures testify of Him, we would expect the Old Testament to say much more about Him than just a few texts. Jesus even rebuked His disciples for a lack of understanding of the Old Testament prophecies about Him. To the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus said: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Luke 24:25-27,44 So, Jesus claims it is not just a few verses in the Old Testament to point toward Him, but all books Moses wrote, all the prophets, the Psalms, and practically the entire Holy Scripture of Christ's time, almost the entire Old Testament emphasize Messiah. Unfortunately, these two disciples did not write down those texts Jesus quote about Himself as the fulfillment of messianic prophecies, but God has given us the pleasure of personal Bible study through prayer, so He can reveal to us the life-saving truth, as well as to His early disciples. When Jesus started His mission, Philip, one of the 12 apostles, recognized that Jesus had fulfilled Old Testament prophecies: "Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth...” John 1:45 We see again the same claim that Moses wrote about the Messiah in the Torah, and also the prophets. The Apostle Paul recognized Jesus Christ in many Old Testament texts: "… Persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.” Acts 28:23 Notice that the apostle Paul found so many texts about Christ in the Old Testament, so he could talk about it from morning till night! This means he was able to talk for at least ten hours, about the texts of the Old Testament describing the Messiah. However, when we read the Old Testament, we will not come across the name of Jesus or a direct statement about the Messiah. The question arises, where do Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets speak of Jesus in the Old Testament? Let us explore some examples, where the apostle Paul sees Jesus in the Old Testament: When the Israelites came out of slavery in Egypt and drank water from the rock in the wilderness, the apostle Paul says: “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 Many Israelites do not recognize Jesus Christ in this text even today. However, the apostle Paul says these historical events are in fact symbols or foreshadows of salvation that will happen in the future. Passing through the sea represents baptism, which means, purification from sin. The rock from which they drank water in the desert, symbolizes Christ as the water of life, and manna as food is the body of Christ broken for us. Then, Paul says: "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." 1 Corinthians 10:11 So, Paul says that these historical events were written to teach people in the future, especially those who will live in time of God's judgment. The word "example" in Greek is the word "tupos" which means "type", model, pattern, scheme, style, resemblance, example or prelude to a similar event in the future. (10:6 “our examples”) Because of this, many do not easily recognize descriptions of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament because they are described typologically, as symbolic foreshadows. Historical events in the Bible are models of future events. We need to allow the Bible to give us principles on how to interpret these texts. Solomon, the man of God who was called the wisest of all who lived on Earth, described the typology principle as follows: "That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past." Ecclesiastes 3:15 In other words, biblical events from the past represent a prophecy for future events.
The end of the world in the past Another type of historical event that Jesus applied to the future, are events that foretell God will judge this world, all according to the choices we have made. For example, to describe the immoral state of mankind before the second coming of Christ, Jesus said the majority would behave similarly as people before the flood, and as before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Similarly, Jesus compared the time before His second coming to the time before the destruction of Jerusalem, and to the dark Middle Ages (Matthew 24:1-3; Luke 17:26-30). Also, the afflictions of God's people in the past described in the Bible, represent prophecies about the afflictions of God's people just before the second coming of Christ.
What are prophecies for? People who did not understand the prophecies correctly, experienced disappointments because they expected a completely different future. God gave us a blueprint for the future events in the prophecies, so we would not be surprised, and so we would not be disappointed. Jesus rebuked even his closest disciples: "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" Luke 24:25 The apostles were disappointed when Jesus was arrested, sentenced to death, and died on the cross, because they did not understand the prophecies - that everything would happen as God had prophesied in the Bible. Thus, the interpretation of biblical texts can strengthen our trust in God. For the people who will live just before the second coming of Christ, it is very important to understand the prophecies correctly, so they can resist the temptation "which shall come upon the whole world". "We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Many of the prophecies are about to be fulfilled in quick succession. Every element of power is about to be set to work. Past history will be repeated; old controversies will arouse to new life, and peril will beset God's people on every side. Intensity is taking hold of the human family. It is permeating everything upon the earth..." TM116 So, the Biblical history will be repeated in the future, at least some of it. Just as shadows have an object which creates a shadow, so the antitypes and foreshadows in the Bible have a real event in the future with similar elements as it was in the past. Jesus spoke a lot in symbolic parables or stories, often rooted in the Old Testament. For example, Jesus' story of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-41 has the same elements as the story of the vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7. These prophecies are related, and the message of similar biblical texts should be carefully compared. The Old Testament images very often are explained in the New Testament, so together they fit into a complete picture of God’s plan for the future.
The Chronicles of kings are prophecies! There are two books of the Chronicles and two books of the Kings of Israel in the Bible. If these were only historian's notes, it would have historical value, but there would be no need for the king’s Chronicles to be a part of the Bible. However, the Bible claims the Chronicles were written by prophets and seers, those to whom God has revealed what the future holds: Samuel, Nathan, Gad, Ahiyah, Iddo, Shemaiah and others: "Now the acts of King David, first and last, indeed they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer." 1 Chronicles 29:29. “Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?” 2 Chronicles 9:29 “The acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies?” 2 Chronicles 12:15 Thus, the historical writings about the kings of Judah and Israel were written by prophets inspired by God. They described their visions, but also historical events as prophecies. By God's inspiration, these people did not describe all the events related to a certain king, but only those with special moral and prophetic messages. For the benefit of the future generations, special historical events are described, relevant to our time, especially before the second coming of Christ.
Satan in Biblical History: King of Tire and Babylon The famous description of Satan in the book of the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 28, in fact, describes the rise and fall of the prince of Tyre. However, every reader can easily conclude this is not only an event from the past, but also a prophecy. “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.’ “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.” “The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you;” “You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:12-15 The prince of Tire was never in Eden, in the garden of God, nor was he a cherub on God's holy mountain, nor he was created but born (28:13,14). Therefore, it is easy to conclude, on whom all the details of this prophecy will be fulfilled. As prophesied in Revelation, the prophet Isaiah said, "Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you… and (you) shall be no more forever.” (Ezekiel 28:18,19). The word Tyre means rock, and it is obvious that Satan is trying to falsify Christ who is the true rock of salvation. So, we get the true meaning of Isaiah's text only when we interpret it symbolically, when we see the historical event as a foreshadow of God's plan of salvation. Also, the prophet Isaiah 14:4,12-15, described prophetically the historical king of Babylon as Lucifer. “… you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: … “How you are fallen from heaven, o Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;” “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Isaiah 14:4,12-15 Of course, the king of Babylon did not ascend into heaven or fall from heaven, but he tried to equate himself with the Most High. The king of Babylon is a foreshadow of Satan, and his kingdom - Babylon, from the beginning of the Bible to the end, represents the confusion of ethical standards, godlessness and lawlessness. If we carefully read the historical events related to Babylon in the Bible, we will see prophecies that will be fulfilled before the second coming of Christ.
The actions of the prophets are prophecies! The prophets did not proclaim their prophecies in words alone. They also used their actions to demonstrate what would happen in the future. For example, the prophet Ezekiel demonstrated the future siege of Jerusalem by lying next to a brick. The brick represented the besieged Jerusalem, the iron pan symbolized the strength of the siege, and Ezekiel symbolized the attacker (Ezekiel 4). Each year which the majority of God's people lived violating God’s moral standards, the prophet demonstrated by one day of lying next to the brick, as one year of the siege, and as God's punishment. By eating unclean bread, he prophesied the famine would arise. When Jesus spoke of the time before His second coming, He compared it to the siege of Jerusalem, and obviously with the previous decline of faithfulness of God’s people. Jesus said those who trust God should leave the city when they see the signs of the times being fulfilled, because a false religion will take over God’s temple on Earth. In his demonstration of the siege of Jerusalem, the prophet Ezekiel showed that people who understand this prophecy, will leave the city to be saved from destruction. Ezekiel dug a hole in Jerusalem’s wall in the middle of the day for all to see, and he took his belongings and left the city as if he is moving out (Ezekiel 12). Also, Jesus' comparison of the siege of Jerusalem with the signs of His second coming, represents another example of biblical history repeating itself. The prophet Hosea also prophesied with his actions and behavior. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute, and to have children with her, not because this was a good thing to do, but to demonstrate to the Israelites what He thinks of their ungodliness. The actions of the prophets were God’s call to repentance. In these cases, through the prophets Ezekiel and Hosea, God emphasized the actions of the prophets were a prophecy, but there are situations when God did not emphasize some events as a prophecy. For example, in the book of the prophet Jonah, God did not say events in Jonah's life were prophecies, but he expected people to recognize Jonah's life event as an important prophecy of death and resurrection of the Messiah. So, even when God did not emphasize the actions of the prophets as a prophecy, God expects us to apply this principle of Bible interpretation to other texts as well. Jesus even rebuked the Pharisees for not interpreting the events around the prophet Jonah as Messianic prophecy. If Jesus interpreted historical events as prophecies, then this is how God expects us to understand the Bible. Human interpretations very often contain errors, so the biblical message lose its meaning. Only if we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us, will we understand any biblical text correctly.
Abraham is a prophet! We know Abraham was a patriarch, one of the greatest heroes of faith in history. However, do you think Abraham was a prophet? If you read the Bible, you could easily think Abraham was not a prophet because he did not tell any prophecy. However, in a dream, God told King Abimelech to return Abram's wife "for he is a prophet" (Genesis 20:7). So, God personally claims Abraham to be a prophet. How do we understand this? How can Abraham be a prophet if he did not predict any future event? If we apply the principle that the actions of biblical characters are also prophecies, then everything fits together. Thus, Abraham's actions and events from his life are prophecies. In the book of Genesis chapter 22, God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son in a certain place that God had shown him. Abraham knew God considered sacrificing people a heinous and ungodly act. It would be incomprehensible to anyone to hear God asks a man to do something He considers immoral and wrong, something contrary to His holy character. However, Abraham knew that the God who created the world had a deeper reason why he asked him to do so, so he decided to obey even though he did not understand why he should do it. Abraham believed, if God created life from nothing in the beginning, He could easily resurrect Isaac. God already told Abraham, he will have countless offspring from Isaac, like sand on the seashore. However, there is also God's commandment not to commit a murder. What Abraham did not understand, is that God intended this historical event in Abraham's life to be one of the most significant prophecies to describe how God will atone for the sins of people who trust Him. The Apostle Paul stated Abraham is a hero of faith. What exactly means that “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”? James 2:23 In the historical event of offering Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham recognized God’s plan to offer Messiah as a sacrifice at the same place as Isaac, to cover the sins of people who trust their Creator. This faith justified Abraham before God. The word Abraham in Hebrew means "Father of nations", and the real Father of all nations is God. Our God decided to offer His son - the incarnate Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice to atone the sins of men. This historical event is a prophecy of how God wants to save people. Abraham's son Isaac is in fact a foreshadowing of Messiah. The place for sacrifice was Mount Moriah in the land of Moriah. In Hebrew, the word Moriah means "chosen by the Eternal," "seen by the Eternal (God)." At the same place, according to God's providence, Jacob had a vision of the heavenly ladder and angels climbing up and down the stairs, which symbolizes the Messiah who wants to reunite heaven and earth, God and men. The exact same place, God showed David that He wanted Solomon to build a temple there (2 Chronicles 3:1). Also, three days after God proclaimed His verdict for David’s sin, He commanded the angel to stop the punishment, at that same place where Abraham attempted to offer Isaac (2 Samuel 24:16, Great Controversy 14). As a direct fulfillment of this prophecy, at the same place where Abraham offered Isaac, the Messiah paid the ransom for the sins of all people, at the same place where all these historical events happened, and Jesus Christ was crucified. Abraham and Isaac are historical foreshadows of the crucifixion, a prophecy that God would allow His Son to die, so God can have the legal right to save people. The word Isaac in Hebrew means laughter, mockery. While He was on the cross, some people mocked Christ even though He was there to save all of us. They also mocked Him for calling God his Father, just as Isaac was mocked by his half-brother Ishmael. Isaac's birth was a miracle, because his father Avram was 100 years old, and his mother was too old to have a child. Likewise, the birth of Jesus was a miracle, because Jesus’ mother Mary was a virgin. If those details match, let us look at other details of this biblical event, to see how other details correspond. Abraham “took two of his young men with him”, just as two robbers were crucified next to Christ. Abraham and Isaac came to Mount Moriah on a donkey, and Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Abraham and Isaac traveled to the hill for three days, where the two young men stayed, while the father and son continued, just as when the Messiah was crucified, Jesus stayed in the tomb for 3 days, then ascended and came before the Father's throne, while the two robbers crucified beside him were not. Isaac himself carried the wood for the sacrifice, as Jesus himself carried his cross. Abraham raised the knife, but Isaac did not die from the father’s hand. Just as the Father turned his head away from Jesus on whom our sins rested, but Jesus did not die from His Father’s hand. Jesus died of pain from separation from the Father, not from the spear, just as Isaac did not die from the knife. Isaac did not resist being sacrificed, just as Jesus consciously surrendered himself to be arrested, He did not defend himself in court, and He did not perform a miracle to avoid His death on the cross. In both cases, God took care of the lamb for the sacrifice, as He had promised. Abraham prophesied about Messiah with the words, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." Genesis 22:8 The ram which Abraham sacrificed was entangled in thorns, as Christ was given a crown of thorns on Golgotha. The foreshadow was completely fulfilled when Isaac married the virgin Rebecca at the age of 40. A virgin is a symbol of God's church. The word Rebekah in Hebrew means "sheep," and Jesus said that He is a good shepherd who guards his flock, and He came as a groom for his bride. "So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, will give You thanks forever." (Psalm 79:13). Although Abraham did not write down or proclaim any prophecy, the events of Abraham's life are prophecies that describe very significant events from God's plan to save people.
The prophet Jonah as a foreshadow of Jesus Christ Imagine living in the Old Testament times, before the first coming of Christ. Suppose you have not read a single book of the New Testament. You read the book of the prophet Jonah, but you did not find any prophecy in it, except that God said He would destroy the Ninevites in 40 days, if its inhabitants did not repent. However, then you meet a person who applies the event from Jonah’s life to himself, and tells you, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40) In other words, He says that the events from the life of the prophet Jonah are in fact a prophecy for the death and resurrection of the Messiah - which means for Him personally. Would you trust him? If people did not know the New Testament, only a few would even today believe when Jesus Christ interpret the event from the prophet Jonah’s life as a prophecy for the Messiah. According to their rules of Scripture interpretation, the majority of priests, theologians, and Old Testament scholars even today would deny Jesus’ interpretation. They would not accept His claim as the proof for Him to be the Messiah. Theologians claim Jonah did not intend to write a prophecy, so Christ’s interpretation would be considered out of context, not according to rules of hermeneutics written by theologians with Ph.D., and it was just an ordinary event from Jonah's life. Jesus had no degree in theology, and if someone does not recognize Him as Messiah, that person would deny the way Jesus interpreted the Scripture. "Then the Pharisees answered them, ‘Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.’” John 7:47-49 To their surprise, God really spoke through laymen, through people not educated in their school, and intentionally avoided theologians because of their preconceptions and arrogance. "The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?" John 7:15, ESV. Some theologians did not dare to say Jesus was interpreting the Bible correctly, because majority believed traditional, incorrect interpretation, and threatened to expel from the synagogue everyone who accept Jesus as Messiah. In the essence, our choices in life could be summed up by one question: Do I trust only God or I believe what priests, or theology experts, or atheists say? Each of us will sooner or later be tempted to make a compromise to align with the majority, or to stay on God's side and be rejected by the majority. The only authority who really knows how to interpret the Scriptures correctly is God. He inspired the Bible, so Scripture should be explained by another Scripture. No matter how educated and intelligent they are, without the Spirit of God people cannot properly understand the Scriptures. So, who would you trust? Does a carpenter's son interpret the Bible better than someone who has a doctorate in theology? Who do you think God would rather reveal the truth to, a meek man of modest appearance, or a proud, respectable scientist who teaches religion at university? A pure and humble heart is certainly more precious to God than human unteachable pride. But in the eyes of the majority, it is often the opposite. Then the carpenter's son says the only sign God will give them to confirm He is the true Messiah, is if they interpret events from Jonah’s life as a prophecy He will rise from the grave after 3 days. This seems difficult to believe even with modern rules of interpretation, but the prophet Jonah gave us many hidden allusions about the resurrection in the text. This is how Jonah described how he was swallowed by the whale: “Out of the belly of Sheol (grave) I cried, and You heard my voice.” Jonah 2:2 Jonah, inspired by the Spirit of God, compared the belly of a whale to a grave! This was an obvious parallel Jesus was talking about. Jonah goes on to say: “Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight.” Jonah 2:4 Jesus was also rejected because He bore our sins and suffered instead of repentant sinners, “Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.” Jonah 2:5 Although He was in the tomb, He will look at God in the temple again. This sounds like a prophecy about the Messiah’s resurrection. “Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.” Jonah 2:6 Therefore, God will raise the Messiah from the pit, that is, from the grave. “When my soul fainted within me…” Jonah 2:7 The fainting of the soul is another allusion to the Messiah’s death. Then the prophet had his the most important statement: “Salvation is of the Lord.” Jonah 2:9 In Hebrew the word "Joshua" or Jesus in Greek means the Lord saves, or Salvation is in the Lord! So, Jonah literally wrote the name of Jesus here - Yeshua Yahweh - יהוה ישׁוּעה. Jonah accurately foretold everything in detail, even the fact Messiah will be called Yehoshua in Hebrew or Jesus in Greek. Jonah 2:9 The coincidences between the events of Jonah's life and Christ's sufferings are certainly not accidental. From today's point of view, it is simply unbelievable how educated theologians did not see a prophecy in this, while some ignorant fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds and farmers understood the Holy Scriptures better. Some educated people consider themselves offended if someone claims laymen can interpret the Bible better than they do. However, God does NOT expect us to prove how intelligent we are, but to allow Him to teach us what truth really is. Sometimes, laymen listen, while people with titles don’t. It is important to understand, that Jesus expected people to understand the book of Jonah this way. He said that those who do not interpret the Bible this way, will reject the Savior and salvation. So, this is not some less important doctrine, but it shows someone distrust God, and violates God's first commandment. Instead of trusting God, people trust someone else and put him in a place where only God should be. There are some other parallels between Jonah and Jesus. Jonah was thrown into the sea so that sinners from the ship would not perish. Jonah volunteered to suffer so the people on the ship can stay alive - the same thing Jesus did. He came to suffer, so others can have eternal life. “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you.” Jonah 1:12 Jonah had to be sacrificed to keep others alive. Jonah says: If you want to survive, throw me into the sea. Notice that Jonah did not jump into the sea on his own, but people were supposed to throw him into the sea. As sailors threw Jonah into the sea, the only legal way God could save people, would be if the Word of God, which created the World, take human nature, just to die innocent instead of repented sinners, as foreshadowed by the Jonah thrown from a ship into the sea. Sailors would die in the storm, but instead, they were saved because Jonah was sacrificed instead of them. If you are wondering how Jonah who fled from God can be an antitype of Jesus Christ, remember that Jesus in Gethsemane took upon Himself the sins of mankind, as Jonah took upon himself the sins of saylors. Jonah running away from God represents Messiah burdened by our sins, so the Father turned His face away from Him at the cross, foreshadowed by Jonah being thrown to the deep sea, where he was for 3 days, as Jesus stayed in His grave for 3 days. After being saved from the big fish, Jonah prophesied to Ninevites the destruction would come after 40 days, if they did not repent. The Ninevites repented and God forgave them. After being resurrected, Jesus sent his disciples to call the world to repent, the same as Jonah's message to the Ninevites: "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38) Jesus said the Ninevites who repented at the prophet's call would judge the generation which rejected the Messiah, because although Jesus himself called them to repent, most of them still rejected God's warning. Approximately 40 years after Christ's call to repentance, Jerusalem was destroyed, because it did not repent. Jonah was a sign to Messiah’s generation, and Jesus said He is greater than Jonah, and He is not a sign just for one city, but for the whole world. Nineveh repented, and after 40 days God forgave the city, while Jerusalem did not repent even after 40 years, so God had to condemn and destroy Jerusalem. Another similar detail is that Jonah was on the ship when the storm threatened to sink the ship. All the sailors prayed to be saved, while Jonah slept. Does that remind you of Jesus sleeping during the storm, while the apostles thought they would all perish? If this was the only similarity, we might think it may be a coincidence, but with so many other similarities, we can clearly see these two texts are parallel and God has a deeper message for careful readers. Look at the question sailors ask Jonah: “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” Jonah 1:6 Now, look at what the apostles ask Jesus who slept during the storm: “Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’" Mark 4:38 Both Jonah and Jesus were asleep, while the people on the ship in both cases are in mortal danger from the storm; In both events the people wake them up; the storm was supernaturally silenced and suddenly stopped; Then, they both call people to repent; and the test was 40 days and 40 years long. This event when Jesus supernaturally calmed the storm was foretold in another text in the Old Testament. Psalm 107:23-30 is a very precise prophecy about the storm on the Sea of Galilee which the apostles survived because of Christ's intervention. Let us now compare these two texts, prophecied storm calming in Psalm, and how Jesus calmed the storm: This psalm is about people “who go down to the sea in ships”, while Jesus and the apostles go down to the sea “in the boat.” Psalm describes people “on great waters,” and Gospel describes Jesus and the apostles in “a great stormon the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves.” While in the Psalm “Their soul melted away in [their] misery... Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,” in the Gospel the apostles cried to Jesus, “Save [us], Lord; we are perishing!” Notice that Jesus is identified here with Yahweh.
Parallels Psalm 107:23-30 Matthew 8:23-28
Those who go down to the sea in ships, 23When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.
Who do business on great waters; 24And behold, there arose a great stormon the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.
Their soul melted away in [their] misery. 27They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits' end. 28Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, 25And they came to [Him] and woke Him, saying, "Save [us], Lord; we are perishing!"
25For He spoke (God) and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; 28…And He brought them out of their distresses. 29He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. 26He (Jesus) said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.
30Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. 24They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. 27The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
Then he says in this psalm, “raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths.” However, God saved those on board, “…And He brought them out of their distresses. 29He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.” In the Gospel, Jesus is doing the same thing Yahweh did in the Psalm, "’Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” Then came the joy of the saved in both events, “30Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. 24They have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep.” Similar was reaction of the apostles, “The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’" Try to imagine the apostles who knew this psalm and saw this prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes. So many details coincided in detail in both events. This is not about common events which can easily coincide, but about two miracles with the same details. The people at sea were praying to God to save them from the storm, and God turned the wind into silence, calmed the waves and everyone rejoiced because their lives were saved. One would say the psalmist only poetically described his troubles. However, Jesus showed this psalm is a prophecy that He fulfilled in detail. Jesus' logic of interpreting prophecies is very unusual for some of us. People often forget God knows everything, He does not make mistakes, He does not say random sentences, but carefully plans. If God has inspired some text, it must have a deeper meaning from what appears on the surface. We are often unaware of our limitations and ignorance. Some people imagine they know much more than others, and they put themselves as a measure of truth instead of the omniscient God. People forget the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and human imperfect logic is not enough to understand the whole message of God's omniscient mind. A professor of theology and hermeneutics told me, according to his textbook, Jesus violated all the rules of interpretation of the Bible which theologians had established, and which they still believe today. This was a shock to me, because it means that if Jesus would preach to today's theologians among His followers, they would neither accept Christ's interpretations of the Bible. They consider human rules of interpretation as more accurate than the way Jesus interpreted the Bible. Theologians say Christ's interpretation is an exception to the rule, and only Jesus has the right to interpret the Bible against their rules, but we don't. Another possibility would be that Jesus interpreted the Bible this way because He gave us an example of how He wants us to interpret the Scripture. His interpretation of the Bible is a model for our understanding of other texts. Jesus even told the Pharisees, or theologians of His time, He would not give them any other sign, if they refuse to recognize the prophecies about the Messiah in the events from the prophet Jonah’s life. In the case of the Pharisees, this misinterpretation of Scripture directly influenced their rejection of the Messiah, and thus their salvation.
THE PSALMS ARE PROPHECIES! The majority usually do not expect psalms to contain prophecies. Psalms are a description of a person's state of mind, joy, or a trouble experienced by a writer. For example, David described his troubles when he was persecuted by his son Absalom (Psalm 3) or king Saul (Psalm 18). Many theologians still claim today, that if a Bible writer did not intend to write his text as a prophecy, then this text cannot be a prophecy. So, they would say David's troubles with Absalom and Saul would be just events from his life, not prophecies. If we try to interpret David's life events as prophecies, some theologians believe we would impose ideas which the writer of the text did not have on his mind. On the other side, if the writer of the Holy Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, even if he did not understand the depth of the text he wrote, the Holy Spirit could give the text multiple meanings that the writer did not comprehend. Thus, in addition to a description of David's life, the Psalms could foretell events related to God's people and the Messiah. Psalm 18 is very similar to the events of Revelation which describe the second coming of Christ. David describes the wicked who persecute God's people, and how God hears their cry and responds: "6b He heard my voice from His temple… 7Then the earth shook and trembled… 8Smoke went up from His nostrils… coals were kindled by it. 9He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness [Hebrew: dark cloud] under His feet. 10And He rode upon a cherub, and flew... 12From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire. 13The Lord thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice.” Psalm 18:6-13 All these details never happened in David’s life. When David was persecuted, God never shook the whole planet, did not let the devouring fire to come down from heaven, did not bow the heavens, and did not come down on a cloud, while coals of fire rain from the sky, while the voice of God is heard from heaven like thunder. The psalmist used poetic language, to describe the same events as in the prophecies recorded in Revelation: Jesus is coming on a cloud; (Revelation 1:7) the sky will recede like a scroll when it is rolled up (6:14) It will be a great earthquake; (6:12) “And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” (11:19; 16: 18-21) God's voice is “a loud voice, as of a trumpet…” “as the sound of many waters” (1:10, 15; 10:4; 12:10; 14:2; 16:1,17). All these similarities between the Psalms and the prophecies of Revelation, indicate the psalms also contain prophecies in the form of historical events. In another example, Psalm 22 vividly describes the troubles of the psalmist, but at the same time foretells Messiah's suffering for our salvation. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Jesus said this on the cross (Matthew 27:46) to remind people of Psalm 22, to consider why God left Him at this important moment. By quoting this Psalm, Jesus wanted people to be aware the Father turned His face away from Him, because He took on Himself our sins to save us. It is as if Jesus expects us to understand this psalm as a prophecy, and that we should ask ourselves why God turned away from Him. Those present at crucifixion should have seen what Christ endured to save us, as predicted in the Psalm, especially the separation from the Father. Jesus did not complain that God had forsaken him, but called people to recognize the fulfillment of the prophecy and the plan of salvation. Christ, therefore applied the poetic description of the events of David's life to Golgotha, and thus invited us to read Psalm 22 and look for other prophecies in the text. “All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ’He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him.’” Psalm 22:7,8. We see the fulfillment of this prophecy in Gospel: “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’” Matthew 27:39,40) “They pierced My hands and My feet.” Psalm 22:16 That is exactly what happened to Jesus. (John 20:25) “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:18 (This is fulfilled in John 19:24). “Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.” Psalm 22:12 The religious leaders of the nations fallen away from God and surrounded Christ. “Like a raging and roaring lion,” (Psalm 22:13) they open their mouths wide against Messiah. The apostle Peter explained who is the roaring lion: “The devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Thus, Jesus interpreted the Psalms as prophecies, even though it appears to be only a description of the events religious people had in the past. Jesus also applied the words “Into Your hand I commit my spirit” Psalm 31:5 - to himself when he was on the cross (Luke 23:46) David was not literally dying. He described his problems in a figurative sense, but Jesus said David’s words are actually a prophecy about His mission. David has shown his trust in God here, that even when he dies, his life is safe in God's hands. Under the wise inspiration of the Spirit of God, the text became a literally fulfilled Messianic prophecy. Psalm 2 is also a prophecy of the Messiah. The word Messiah or Christ means Anointed. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed… Yet I have set (anointed) My King on My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:2,6 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” Psalm 2:7 According to Luke, the Father figuratively gave birth to Jesus by resurrecting him: “God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” (Acts 13:33) “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:12 So, here again, David's life is foreshadowing Christ's anointing, …suffering, resurrection, and the day when God will judge all people. David also prophesied Christ will be anointing as the king: "You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." Psalm 45:7 It is prophesied that the Messiah will be anointed three times: 1) at baptism, He was anointed for the mission as the Savior, 2) before He was arrested, He was anointed for His death; And in the end, 3) He will be anointed to be the king who will rule the universe forever. Another Psalm – prophecy reads: "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ …’You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:1-4 Here God speaks to the Messiah and Christ fulfilled this prophecy after His ascension. He sat at the right hand of the Father, until his enemies are defeated. Here Jesus was described as performing the high priest ministry, so the psalmist says Christ is a priest according to Melchizedek, and not as a descendant of Aaron. The name of the priest Melchizedek means King of Justice. He reigned in Jerusalem. Hebrew word Jerusalem means city of peace. He was at the same time a king and a priest, which predicted Messiah will also be the righteous king and the high priest, our mediator in the heavenly court. Melchizedek brought bread and wine before Abraham, which Jesus used as symbols of His body and blood, given for our salvation. (Genesis 14:18) The Apostle Paul said Melchizedek is "without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually." Hebrews 7:3 ASV The psalmist indicates that the Messiah has no beginning, He has no human origin, and He is the true priest and king. So, as we have seen, many historical events from the Old Testament have been fulfilled in the life of Jesus, although the writers did not emphasize these events were a prophecy for the Messiah. Jesus confirmed the principle of the interpretation of the Bible, that Biblical events can represent prophecies. Many of these prophecies have already been fulfilled, so they prove that the Bible is indeed inspired by God, and that He wants us to interpret the Scripture this way also, for those prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled. We, as people guided by our limited understanding of reality, would not interpret these Biblical events as prophecies, but God does. This is the way God has revealed the future to us, even the events that are going to happen soon before the second coming of Christ. Jesus told us: "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Matthew 5:18
Biblical History as a Prophecy Based on all this, we can conclude that prophecies are God’s plans, details of what God plans to do in the future. The prophets in the Bible have openly stated some prophecies. However, some important prophecies are described as historical events, and many miss their symbolic message. The same applies to future events, which will not take place the way we think it will happen, but the way God described it in the Bible. All these interpretations could be understood by careful Bible readers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even before they occurred. To those who sincerely sought in prayer, God revealed the truth. Today, we need to see what is in the Bible written for us and for the time to come. If we follow the principles of the interpretation that God has revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures, our spiritual life will be determined by the truth and the direct advice of our Creator. Of course, great care must be taken not to interpret the Bible arbitrarily. The Bible interprets itself. Be meek and pray to God to reveal the truth to you. “Search from the book of the Lord, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.” Isaiah 34:16
This is the end of the part one. Look soon for the part two of the series at this channel: "Jesus Christ in the Prophecies of the Old Testament" Moses, David and Job as foreshadows of Jesus Christ Parallels between Joseph and Jesus Christ Do not trust people, trust only God.