“The Greatest Story Ever Foretold,” Ensign, Dec. 1991, 18
The birth, the ministry, the death, and the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ are beautifully foretold in Old Testament messianic prophecy. However, the passages may seem out of place when you try to view them in context. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve explained that “all of these biblical passages are either hidden in difficult contexts, have other matters interwoven with them which open the door to uncertainty as to their real meaning, or have a dual application; that is, they apply both to our Lord’s First Coming, when he was subject to mortal men, and to his Second Coming.” (The Promised Messiah, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, p. 81.)
In our time, however, “We have the advantage of hindsight in pondering the Messianic prophecies and seeing their fulfillment in the mortal ministry of the Son of God among men,” Elder McConkie explained. (Ibid., p. 3.)
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Abinadi taught the wicked King Noah and his priests about the mission of Jesus Christ by quoting the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. He had earlier asked: “Even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?
“Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
“Yea, and have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted?” (Mosiah 13:33–35.)
Yes, all of the prophets have testified of Jesus Christ, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10.)
The following scriptures have been arranged chronologically so that they tell the story of the birth, the ministry, the death, and the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Accompanying each prophecy is a messianic testimony recording that prophecy’s fulfillment.
Isa. 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Matt. 1:18: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
* * *
Ps. 2:7: “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
Born in Bethlehem
Micah 5:2: “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
Matt. 2:1: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.”
* * *
Isa. 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
D&C 65:4: “Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people.”
Luke 24:19: “Jesus of Nazareth … was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.”
Preparation for the Messianic Ministry
Isa. 53:2: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
John 1:46: “And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.”
Mark 6:3: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”
* * *
Isa. 11:2: “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
Luke 2:52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
Teachings of Christ
Ps. 25:8–9: “Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
“The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.”
Luke 5:31–32: “And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.
“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
* * *
Ps. 78:1–2: “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old.”
Matt. 13:34: “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.”
The Law Fulfilled
Isa. 42:21: “The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.”
Matt. 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
Ps. 89:8–9: “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?
“Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.”
Matt. 8:23–26: “And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
“And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
Bread of Life
Deut. 8:3: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”
John 6:35: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
Jer. 17:13: “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.”
John 4:14: “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Zech. 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
Mark 11:7–9: “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
“And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
“And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Conspiracy at Caiaphas’s Palace
Ps. 31:13: “For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.”
Matt. 26:3–4: “Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
“And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.”
Ps. 41:9: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
John 13:18: “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”
* * *
Ps. 55:12–14: “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
“But it was thou, a man … mine acquaintance.
“We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.”
John 13:21, 26: “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. …
“Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”
* * *
Zech. 11:12–13: “And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
“And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.”
“And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
“And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. …
“And the chief priests took the silver pieces, …
“And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in.”
Isa. 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Mark 15:3–5: “And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.
“And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee.
“But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.”
* * *
Isa. 50:6: “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
Matt. 26:67: “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.”
Ps. 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.”
Matt. 27:26: “And when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”
* * *
Ps. 22:18: “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”
John 19:23–24: “Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
“They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be.”
* * *
Ps. 22:7–8: “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
“He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”
Matt. 27:39–43: “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,
“And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
“Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,
“He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
“He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”
* * *
Ps. 69:21: “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”
Matt. 27:34, 48: “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. …
“And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.”
* * *
Ps. 22:1: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”
Matt. 27:46: “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
* * *
Ps. 31:5: “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”
Luke 23:46: “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”
* * *
Ps. 34:20: “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.”
John 19:32–33: “Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
“But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs.”
* * *
Isa. 53:9: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”
Matt. 27:38, 58–60: “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. …
“[Joseph of Arimathaea] went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
“And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth.
“And laid it in his own new tomb.”
Isa. 26:19: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
Mark 16:6: “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”
* * *
Ezek. 37:12–13: “Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
“And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves.”
Matt. 27:52–53: “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
“And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
3 Ne. 23:9–11: “Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
“And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
“And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?”
* * *
Isa. 43:11: “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.”
D&C 76:1: “Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior.”
* * *
Isa. 43:25: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
D&C 58:42: “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.”
* * *
Isa. 53:5–6: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
1 Pet. 2:24–25: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
3 Ne. 11:9–11: “And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
“And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.”
To the Nephites, the resurrected Jesus Christ declared, “The scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.” (3 Ne. 9:16) Just as the prophecies of Christ’s first coming were verified in every particular, we can be confident that all of the prophecies of his second coming will also be fulfilled.