Special Study Articles

Special Study Articles

How Christ Fulfills the Old Testament

How Christ Fulfills the Old Testament

Tommy Peeler


Jesus’ Suffering and Death prophesied in the Old Testament 

Luke 24:25-27, 44-47 Jesus emphasized all that happened to Him was prophesied in the OT

Acts 17:2-3; 24:14-15; 26:22-23, 27 Paul proclaims that the Law and the Prophets foretold of what would happen to Jesus.


OT Passages Acts quotes or references as being fulfilled in Jesus 

Acts 2:25-28, 31- resurrection Psalm 16:8-11

Acts 2:30- God would place a descendant on the throne Psalm 132:11

Acts 2:34-35- ascended into heaven Psalm 110:1

Acts 3:22- A prophet like Moses Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19

Acts 3:25-26- The blessings of Abraham Genesis 12:3, 22:18

Acts 4:25-27- kings of the earth gathered against God and His Christ Psalm 2:1-2

Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29- dies on a tree Deuteronomy 21:22-23

Acts 7:55-56- Son of Man Daniel 7:13-14; right hand Psalm 110:1

Acts 8:32-33- suffering servant Isaiah 53:7-8

Acts 13:33- “You are My son” Psalm 2:7

Acts 13:34- sure mercies of David Isaiah 55:3

Acts 13:35-37- resurrection Psalm 16:10

Acts 13:41- a startling work Habakkuk 1:5

Acts 13:47-a light to the nations Isaiah 42:6; 49:6


If this were true, why were they not expecting a suffering Messiah? “The alleged allusions to a suffering Messiah in the scrolls (Dead Sea Scrolls) disappear under examination…There is no evidence that anyone in the first century expected such a figure, either in the fulfillment of Isaiah 53 or any other basis” John J. Collins, The Scepter and the Star, 126. 


The disciples’ reaction to His teaching about His approaching death and resurrection show this was not part of their concept of the Messiah- Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33; Matthew 17:9; Luke 9:43-45


Christ, on the cross, quoted Psalms

Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 quotes Psalm 22:1

Luke 23:46 quotes Psalm 31:5

John 19:28-29 seems to summarize Psalm 69:20-21

Psalm 69 quoted in the New Testament

69:4 (and 35:19) hated me without cause- John 15:25

69:9 zeal for his house has consumed me John 2:17

69:9 reproaches of those reproached you- Romans 15:3

69:21 in John 19:28-29

69:22-23 imprecatory prayer in Romans 11:8-9

69:25 applied to Judas in Acts 1:20


Psalm 69 is not exclusively about Christ: The title of Psalm 69 identifies the Psalm with David. He pours out his grief for his suffering: “Wept” 10; wears sackcloth 11; he is mocked by all from the highest to the lowest 12. He experiences “reproach” 19, 20, “shame” 19, “dishonor” 19 and there were none to comfort- 20; He suffers for the LORD’s sake: It is “for Your sake” 7; “zeal for Your house” 9; “Reproaches of those who reproached you” 9

69:5 the writer acknowledges sin and the NT constantly affirms His sinless nature- Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16. The writer is a sinful human being who seeks to love and follow God but his experiences foreshadow the greater experiences of the ultimate innocent sufferer, Jesus.


This gives us a way to look at the OT. All the innocent sufferers of the OT foreshadow Him. 

The LORD said of David “Anoint him”- I Sam 16:12 and Samuel “anointed him” I Sam 16:13. The word “anointed” is the Hebrew term from which we get the term “Messiah.” However, being the Messiah does not exempt him from suffering, Saul hounds him and seeks to kill him- I Sam 18:6- 27:4. David’s experiences of suffering as God’s anointed foreshadow the sufferings of the ultimate anointed One, Jesus. 


Psalm 31 Psalm of David. Verse 5 is quoted from the cross but notice verse 10.

Psalm 41 Psalm of David. Verse 9 is applied to Judas but notice verse 4


Acts 7: All the righteous sufferers of the Old Testament foreshadow Him

7:9 Joseph’s brothers rejected him- Genesis 37

7:23-28 The Israelites rejected Moses in Egypt- Exodus 2:11-14

7:39-41 The Israelites rejected Moses in the wilderness- Exodus 32:1, 23

7:51-52 They rejected the prophets- I Kings 19:10, 14; Nehemiah 9:26


Job: the ultimate innocent sufferer in the OT

Job 16:10 slapped Matthew 26:67

Job 16:11 mocked Matthew 27:39

Job 16:11 God hands him over to evil men Matthew 17:22-23

Job 17:6 spit on him Matthew 26:67

Job 29 Job was the most respected of the respected- Philippians 2:5-8

Job 30 Job was most despised of the outcast- Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32

While Job’s sufferings are not specifically quoted and said to foreshadow Christ’s suffering, his suffering foreshadows the death of Christ. The use of other portions of the OT shows this is a valid way to see Job’s suffering.


All of the righteous sufferers of the Old Testament foreshadow Him

Abel- Gen. 4; Mt 23:35; Lk 11:51; Heb. 12:24

Isaac- Gen. 22; Rom 8:32

Joseph- Gen. 37; Acts 7:9

Moses- Exodus 2:11-14; 32:1, 23Acts 7:23-28

David- I Samuel 18:6- 27:4

Naboth- I Kings 21

Job- Job 16:10-11; 17:6

Jeremiah- Jeremiah was beaten- 20:1-6; imprisoned- 32:6-9, mocked and hated- 15:10-11; led as a lamb to the slaughter- 11:19

All the Prophets- Luke 11:47-51; Acts 7:51-53

They may have missed this because they were focusing on passages that spoke of the Messiah as a conquering king- Psalm 2:7-9; Jeremiah 30:8-9. But they failed to see the passages that talk about the Messiah as a suffering servant. It was through His suffering and resurrection that He conquered the ultimate enemies of sin and death.