The Bible is about Jesus Christ—Jesus, THE Christ, the MESSIAH. The Bible has a LOT of information that is hard to understand (including plenty I don’t understand myself). But here’s a handy summary of some of the major signs to look for when you read the Bible—the pointers to Jesus the Messiah and to the nature of the salvation that comes through Him.
Photo by Ryk Neethling
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: ADAM and EVE
- God created us good. God’s commands are to be obeyed. One act of disobedience is enough to separate us from God.
- The shame of sin cannot be covered by our own works; God must act to cover the shame of sin; a sacrifice is required to cover the shame of sin.
- The seed of the woman shall defeat Satan and save mankind from the sin of its first parents. When he is tempted as Adam was, he will not sin as Adam did.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: ABEL
- Sin is for real; sin is a big deal. The sacrifice that pleases God is a blood sacrifice.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: NOAH
- God is holy, and must punish sin. God is merciful, and gives us a way of escaping from sin. The way of escape requires us to believe what God says, and to obey what God says—to act on that belief.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: ABRAHAM
- Through the seed of Abraham all nations shall be blessed. God’s promise to Adam to redeem his progeny from sin will be fulfilled through Abraham.
- “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 NIV).
- The seed of Abraham is born of God’s promise, not by human efforts.
- God will make a nation of Abraham, and they shall inherit the promised land of Palestine.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: ISAAC
- God demands sacrifice for sin. God also provides the sacrifice.
- Isaac asks, “Where is the lamb” for the forgiveness of sins. Abraham prophesies, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” for the forgiveness of sins (Genesis 22 KJV).
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: MOSES
- Sin against God is punished. God’s people are spared from punishment for sin, yet not because they do not have sin—for in fact they do have sin. God’s people are spared from punishment for sin because THE LAMB is sacrificed in their place.
- The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the I AM.
- He gives us the Ten Commandments.
- Some day a prophet like Moses shall arise. Heed him. Obey him.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JOSHUA
- God’s people are not able to fulfill the law of Moses (Joshua 24).
- Moses could not bring his people to the promised land. The fulfillment of this promise to Abraham can only be completed by YESHUA/JOSHUA/JESUS.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: GIDEON and SAMSON
- God’s Spirit comes on some of the leaders of his people, and they are thereby enabled to carry out his work. But the Spirit only comes temporarily.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: RUTH
- Those who sin against God are found guilty in God’s lawcourt.
- All who seek refuge in the God of Israel may find redemption there. To seek refuge there is to adopt a changed way of life, a commitment to live life God’s way.
- The changed way of life does not accomplish our redemption. God orchestrates the redemption. Those who are redeemed are found innocent in God’s lawcourt.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: DAVID
- The throne of David shall be eternal. From David shall come a king to reign over God’s people.
- God has appointed a son to judge the world in His name. Embrace him, for there is mercy with him and with God for those who embrace him; “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” Yet beware his just wrath (Psalm 2, ESV).
- God’s servant suffers. His hands and feet are pierced. People gamble over his clothing. Because of him all the nations of the world shall return to God (Psalm 22).
- “The LORD is my shepherd.”
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: ISAIAH
- The virgin shall be with child. IMMANUEL—”God with us”—shall be a sign for the redemption of God’s people.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: EZEKIEL and JEREMIAH
- The heart of man is sinful beyond understanding. God himself will make a new covenant with His people, and will give them a new heart.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JONAH
- A prophet is in darkness for three days. His teaching is a sign of hope for the Gentiles, a message of repentance for the forgiveness of their sins.
- God rebukes the proud Jew who thinks his genetic heritage automatically ensures favor with God.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JOHN THE BAPTIST
- Behold: Jesus the cousin of John is the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of THE WORLD!
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JESUS, THE CHRIST/MESSIAH COMES INTO THE WORLD
- The virgin is with child. The redemption of God’s people is near!
- He is the child of promise, the seed of Abraham.
- He is called YESHUA/JOSHUA/JESUS, because HE HIMSELF shall save God’s people from their sins.
- He is the legal son of Joseph, the son of David, the shepherd-king out of Bethlehem, the eternal heir to the throne of David, to kingship over God’s people.
- He is the virgin-born, the seed of the woman; in the desert he is tempted, like Adam. Unlike Adam, he does not sin.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JESUS, THE CHRIST/MESSIAH ACTS
- He makes the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the mute speak.
- He drives out of the temple those who have corrupted the worship of God.
- He calls twelve apostles to follow him, to be fishers of men. He tells them he is the Messiah. He tells them that they will manage God’s people in his name.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JESUS, THE CHRIST/MESSIAH TEACHES
- He teaches as one who has authority, and not as the teachers of the law (Mark 1:22).
- He explains how God’s requirements are impossible for us to meet; it is not enough for us to obey the letter of the Ten Commandments of Moses: The heart must also be in conformity with them. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5, ESV).
- He says, “I and [God the] Father are one” (John 10, ESV). He says, “Before Abraham was born, I AM” (John 8:58, various translations).
- He says the sign of Jonah shall be given to this corrupt generation. The Messiah shall be in the earth for three days. God rebukes the proud Jew who trusts in his genetic heritage for favor with God. The corrupt Pharisees and Sanhedrin are on their way out; God’s people will be placed under new management.
- He says, “I am the good shepherd.” He says, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” He says, “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again” (John 10, ESV).
- He says he shall eventually go, but will send you another Comforter/Advocate, who will remind his apostles of what he has said.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JESUS, THE CHRIST/MESSIAH DIES FOR OUR SINS
- He dies on the Cross. He is buried. On the cross he quotes the beginning of Psalm 22, showing that it is really about him.
- He is dead, dead, dead: dead as a doornail. Roman soldiers don’t crucify people and let them live.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JESUS, THE CHRIST/MESSIAH IS RAISED FROM THE DEAD
- On the third day, He returns bodily from the grave.
- He is seen by Mary, the apostles, two on the road to Emmaus, James his brother, and later by more than 500 at once.
- HE is alive. Thomas, his disciple, touches the nail marks.
- He is alive, alive, ALIVE! He eats fish to prove it. Ghosts don’t eat fish.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: PENTECOST
- The promised Comforter/Advocate, the Holy Spirit, arrives. The apostles of the Christ are given gifts—miraculous signs to confirm that their message is from God.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: PAUL
- Jesus is the second Adam. His righteousness has more power for our good than the sin of Adam had power for our evil.
- The seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ.
- Abraham did not make himself right with God by good works that earned him righteousness. Abraham was made right with God by faith.
- We, like Abraham, are made right with God by faith, thanks to Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for our sins” on the cross (Galatians 1:4, ESV). The legal charges against us for our sins are nailed to the cross.
- The Resurrection is a sign that those who are in Christ are made right with God.
- In the Resurrection Jesus triumphed over death.
- We can KNOW these things because they are historical facts, attested by many witnesses.
- The true people of God are those who are in Christ, whether they are in Christ and in Moses or in Christ alone.
- The apostles have the authority of Christ over God’s people.
- The Holy Spirit of God has been sent to remain with God’s people as a guaranty of the coming completion of their redemption.
- God’s people must live by this Spirit, and not in their old sinful ways.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JAMES
- Salvation is by works and not by faith alone. It’s NOT that we can do enough good deeds to outweigh our sin and thus earn God’s favor. It’s just that a true faith is accompanied by works. Belief without commitment is simply hypocrisy. Faith must show itself in works, in a changed life.
THE SIGNS OF THE CHRIST: JOHN
- We all have sin. Jesus Christ the righteous one and the son of God is our advocate. He has paid for our sins. If we confess our sins we have forgiveness in him. But we must repent and walk in the light, as he is in the light: No one who continually sins has fellowship with Christ.
- God is love.
- Love one another.
- The Christ shall return to earth and reign as king over all creation.
Dr. Mark J. Boone is a teacher and researcher in philosophy, especially the history of philosophy, primarily the ancient and medieval eras, writing his dissertation on Saint Augustine. Dr. Boone is the Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Forman Christian College. Mark is an occasional book reviewer for the journal Augustinian Studies and has written articles dealing with Plato, William James, theology and the arts, and religious epistemology. In some of his precious little spare time Mark makes animated cartoons based on famous speeches and dialogues in the history of philosophy, available on YouTube and Vimeo under the username TeacherofPhilosophy.