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In Psalm 22, David laments his life-threatening circumstances. He was in danger from enemies (verses 20-21) and perhaps in the midst of severe illness (see verse 17). Yet in Psalm 22 he uses words that directly foreshadow the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, although he may not have fully understood what he had written.
The Nelson Study Bible comments as follows: "The language David uses to describe his own predicament is prompted by the Holy Spirit. Thus it could span a thousand years to describe precisely the experiences of the Savior Jesus—both His excruciating death and victorious resurrection" (Nelson Study Bible, introductory note on Psalm 22).
In Psalm 22 we find a cluster of the clearest and most detailed prophecies concerning the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Only God could inspire a prophecy and bring it to pass 1,000 years later. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all describe aspects of the events mirrored in Psalm 22. There are at least 12 details recorded in this psalm that match the Gospel accounts, a few being Christ’s pierced hands and feet (Psalms 22:16; John 20:25-28), the words spoken by those who killed Him (Psalms 22:7-8; Luke 23:35) and even Jesus’ last words (Psalms 22:1; Mark 15:34).
The prophecies of Christ’s scourging, the tearing of His flesh, mocking, prolonged agony and slow death were all clearly fulfilled. Also, God foresaw the custom for soldiers at an execution to divide the clothes of the prisoners among themselves, centuries before Rome existed!
Jesus had known how He would die since the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Psalm 22 describes the destiny of Christ as the “Passover Lamb” whose sacrifice pays for the sins of all who repent. No wonder He prayed in agony the night before these events took place (Matthew 26:36-42).
After His resurrection, Jesus expounded the prophecies that had just been fulfilled to His disciples (Luke chapter 24). Once they understood what they had witnessed they became unshakably convinced of the future complete fulfillment of God’s wonderful prophetic promises.
When we realize the absolute control and power God displayed by fulfilling Psalm 22 and many other prophecies, then we must acknowledge the fact that every prophecy still to come will occur exactly as God stated. The book of Revelation contains strong statements about Jesus Christ coming with power and might (Revelation 19:11-21). He will come and overthrow all who oppose Him. Nothing can stop or deter Him.
Since Psalm 22 is so explicit, could we mistakenly think that these future prophecies are any less explicit? Prophecies are given with the hope that humans will stop and consider—and then repent. God does not rejoice in the suffering, punishment and death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). We are told that if we knock, it will be opened, and if we seek, we will find (Matthew 7:7). God wants us to consider the prophecies He has inspired and choose life.
Virtual Christian Magaxine (Apr-May, 2005)