When I was a young man searching for truth, I spent untold hours comparing different belief systems. I had been raised in Judaism, but as I compared what I read in Tanakh (The Hebrew Bible) with what I was seeing and experiencing in my synagogue community, I became a questioner. I sincerely wanted to believe in Judaism and the G-D of the Bible. In my search, I studied many of the religions, but my search for truth kept bringing me back to Judaism.
Judaism and the Hebrew Bible were a unique combination because the Hebrew Bible is the only book on which a faith was established that contains both prophecies and fulfilled prophecies. Many of these prophetic words were seemingly impossible when they were first spoken/written, and then were fulfilled hundreds of years later.
My coming to believe in Yeshua as Messiah was largely influenced by the hundreds of prophecies that were given concerning the Messiah that were fulfilled by Yeshua, including His place of birth and the vivid description of His death. If you haven't studied the more than 300 prophecies about Messiah completed in Yeshua’s life, I encourage you to take the time to do so, it will increase your faith in Him and the accuracy of the Bible.
These fulfilled prophecies allowed me to accept the writings of the New Testament and ultimately Yeshua as Messiah because I could only accept something as G-D breathed Scripture if it was entirely accurate. If there was one verse that was untrue, then I would have had to reject the entire text as false. The truth is that I didn’t just look at the New Testament’s accuracy in my search for truth; I also investigated the accuracy of the Tanakh.
I especially spent time going through the promises G-D gave within the text, searching for an actual fulfillment of those promises. A few examples are G-D’s promises that Abraham and Sarah would have a child of their own, Joseph’s brothers bowing before him, and Israel being slaves in Egypt for 400 years. Each which was fulfilled in the Bible just as G-D said. As I studied, I looked for any promise that G-D didn’t bring to pass in a physical way.
Now, I understand that many of the prophecies in the Bible have a spiritual or symbolic fulfillment also, but when G-D says something will happen, if it doesn’t happen, that would make the Bible inaccurate, and that would make G-D a liar, which would make G-D not G-D.
Shortly after I began my study, I came to a promise that G-D gave to Rebekah in Genesis 25:23:
23 Adonai said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from your body will be separated. One people will be stronger than the other people, but the older will serve the younger.”
As we read the words of this prophetic promise, we can point to parts of the promise that were fulfilled. We know that through Rebekah’s sons, her descendants became two nations: Israel and Edom. We also know historically that one people became stronger than the other. But, the last part troubled me. Where in the Bible do we find Esau, the older, serving Jacob, the younger?
This troubled me for a while because although these words do not seem to be the main focus of the promise, if the entire promise didn’t come to pass, then the Bible was not entirely and completely accurate. And if G-D made one promise that He didn’t keep, then how could we depend on Him to keep any of His promises? And if He broke any of His promises, then He no longer qualifies to be G-D. So, while this prophecy seems small and insignificant, in my heart, it was huge.
Thankfully, after a search of the Scriptures, I found the fulfillment only a few pages later in the Bible, in a verse that can be overlooked because it is part of a larger narrative. As we read in Genesis 33, we find Jacob returning to the Promised Land and meeting with Esau. We know Jacob is concerned because Esau has brought 400 men with him to this meeting. Esau and Jacob meet and forgiveness takes place and relationships are restored. It is during their dialog that we read Genesis 33:15:
15 Then Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What’s this? Let me find favor in my lord’s eyes.”
With this simple statement, Esau offers to become a servant of Jacob. Esau, who years before had threatened to kill Jacob, in these few words, offers to serve Jacob by providing men to help make Jacob’s journey easier. As we read, Jacob rejects the offer with grace, but with those few words, Esau, the older, became a servant to Jacob, the younger.
While this may seem insignificant to you, it is in its insignificance that it becomes significant. These few words, and so many other seemingly insignificant words, establish the truth and accuracy of the Bible. Because the Bible, G-D’s Word, is true and accurate, we can have complete faith in the G-D who spoke it and the Messiah that His Word promised.