Prophecies About the Resurrection, Ascension, and Eternal Reign of Jesus
On Christmas Eve, we’ve finally reached the final lesson in our advent series for this year. We’ve been looking at Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus. As we work our way chronologically through the life of Jesus, this week we’ll focus on 10 prophecies about the resurrection, ascension, and eternal reign of Jesus. This category is pretty wide, as it accompanies everything that happened from the time of Jesus’ death to today and beyond. This is the part that truly shows the power of Jesus over sin and death.
For each prophecy, I’ll include the Old Testament prophecy, then I’ll give the New Testament passage that shows that the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. Each verse or passage will be linked to the chapter in which it appears in case you want to read more context for each pair. I will also add a bit of commentary with each one so you can more easily identify the prophecy given in the passage.
1. No Decay
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’
The Old Testament prophesied that even after his death, Jesus’ body would not see decay. This was one way the Scriptures looked forward to Jesus’ resurrection. If Jesus did not stay in the tomb but was instead resurrected, his body would not decay.
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Many different passages in the Old Testament refer to Jesus’ resurrection. Psalm 118 is one of those. The stories presented in the gospels bears this out. Jesus did not stay dead. He rose from the dead, just as the Old Testament Scriptures and just as Jesus himself promised.
3. Third Day
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
Not only did the Scriptures tell us that Jesus would be resurrected. It gives us the exact timeframe for his resurrection—three days. Jesus would only be in the tomb for three days before he would rise from the dead. Jesus himself predicted this in Mark 9:31.
When you ascended on high,
you took many captives;
you received gifts from people,
even from the rebellious—
that you, Lord God, might dwell there.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
It’s somewhat of a mystery how people travel from earth to heaven after death. But it wasn’t a mystery with Jesus. He ascended into heaven right before the eyes of his followers, as prophesied in Psalm 68. The story of Jesus’ ascension is in Acts 1.
5. Right Hand
The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, he took his rightful place at the right hand of God. This is where Jesus will rule forever and judge the peoples.
6. Holy Spirit
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
While Jesus was on earth, he told his followers to wait for him to send the Holy Spirit to them after his death and resurrection (John 16:7). The Old Testament prophesied that Jesus would pour out his Spirit on his people, and that Spirit was received on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
7. New Covenant
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.”
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
In the Old Testament, God established a covenant with his people, the Israelites. But he promised that a day was coming when he would establish a new covenant with his people. This new covenant came through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. That new covenant is in place even now. It is God’s covenant to all people that if we believe in Jesus, we will be saved through the forgiveness of sins.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.
Jesus is the cornerstone on which the Christian faith is built. Without Jesus, our faith would mean nothing. Although many people have rejected him, others will accept him and be part of his kingdom.
7 The Lord reigns forever;
he has established his throne for judgment.
8 He rules the world in righteousness
and judges the peoples with equity.
“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
Jesus has been given authority to judge the people with justice and equity. He judges as he sits on the throne at the right hand of God. We know that Jesus has this authority because Jesus is the one whom God raised from the dead.
10. Eternal Kingdom
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Jesus didn’t just come to earth for a short time to teach and perform miracles. His only purpose wasn’t just to die on the cross for our sins, although that is essential. He also came to establish his kingdom, a kingdom that will last forever. We can be a part of that kingdom if we believe in him and call on his name.
The prophecies about Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and eternal reign show us the ultimate purpose for Jesus coming to earth. He didn’t just come to die. He came to conquer sin and death for all eternity. Praise be to God!
If your favorite prophecy about Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, or eternal reign wasn’t listed, share it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
Have a very Merry Christmas! Take time to celebrate the King who came as a lowly baby, lived a perfect life, suffered death to pay the penalty for our sins, and now reigns forever!