On April thirteenth, 2019 Taylor Swift began a thirteen-day long countdown on her social media accounts. This countdown sent the world (or perhaps maybe just the Swifties) into a frenzy. The following thirteen days were fraught by cryptic clues from Swift in the form of what would turn out to be stills from her upcoming music release, and these spawned increasingly far-fetched fan theories about what they related to. This countdown culminated on April twenty-six with the release of her new single ‘ME!’ and, much to the pleasant surprise of her fans, the announcement of her seventh studio album.
Rumours about Swift’s next work had been swirling since October of 2018 with some fans who certainly partake in the wearing of tin-foil believing that photos of things as menial as palm trees had some significant link to the next album. Seemingly menial pictures of Swift and her mother playing scrabble became pivotal clues as people enhanced the image to try and find the hidden clues. Despite the frantic nature of their behaviour, the fans were right; Swift had been leaving breadcrumbs relating to this new release for months.
It turned out that Swift’s official 2019 calendar also had the day the countdown began marked as well as a few other dates on the thirteenth of each month (Swift fans are waiting in eager anticipation to find out what these dates relate to). On her social media accounts the amount of emojis she had included in some posts related to the number of days left until the release. It appears that being a Taylor Swift fan is immensely hard work! Swift herself has said that giving cryptic clues to her fans is her “love language”.
Pretty exciting, huh? Swift keeps her fans on the edge of their seats waiting for the next clue. The result of the latest countdown, however, received mixed reviews. Some fans are loving and others loathing or are impartial to the new music which signalled a change in direction for Swift.
The Ultimate Countdown
This exciting countdown has nothing on the one seen in the Old Testament of the Bible which lasts for over four thousand years. The countdown consisted of some not so cryptic clues littered throughout the Old Testament. You did not need to guess what the Old Testament was leading up to- scholars note that there are between 200-400 Messianic prophecies. The Old Testament tells the story of a God with a rescue plan for his people- a plan to send his people a saviour.
The countdown begins from the very beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis. Following the introduction of sin into the world, God reveals his plan. Genesis 3:15 talks of a wounded victor, an offspring of the woman who will “crush” the head of the serpent. The man does not walk away unharmed but is struck on the heel. This verse is telling of the victory that Jesus would achieve over death through his crucifixion. That amount of detail would be enough, but there are many more specific prophecies about the coming Messiah in the Old Testament.
In Isaiah 7:14 it says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This prophecy is fulfilled in Luke 1:35 with Mary, a virgin, been told that she will conceive.
The birthplace of the Messiah was also specified in Micah 5:2 where it says “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathath, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Jesus’ families time in Egypt, described in Matthew 2:13-15 is even predicted in Hosea 11:1.
Details about Jesus’ life are also disclosed including the fact that he would perform miracles (Isaiah 53:4), teach in parables (Psalm 78:2), be a shepherd (Isaiah 40:11) and have a triumphant entry to Jerusalem before his trial (Zechariah 9:9).
There are also incredibly specific details about Jesus’ betrayal by Judas including the price he was sold for (Zechariah 11:12) and how the money was used (Zechariah 11:13). Specifics of his trial are also recorded.
By far the most powerful of the predictions about Jesus relates to the details of his death. Both Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 give incredible details about this pivotal event in earth’s history. A study through the following text reveals parallels to Jesus’ life that cannot be ignored.
“He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.”
These are details that could not have been guessed. The likelihood of one man fulfilling just eight of these prophecies has been estimated by professor stone to be one in 1017. The prophecies about the coming Messiah in the Old Testament and their fulfilment in Jesus in the New Testament are powerful proof of the loving nature of God and prove the carefully planned far-reaching salvific plan.
I challenge you to dive into the greatest countdown ever seen on earth and see what other prophecies you can find in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the life of Jesus.
Unlike Swift, the clues provided in the Bible relating to the Messiah are precise and ultimately lead to something far more meaningful than the release of a new music single-salvation.