Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Everlasting Gospel, Part 4

Later, the prophet Balaam would predict the Coming One’s appearance as still afar off but certain. “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel,” Numbers 24:17. The prediction of the forthcoming star by Balaam may have been witnessed by the wise men from the East. They asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him,” Matthew 2:2.

This exalted One Balaam sees is above the earth, One from Heaven, and a King (the scepter indicates lordship) who will come out of Israel. This agrees with Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:10 about this same Seed who he calls Shiloh; He shall have the obedience of the people. Why is that? As Balaam points out, He shall be King. This same prophecy also elucidates the fact that the Seed will come from Judah’s tribe specifically.

Finally, in Moses’ day he speaks of another Prophet like himself that God will raise up. He will speak all the words of God in the name of God, and anyone who fails to hear and heed, it will be required of them, Deuteronomy 18:15-19. This was why in John the Baptist’s time the Jews inquired of him, “Are you the Prophet?” John 1:21. Note the specificity of the question; they wanted to know if John was THE Prophet that Moses predicted would come. Likewise during Jesus’ ministry the people said of Him, “Truly this is the Prophet,” John 7:40. In this case, at least, they were correct.

While the darkness of man’s sinful and seemingly hopeless state was being made known by the giving of the Law, the Messiah was also more clearly revealed, Romans 5:20. He was the Seed of the woman destined to bruise the serpent’s head; to this end He would suffer death, Matthew 1:20-23; Hebrews 2:9. He would be the Seed of Abraham from the tribe of Judah, Matthew 1:1-2. He would be a coming Ruler of the Jews, God yet man, Matthew 27:11, 37; Philippians 2:6-11.

The gospel was becoming clearer to the Jews. Yet the era of the prophets approached, and through them God would reveal His Son with many proofs, so that when Messiah arrived there could be no honest mistake about His person and purpose. The Holy Spirit (through the mouths of the prophets) would refine the details of the Messiah’s person, work, and timing to a degree that no other could hope to fulfill the criteria of, either ignorantly or intentionally. Importantly, God promised David that Israel will have their land in perpetuity, with a godly king to reign over them directly from David’s lineage, 2nd Samuel 7:4-17. While Solomon was in God’s mind as David’s successor, there was no way that he could fulfill the criteria of Nathan the prophet. Three times God informs David that his throne and kingdom shall be established forever during the days of this forthcoming King that would spring from his loins, 2nd Samuel 7:13, 16. Since Solomon’s reign endured merely forty years, he was disqualified from having fulfilled this prophecy; rather, Solomon was a glimpse of the kingdom glory that was yet to come. Yet the Jews understood it, since they said to Jesus during His ministry, “We have heard from the law (the Old Testament) that the Christ remains forever,” John 12:34.

David was inspired to write two Psalms that describe the majesty of the coming Seed’s kingdom and priesthood, Psalm 2; 110. David also wrote the Psalm that describes the violent death by crucifixion that awaited Jesus, Psalm 22. Isaiah wrote the “servant songs” as they are called; the greatest of these being chapter 53, which describes in vivid detail the ministry and purpose for the Messiah’s death. Daniel was given a heavenly vision that revealed the coming of Messiah the Prince; but that Prince, when He appeared would be cut off for the sake of others. The vision went so far as to define how much time would elapse between the command to rebuild Jerusalem until His appearance and dramatic death. The passage reads:

"Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself,” Daniel 9:24-26. Note that “Messiah” is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word “Christ” or Anointed One.

The countdown began in 445 BC, during the 20th year of King Artaxerxes of Medo-Persia, Nehemiah 2:1, 5-6. Nehemiah, the king’s wine bearer, asked permission to return to Jerusalem that he might rebuild the city, fulfilling Daniels’ requirements and putting the 69 weeks in motion. A week in this context is a Hebrew “heptad” or period of seven years, much like our decade. These prophetic years had twelve months of 30 days each. For instance:

“…they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to My two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days,” Revelation 11:2-3. The forty two months mentioned are three and one half years of 30 day months. 1260 days are equal to 42 months, if those months are 30 days each. Elsewhere we find still similar language:

“…that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred sixty days…where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time,” Revelation 12:6, 14. This 1260 days (42 months) is equal to a time (year) times (two years) and half a time (one half a year; or three and one half years of 30-day months).

“…in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month…the fountains of the great deep were broken up…at the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased…the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month,” Genesis 7:11; 8:3-4. There were five months from the beginning of the Flood until the ark rested on Mt Ararat, and those months were precisely one hundred fifty days. That is, five months that are 30 days long. These 360-day years are referred to by some as “prophetic years.”

In light of the prophetic years being used to determine the length of time from the command to build Jerusalem until Messiah’s advent, 483 years (or 173,880 days, which translates into 476.39 years of 365-days) brings us to the time of Jesus’ ministry; to the year of 30 AD and the beginning of His ministry in Judea. A detailed study of Daniel’s time-table reveals an amazing prophetic clock. Note that only 69 of these “70 weeks” have occurred (seven and sixty-two weeks, Daniel 9:25). The clock stopped with Christ, Messiah the Prince’s, death; the last “week” is future still. In this week Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel, and then break it three and one half years in, Daniel 9:27. Violent anti-Semitism will sweep the world during this final three and a half prophetic years, as Antichrist sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God, 2nd Thessalonians 2:4. The 70th week will unfold during the seven year Tribulation period, or the time of Jacob’s trouble: “Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it,” Jeremiah 30:7. God will begin to deal directly with the Jews again during the Tribulation (see Zechariah 14)…but that is a discussion for another time.
To be Continued.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ian for this Bible study for it is truly the Everlasting Gospel... Blessings. Lloyd


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