The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Weekly Devotional 12-23-19 Was Jesus truly the Messiah? Yes!
The Old Testament of the Bible introduced the concept of a Messiah and the Savior of man. It predicted that an anointed One of God would usher in an era when all people of earth would live together harmoniously and righteously. It recorded that man being tempted by Satan disobeyed God ushering in sin (Genesis 3) and necessitated the need for this Messiah and Savior.
It has been 2,000 plus years since the last prophecy was given about that era of time, and many wonders if those prophecies were accurate or were, they just the hopeful thinking on the part of prophesiers. Turning to the New Testament, we read that about that same number of years ago (2,000 plus years), people began to say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation?” (2nd Peter 2:4). Well, He did come but was rejected. The prophet Daniel was told of this rejection by a messenger of the Lord (the angel Gabriel). From the book that bears his name, Daniel was told, “24 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. 25 ‘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. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself’” (Daniel 9:24-26).
Daniel and His people (The Israelite tribes of Judah and Benjamin) had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians about 605 B.C., and Daniel, in prayer, was questioning when that captivity would end. In answer, the angel Gabriel informed Daniel that it would be at the end of a 490-year period. (The seventy weeks of the announcement translates into 490 years). This 490-year period was segmented, and at the end of 49 years, the captivity ended and many of the Israelites returned to the Land, but they did not take full possession of it. Four hundred and thirty-four (434) years later, the promised Messiah was born in a manger in Bethlehem, grew to manhood, offered Himself to Israel as its Messiah, but was rejected and murdered just as Daniel had been told. This left 49 years of the 490-year period yet to be fulfilled. This is why there are many scoffers who say, “where is the promise of His coming.” We answer to them, God has not changed His mind or failed. He will do according to His decrees. In the interim, He is bringing to an end Israel’s transgression, making and end to her sins, making reconciliation for her iniquity, bringing in everlasting righteousness, bringing to an end visions and prophecies, and He will in the last days anoint the Most Holy. (Anointing the Most Holy may be a reference to establishing Jerusalem as the Capital of the World, or it may be a reference to establishing Jesus as King of kings and Lord of Lords)
Also, during this interim, God is calling to Himself other people, the church made up of Jews and Gentiles. We read from Romans 9:1-27, “1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”?
4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. 7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
8 Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.”
9 And David says: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always.”
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
Having said all of this, let us review a few of the many prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus first coming, that is, as a baby born of the virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit.
In order to fulfill Scripture Jesus was of Jewish descent and therefore was the seed of Abraham. In Genesis 22:18 we are told that through Abraham’s offspring “all nations on earth will be blessed.” Christians believe Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise. We also know that He is from the line of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. Numbers 24:17: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.” From Isaiah 11:1 we know He is from the line of Jesse, the father of King David: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will rest on him.” From Jeremiah 23:5-6 we know He is from the line of King David: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land … This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord our righteous savior.”
Reaffirming that Jesus is from the line of King David, we have this prophecy from 2 Samuel 7:12-13, which was actually spoken by Samuel to King David: “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” From the prophecy of Micah, 5:2 we know He was born into the tribe of Judah in the region of Ephrathah, in the town of Bethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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.”
From Isaiah 7:14 we know that He was born from a virgin: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanuel.” The name Immanuel means “God with us” and indicates the divinity of Jesus. That Jesus would be worshipped by shepherds from the desert, and that foreign kings would present gifts to Him is revealed in Psalm 72:9,10: “May the desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust. May the Kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the Kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts. May all Kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.”
When Jesus was born, King Herod slaughtered a number of children in an attempt to kill Him. This is predicted in Jeremiah 31:15: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” In response to this attempt on the life of Jesus, Joseph is warned in a dream to take Jesus to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died. This is predicted in Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”
These biblical prophecies are astonishing because of their accuracy alone. Yet, they become even more astonishing when we consider the unlikelihood of all of these prophecies being fulfilled … but they were!
Let the scoffer scoff, God is delaying enthroning Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords until He brings all to Himself that He has purposed so to do.
Have a wonderful Christmas