Jesus Fulfilled The Law Part II

Jesus fulfilled Old Testament Law and Prophecies, He did not abolish them

Jesus and the Law artist unknown

Matthew 5:17–20

 

17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (KJV).

 

Hebrew Bible Textl – Jewish Related Item

Jesus made some statements in the Sermon on the Mount addressed to the Pharisees that would be in sharp contrast with the Old Testament Law. Even though the fundamental Law was the 613 commandments within the Torah, the common understanding ofit expanded to the entire Old Testament by the time of Jesus’ first advent. During the early Second Temple period the religious authorities had left Old Testament Mosaic Law in favor of Rabbinic Judaism. Rabbinic Judaism is based on a man-centered philosophy. It also tied people up with so many conditions and rules there was no way a Jew could ever fulfill them. It would have been easy to conclude that Jesus wanted to abolish the Law that had been given through Moses, but Jesus assured his listeners that He had no such intention.

He fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament by doing what those prophecies said the Messiah would do. He also “filled up” the law by pouring into it the meaning that had been forgotten by the teachers of Israel. This is what the Sermon on the Mount was teaching, that is, the intent of the Law. He applied the Law to thoughts and motives as well as to actions.

He also fulfilled the Law by accomplishing what the Law had failed to do. The Law revealed the standard of righteousness that God expected. The Law also revealed to people their sinful state and let them know that they were sinners, and their efforts were insufficient to earn eternal life (Romans 3:19, 20). The Law pointed out the need for a Savior, thus it served as a means “to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). When we come to Christ, the Law’s purpose is fulfilled; “we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (Galatians 3:25).

In Matthew 5:18, Jesus was saying that not even the tiniest part of the Law would be removed or discarded “from the law, till all be fulfilled”. This occurred when Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The Gospel replaced the Law which is the “good news”. God was now reconciling the world to himself through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19).

Jesus fulfilled the Righteousness God demanded

Jesus’ words highlight one of the principle functions of the Law and that was to reveal the righteousness that God demanded. God’s people under the old covenant owed their undivided obedience to the Law given from God through Moses, but Christians are under the divinely revealed Gospel.

Because the Sermon on the Mount was directed to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, it is not easily discerned two thousand years later what a bombshell these words were to the people who heard Jesus speak them. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were considered to be the people who kept the Law most precisely. It was difficult to understand, even in that day, how anyone’s righteousness could ever surpass theirs.

Since the Pharisees followed a man-made law, which was developed in the four hundred years before Jesus appeared, it was not of God. These individuals followed their Rabbinic law consisting of giving, praying, and fasting purely for show:

False Piety artist unknown

Matthew 6:1–8

 

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. 5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (KJV).

They claimed to possess a great devotion to the law, but their true devotion was to themselves, their prestige, and their traditions. In much of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew chapter 5, Jesus contrasted the Old Testament Law and with the religious leaders of His day with His own teaching on a variety of subjects. In every instance, Jesus taught that sin and righteousness are found in one’s thoughts and motives as well as in one’s actions. To recognize this is to follow after the kind of righteousness that surpassesthat of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. The next section of Scripture examines a portion of this teaching found in Matthew chapter 5:

Matthew 5: 38–42

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away (KJV).

In verse 38, the command of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” was part of God’s law (Exodus 21:23, 24; Leviticus 24:19, 20; Deuteronomy 19:16–21). It provided for the equal punishment of wrongdoing. It was meant to provide a punishment that fit the crime, nothing more or nothing less and no vengeance was to be taken. Its purpose was to limit acts of personal vengeance and thus to prevent bitter feuds from escalating into something worse.

In verse 39, Jesus made an assertion of divine authority. Whatever the letter of the Law said, God’s true will for man was now being revealed directly by His Son. A “smite on the cheek”, or a slap, was done to insult someone more than injure him. The essence of His teaching was the believer’s personal responseto personal insults and injuries. He was not abolishing law and order or the protection of the weak and helpless from cruel treatment by criminals. He was presenting the appropriate response to an insult by having the civic authorities handle the situation regarding preventing and punishing crime (Romans 13:1–4).

In verse 40, The “coat” was a tunic or the undergarment worn in the time of Jesus. If someone wants to be unjust enough to try to legally take your “coat” then “let him have your cloak as well”—your more costly and public outer garment. He was saying that it is inappropriate to be bitter or angry, even when you are treated unjustly. But rather show your attitude of goodwill by giving more than your adversary demands. This also does not mean that Christians are to be “doormats,” allowing people to take advantage of them. It means that Jesus wants his people to be more concerned about relations with others than with their personal rights.

In the first century Rome occupied Israel, Roman soldiers were authorized to draft a civilian at will to carry his pack for a “mile”. If a civilian cursed the solider or complained, he probably would be beaten. Verse 41 instead encouraged them to go along cheerfully and do even more than what was required.  This attitude and action would disarm any hostility and promote goodwill. From this teaching of Jesus comes the familiar phrase, “going the second mile.”

In verse 42, common sense and even love for others must qualify our response to someone who asks us for something. We should not give to people who will abuse our generosity. If a person who has a drinking problem asks for money so he can buy more liquor, we must deny that request. We are not obligated to give what is asked for. Sometimes the requests are made from people who have the responsibility to provide, but do not want to, and react with inappropriate behavior instead. The ideal presented here is that of helpfulness and generosity. One is not to develop a callous heart toward genuine needs, but neither is a person to grant another’s requests indiscriminately.

Jesus fulfills Gods command to Love our Neighbor

 

The Good Samaritan by Jan Wijnants cir 1670

Matthew 5: 43- 48

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect (KJV).

“Love your neighbor”was plainly written in the Law (Leviticus 19:18). In contrast, “hate thine enemy”is not specifically stated anywhere in the Law. Even so, God’s people sometimes were ordered to destroy entire nations of enemies, killing men, women, children and animals without mercy (Deuteronomy 7:2; 1 Samuel 15:3). Many Jewish teachers interpreted such commands as orders to hate one’s enemies. The Greek word for “love” in verse 43 isagape, and Jesus uses it here to refer to unselfish goodwill in action. Jesus’ followers must not only refuse to harbor enmity toward their enemies, they are told to seek what is in their best interests and to pray for them. This is certainly possible but is very difficult.

It is also important to recognize who Jesus considered our neighbor. In the Old Testament the word appears in four different Hebrew forms. They are Strong’s #’s 5997; 7138; 7934; 7453; 7468. In the New Testament there is only one form in the Greek. It is Strong’s # 4139. Generally, the various Hebrew forms refer to someone that is extremely close to you. The Jewish usage of the term neighbor always means any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth, that is, another Israelite. It can also refer to a brother, lover, companion, friend, or husband. Some forms include a general member of the human family, or a person that lives in close proximity or even sometimes an enemy. The Greek usage is similar, but with only one word it does not have the individual subtle usages found in the Old Testament Hebrew.

The verses which exemplifies its usage the most is found in the book of Matthew. In the following section of Scripture, the Lord is responding to a challenging question from one of the lawyers trying to trap Him in a theological debate related to the Mosaic Law:

Matthew 22: 35-34

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (KJV).

Here Christ is referring them back to the Mosaic Law in Leviticus 19:18 where the “neighbor” is narrowly defined as another Jew:

Good Samaritan by Rembrandt cir 1630

Leviticus 19:18 

” ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD (KJV).

The New Testament was written by and first given to the Jews. In fact, Christ made the declaration early in His ministry that He had come only for “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6; 15:24). Paul tells us that the Gospel is to go to the Jew first, and then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16). It is important to consider the Jewish roots of Christianity in order to properly understand the Biblical text. Stephen in his dissertation to the High Priest in the book of Acts uses the term “neighbor” to mean a fellow Hebrew, and the King James Version uses the word “brethren”:

Acts 7:24-25

24And seeing one [of them] suffer wrong, he defended [him], and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: 25For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not (KJV).

Here Stephen is speaking of Moses’ attempt to defend another Jew against an Egyptian and calls the Jew a neighbor. Fellow Christians are referred to as “neighbors” in the New Testament (Romans 15:2; Ephesians 4:25; James 4:11-12). This is consistent within the context of Jesus referencing Leviticus 19 while talking about fellow Christians meaning other Christians are “neighbors”. Christ in the same passage of Matthew told the lawyers that we must love God first and then love our neighbors the same way we love ourselves. We must consider the context also of Christ’s commandment to love one another as related in John’s gospel:

John 13:34-35 

34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (KJV).

As Christians we are commanded to have a love for one another. This is consistent with Christ’s usage of loving our neighbors in Matthew 22:39. Here He narrowly defines the love we are to have for “others” is to be first be directed to others in the Body of Christ. Those “others” who are outside the Christian community will see our special relationship to God. The apostle John captures this subject in his first epistle. He demonstrates that a true believer loves “the brethren”, other believers, otherwise stated as our neighbors:

1 John 3:14-16 

14We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death. 15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren (KJV).

This follows directly from the Matthew passage in that Christ said the first commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second as mentioned is to love your neighbor the same way you love yourself. This is not a commandment to engage in loving oneself. He knows that with the sin nature still in us we already love ourselves. The sin nature obviates the need for this commandment.

Neither do these passages refer to us loving, in a humanistic sense, the whole world’s population. The love that Christians should have for each other is to mark us as Christ’s disciples. If the commandment to love others were to the general population then there would be nothing significant about the passage in John 13. We are commanded to love other believers. That is real believers, not pretenders or those that hate us. They that hate us are depicted as being non-believers in the 1 John passage. Notice that we are not commanded to hate back. In fact, Christ tells the listeners of His Sermon on the Mount to love those that hate and curse you (Matthew 5:43-44). What does that mean? It is important to realize the nature of Christ’s statement so as not to confuse it with the passages commanding us to love other believers.

Jesus teaches His sermon on the mount

The Sermon on the Mount is Christ’s explanation of the standard of righteousness, which  God demanded, put in contrast with the Pharisaic interpretation of the kind of righteousness, which the Law demanded. The Pharisees interpretation was treating the Levitical passage as license to hate everyone that was not a Jew and particularly not a Pharisee. The Mosaic Law never intended this commandment to be carte blanche to hate any enemy. Rather, the Mosaic Law was given in the sense that one must love God and love those whom God loves, and conversely hate those who God hates. As an example, God hated the Canaanites because of their extreme wickedness and He commanded the Jews to exterminate them. Therefore, the Old Testament commandment was never meant to hate individuals through personal animosity or enmity.

The proper interpretation is to hate what God hates and love what God loves. God hates sin and we must hate sin. As far as loving our neighbor, we must first love other believers. We are not commanded to hate those that harm us or do not believe. We are to extend our love to the unbelieving community in that we would like to see them become children of God as we have become. All people are made in the image of God and a have worth. We should treat them with respect and concern. The love Christians have for each other is unique and a special living testimony to our connection to the Lord Jesus and the salvation that He has given to us.

Jesus pointed out that God gives numerous blessings to all people everywhere, even though they do not recognize Him as the source of these blessings. In fact, many live in defiance of His will for man, following what is evil and unrighteous. The patience and kindness of our Father in heaven should be a constant rebuke of others when in our flesh, we would prefer to retaliate.

There is nothing unusual about responding to good treatment with a good disposition. Even people who lack any kind of spiritual depth (pagans) can express gratitude to those who have treated them kindly. Jesus expects his followers to do more than others. The Christian is to go beyond what would normally be expected. In Matthew 5:48, the Greek word translated “perfect”means “complete” or “mature.” It indicates the complete development or final form of anything. The text is talking about such matters as loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We can and ought to love all those whom God loves, and we ought to do good to them as we have opportunity (Galatians 6:10). Loving our neighbors means we would like them to become believers. It does not mean we affirm or join in to their pagan practices. 

The Sequence of Our Love

The sequencing of our love is to be:

  1. First, our primary love is to be directed to God.
  2. Second, our love is directed to other believers. We are to love those people first that God loves and realize that other Believers (Christians) are our neighbors.
  3. Third, our love is to be directed to those outside the church that need our assistance.
  4. Finally, we are to hate sin, and are to offer God’s love to sinners in hope that God will choose to save them. This stage is only after we have offered love and assistance to other believers. We are not commanded to first offer God’s love to those outside the church.

 

Daniel E Woodhead

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Damascus Became a Ruinous Heap

DAMASCENE PROPHECIES

Assyrian Besiegers

Isaiah 17:1-3

1The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap. 2The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 3And the fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith Jehovah of hosts (ASV, 1901).

This prophecy of Damascus, Syria is titled a burden or in the Hebrew a “massa.” This is a heavy, heavy set of declarations on this city. At the time Isaiah wrote this oracle against Damascus the Northern ten tribes of Israel had allied with Syria called Aram in the Bible. Because Assyria had threatened the Southern Kingdom of Judah God spoke through Isaiah the prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah assuring them that Damascus would become a ruinous heap (Hebrew Mapala) and not a threat. This conquering and despoiling was done by Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, as explained in 2 Kings 16:9 it had been a very ancient city and now was in ruins. This city would be rebuilt and then destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian King described in Jeremiah 49:21. Therefore, this prophecy given to Isaiah was fulfilled in the two invasions of Damascus by Assyria and Babylon both of which destroyed the city and left it in ruins (Mapala).

It is important to see how the Northern kingdom of Israel aligned itself with Damascus. These are some references to what happened to Damascus primarily for Israel (northern 10 tribes) aligning itself with pagan Damascus.

  1. Damascus has become helpless (Jeremiah 49:24).
  2. The king of Assyria took Damascus and exiled its inhabitants (2 Kings 16:9).
  3. Ahaz copied the altar in Damascus (2 Kings 16:10).
  4. Ahaz sacrificed to the gods of Damascus (2 Chronicles 28:23).
  5. I will set fire to the wall of Damascus (Jeremiah 49:27).
  6. The spoil of Damascus and Samaria will be carried away to Assyria (Isaiah 8:4).
  7. Is not Samaria like Damascus? (Isaiah 10:9).
  8. The kingdom will disappear from Damascus (Isaiah 17:3).
  9. I will break the [gate] bar of Damascus (Amos 1:5).
  10. For three transgressions of Damascus and for four (Amos 1:3).
  11. The oracle of the word of the Lord will rest on Damascus (Zechariah 9:1)

From Isaiah 7:1–2. We see that Rezin, king of Aram, northeast of Israel, and Pekah king of Israel (752–732B.C.) had made an alliance. Rezin may have usurped the throne of Aram, and Pekah was a usurper. Rezin was Aram’s last king, and Pekah was Israel’s next-to-last king. After Jeroboam II (793–753) of Israel died, the Northern Kingdom became increasingly weak. Rezin convinced Pekah to join him in a war against the Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5). They threatened to replace Judah’s King Ahaz with a puppet king (Isaiah 7:6). The prospect of such formidable enemies as Aram and Israel caused the people of Judah to be afraid. The house of David (v. 2) refers to King Ahaz who was of that kingly line. Hearing of the Aram- Israel alliance Ahaz was terrified. Ephraim, Israel’s largest tribe, represented in a synecdoche the entire northern nation as is also the case in the Book of Hosea (Hosea 4:17; 5:3, 5, 9–14). This was in the year 734 b.c.Ahaz foolishly thought he could call on the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III (745–727) to come to his aid and attack the Aram-Israel confederacy. What happened though was the king of Assyria took Damascus and exiled its inhabitants (2 Kings 16:9). Then in 722 B.C. He conquered the Northern Kingdom and took them back to Assyria and populated the Northern Kingdom with people from many different areas.

IL Kings 17:24

24And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof (ASV, 1901).

The inbreeding of these people with the remaining people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel produced the Samaritans which were hated by the Jewish people.

The Arab states and Damascus will all receive a final judgment at the start of the Messianic Kingdom. It is difficult to predict if there will be another invasion of Damascus before the final destination which is a result of their perpetual hatred of Israel as characterized as early as Numbers 20:14-21 and in summary form in Psalm 83:1-8. Some believe that the civil war which started in 2011 in Syria is a fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 17:1, but there is no biblical indication that this is accurate. It is outside sound hermeneutics to look to the news first in order to justify a prophecy in the Bible. We look to the Bible to see what God has said will happen then look to world events to see if they match up exactly as prophesied.

Damascus presently is not in ruin as when the Assyrians and Babylonians destroyed the city. Some might view this prophecy in Isaiah 17:1 as indicative of a type of prophetic fulfillment called the “double reference.” Hermeneutically those instances refer to a near and far term view of a prophecied event such as in Deuteronomy 18 where Moses predicts a prophet who would succeed him. Although Joshua fulfilled the near-term fulfillment, Acts 3:22-23 applies it to Jesus, hence, the near and far view fulfillment. There might be yet a future destruction of Damascus equally ruinous as the Assyrian and Babylonian destructions were, but so far it has not occurred. There is still no biblical reference to a far term reference to this despoiling of Damascus in our time as the Acts 3:22-23 passage refers to the far term fulfillment of Jesus as the object of Moses’ prediction of a prophet to succeed him. Many see the text of Psalm 83:1-8 as the fulfillment of the far term prophecy of Isaiah 17:1 but that is simply an imprecatory Psalm, not a prophecy of an event that will come to pass. Therefore there is no clear indication in the Bible that this will have a far term fulfillment.

God says that in the Messianic Kingdom He will bring peace between Israel and Damascus (Part of Assyria) through a conversion of their peoples to become believers and live with Israel in peace in the Messianic Kingdom.

Isaiah 19:23-25

23In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall worship with the Assyrians. 24In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth; 25for that Jehovah of hosts hath blessed them, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance (ASV, 1901).

The Kings Highway Ancient International Trade Routes

Verse 23 describes a highway which connects Egypt, Israel and Assyria. In the Messianic Kingdom, when peace will be restored, all borders will be open, and this highway, a symbol of free trade trafficking, will be restored between these Middle Eastern states. The means by which this will occur is conversion (vv. 24–25). Not only will Egypt undergo a conversion experience, but so will the ancient area of Assyria. Assyria will become a blessing in the earth and will receive a blessing from God. The three former enemies will now be spiritually and economically unified. So peace during the Messianic Kingdom will come between Israel and Assyria (part of Syria) by means of conversion. When this happens, there will be economic, political, and religious unity, because they will all worship the same God.

Daniel E. Woodhead

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The Prophetic Significance of Palm Sunday

Introduction

 

The significance of what we have come to call Palm Sunday cannot be overestimated as a major prophetic event in the Bible. This day occurs a week before the Passover, which was the day our Lord Jesus was crucified. It is the one day that was prophecied in the Scripture that would be fulfilled by the Messiah Himself.

Many times during His ministry the common people sought to declare Him their “king”. He avoided it on all those occasions except on Palm Sunday. After the miracle of feeding the five thousand with a young man’s five loaves and two fishes, many realized that He was the one prophecied in their Jewish Scriptures (our Old Testament) that who would come as their King Messiah:

Feeding of the Five Thousand by Ambrosius Fracken the Elder

John 6:11-15

11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone (KJV).

Jesus Arrives at The Appointed Time and The People Declare Him King

Where was this arrival prophecied in Scripture?  How did the people know that this was their king, and that this was the day for Him to make His arrival? Jesus knew that His arrival on this single particular day was so important and prophecied in Scripture, that He was not going to let the people make Him their King until the exact time had arrived. He had arranged all things pertaining to His arrival in Jerusalem to be fulfilled exactly on the date when the Scriptures prophecied.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Giotto 14th Century

Matthew 21:1-11

1And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee (KJV).

Matthew writes in verse 4 above that Palm Sunday is prophecied: “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” As the text says, they shouted the words of Psalm 118:26: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” The word “hosanna” in Hebrew is hoseeah, and means “save us”, or “deliver us”. A worldly king would have arrived on majestic horses, pulling golden chariots adorned with precious decorations of earthly value. This King was not prideful, nor was He of this earth (John 18:36). He created the world, but He was not of it (John 1:10).

The Messiah Will Come and Truly Conquer

In the beginning of the ninth chapter of the book of Zechariah we read a description of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian conqueror. He had come to Jerusalem to conquer it but did not as the priests welcomed him in and showed him their Scriptures prophesying his arrival. After this discussion of Alexander in Zechariah 9:1–8 the next verse, verse 9, is one of the most significant Messianic passages in the entire Bible. (We will examine it more in detail below.) Zechariah goes on to write God’s prophecy about the coming of King Messiah on the earth on the day we call Palm Sunday. This is the day when Jesus was recognized as Messiah the King. Both Jewish and Christian commentaries interpret it this way. Judaism views it as the basis for a single royal messianic appearance, whereas the New Testament and Christianity see it as a prophecy of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His crucifixion (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15).

God makes a clear distinction that Jesus appears as a very different conqueror compared to Alexander. The date of this prophecy is approximately 487 B.C., about 519 years before it happened (A.D. 32). While Alexander’s swift and aggressive nature brought some measure of peace to the Jews, it will not be until the Lord Jesus comes for the second time that there will be true peace on earth. The genuine King of Israel has strength that is not dependent on chariots and horses (Psalm 20:7). Jesus is the creator and sustainer of the universe, and He brings salvation not only to Israel, but also to all the nations:

Zechariah 9:9a

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee.” (ASV, 1901)

The First Advent is heralded with exuberance by the use of words such as “rejoice greatly”, “shout” and “behold”. The phrase “the daughter of Zion” is referring to the entire population that is personified by a single female. It comes from an expression of referring to a city or a country affectionately as “her”, and the designation of Hebrew names for cities have an assigned female gender. The joy expressed here as God Himself writes through Zechariah, declares that He is coming to Jerusalem to fulfill all the prophecies regarding His first coming (Genesis 3:15, 49:10; Isaiah 7:14, 53:3; Deuteronomy 18:15; Daniel 9:26). Consider how comforting this prophecy is in contrast to the fear and trembling that Alexander’s armies created in Israel before he met with the High Priest and they read to him from the book of Daniel. This is THE occasion of immense spiritual significance as the announcement of the long-awaited “Immanuel is made”.  In Isaiah 7:14we read: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (KJV).” “Immanuel” means “God with Us!”

In Zechariah 9:9a, He is given the title of “king.” Jesus would not allow a crowd to declare him “king” after performing a miracle or significant action. He would slip away from the crowds before they could do this.  The Hebrew words for “Messiah the King” are Mashiach Nagid.  In Daniel 9:25, nagid gets translated as “the prince”. When David was crowned in I Samuel 13:14, it is translated as “king”.  Jesus allowed the multitudes to praise Him as their King on the Sunday before His crucifixion (Palm Sunday). The apostle Matthew affirms this as fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9a. Zechariah continues on with the prophecy:

Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Benjamin Robert Haydon Cir 1814-1820

Zechariah 9:9b

9He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, even upon a colt the foal of an ass.” (ASV, 1901)

Four of His characteristics are listed in this verse that pinpoint the predetermined arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday:

  1. He is “just” or righteous.

In Scripture. “righteousness” is one of the most prominent attributes declared of God. It is synonymous with justice, and its use in the Bible means “straight” or “morally right.” When we say that God is “just” we are saying that God always does what is right consistently, and without partiality or prejudice. These two words are the same in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. God’s actions are always fair and right. This righteousness is an expression of His holiness. He is infinitely pure and always opposed to sin. Since this is His nature, we see that He IS just. It is not a characteristic that He applies to Himself, but it is His way, His manner, or simply the way He is. He consistently acts in accordance with His own character. He cannot be anything different than the way He is. There is no standard of righteousness or justice that can be applied to God as a measurement. He IS the standard. The Hebrew word tsaddeq means “righteous” and is applied to God (Job 10:15, 15:14, 22:3; 34:17; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 119:137, 129:4).

  1. He Shows Himself as a Savior.

This characteristic of God and His Messiah, as a savior (“having salvation”), is diametrically opposed to Alexander, who was a conqueror. Alexander slaughtered thousands at Damascus, Tyre and Gaza, and then sold thousands more into slavery. The Hebrew word translated as “savior” is nosha. Of the various Hebrew language expressive grammar participles forms, this one is written in the nifal form. This form is categorized as reflexive, which means that something is shown or done by the person who is the object of the action. In this case it is the Messiah showing Himself to be the Savior because He is “having salvation”.

In the Bible, salvation is described in two different ways. One is physical salvation as if being saved from an impending catastrophe. The other is spiritual salvation, and that is what is discussed here in Zechariah 9:9b as coming from the Messiah. He saves because of the substitutionary atonement of His death. His death provided us the means to be connected to God and to be “saved” from the effects of our sins, which is eternal damnation. Eternal damnation is a permanent separation from God since He cannot be in the presence of sin because He is perfectly holy. That is the only punishment a holy and just God must give to those who do not accept the atonement He has provided. This is the “hosanna” from Psalm 118:25 which was shouted by the people recognizing Jesus is the one who saves as He arrived in Jerusalem. In Isaiah 51:6, the Hebrew word for “salvation” is yeshu’ah. In the New Testament the Greek name of Jesus is based upon the Old Testament word for salvation. His name in Greek is Iesous, meaning “Savior.” He was the servant who brought the Lord’s salvation to mankind (Acts 8:26–40). He is Himself that salvation which the apostle Paul proclaims in Romans 10:13.

  1. He is Lowly. 

“Lowly” is translated from the same word as “humble” (Psalm 18:27-28; II Samuel 22:28). Jesus came to the lowest members of the Jewish society. He did not court the governmental powers to gain access to the population. He started out lowly and humble and stayed that way during His First Advent. He did not have position, title, or possessions. He washed the feet of the apostles to demonstrate servanthood to them. He was beaten with a Roman flagellum, which ripped the flesh from His body. They beat Him about the head as they mocked Him.  Finally, Jesus suffered the humiliation of being nailed naked to the cross. The Roman crucifixion was meant to degrade the worst criminals as a deterrent to other criminals so they would not commit crimes against the state. Here the God of the Universe, who created it all, entered a human body to take on the low state of a man and allowed Himself to be humiliated to the point of death on a cross for all mankind. This is what it means to be “lowly”. 

  1. He is riding a colt of a donkey.

This Messianic passage displays our Lord’s prophecy of the manner in which he would display Himself one week prior to His crucifixion. After the time of King David, human kings usually displayed their power and glory by riding on majestic war horses (I Kings 10:25-29; II Kings 9:18-19; Esther 6:8; Jeremiah 22:4). Our Messiah showed his humility by riding a donkey, the ordinary person’s beast of burden. A “colt” is a young donkey (male in this case) and “foal” is another term for a young donkey, which refers to an even younger animal, hence the greater display of humility.

The Timing of The Exact Day of His Arrival

Daniel 9:24–25

24Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. 25Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troublous times (ASV, 1901).

The prophecy starts off with Daniel’s prayers being answered by the angel Gabriel where he says, “Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” The Hebrew word translated “weeks” in Hebrew is shavuim (Strongs H7620).  It should be translated as “seven” or as “seventy-sevens.”  Shavuim simply refers to seven of something, much like we refer to a “few” as referring to 3 of something.  Unfortunately, the word shavuim has been mistranslated in our Bibles as “weeks.” Genesis 29:27 also uses this word in describing the length of time that was required for Jacob to wait until he could marry Rachel. He worked for her father Laban for seven years and the text says that he worked for him for one “week” – shavuimShavuim simply means seven of something, and in this context, it is speaking about a shavuim of years, or 70 years which is 7 X 70, or 490 years in total.

Gabriel then is telling Daniel that seventy sevens of years have been “decreed” upon the Israelites. 490 years are “decreed” and fall within the Times of the Gentiles to bring about the final restoration of the Nation Israel.  The purpose of the 490 years is to accomplish six things, 3 are negative and 3 of them are positive:

  1. To Finish the Transgression
  2. To Make an End of Sins
  3. To Make Reconciliation for Iniquity
  4. To Bring in an Age of Righteousness
  5. To Cause a Cessation of Prophecy
  6. To Anoint the Most Holy Place

All these decrees listed in verse twenty–four describe in outline form the purposes of the Great Tribulation and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. Verse twenty–five is the focus of our study regarding the appearing of Jesus in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Gabriel then says to Daniel, “Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” The “going forth of the commandment” is from first chapter of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:5-7).  On March 14, 445 B.C., the Persian King, Artaxerxes Longimanus issued a decree and he sends Nehemiah back to rebuild Jerusalem from the Babylonian destruction. The seventy–sevens, which are a total of 490 years, can now be sub–divided into three categories:

  1. The Seven–Sevens or 49 years
  2. The Sixty–Two Sevens or 434 Years
  3. The Last Seven Years (The Tribulation)

The Seven-Sevens or 49 years

For our purposes, numbers 1 and 2 above help us see the date that Messiah the Prince came to Jerusalem. The angel Gabriel said, “Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.” The first sub-division begins with Nehemiah returning to Jerusalem to rebuild the city in very difficult times whose events are recounted in the book of Nehemiah.  It speaks of the time that it took for the rebuilding of the city to be completed as far as they could get it.  It took forty-nine years to finish or one seven. This is seven weeks or seven shavuim.

The Sixty-Two Sevens or 434 years:

The second subdivision immediately begins after the first seven sevens, and there is no break between them.  There is no particular sign for the second sub-division to begin or to start, it just runs right into it. Adding the first seven sevens (49 years) to the next segment of Sixty-Two Sevens (434 years) give us a total of 483 years that will elapse from the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to the coming of Messiah the Prince.

The following chart shows a time line that begins on March 14, 445 B.C. when the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem came from Artaxerxes Longimanus.  We see where the first seven-week period of 49 years elapses.  Then segment of 62 “weeks” runs to April 6, 32 A.D.  That is the date Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a colt on what we call Palm Sunday, or His Triumphal Entry.  They were praising Him and singing “Hosanna” saying: “Blessed [be] the King that cometh in the name of the Lord.”  The prophecy is very exact.   If we account for leap years, it works out to be exactly 173,880 days from the decree to return to Jerusalem to the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem the Sunday before His death on the following Friday.

70 Weeks Prophetic Chart

 

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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The Crucified Messiah Of the Old Testament Fulfilled in the New

John the Baptist and the Crucified Messiah Foretold in the Old Testament, Fulfilled in the New.

By Dr. Todd Baker

Traveling to the probable location where Yeshua Ha Adon (the Lord Jesus) was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River at Bethabara in the Judean Desert (John 1:28; Matthew 3:13-17), God opened a Gospel witness. After arriving there, the Lord opened a door for me to witness to Shlomo about what Bible prophecy predicted about the Messiah’s forerunner John the Baptist prophesied in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1.This prompted me to exhort the receptive Israeli Shlomo to read the Jewish New Testament to learn that these prophecies of the Messiah’s forerunner were fulfilled in John the Baptist who prepared the way for Yeshua the Messiah by calling on Israel to repent and believe in this King of the Jews so that His Messianic kingdom could be established in Israel. I then asked Shlomo if he ever had the opportunity to read the Brit Hadashah (the New Testament) to learn these theological truths. He responded, “No, I have not, but I have always wanted to a copy so I could read it.” The Holy Spirit beautifully set this up so I could facilitate this very thing! Pulling out a complete Hebrew Bible that, of course, including the New Testament, I joyfully offered God’s Word to Shlomo. He was visibly surprised I just happened to have the Scriptures to give him!

The young man was very open about the fact that Messianic prophecy points directly to Yeshua being the one and only Messiah of Israel. In Jerusalem, there was Isaac a former Orthodox Jew of the strict Harideem sect. The extreme legalism and pervasive hypocrisy of this group so disillusioned Isaac that he left the religious group to become a secularist. Going over some of the detailed Messianic prophecies that Yeshua of Nazareth fulfilled from the Tenach (the Old Testament), Isaac found it hard to believe Yeshua’s atoning death by crucifixion was foretold 1,000 years before by King David. So I showed Isaac the Hebrew text of Psalm 22:16 where it is written of the crucified Messiah, “They have pierced My hands and feet.” I then showed the former Harideem the great prophecy and promise of Jeremiah 31:31-34 where God promised the New Covenant to Israel and how the death of Yeshua in Matthew 26:28 fulfills this very prophecy. After hearing this, Isaac attempted to say this covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31 was talking about the giving of the Torah to Israel at Mt. Sinai. But I quickly pointed out that Jeremiah 31:32 clearly shows that this New Covenant mentioned in verse 31is different and unlike the Old Covenant when God brought Israel out of Egypt.

It is the New Covenant where Yeshua offered His perfect life as the final sacrifice for sin so that those who believe in Him have all their sins removed. Isaac at this point thought I was talking about Joshua son of Nun who succeeded Moses. Patiently, I told Isaac that I was talking about Yeshua the Son of God born of a virgin according to Isaiah 7:14. Isaac was compelled enough to take a copy of a complete Hebrew Bible and Messianic prophecy list fulfilled by Yeshua of Nazareth from me so that he could study and see for himself that what I was telling him was truly what the Jewish Bibles teaches. Due to financial constraints we can only go for nine days on this outreach.

 

We need You Help To Fund the Next Gospel Outreach to Israel, Coming up of September this Year!

God willing, I will return to Israel the first week of September this year. We need your financial help. Each time God has raised up the redeemed elect that has helped us carry this Gospel outreach to the Jewish people. Having taken the Gospel to Israel for 18 years now, I can safely say very few ministries are doing what we are doing to obey God’s Word in Romans 1:16 of taking the Gospel to the Jew first. Partner with us to make a difference for time and eternity in the lives of the precious Jewish people who desperately need to know that Yeshua is their Messiah, King of the Jews. Don’t let them perish without having the Scriptures we freely give them that believing on Yeshua they have eternal life. Its up to you. Help us in this Holy Spirit ordained enterprise. To donate online, you can go to the following secure link on our ministry web site: https://www.brit-hadashah.org/wp/donate/

You can also donate by mail to:

 

Brit Hadashah Ministries

P.O. Box 796127

Dallas, Texas 75379-6127

 

Brit Hadashah Ministries is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit ministry, so your donation is tax deductible in the United States. Now is the accepted time, today is the day and year for the Gospel of salvation to be preached in Israel (2Corinthians 6:2) Partner with us in this exciting End-Time effort.

 

Your servant in Messiah Jesus,

Dr. Todd Baker.

 

 

 

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ISAIAH PROPHESIES JESUS’ APPEARANCE AND WORK

Communicating Old Testament Prophecy

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Artist Unknown

The New Testament frequently realizes fulfillments of Old Testament prophetic passages in various manners. Some have stated that there are in excess of six hundred allusions and quotations in the New Testament from the Old Testament. Others have alluded to the book of Revelation as having that many all by itself. Prophecy is obviously a significant component of the New Testament. Therefore, it is important for a correct reading of the New Testament to understand this issue so you can accurately assimilate the message that God is communicating. Without an appropriate understanding of the proper reading of God’s Word, it becomes “jammed up” in its meaning, and the reader will receive an erroneous message. Just as earthly warfare has combatants attempting to “jam” each other’s communications to gain an advantage, the Biblical text has an enemy that is seeking to cast doubt on God’s Word. Satan has been trying to cast doubt on what God has spoken since the Garden of Eden. He will use any means possible, including poor hermeneutics, poor grammar and incorrect theology.

It is important to understand the different written forms of texts in the Old Testament in order to understand how the prophecy came about. The same is true for all the all other biblical writers. The manner, or form, somebody says or writes in has everything to do with formulating a proper understanding of what they mean. For example, in the seventh, eighth and ninth chapter of the book of Isaiah there are discussions taking place which refer to specific activities taking place in Isaiah’s day needing resolution, but the resolutions will be completed by God at a later time. Isaiah wrote his book in standard narrative and Hebraic poetry forms, and this makes a difference in how we read Isaiah’s words. One of the keys to understanding Isaiah is to come to grips with the poetic genre of communicating. Reading poetry requires us to read it at a different pace, to pay closer attention to the text, and to remind ourselves that it is not a straight narrative, therefore we must focus on the words more intently.

He will be born of a virgin (Circa 714 B.C.)

 

‘Joseph’s dream ’ (1645) from the workshop of Rembrandt

 

Most of us are not familiar with poetry’s decorative manner of presenting concepts, and therefore understanding it does not come naturally. One factor of poetry that helps us understand it is the attempt to put God into language. Since He is outside of our experience, He not easily rendered with straightforward words. But poetry can express what has been called “divine communication” because it exceeds normal comprehension. Isaiah frequently made use of the method called “parallelism”. Simply stated, one sentence would be followed by another, but stating the same thing in a different manner. Isaiah expressed many of the offices and characteristics of the coming Messiah this way. For example, see how in about 714 B.C. Isaiah presents the characteristic of Christ as being born of a virgin, and pay especial attention to sequence in verse 14:

Isaiah 7: 1-14

  1 And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it, but could not prevail against it.  2 And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim. And his heart trembled, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest tremble with the wind. 3 Then said Jehovah unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, in the highway of the fuller’s field; 4 and say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither let thy heart be faint, because of these two tails of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria, and of the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have purposed evil against thee, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set up a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeel; 7 thus saith the Lord Jehovah, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass. 8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken in pieces, so that is shall not be a people:  9 and the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established. 10 And Jehovah spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of Jehovah thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt Jehovah. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel (ASV 1901).

Knupfer_Nicolaus-ZZZ-Queen_of_Sheba_before_Solomon

Queen of Sheba Before Solomon Nicolaus Knupfer

To give you some background on this passage, about 930 B.C. after Solomon died, there was a civil war in Israel. The name “Israel” became attached to the apostate ten tribal regions in the north. “Judah” became the name attached to the faithful southern region. Ahaz was king of Judah in the southern kingdom (Cir. 714 B.C.). As the text tells us, the king of Israel Peka, the king of Syria Rezin, and the nation Ephraim laid siege to Jerusalem. This scared Ahaz so that he thought that the Jews would be wiped out, and also the tribe of Judah through which the Messiah would come. God sent Isaiah, along with his son Shear-jashub, to comfort Ahaz by telling him that Judah would not lose the battle, or be exterminated. God, through Isaiah, then wanted Ahaz to realize that he could rely on God to provide protection for him and his people. They would not be destroyed since the Messiah had to come through the tribe of Judah, and He would be born from a virgin who would be God Himself. In the Hebrew language the word “virgin” refers to a young unmarried girl, and is pronounced ha’almah, which means “the one who is not yet betrothed.”

In the Hebrew culture under the Mosaic Law, an unmarried girl had to be a virgin or she would be stoned to death. So while the word ha’almah does not translate directly as “virgin”, this is what is understood based upon the ancient Hebrew culture. The Hebrew word for “God with us” is Emmanuel, and by specifically stating this word, God wanted Ahaz to know that just as it had been prophesied from previous times, God’s promises would come to pass. They always do. When we weary of our circumstances, remember this story that God gave Ahaz to comfort and even to rebuke (“ye will weary my God also?”) him for not trusting God to do what He said He would do. The parallelism demonstrated in this passage is that God would protect Ahaz within the immediate future, and there will be an even greater protection in the distant future when Emmanuel is born.

God Warns Isaiah Not to Be Like Many People

Isaiah 8:11-22

11For Jehovah spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, 12Say ye not, A conspiracy, concerning all whereof this people shall say, A conspiracy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be in dread thereof. 13Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15And many shall stumble thereon, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 16Bind thou up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17And I will wait for Jehovah, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18Behold, I and the children whom Jehovah hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from Jehovah of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion. 19And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead? 20To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. 21And they shall pass through it, sore distressed and hungry; and it shall come to pass that, when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse by their king and by their God, and turn their faces upward: 22and they shall look unto the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and into thick darkness they shall be driven away (ASV 1901).

300px-Jesaja_(Michelangelo)

The Prophet Isaiah by Michelangelo cir 1508-1512

The only proper way to determine truth is to go to first the Word of God. Many have departed from this, and look to other sources such as personal experiences or a denomination’s hierarchy to tell us what is true. Frequently people will experience something, whether it is in the news or from a church leader, and then try to find verses to justify the activity rather than be willing to admit that the experience—no matter how wonderful or supernatural it felt—was simply not of God. As evidence they will say that they “feel better” by validating the experience with a particular verse or others, usually taken out of context from the original scripture passage, and think that this justifies the experience. God’s Word must be the primary source of truth, not any experience.

Within the Book of Isaiah God frequently demonstrates by means of comparison a difference between actual believers and those that do not believe. In verse 16 above, we see just what value each places on Scripture. The “law” is the Law of Moses, and the “testimony” is the words of the Prophets. The Believers actually believe Moses and the Prophets (The Old Testament). The non-Believers reject the Scriptures as the ultimate authority, and were trying to make God more “real in their experience” by finding gods they could see, feel, and touch. In verse 19, Isaiah warns them that they are not to go after counterfeit spirits and teachers “that chirp and that mutter.” People who follow after those “that chirp and that mutter” could have some great feelings, but Isaiah rejects all this. The only valid testimony is what he declares in verse 20: “To the law and to the testimony!” In other words, go back to the Scriptures as the only final authority. And in closing he says “if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.” Isaiah makes it quite clear: Whatever the experiences, if it does not align with the written Word of God there is simply no morning “light” for them. A person’s failure to heed God’s Word means he has no spiritual light (John 3:19–20). God will eventually judge all Spiritists, mediums, and those who consult them (Isaiah 8:21–22). In their distress they will look up to God and curse Him, and look to the earth where they will face distress, and then be thrust into darkness (2 Peter 2:17). Ironically those who seek to consult the dead will be forced to join them!

The Light of the World Will Come

The troubles of Israel shall end through the birth of a very Special Child. This section of the prophecy actually started with chapter 7:1, and ends in this wonderful and gracious promise:

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Stained Glass Artist and location Unknown

Isaiah 9:1-7

1But there shall be no gloom to her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time hath he made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian. 5For all the armor of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be for burning, for fuel of fire. 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this (ASV, 1901).

The essence of the whole section is that Israel shall not suffer from Pekah and Rezin, and her oppressors shall be Assyria and Babylon. They shall overwhelm her, crush her, lay her low, and she shall remain awhile in gloom and darkness, but later the darkness is going to end. Then a “great light” shall shine forth, first in the north, then over all the land, and “the rod of the oppressor” shall be broken. A Child shall be born, who shall bear marvelous names, and shall rule over the full kingdom of David in justice and righteousness forever. God has spoken, and God will perform this.

Verse 1 states that “contempt” was brought upon the more northern part of the Holy Land, first when it was overrun and ravaged by the Syrians (1 Kings 15:20) under Benhadad, and then when it suffered under the Assyrian attack (2 Kings 15:29) under Tiglath-Pileser. Under Gentile domination, that area was then called “Galilee of the nations” meaning the gentiles, not Galilee of the Jews. Isaiah then moves on to cite a time is coming when the people will see what God will do as stated in verse 1b where He states “He made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” This was area was the home of Jesus. He was a Galilean, and lived and ministered there. For thirty years he had lived at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There He had first come forward to teach in a synagogue (Luke 4:16–21). Also in Galilee He had done his first miracles at Capernaum, “upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali” (John 2:11; 4:54).

All the world was “in darkness” when Christ came, but especially the Jews. They had the light of God and seemingly rejected it. “The Light of the world,” “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” first came in the North of Israel “by the way of the sea,” when Jesus came forward to teach and to preach in “Galilee of the nations.” Jesus first streamed forth His light, glorifying the Northern Israeli region on which “contempt” had long been poured. Verse 3 tells us Jesus will make the nations joyful as when a bountiful harvest is reaped. So this verse is offering relief to the people who have been deceived and downtrodden. The result will be that a very special son will come to them who will be a blessing in the northern part of Israel.

The coming of the Messiah sets the Israelites free, removes the yoke from off their neck, breaks the rod where their shoulders were beaten, and delivers them from bondage into the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” In verse 4, the “yoke of his burden” is that of sin, the “oppressor” is that prince of darkness, who brought all mankind under his dominion. However Christ will break it when the Messianic Kingdom arrives, and the heavenly Kingdom will come on earth just as it is in Heaven. And then all need for military equipment will vanish as it is burned up because He will cause peace and justice to prevail on this earth.

In verse 6 we are told that a child will be born who will eventually rule the entire world. The government will indeed “be upon the shoulders” of the Messiah as He bears the work of managing the government of the entire world during the Messianic Kingdom for a thousand years:

Psalm 2:6-8

Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession (ASV, 1901).

Also in verse 6, His name will be called “Wonderful” and is a direct reference to Judges 13:18. Here Samson’s father asks the Angel of the Lord who He is, and gets the reply of “Why do you ask My name,” the Angel of the LORD asked him, “since it is wonderful.”

The word “Wonderful” can also be translated as “secret” or “extraordinary”, “supernatural”, or even “incomprehensible”. This is the nature of God. Jesus the Messiah will be a “Counsellor”, and the people will gladly listen to Him as the authoritative One. In the Messianic Kingdom many people will be anxious to hear the Messiah teach God’s ways. As the Messiah He will also be “Mighty God” who is strong, powerful, and mighty. As the “Everlasting Father” He is eternal and has no end as the Father of all mankind. The title “Everlasting Father” is an idiom used to describe the Messiah’s Deity, not His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. He is God the Son. He will endure continually for Messiah is God. The Messiah is also called the “Prince of Peace”, the One who will bring in and maintain the time of millennial peace when the Jewish nation, and the world at large, will be in obedience to the Lord. Together, these four titles give a beautiful picture of the coming Lord that is future in Isaiah’s day (and yet future to our day too) and Messiah’s character.

According to the passage in Isaiah, verse 7 tells us this child will be born into a Jewish family of the lineage of king David with whom the control of the entire world’s government will rest. Isaiah expands on this here:

Isaiah 16:5

And a throne shall be established in lovingkindness; and one shall sit thereon in truth, in the tent of David, judging, and seeking justice, and swift to do righteousness (ASV, 1901).

Of the increase of his government and peace” there shall be no end, which means the Messiah’s kingdom shall ever increase more and more, and there shall be no limits to it. Ultimately it shall fill the world (Matthew 28:18, 19). The continual spread of Christianity tends to the accomplishment of this prophecy. “Upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom” means that the Messiah is to sit on the throne of David, which signifies His Davidic descent. A gradual establishment of the kingdom as Christianity spreads is the first stage that is also taught in the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven (Matthew 13:31-33). From “henceforth even forever” means the kingdom is to be both universal in respect of extent, and in respect of eternal duration. God’s jealousy of his own honor will assure the performance of all that is prophesied.

 

 

 

 

 

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