After having read through the Old Testament prophets for the entire year, it just makes sense to end the year with a blog that culminates the work of the prophets. Nearly all the prophets proclaimed a message about the fall of Israel, Judah and Samaria for their failure to obey the LORD God. The measure of a prophet is found in the fulfillment of what they predicted. We have recounted throughout the year how that which was prophesied by the various prophets came to fruition. While the prophets foretold of the destruction and devastation of particularity Israel and Judah, we found within each book a message of Hope. This is the message of Christmas – there is Hope in the Lord regardless of how dark the days may seem. The father is a holy and righteous loving God. While He demands obedience and righteousness, He also gives grace and mercy to His people. This has been a very trying and weird year. Who would have guessed that the Cubs would win the World Series and then Donald Trump a non-political figure would win the Presidency of United States? The political rhetoric in America has been at a frenzied pace for the last 1 1/2 years. It continues while I pen this last blog of the year. We must all come to grips that our future is not ultimately bound up in a sports team or in a political hopeful. Ultimately it is the Father in Heaven that will determine the days and seasons of our lives. Prophecies are foretold before the events occur. The prophecies of Jesus the Son of God coming as a child 700-750 BC [Before Christ] and were fulfilled in exact ways. While there may be skeptics that would entertain that New Testament writers “read into” what the Old Testament prophets wrote to come up with a ‘Messiah Scenario” there are too many specific and unique predictions that Jesus fulfilled, that He and only He could have done which affirmed His title and position as the “predicted Messiah.” God was not late in predicting the Messiah, we find that in the Garden of Eden, God was already at work in His message of Hope for the Nations/mankind. Genesis 3:15, the battle between Stan and God would culminate in Jesus dying, but Satan being defeated at Calvary. The Messiah would be from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; specially from the tribe of Judah – Numbers 24:17 * Genesis 49:10. We are also told that the Messiah would sit on the throne of David as the Lion of Judah, predicted in 2 Samuel 7:12-13 and Isaiah 9:7. We are told where and from whom the Messiah would be born. Isaiah 7:14 indicates a virgin woman would bear the Savior and that He would be born in an obscure village called Bethlehem – Micah 5:2. We also have the prediction that Elijah would precede the Messiah. Malachi 4:5-6, one like the prophet Elijah would come. John the Baptist [cousin] is this man, coming eating honey & holocaust dressed in camel’s hair. John’s message was that the Kingdom of God was coming – Jesus’ message was the Kingdom of God is Here! The disciples knew of the prophecy about Elijah to precede the Messiah but questioned how that was true – Matthew 17: 10-13. It seems that even though many people may know the prophecies, it doesn’t mean that we/they grasp the significance or fulfillment. Many more predictions about the Messiah center around His crucifixion, death and resurrection. He was prophesied to be crucified even before it was a method of punishment – Psalm 22:16-18; his feet pierced, Zechariah 12:12; mocked and ridiculed – Psalm 22:7-8. Isaiah 53 is a huge source of prophecies that Jesus would fulfill at Calvary. But again just as with previous dark prophecies that seemingly end without HOPE – Hope is found not in the death, but the resurrection of Jesus. Psalm 16:10 & 49:15. We know that Jesus resurrected 3 days later, for the graves were opened up, spirits walked around in Jerusalem. Jesus appeared before upwards to 500 people. Too many people verify that Jesus was/is alive. Our hope is in the resurrection but also in the Coming again of Christ. The next time Jesus comes it will not be like a lowly servant, but a reigning King of King and Lord of Lords! While I could go on with the prophecies and their fulfillment; there are too many for this writing. But there are estimated some 300 prophecies that were fulfilled by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is absolutely undeniable that Jesus is the Son of God and the Coming Messiah. Because of Bethlehem there is a Calvary, because there is a Calvary the Resurrection is real; and finally just as the Resurrection is valid so will the Return of Jesus. But there is much work to be done before that should occur – in other words so many people, places and nations urgently need to hear the Life Saving Hope that is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s get to work!!
Talk to you in the New Year!