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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Sept. 18, 2008

  • 2008 Sep 18
  • COMMENTS
 

Prophetic Map from Genesis to Revelation

 

Isaiah 46

The Lord has claimed that He ALONE can declare the future. "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9-10). “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed” (2 Peter 1:19). 

Genesis and Revelation form the greatest testimony to the Sovereign hand of God in the entire Bible. Taken apart they give the clearest pictures possible of the beginning and ending of planet earth. Taken together, they form the greatest map of God's Plan unfolding in this universe.

One of the strong evidences of divine inspiration of the Bible (not found in other religious books of either past or present) consists of its hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. These are not vague or ambiguous (as in various occult writings) but are specific and detailed, often made hundreds or thousands of years in advance of the event. Many are being fulfilled today, thereby indicating the probable soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

So, the most powerful evidence that God wrote the Bible is the phenomenon of fulfilled prophecy. The Bible is unique among all the religious books of mankind in this respect. Some of them contain a few vague forecasts, but nothing comparable to the vast number of specific prophecies found in the Bible. 

There has never been any person, angel or demon who could predict specific events and personages that will appear scores or even hundreds of years in the future. Only God can do this, because it is He “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Consequently, it is in His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and only there, that prophecies of this sort are found. 

TEN KEYS THAT UNLOCK THE FUTURE GOD HAS MAPPED OUT 

v      Number One: The Coming of Christ (God picked a Man to reveal His Glory: MESSIANIC PROPHECY) 

There are hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in connection with the first coming of Christ. There are over ninety such Old Testament Messianic prophecies specifically quoted by New Testament writers. Tonight we will trace only a few of the best-known prophecies. 

    • The family tree of the Messiah was successively prophesied to be:
  1. First God promised that Messiah would come in the human family, and through a virgin birth (Genesis 3:15),
  2. Next God narrows the line then through Shem (Genesis 9:26),
  3. Abraham (Genesis 22:18),
  4. Isaac (Genesis 26:4),
  5. Jacob (Genesis 28:14),
  6. Judah (Genesis 49:10) and, finally,
  7. David (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The fact that in addition to His human lineage He would also be uniquely the Son of God was predicted in Psalm 2:6,7. He was called "the mighty God" in Isaiah 9:6, "whose goings forth [were] from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). 

Think about how remarkable the prophecy of Genesis 49:10 really is. Jacob, while dying, predicted that Judah would be the one of his twelve sons who would exercise the rule over his brethren and from whom the Messiah would come. There was nothing in the immediate situation to warrant this prediction, and indeed it did not begin its fulfillment until David was crowned king 600 years later. How did Jacob know? He could, of course, simply have guessed. Since he had twelve sons, he would have had a chance of guessing correctly equal to one out of twelve. If he had tried to reason it out, or to go by his feelings, he would probably have picked either his oldest son, Reuben, or his favorite son, Joseph. Instead he picked Judah.   

    • The coming of the Messiah was successively prophesied to be:
  1. His virgin birth was clearly prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 and intimated in several other passages.
  2. His birthplace in Bethlehem was given in Micah 5:2.
  3. The ministry of His forerunner, John the Baptist, was described in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1.
  4. Various aspects of His teaching and healing ministries were given in Isaiah 61:1,2; Isaiah 42:1-4, Isaiah 9:1,2; Psalm 40:7-10, and others.
  5. His so-called "triumphal entry" as the promised King of Israel, riding upon an ass, was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9,10; the rejection of His coming was prophesied in Psalm 118:22-24.
  6. The date of His official coming as Judah's promised Prince was clearly spelled out in the great prophecy of the seventy weeks, given in Daniel 9:24-26. Micah predicted it would be in Bethlehem and he made this prediction 700 years before it came to pass (Micah 5:2). He could presumably have guessed the Messiah would be born in the land of Judah, since the kings at that time were descended from David and ruled over the land of Judah. Of course, it would have been quite possible for the coming king to be born anywhere in the world, and still to have been a descendant of Judah, and of David, in view of the extensive world trade carried on by Solomon and his descendants, and in view of the already-prophesied dispersion. It would be reasonable to say he had a one-in-two chance of being correct in assuming the Messiah would be born in the land of Judah. But what about predicting not only the place and the family, but even the time of Messiah's birth? In Daniel 9:24-26, we have just such a prediction. Although there may be some uncertainty about the exact chronology (some scholars have maintained, quite convincingly, that the fulfillment occurred on the precise day indicated by the prophecy), there can be no reasonable question as to, say, at least the century when it was fulfilled. 

Seventy weeks ["seventy heptads" or "seven-year periods"] are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end wars and desolations are determined. 

The starting-point of the prophecy is believed by most conservative scholars to be the date of the decree of Artaxerxes permitting the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-8), known from secular history to be approximately 446 B.C. The seventy weeks total 490 years. The first 49-year period was occupied in rebuilding the city and completing the Old Testament Scriptures (the book of Malachi was written about 400 B.C.). The "seven year" periods probably were meant to be understood as seven years of 360 days each, as this was the customary Jewish and prophetic reckoning. 

A 434-year period, added to the 49 years, gives 483 years (or 360/365 x 483 = 476 years) from the starting date to the coming of Messiah as prince. This comes to about A.D 30. Christ was actually born about 4 B.C., so that He was 33 years old (His probable age when He was crucified) in about  A.D. 30. Note that there was no year "0," so that only one year separated 1 B.C. and A.D. 1. 

Although there is some uncertainty about the exact dates involved, it is clear that the prophetic period terminated at very close to the time when Christ officially offered Himself for reception as King of Israel. Instead of being crowned, however, He was crucified, "cut off, but not for Himself." 

Sometime after that, "the city and the sanctuary" were destroyed by "the people of the prince that shall come" - that is, the Roman people, of whom the great anti-Christian prince frequently mentioned in Daniel will eventually come. Furthermore, the "end thereof" was "a flood." This word literally means "overflowing" and can apply both to overflowing waters and to overflowing armies or peoples. In this case it probably refers specifically to the long-prophesied worldwide dispersion of the Jews. 

Finally, "unto the end, wars and desolations are determined." Ever since the world (both Jews and Gentiles) rejected and crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, lasting peace has been an unknown. 

This great prophecy alone, made hundreds of years before its various fulfillments, is clear and unanswerable proof that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). 

    • The sacrificial, substitutionary death of the Messiah was successively prophesied to be:
  1. Biblical prophecy was focused more clearly and intensively on the crucifixion of Christ than on anything else. The details prophesied include the piercing of His side (Zechariah 12:10), the darkness (Psalm 22:2), the vinegar (Psalm 69:21), the mocking (Psalm 22:6-8), the nakedness (Psalm 22:17), gambling for His vesture (Psalm 22:18), the unbroken bones (Psalm 34:20), the great cry from the cross (Psalm 22:1) and the broken heart (Psalm 22:14).
  2. The substitutionary and sacrificial nature of His death on the cross was graphically portrayed in Isaiah 53, especially verses 4-6,10 and 12. The shedding of His blood, as an offering for sin, was forecast in all of the Levitical offerings. The burial of Christ in a "rich man's grave," yet in proximity to the "wicked," was prophesied in Isaiah 53:9.
  3. Finally, the resurrection of Christ from the grave was forecast in Psalm 16:10; Hosea 6:2; Psalm 30:3, 9; Isaiah 53:10; Psalm 40:1,2; and others. His ascension to sit at the right hand of the Father was then described in Psalm 110:1; Psalm 68:18; Proverbs 30:4; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 24:3-10.

And still there remain hundreds of fulfilled prophecies we have not even mentioned. 

 

 

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