Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Promise of His Coming

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were part of the well-orchestrated plan of God (Acts 2:22-24; 4:27,28; 1 Peter 1:18-21). Now God ultimately controls all things (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 8:28; Isaiah 43:13). But the life of Jesus is specifically significant for the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation. One demonstration of this is the detailed fulfillment of the prophecies of the events of Christ’s life. There are various approaches someone can take to try to get around the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. You can claim they were written after the fact. People have used this to explain away certain Old Testament prophecies. But with the life of Jesus, there is too much proof that the Old Testament was already in existence before His time for this to work. There are cases, such as with Nostradamus, where you can claim the prophesies are vague and open to interpretation. But while there are some Old Testament prophecies that are cryptic, there are others that are very detailed. (See the number of details surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion in Isaiah 53.) You can claim the prophecy was a clever deduction on the part of the prophet. But there is too great a time gap and too many details in the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus for this to work. So what are we left with?

You can try to claim Jesus and His apostles rigged it all. This would work for some things, but not others. The events of Christ’s death mentioned above could not have been rigged. The only option left is that the apostles changed the story after the fact . But we need to understand that Christianity, from the very beginning, had critics. And one of the earliest arguments for Christianity was that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. The critics did not seem to be able to disprove this. There is also one prophecy that could not have been rigged even after the fact. In Daniel 9 it says there will 69 sevens (commonly translated “weeks”) between the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah the Prince and His being cut off. If these sevens are sevens of years, what result do we get? There is a question whether the years are prophetic years of 360 days or calendar years, but even if it is calendar years, it comes uncannily close to the time of Jesus of Nazareth. (The prophetic years put you just about right on.) Now if God does have a plan for the world and Jesus Christ is the key to that plan, should we not want to be part of that plan? Should we not then put our faith in Christ for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9), trust Him with the other aspects of our lives (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; Matthew 6:25-34), and live for Him (Romans 12:1,2; Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10)? So that we too may carry out God’s purpose in this world.

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