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Are You Ready? part 3

Thank you for staying with me for the third installment of this series, “Are You Ready?“.

Last week we discussed the question that we all might have entertained at one time or another and that is “Can we really be sure there will be the second coming of Jesus?”. Then I proceeded to point out some prophecies in Scripture that show a clear track record of God coming through on the promises He’s made. Today I’m picking up where I left off, with more promises. I hope you’ll enjoy it…

Prophecies of the coming Christ…

The Israelite’s under Moses’ leadership prayed for an intercessor after the terrifying experience at Mt. Sinai. An intercessor that was gentle and not as intimidating. In Deuteronomy 18, roughly 40 years later and to the second generation Moses announces that God will deliver “according to all [they] desired”.

Through Moses

Deuteronomy 18:  15 Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you yourselves requested of the Lord your God when you were assembled at Mount Sinai. You said, ‘Don’t let us hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore or see this blazing fire, for we will die.’

 17 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘What they have said is right. 18 I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him.

Through David

 During David’s life, he writes many Psalms, one of which is Psalm 22. Is it “just another psalm” or is there something a little special about it? Several verses stick out; I’ll just use a couple:

Psalm 22:
  16 For dogs have surrounded Me;
         The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. 
         They pierced My hands and My feet;
 17 I can count all My bones.
         They look and stare at Me.
 18 They divide My garments among them,
         And for My clothing they cast lots. 

 Think of this, what did a Jewish reader think about when reading this prior to Jesus’ death? “They’re pretty strange verses, aren’t they? Did this actually happen to David?” They might’ve thought and discussed. All three verses happen on the day Jesus hung on the cross. And here, about 1000 years prior, they are spoken in the present and past tense. Pretty wild eh?

Through Isaiah

 Somewhere around 700 years after Moses, God asked King Ahaz to ask for a sign:

Isaiah 7:  10 Later, the Lord sent this message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign of confirmation, Ahaz. Make it as difficult as you want—as high as heaven or as deep as the place of the dead.”

 12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I will not test the Lord like that.”

 13 Then Isaiah said, “Listen well, you royal family of David! Isn’t it enough to exhaust human patience? Must you exhaust the patience of my God as well? 14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

 There’s the sign of the coming Messiah. Over 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth.

Another, of many, through Isaiah

 I would be remiss if I failed to mention Isaiah 53:

 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,      
      yet he never said a word.
   He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
      And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
      he did not open his mouth.
 8 Unjustly condemned,
      he was led away.
   No one cared that he died without descendants,
      that his life was cut short in midstream.
   But he was struck down
      for the rebellion of my people.
 9 He had done no wrong
      and had never deceived anyone.
   But he was buried like a criminal;
      he was put in a rich man’s grave.

 Need I say more? I think it speaks for itself. If you have not read this complete chapter lately, put it on your shortlist of things to read.

Aren’t you just blown away with the magnificence of Scripture?

 We all know the rest of the story. But isn’t it quite amazing how God used so many participants throughout the ages to prophesy about the coming Messiah? I say this not only to illustrate the amazing way God works but also to consider this: It was impossible for anyone to predict when the Messiah would come and exactly how He would appear and how His life of service would play out. No one knew and no one figured it out. Yet it was all there in the Old Testament for people to see. Only after Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection can we see how the puzzle fits together.

 Do you see where I’m going with this? The scholars I mentioned above (part 1), who all have countless hours of study focused on end-times all think they have it figured out to some degree. Whether they predict a date or not, they all have theories, guesses or firm opinions on the second coming. And from one end of the spectrum to the other, there are plenty of differences between the scholars. Do they all study from the same book? I say that jokingly, but the Bible isn’t just another book as we all know.

Next week I’ll wrap this up and make it practical, tying it with an essential lesson as part of being a true disciple. I hope you’ll stay with me!