Tag Archives: prophecy

What Will Happen

What’s going to happen next in Iran?  Who knows?  How about in Iraq, Syria or Israel?  Who knows about Yemen?  Experts and national leaders alike can only guess.  News commentators are at a loss.  And yet, there is Someone Who knows and He’s proved it.

If the current situation in the Middle East seems complicated, check out the history of that region during the last few centuries BC.  The Assyrians and Babylonians conquered the Israelis, lost to the Persians, who then were conquered by the Greeks, whose kingdom broke up and was taken over by the Romans.  And the whole, complex, seemingly chaotic series of events was revealed in advance to the prophet, Daniel. Read the 10th and 11th chapters of Daniel.  The specificity is amazing!  For example, he wrote:

““The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her. “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious.” (Daniel 11:5-7)

A couple hundred years  after Daniel wrote those prophecies, they took place!  The “King of the South” was Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his daughter was named Berenice.  It all happened!  Daniel’s writings were so specifically accurate that some doubt that he could have written them in advance.  And yet, there is compelling evidence he did.  God proved He knew what would happen.

My point is this: Even in the midst of our current, global, political chaos, God is not surprised or defeated.  He knows.  He not only knows because He is in control.  He also told Daniel about events still in our future.  He said:

“… There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:1-3)

Jesus reaffirmed the certainty of those promises.  Daniel got it right.  “Those who are wise” will draw close, through Jesus, to the One Who knows.  He knows what will happen in the Middle East.  He knows what will happen to you.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Ancient Resonance

If you hear the phrase “unalienable rights,” you automatically think back 238 years to a line in the Declaration of Independence.  Only 238 years because our nation is in its infancy.  Compare that to this timeline:

3850 years ago –  Jacob gave a mysterious prophecy over his son, Jacob, saying his descendants would rule over the rest of Israel…

“… until he comes to whom it [the royal scepter, the symbol of kingly authority] belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; …” (Genesis 49:10b-11a, – my added explanation)

2700 years ago – Isaiah added this prophecy about the promised Messiah/King:

“The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’ ”” (Isaiah 62:11)

2500 years ago – Zechariah continued this prophetic theme:

” Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)

Perhaps a bit later? – An unknown Psalmist, yearning for the coming King/Savior, wrote:

“O Lord, save us [this is the word, “Hosanna!”]; O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” (Psalm 118:25-27 – my added explanation)

2000 years ago – In Jesus’ day, these and many other prophetic Scriptures were well known.  There was a widespread, growing expectation that someone, perhaps even Jesus, would soon be revealed as the promised King and Savior.  The air crackled with anticipation.  As Jesus and His disciples approached Jerusalem for the final time, He instructed them to bring Him a colt of a donkey.   Getting on this colt, Jesus began to ride toward the gates of the city.  Those ancient prophecies came to life and began to resonate together.  Matthew wrote:

“This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”” (Matthew 21:4-5)

“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”” (Matthew 21:8-9)

It is likely that Matthew’s words were read by people who had been in that crowd, who perhaps had been swept away by the excitement of the crowd and who had not fully understood the significance of what was happening.  Jesus was identifying Himself to those who could make the connection, who could see how His actions resonated with the ancient prophecies.

The record is still there in black and white for anyone who wants to make the connection today.  The ancient words still resonate for those who listen.

Quotes:  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Words of a Stranger

Perhaps he was known by most as “that crazy old geezer.”  But he was not crazy; he was eccentric – dialed in to a different station.  Luke says “The Holy Spirit was upon him.”  Wow…   Think of the turmoil in Israel during that time, as everyone had to register in his family home town.  Roman soldiers were stomping around, belligerently exercising their positions of privilege and power.  It was not a time to be expecting anything hopeful.  Most people were focused on simply getting through the day without running afoul of the guys with the whips and crosses.

But not this guy.

“It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:26)

Knowing that the Messiah was about to show up, he spent his final days hanging out up at the temple.  Watching.  Waiting.  And, somehow (Holy Spirit again, no doubt), when Mary and Joseph brought their 8 day old Son to be consecrated, the “crazy old geezer” knew Who it was.  How many people were thronging through the temple that day?  How many babies were being carried through that massive courtyard?  What can you see of a baby who is wrapped up in “swaddling clothes?”  But Simeon was watching, waiting and he knew Who the baby was.

“Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”” (Luke 2:28-32)

Again, Wow!   Imagine what was going on in Joseph and Mary’s hearts at that moment.  How amazed and exhilarated…    But Simeon was dialed in to a different station and he was not done.  After praising God for this Good News, he chilled their bones with this:

“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”” (Luke 2:34-35)

I wonder who it was Mary told about this astonishing and yet horrifying encounter.  I can’t imagine how she felt that day.  Or, how she felt, calling those words to mind when they had been violently fulfilled.

Oh, wow…

Quotes:  The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Just the Name

Iraq and Iran attacked the northern part of Israel, trying to conquer it.  Israel fought back, after making an alliance with a part of Syria.  To strengthen their forces they also asked Judah to fight with them.  Who?  Judah was a small part of the original nation of Israel, the only part left after the north seceded in a civil war.  They even lost the name, Israel, to the north.  Anyhow, when they won’t join the fight, they get attacked by their former brothers.

Sound like the future?  Nope, it was the past – roughly 2750 years ago.  The more things change…

Anyhow, the King of Judah decides to join forces with Iraq (then called Assyria) to protect himself from Israel and Syria (then called Aram).  He calls for his Secretary of What God Says to Do (wouldn’t it be great if we still had one of those?), a guy named Isaiah, who tells him, “God says don’t do it; He will keep you safe.”  The armies are marching, and the King is getting nervous.  And skeptical.

So Isaiah says, “God offers to prove it to you; ask Him for a sign – anything!”  The King thinks this has gotten weird; he is wasting time.  He’s got to strike a deal with Assyria before its too late.  So he says, “Thanks anyway…”

So, the Secretary of What God Says to Do says,

“...If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.’ ”” (Isaiah 7:9b)

And then this:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

The king did not “stand firm in his faith” and missed the sign. Eventually both parts of Israel were wiped off the face of the map.  For a time.

But you don’t need to miss it.  You don’t need to know all the history, Just the name of the child.  You just need to know Who He was.  “Immanuel” means, God has come to live with us.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Chrismystery

Consider this:

King David of Israel:

  • Was born in Bethlehem
  • Was considered too little and too young to fight with the big boys and instead was assigned to shepherd his father’s sheep.
  • By the power of God, and against all odds, rescued the nation from an unstoppable threat (Goliath – cool name, huh?).
  • Became the best king Israel ever had.

Jesus

  • Was born in Bethlehem – a town considered too small to play any important role in the affairs of the nation.
  • Came as a tiny, homeless, poor baby – a descendant of King David.
  • Became a Shepherd for His Father’s flock.
  • By the power of God, and against all odds, saved His people from an unstoppable threat (Satan).
  • Will be revealed to be the King of Kings forever.

You might think this was mashed together by revisionists, after the fact, to make Jesus seem more important.  In truth, the synchronicity of those two men was mysteriously designed by God as an object lesson for His people and was explained by the prophet, Micah, 700 years in advance of Jesus’ birth!

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.  (Micah 5:1-5)