Friday, April 5, 2019

Guest Post: The Proof is in the Prophecy

Tom: Today we’re discussing prophecy, which is perhaps the most compelling feature of the Bible, demonstrating beyond doubt that it is indeed what it claims to be, the Word of God. Dave, last week we quoted numerous verses from the book of Isaiah, where God himself says that He alone is the God of prophecy. Can we just kind of review some of those verses?
Dave: Yeah, I forgot my Bible this morning, Tom! So, I’m in bad shape, but let’s see if we can’t remember some of them. In Isaiah 42, I think it’s around verse 8, 9, 10, somewhere in that region, God declares that He is the one who tells you what’s going to happen before it happens. In Isaiah 43, He points to Israel in verse 10: “You are my witnesses that I am God . . .” —Witnesses to yourselves and to the world because of what He said would happen to Israel. You can’t escape that. Isaiah:46:9-10, I think it is, God again declares He is the one true God, and then He tells us again that He will tell us what will happen before it happens, and He will watch over history to make certain that it does, so that when it comes to pass you will have to acknowledge that He is God - Isaiah:48:5, I think it is. I think it’s around verse 5.
Tom: But, Dave, this is another good reason why people ought to check you out.
Dave: (Laughs) That’s right!
Tom: I mean, you are doing this from memory . . . 
Dave: Very good!
Tom: Let’s search the Scriptures to see if what Dave is saying is . . .
Dave:  Hey, maybe this is a good illustration of why they ought to search the Scriptures, but [in] Isaiah:48:5 God says, “I’m not going to let you give credit to your idols! I’m the one who told you what would happen, so when it happens you can’t give credit to your idols for having done this, but you will have to give credit to Me.”
So, the Bible (we’ve probably said it several times) is about 28 percent prophecy. If you cut prophecy out, you cut out an awful lot of the Bible. Most people, when they . . . you say, “Well, we’re going to talk about prophecy,” they think, Well, you’re talking about the Antichrist, the Second Coming, the Great Tribulation. . . . Future events.
No, no! Most prophecy has already been fulfilled. This is the great proof that God exists and the Bible is His Word.
Tom: Right, last week we began looking at fulfilled prophecy, particularly the prophecies that predicted the first coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dave: Yeah, this is how you would know who the Messiah was. There are no prophecies for Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Zoroaster, or anybody else. How would you recognize . . . and it’s very significant, the choice of words. In Luke 7, John the Baptist is in prison. He sends two of his disciples to Jesus to check Him out. He doesn’t say. “Well, are you the Messiah? Are you the Savior?” No, he says very precisely, “Art thou he that should come?” Ohh! Somebody was coming! Well, how would you know He was coming? “Well, the prophets said He was coming.”
Well how would you recognize Him? The prophets laid it out exactly how you would know who the Messiah was.
Tom: Right. And in particular, some people said, “Well, Jesus could have kind of put these things together to make himself . . . the nay bobs, the gainsayers,” and so forth. But how do you pick where you are going to be born? Micah:5:2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Dave: That tells us that He is eternal; the one who was born in Bethlehem. This is not the beginning of His existence, although many Jews would not believe that and wouldn’t accept it. Isaiah:9:6, of course, says, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.” So the babe born in Bethlehem is the man; the Son is the eternal Son of God. “The government will be upon His shoulders,” so you know that’s the Messiah. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God; the everlasting Father.” So, when Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” He was absolutely in accord with Isaiah, who said that the babe that would be born in Bethlehem, amazingly, is the everlasting Father! He is God!
Tom:  And, Dave, the particulars, with regard to prophecy—even Jesus’s bloodline had to be specifically fulfilled. Again, we’re talking about things that He had no control over—that is, unless He were God!
Dave: Unless He’s God. Right.
Tom: Luke:1:31-32: “And behold you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great [again, this is the angel Gabriel speaking to Mary], He shall be great and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”
Dave, in Matthew:22:42 it says “What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he?  They say unto him, the son of David.” So Jesus had to be in the line of David.
Dave: Well, he had to be because 2 Samuel 7 and many other places God promised this to David. He said, “I have found David a man after my own heart.” He was a sinner; he did commit adultery; he committed murder—that’s horrible! And yet he repented. Not that he was a man who was perfect, without sin, but he was at least perfect in his heart when Nathan the prophet confronted him and said, “Thou art the man!” he repented. When Saul was confronted by Samuel, he tried to justify himself.
So God chose David, and He said that “on his throne the Messiah would sit.”
Now, when you come to the New Testament, Romans 1, for example, Paul says that he is preaching the gospel of God. Not the Methodists, or Baptists, or Catholics, or Presbyterians—none of that matters. These are labels that people have put forth much more recently, but Paul says, “I am preaching the gospel of God.” Well, how do we know that it is the gospel of God? He says, “ . . . which he promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,” (Romans:1:2). Then he says, “Concerning his Son Jesus . . . made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans:1:3). So he had to be of the seed of David.
Tom: Dave, prophecy—not only is it . . .
Dave: It’s exciting, Tom! I get excited!
Tom: It is exciting! It’s confidence building, it’s a great encouragement to all who will look at it and accept it for what it is—factual, historical, and, really, supernatural, because only God could fulfill these aspects of it.
Dave: Amen! This is the first thing I go to when I’m on an airplane talking to some CEO or whoever he is. When I take them to prophecy, and I show them that God has foretold history before it happened—and these are not cheap little events, you know, hidden away somewhere. These are events that have made history, and the Bible foretold them centuries, even thousands, of years ahead. We have absolute proof! We have absolute proof that Jesus is the Christ. Furthermore, it even tells us when He would come! So it’s too late now for the Messiah to come the first time, but the second coming is getting very close I believe.
Tom: Dave, I get excited about this too, so I want to keep some of these things straight and communicate them as well as we can. But I want you to throw in whatever prophecy that you’re excited about, that is somewhat unique, that maybe many of our listeners are not aware of prophecy, or they just don’t know the prophecies that we are going to be speaking to.
One that really excites me is Jeremiah:22:30, “Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.”
Now, Dave, this prophecy—actually the man that they’re speaking to is Jehoiachin, also known as Jeconiah, or Coniah. And he was eight years old when he took the throne of David. He reigned for about three months, and then he was taken captive to Babylon, where he spent thirty-seven years in prison. Now this is a curse against this line of David. And it said that no one from that line will ever sit on the throne of David. Now Jeconiah had children, but they never sat on the throne of David, and no one from that line could sit on the throne of David.
Dave: It might have confused some people because it begins by saying “count this man as childless.” But it doesn’t mean that he isn’t going to have any children; it means that his children are going to count for anything. Because it does go on and say “none of his descendants,” so it does indicate that he had descendants.
Tom: The reason I find this prophecy exciting is that it looks like God has just boxed Himself in, because Jesus, through his father (foster father), Joseph . . .
Dave: Yeah, let’s make that clear. The Bible is very clear about it.
Tom: Well, yes, because what you’re saying is that if Joseph was Jesus’s father, then there was no virgin birth. But here’s what’s interesting about this particular prophecy: if Joseph was really the father of Jesus, and there was no virgin birth involved, Jesus would be, not really, according to God, the king of Israel.
Dave: He would be of the descendant of Jeconiah, because Joseph was; therefore he couldn’t have been the Messiah.
Tom: Yes, however Mary comes through the line of Nathan, the son of David, and that gives Jesus the bloodline that He needs to be the king of Israel. But Joseph, being His foster father—however you want to describe him—that gives Jesus the legal right. So He has the legal right through His father, but the bloodline—He has the bloodline through Mary. That’s an incredible prophecy!
Dave: Tom, the Bible is just absolutely full of amazing prophecies; though I am sure that you and I have missed quite a few of them yet.
Tom: We have time, Dave, if the Lord tarries.
Dave: No, I don’t mean talking about them! Oh, right, we’ve got time for the Lord to point them out to us. They’re all in His Word.
Tom: We do have Bibles here by the way.
Dave: Yeah, well, in Hosea:3:4-5, God prophesied that the children of Israel would be without a king, without a sacrifice, without a priesthood—obviously, something would happen, or something would prevent the temple from being rebuilt—and it says for many, many years. Jeremiah foretold 70 years of desolations on Jerusalem, and it happened. At the end of 70 years, Cyrus let them go back (Cyrus the king).
Jesus then elaborates on Hosea. He says, “Jerusalem will be trodden down [this is Luke:21:24, I think]. Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Now, that is an amazing prophecy! If it’s trodden down of the Gentiles and they can’t offer sacrifices, something is going to prevent the temple from being rebuilt for a long, long time, and Jesus does not—well, He says, “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” I think that won’t happen until Armageddon, when the Gentile nations are destroyed at Armageddon.
But you can go over the history of Jerusalem; I love the prophecies about Jerusalem. Jerusalem has been fought over, occupied, by every major power down through history. The Jews have not had control of this since the time that they were thrown out in the final Diaspora in AD 70. Everybody else has had it, from the Greeks, to the Romans, everybody. The Muslims, of course; the MamlÅ«ks of Egypt had it for about 400 years; then the Turks—they were on the wrong side in WWII, so when the allies took that area (they called it Palestine), they turned it over to the British, you remember? The British Mandate. And the British had it since then. Well, finally, in 1967, when Israel took Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, I remember some of the prophecy experts saying, “Wow, that’s the end of it now. The ‘times of the Gentiles’ are fulfilled!” and Moshe Dayan turns around and gives the Temple Mount (that’s the most important part of it, that 35 acres—you could start a nuclear war over that) gives it back to King Hussein of Jordan. In 1974, the PLO takes it over, and Arafat is in control of it, and we could go down through history. In fact, we can just go to modern history. Do I have enough . . . are you going to give me another couple of minutes here?
Tom: Sure, go for it!
Dave: [It’s] very interesting. The United Nations in 1947, UN Resolution 181 said when they partitioned the land and gave part of it to the Jews, “Jerusalem must be an international city forever.” You know that the pope recently—last February—he was in Israel, in Jerusalem and then in Bethlehem with Arafat, and he signed a deal: the Vatican with the PLO, saying there must be international assurance that Jerusalem will remain an international city and it will not be under the control of the Jews. Jesus said it will be “trodden down of the Gentiles till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
The United Europe recently said that “Jerusalem must remain an international city.” So in all these negotiations that are going on—as you know, the negotiations at Camp David recently broke down because they were quarreling over Jerusalem. The Jews want to have . . . this is their capital, this is where they have the Knesset. But all the nations of the world have their embassies somewhere else. Jesus said, “ . . . trodden down of the Gentiles till the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Now, Tom I don’t want anybody out there to think I am anti-Catholic and I’m throwing in something, but they need to know that the Catholic Church has been absolutely opposed to the Jews having control of Jerusalem, even to being in their land. For example, in 1904, Theodor Herzl records in his diary . . .
Tom: Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist Movement.
Dave: Right. And he asked Pope Pius X for support for the Zionist movement. They quote what . . . well, we have to take Theodor Herzl’s word for it, and it certainly ties in with many other things. He says that the pope said to him, “We cannot prevent the Jews from returning to Jerusalem, but we could never sanction it.” In 1919, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, he was Secretary of State of the Vatican at that time, he said (and Tom I just find these statements so astonishing) he said “the thing that frightens us the most is the possibility of a Jewish state in Palestine!”
And then, you know, we’ve quoted in our newsletter the letter from Pope Pius XII to Roosevelt, which was uncovered recently in the archives, June 22, 1943, with the smoke of the incinerated Jews hanging over Europe, and Pope Pius XII said to Roosevelt, “There is no precedent in history for a people who have been cast out of the land for 1,900 years returning.” Now he says, “If a Jewish homeland is desirable, then it would be a lot better to give them someplace else—not in Palestine. Because,” he said, “if you let the Jews return there, it will cause great problems for the world.”
Now we have hundreds, literally hundreds, of prophecies in the Old Testament where God promised that after He scattered His people He would bring them back, and, in fact, they have to be there, as you have been saying, because the Messiah returns there to rule on the throne of His father David in Jerusalem over His chosen people, the Jews!
Tom: Dave, this is an extraordinary example of an ignorance of prophecy. I don’t think they understand what they are doing.
Dave: But wait a minute, Tom. I’m sorry, but this is the Vicar of Christ—he claims to be the representative of the one true church. Part of the problem is, and it’s not just with Catholics but it’s with a lot of evangelicals today, the Catholic Church said it, and it’s in Vatican II, and you can find the statements back there, that the Jews are no longer the people of God. Vatican II says the Church is the new people of God, and the Jews were the people formerly chosen by God, and we’ve got evangelicals who teach this today.
So, yes, it is an ignorance of prophecy, but how could it possibly be? There are so many prophecies! There is an opposition to Israel being back in her land where she must be. But anyway, the point I was trying to make is this is an amazing prophecy by Jesus. “Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Hosea said they are going to be without a sacrifice, without a priesthood and so forth.
Now, this is very important—if we have any Jewish people listening out there—if Israel has been without a sacrificial system; without a means of dealing with sin for 1,900 years—not by accident, God said they would be without it. Well, then, we are driven to one of two conclusions. Either God has, as many Christians (so-called) today say, cast off His people; the Jews are no longer His people. If you say that, then wow, you have just pulled the rug out from under one of the greatest prophecies in the Bible, so that can’t be! But either God has cast them off, or the Messiah has come and as it was foretold, He would be crucified, He would die for the sins of the world. He has fulfilled the Old Testament sacrifices. There is a once-for-all sacrifice for sin! I don’t think you can escape one of those conclusions. We are driven to one or the other.
Tom: And, Dave, there are so many details, as you’ve been saying, in the Bible with regard to prophecy that underscore—for example, you mentioned crucifixion. Christ came, and He was crucified. King David, writing in the Psalms, Psalm:22:14, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. . . .” Now who is this describing and what form of . . . ?
Dave: It’s not David; it never happened to David, so he is talking prophetically.
Tom: “ . . . my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me . . . ”
Dave: That’s Gentiles and Jews.
Tom: “ . . . they pierced my hands and feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.” Dave, two aspects of this. Not only is David referring to his son to come, the Son of God, the Messiah, but he writes this 1,000 years before Christ, when crucifixion was never used. I mean it wasn’t used until about 150 years before Christ as a form of execution.
Dave: “All my bones are out of joint.” They pound the nails into them down on the ground. They don’t climb up ladders. And then they lift that thing up and drop it into its socket in the ground. All your bones are out of joint! But, Tom, it goes even further. It tells us that they would not do what they always did to the crucified.
They would not break His legs. “A bone of Him shall not be broken.” They always did that. Let them linger on the cross. The whole idea was torture, a slow torturous death. And then we want to take them down and break their legs so they can’t support themselves anymore, and they collapse, their lungs collapse, and then they die.
No, but they wouldn’t do that, because Jesus said, “No man takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself.” He was dead already. You couldn’t have imagined how could He possibly be dead already? And then it said they would do to Him what they’d never do to the crucified: they would pierce Him with a sword, or a spear, Zechariah:12:10.
Well, Tom, we’ve run out of time, but it is just so incredible, and, as you said, it is strengthening to our faith to see the Bible has laid it all out ahead of time.
Tom: Right. It’s why we know that it is indeed God speaking to us.
Dave: And that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of sinners.

TBC Program #1914