Archive for April, 2008



Messianic Confirmation through a Gentile

MONDAY

Last week we examined prophecies related to the 1st Coming of Messiah under the heading of ‘Waiting For Messiah’. We saw the promise of a God-Man redeemer in Genesis 3:15, Eve’s misapplication of God’s promise in Genesis 4:1, Lamech’s misapplication in Genesis 5:29, and the narrowing of the promise through Abraham’s seed in Genesis 22:18 and through the tribe of Judah in Genesis 49:10. This week we will continue that study to show the breadth of God’s preparation of the Jews and the world for the coming of His Son.

We will begin by looking at God’s promise delivered to non-Jews through the pagan prophet Balaam in Numbers 24:17. After 40 years of wandering in the desert under Moses’ leadership and just before they entered the land of Canaan under Joshua’s command, the pagan king Balak attempted to commission the pagan prophet Balaam to pronounce a curse on the people of Israel. In Numbers 23 and 24 we see God intervene and prohibit Balaam from cursing Israel and instead give a blessing over Israel – a move that greatly angered Balak. But it is interesting to see God’s witness to non-Jews regarding the coming of Messiah:

NAU Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.

NIV Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls {17 Samaritan Pentateuch (see also Jer. 48:45); the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.} of {17 Or possibly Moab, batter} all the sons of Sheth. {17 Or all the noisy boasters}

KJV Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. {smite…: or, smite through the princes of}

Four hundred and seventy years after Jacob’s family moved to Egypt where he pronounces the leadership blessing on the tribe of Judah, an ‘outside the nation’ confirmation of Jacob’s prophecy is made through a non-Jewish source. Balaam, who was probably confused by what he was saying since he did not have Genesis 49:10 as a reference point, prophesizes that Messiah (when He comes) will be a unique and powerful king who will rule over Israel. More than likely it was this prophecy that Babylonian astrologers used to look for the ‘star’ that guided them to Bethlehem when Messiah was born 1,000 years later.

Advertisements

Shiloh

FRIDAY

Before the Book of Genesis ends, God is once more going to narrow the options for identifying the God-Man Messiah. On his death bed, Jacob gave his blessings to each of his sons. Honor and a double portion should have gone to the first born – Rueben. But instead, the double portion went not to the first born but to the next to last or 11th son – Joseph – and split between his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.

But leadership honors went to Judah – the forth son of Jacob.

NAU Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

NIV Genesis 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs {10 Or until Shiloh comes; or until he comes to whom tribute belongs} and the obedience of the nations is his.

KJV Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

The term Shiloh is an important term and means ‘until He comes to whom it belongs’. The NIV has the most literal translation of the Hebrew. The rabbi’s early interpreted Shiloh as one of the names for Messiah. Judah will not lose the honor and right to rule over the other tribes until the One (Messiah) comes who has the full rights to the scepter. Messiah’s identity is now limited to being a descendant of Judah.

Later (after 70 A.D.), the rabbis would use this verse to show that the Messiah was not divine because sheloh (Shiloh) is similar to shilyah – the word describing the amniotic sac in which a fetus is formed. To these later leaders, this was an indication that Messiah was merely human. However, before the appearance of Jesus, this was not the thinking.

Implied in this identity of Judah as the descendant of Abraham through whom Messiah will appear is that Judah will lose this identity once Messiah has come. Interestingly, the Jews were meticulous keepers of genealogy for the all the tribes (but especially Judah and Levi) until the destruction of the Temple in 70A.D. Immediately after 70 A.D. the rabbi’s passed laws to preserve the identity of the Levitical Tribe (for that time in the future when the Temple will once again be restored). So with the loss of identity of all tribes but Levi after 70 A.D., we can assert that Messiah (based on the prophecies in Genesis) must appear before 70 A.D.

And interestingly He did – when Jesus was born of Mary, matured into adulthood and demonstrated Himself to be the Divine-Man Messiah.

Narrowing the Field

THURSDAY

We learn two important truths about the God-man redeemer promised in Genesis 3:15 – 1) the Messiah is to come from humanity, and 2) the Messiah will be uniquely born from the seed of a woman (an unusual description of any man’s origin). As we move forward in history and in the book of Genesis, we find the options narrowing for the origin of Messiah.

NAU Genesis 22:18In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

NIV Genesis 22:18 and through your offspring {18 Or seed} all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

KJV Genesis 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Once again, the singular nature of seed is highlighted as it was in Genesis 3:15. This time, instead of the woman’s seed being highlighted, the seed of Abraham is being emphasized. Genesis 3:15 and 22:18 tell us that the Messiah will be Divine and human at the same time, entering in a unique way through a woman’s seed, from the lineage of Abraham. And just as importantly, the Messiah will bless ALL humanity – not just the descendants of Abraham. Although Messiah is to be Jewish, His work will benefit ALL mankind. How is will benefit all mankind will be developed in later prophecy (i.e. Isaiah 42:1-6; 49:5, 6).

NAU Galatians 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.

NIV Galatians 3:16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” {16 Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7} meaning one person, who is Christ.

KJV Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

NOAH – Continuing the Wait

WEDNESDAY

NIV Genesis 5:22 And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters… 25 When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech… 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. NAU Genesis 5:29 Now he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed.”

All the patriarchs were looking for the God-Man redeemer promised by God in Genesis 3:15. When we get to Enoch, the seventh generation from creation, the theology of Adam and Eve is still alive. Enoch names his first born Methuselah which can be translated either ‘When he dies He will come’ of ‘When he dies It will come. It appears the patriarchs thought they were close to the fulfillment of prophecy and that Methuselah’s death marked the coming of the Messiah.

Lamech continues this thinking in the naming of his son, Noah, which means rest. But the death of Methuselah did not result in the appearance of Messiah. Instead, it resulted in the cataclysmic event recorded in the Bible and other ancient literature as the flood. The name, Methuselah, was indeed prophetic but rather than foretelling the coming of a person it foretold the coming of an event. The Patriarchs had a small piece of the puzzle. They were looking for the God-Man redeemer but they were looking for a soon appearing of this redeemer not knowing of the patience of God.

NAU 2 Peter 3:15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,

Correct Theology, Incorrect Application

TUESDAY

It appears that ‘Waiting/Looking for Messiah’ occurred very early in the history of man. It was not a late development. Later prophecy only clarified what had already been introduced. Adam and Eve knew they were in trouble after being expelled from the Garden. They were looking for the solution promised by God in Genesis 3:15. This is apparent in the very next chapter.

NAU Genesis 4:1 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”

NIV Genesis 4:1 Adam {1 Or The man} lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. {1 Cain sounds like the Hebrew for brought forth or acquired.} She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth {1 Or have acquired} a man.”

KJV Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. {Cain: that is Gotten, or, Acquired}

The literal Hebrew of Eve’s statement is: ‘I have gotten a man:YHWH’. The Hebrew has caused translators difficulty, and has been especially problematic for the Jews after the Resurrection of Jesus. Before the Advent of Jesus, the literal Hebrew was interpreted as Eve believing she had birthed the Messiah when she gave birth to Cain. That she realized her mistake in identifying Cain as the Messiah was evident in the birth of her second son, Abel. His name in Hebrew (hebel) means Vain (other uses of hebel are found in Ecclesiastes 1:2, Zech 10:2, Lamentations 4:17; Isaiah 49:4; Psalm 39:6 and Job 9:29 – all with the meaning of vain). Eve was theologically correct in her interpretation of God’s statement in Genesis 3:15. God has promised a redeeming God-Man. However, she realized after Cain’s birth (and confirmed later when he murdered his brother Abel) that she had misapplied her understanding of God’s promise. And so the wait continued.

Waiting For Messiah

MONDAY

This week we will look at Scriptures dealing with ‘Waiting for Messiah’. In order to wait, you must be looking and there was reason to look for a deliverer after Adam’s and Eve’s failure in the Garden. God gave Adam and Eve (along with the rest of humanity) hope in the midst of a curse (what a God we worship!).

NAU Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

NIV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring {15 Or seed} and hers; he will crush {15 Or strike} your head, and you will strike his heel.”

KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

The promise Adam and Eve (and all humanity) were looking for would come from the seed of the woman – an unusual statement because seed (outside of this verse) is always referred to as coming from a man. Adam and Eve knew they should be looking for a descendant who would deliver them from the curse. Tomorrow we shall see who she thought was the answer to their problem.

Resurrection Proofs

FRIDAY 

What proof is there of the resurrection of Jesus?

There is the historical record from the Gospels:

NAU John 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.  Cp Matthew 28:1-11; Mark 16; Luke 24

Facts from the narrative(s):

Jesus was Dead;

Jesus was laid to rest in a tomb;

Jesus’ tomb was sealed with an immense stone;

Jesus tomb was secured with a seal (Matt27:66);

Jesus’ tomb was guarded by Roman soldiers (Matt 27:62-22);

 
There is angelic testimony to the resurrection:

NAU Matthew 28:5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified 6 “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

There is the testimony of Jesus’ enemies:

 NAU Matthew 28:11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14 “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

 
There is the testimony of those He appeared to after the resurrection:

NAU 1 Corinthians 15:4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also (Paul).

 
He appeared in His resurrection body to:

The Mary’s (john 20:14; Matt 28:9, 10);

Peter (Luke 24:34);

The Emmaus disciples (Luke 24: 13-33);

The twelve without Thomas (John 20: 19-24);

The twelve with Thomas (John 20:26-29);

The seven at Tibereas (John 21:1-23);

500 other brothers;

James ( 1 Cor 15:7);

The Apostles (Luke 24:33-52);

Paul (Acts 9:3-6);

Stephen (Acts 7:55);

Paul (Acts 22:17-21; 23:11) and

John on Patmos (Rev 1:10-19)

 
Confucius’ tomb – OCCUPIED

Buddha’s tomb – OCCUPIED

Mohammed’s tomb – OCCUPIED

Jesus’ tomb – EMPTY!!

                                                G.B. Hardy