Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sunday Recap: The Prophecy Of The Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus was also prophesied in the Old Testament.  In Psalm 16:9-10 David wrote “My flesh will rest in hope”, “You will not leave My soul in Sheol”, and “You will not allow your holy One to see corruption”.

In Acts 2:25-28 Peter quoted these verses in his sermon on Pentecost to prove that the Old Testament foresaw Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

This is an amazing prophecy!  Jesus is the only one who went to the grave (Sheol in Hebrew, Hades in Greek) and whose flesh did not see corruption!  There are some whose flesh did not see corruption because they did not die, like Enoch and Elisha. Others died, and were not left in Sheol – but they later died again and their flesh saw corruption. (Lazarus for example.)  Jesus is the only one (that I am aware of) who went to the grave and whose flesh did not see corruption.

David found great comfort in these truths and it gives all of us hope that though our flesh will see corruption, we will someday be raised from the dead.

“But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries”.  (1 Corinthians 15:20, The Message).

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#1 – Isaiah 53

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Isaiah 53 is #1 for a couple of reasons. First almost every line has a fulfillment – some in very specific details. Secondly, Isaiah 53 is precious to us because it foretells Jesus death on the cross.

The chapter tells about Jesus’ humble beginnings, His rejection by the people, His suffering for the sins of others, His innocence, His passive nature as He suffered, how His death would provide atonement for sin, and His resurrection and ultimate victory.

Some specific details include Jesus being buried in a rich man’s tomb (9) being crucified with criminals (12), praying for those who crucified Him (12).

It is truly an amazing prophecy and it deals with the most precious truth for sinful mankind: Jesus died for our sins!

What else do you see in Isaiah 53?

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Which Prophecy Should Be #1?

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Sunday we reveal the #1 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy.

The purpose of this study has been first of all to increase our confidence that the Bible the word of God. Man cannot tell the future. A genuine fulfilled prophecy is evidence of divine control. We have looked at ten of the most powerful prophecies but there are literally hundreds in the Old and New Testaments. This is evidence that the Bible is not from men, but from God.

Secondly, since most of these prophecies relate to the coming of the Messiah this has given us opportunity to remember the wonderful things God has done for us through Jesus.  The fact that these events were prophesied hundreds, or in some more than a thousand years in advance, illustrates that this was God’s plan all along!  “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

What do you think of our Top Ten? These rankings are not “official” but just my opinion!   What prophecies are missing? What do you think should be #1?

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#2 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

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The #2 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy is Daniel 2:37-44.

In these verses Daniel is interpreting a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.  The dream concerned 3 great kingdoms that would follow Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom and would rule the world over the next 500 years.

Even secular world history confirms this is exactly what happened. The Babylonians were followed by the Medo-Persian empire, which was followed by the Greeks  led by Alexander the Great, and finally the Romans ruled the world.

The most important part of the prophecy is something that would happen during the fourth kingdom. Daniel 2:44 says “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed”.  As we saw on day one of this study, God’s kingdom is not an earthly, physical kingdom.   God’s kingdom in verse 44 is the reign of Christ in the hearts of men who choose Him to be their Lord. It began during the 4th Kingdom, the Romans, and still endures today!

There is no need to apply this to some yet future earthly kingdom. When Jesus began His ministry he said “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).

What questions do you have or what do you find interesting about Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams?

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#3 – Antiochus Epiphanes

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THE PROPHECY – Daniel 8 records a vision which Daniel received (1-14) followed by an interpretation from the angel Gabriel (15-27). The interpretation is in essence a prophecy of what is to come in the future. Gabriel’s interpretation is that the Greeks will conquer Persians and when the Greek King dies his kingdom will be divided into four kingdoms. One of these four will have a king that will persecute the people of God. In the end this persecutor will be broken “without human means” (25).

THE FULFILLMENT – Secular World History textbooks will confirm that Alexander (the Greek king) conquered the world (including the Persians at the battle of Issus in 333bc) and died. His kingdom was divided among his four generals (the diadochi, or “successors”) who led four kingdoms. The Jews were sandwiched between the two of these kingdoms, the Egyptians and Syrians (Selucids). The Syrians had an evil leader named Antiochus Epiphanes who tried to destroy the Jews around 165 bc.  The Jews fought back in what is called the Maccabean revolt. The Jewish festival of Hanukkuh celebrates the rededication of the temple following their fight for independence.

This all took place “between the testaments” but it is a very specific, detailed fulfillment of Daniels vision.  It is also a very important part of the history of God’s people and of Jerusalem.

Some terms to research for more historical confirmation of these things are “the diadochi”, “Antiochus Epiphanes”, and the “Maccabean revolt”.

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#4 – No Bones Broken

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The #4 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy is Exodus 12:46.

When you read Exodus 12:46 your first reaction might be, “that doesn’t sound like a prophecy!” and you would be right. These are the Passover meal instructions God gave to Moses the night of the Exodus from Egypt. Concerning the preparation of the Passover Lamb, He said “you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.”

Was it a prophecy? The Apostle John claimed (John 19:36) that Jesus fulfilled the Exodus passage when He died on the cross. We know now that the Passover Lamb of the Exodus was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Jesus is “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, see also 1 Corinthians 5:7).

Here is how it happened: After the crucifixion the Jews were in a hurry to get the body of Jesus off the cross before the Sabbath. Soldiers were sent to be sure the three who were crucified were dead so they could be buried. The two thieves crucified with Jesus were not dead so their leg bones were broken to hasten their death. John tells us that Jesus was already dead and that the soldiers therefore did not break His legs but they did pierce His side.

John 19:36 says this actually fulfilled two prophecies. In addition to not one of His bones being broken, he was to be pierced. “They will look on Me whom they pierced” is from Zechariah 12:10, a passage rich in Messianic references. (See 9:9-10, 13:1, 7).

Consider how amazing the fulfillment of both of these prophecies are: The soldiers did not pierce the side of the thieves but they did break their bones. They did pierce the side of Jesus but did not break His bones.

The soldiers certainly did not know it but in fact they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecy by their actions!

 

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#5 – Psalm 22

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The #5 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy is Psalm 22.

It has been said that Psalm 22 sounds like it was written by someone sitting at the foot of the cross. The chapter begins with the words Jesus cried as His death drew near: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

There are several direct references to events at Calvary (see verses 7 and 8) but there are two parts in particular that have amazing, detailed fulfillment:

In verse 16 it says “they pierced My hands and My feet”, a reference to crucifixion. This is powerful because the Jews of David’s day did not crucify criminals, they stoned them! The Persians introduced crucifixion and the Romans perfected it as a method of capital punishment.

Consider also verse 18: “they divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots”. The amazing thing about this is that when the soldiers disbursed the garments of Jesus they divided one of His garments, but cast lots for the other (John 19:23-24). One garment was divided into four parts, one part for each soldier, fulfilling the first part of the prophecy. They did not want to tear the tunic so they cast lots for it to see whose it would be, fulfilling the second part!

Psalm 22 was not written by someone at the foot of the cross but by David 1000 years before Jesus lived! How did He know?

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#6 – The Stone The Builders Rejected…

In Psalm 118:22 David wrote “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone”.

This may not sound like the most exciting of prophecies but its importance is seen by the fact that it is quoted directly at least three times in the New Testament: Once by Jesus (Matthew 21:42) and twice by Peter (Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7-8).

We don’t have to wonder about the application: Peter explains it in plain terms in Acts 4:10-12 – the rejected stone is Jesus and the builders were the Jewish religious leaders.  It is a prophecy of the death of Jesus at the hands of the Jews, and how God will use His death to build the true house of God (the church).

Think of the Jewish leaders of Jesus day as builders of the house of God. They pick up a stone (Jesus) and look it over, considered it unfit for God’s house, and toss it into the trash pile. But in the end,  that rejected stone becomes the chief cornerstone.

That is a pretty accurate description of how the Jews had no use for Jesus, rejected Him and had him crucified. But that wasn’t the end of Jesus. God raised Him from the dead and it was through His death and resurrection that He became the chief cornerstone of the Church!

Amazingly it was by their rejecting Him that He became our Savior!

The next verse in the Psalm says, “This was the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes”. It truly is marvelous that God accomplished His plan to save mankind in this manner.

Incidentally this is the context of the next verse: “This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”  These beautiful words apply specifically to how God brought salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. “This is the day” may refer to the day of the resurrection.

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#7 – The Destruction Of Jersusalem

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The #7 Most Powerful Bible Prophecy is Matthew 24:1-3.

Most of the “Top 10 Most Powerful Prophecies” are from the Old Testament and tell of events that would take place centuries and in some cases a thousand years or more in the future.  This prophecy was spoken by Jesus and the time between the prophecy and its fulfillment is about 40 years –  still impressive and certainly beyond the power of man to foresee!

Jesus said Herod’s temple in Jerusalem would be brought to rubble. Then in verse 34 He said it would happen before that generation passed away.  Jesus spoke these words during the final week of His life on earth, and it came to pass just as He said.

Matthew 24 and its reference to “wars and rumors of wars” is often cited as referring to the “end times” and Jesus’ second coming.   There may be some secondary application of this prophecy (general things that are true about all judgments of God), but the context (see especially Matthew 23:34 – 24:1-2) makes it clear that, primarily, Jesus’ words referred to and were fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Our main point is it happened, just as He said! About 40 years after Jesus spoke these words the Romans came and destroyed Jerusalem.

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#8 – The King On A Donkey

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The 8th most powerful fulfilled prophecy is Zechariah 9:9-10.

Zechariah 9:9 says 3 things about the future King. He is  just, He brings salvation, and He is lowly.  An example of His lowliness is that will arrive riding on a donkey.

To foretell that a great king would come riding on a donkey is truly remarkable because it is so “un-king like”.  It is also amazing to foretell the specific mode of transportation.

All four gospels mention Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey.  See for example Matthew 21:1-6.

Question: When the King did arrive in Jerusalem on a donkey what other “un-king like” act was He about to accomplish?

What else do you find interesting in this prophecy?

 

 

 

 

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