Jesus Claims to be God: Prophesy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God.

Picking on Poor Old Mark

One of the more intense opponents of Christianity is Bart Ehrman, a prolific author and scholar of the Bible. Ehrman works tirelessly to disabuse Christians of the notion that the Bible is a reliable historical record of anything that actually happened in first-century Palestine. In his critique of the four Gospels, Ehrman (along with the majority of modern scholarship) notes that the Gospel of Mark appears to be the earliest of the four. A part of this conclusion is the “underdeveloped” Christology of Mark – in other words, Mark sees a rather plain, human Jesus. Mark’s Jesus, according to Ehrman, is a man, nothing more, and perhaps had some extraordinary signs surrounding his ministry, but by the time the Gospel of John is written decades later, the plain-Jane Jesus of Mark has been morphed into a God.

For Ehrman and his ilk, the true Jesus was more like the one found in Mark than anywhere else. I have even watched as Muslim critics of Christianity have begun to take up Ehrman’s arguments against the historicity of the Gospels on this very basis.

shabir allyShabir Ally, a gentleman from Canada, in debating against Dr. James White, used Ehrman’s theory of a developing Christology from Mark through John to try and debunk any true witness to Jesus’ deity in the Gospel accounts. Never mind that if Shabir and the modern Muslim apologists used the same exact critical tools against the Quran, that it would be even more so than the Bible vulnerable to being debunked… but that’s another story.

So, are they right? Does Mark present the more authentic Jesus? I mean, being authentic is the greatest virtue of our age, and being a fake the worst sin, right?

Jesus Sets the Record Straight

Without delving into a major critical response to Ehrman/Ally, I must say that their thesis is empty. Even if we allow that Mark is the earliest account of Jesus’ life and ministry, there is no less the deity of Christ here than in the other two synoptic Gospels.

Let me give you one clear example (among many) of the witness of Jesus’ deity in Mark, and then a clear fulfillment of a key prophetic picture from the Old Testament (because it is Prophesy Friday after all).

A Clear Example of Jesus’ Godhood

A paralytic guy needed to be healed, and he knew Jesus could do it. His friends brought him out to see Jesus, but instead of just *shazam* healing the man, Jesus says “Son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2:5b NKJV).

Now, the folks in the house knew exactly what kind of claim that was, “and some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'” (Mark 2:6-7).

Got it? Every Jew knows that only God forgives sins.

Also, note that the scribes were reasoning in their hearts – not out loud. Watch this.

But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:8-12)

Jesus did not shy away from the claim to be God in flesh. He proved it.

Jesus Claims to be Fulfilling Prophecy

He isn’t done. A few years and 12 chapters later, the high priest is interrogating Jesus, who has been arrested and is facing charges of.. blasphemy. So he snarls at Jesus “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mark 14:61b).Trial

He doesn’t really think it possible that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) – it’s a question meant to lead to execution. The answer, however, is not that of an intimidated man. He isn’t scared of death, or the authority of the high priest.

Jesus said, “I am…”

Step 1: use the designation that belongs to God alone. Exodus 3:14.

“…and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power,”

Step 2: claim to be the divine figure from Psalm 110:1 who has the rightful place of authority at the right hand of God.

“…and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Step 3: claim to be the figure from Daniel 7:13-14 who inherits the universe as His own creation and right. Claim to be the Son of Man who was prophesied over 500 years before – the One who stands above the creation as its Master. Jesus was not afraid to die for the truth.

-Cue the wrath of the little inquisitor-

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”

And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands (Mark 14:63-65).

Now that is a Man who knows His identity. He is not trembling before the opinions of His enemies. He has no hesitation to claim the divine rights He has always owned, from all eternity. He has no problem claiming that the Bible is all about Himself. Do you know Him?

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Scads of Gospel Power: Prophecy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Red Pepper

Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. Today I am going to recap the posts I’ve written in this series so far. I’m so entirely excited about Prophesy Fridays so far – it is some of my best writing I have done in over a year of blogging.

I could really use your words of feedback, support, or challenge if you disagree with something. I put a lot of work into this series, and have little indication if it is beneficial to anyone! So check them out…

Jesus Drops in on Samson’s Parents

Isaiah sees the Atonement 740 Years Out

The God of Israel will be Pierced

Poetic, Prophetic King David and Blind (Tour) Guides

Staycation in Babylon and Glimpsing the New Covenant

Maybe pick one of these and read it carefully – I hope the people of the Lord Jesus are fed and drawn to Him through these posts.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thanks for reading,

-Adam

Staycation in Babylon and Glimpsing the New Covenant: Prophesy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Red Peppers

Prophesy Friday is my attempt to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. This is going to be a heavy dose today, so strap on your thinking caps!

Today we’re going to visit with Ezekiel – a man who was carried off to Babylon in 597 BC when the Hebrew kingdom of Judah was dismantled by mighty Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon – Emperor of the Middle Eastern peoples. Ezekiel’s prophecy is graphic, gritty, and at some points difficult to interpret. Jewish men traditionally were not to read it until they turned 30 because of the horrific nature of some of the pictures, and because of the sexually explicit imagery used to describe the spiritual whoredom of Judah and Israel (ch. 23).

It is a prophecy of disorientation and devastation, and in the midst of the events of the book, word reaches Ezekiel that Jerusalem has been destroyed (586 BC). At that point, Ezekiel begins to receive a new type of prophetic word: reorientation and restoration for the descendants of the Babylonian exiles. On this turn in the narrative, Charles Dyer writes

During these final years Ezekiel was ministering in Babylon, predicting the coming collapse of Jerusalem. His message fell on deaf ears till word of the city’s destruction was received in Babylon. The fall of the city prompted a change in Ezekiel’s prophetic message. Before Jerusalem fell, Ezekiel’s message focused on Judah’s forthcoming destruction because of her sin. After Jerusalem’s fall, Ezekiel’s message centered on Judah’s future restoration. [1]

Ezekiel

I give you all that information in order to provide context for what I want to highlight today. As Ezekiel begins his staycation in Babylon, he is given a hopeful prophecy for the future restoration of his nation… yet the prophecy of the restored Israel would grow and expand into the inclusion of the Church of Jesus Christ (as is the nature of much Old Testament prophecy).

Through the destruction of old Jerusalem, Ezekiel becomes a prophet for the New Jerusalem – the New Covenant in Jesus Christ and the better promises given to all who are in Him. Want to see a glimpse of it? If you read carefully and follow my thinking, I know you will be blessed like I’ve been.

We only have space for a very small slice of Ezekiel’s prophecy, as it is dense and difficult, but a small slice is enough to get a ton of Christ.

Chapter 34, Verses Wow through Hallelujah

Written around 580 BC, keep in mind Ezekiel is writing what God is giving him to write – and he is writing to the generations of Jews who will suffer through exile in Babylon… but because they are the words of the all-knowing God who is outside of time, they are also words that foreshadow a greater restoration, one which will include the entire world!

After condemning the leaders of the Jewish nation for failing to shepherd the people according to the covenant, Yahweh declares Himself to be the true shepherd (Ez. 34:11-13 NKJV):

11 For thus says Yahweh God “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.”

What’s that? 600 years later, Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd” John 10:11, and also

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16).

Do you see the connection? Let’s look back at Ezekiel 34 –

12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.

That dark and cloudy day was first of all referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile, but that dark day can also refer to the thousands of years where there was no hope for the Gentiles. They were born, lived, and died in spiritual darkness as the fallen sons and daughters of Adam. Jesus, as the Word of Yahweh in Ezekiel 34, claims He will seek out His people in every nation.

13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.

When He finds us, He restores us – both Jews and Gentiles! We are all feeding on the goodness of the “land” of Israel, metaphorically speaking – we are all within the covenant blessings spoken to Abraham… because of and in Christ!

But wait, there’s more. You may not be convinced of the connection between Ezekiel’s prophecy and Jesus. Look further as Yahweh through Ezekiel reprimands the Hebrew people who have despised the good gifts of God… but with the appropriate New Covenant lens, we see it was actually Jesus they trampled. Read this and think of Jesus’ trial, mocking, and crucifixion (Ez. 34:17-19):

17 ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says Yahweh God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.

(Read about how Jesus claims that power in Matthew 25).

18 Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet?

This is a picture of how Jesus was treaded down and trampled by His nation. Ezekiel’s contemporaries had similarly despised the good gift of God’s covenant and favor to them, but look then at this:

19 And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

Oh my. Yahweh makes a difference here between His flock and the people of Ezekiel’s nation. In other words, the people of Ezekiel’s time are excluded from the flock of Yahweh – excluded and cursed by their breaking of the covenant. They have treaded and trampled God’s gift, but His flock will eat and drink from that very trampled gift.

Do you see the prophetic power here? He’s talking about you and me in the New Covenant – those in Jesus Christ which for Ezekiel would be another 600 years in the future!

Look carefully at it: what is it the Church eats and drinks? What else but the broken body and blood of the Lamb?Communion Our communion supper! Our Jesus, coming to us in the bread and the wine, offering His saving benefits to His flock!

Even More Clear

Ezekiel continues to speak the Word of Yahweh, and Jesus becomes crystal clear in the passage:

23 I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, Yahweh, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, Yahweh, have spoken.

Just so there is no confusion about who it is that is at the head of all these blessings. Just so we’re clear, oh Israel, who will be your King and benefactor. This is an echoing of Yahweh’s promises to David that his own offspring would sit on the throne of the covenant nation forever, from 2 Samuel 7:16.

But realize something about Ezekiel writing this Word from God in 580 BC: David had been dead and moldering for over 400 years, so when Yahweh declares that David will be His shepherd and servant to rule His people Israel, He is speaking of David’s descendant.

And here’s the last piece of the puzzle. In 70 AD when the Romans wrecked the temple and destroyed the Jewish nation (again), all of the family records of the Jews were lost. After that time, no one can say for certain which person belongs to which family or tribe. What Jew today can be crowned as the Son of David? Not one. There is no line from David to the present day Jew, and so that Shepherd and Prince who will be ruler over the New Covenant, restored nation… had to have lived and been revealed before 70 AD. And since there was no restored Davidic kingdom at that time, there is only one possibility left: that Shepherd, King, and servant of Yahweh did not stay dead, rose from the earth into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting to return again to earth and consummate His visible rule over all people. The great Shepherd of Israel and Son of David is alive and ready to be revealed in His majestic reign, just as promised.

For now, He is reigning until the Father places all His enemies under His feet. He is the King of Zion. He is the Son of David. He is the Lamb slain for His flock – and He is coming back to rule the earth in judgment and power. He is the fulfillment of these, and many other prophetic pictures in Ezekiel. Read it for yourself!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

[1] Charles H. Dyer, Ezekiel, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament, 1226.

Jesus’ Arms Outstretched: Tuesdays with Uncle Athanasius

Athanasius 5, Heretics 0

Athanasius 5, Heretics 0

Athanasius (c.297-373), my favorite early church father, fought heretics with all of his soul. I am brought to tears reading his glorious writings. Please indulge with me each Tuesday as we sit at the feet of our forefather in the faith – a warrior for Christ who relentlessly pursued truth in all the churches. I’ve been posting quotes from his magnum opus “On the Incarnation of the Word” each Tuesday so far. Please check out the past posts – they really are awesome to get into.

Uncle Ath?

Yes kids?

Do you see any significance in the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross as He died?

Well…

…If any honest Christian wants to know why He suffered death on the cross and not in some other way, we answer thus: in no other way was it expedient for us, indeed the Lord offered for our sakes the one death that was supremely good. He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and how could He “become a curse” otherwise than by accepting the accursed death? And that death is the cross, for it is written “Cursed is every one that hangs on tree.”

Again, the death of the Lord is the ransom of all, and by it “the middle wall of partition” is broken down and the call of the Gentiles comes about.

How could He have called us if He had not been crucified, for it is only on the cross that a man dies with arms outstretched? Here, again, we see the fitness of His death and of those outstretched arms: it was that He might draw His ancient people with the one and the Gentiles with the other, and join both together in Himself.

My favorite uncle.

A little allegorical, yes, but wow – think of the image painted there. The Word of God made flesh, a perfect Man – perfect in love, grace, and purity – being murdered ruthlessly and with mockery. He was suffering not only the incredible pains of torture, but also the shame of nakedness and disfigurement before His nation… and in the midst of this, His arms pinned to the wood, He was calling His Jewish family to Him with one bleeding hand, and His Gentile flock with the other, carrying each of us down into His death with Him so that we might rise again with Him in His resurrection.

Meditate, my friends. Before you go off to the next thing, meditate.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Athanasius, On the Incarnation, chap. 4, sec. 25, http://www.ccel.org.

Poetic, Prophetic King David and Blind (Tour) Guides: Prophesy Fridays

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy (that’s sarcasm, folks), so I’d better throw in a dash of yellow-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to light up your life.

Scotch Bonnet

The reality is, I say that at the beginning of every “Prophesy Friday” because I’m aiming to counteract some of the atrocious sea of false prophecy and sensationalism out there. If these posts are a blessing to you, please consider sharing them with a friend.

…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. Today we’re going to look at the prophetic power of Psalm 110, one of the most oft quoted Psalms in the New Testament, and one that Jesus Himself used to identify Himself as the Messiah and God. Prophetic pepper. But my friend in Israel didn’t really agree.

He was a soldier in the 1967 6-day war between the teenage State of Israel and her fierce Arab enemies all around. He’s been a champion of his nation, and a believer in all things Jewish since his boyhood. My tour guide through Israel knew his way around the nation, and he had a passion for her every nook and cranny.

Meet Meyil.

Israeli Tour Guide Meyil

At one of the stations of the cross, traditionally where Jesus stumbled while bearing his cross to Golgotha. The photograph is itself a picture of how close most Jews are to the truth, yet turned away looking elsewhere. Jerusalem 2009

As we puttered around Israel in our air-conditioned van, Meyil pulled the steel arm of the microphone down to his mouth over and over.

“This is called ‘Magdala’.

“Over dere is called ‘Waddi’ dat de ancient people walked from town to de other side of de mountains to de other town to visit de relatives.”

“Here Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.”

And all the way around the country we went – Caesaria, Haifa, Ptolemais, Galilee, Golan Heights, West Bank, Dead Sea, Qumran, Jerusalem, and more. It was a fantastic time, made all the better for our tiny tour group because not only was Meyil an expert in the history of his nation, but he also had studied the New Testament at university. He proudly filled in details of every place we went, not only from his own Jewish history, but reverently took off his hat in every Roman Catholic shrine and Christian holy place. I hung on his every word as we walked across the temple mount together, and watched him out of the corner of my eye as the British fellow at the Garden Tomb exuberantly described the historical meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.

During one of our outings – it happened to be in John the Baptist’s hometown – I walked next to Meyil and asked him questions about his life and background. He talked about his time in the military, his schooling, his perspective on Iran and the Palestinians, and of course, on the New Testament and Jesus. Anticipating my evangelistic move, Meyil cut off a question of mine, seeing where I was going – “God is good to us all, and for Him, to try… is enough.” There was his theology. To try is enough for God – to be a good Jewish boy or Christian boy. I walked beside my friend, silenced by the finality of his declaration.

When Israel’s Greatest King Spoke of Jesus

David was the man after God’s own heart. We also know that when David waxed poetic and wrote his Psalms, it was the Holy Spirit speaking through him, just as Peter preached

Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus (Acts 1:16 ESV).

So David wrote his Psalms according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Peter later confirms this idea of divine inspiration when he writes

 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

David was not only Israel’s greatest king, he was also a prophet. Ironically, David prophesied most often about his own descendant, Jesus of Nazareth – and yet my tour guide, as educated in New Testament as he was, as respectful to Christianity as he was, stumbled at this point.

In the southern end of the Old City of Jerusalem, we walked the narrow streets of what is called “the City of David,” otherwise known as the hill of Zion. Meyil pointed and flourished upon every rock and stone, telling of the history of Suleiman the Great, the Turkish ruler who rebuilt the walls of the Old City, and how in the City of David we would see the so-called tomb of David. Outside of the tomb, I noticed the defaced statue of King David,

King David Jerusalem

playing his harp as usual. Here Meyil talked about David; who he was, and how he remains Israel’s most celebrated figure – the founder of Jerusalem as the capital and all. But then he said something that threw me for a loop.

David was many things, but a prophet he was not.

I spoke up immediately, almost on accident: “David was a great prophet, Meyil. He wrote beautiful prophecies…”

“No,” he cut me off, “he did not write prophecy. Let us move on to de tomb” he said, turning to walk onward. I was stunned. Not a prophet? How could he say that? My mind raced to the Scriptures: Psalm 2, 22-24, 40, and so many more speak so clearly of… oooohhh, right. Of Jesus. That’s why Meyil rejected his greatest king as a prophet, because David was constantly writing about his own son Jesus, and no one who rejects the Lordship of Jesus could accept David’s testimony of Him.

Psalm 110 and Jesus’ Puzzling Question

Jesus was nearing the end of His time on earth, less than a week from His crucifixion. The Pharisees had badgered Him and hounded Him for years, and Jesus had just about had it (read Matthew 23 to see what He thought of them). At the end of Matthew 22, Jesus takes a turn asking a question to them:

What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? (Matt. 22:42 NKJV)

That word Christ, from the Hebrew, means “Messiah” – Jesus was asking the Pharisees a grade-school question. Whose son is the Messiah? Any Jewish toddler could have answered between suckles at momma’s breast.

They said to Him, “The Son of David.”

OK Jesus, we’ll play your game. We’ll feed you the obvious answer… now what’s the punchline?

Yes, they were in for a punchline. Thinking they knew their Scriptures, that they had turned them in and turned them out and turned them into sauer kraut, they had yet missed the central, unifying figure of the entire Bible: the Man asking them the question. There is no irony in all of literature like this moment. He then delivers the goods:

How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:

‘Yahweh said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?”

First Jesus notes the divine inspiration of the text of Psalm 110:1, David calls Him “Lord” in the Spirit.

Second, whoever this Lord is, David sees Him seated at the right hand of Yahweh… the checkmate comes:

If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?

In other words, riddle me this, Batman: If all of us scholarly Jews agree that Psalm 110 is referring to the Messiah, as we do, and the Messiah is David’s son, as He is, then how is it David calls Him ‘Lord,’ as in, “my Lord and my God”… ? Jesus had delivered the bomb into the house, and the eyes of every Pharisee had just watched the fuse disappear into the explosive head – kaboom, friends. Kaboom, Meyil. Kaboom, world. The Messiah is also the Lord of heaven, the Messiah is a divine Son – yet also a human being… all there in Psalm 110, all written by David His ancestor 1,000 years before His virgin birth.

So what did the great scholarly Pharisees reply to this explosion of prophetic grace?

And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore (Matt. 22:46).

Oh, well pardon me. Cat got your tongues, boys? No wonder they murdered Him – He looked them in the eye, claimed to be the fulfillment of their Scriptures, and made them silent fools in front of their nation.

What About You?

Have you bowed the knee to the Man Jesus Christ? He is the fulfillment of all Scripture; the meaning of life is found in Him. He is the Creator of the cosmos, and the King of eternity. He is Wonderful… and He bowed His own royal head in death to purchase the forgiveness of sins for you. Believe it.

I will leave us this week with the full, glorious text of Psalm 110 – a sort of autobiographical sketch of the God-Man Messiah Jesus. Grace to you all who love Him.

1 Yahweh says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”

Yahweh sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Your people will offer themselves freely
on the day of your power,
in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning,
the dew of your youth will be yours.
Yahweh has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”

Yahweh is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.
He will drink from the brook by the way;
therefore he will lift up his head.

I pray that Meyil, and every Jew would see the true King of Israel.

Thanks for reading,

-Justin

Prophesy Fridays: The God of Israel will be Pierced

I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy, so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to scald the demons.

habanero peppers

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…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev. 19:10

Let’s strengthen our mutual faith together, brothers and sisters. Foresight and clarity of Bible prophecy is one of (if not the) greatest means of growing in our faith in the true God. Zechariah wrote his book of prophecy about 450 years before the crucifixion of Jesus, but when Yahweh, the God of Israel speaks His Word to Zechariah, you might think old Zech was time-traveling to be at the foot of the cross almost five centuries later.

Messianic Jams and Hebrew Lunches

Six years ago I had an internship with the New York State Department of Education in their Child Nutrition office. I worked in Albany, and on any given day of the week, was called upon to go out into the field to visit the locations that participated in our summer food program for kids. We had to show up unannounced (just like government thugs like to do 😉 ), and count the number of kids eating the summer lunches we funded, as an accountability for how much the locations were being compensated.

Anyhow, the great Jewish city of Brooklyn, New York empties out in the summer, and every tassled, bearded, kosher man takes his family north into the Catskill Mountains. There are Hasidic Jewish summer camps everywhere through those hills, and they just happen to be big time participants in the summer lunch program… so there I went throughout the summer to count kosher kiddies.

We would show up and shout Surprise! and then do a little dance with the Rabbi, and play the fiddle while singing about tradition. Oh wait… no, that was another thing. Actually, we would show up and sometimes sit around for a while as the staff at the camp was getting all the children together so we could count them and check their meals for program standards.

At one particular camp, we State workers had some time to mill around in the cafeteria before the kids showed up for lunch, and so I began to look around and explore. At the time I was getting pretty good at reading Hebrew, so I found myself reading a wall chart instruction guide on hand-washing. Two young Jews spotted me reading the Hebrew-only chart, and approached from behind. They were very curious if I were a Jew as well.

“No,” I replied, noticing they were about my age, “but I do try and read Hebrew.” We talked some about the language, and then I felt a bubble of confidence (or maybe it was just gas), but either way I asked them if I could run a Hebrew sentence by them, and they could “critique” my pronunciation… if you know what I mean 😉

Over the couple years before that I had been really digging Lamb (a messianic music group from the 70’s and 80’s). My favorite song from Lamb (which everyone who knew me was sick of to the point of death I think) is called V’sha Fac’ti – the first words of Zechariah 12:10. Now, Lamb sang it all in Hebrew to a very catchy, banjo-strumming beat – so I had the entire passage memorized in Hebrew.

As I began to recite the passage (song) to my new Jewish friends, one of them particularly seemed to cue in on my words. His eyes locked on mine, and as I spoke out the glorious picture of Jesus, he confirmed my Hebrew by translating into English:

Me: V’sha fac’ti al beit David 

Him: And I will pour out on the house of David

v’al yoshev Yerushalayim

And on the inhabitants of Jerusalem

ruach chen v’ta’a’cha’nu’nim

The Spirit of grace and of prayer

v’hi’bitu eli et asher

And they will look upon Me

dakaru

Whom they have pierced.

Alarm bells went off in his friend’s head. He chuckled at our little translation session. “I know what you’re doing.”

“What?” I asked, feeling outed.

He turned to his friend who had just recited Zechariah 12:10 with me, the gentile State worker.

“He’s going to convert you to Christianity,” he said, smiling knowingly. They both looked at me with humor in their eyes.

“We’re talking about your Bible” I replied.

Yahweh, Eternal God – Pierced and Mourned

And we were. And there He was – Jesus, doing what He always does: standing tall on the pages of His Old Testament. I didn’t win any Jewish converts that day in the Catskills, but without having to say anything about the meaning of the passage, they knew who we were talking about. Yahweh God of Israel, uncreated and supreme above all – speaking in the first person in Zechariah 12, states clearly that it is He who they will look upon when He is pierced.

Wow. Pierced. Where was God ever “pierced”? In the Person of His Son, on the Roman death cross, 400+ years after Zechariah wrote those words, and all for you and me. Jesus took on flesh, having been alive and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, and He humbled Himself to the point of death, even the desperately ugly, criminal’s death on the torture cross.

It’s no wonder this shows up in the Old Testament: it was the pinnacle of all cosmic history. The glorious, worthy Son of God bows His head to be murdered by His own creatures. Stop your internet schedule for a moment and ponder that. He did that to pay your sin debt. He loves you. Ponder it.

Decades after Jesus had risen from the grave and returned to His Father, the Apostle John saw a vision of God’s glory and Word, and introduced the book of Revelation with this in 1:7

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (NKJV)

John quoted Zechariah’s prophecy, and saw in it the future fulfillment when Jesus returns to His earth in glory. Those who remain enemies of Jesus will look upon Him and mourn – mourning for their own doom and imminent destruction… but it does not have to be so for you, friend. Today is the day to look upon Him who was pierced for your transgressions, who suffered the death of an eternal separation from the Father in His holy wrath against sinners. I urge you, place all your eggs in this basket: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and He did it in fulfillment of powerful, clear prophetic words which described how it would happen, even centuries before He was born. Oh, and pray for our Jewish friends; that they might see Him and yet not mourn any longer…

What a glorious Savior. Praise Him!

Thanks for reading,

-Justin