Christmas in Prophecy - Part 2

Arno Froese

We will not concern ourselves with the right and wrong, the timeline, or the often-mentioned association with pagan holidays. Our message is Biblical; it concerns the Messiah. Thus, we call it “Christmas in Prophecy.”

Message to the Gentiles
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased:

I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles” (Matthew 12:17-18).

Note the last four words, “judgment to the Gentiles.” The judgment was executed upon Himself, the Lamb of God. The prophet Isaiah makes this amazing statement: “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6). Luke wrote: “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32).

Seeing and Hearing, and Not Receiving
“And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive” (Matthew 13:14).

Here Jesus does something incomprehensible; He begins to present His message by using parables, and those parables are most difficult to understand. The Jews, particularly the religious ones, did not want to hear His preaching. It was contrary to the laws they had established. They saw the miracles He performed, but could not believe, fulfilling what Isaiah wrote in chapter 6, verse 9: “…Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.”

More Parables
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13:35).

We know that Jesus’ own disciples did not understand what the parable was all about. Thus, they ask, “Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.” Jesus continued: “…He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world” (Matthew 13:37-40).

That is the fulfillment, as written in Psalm 78:2: “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old.”

The King Cometh
“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet...” (Matthew 21:4).

This is the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Verses 8 and 9 report: “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”

Here we need to read Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Again, while the apparently simple people rejoiced—for they had heard Jesus preach, and many had seen and experienced the mighty works He did among them—the religious authorities did not accept Him, because Jesus did not seek their authorization.

Religious Opposition
Jesus went right to the temple of God and “overthrew the tables of the money changers” (Matthew 21:12). He had the authority, and the people came unto Him. We read in verse 14, “…the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.”

How did the religious authorities respond? Verse 15 reports: “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased.” They heard and they saw, but yet they could not believe. “They were sore displeased,” the Bible says. Again, Jesus points to Scripture: “…Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” He was quoting Psalm 8:2: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” This was literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy, but those who were self-righteous did not believe, even what they heard and what they saw.

Future Fulfillment
“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).

When we read all 51 verses of chapter 24, we notice the word “shall” is mentioned 59 times. In the entire gospel of Matthew, “shall” appears 344 times. He does not speak of the rapture or the Church, but strictly addresses the Jews, who were expecting the kingdom of heaven on earth.

When Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple, the disciples asked privately, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3b). His answer is a remarkable statement: “Take heed that no man deceive you.” That was valid 2,000 years ago, and is still valid today.

The Fig Tree
Jesus points to the fig tree in a parable. We know that the fig tree represents Israel. It is a symbol of prosperity, safety, and rest. Interestingly, the Lord mentions the fig tree’s leaves, not the fruit as the sign.

This reminds us of when fig leaves were first mentioned in the Bible. It was after Adam and Eve had sinned by taking of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; suddenly, they knew what was good and what was evil. We read in Genesis 3:7, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” The fig leaves served as cover. From that point on, sin was not forgiven but covered.

Even during the dispensation of the law, the law could not take away sin, only cover it; no sacrifice could take away sin. Hebrews 10:4 says, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” When the temple was destroyed, it signified the fulfillment of the law, for Jesus had come and solemnly declared: “I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill the law.”

Today, the Jews are back in their land, and they prosper greatly. Thus, we can say with a degree of assurance that the fig tree is putting forth leaves.

Illegal Arrest
“But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:54).

Over 538 years earlier, Daniel made this prophecy: “…after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself” (Daniel 9:26a). Prophecy had to be fulfilled. There was no argument, there was no need for defense, and definitely no weapons were required.

The Gethsemane Issue
Jesus knew His time; He knew that He would be betrayed, accused, found guilty, and condemned to death by crucifixion. But there is an issue that happened in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed, as we can read in Matthew 26:42: “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Luke reveals a little more: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

In most reliable commentaries, the assumption is made that Jesus was praying to the Father so He could avoid the cross. That seem natural; however, as Wim Malgo pointed out in one of his messages, Jesus was facing death in the Garden of Gethsemane. The demonic forces, right then and there, attempted to take His life. Would He have died in the Garden of Gethsemane, He could not have fulfilled prophecy. How do we know? Hebrews 5:7 answers, “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” That’s the only time Jesus asked that His life be spared, and it was answered by God. Based on this verse, Jesus was not praying to avoid the cross, but He was praying for His life so He could die on Calvary’s cross in order to fulfill Bible prophecy.

The Sheep Are Scattered
“But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56).

This again is fulfillment. For example, Zechariah 13:7: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” It seems appropriate that we also quote the previous verse: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” This is speaking of Jesus; He came to His own people, and they rejected Him. Why? In order to fulfill Bible prophecy.

The Crucifixion
“Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value” (Matthew 27:9). The NIV makes the latter part of the verse a little clearer: “…the price set on him by the people of Israel.”

The thirty pieces of silver was the price agreed upon by Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. After Judas saw what was happening, he confesses: “Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (verses 4-5). Thus, we see the prophet Zechariah, almost 500 years before Christ, made the prophecy that Jesus would be betrayed for the price of thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13).

Casting Lots for His Garment
“And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots” (Matthew 27:35).

King David was persecuted to the extreme, although he was the greatest king of Israel. Psalm 22 particulary reveals how, through the Holy Spirit, David prophesied of the Messiah by uttering the words Jesus cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” David reports what happened at the cross: “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him” (verses 7-8). Or verse 16b: “…they pierced my hands and my feet.” Verse 18 reads: “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”

Summary
Christmas, as you may call it, or the birth of Christ, is the precise fulfillment of Bible prophecy. From the beginning with the virgin birth; the place, in Bethlehem; the escape to Egypt and the return to Nazareth; His proclamation of the kingdom of God; the innumerable miracles of healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead to life. Yet, this remarkable man, whom we could call a super-miracle worker; the man who had done no one evil, only good, was nevertheless misunderstood, misinterpreted, persecuted, and finally put before the religious authorities, who condemned Him to death and crucified Him on the cross of Golgotha’s hill.

Yet this Jesus arose victoriously, ascending into heaven after 40 days. The prophetic Scripture clearly and in unmistakable terms tells us that He is coming again. But before His coming physically to Israel on the Mount of Olives, something unique has to take place: the completion of His body, the spiritual temple, His Church. And that could happen at any moment; maybe today.

Midnight Call - 12/2019

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