Disbelieving God’s Prophecies

September 23, 2016

Friends,
It is commonly taught in evangelicalism that there are multitudes of prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled, literally, in the person of Jesus Christ during His first advent. Just one of these is Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the clans of Judah, from you shall go forth for Me one who will be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from the days of eternity.” We can see in Luke 2:1-20 that God orchestrated the literal fulfillment of part of this prophecy by having Caesar Augustus order a census, thus motivating Joseph and Mary to travel to Bethlehem in time for Jesus, God in the flesh, to be born there. But was (or is) Jesus ruler in Israel? True, He is their rightful and over-seeing Ruler, but because God does not usurp anyone’s free will, and because Israel has not yet chosen Jesus as their Messiah-King, the manifestation of the prophecy in its totality is yet future.

A similar prophecy concerning Jesus was made way back in Genesis 49:10 that One who will come from the tribe of Judah will rule the nations. Jesus, by being a descendent of Judah (Heb. 7:14) and by being born in Bethlehem in Judea, fulfilled the first part of this prophecy literally just as He will fulfill the second part of it literally about ruling the nations in the age to come. (Ps. ch. 2 // Isa. 9:6,7 & 45:20-25 // Zech. 14:9,16-19 // Mt. 19:28 // Heb. 1:8-13 & 2:5-9 // Rev. 11:15) That the Son of God was born a Jew is crucial in order to fulfill God’s prophecies, as is the fact that He came from the lineage of David and Judah and Jacob. (Dt. 18:17-19 w/ Acts 3:20-23 // Mt. 1:1 // Rom. 1:3 // Rev. 5:5) Yes, Jesus will rule from the throne of David (and David’s throne was neither in Heaven nor in the hearts of believers but in the literal physical city of Jerusalem) and His rule will extend across the whole earth, lasting forever. (Luke 1:32,33 // Isa. 11:10-12 // Dan. 2:44,45 & 7:13,14,27 // Rev. 11:15 & 12:5 & 15:4 & 21:1-5,26,27)

Anyone who claims to believe the literal fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’s first advent while denying the literal fulfillment of the prophecies concerning His second advent should realize they are disbelieving what God has stated in His Word. No one can slice out portions of Scripture, throw out the LORD’s statements or invent new meanings, and then legitimately insist they are believers of God’s Word. Instead, choosing to believe just some of Scripture, they, as is typical of those who follow cults (or who follow the views of the average Westerner), remain unbelievers.

There are over 60 distinct, major, separate prophecies that Christ fulfilled during His first advent, and He fulfilled them literally. Zech. 9:9 prophesied that Jerusalem’s King/Savior would come to them riding on a donkey and we can read in Mt. 21:1-11 that this was fulfilled literally. Ps. 22:16 and Zech. 12:10 were prophecies that the Messiah would have His hands and feet pierced, and Isa. 53:5 prophesied, “He was pierced for our transgressions.” Jesus died for the sins of the world by crucifixion, a literal fulfillment. Zech. 11:12,13 is a prophecy about the thirty pieces of silver (betrayal money) thrown in the temple to the potter; Ps. 22:18 is a prophecy that lots would be cast for Jesus’ clothing; Ps. 69:21 is a prophecy that He would be given gall and vinegar for His thirst, and Isa. 53:7-9 prophesies that, though He was completely innocent, the Messiah would, without defending Himself, die for the transgression of the people and have a grave amid the wicked and the rich. We can read the literal fulfillment of all these prophecies in Mt. ch. 27.

When we consider these things, it is certainly strange that there are teachers who, while adhering to Replacement Theology (R.T.), deny the literal fulfillment of multitudes of Scripture’s prophecies that have yet to come to pass, and deny even those which have already come to pass in modern times such as the rebirth of the nation of Israel. As the prophecy in Ezek. 37:19-22 says, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph… the Israelite tribes… and join it to Judah’s stick… and they will become one in My hand. …I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or divided into two kingdoms.” God Himself, through people and events, has fulfilled this prophecy concerning the physical descendants of Jacob and has done so in the physical land of Israel as He promised. The rest of Ezekiel chapter 37 then prophesies that this Jewish nation will be cleansed of their sinful backsliding, that David will rule over them forever, that God’s dwelling place will be with them forever, and that they will live in the land forever. Passages such as Luke 1:32,33,67-75 and Rom. 11:25-29 and Heb. 8:8-12 confirm this, but, R.T. adherents disbelieve, and through their confusion they make most of God’s Word out to be nonsense.

Regardless of their unbelief, all of God’s prophecies will come to pass. The “twelve tribes of Israel” (Ezek. 47:13) will have the land divided for them as their inheritance (same verse), because, God says, He swore to Israel’s forefathers to give it to them. (v. 14) In chapters 47 and 48 God gives specific instruction about the borders allotted to each tribe, showing this is to be understood as literal physical boundaries. Moreover, chapters 40-46 describe, in detail, the new temple that will be functioning in the time of the 1,000 year reign of Jesus (who Himself says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David…” –Rev. 22:16), and He will reign over the whole earth, His capital being the present city of Jerusalem. (Isa. 2:1-5 & chapters 11 & 12 & 59:15-66:21 // Jer. 31:1-14 // Zech. chapters 8 & 14 // Rev. 20:1-6)

In Rom. 8:19-23 it is clear that it is not only humans who groan while waiting for Jesus to reverse the Curse and bring renewal to the earth, but creation itself. (See also Gen. 3:17-19 and Isa. 25:6-10 and 2 Pe. 3:2-13) Acts 3:17-26 tells us that Jesus “must remain in Heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.” This restoration to an Eden-like earth will begin in Jerusalem, spread throughout Israel, and on to the nations that honor the Lord. (Ps. ch. 72 w/ Zech. 14:16-19 // Isa. 27:6 & 35:1,2 & 51:1-5 & 65:16-25 // Joel 3:16-21 // Amos 9:11-15) The person who “dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth” (Isa. 65:20) and whoever “fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.” (Same verse) Animals will no longer be carnivorous (v. 25 & 11:6,7), vipers will no longer be poisonous (11:8), nations will not war against one another (2:4), and Satan, the Deceiver, will be bound in the Abyss for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:1-3) But, R.T. adherents disbelieve these prophecies.

After the Millennium, Satan will be released for a short time (Rev. 20:3,7) and will go out to deceive the nations again, gathering them for battle against God’s beloved people and city. (v. 8,9) But fire from heaven will devour them and Satan will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented forever. (v. 9,10) After this comes the Great White Throne Judgement of all the dead –the dead which had not been found worthy of the first resurrection (Luke 20:35,36 // 1 Cor. 15:22,23 // 1 Thes. 4:13-18 // Rev. 20:4-6)– at which time earth and sky flee from the presence of the Judge (Rev. 20:11-15) who commands the present heavens and earth to be burned up. (2 Pe. 3:6-13) Death, Hades, and all the wicked are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14,15) and because “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (21:1) and “the old order of things had passed away” (v. 4), then upon the arrival of the new heaven and the new earth (v. 1), death and sadness and pain are thereby gone forever. (v. 4)

Jesus, having reigned until putting all authorities and enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15:24,25) –the last enemy to be destroyed being death (v. 26)– then hands over His Kingdom to God the Father (v. 24) and is made subject to Him (v. 28) so that God may be all in all. (Same verse) That will be the finality of the ages (v. 24) and God will come down to dwell with man on the Eternal New Earth. (Rev. 21:1-5) Yes, God’s dwelling remains Jerusalem, but, having come down from Heaven to the New Earth, Jerusalem is now a brand-new, enormously-enlarged, and forever-purified city (v. 2,3,16), one without a temple building (v. 22), but one into which the nations and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor. (v. 24,26) The New Jerusalem will be approximately 1,400 miles wide, long, and high –a cube (v.16) and anyone who works iniquity will not be allowed entrance. (v. 27) There will be no night there since Jesus is its light (v. 23,25 & 22:5), there will no longer be any curse (22:3), the river of the water of Life and the Tree that heals the nations will be along the main street of the city, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there (v. 1-3) –there in Jerusalem, the Holy City (21:10), on a mountain great and high (same verse), “the wife of the Lamb.” (v. 9) But, R.T. adherents, in disbelieving these prophecies, allegorize or spiritualize them all so that they can continue in their unbelief.

However, just because there are many spiritual aspects to the Kingdom of God, this does not negate the physical aspects, most which will manifest in the Millennium and on afterward into Eternity. Those of us who are united with Christ have His divine power for everything we need for walking in God’s will for our present earthly life. (2 Pe. 1:3,4) This does not mean, though, that our bodies will not get sick, or grow old, or die, for this existing earth and its inhabitants are still under the Curse. But, in the next age –the 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ when Satan is bound for that time– God will have lifted much, though not yet all, of the Curse for those born during that age (Isa. 11:6-10 & 65:16-25) while those who have been already risen to immortality will be reigning with Christ (Rev. 20:6) over the nations (2:26,27 & 3:21) –in charge of many things (Mt. 25:21-23 // 2 Tim. 2:12), including whole cities. (Luke 19:17-19) These saints will not marry or have children, but will be like the angels. (20:34-36)

Sadly, because of the influence of R.T., most churches do not teach these Truths, even though Jesus taught His disciples often about the Kingdom of God, including telling them to pray that it would come to earth. (Mt. 6:10) During the 40 days between His resurrection and accession to Heaven, He taught them still more about the Kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3) So, contrary to what many R.T. adherents teach, it was a completely appropriate question when the disciples asked Him, “Lord, are You at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (v. 6) They would not have asked about their Messiah restoring to Israel a kingdom if Jesus had not been teaching about such a thing. He had been teaching about it, but He had not indicated when it would come to pass. Hence their question. Jesus answered that the timing was not theirs to know (v. 7) but that they should focus on the Good News getting out to the world, and He encouraged them that they would soon receive power from the Holy Spirit to do that task. (v. 8 ) Jesus then ascended to Heaven as they looked on (v.9), and two angels, suddenly standing beside them (v. 10), informed them that Jesus would “come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.” (v. 11) Yes, every one living will see Jesus returning in the sky (Mt. 24:30,31 // Rev. 1:7) and when His feet stand on the Mount of Olives it will split in half forming a huge valley. (Zech. 14:4) This will happen literally, physically, as God’s Word makes clear by including phrases about locations such as “east of Jerusalem” (same verse) and that the valley “will extend to Azel.” (v. 5)

Quite significant, then, was what Jesus told His disciples when He said, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Mt. 19:28) Should we understand that this promise/prophecy will come to pass literally? Absolutely, we should and we must. For God will bring all His words to pass and they will center around the physical land of Israel, the land that is God’s own inheritance (Joel 3:2), among the nation that is His special possession. (Same verse // Ps. 135:4)

Disbelieving what God’s Word prophesies/says concerning Christ’s first advent is to remain an unbeliever. Disbelieving what God’s Word prophesies/says concerning Christ’s second advent is to remain an unbeliever. “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6) Let no one be deceived: Faith that pleases God is to believe what His Word states. It is to believe the Truth and to reject falsehoods, and this is essential for salvation. (3:12-19 // 1 Tim. 4:1,16)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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