“I asked you to come here today so we could get acquainted and so I could explain to you that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel—the Messiah—has already come.”
“So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures. Using the law of Moses and the books of the prophets, he spoke to them from morning until evening.”Acts 28:20, 23
Paul asked the Jewish leaders to come to his place of home detention. I haven’t asked you to come, you have come of your own free will by asking for the Bible Gems to be sent by email or reading it on the webpage http://bereaninsights.org or clicking the link on Facebook or Twitter. Paul asked the Jewish leaders to come so he could explain why he was tethered by a chain to a Roman guard, yet innocent of the charges laid against him. Yet there was a bigger issue at stake. Paul stated clearly that he was in chains because of his hope in the Messiah – the Hope of Israel. Everything in the Jewish Holy book (The TANAKH – the Old Testament Scriptures) and the Bible (The Old Testament and the New Testament) is consistent to the same single promise of God. That His way to save a lost world would be to send a Saviour, one in mould of the Prophet Moses but One who would save his people from their sin.
And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All of this occurred to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”Matthew 1:21-23
There is the promise of Israel stated as clearly as the Bible can put it. All through the Old Testament the Jews were given the promise and the prophecies confirming God’s Word to His people. God would send a Redeemer, a Saviour, The Messiah, One who would deal with the sin issue and restore the Kingdom of God. The Jews were expecting Ha Meshiach ben David– the restorer of Israel, the Coming Ruling King. They were waiting for the Messiah who would come and restore the Kingdom – an earthly kingdom. But they missed the pertinent fact that the Messiah would come twice. The first time to deal with sin the second time to usher in the Kingdom of God and the Life of the Age to come. The first time Messiah came, He came as Ha Meshiach ben Yoseph – The Messiah the son of Joseph – the One in the mould of The Suffering Servant. The Second time He comes He will come as Ha Meshiach ben David – the Coming Reigning King.
Dear reader, there is nothing surer in all the universe than Jesus came to earth the first time to fulfil the first part of God’s promises. The odds of Jesus fulfilling all 300 Old Testament prophecies related to His First Coming were astronomical. (See the Prophecy section in God’s Awesome Book). The odds were 1019 or 1 multiplied by 10 with 19 zeroes after it. Jesus fulfilled every prophecy in the TANAKH (The Law, the Prophets and the Writings). But even more incredible is that when Jesus comes the second time he will fulfil all 2,400 prophecies confirming His Second Coming. The whole of the revelation of God is entirely consistent and trustworthy. There is nothing surer than Jesus Christ coming again as He said He would do.
Why is He coming the second time? To fulfil and make complete all of the promises of God in the Scriptures. The majority of Jews missed the point. (Read Romans Chapters 9 to 11) They sought to work out their salvation by works and not by God’s grace. They missed the reason why Jesus came the first time. Most Jews these days will not read Isaiah 53, claiming it is a Christian addition to their Holy Book. But the truth is that Isaiah 53 is included in the writings of the Prophets in their TANAKH. It is in their copy of the Jewish Holy Writings. When they are shown that this is indeed true, they protest because it is not read on a regular basis from the Haf Torah – the daily readings from the TANAKH. But if they go the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem, where the complete Scroll of Isaiah from Qumran is on display, there is Chapter 53 of Isaiah for all to see! It is indisputable that God’s word includes Isaiah 53. Take time to read it now. it is confirmation to you that the events of Christmas and Easter are telescoped together in God’s plan for human kind. It is His way of making you right with Him. His way of giving you right standing before God. It is the only way that God can declare you innocent when you stand before Him in judgment because dear friends it is not by your efforts or your right living that you will be saved. The only way God will save you is if you have been granted the Righteousness of God in Christ.
That is the step that ushers you into the Kingdom of God by making you a child of God. (John 1:12).
But the wonder of it all is as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 1:20:
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. (NLT)2 Corinthians 1:20
Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. (MSG)2 Corinthians 1:20
Jesus has and will fulfil all the promises that God has made. There is a now component to the Kingdom of God and a consummation of it (a future component) when the Kingdom of God comes in its fullness. When will that happen? When every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is LORD. When that happens (and it will; there is nothing more sure on the face of the earth) the Life of the Age to Come will have come. When God brings in the Life of the Age to Come, Life as He first intended it in the Garden of Eden.
That is the Fulfilment of the Hope of Israel and me. I trust it is your hope too. It all hangs on the momentous events of Christmas and Easter. Take time to ponder the whole story this Christmas Season. Don’t miss the point of the story as some have. Make sure you understand the full importance of why Jesus Christ came once and will come again. If you don’t know or can’t work it out, ask someone who can and has.
Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.Anon
The whole human race is homesick for God, without knowing it. When we go home to Christ, there will be a contentment beyond any sense of security and peace we have ever known.John Piper
He who has no Christmas in his heart will never find Christmas under a tree.Anon
The essence of Christmas in eight words: “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”John ben Zebedee
Wise men and women still seek Him. What about you?Ian Vail