The Words of the Prophets
The prophets of old foretold the return of the people, and the restoration of the nation of Israel. God promised to gather out His people, who He has scattered throughout the nations. And it has happened; the nation of Israel has been reborn, and the Jewish people are returning.
12. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. (Ezekiel 34:12,13)
The prophets had also warned coming punishment for breaking God’s command-ments. (See Lev 26:33, 2 Kings 20:17; Jer 20:4,5) They prophesied more than just doom and gloom, but also a message of hope. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
It is unwise to ignore the prophets, for they speak as they are led of God. The prophecies, being the very Word of the Lord, bear His authority. Unfortunately, many of the people followed false prophets, who told them that all would be well. A true prophet is known when his sayings come to pass, and agree with the Word of the Lord, as given by previous prophets (see Deut. 18:20-22). Moses, the greatest prophet, spoke of the blessings which come when we serve the Lord, and obey His commandments:
1. And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2. And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. (Deut. 28:1,2)
Moses spoke of another great prophet, like unto himself, that the Lord would send.
18. I [God] will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee [Moses], and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deut. 18:18-19)
The Lord warned that whoever would not listen to this prophet would be cut off from the people. Who is this all-important prophet? The prophet Isaiah describes him:
6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6,7)
The prophets spoke of this prophet as the coming Messiah who would free the people, and restore the kingdom of Israel. The prophet Daniel spoke of a coming “Messiah the Prince” (Dan 9:25). Other Messianic prophesies agree, stating that the Messiah will be of the lineage of King David, ruing on David’s throne.
Isaiah gives this child the titles “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” How could a little child be given titles pertaining to the Lord God alone? Is this child God in the flesh? One of his names is Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), which literally means “God with us.” When Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fiery furnace, he said “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Dan 3:25). Does God have a Son? “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Prov 30:4). What is His Name? The Lord God Almighty. What is God’s son’s name? Will the Messiah be God in the flesh?
The Messiah will come, preaching good tidings (Isa 61:1-3). However, Daniel tells us that he will die for the sake of others. “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself:…” (Dan 9:26). He will be rejected and scorned by his own people. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:..” (Isa 53:3). He will be betrayed by a close friend. “Yea, mine own familiar friend…hath lifted up his heel against me.” (Ps. 41:9) He will then suffer a horrible death. He will beaten (Isa 53:3) and pierced (Ps 22:16). The Lord declared “…they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced…” (Zech 12:10). The Messiah will be God in the flesh, the very Son of God. And the Messiah suffers and dies for our sins.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
The Lord makes his soul an offering for sin: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isa 53:10). The righteous Messiah, having no sin of his own, bears the sin of many, taking our sin upon himself. The Messiah brings justification and forgiveness of sins through His death. The Messiah is not bound by death, but to complete the sacrifice, and to prove that he truly is the Son of God, he will rise from the dead. “But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.” (Psalms 49:15, see also Ps 16:10)
The Messiah is coming. His sacrifice will be the final, perfect offering for sins. The death of the Messiah separates us from our sins. However, Moses warned us that if we will not hear the words of the Messiah, we will be cut off from God. But the question now is whether or not He has already come. The prophets tell us that He will be rejected of His own. Is it possible that the Jewish people have missed their own Messiah?
About two thousand years ago, Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be the Jewish Messiah. He worked miracles, cleansed lepers, made the blind to see and the lame to walk. He taught that he was the Son of God, and preached righteousness in his name. However, he was betrayed by a close friend, and then was mocked, whipped and crucified. Three days later, he reportedly raised from the dead. These reports are not without merit. It is claimed that his disciples stole his body, to perpetuate the claim that he had risen from the dead. However, this does not explain why they were so willing to suffer and die for his sake. Who would be willing to die for the sakes of a hoax that they had created themselves? Therefore, Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah. He truly rose from the dead. It is Him to Whom all the law and prophets look forward. He is everything that He claimed to be. He is the Son of God. He came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died a sinner’s death. His death and resurrection is the final sacrifice for sins. There is no more need for offering. Unfortunately, the nation of Israel has rejected their own Messiah. But this does not need to be true about you. We are all sinners, as the Psalmist wrote:
2. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 14:2-3)
If you will repent and believe on Jesus as your Messiah, you sins will be forgiven. Flee the wrath to come. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins and be your Lord, and find a synagogue that believes that Jesus is the Messiah. Become a follower of the Messiah Jesus today.