Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

12/19/2018

Randall Caselman

 

The Promise of His Coming

 

As the world focuses its attention upon Jesus, we examine His coming as foretold in Scripture. The hope and promise of Jesus is sprinkled throughout the Old Testament. Conservative estimates are that there exist over three hundred Old Testament passages that in some way point toward His coming. The best we can determine is that New Testament writers cite Old Testament "Messianic Prophecies" some one-hundred-thirty times. Some even say: "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets."

 

Everybody agrees the first promise of His coming is Genesis 3.15. In the Garden, Adam & Eve had a walking, talking, hand-holding relationship with God. It appears that Adam & Eve were created to live forever: No death because there was no sin; their relationship with God was perpetual! But this perfect world ended with their sin. In the fall, God said to the Serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.  It's easy to identify the seed of Satan: "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God, nor is anyone who does not love his brother" (1 John 3.10). Paul identifies the seed of the woman in Galatians 3.10, when he wrote: "Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many, but and to 'seed,' meaning one person who is Jesus Christ."

 

The second set of prophecies was made to Abraham and his family. Scripture foresaw God justifying both Jew and Gentile by faith in Jesus; that we Gentiles would be added, adopted, grafted into God's family. Both Galatians and Ephesians speak of such: "All nations will be blessed through you... He predestined us as Gentiles to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will" (Galatians 3.6-9). Galatians 3.26-29 reads "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to the promise." Think of it, we believers are the fulfillment of a 4000 year old promise to Abraham: That "faith in Jesus" would be the vehicle of our forgiveness and salvation.

 

After Abraham, came the promise through David. Isaiah 11.1 tells us that Messiah would come through Jesse, David's father: "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse... From his roots a Branch will bear fruit." It happened! Thirty generations later Jesus was born into the linage of David: "And Jesse the father of King David, and David was the father of Solomon... " (Matthew 1.6-7).

 

Micah 5.2 & 4 tells us Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. "But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me One who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from ancient times, from everlasting to everlasting." From ancient times, from everlasting to everlasting? Who could that be except God in the flesh?

 

Well, there are many more promises we could visit...

He would be conceived by a virgin.

• His name would be Immanuel. The angel told Joseph that the

Child in Mary’s womb was Immanuel, as promised by Isaiah.

• As early as Deuteronomy eighteen... God promised to raise up a prophet like unto Moses... But greater than Moses.

• Jesus is seen as the Passover Lamb, then John the Baptist, twice places the title, Lamb of God upon Jesus.

• He would enter Jerusalem on a donkey.

There exist many prophecies concerning Jesus as the "suffering Messiah." No fewer than twenty-nine specific prophecies were fulfilled within the twenty-five hours surrounding His death...

• He would be crucified. Predicted in Psalms a 1000 years previous.

• Would be denied by a trusted friend.

• Crucified with criminals.

• Pierced for our transgressions – Crushed for our iniquities.

• Not a bone would be broken.

• Lots would be cast for his clothing.

• He would not retaliate.

• Would pray for His executioners.

• Be forsaken by His followers.

• The price of His betrayal would be thirty pieces of silver.

• He would be offered vinegar and gall for his thirst.

• He would die among the wicked – Be buried with the rich.

• Be resurrected because God would not allow His body to decay.

 

What's the possibilities that these prophecies would be fulfilled in one person? Peter Stoner, an astronomer and mathematician, offers a mathematical analysis. He says the chance of only eight (8) of these 300 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is one in ten to the 17th power, one with seventeen zeros. Put another way, take 10 to the 17th power in silver dollars and lay them on the landscape of Texas, 260,000 square miles, they would cover the state two feet deep. Mark one of the silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, blindfold a man and tell him he can travel anywhere in the state he wishes, pick up one silver dollar and it must be the marked one. What chance would he have of getting this right? Stoner reasons, the same chance the prophets would have had of writing only eight prophecies and having all come true in one man. If this holds true for only eight of the 300 plus prophesies, what would it look like if we upped it to include 48 of the 300? Applying the same science of probability, the chance would be one the 157th power, or one followed by 157 zeros.

 

Paul affirmed: "When the fullness of the time was come,God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Galatians 4.4-5) John tells us: "The word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood" (John 1.14 MSG). Indeed, our hope is in a person; grace & truth is a person - Jesus!

 

—Randall Caselman