How God Controls Time

COPYRIGHT WARNING

It is really very easy to demonstrate—from the Bible, how God controlled time, changed circumstances, move people and events—to exact a specific outcome, in order to accomplish His will.

There are many instances throughout the Bible where seemingly ordinary circumstances have taken place, that are in fact, orchestrated and controlled by the Lord.

Joseph in Egypt

When Joseph was taken as a slave into the house of Pharaoh, God engineered a great famine over the whole earth so that Joseph’s brothers would have to come to Egypt in order to find food for the survival of their family (Genesis 41-50). It seems that the only place in the world at that time where there was adequate grain, was in Egypt. God ensured that Egypt would be this place of salvation by giving Pharaoh a dream of seven abundant years before seven years of famine would take place. Joseph, who had been placed in prison in Egypt, was given the ability by God to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. As a result of this ability and a satisfactory interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph was placed in charge of all the food supplies of Egypt. It was while in Egypt that the prophecy which Joseph had made, many years before, describing his brothers, who would all bow down before him, came true.

Genesis 37:7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.

As Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to seek food for their family, Joseph is now second in command over the entire kingdom. Joseph reveals to His brothers that God was working in the background all along in order to make certain that all of these things would happen according to His plans and purposes.

Genesis 45:4-5 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

Men may move to accomplish their own will, but all that any man can do is conform himself into the sovereign will and power of God. Nothing can take place anywhere, at anytime, without the Lord causing and allowing it to happen. God is always supreme over all the affairs of this world.[1]

Moving the world

The census that was conducted at the time Mary was about to deliver Jesus was made by men, but ordained and controlled by God to bring Joseph back to the place of his ancestors’ birth so that Jesus would fulfill the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem.

Luke records this event in chapter 2 of his gospel:

Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

Consider the difficulty of this prophecy. In order to place Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem so that Jesus could fulfill Micah’s prophecy, God ordained a worldwide census by the Roman government. Joseph was required to go back to the place of his ancestors’ birth to register for this census. While in Bethlehem, Jesus would be born, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2: Prophecy 321

“…Yet out of you Bethlehem shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel…”

So that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, all the citizens of the Roman empire were required to obey God’s will. The Lord moved Caesar Agustus to order the census, showing His great power over all kings and governments. Throughout the Bible, we see many examples where the Lord is described as moving kings, governments, and people where He desires and places into their hearts a desire to do His will.

Daniel 4:17 …In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.

We should pay special attention to the certainty that God is always moving people and events where He has determined they should be, in order to fulfill His prophetic word. We see this demonstrated throughout history as we compare the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament, with the words of God—which were recorded hundreds of years in advance, by the Old Testament.

The birth of the Messiah

The prophet Micah predicts that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, Prophecy 321.

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Matthew confirms that Jesus fulfilled Micah’s prophecy as the Messiah.

Matthew 2:5-6 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

Paul confirms that the arrival of the Messiah on the earth, took place at a moment in history that was specifically chosen by God.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Messiah’s Birth

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

We know the precise date of Jesus’ birth from the historical records, which were kept by secular writers, who described the events of the Roman General Titus when he sacked the city of Jerusalem and burned the Temple in 70 A.D Prophecy 40.

By the text of the New Testament we know that Jesus was not born in December because shepherds do not keep watch over their sheep outdoors this late in the season. Luke testifies that during the time of Jesus’ birth, there were shepherds with their sheep out in the fields.

Luke 2:8-20 “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.”

In Bethlehem during the winter, temperatures often fall below freezing. Shepherds did not attend to their flocks at night in winter because it was too cold. Once the frost set in, shepherds would bring their flocks into pens at night.

The fact that Luke mentions that the shepherds were outside with their sheep at night is a evidence for the time of year that this took place. Also remember that a census had been ordered by the Roman government. Every man was required to return to the place of his ancestors’ birth to register for this census. The Roman government would not have called for people to return to their place of birth during winter; this would have been extremely poor planning by the Roman government who were always meticulous in their organization of every event. The Romans called for the census to be conducted in the Fall, when temperatures were moderate and travel was much easier.

Imagine the difficulty necessary to accomplish this requirement

Millions of people will have to disrupt their lives and leave their current home to travel to the place where their ancestors were born. What great trouble and expense millions of people would have to endure simply because the God of Israel is going to fulfill His word!

It seems that one of the purposes for this event is to display before us how great the Lord’s power is.

Joseph is descended from King David. Although Jesus is the stepson of Joseph, He will receive His legal right to be the King of the Jews as a descendant of David, from His stepfather Joseph. When Joseph learns that he must register for the census, he understands that this will require Mary, who is nearly nine months pregnant, to travel the 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem over rough terrain, on the back of a donkey, just to complete this registration.

Why would God require Joseph and Mary to experience such a difficult and dangerous task? Since they will be the parents of the Messiah, should not God make the circumstances of Mary and Joseph’s life be a little easier?

You see, this is where we often misunderstand the will and purposes of God for our lives. He is more interested in developing our character than He is in providing us with more comfort. It is by the suffering that Jesus had to endure, that He learned to be obedient to the Father.

Hebrews 5:8-9 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him

Though Jesus is the Son of God, He had to learn to be obedient. It was by Jesus’ suffering that He was conformed into the will of God to complete our salvation. How much more shall we—also need to learn obedience to the will of the Lord—by the things that we must also suffer in our life?

Acts 14:22 …“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

God allowed the journey of Joseph, Mary, and the unborn Messiah to be extremely difficult—so that by their suffering, they would all be prepared to accomplish what the Lord would later require. The world needed a Savior who could understand poverty, difficulties, hardship, and suffering. Jesus was being prepared to be a Savior who understands us, even before He was born.

Astronomers were the first to discover the Messiah

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He came from the line of Jacob, arriving on earth under a sign that had appeared over Israel that is described as His Star (Matthew 2:3). The Kings who came from the East had read the Hebrew prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. They were also students of Astronomy, as they carefully studied the movement of the constellations in the heavens and observed a formation of stars, which caused them to believe that a King was about to be born in Israel.

Incredibly, it was not the religious who first sought out the Messiah, is was Astronomers from the east who were the first to discover Him.

Matthew 2:1-12 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men (Astronomers) from the East came to Jerusalem…

First of all, notice that this verse does not say that there were three wise men. There were probably many, many of these wise men who came to Jerusalem. The term wise men is probably not the best translation of this verse because these men were really Astrologers. They studied the stars, as they moved through the visible sky, and they noticed something incredible. Apparently, these men were also students of Old Testament Prophecy, and they believed that these prophecies were inspired and written by God to announce the coming of the Messiah of Israel.

It is likely that these wise men from the east had read the prophecy from book of Micah that predicted the coming of the Messiah at Bethlehem:

See Prophecy 321

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.

Along with their study of the Scriptures, these men also observed an event in the movement of the stars which led them to believe that this King, described in Malachi’s prophecy, was about to be born in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:2-4 The wise men saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

Notice that these men, who came from the East, had followed a sign in the heavens, which they attributed to the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy. He would be the Greatest King the world has ever known—the Transcendent One—who came out of eternity and took the body of a human being. These men were following, what they believed to be—His Star, and they came for the purpose of worship to this new King, whom they believed was the promised Messiah. Many of the Old Testament prophecies that are a part of this book were the evidence which convinced these highly educated and extremely brilliant men to come on this difficult and long journey to find the One who was prophesied as the King of the universe.[2]

Messiah’s life threatened at birth

See Prophecy 294

Jeremiah 31:15 Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.

Jeremiah’s prophecy continues the narrative by informing us that when the Messiah is born in Bethlehem, an attempt will be made on His life by satan to kill Jesus while He is still young and defenseless. The prophecy speaks of Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children…”

Jeremiah describes Rachel weeping for here future children who will be killed by Herod, as he seeks the death of the Son of God while He is still an infant.

Non-Biblical confirmation of Jesus birth

Herod was one of the most paranoid individuals of all time. He was said to be so afraid that someone would conspire to take his throne, that he had his wife and sons murdered.

Herod became aware of Micah’s prophecy of a coming Messiah who would be the King of Israel. The news came that this prophesied King was about to be born in Bethlehem. When the wise men came from the east, crossing the borders of Israel where Herod ruled, he sent word to these men to come and tell him where this new king was located so that he could come and “worship Him.” Of course, Herod had no intention of worshipping any would-be-king who would take his cherished position of power. Herod dispatched soldiers to Bethlehem and ordered the execution of every child under the age of two. Jeremiah’s prophecy vividly records not only the vicious acts of Herod’s soldiers but the very words of sorrow and great grief the mothers of these precious babies felt when their infants were killed before their eyes.

Matthew 2:1-8 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: (Micah 5;2) 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When we consider that Jeremiah and Micah both wrote these predictions of the Messiah about six hundred years before Jesus was born, these are two of the most extraordinary prophecies in the Bible. The details of which are even confirmed by the secular, historical accounts of Macrobius, as actually occurring precisely as the Old Testament had predicted, and the New Testament confirmed.

The Lord informed us of His plans to bring His Son into the world, despite a satanic agenda that worked through the mind and heart of Herod who sought the death of the Son of God.

We learn that in the midst of Herod’s evil scheme, God had a plan to spare His Son from death and bring Him to safety before the soldiers arrived.

Matthew 2:12-15 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

In completing His warning to Mary and Joseph that they should depart their own country another way, God brought to fulfillment a third Old Testament Prophecy 38, The Messiah will come out of Egypt, from the Book of Numbers.

Numbers 24:8, God brings him out of Egypt.

We might never have known that this verse from the Book of Numbers was a prophecy that concerned the coming Messiah, unless the Lord had revealed it to us in Matthew’s gospel. This is an important fact of Bible prophecy: We often do not know that a particular verse of scripture was written prophetically until after the event takes place. I am sure that Matthew was not aware at first that Numbers 24:8 was speaking of the Messiah. Because the Apostles went back to the Hebrew scriptures after Jesus death and resurrection to confirm each of the individual fulfillments of all Jesus said and did, we have their record today in the Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament.

When the angel told Joseph to take Jesus and flee to Egypt, Matthew remembered these words from Numbers 24, as the Holy Spirit brought them to his remembrance. He recorded the fulfillment of this event for us in the New Testament and provided us with this wonderful evidence in these Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.

…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son…”

The arrival of the Messiah at Jerusalem

See Prophecy 309

Perhaps that most extraordinary example of time—controlled by the Lord, for the express purpose of revealing the Messiah to the world, is observed in the prophecies of Daniel, chapter 9.

When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, ordered the capture of the best and brightest young men of Judah, Daniel was among those taken. Although we do not know his age at the time of the captivity, it is certain that he was in his later teens. By the time that the angel comes to Daniel to reveal the events of the last days, Daniel has been captive in Babylon for close to 70 years. This would mean that at the time that these amazing prophecies were revealed, Daniel would have been in his mid-eighties.

• In 605 B.C., Judah is taken captive, including Daniel.
• In 562 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar dies.
• In 539 B.C., Cyrus becomes the king of Babylon.
• In 538 B.C., the events of Daniel Chapter 9 take place.
• In 536 B.C., the 70 years of Servitude for of Judah ends.

Chapter 9 begins with Daniel reading the prophecies of Jeremiah.

Daniel 9:2 in the first year of Darius reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

The following verses of prophecy, which Daniel was reading from the book of Jeremiah, provoked him to pray fervently for his people and the entire nation.

Jeremiah 25:8-12 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” says the LORD, “and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,” says the LORD; “and I will make it a perpetual desolation.”

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the LORD: “After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.”

As Daniel is reading from the prophecies of Jeremiah, it is 538 B.C.; and Judah has been in captivity at Babylon for 68 years. Realizing that in just two years, the words of Jeremiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled, Daniel begins to pray for his nation and people. This amazing heartfelt cry to God provoked the Lord to send the angel Gabriel to Daniel with the prophecy of seventy weeks for Israel.

In response to this sincere prayer, God dispatches His angel to answer Daniel’s prayer, even before he has finished praying:

Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.

In Daniel 9:25, the Lord is giving Israel the precise day that the Messiah will come to Jerusalem. First, a command will be given. Then “seven weeks” and “sixty two weeks…until the Messiah the Prince will come.”

In the first seven weeks (49 years), the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem.

In the second sixty-two weeks (434 years), the Messiah will arrive.

The trigger for the countdown of this prophecy is the command to restore and build Jerusalem. A detailed discussion on the seventy weeks is explored in Prophecy 307.

The purpose of Prophecy 309, from Daniel chapter 9, verse 25, is to give us understanding in the complete details of the angel Gabriel’s words to Daniel.

Daniel’s prophecy describes a total of 69 times 7 years, or a total of 483 years. Encyclopedia Britannica records that Artaxerxes Longimanus issued the command to release the captives of Israel in Babylon, on March 14, 445 B.C.[3] So named “Longimanus” by the Greeks because his right hand was longer than his left.[4]

The Babylonian calendar was based upon a 360 days per year cycle. 360 days per year times 483 years, equals 173,880 days. Taking into account the calendar year change over from 1 B.C. To 1 A.D. because there is no “0” year. Adding 116 days for leap years.

483 X 360 days = 173,880

173,880 days plus 116 years for leap years, added to March 14, 445 B.C. We come to the date of April 6th, the year 32 A.D.

How do we know this command came in 445 B.C?

The reign of Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) is computed from 465 B.C., according to the history of the Persians.[5] Xerxes I, was murdered by Artabanus the commander of the royal bodyguard of the king. He was the most powerful of the officials in the court of the Persian king. With the help of Aspamitres, a eunuch, Artabanus assassinated Xerxes I, bringing Artaxerxes Longimanus to the throne in 465 B.C.[6]

According to Nehemiah 2:1, Artaxerxes wrote the command for the Jews to return to Jerusalem in the 20th year of his reign.

Nehemiah 2:1 And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had never been sad in his presence before.

Computing 20 years from Artaxerxes ascension to the throne in 465 B.C., we come to 445 B.C.

Hebrew months were not calculated in the same way that our current calendar months are determined. The first day of a Hebrew calendar month begins immediately following a new moon (when no moon is visible).

The way in which the first day of the month was determined in Israel during their ancient history was by observation. When at least two witnesses noticed that a new moon had occurred, they would notify the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. Upon verification of the beginning of the new moon, the leaders of Israel would declare the “rosh chodesh,” the first of the month. Messengers would then be dispatched over the land to notify the people that the new month had began.[7]

In the year 445 B.C., the new moon occurred on the 13th day of March at 7:09 a.m.[8] This would place the 1st day of April, the Hebrew month of Nissan, on March 14, 445 B.C. This was also the day that the Passover Lamb was offered.

Ezra and Nehemiah traveled together from Babylon, back to Jerusalem after Artaxerxes issued to command to return and rebuild the city. We know from Ezra’s account that they left Babylon on the first day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar, which is Nissan 1, corresponding to our calendar today, as the 14th of March, 445 B.C. Ezra states that he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, or Av by the Hebrew calendar.

Ezra 7:9 On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

This verifies from the secular, historical, and Biblical records, that the date of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, from Artaxerxes, was in fact issued on March 14, 445, B.C.

According to Nehemiah 6:15, the walls of Jerusalem were completed after just 52 days on the 25th day of September. Counting backwards for 52 days, we come to the 3rd of Av. This confirms that Nehemiah would have arrived with Ezra on Av 1, according to Nehemiah 2:11.

Nehemiah 2:11 So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.

From the historical records of the Persians, the Jews, and the Hebrew scriptures, we can accurately compute the date of Artaxerxes command to return to Jerusalem as March 14, 445 B.C.

The Jews who had been held captive in Babylon for 70 years, were allowed by Artaxerxes command, to return to Jerusalem and begin building the city. This is the object of the first seven weeks, or 49 years of Daniel’s prophecy, which was precisely fulfilled according to the Book of Nehemiah, Chapters 3-6.

The second set of 62 weeks of years (483), ended at Jesus arrival in Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D. On the Hebrew Calendar, this was the 10th day of Nissan, 32 A.D., the day that the Passover Lamb was inspected for defects before He would be sacrificed four days later on the 14th day of the month—the precise day the Passover Lamb should be sacrificed. Jesus died on this exact same day, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. See Prophecy 21.

Was there any event of particular importance on April 6, 32 A.D.?

Luke 19:29-42 And it came to pass, when Jesus came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose him and bring him here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ “So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.

On April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus told His disciples to go over to Bethphage and find for Him, “the foal of a donkey”. They were to bring this young animal back to Jesus. A foal is an unbroken young horse or donkey that has never had a man sit upon his back. Under normal circumstance, this young foal would throw the first person who attempted to ride him. Incredibly, this young donkey submits to Jesus and allows Him to ride into Jerusalem on April 6, Palm Sunday. As Jesus makes His way into Jerusalem, He allows the assembled crowd to hail Him as “The Son of David”, a clear title for the Messiah.

Matthew 21:8-9 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

It is interesting that up to this point, Jesus had refused all requests by His disciples to announce to the world that He was the promised Messiah.

John 7:3-6 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

Jesus was waiting for this one-specific day, when Daniel had predicted that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem. God had controlled every event, every government, and the lives of thousands of people, in order to ensure that Jesus would arrive on the specific day that Daniel has described—nearly 700 years before.

The death of the Messiah

One of the events of the Messiah, which required extreme precision and precise timing, was how, when, and where, the Messiah would be put to death.

See Prophecy 253

The Messiah to be “cut off” (killed) at the hands of evil men.

Isaiah 53:8c He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

This prophecy is repeated by Daniel in chapter 9 of his prophecies of the Messiah.

See Prophecy 310

Daniel 9:26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…”

The term cut off is an Old Testament expression used to describe the killing of the Messiah, which is first mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel Chapter 9.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him…

Acts 2:22-23 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…”

Isaiah borrows the term, “cut off,” from Daniel and includes it in his prophecy, describing the suffering of the Messiah. At the time that Jesus was crucified, the Roman government and the religious leadership of Israel believed that it was they, who were carrying out the sentence of death upon Jesus.

In reality, Jesus had supernaturally engineered all the events before, during, and after His crucifixion—so that He would fulfill every prophecy written about Him.

Here, Isaiah describes the Messiah as cut off, an Old Testament code phrase for “killed.”[9] The death of the Messiah by crucifixion, is an event that was planned by God before He made the universe or created the first man. Nothing ever catches God unaware or takes Him by surprise. It is a great comfort to know that once we commit ourselves to God through Jesus Christ, every detail of our life is under the power and control of the Great God who stretched out the universe and determined its measurements.

God controlled and changed countless events around the world in order to ensure that Jesus would be crucified on the specific day that Daniel’s prophecy demanded. In reality, the death of the Messiah was the eternal plan of God, from before the foundation of the world. This is the reason that Jesus is described by the Bible as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”[10]

God chose the specific period of history for Messiah’s death

Daniel 9:26a “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off

The prophecy of Daniel 9:26, describes a Messiah who will be killed. This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus Christ in His death by crucifixion. It is truly amazing that Daniel could describe this event in stunning detail, almost 700 years before it occurred. The entire prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 is the most astonishing and detailed prophecy in the entire Bible. It is clear why Gabriel told Daniel that the effects of this prophecy would be “To seal up vision and prophecy”. All other prophecies that concern the coming of the Messiah, as well as those that detail the last days, the Tribulation period, and the return of Jesus to the earth, depend on the fulfillment of this important prophecy.

There are 50 prophecies from the Old Testament that specifically speak of the death of the Messiah for the sins of all people. See: The Death of the Messiah. The planning, and engineering required to accomplish these 50 prophecies, is beyond our comprehension. As we carefully examine each specific detail required within these 50 prophecies, we see that God must have the power to control every event of human history, in order to fulfill these elaborate prophecies.

A further example of this precision, comes from the writing of David, in Psalm 22.

It is incredible that David could describe, one thousand years in advance, the specific details of something he had no personal knowledge of—the crucifixion of the Messiah. Not until 520 B.C., would the first crucifixion be recorded in the Bible under King Darius, as noted in the Book of Ezra.[11] Described by the Roman orator, Cicero, as “a most cruel and disgusting punishment,”[12] how is it that David could have knowledge of the specific details of this event, unless He had received this information, in advance, from God?

David’s description of a man being pierced in His hands and feet, and the specific details of the massive dehydration that His body would experience, is quite compelling. This becomes particularly interesting when we consider that Jesus said the precise words from the cross (I thirst) that David predicted the Messiah would utter during His execution.

The following is a list of 17 prophecies from Psalm 22 which describe Jesus’ Crucifixion:

• He will be forsaken by God: Psalm 22:1, Prophecy 71
• Die during the afternoon: Psalm 22:2, Prophecy 72
• He will be despised: Psalm 22:6, Prophecy 73
• Observers disgusted with Him: Psalm 22:7, Prophecy 74
• The precise words recited: Psalm 22:8, Prophecy 75
• He will be Born to die: Psalm 22:9-10, Prophecy 76
• Die from a ruptured heart: Psalm 22:13-17, Prophecy 77
• He will thirst: Psalm 22:13-17, Prophecy 78
• He will be hated and mocked: Psalm 22:16, Prophecy 79
• His hands and feet, pierced: Psalm 22:16, Prophecy 80
• Naked before the world: Psalm 22:17-18, Prophecy 81
• Clothing gambled for: Psalm 22:18, Prophecy 82
• He will commit Himself to God: Psalm 22:19-21, Prophecy 83
• Destroy the works of the devil: Psalm 22:20-21, Prophecy 84
• The meaning of love, defined: Psalm 22:22, Prophecy 85
• His death wins Him Rulership: Psalm 22:27-29, Prophecy 86
• Eyewitnesses will record this: Psalm 22:30-31, Prophecy 87

Transcendent knowledge

This is compelling evidence that someone with advanced knowledge, knew what Jesus would say, as well as what would transpire during His crucifixion. These specific details require the physical presence of a witness to recorded these events. The only problem with this assumption is that David was not there when Jesus died on the cross. He wrote this description in Psalm 22 about ten centuries before these events took place.

Crucifixion did not exist when David wrote these graphic descriptions, and neither he nor anyone whom he knew—had ever been crucified. This terrible method of execution would not be invented for another 600 years. These facts stand as conclusive evidence that David was writing these words as he was directed by a transcendent Being who lives outside of time.[13] A Being who knows all the events of human history, conveyed the specific details of what Jesus would endure, 1,000 years before they took place—to the mind of David, so that he could write the words of Psalm 22.

This is the basis and premise for all Bible prophecy: God, who alone knows all things, who made the universe, and who revealed knowledge of human history to specific men—recorded these events well in advance of their occurrence. No other document in the history of the world has been able to demonstrate knowledge of future events, with one hundred percent accuracy, except the Bible.

There is also only one person in the entire history of the world whom all of these prophecies from Psalm 22, fit, except—Jesus, the Messiah. The entire panorama of all scriptures are centered on Him—whom these predictions were written for. Every verse found in the Old and New Testaments, exist for the specific purpose of demonstrating that Jesus is the fulfillment of all that was written concerning the Messiah.

The wise seek Him

Without the prophecies of the Messiah, we would have no method by which we could validate Jesus as the Savior of the world. The disciples were uncertain who Jesus was, until they remembered certain prophecies which had been written in the Old Testament—that Jesus was fulfilling right before their eyes.

John 12:16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

It is safe to say that these Prophecies of the Messiah are essential to our understanding of the entire Bible. Once a person realizes what was predicted of the Messiah, and how Jesus fulfilled each of these predictions—the entire scope and purpose of the Bible comes into view.

Why was a large entourage of pagan Astrologers traveling such a great distance—across perilous terrain, just to see a newborn baby in Bethlehem?

Matthew 2:1-8 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.

These men had studied the stars, as they moved through the visible sky, and they noticed something incredible. Apparently, these Magi were also students of the Hebrew Prophecies, and they believed that these scriptures were inspired and written by the God of the Hebrews to announce the coming of the Messiah to Israel.

It is likely that these wise men from the east had read the prophecy from book of Micah that predicted the coming of the Messiah at Bethlehem:

See Prophecy 321

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.

Along with their study of the Scriptures, these men also observed an event in the movement of the stars which led them to believe that this King, described in Malachi’s prophecy, was about to be born in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:2-4 The wise men saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

Notice that these travelers from the East, had followed a sign in the heavens, which they attributed to the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy. He would be the Greatest King the world has ever known—the Transcendent One—who came out of eternity and took the body of a human being, forever. These men were following what they believed was His Star, and they came for the sole purpose of worship to this new King, who they were certain was the promised Messiah. Many of the Old Testament prophecies that are a part of this book were the evidence which convinced these highly educated and extremely brilliant men, to make this long and difficult journey to find the One who was prophesied to be the King of the universe.[14]

The Star of Bethlehem

Today, by the use of computer models of the Stars and planets, Astronomers can look backwards into the past history of the heavens and see what the stars and planets looked like 2,000 years ago. Experts simply run a computer program of the current movement of the stars and planets, in reverse—back to the point in past history that they want to observe.[15]

It is reasonable that the Star of Bethlehem could be observed by sky watchers elsewhere in the world, not only by the Magi. Although the men are known as wise men or kings, they were actually priests who relied on astrology.

Between September of 3 B.C. and June of 2 B.C., Jupiter passed by the star Regulus in the constellation Leo. Jupiter reversed itself and then passed Regulus again, turning back to pass the star a third time. This was a remarkable event since astrologers considered Jupiter the “Kingly Planet” and regard Regulus as the “Kings Star.”[16]

The crowning touch came on June 17, when Jupiter seemed to approach so close to Venus, that even without magnification, the two looked like a single star with greatly increased brilliance.

This whole sequence of events could have been “signs” enough for at least three astrologers to go to Jerusalem and ask Herod: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.

The New Testament confirmed by secular writers

Herod was one of the most paranoid individuals of all time. He was said to be so afraid that someone would conspire to take his throne, that he had his wife and sons murdered. Confirmation of Herod’s vitriol fear of a usurper to his throne, comes from an extra-biblical source by a Roman writer, Macrobius, who described Herod’s paranoia, by stating that Caesar Agustus said that it was safer to be one of Herod’s pigs than his own son.

“When he [emperor Augustus] heard that among the boys in Syria under two years old whom Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered to kill, his own son was also killed, he said: it is better to be Herod’s pig, than his son.”[17]

This comment by Macrobius also confirms the Gospel account of Matthew 2:16-18, describing the reason for this massacre of innocent children: to kill the infant Jesus. As Herod issues an order to kill all of the baby boys in Bethlehem who were two years old and under, he also orders the execution of his own son. This gives us an additional secular source for confirmation of Jesus existence as a child in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah 5:2 (Prophecy 321) for the birth of the Messiah, and Jeremiah 31:15 (Prophecy 294) for the unsuccessful attempt on His life.

Four facts of history that the Roman historian, Macrobius, confirms from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in their account of Jesus birth:

1. Caesar Agustus was Emperor (Luke 2:1).
2. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:8, 2:1).
3. Herod was king of Judea (Matthew 2:3).
4. An attempt on Jesus life (Matthew 2:16-18).

This gives us further empirical evidence from secular history that the Gospel narratives of Jesus Christ are accurate and reliable.

Herod became aware of Micah’s prophecy of a coming Messiah who would be the King of Israel, by the ancient Prophecies of the Messiah. The news came that this prophesied King was about to be born in Bethlehem. When the wise men came from the east, crossing the borders of Israel where Herod ruled, he sent word to these men to come and tell him where this new king was located so that he could come and “worship Him.” Of course, Herod had no intention of worshipping any would-be-king who would take his cherished position of power. Herod dispatched soldiers to Bethlehem and ordered the execution of every child under the age of two. Jeremiah’s prophecy vividly records not only the vicious acts of Herod’s soldiers but the very words of sorrow and great grief the mothers of these precious babies felt when their infants were killed before their eyes.

Matthew 2:1-8 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: (Micah 5;2) 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When we consider that Jeremiah and Micah both wrote their predictions of the Messiah about six hundred years before Jesus was born, these two prophecies become two of the most extraordinary predictions in the Bible. The details of which are confirmed by the secular, historical, accounts of Macrobius, as occurring precisely as the Old Testament had predicted, and the New Testament confirmed.

A knowledge of the coming Messiah was not limited to Israel

The whole world was likely aware of this prophecy of the Messiah-King, which had been made in the word of God. The Hebrew scriptures were not only known in many nations around the world; they were also held in high regard and studied intently because of the great number of these predictions which had already been fulfilled.

We should understand that the entire history of the world is confirmed by the record of the Old Testament. Every major civilization that existed at the time the Old Testament was written is listed in the first five books of the Bible. The Book of Daniel predicts the rise and fall of every worldwide kingdom that has existed, with stunning accuracy, all the way up to the coming of the final kingdom which will be ruled exclusively by the Messiah.

The people of many kingdoms who had read the prophecies of the Old Testament were probably anticipating the coming of an individual who was predicted to be the King of all kings. Why were the leaders in Israel not looking for and anticipating His arrival?

This “blindness” by the leaders of Israel was also predicted in many Prophecies of the Messiah, which are the subject of this book.

Who would ever believe it?

Isaiah wrote, in Prophecy 233: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

Who would believe this amazing story of the Messiah when it was told them? Even so, the prophet continues that this is how the arm of the LORD is revealed. The arm of the LORD is a reference to His power. Who would imagine that the great power of the eternal God, which He predicted, would be revealed by the coming of the Messiah—under such difficult circumstances?

Consider the following Prophecies of the Messiah and how utterly foolish it would be that anyone would receive such a man who came into the world under these conditions: (from the prophecies of Isaiah 53)

• Born to a poor family
• An attempt on His life as a baby
• Fleeing to Egypt to save His life
• Growing up as the son of a carpenter
• No home of His own
• No possessions except what He wore
• Rejected by the leaders of Israel
• Rejected by the people of Israel
• Arrested and convicted of crimes He did not commit
• Beaten so severely, He was not recognizable as a man.
• Crucified between two criminals
• Mocked, spat upon and ridiculed while He is dying

Isaiah asks the question: Who has believed our report? No one could have anticipated that God would send His Son into the world under such dire and difficult circumstances. Worst of all, though He came and endured such horrible treatment, His own brothers, the leaders of Israel and the common people of Israel did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, they rejected Him.

We would logically conclude that those who were entrusted with the word of God at the time Jesus arrived—would have anticipated Isaiah’s prophecy and foresee the Messiah’s rejection. The leaders of Israel should have prepared themselves to receive anyone who met the qualifications which the prophetic word required. God made it very easy to recognize the Messiah, simply by comparing His words and actions to those of the prophetic scriptures.

This remains one of the amazing facts of salvation that puzzles and perplexes all of us who study the Bible. How could anyone miss the fact that Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament predictions which were given by God to validate who He is?

This book chronicles the hundreds of Hebrew prophecies which describe the one man in all the history of the world, who fulfilled every word of the Hebrew prophets.

God controlled time and eternity in order to introduce His Son to the world and make available: mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Because Jesus fulfilled every word written about the Messiah, all people, for all time, have the opportunity to obtain a new life now, and eternal life later, when our time here on earth is concluded. The Messiah has come and He has been validate by the fulfillment of every prophecy of the Old Testament.

This book is a record of the Hebrew prophecies which predict the arrival of the Messiah, as well as the New Testament fulfillment of every word spoken by God, concerning the fulfillment of all these scriptures.

The preceding is from the new book by Robert Clifton Robinson: “The Prophecies of the Messiah,” now available at Amazon


NOTES:
[1] Daniel 4:17 …In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’
[2] Tacitus, The Histories, Book V
[3] Encyclopedia Britannica, 1990 Edition.
[4] Plutarch, Artaxerxes, l. 1. c. 1. 11:129 – cited by Ussher, Annals, para. 1179
[5] R. Schmitt. of Iran “Art”axerxes. Encyclopædia Iranica. 15 December 1986. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
[6] 1.Iran-e-Bastan/Pirnia Book, 1 page 873, 2. Dandamayev 3. History of Persian Empire-Olmstead pages 289-90
[7] From Judaism 101, http://www.jewfaq.org/calendar.htm
[8] From a letter sent to Sir Robert Anderson: To the Royal Obseervatory, Greewich, June 26th, I877. “SIR, – I have had the moon’s place calculated from Largeteau’s Tables in Additions to the Connaisance des Tems 1846, by one of my assistants, and have no doubt of its correctness. The place being calculated for – 444, March 12d. 20h., French reckoning, or March 12d. 8h. P. M., it appears that the said time was short of New Moon by about 8h. 47m., and therefore the New Moon occurred at 4h. 47m. A. M., March 13th, Paris time.” I am, etc (the 13th day of March at 7:09 a.m)., ” (Signed,) G. B. AIRY.” Anderson, Sir Robert (2010-05-27). The Coming Prince (Kindle Locations 1737-1748). . Kindle Edition.
[9] Genesis 9:11 Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood.
[10] Revelation 13:8 … the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
[11] Ezra 6:11 (King Darius) Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this.
[12] By Cicero, Licona, Michael (2010). The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. InterVarsity Press,. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-8308-2719-0
[13] Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done…
[14] Tacitus, The Histories, Book V
[15] The Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Jack Finegan (Revised Edition; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998) ISBN 1–56563-143–9.
[16] The Bethlehem Star, written by Frederick A. Larson. http://www.bethlehemstar.net
[17] Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius c. 395-423, Saturnalia, book II, chapter IV:11: “Cum audisset inter pueros quos in Syria Herodes rex Iudaeorum intra bimatum iussit interfici filium quoque eius occisum, ait: Melius est Herodis porcum esse quam filium,”



Categories: Jesus is the Messiah, The Sovereignty of God

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s