Grace Bible Church Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries.
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 10/21/07
The Study of Romans 9,10,11. Messianic Prophecy.
Continuing in our study of Romans 9, 10, and 11, and these are among the most intense chapters in the word of God. Paul is very emotional in the beginning of chapter 9 where God the Holy Spirit allows him to express what was on his heart concerning his beloved Jewish people. ROM 9:1-5, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Paul clearly has strong emotions as he contemplates the fate of unbelieving Jews and the nation of Israel. Paul loves deeply these Jewish people who are on their way to the Lake of Fire. In verses 4 and 5 Paul lists privileges that the Lord bestowed on the Israelites, and this only adds to his grief. The sixth privilege is described simply as “the promises.” The Greek word for promise is epaggelia meaning a promised good or blessing. This word has led us to our present subject of Messianic Prophecy. The word “Messiah” is actually a transliteration of an Aramaic and Hebrew word meaning “the anointed one” or a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint). The Greek equivalent is Christos meaning the anointed one or the Messiah; where our Lord gets His title “Christ.” Jesus Christ received the anointing from God the Holy Spirit as Prophet, Priest, and King. The Messiah is the instrument by whom God's kingdom is to be established in Israel and in the world. The hope of a personal deliverer is inseparable from the wider hope that runs through the O.T. The term Messianic prophecy refers to well over 100 predictions in the O.T. promising the Kingdom of God and salvation through the future King or Messiah of the Jewish people. These prophecies have undeniable accuracy even though they were recorded by numerous writers into various books over the span of approximately 1000 years. Their accuracy has been assured through the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint which existed prior to Jesus' time on earth. Messianic Prophecy: The Fulfillment. Jesus Christ fulfilled all the Messianic prophecy foretold by the O.T. authors. One can study these prophecies and see the improbability of one person fulfilling even a few of them! When we read about Jehovah promising something to Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, or David, we realize that Christ is the embodiment of God’s faithfulness. Messianic prophecy is the study of the O.T. prophecies about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, with particular emphasis on Christ’s work on the Cross. We will examine the record in the N.T. gospels and Acts to view all of the evidence that a first century Jew, alive at the time Paul wrote Romans, could have had regarding the question: “What do you think of Christ, whose Son is He?” The promises magnified here in Romans 9 are Messianic prophecies, the promises made to Israel concerning the Messiah, TLJC. That’s why Paul wraps up this section as he does in ROM 9:5 “whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” 2CO 1:20 “For as many as are the promises of God [including all the O.T. covenants and types and prophecies], in Him [the Son of God, Christ Jesus] they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the proclamation of the good news, that the promises made to the Jews are now fulfilled in Christ. So it is time for us to dispel any sentimentality or the slightest notion that God in any way was unfair to the Jews. One of the profound manifestations of the faithfulness of God to Israel consists of the tremendous and incessant prophecies and pleading that the Lord made on Israel’s behalf. ISA 5:4 “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?” We will see all that the Lord did for His vineyard Israel in the realm of Messianic prophecy. Paul is going to explain that God has not rejected His people. During the Church-age, a remnant of Jews become born again and saved by grace through faith, lest any man should boast. God has temporarily set aside Israel as His chosen vessel until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. That will occur at the Rapture when the Royal Family will be complete. Meanwhile, Paul says in ROM 10:1-2 that the Jews have zeal for God but that zeal is not in accordance with knowledge. Paul ought to know; he was the most zealous Jew in Israel, but he was ignorant of the things concerning Christ, so God showed him mercy. There were Jews who were zealous for God, but not acting according to the knowledge that God expected them to have. They were told of the good news, the good word about Jesus Christ. They had the information to put together what they should have learned in Codex 1 and 2, namely that they cannot live up to the Law, that they need a Savior, and God has provided a Lamb. Was it fair to expect them to connect this realization up with the Man of Sorrows bleeding and dying on a Roman cross? Did Israel knowingly reject Christ as their Savior and King? Did God provide them in their Hebrew Scriptures with the facts concerning Christ so that they are without excuse? Did they know that the animal sacrifices pointed forward to Christ? Should they have recognized Christ as their promised Messiah? Paul asks this in ROM 10:16-21, “However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world. But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, ‘I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you.’ And Isaiah is very bold and says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me.’ But as for Israel He says, ‘All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.’” Did O.T. believers look forward to Christ, and was this Jesus recognizable as their Messiah when He came? Of course the answer is a resounding YES! They should have known who this Jesus was, and we know this because some did. Many Jews became born again, and continue to be saved to this day; they are the promised remnant. We are going to see the extent of the O.T. prophecy concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. To get a clear understanding of the prophecies in the O.T., we must examine the attitude of the N.T. writers toward these Messianic prophecies. Point 1. The N.T. scriptures, which are all God-breathed just like the O.T., dogmatically state that the O.T. scriptures point to Christ and His work on the cross. LUK 10:23-24, Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.” Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Moses, and Kings like David. Look at JOH 5:39-47, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” Jesus Christ is making a dogmatic statement of fact: Moses wrote about Jesus Christ. The apostles made the same use of the O.T. as the Lord did to apply the prophecies to Christ who came, lived, died, and rose again according to the Scriptures. Look at ACT 26:1-3, Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense: “In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; especially because you are an expert in all customs and questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.” This man Agrippa was an expert in the details of Jewish religious belief and practice. King Agrippa was not one to be messed with when it came to things pertaining to the Jews. Paul was not intimidated but quite the opposite: he was excited for the opportunity to expound his teaching before a man of Agrippa’s eminence. This one might appreciate the strength of Paul’s argument that the message he proclaimed was the true consummation of Israel’s ancestral faith.ACT 26:4 “So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem;” Here, Paul is before a Jewish judge by the name of King Agrippa; he presented his credentials as the most Jewish of Jews in that generation. ACT 26:5 “since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.” If anyone should know what the O.T. has to say, it’s Paul. If anyone were going to be skeptical about the latest hysterical claim that the Messiah had come, it would have been Paul. If there were loopholes in the story of these Galileans that the Christ had come, suffered and died, and rose again on the third day, in fulfillment of Scripture, Paul would have discovered it! So if Paul came to see the light concerning Christ, then any Jew ought to be able to! ACT 26:6 “And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers;” Paul is on trial for preaching Jesus, but here he says he is on trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers, and he points to the promises (epaggelia). He points to the O.T. Messianic prophecies and declares that because Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, He now is the embodiment and proof that the Jews will receive everything promised. ACT 26:7-8, “the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” The Israelites above all other peoples should be aware of the fact that Jehovah is all powerful. Abraham anticipated the resurrection from the dead, as did Job, and Joseph and David and Ezekiel and all the O.T. Jewish prophets. ACT 26:22 “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;” Everything Paul has declared concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ was anticipated in the Messianic prophecies of Moses and the Prophets. ACT 26:23 “that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Here Paul went to all of the O.T. scriptures which found their fulfillment in the life, death and victorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The early Church gathered these O.T. verses together under appropriate headings, which often took the form of questions. Here, Luke does not give us Paul’s citations of the Messianic prophecies, but rather indicates them by giving us the questions under which they were grouped: Must the Messiah suffer? Must He rise from the dead? Must He bring the light of salvation to both the people of Israel and the Gentile nations? To illustrate, let’s take the last one. The announcing of light to the Jewish people, and to the Gentiles is assigned to the ministry of Isaiah’s suffering Servant. So Isaiah 49:6 would have been listed as a text giving Messianic prophecy under this category. Isaiah 49:6">ISA 49:6 “He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Paul and Barnabas cited these words as they set out on their first commission to spread the gospel (ACT 13:47). When our Lord was presented at the Temple in His infancy, Simeon greeted Him with these same words from Isaiah (LUK 2:32). The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon the promise that he would not see death until he had laid eyes on the Lord. Simeon was a Jew, and He recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah. ROM 1:1-2, "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures", God promised the Gospel, the good news that the Messiah, the Savior would die for our sins beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures! ROM 1:3-4, "concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord". 1PE 1:10-12, "As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things into which angels long to look." The O.T. prophets did not live to see the day when Christ would come. They never knew the name of His mother, or the day of His birth, but they were far from ignorant concerning salvation. They knew enough to look forward to the sacrifice of the suffering Servant, and the glories that would follow. We know so much more about those glories now that He has risen, but they were given the outline. In both the Psalms and the writings of the prophet Isaiah there is this pattern of talking about the gloriousness of the Messiah and then right around the corner the suffering and difficulty. We have seen that when the N.T. talks about Christ fulfilling O.T. prophecy, it talks in terms of the sufferings of Christ followed by the glories (LUK 24:26). The N.T. Jewish writers like Peter, Paul, and John came on the scene and knew that it was all ONE person! The seed of the woman (Redeemer through sacrifice) and the seed of Abraham (blessing to all nations) and the seed of David are all one seed, the man Christ Jesus. The lamb of the Passover and the King who will sit on David’s throne are one and the same, Christ! The suffering Servant and the Lion of Judah are the child King and eternal Father, prince of peace. He’s Jesus Christ the Lord. The N.T. is a trustworthy guide for a journey of exploration into the O.T. for the following reasons: First, it is in a position to give us the best view possible, since it was written, by Jewish eyewitnesses, near in time to the O.T. Secondly, like a telescope, the Spirit-guided writings bring these precious promises nearer to us, making their outline clearer and more real. Thirdly, it claims to have the right of interpreting the O.T., and scrutiny over centuries has justified this claim. Jesus, the subject of Messianic prophecy, is Himself an actor and speaker in the N.T. Gospels. In examining these Gospels, we discover some interesting facts. 1) Jesus had the highest respect for the O.T. scriptures. He never accused the spiritual leaders of the Jewish religion of adding to or taking away from the Scriptures. 2) Jesus often recognizes Moses as legislator and writer, and speaks of the fact that Moses wrote about Jesus (JOH 5:46). 3) Jesus applied certain Scriptures to Himself (LUK 4:13-21). When He came to his hometown of Nazareth, He visited their synagogue. The elders invited Him up to the Bima to read from the Portion of the Week, a custom held among the Jews to this day. LUK 4:16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. The Haftorah for that Sabbath must have been from Isaiah 61. Following the reading of the lesson, with the eyes of the congregation on Him, He spoke momentous words. LUK 4:17-21, And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “the spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” John the Baptist was the herald for Jesus Christ, his forerunner, preparing the way for the Lord. John the Baptist was himself the subject of O.T. prophecy (ISA 40:3-5fulfilled in MAT 3:3). It is sometimes missed that both John and Jesus drew tremendous crowds. Many people, mostly Jews, were saved during the rallies and teachings; this shows that many Jews did believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah because they recognized Him as the One promised in their Hebrew scriptures. Jesus Himself identifies John as the Elijah who was to come, and in so doing Jesus declares Himself to be the Lord who was to come after that Elijah (MAT 11:8-15). When John was in prison and disheartened, he experienced some doubts about his mission in life. So he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to check and be sure that this was in fact the promised Messiah. Jews ask for signs, as Greeks seek wisdom. John the Baptist was of course a Jew. MAT 11:2-6, Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (MAT 11:5includes a quotation from Isa 35 and Isa 61). Especially penetrating are the words spoken by the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus (LUK 24:25-27 and LUK 24:44-48). Point 2. The N.T. provides an exact map for finding those elements of O.T. prophecy which are most strongly Christological (the Person of Christ) and Soteriological (the salvation work of Christ on the Cross). The N.T. is richly blessed with quotations from the O.T. We are going to focus on two forms in which Messianic prophecy from the O.T. is identified in the N.T. The first turns out to be the speeches given by Peter and Paul to the Jews in the book of Acts. We have already seen an example of this: Peter’s Pentecost day speech in Acts 2:22-39. The second form will be the direct statements in the Gospels that a certain event fulfilled the Scripture. We have seen Luke 4:16-21, when Jesus read ISA 61:1-2a and declared it to have been fulfilled. You are on solid ground for treating an O.T. verse as Messianic prophecy when the N.T. declares that verse to be Messianic prophecy. The apostles who both preached Jesus and wrote the N.T. imitated their Lord in applying the O.T. prophecies to Jesus Christ who came, lived, died, and rose again according to the Scriptures. These N.T. Jews are the best interpreters of the O.T. prophets. They were the eyewitnesses of the coming of the Expected One, the only Savior of the world. Philip is a fascinating example; he starts out his career immediately acknowledging the fact that Jesus is the Promised Messiah. JOH 1:43-46, The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” In Acts 8, Philip is preaching Jesus the Messiah to the Ethiopian eunuch: 8:26-40, But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH. IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.” The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea. Of all the passages of scripture that this man could have been reading, God the Holy Spirit had led him to this particular one. God will move heaven and earth to get gospel information to anyone who is positive! What is breathtaking about the Bible study of this Ethiopian is the fact that in Isa 53 there are 24 parallel statements about our Savior. This Hebrew poetic form reveals the Lamb as the center point for the whole universe! Note that the exact center of these 24 parallels is ISA 53:7b Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, The Lamb is absolutely essential to understanding Messianic prophecy. The Lamb is the unifying factor that ties together the O.T. sacrifices with the O.T. predictions of the Savior! The Lamb runs from Genesis to Revelation, and each time the lamb appears, more details are given. The bleats of thousands of slain lambs were on the ears of the Jewish establishment as they urged Pilate to remove the bodies from the Cross before the onset of Passover. How incredible that they were completely blind to the fact that THE LAMB of GOD hung on the center placed cross (ISA 52:13-15; ISA 53:1-12).