Light for the Last Days

How prophecy works – the Big Picture and the detail

SHORT TALK

One of the unique features of the Bible is that it contains very specific prophecies, some of which have been fulfilled, some of which are being fulfilled, and some of which will be fulfilled.

The reason why this is in the Bible is because God knows the end from the beginning and, as we read in 2 Timothy,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16

So, if all scripture is inspired by God and God knows everything, He knows what is going to happen, and He knows the significance of the events which are taking place and are going to take place.

If you look in both the Old and the New Testament, do you find that they contain prophecy. Some of it is in the Old Testament, that is, prophecy related to events that are going to happen in the life of Israel in the not too distant future, but also, sometimes, of events that will take place in the more distant future, and sometimes in the very far, distant future, particularly when it is speaking about the end of days and the Day of the Lord which also ties in with prophecies in the New Testament about the Second Coming of Jesus.

But one of the major things which is of interest to us as believers in Yeshua is the subject of the Messianic prophecies, the prophecies which speak about Jesus in the Old Testament.

Now, according to our understanding of scripture, we have two sets of prophecies concerning the Messiah:

  • the prophecies concerning His First Coming and
  • the prophecies concerning His Second Coming

This little diagram gives you the perspective of looking at these prophecies across time:

We may see them as two mountains which sometimes come together when seen from a distance of centuries (just like seeing things in the distance where only the most salient features can be perceived).

But we also realise that, in between them, there are valleys of time.

That valley of time goes the time in which we’re now living which we may call the church age or the age of the New Covenant in which we’re put right with God through Yeshua, through Jesus the Messiah. But the Old Testament, the Hebrew prophets have both of these subjects the First Coming and the Second Coming of Jesus.

Logically, if the First Coming prophecies have been fulfilled, then you can believe that the Second Coming prophecies are going to be fulfilled. Does that makes sense?

If they haven’t been fulfilled in Jesus, then the whole thing becomes a little bit more questionable.

But one of the things which we find in when we look at the scriptures is that there are prophecies concerning the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Yeshua / Jesus the Messiah.

The prophecies here, in Psalm 22, are specifically about the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus.

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.
11 Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. 13 They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. 16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;

17 I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me. 18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. 19 But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. 21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me. 22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! 24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard. 25 My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. 26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.

Let your heart live forever! 27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive. 30 A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, 31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.

Psalm 22

So, when we look at this psalm of David, it is about what happened to David.

It begins with a cry of pain and despair from David as he feels himself forsaken by God. God seems to have abandoned him.

Looking at the account of David’s life in Samuel, you see that David is Anointed by Samuel to be the future king of Israel, in place of Saul.

And yet, a whole lot of David’s life he’s a fugitive on the run from Saul, the very opposite of what he thought would happen.

And David said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? 10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. 12 Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? 15 Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”

16 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 Then he said to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when the Lord delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 

1 Samuel 24.9-20

He feels himself forsaken by God and by men. God doesn’t seem to be hearing his prayer. Even though he has trusted in God. He finds himself ridiculed and mocked. And he is surrounded by hostile people who bring him to the dust of death.

Probably, in that process, he is injured or falls sick, so he feels intense pain, thirst, and hunger. Therefore, David is the subject of this psalm. He is writing about his own experience.

As you read the psalm, if you read the account of David’s life when he was a fugitive on the run from Saul, you could imagine times when he might have felt exactly as we are told in this psalm:

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?Why have you let me down?‘ ‘Why am I in this state when I was supposed to be the King?

In verses 19 to 21 he cries out to God to save him and God answers him says then he’s delivered

19 But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. 21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.

Psalm 22

In verse 22 it says,

22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

Psalm 22

He sees himself no longer rejected but now at the centre of events, being a subject of praise and himself giving praise to the Lord, seeing the Lord’s name being sent out to the ends of the earth.

27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.

Psalm 22

It even seems from this that he is saying that this story, his own story, is going to be told to peoples in the ends of the earth as people turn to the Lord and worship Him.

The last verse says that this is going to be told from one generation to another

30 A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, 31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.

Psalm 22

What the Lord Has Done to save him will be told to coming generations.

Did that happen? Well, here you are, at the ends of the earth, 3,000 years later, and you’re hearing the story. So, yeah! It did happen, but it only happened, not because of David, but because of David’s greatest Son.

If it hadn’t been for Jesus, for Yeshua, the story about David would have just been lost in time, and history and ourselves wouldn’t have known anything about it.

Just then what happened in a small Kingdom in the Middle East with its kings and its prophets would have been an unlikely tale and we would have known nothing about it. The only reason we know about it is because it’s recorded in the Bible.

And we have a Bible which has been translated and is distributed to the ends of the earth mostly by people who believe in David’s greater Son, Jesus.

So, the reason we know about David, the reason we know about Abraham through these valleys of time is because of Jesus.

And the story, this passage does speak about Yeshua about Jesus as well as about David.

In fact, the passage about Jesus Is God introducing something much deeper than just the immediate sufferings of David and the answer to his prayer.

Tony Pearce

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