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We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching the Bible and understanding our time in

the light of Bible prophecy

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Either Messiah has come...

T

... or Jacob, Daniel and Haggai are false prophets.

 

The Bible is no ordinary book. Its writers claim that they spoke by the

Spirit of God. It contains prophecies, many of which have been fulfilled in

minute detail. Others are yet to be fulfilled. The main focus of Bible

prophecy is the person of the Messiah. The big question is:

 

Do the prophecies of the Bible point to someone who has already come or

someone who is yet to come?

 

In this article I want to look at three passages of the Bible which relate

to this subject.

 

1. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his

feet until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Genesis 49.10.

 

In the context of this verse Jacob is blessing his sons. The most

significant word comes not for Reuben, his oldest son, nor for Joseph or

Benjamin, his favourite sons, but for Judah, his fourth son. Judah's record

in the Bible is actually the worst of the 12 brothers. He conspired to kill

Joseph and then suggested selling him for 20 pieces of silver. He was not

morally upright and had illicit sexual relations with his daughter in law,

Tamar, whom he mistook for a prostitute. Yet it was to him that Jacob

conferred rulership and through his line that 'Shiloh' would come.

 

Rabbinic writings agree that 'Shiloh' is a term for the Messiah. Possible

meanings of the word are 'peace' or 'the one sent.'

 

Rabbi Yohanan taught that all the world was created for the Messiah. What is

his name? The School of Sheeloh taught: His name is Shiloh as it is written

(Genesis 49.10) 'Until Shiloh come and unto Him shall the gathering of the

people be.' Sanhedrin 98b.

 

'Until Shiloh shall come; He is called by the name of Shiloh because all the

nations are destined to bring gifts to Israel and to King Messiah, as it is

written, 'In that day shall the present be brought to the Lord of hosts.'

Yalkut 160.

 

The sceptre in this verse is the Hebrew word 'shebet', the tribal staff

which belonged to each tribe as an ensign of their authority. Thus the

tribal identity of Judah would not pass away, as happened to other tribes,

until Shiloh or Messiah comes. It was from the tribe of Judah that the line

of kings descended from King David came. Even after the Babylonian

captivity, Judah continued to have lawgivers (see Ezra 1.5 - 8).

 

In the early years of the Roman occupation of Judea, the Jewish people still

had a king in their own land. Moreover they were to a large extent governed

by their own laws, and the Sanhedrin exercised its authority. But in the

span of a few years (during the year when Yeshua was twelve years of age and

appeared publicly in the Temple, Luke 2.41-52) Archelaus, the king of the

Jews was dethroned and banished. Coponius was appointed Roman Procurator,

and the kingdom of Judea, the last remnant of the former nation of Israel,

was formally debased into a province of Syria (see Josephus' Antiquities 17,

chapter 13.1-5).

 

At this time the Sanhedrin lost its power of passing the death sentence (see

John 18.31). Rabbi Rachmon said, "When the members of the Sanhedrin found

themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general

consternation took hold of them; they covered their heads and their bodies

with sackcloth, exclaiming, 'Woe unto us, for the sceptre has departed from

Judah and the Messiah has not come.'"

 

For almost another half century the Jewish people retained the semblance of

a provincial government structure, but in 70 CE all semblance of Jewish

national sovereignty disappeared when Jerusalem and the Temple were

destroyed by the armies of the Roman General Titus.

 

If Yeshua is the Messiah, then the prophecy of Jacob way back in Genesis was

fulfilled in a remarkable way, with Messiah coming before Judah lost its

national identity, just as Jacob foretold. If Yeshua is not the Messiah,

this prophecy has not been fulfilled and never can be.

 

2. Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the

commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince,

there shall be seven weeks and sixty two week; the street shall be built

again, and the wall even in troublesome times. And after sixty two seeks

Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince

who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall

be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.

Daniel 9.25-26.

 

According to this prophecy in Daniel, Messiah had to come 483 years after a

specific date in Daniel's time (69 x 7 years - a 'week' = 7 years - see

Genesis 29.27). Sir Robert Anderson in his book 'The Coming Prince' works

out that the date from the decree of Artaxerxes granting permission to the

Jewish people to return and rebuild Jerusalem to the date of Yeshua's

triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This date he believes was the official

presentation of Messiah as 'Prince' to Israel (details of how he comes to

this date are available on request).

 

Whether or not one accepts Anderson's findings, it is clear that there was a

great deal of Messianic expectation at the time of Yeshua and reasonable to

assume that Daniel's prophecy had something to do with this. There are

Rabbinic writings which point to the arrival of 'Menachem (the Comforter) ben

Amiel (God is with His people)' who is identified as Messiah and appears at

this time. He started to work around the Mediterranean Sea, went to Samaria,

then Rome and the ends of the world.

 

Daniel's prophecy speaks of Messiah being 'cut off' (dying a violent death),

but not for himself (not for his own sins but for others) before the

destruction of the second Temple and Jerusalem, which took place in 70 CE.

Later Jewish thought has identified this prophecy with King Agrippa (a

carnal Gentile king) or the Jewish High Priest. Since the goal of Daniel's

prophecy is 'to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make

reconciliation for iniquity' (verse 24), it is clear that neither Agrippa

not the High Priest can be considered as candidates for its fulfilment. If

Yeshua is not the Messiah, then Daniel's prophecy is a false one.

 

3. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come;

and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of

this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of

hosts; and in this place I will give peace, says the Lord of hosts. Haggai

2.7 -9.

 

The context of Haggai's prophecy is the rebuilding of the Temple after the

return of the Jewish people from Babylon. He says that the glory of the

latter house (the second Temple) will be greater than the glory of the

former house (Solomon's Temple).

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