The death of Moses happened somewhere around the year 1407 BC. Between that time and the birth of the Christ, the Israelites continued to be a disobedient people proving repeatedly that they could not keep the Law of God handed down to Moses for the people of the Creator. It was for this reason the Lord sent prophets to speak on His behalf to correct, guide, and prepare the Israelites as they struggled in their lives here on earth. The bibles Old Testament contains many events and God given messages that surrounded the lives of various prophets. There are many books referred to as the "books of the prophets." These books are broken down into what is referred to as the "Major" and "Minor" Prophets. The terms major and minor do not imply any measure of importance, but instead these titles refer to the length of each book with some ranging from a single chapter and others containing many chapters.
The Major Prophets include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel. The Minor Prophets include Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Some of these prophets delivered prophecies to the nations of Israel and Judah before the captivity of the Jewish people in Assyria and in Babylon, while others prophesied during Israel's captivity and others prophesied after the time of Israel's captivity. In this chapter, the primary focus is on but a few specific prophecies foretelling of the coming Messiah or Savior. These are messages intended to prepare the way for the birth of the Christ into this world. The message of the prophets speak about the very title of this blog, "God's Gift to Mankind." It cannot be stressed enough that God has a beautiful plan for the salvation of all of mankind, to include you. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the adversary of all that is good, Satan, is always working in the background to hinder God's plan for the salvation of mankind. As stated, this is but a small portion of the Old Testament prophecies selected from the books of Micah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Isaiah, and Daniel.
The prophet Micah foretold that God would send into the world a savior who would deliver mankind from the evil of this world bringing about peace on earth. "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are small among the clans of Judah, out of you, will come forth for Me One to be ruler over Israel, whose origins are of old, from the days of eternity. Therefore, Israel will be abandoned until she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of His brothers will return to the children of Israel. He will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD His God. And they will dwell securely, for then His greatness will extend to the ends of the earth. And He will be their peace" (Micah 5:2-5). The Gospel according to Matthew tells us, "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:1-2). This prophecy further tells us that that the Christ (meaning the anointed one) will be born to restore mankind back to God just as He promised.
The prophet Jeremiah prophesized that the Savior would come from the line of King David. "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a Righteous Branch, and He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is His name by which He will be called: the LORD our righteous savior" (Jeremiah 23:5-6). The Gospel according to Matthew, in Chapter 1:1-17, gives a detailed genealogy listing showing Jesus as a descendant of David. Jeremiah further stated, "But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will each man teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:33-34). The Almighty God is making a way that offers forgiveness of mankind's sins to include yours, mine, and everyone's. He also tells us that He will come to live within us to teach us all of His truths.
The prophet Zechariah prophesized, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). This prophesy was realized as it says in the Gospel according to Matthew, "As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent out two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone questions you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'See, your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" So the disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A massive crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed were shouting: "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" When Jesus had entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" The crowds replied, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee" (Matthew 21:1-11).
The prophet Isaiah told of Jesus' virgin birth, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and she will call Him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from that time and forevermore" (Isaiah 9:6-7). Isaiah foretold the greatness of Jesus as part of God's plan for the salvation of mankind. Moreover, Isaiah would foretell of what the LORD would have to suffer to fulfill the Almighty God's purpose. "Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth" (Isaiah 53:4-9).
The prophet Daniel foretells of the return of Jesus well after His death and resurrection to rule over all creation forevermore. "In my vision in the night I continued to watch: And I saw One like a Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. And He was given dominion, glory, and kingship, so that every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14).
The Gospel according to Luke addresses the significance and purpose of the times of the prophets. "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the gospel of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it" (Luke 16:16). This is in reference to when John the Baptist began preaching to pave the way for Jesus Christ. "In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him'" (Matthew 3:1-3). Furthermore, the early disciples of the Lord recognized the fulfillment of many prophecies through Jesus. "Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, the One the prophets foretold—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (John 1:45). Thus, the age of the prophets has ended with the birth of whom they foretold. God's plan of salvation continues in the remaining posts of this blog.
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