God gave me another, “WOW!”, moment this morning as I was studying His Word.
In my last post I was working through 2Peter 1:3-11 where Peter was talking about “qualities that should be ours and increasing”.
After he finishes with this progression of qualities supplementing each other, Peter tells his readers that they already know these things, but it is good to be continually reminded.
Peter then goes on to validate their message, pointing out that they were eyewitnesses to all that Jesus taught and did. Then, it is almost as if he says, “THAT’S NOT ALL! We were with Jesus on the Holy mountain when God’s Voice from Heaven testified to His Son!”
Then Peter goes on as if to say, “If all that isn’t enough, my eyewitness account, my hearing God speak confirming His Son…if that isn’t enough for you, or anyone else, WE HAVE THE PROPHETIC WORD!”
Only now this prophetic Word is “more fully confirmed.”
Why would Peter say that the prophetic Word is more fully confirmed?
Because Jesus fulfilled ALL the Messianic prophecies!
Peter goes on to say, “you would do well to pay attention.”
How should we pay attention?
We should pay attention to the prophetic Word in the same way we would pay attention to a lamp in a dark room. WHAT? How do you pay attention to a lamp in a dark room?
The better question is, “how do you not?” When we enter a dark room the first thing we pay attention to is, “where’s the switch?” If the light is already on we don’t give it a thought, but we subconsciously enjoy the fact that the room is illuminated, because, unless we are sleeping or watching a movie, we prefer rooms to be lit.
The prophetic Word is the light that illuminates the darkened mind and heart of those that do not know the Truth of God’s Word. Peter basically says, “pay attention to this, study this until your heart is enlightened with the Truth.”
How can studying prophetic Word do this?
When you look back at Scripture that was written 100’s of years before Jesus was born, and then consider the fact that He fulfilled them ALL, not most, not some, not a few, BUT ALL, that should blow your mind! For the intellectual, the logical, and the mathematical; consider this, the probability of just 10 prophecies being fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth would be the same as filling the entire state of Texas 3 feet deep with quarters, painting one of them red, blind folding someone, dropping them in the middle of the state and saying, “you have one shot, pick up the red quarter”
Obviously, there is tremendous value in studying the prophetic Word, however, we need the Spirit to open our eyes to the Truth, and we must be humbly prepared to receive the Truth. Consider what Jesus said to the Pharisees, the most religious among them:
John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Many people hear the following account read at Christmas time, but have they stopped to consider what is being communicated. Let’s walk through this one example of the power of God’s prophetic Word:
Matthew 2:1-6 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 saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 "'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
1) The wise men want to go and worship “He who has been born King of the Jews”.
2) This was upsetting to Herod the king, he was not a God-fearing man, as is evidence of his plan, and the thought of a “King” being born – he was not having this, after all, he was the king
3) Although Herod was not a God-fearing man, he was smart enough to know God’s Word spoke of the birth of the Christ
4) Herod was also smart enough to know that the chief priests and scribes would know where the Scriptures indicated the birth of the Christ
5) The chief priests and scribes told Herod, the Christ is to be born in Bethlehem, and they quoted Micah 5:2, which was written 750-700 BC
Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Since most of us are not scholars of the Old Testament we may read this and see at as a leap, or at least somewhat vague because it doesn’t say word for word, “the Christ will be born in Bethlehem.” So, for the sake of this exercise let’s look at one more:
Matthew 2:13-15 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
This referenced Hosea 11:1, which was written around 722BC.
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
There are far more prophecies than I am aware of, but consider:
1) The virgin birth (prophesied in Isaiah 7)
2) The Christ would be sold for 30 pieces of silver
3) His followers would scatter
4) He would be called a Nazarene
5) They would cast lots for His garments
6) He would not offer a word of defense as He was on trial
7) The 30 pieces of silver are thrown down in the temple
8) The potters field is purchased with the silver
Also consider Jesus’ Words in those last hours.
1) If Judas changes his mind, Jesus is wrong
2) If everyone doesn’t abandon Him, if just ONE stays with Him, Jesus is wrong
3) If Peter denies him once or twice, instead of three times, Jesus is wrong
4) If the rooster doesn’t crow after the third denial, Jesus is wrong
The probability of these 12 things being fulfilled is so astronomical we can’t even calculate it, and this is only a small sampling of the prophetic Word. You can see why Peter says, “you will do well to pay attention”.
Considering these things, read Peter’s writing in 2Peter:
2Peter 1:16-21 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, consider the words of Gamaliel. The religious leaders hated the fact that the apostles were preaching the Gospel of Christ. In this account they arrest and beat Peter and John. But before they beat them and release them, commanding them to quit sharing the message of Jesus, the voice of reason speaks up:
Acts 5:33-40 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
It is interesting that the religious leaders took Gamaliel’s advice, but it seems their pride did not keep them from beating them and commanding them to quit speaking in the name of Jesus. But, what is more interesting, and EXTREMELY powerful, is the fact that Gamaliel was exactly right. Over 2000 years later, the apostles have all been killed for preaching Jesus, countless martyrs have endured ruthless persecution, many have tried to destroy the Bible, people have been killed translating the Bible into their native language, many have died at the hands of enemies of God for trying to smuggle God’s Word into restricted nations – yet, Christians remain steadfast, Jesus is still on the throne – to oppose the Gospel, to reject Christ, is to be as Gamaliel said, “you are opposing God”, you are standing in rebellion against the King of kings. Her has given us His prophetic Word, He has protected His Word, you would do well to pay attention.