Prophecies of a Messianic King
appear throughout the Old Testament and many in the
Jewish leadership saw John's arrival on the scene as
They sent representatives to the place where John
was baptizing to see if he was the promised Messiah. He
said he wasn't, but that the one they had been expecting
was even then in their midst (John 1:19-28).
750 years earlier Isaiah had said
when the Messiah came He would reign on David's throne
forever (Isaiah 9:6-7) but the throne of David
had been vacant for 600 years.
John had come to tell them the time was finally
at hand and they had better get ready for Him.
When Jesus began His ministry, John
introduced Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin
of the world (John 1:8) and publicly testified
that Jesus was the Son of God (John 1:34).
Right from the beginning Jesus began teaching
that the Kingdom of Heaven was near (Matt. 4:17),
and sent His disciples through out the land to alert the
people to this fact as well (Matt. 10:7-8).
But even with Isaiah's prophecies,
John's testimony, and the Lord's teaching, the Jewish
leaders refused to accept that Jesus was the Messiah.
They questioned His claims, His doctrine, and His
miracles in spite of the fact that all were clearly
foretold in their prophecies.
Isaiah had also said when He came
the Messiah would have no beauty or majesty that would
attract them to Him and that nothing about His
appearance would make them desire Him (Isaiah 53:2).
The fact that Jesus was not like they expected Him to be
was a big problem for them.
Just before John was executed, He
had sent a delegation of his disciples to confirm for
themselves that Jesus was who He claimed to be.
In reply Jesus said,
“Go back and report to
John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the
lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf
hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached
to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away
on account of me.” (Matt. 11:4-6)
Jesus fed the multitudes, walked on
water, healed the sick and raised the dead and still
they asked for a miraculous sign.
Finally in frustration He responded,
“A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a
miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the
sign of Jonah. For as
Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a
huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and
three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt.
12:38-40). They would get their sign, but only after
they had executed Him.
Later, just a few days before His
execution, He warned them again.
tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from
you and given to a people who will produce its fruit
(Matt. 21:43). He was speaking of the coming
After the resurrection, having
performed the miraculous sign they asked for, Jesus
waited 40 days for them to acknowledge it.
But upon being informed of the empty tomb the
Jewish leaders bribed the soldiers to keep them quiet
and refused to recognize the Lord's fulfillment of the
sign of Jonah (Matt. 28:11-15).
At the end of the 40 days His
disciples asked if He was now going to restore the
Kingdom to Israel.
Jesus said it was not for them to know the times
or dates (Acts 1:6-7) and after telling them to
wait for the Holy Spirit to appear He ascended into
Some have criticized His response
as being ambivalent, but I disagree. The disciples knew
69 of Daniel's 70 weeks had passed, and there was one
week (7 years) left to fulfill.
They knew the Messiah had been cut off (put to
death) like Daniel had prophesied (Daniel 9:26)
and from His teaching they knew why.
It was to fulfill three of the six objectives the
angel had set forth when he gave Daniel the 70 weeks
prophecy over 500 years earlier.
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your
holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin,
to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting
righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to
anoint the most holy”. (Daniel 9:24)
The purpose of the Lord's death was
to finish transgression, put an end to sin and atone for
wickedness. What was left was to bring in everlasting
righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint
the Most Holy. Bringing in everlasting righteousness is
a reference to Isaiah 9:7 which says the Messiah
will reign with justice and righteousness forever.
Sealing up vision and prophecy means to bring them to
their conclusion by fulfilling them.
Anointing means to consecrate or sanctify, and
the Most Holy
probably refers to the Temple.
By telling the disciples it wasn't
for them to know the timing of the kingdom's restoration
and immediately changing the subject to the coming Holy
Spirit, I think the Lord was saying the offer of the
kingdom was still on the table, but His focus was about
Obviously God knew they
had rejected the kingdom at that time, but He was
leaving the door open for them to accept it at some
point in the future.
This is borne out by a prophecy He
spoke through Hosea 750 years earlier.
“Then I will go back to my place
until they admit their guilt.
And they will seek my face; in their misery they
will earnestly seek me” (Hosea 5:15).
Please note the word “until” because it conveys
of “not now” rather than “not ever.”
The door was still open.
10 days after the Lord's ascension,
the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and the Church was
about 20 years the Church remained mostly an offshoot of
Judaism until James, the Lord's half brother, revealed
that the Lord was first going to take from among the
Gentiles a people for Himself before moving to restore
Israel (Acts 15:13-18).
This was a clear promise of a future for Israel.
But shortly after that Israel
ceased to exist as a nation and has been absent for most
of the past 2000 years while God's focus has been
exclusively on the Church.
Because of this many scholars began to express
doubt that Israel would ever return, even asserting that
the Church has replaced Israel in God's plan and all the
unfulfilled promises to Israel have been inherited by
As far as they were concerned, there was no longer a
reason for Israel to exist.
I've been going to church all my
life but I was nearly 50 years old before I realized
that the Age of Grace, aka the Church Age, only exists
in a parenthesis between Daniel's first 69 weeks and the
coming 70th one. It began when the Holy
Spirit came on Pentecost after the Lord's Ascension and
will end with the Rapture.
Once the Church is gone the Lord will turn back
to Israel to fulfill Daniel's 70th week and
implement the kingdom Daniel prophesied.
“In the time of those kings (the Gentile powers who
control the Earth) the God of heaven will set up a
kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be
left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms
and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure
forever” (Daniel 2:44).
In Daniel's time it was already
understood that this kingdom would be headquartered in
Israel, but would have authority over all the Earth.
Speaking through David, God said, “I have installed
my King on Zion, My Holy hill” (Psalm 2:6)
He was referring to His Son, to
whom He said, “Ask of Me and I
will make the nations your inheritance, the ends
of the Earth your possession” (Psalm 2:8).
Those who teach that there's no
future for Israel have forgotten that James had foretold
of one that would begin after the Lord finished with the
Church (Acts 15:13-18).
They have also forgotten that Paul confirmed this
in Romans 11:25-27.
And they've forgotten (or ignored) all the
unconditional promises God had made to Israel.