Supernatural Prophecies That Prove God Exists-Program 3

By: Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.; ©1991
What do the first five books of the Bible tell us about the Messiah who is to come?


The Messiah


Dr. John Ankerberg: The information in this program was taped live at The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute’s Apologetics Conference in Orlando, Florida. Each year we invite laymen, students and pastors to attend this conference and hear seven or eight of the best professors and apologists in Christianity teach on topics of vital interest to all of us.
Our instructor for this session is Dr. Walter Kaiser. Dr. Kaiser is Academic Dean and Professor of Semitic languages and Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Dr. Kaiser received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in Mediterranean studies and he’s the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament in Contemporary Preaching, Toward an Exegetical Theology, Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching, A Biblical Approach to Suffering, which is a commentary on the Book of Lamentations, Toward Old Testament Ethics, The Uses of the Old Testament in the New, Hard Sayings of the Old Testament, Back Toward the Future: Hints for Interpreting Biblical Prophecy, and “Exodus: A Commentary” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
In addition, he has written a number of other titles for both popular and scholarly audiences.
What’s more, Dr. Kaiser has contributed articles to a number of periodicals, including Moody Monthly, The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Evangelical Quarterly.
Dr. Kaiser is a widely respected conference speaker and an enthusiastic and skilled teacher.
Dr. Kaiser’s topic for this session is: “Supernatural Prophecies That Prove God Exists – Part 2.”
As you listen to this information, it will be my prayer that God will increase your faith and draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. [Note: Since our conference, Dr. Kaiser has become President-Elect at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Professor of Old Testament. He has an M.A. and Ph.D., Brandeis University.]
Dr. Walter Kaiser: Welcome to each one of you. We want to trace in this session the Messiah and His predictions in the first five books of the Pentateuch. Usually we trace that theme through the Prophets but many have left the startling sort of discoveries of Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy to be discovered. So we want to lay these before you as best we can.
Let’s start right away and get into the text so that we can cover as many as possible. There are at least four major areas where we can find Messianic predictions. There is the one given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15. There is a second one given to Noah and his family in Genesis 9:27. There’s a third one we want to discuss which is given to Abraham in Genesis 12 and now I’m beginning to feel like a child in a candy store not knowing where to reach. But let’s say that the fourth one is the Mosaic period and thus we have these four periods: that of Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. And I think that each one of those, at least of the four of those we have listed, are so foundational that we should indeed take time to look at them.
If you have a text, turn to Genesis 3:15 with me. For there it seems to me that we will run across our first one. It’s in the midst of a list of curses that are given here to the serpent. The serpent, that old dragon, the devil. He is cursed above every other of God’s creations. And then we are told suddenly in verse 15, and God interrupts it with a promise, saying, “But I will put enmity.” This word “enmity” is always person to person hostility. Used only five times in the Bible but always used of persons, not of things, or of scorpions and reptiles versus individuals here. You’re talking about definite persons.
And He said, “I will put enmity,” now to choose numbers, “between you,” the serpent, and, number two, “the woman, Eve.”
And then He says, “And I’m also going to put hostility between” three, “your seed,” that is, the serpent’s descendants and four, “the woman’s seed.”
You say, This thing is going to carry on for a long time. But now the surprise. Here it is.
Suddenly, in the midst of that text it says, “And he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
Who is this one who is suddenly introduced? A third person, a masculine personal pronoun, “He.” Who is this He? Well, it obviously is from the woman’s descendants, from the woman’s seed. Literally, by the way, this word should be translated as a collective singular. Descendants is probably wrong because it’s plural. We need to have here a word like offspring or seed which can refer to one and can refer to many. That was the point made by Galatians 3:16. It didn’t say “seeds” which is many but “seed” which is one. That’s not Midrashic Jewish interpretation, but rather, that is precisely like we say “deer.” One deer. Five deer. It’s still deer. We don’t say five deers. It’s five deer. So one seed, many seed. And the same thing here too as well. I think it comes out very, very beautifully.
So in this particular text, one versus two, three versus four, and then suddenly 4a. One will take the heel of 4a but 4a will come down on the skull of number 1. That’s usually lethal. When you crush the skull, that’s rather bad news.
You say, “What does all of this mean? Did Eve have any idea what was going on?”
I’d like to suggest that she did, because in chapter 4, now, Adam knew Eve his wife. Which doesn’t mean that they shook hands together. This is carnal sexual knowledge. It’s a gentle word being used for the gift of marriage that God has given here. And she conceived and bore a son and she called his name Cain. Which could bring out the little bit of punning here.
Do you like punning? Punning is part of the biblical text. My brother turns green at the gills, even though he teaches Russian. He does not like puns. He’ll leave the room. But puns are biblical. And there are so many of them here. And here is this one. She called his name “Got” for she said I have gotten a man from the Lord. She called his name Cain for she says, “I’ve cained a man from the Lord” to try to put it in English, you see? Only when it says she said, “I’ve gotten a man,” then the phrase “with the help of” or “from the Lord,” now that’s always put in italics. With the help of. Why is it put in italics? Because it’s the most important thing? No. Because it was added in the biblical text by the translators.
So Martin Luther translated a possible way when he said in the German text, “She said, “I’ve gotten a man, even the Lord.” Could it be that Eve’s thought from Genesis 3:15 that she knew what was being promised and therefore, while her instincts were right, her timing was off? She thought that indeed God would send a divine human but she thought that the first son would be that person.
Be that as it may, I offer that to you as a possible interpretation to show how quickly it possibly might have come across to the consciousness of Adam and Eve themselves. But nevertheless, I think the point still needs to be made, Genesis 3:15 is a great prediction.
Let’s go to Genesis chapter 9 and here we are in the Flood story. They are all on board the boat. There are eight people. Mr. and Mrs. Noah, three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives. So it makes a total of eight. Were there any other people that were spared in the Flood? No. Both New Testament and Old Testament make clear that the Flood was universal in that all people except those eight that were on board perished which was one of the great tragedies of the day because they refused for 100 years while he was out there building this thing bigger than a football field and far away from any body of water. And I’m sure they came by and gave the raspberries to old brother Noah. “Hey, Noah. What are you building?”
“A boat.”
“God’s going to flood the earth.”
And you can hear the heehaws. I think they must have laughed.
“Well, brother, you’ve been out there for 50 years and we haven’t had any rain yet.” And on and on.
You can imagine. Only Bill Cosby has come about as close as anyone dare come on trying to give a non-biblical commentary on that. But at any rate, I still enjoy it and I think if you’re in for some fun, fine.
But Genesis 9, after they come out of the ark, then God gives this word and Noah plants a vineyard and he gets drunk from the grapes. And lo and behold, he is in his tent and he is sleeping because he is drunk, naked, and lo and behold, Ham comes in and sees him. Now, what takes place we can’t tell, but obviously there’s more than meets the eye in the text. He comes out to his two brothers and tries to get Shem of the Shemites or Semites and Japheth of the Japhetic or European stock of peoples that were to come, he says, “Come with me into the tent. I’ll show you something.”
And they said, “No.” They put a garment over themselves and walked backwards.
You say, “Why is this put here in the text? Is it one of those juicy details to kind of help readers who would have ordinarily dropped off?”
I doubt it. I think this is put in the text because when Noah awakes from his wine and knows what his youngest son Ham had done to him (Genesis 9:24), in verse 25 he said, “Cursed be Canaan.” That’s a surprise. I thought he would have said Ham. Who was the culprit? Ham. Well, who is Canaan or who are the Canaanites? Well, chapter 10 I think reveals it, verse 6, where it gives us all the families there, 70 families of the earth. And it says the sons of Ham are Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya and Canaan. I gave you their modern equivalents. It says, Cush, which is Ethiopia, Mizraim, upper and lower, hence a dual form, Egypt; Put, or Phut, which is Libya in North Africa, and Canaan.
And so we now know that when he awoke from his sleep he said, “Cursed be Canaan.” Why?
Because later on in the text we’re going to find from this time whenever Noah was…I can’t date Noah. There are people who claim they can. They’ve got better Bibles than I have. But I can’t date him but he’s early. There’s no question about that. He’s very, very early. But the time that they come to conquer the land in 1400, the mercy of God has been extended for at least several millennia. It’s at least 2,000 plus years. And they come into the land and what do they find? The same sin that was in their great, great, great, great grandfather or however far back you should go with greats, that it is endemic to the people themselves.
When you look for the Canaanites in Genesis 18 and 19, Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim and Zoar, the fives cities of the plain, those five cities of the plain were those that were exhibiting the same thing. When the angels, three angels came to Lot, down there to visit him in Sodom, they’re knocking at the door. It says they want to get to know them. This is not a question of hospitality nor shaking of hands but it is rather into blatant homosexuality. And so you can begin to see part of the culture.
And any time we are digging archaeologically into the Palestinian culture, we know exactly where we are because as soon as these amulets that start showing up with female figurines with exaggerated forms of the sexual organs, you know that you’re in the Canaanite culture. They just come by the scores in dozens and then by the hundreds in the level of the Canaanite culture. So it is a culture that is pervaded by taking the beauty that God has meant for human sexuality and just turning it around and perverting it. And it is open perversion.
So “cursed be Canaan.” That’s why it’s in here. For all this period of time God chastens these people with lovingkindness trying to give mercy upon mercy upon mercy. God doesn’t give a fast count. “One, two, three, four, five, you’re out.” And that’s it for Canaanites today. Oh, no. Generation after generation after generation after generation after generation. Then finally one day–and it did come during Joshua’s time. So “cursed be Canaan.”
But then he said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.” That’s in verse 27. And then it says literally, though a lot of the translations don’t agree here, “And may he dwell in the tents of Shem,” verse 27. “May God extend the territory of Japheth and may he,” now some say Japheth but it’s literally in the text, “May he”–the subject of the preceding clause which is God–“May God…May He shakan, “pup tent” in the tents of Shem.” In other words, here’s the great promise that God would come down from heaven like John 1:14 said, “The Word became flesh and it dwelt amongst us.” Here is your first promise of that word. So we know there’s a male descendant coming. We know that in that promise God expands it here in Genesis 9:27 to say that He, that male descendant, will also be One who will be God and He will dwell in the tents of Shem. And that it will be among the Shemitic or Semitic peoples.
Then we go to the third text, Genesis 12. In Genesis 12 the Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go into the land I will show you.” Ur of the Chaldees was not a dump in those days. It was not a sand trap. Ur of the Chaldees was a very beautiful home, as we’ve mentioned in other lectures. The houses were two-stories high, indoor plumbing, tile drains down through the street. The headgear of the ladies and the silver and gold earrings and necklaces, the hairpieces and hats that were made. The appointments of silver boats, gold kinds of trinkets there. The ram caught in the thicket, which is a very famous piece that you have seen from the rural tombs of Ur were discovered about the time that we were coming into the Roaring 20’s, the 1920’s, and the whole flapper girl fashions that came out in that period were influenced by Sir Leonard Woolley’s finds at the royal tombs of Ur. In other words, you’re talking about a culture that is as developed or more so in many ways than even our modern culture is. That was a very beautiful time.
But the Lord told him to leave there. To go eight? No. To go eleven hundred miles north, all the way up north. They had to travel because they couldn’t go across the desert and then swing down through Damascus and then into Palestine and they couldn’t take this trip in an easy way. He had to take hundreds of thousands of sheep and goats and cattle. Why? Because he was a banker. This man had to carry his capital. Capital in its ancient meaning of head of cattle. And he had 318 servants along — that’s a big employer. A big employer for that day. And they are his brinksmen. They drive the brinks truck because they want to make sure no one takes off with the sheep and goats. And who does he deal with? Pharaoh, Egypt and the king of the Philistines and others of that ilk. This is not a Bedouin wandering around with a couple of little straggly sheep. This is a man of great wealth.
God called him. But why did He call him? Because He was chauvinistic? That God wanted pets? Oh, no. He said, listen, “I will make you into a great nation,” verse 2 of Genesis 12. God is going to make this man, once a Semite, into a great nation, “and I will bless you.” Number two, “and I will make your name great.”
Everybody had been trying to make a name for themselves. Genesis 6. They wanted to make a name for themselves. That’s where the sons of God got involved with the daughters of men. Some think they are angels. I doubt it. I don’t think they were angels because the text there says that God flooded the earth because of the sin of man. If it were angels that really got the girls, humans, into trouble, God should have flooded Heaven. But He flooded the earth. So it makes me think that the angel theory doesn’t work. Some say it’s the Sethites, the godly line, versus the ungodly line. But you must use the word men in two different senses. That one won’t work either.
Well, who are these sons of God? That’s an aristocratic title for the kings who are claiming, “I am the son of this god, the son of Ammon, the son of Ra, the son of Aton.” They usually have this long preface as I’ve read their material and usually they claim they are descended from about 50 deities. Why? Aristocracy. And along with it they’re claiming special privilege. They can do as they want, so they become bullies and they marry as many women as they can. And both of these, you have the distortion of the whole concept of statehood and the whole distortion of the concept of the family disintegrating right before our very eyes. But why? They wanted to make a name for themselves. Wanted to make a name.
And in Genesis 11 they’re building the tower of Babel and this huge thing here, they say, “lest we be scattered across the face of the earth, let’s make a name for ourselves.” This quest for reputation, this quest for honor. God says, I’ll turn it around and give it to you as a freebie, as a gift. I’ll make a name for you.
So we’ve got three statements in Genesis 12:2, “I’ll make you a great nation, I’ll bless you, I’ll make your name great.” Why? The point is, “And you will be a blessing.” Now, that “and” can be translated in Hebrew as a result or purpose clause. So that you may be a blessing. I’m going to do these things not so that you go around popping your buttons and saying, “That’s who I am. I’m chosen. Don’t touch me.” That’s not part of it at all. But God said, “I’m going to choose you so that you may be a blessing.” But to whom and how?
Two more statements: “Those who bless you I’ll bless, those who curse you I’ll curse, and”–here it comes again. Same “and” which may be “result” or “purpose” clause: “So that all the peoples of the earth may be blessed through you.” All the peoples of the earth. And that phrase, “All the families or peoples of the earth,” had been the title to Genesis chapter 10. There were 70 nations. And so God said, “I’m doing this for you so that you might get into missions. I want you to be evangelistic.” This is missions in high gear. It starts already in Genesis chapter 12.
Well, that’s the third of these references. I think a fourth one we should go to is Deuteronomy chapter 18 for the great Mosaic text, Deuteronomy chapter 18. And here he describes in rather succinct fashion all the practices that come from the people of that particular day. He starts out by saying in verses 9 down through verse 15: Listen, don’t try to get information in a way that goes to the netherworld, down to the enemy, that goes to the occult, that goes to Satan. When God has given revelation, don’t mess with Tarot cards, don’t mess with Ouija boards, horoscopes and turning of tables and mediums and tea leaves and all these kinds of things. Now, he puts it in a little bit more orderly fashion here, but it’s quite clear. God’s antidote against consulting the occult or resorting to false prophets is a succession of prophets whom He will send. In verse 15 of Deuteronomy 18, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like unto me.”
And here comes in this passage the very famous test, fivefold test for a true prophet.
True prophets, then and now, have to submit to the fivefold test, but particularly in the Old Testament. He raises this test, for example, in verse 18: “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among your brethren.”
The first test was that he had to be Jewish. Ask the question of Paul in Romans 3: “What advantage hath the Jew? Much. Because to them were given the oracles of God.” They got the revelation of God. So what is the advantage? And what’s the first test? Is he Jewish?
Second test, verse 19: He had to speak in my name. You could say anything but you had to be sure that there is a difference between what you said personally and what God said. A great difference there and a great illustration is Nathan the prophet who in 2 Sam. 7 says to David, “Yeah, go ahead and build the temple.”
That night the Lord said, “Not so. Now say, ‘Thus says the Lord.'” That expression over 5,500 times or almost 5,500 times, 5,500 times in the Old Testament, “Thus says the Lord” is not filler. That’s not a routine, that’s not a throwaway phrase. That’s an important phrase.
So he went back the next day and he said, “David, thus says the Lord, You shall not build the temple.” Is everything a prophet? Is everything that a prophet says inspired? No. No. When they speak on their own, it’s different. When they say, “Thus saith the Lord” and they’re acting as the oracle of God, that is to be listened to. And so you have that distinction there.
The third one is, “If it does not take place,” verse 22. If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. There you have the great illustration in the Book of Jeremiah chapter 28, Hananiah who is a false prophet. Hananiah meets Jeremiah downtown in a shopping center. Jeremiah is downtown. The Lord has told him to put on his shoulders a yoke. I mean, a big oxen yoke. And he’s got this thing on, “Excuse me. Excuse me.” That’s an unwieldy thing. It’s about three feet on either side there. You’re down in a shopping center and someone says, “Who is that?”
“Oh, that’s our pastor.”
And here he is, you know. It’s embarrassing. Have this guy down there, this big thing with chains on it, you know.
And Hananiah goes up there and says, “Hey, Jeremiah. What’s the deal?” in modern American.
And he said, “What’s the deal?”
And Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord, because of our sin God is going to take us into captivity.”
“Ah, Jeremiah. Come on. All the time. You’re easy to take notes on, you know it, man? You’ve got two main points: violence and destruction. They’re always the same. You can outline you, I mean, even before you start: violence, point one, destruction, number two.”
They said that all the time. Magowr Mic-Cabiyb–“terror on every side.” This guy sees commies coming out of the woodwork. He sees them all over the place. This man is not healthy, they say.
And so he said, “Come here.” And they took that thing off his neck and must have put his knee up and, boom, he broke that thing and he said, “There. That’s the yoke. The yoke is gone,” and Jeremiah said, “No, the yoke’s on you.” He said, “I want you to understand that God told me to do this” so he went home and he said, “Lord, what was all this about? I felt so bummy down there,” and the Lord didn’t answer.
A week later the Lord said, “Make another one out of iron.” You mean another yoke? Yeah. Made out of iron. Ah. That thing’s heavy. Make it out of iron. So he’s down there in the shopping center again, “Excuse me, excuse me.” Hananiah caught him again.
He said, “Hey, Jeremiah. Didn’t I tell you about that dumb thing. Get it off. You know, I think you’re really a fifth columnist, you’re a quisling. You..I bet you’re communist.” And he went after him, you know, and just said, “You can’t be like this. You’ve got to get rid of that thing.”
And Jeremiah said, “Wait a minute. Thus says the Lord. Not only are we going to go into captivity if we don’t repent, I’ve got another word for you, too. You’re not going to last this year. That’s not only a long distance prophecy, that’s a short near prophecy, too.” And so he said, “You’re not going to last this year.” Two months later this young man, this young false prophet died. And they all attended his funeral. I wonder what they said?
A lot of people would say, “Hum, that was a lucky guess, wasn’t it?”
Or did they say, “I wonder if Jeremiah is telling the truth?” It had to come to pass.
Put with this…those are three tests now. They come from verse 18, verse 19 and verse 22.
Turn back to chapter 13 of Deuteronomy for the other two of the five tests for a prophet. Those are to be found in chapter 13, verse 2. He says, “If a sign or wonder which he has spoken takes place.” In other words, a prophet had to also give along with it signs and wonders. Jesus said, “Believe me for my word’s sake, or if not, believe me for my works’ sake.” So word’s sake and works’ sake. They both did testify of Jesus.
And finally the fifth sign in verse 2. For he goes on to say two and three, he said, “If a prophet comes along and said, ‘Let’s follow other gods, gods we have not known and let’s worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet.'” In other words, the message had to conform to the previous. The message had to conform to what was said previously. God never, never, never says, I said such and such but I’ve changed my mind. “I the Lord change not,” Malachi 3:6. So there is no change here at all.
But in the midst of this great test for a prophet there comes this great word here that he speaks of the work of this prophet that was to come. What would he do? His work was to be a mediator between God and man. Like me, he said, “God will raise up for you one of your own brothers; this one you must listen to” (Deut. 18:15). Now, the resemblance is not in every detail but it seems to me that in the ministry here of the instruction that comes from God, He is giving us the characteristics of this One who is to come. He would be an Israelite from among them. He would be Jewish, by the way, not of other ethnic derivations. So if I look for Messiah, I’m to look for someone that will come from the brethren. And he would be made like his brethren in every way. Hebrews 2:17 said that, too. “Made like His brethren in every way.” And Him the Israelites and we should heed. Even as will be said later on: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
So you have the contrast of the occult here where people resorted to nine different practices. Name them. Verses 9 through 11. You can see nine different practices. The first three are those who pretend to tell the future. And He said, “Don’t bother with them at all. You know that they’re not true. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery or interprets omens and engages in witchcraft or casts spells or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.”
First class, those who pretend to tell the future. Second class of abominable practices by these false prophets are those who pretend to influence the future, to sort of try to work a change. The third class are those who pretend to communicate with the dead. All the classes were wrong and He said, “Don’t listen to them at all.”
The New Testament talks about this prophet who is to come. Look, for example, in Acts 3:22. I think within the Muslim faith there is a great interest in this particular passage because they all know who this prophet is. That prophet, they say, is Mohammed, and there’s a great deal of agitation to say that Moses, when he spoke of “that prophet” and when the New Testament talks about it some eight times, who is “that prophet,” they say that prophet is Mohammed.
But in Acts 3:22 there is a clear statement: “For Moses said the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people. You must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.” Now obviously, that’s a quote from Deuteronomy 18:15 and the One that he was talking about, when you go back, Peter is the one who is talking about Jesus and he identifies Jesus as “that prophet.” Our Lord Jesus who came as prophet, priest and king in His threefold office here, this is His prophetic office.
But that wasn’t the only one. How about Stephen in his speech in Acts 7:37? He has the same thing. He says in Acts 7:37, “This is that Moses who told the Israelites, God will send you a prophet like me from your own people. And he was in the congregation in the desert with our fathers and with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and he, receiving living words, passes them on to us.” In other words, the same Lord Jesus who came in flesh was the Lord Jesus who was present with His men and women in the Shekinah glory that went through the wilderness and He was also with Moses when he spake on Mount Sinai too as well.
But that’s not all it seems to me. In John 1:19 and 21 there is a discussion about John the Baptist. “John, are you that prophet?,” they asked in John 1:19.
Now, this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. “He did not fail to confess but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Christ.’
Then they asked him, ‘Then who are you? Are you Elijah?’
He said, ‘I am not.’
‘Are you that prophet?'” Are you “that one?” They knew about that prophet that was to come.
He answered, “No.”
Finally they said to him, “Who are you?”
And he answered, of course, “I’m the voice crying in the wilderness,” exactly what Malachi 3:1, exactly what Isaiah chapter 40, verse 1, 2 and 3 said. “I am only the forerunner. I prepare the way.” So you also have that, of course, and let’s get one other testimony.
Let’s go to the Samaritan. Let’s go to a Samaritan woman in John 4:25. Here the Samaritan woman gives interesting information. When she has that wonderful conversation with our Lord and finally when our Lord says, “Why don’t you go bring your husband?” “Which one?” in effect. “I’ve had five.” And that was our Lord who really brought out the point that she had already had five husbands.
She said, “Sir,” verse 19, “I see that you are a prophet.” “I’ve been had. You’re correct. That’s right. I said I have no husband. I’ve had five.”
And then comes this word in chapter 4, verse 25, “The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.'” She knew the Messiah was coming, too. “That prophet.” The One who was described in the Old Testament.
And even in John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and he said, “Nathanael, we have found him of whom Moses and the law and the prophets did write.” We’ve found Him! We’ve found the one of whom Moses and the law and the prophets did write. So that was the testimony at that point.
And even one more text, probably one of the most significant that we should introduce and that is John chapter 6. The sixth chapter of John is the great Bread of Life passage, and there particularly we need to look at verse 14. John 6, in that wonderful context, he said, “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, ‘Surely, this is that prophet who is to come into the world.'” He is that prophet. And they were so convinced of it that they started to take Him by force and wanted to make Him King. But they misunderstood that it was to be on a spiritual basis, not on a physical basis. And therefore Jesus declined.
Well, those are the four great passages. Genesis 3:15, a male descendant who will be wounded but not mortally, but He will turn around and one day He, as King of kings and God of gods and Lord of lords, will trample on the evil one, that old dragon, the serpent, the devil.
And in Genesis chapter 9, verse 27, God would come and He would dwell on the earth but He would take up His tabernacle among the Shemites, the Semitic peoples, for a period of time.
And then in Genesis chapter 12, God would make this man into a great nation; He would bless him and He would make His name great so that in his seed, all the nations of the earth might be blessed. Not bless themselves, but a divine gift, be blessed.
Now, those are the great messianic predictions here. So you see two lines in the prophecies of Christ. There is one, human, the seed of a woman; there’s a divine one, too, and that is that God would come and dwell in the tents of Shem. We’re already, from the very beginning, getting a divine and a human element–the God-Man. Fully God; fully man. And that was the claim here. And there were to be three channels of blessing, too. There’s to be the ministry of a holy, priestly people. There is to be the sovereign reign of God’s victorious kingdom. And there is also to be the prophet who would bring the Word of God. So we are already beginning to get prophet, priest and king in the Pentateuch, in the first five books.
Let’s look at Exodus 4:22, 23, a great series of texts. To begin this and to develop this great theme, then, for now we must talk about a Son in the kingdom of God. In Exodus 4:22ff, there’s this word where Moses and Aaron are to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Then say to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Israel is my firstborn son.'” Firstborn son? Does that mean first in chronology? Or does it mean first in preeminence? First in rank?
Well, you know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, use a text like this and a citation in Colossians 1, “Christ is the firstborn of all creation.” Or in Revelation Chapter 1 and other texts like that and begin to say, “God created the world, then He created Jesus, then Jesus was in charge.” But you have only the Father being eternal but the Son is not eternal. This is a heresy that the Church went through in the third century, tried it and found it wanting. The man who put that forth was a churchman by the name of Arius. So the Jehovah’s Witness of today is nothing but a re-doing of the old Arian heresy. And so they put this forth that God is eternal but Jesus is created, the first created because it says “firstborn.”
The problem with that, of course, is that there are many other texts which speak of firstborn. For example, in the case of Joseph’s two children, it takes a second child and calls him “firstborn.” That’s interesting in the end of Genesis. And you will find the same thing, for example, in Jeremiah chapters 30 and 31 where again, it will speak this time not of Joseph’s two children, but it will pick the second son of Jacob and will say he was the firstborn. So what is happening here? According to usage in the biblical text, it does not mean number one in chronological order, in temporal appearance, but it means number one in rank, in preeminence, firstborn in exaltation, not firstborn in number in the family. A bad mistake not checked out by context, I’m afraid, by those who argue that way.
But here He says, “Israel is my firstborn.” Even this text, by the way, Jacob, which was his older name. He was changed from Jacob to Israel. So God called Jacob His firstborn. Was Jacob the one born first? No. Esau was out of the womb first before Jacob was. So even to say Jacob or in his larger name as the head of the nation, Israel is my firstborn, is not to speak of chronological order but to speak of rank and preeminence.
And so Israel was adopted to sonship on the eve of her release from Egypt. And the son receives an inheritance here, for He says in this passage of Exodus 4:22, “Israel is my firstborn son,” and then goes on to argue here in this same kind of context not only about “my son” but also “my firstborn.”
Now, I bring this out because this text is used later on in Hosea 11:1: “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” It’s too bad we always put the emphasis in English on the first word: “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” But I think the emphasis should be, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” My son is a technical term here for it almost is acting like a collective singular like the seed that I told you about; like deer here, in which the many are represented by the one, the Messiah who is to come. Watch it in Matthew 2:15. Jesus went down into Egypt fleeing from Herod in order that it might be fulfilled “out of Egypt have I called my son.” Now, the text is quoted as, “Jesus goes into Egypt,” not as He comes out. If it was the exodus of Jesus, He should have waited until verse 22. But here it’s in verse 15 when He goes in. So what is the point?
He is saying that in the exodus, do you know what? If Pharaoh had been victorious in polishing off and driving Israel into the sea–what other nations have wanted to do since then with genocide: “We want to drive Israel into the sea!”–then what would have happened is that Christmas and Easter would definitely be cancelled. There would be no need for it because they would have killed the Messiah. He was there coming through the human line and was being carried at that time in the loins of some of those who went through the exodus–an amazing kind of thing.
So I take it here, that this is the first of those references to the Son of preeminence. Psalm 2, think of it. Psalm 1:10. Think of 2 Samuel 7:14 where he takes David’s son and God says, “I will be a father to him and he will be my son.” That terminology begins to have very specialized meaning through the Bible. It’s another fulfillment of one of God’s great prophecies.
So, it’s first in preeminence, first in rank, first in priority, not in chronology. And as such, their Father, their Heavenly Father considers Him to be a very special Son.
Then in Exodus 19:5,6 there’s another great passage. Here, just before the Decalog is revealed, the Ten Commandments, in that famous speech, “The Eagle Wing Speech” that God gives, in verse 5 He says, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” So the God who dwells in the tents of Shem is now to be a King who reigns over the whole earth and He will give to His people this too as well.
He said, “You’ll reign with me. You’ll be kings and priests or royal priests.”
This same passage is picked up in 1 Peter 2:9,10: “You will be a royal priesthood.” And so I think the kingdom of God is to be composed of men and women who are royalty, who are mediators, who are go-betweens. They have a priestly function. And already this text here is talking about the priesthood of believers. Our great definition from 1 Peter in the Book of Revelation that all God’s men and women are to be priests and kings comes from this text. This is the first announcement of it in the Bible. And so their service is to be in two directions. Israel, at first their service was to be to God as King; and then it was to be to the nations of the world as they were to be a light to the nations. You will remember Isaiah chapter 42 and Isaiah chapter 49.
So, as the redeemed of God, they are to mediate redemption to all the world. What a beautiful set of texts this is, and I think what great help it brings to us.
There’s another passage, too, as well that needs to come here and that’s Leviticus chapter 16, the great day of atonement which, again, I think features in and gives us one of the best graphic pictures. I like the Old Testament because it’s like the old “Dick and Jane” readers that I got when I went to school. They had big pictures and big prints. “See Dick. See Jane. See Spot. Dick and Jane are running from Spot.” And we used to say as kids, “Spot has rabies.” So you have these big pictures and big print but I want you to know, same thing here, too.
It’s the day of atonement, the most holy day–still is–in the Jewish calendar. The most sacred day in the year. On this day, Aaron, who is the high priest and who represents the priestly ministry of the One who is to come, the Messiah, takes off his multi-thousand dollar robe with all those jewels and the stones on the breastplate representing all of the twelve tribes–always on his heart. That robe with the bells and all the fringes and that, this is not a cheapy. This is one of your real expensive kinds of things. He takes that off and puts on himself a linen, plain robe. Like Philippians 2: “He being God, did not think it something He had to hang onto, but He took upon Himself the form of a servant.” Watch it here. He’s giving it to you in graphic picture. “See Aaron. See all the vestments of his office. See all the jewels of all the tribes. Now see Aaron, regular Aaron. Plain Aaron. Linen Aaron.” That’s all. And there he stands. And then, because he is not sinless, like our Lord, he must take a ram and go in and offer a sacrifice for himself after he had cleansed himself between the change of garments and bathed, then he is to come out, having made atonement for his own sin, going this one time, this one day, into the holy of holies.
Some people say, “Boy, I don’t see why you should have a big expensive church building. That thing is only used once a week!” Get this. Here’s a tabernacle worth several billions of dollars used once a year! I’d like to see that argument taken care of. But at any rate, that’s a freebie.
The whole point here is that he comes out and they take two goats. Two goats are chosen by lot and then they choose which one will be the one that will die. It falls on one goat. Now he confesses all the sin of all Israel of all who have afflicted their soul and he stabs that goat and blood is poured out in death. He takes some of the blood, walks into the court, into the holy place, then into the Holy of Holies behind the curtain where no one goes except this one time. They used to tie, in medieval times, a rope onto him in case he died so that they could retrieve him and they could pull him out because no one can go in. This is sacred. So he would go in and there is the big Ark of the Covenant with the seraphim over top of it touching both walls, that golden thing, and the lid there becomes the mercy seat. It is thought that there it is that the Lord Himself dwells. It is the Shekinah glory. And on the lid of it, it’s the place of at-one-ment, the state of being at one between God and men. There he puts the blood. Why? A substitute. A goat has died when you and I and all the people in Israel should have died. So serious were our sins. He comes out again because it’s one sin offering, confesses all the sin of all Israel over the head of the second goat and then they lead it out.
They said they used to form a line like a parade and all the Israelites, during the Middle Ages anyway, would spit at the thing and kick it. It wasn’t that they didn’t have respect for the goat, but they saw all last year’s sin on the thing. “Yuck! Get that thing out of here! That’s last year’s crud.” And they would go down through this long line and the man would take it out far, far, far out into the desert, not to give him to Azazel or some demon or push him off a cliff, as some of the commentaries and encyclopedias and all sorts of nonsense say. It’s ez, “goat,” and nahag, “to lead away.” It was the goat of leading away. It was the goat of leading away. The escape goat, not scapegoat. That was the first one that got stuck. English has changed now in 300 years. So this is the escape. And what’s the point? Sins forgiven on the basis of a substitute who is to come, Messiah. Messiah. And sins forgotten! Gone, gone, gone. Psalm 103 says, “As far as the east is from the west, that far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
So you ask me, indeed, do these prophecies point toward Christ and do they indeed prove that God exists? Over and over again, when you start adding this base now to the detail that comes: when the wisemen see the star. Some people say, “Ah ha! See? Horoscopes are worth something. Didn’t the wisemen use them?” Well, if the wisemen used the stars, then they should have stuck with them. And I’m telling you that if they had stayed with the stars, they would still be looking for the place where Jesus was born. They had to stop in Jerusalem and get the books. If there hadn’t been Micah 5:2 which says, “Thou Bethlehem Ephrata, though you are little among the thousands of Judah,” I don’t think they would have known which way to go. But they went to Bethlehem. And the same thing, too, about the whole family, whose family would it be? David. Not only would it be in Bethlehem, but it would be David’s family. And how would He come? How would we recognize Him? He’ll come riding into Jerusalem, Zechariah 9:9, “on a colt.” On the colt there, and having salvation, yet being humble and lowly. You’ll see that. And the text speaks of the fact that He would be born of a virgin in Isaiah 7:14. It speaks of the fact, too, with regard to all that He is going to perform. Some of you may have seen the debates on the Ankerberg Show with Rabbi Lapide and you’ll remember that particular point where Dr. Lapide and I got into it and he said, “But my good friend, Kaiser,” he said, “No place does it talk about two comings of the Messiah. There’s only one coming of the Messiah. He will come when there’s peace.” He said, “You Christians! You say there are two comings. But there is only one coming.”
I said, “What about Zechariah chapter 12:10? What about that passage? Is that Messiah coming in peace?”
“Oh, yes,” he said. “That’s shalom, that’s when He comes in peace.”
“Well, good,” I said. “Then it says, ‘They will look on Me,'”–Eli. I gave him the Hebrew there at that point. I said, “Who are they looking upon?”
He said, “It’s God who is speaking.”
I said, “Fine. God says, ‘They will look on Me whom they have pierced.'” I said, “How did He get pierced?”
He said, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
I said, “I have an idea. I have an idea. ‘They’ll look on Me whom they have pierced.’ Here you have the claim of the One who is coming the second time and says He was pierced. He must have been here before. He must have been here before.”
He never said anything, if you will remember, on the program. He never came back and refuted that at all.
So here you have, I think, the grandest subject in the Bible and I’ve only scratched the surface. It looks like I have just killed you with facts, but, frankly, I’m embarrassed by what I haven’t told you yet. But prophet, priest and king. There it is. And I should tell you about Baalam’s prophecies in Numbers 24. I should go on to tell you about numerous places where the text not only in the Pentateuch, but look in the Prophets and in the Psalms. As a matter of fact, our Lord Jesus said to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “Men, couldn’t you have known this? Why are you so slow, so slow?” The King James calls them “fools.” “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have said.” He thought they could, they should, they ought to have known if they had been listening to the book, if they had read the book.
Well, I leave it there for your decision. What think you? Don’t you think that the God who wrote these things is none other than divine? And does He not exist? And did not our Lord Jesus come on the terms specified? Talk about facts! “Friday,” on that famous show of Dragnet some years ago used to go to the door and say, “Just the facts, ma’am Just the facts!” I think of that all the time in apologetics. “Just the facts. Just the facts.” As a matter of fact, now when I send something by fax, I think the same thing, too. “Just the fax. Just the fax.” And so we need to say the same thing over and over again, and that’s where the biblical text is, too, as well.


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