The Case for Jesus the Messiah – Program 6
| September 8, 2013 |
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.; ©1989|
|The message of the Old Testament, particularly the messianic prophecies, is God’s promise that despite all the messiah would suffer, despite the sinfulness of men, in the end, the Messiah would triumph. God’s purposes will be fulfilled.|
“My Servant is Going to Win”
- Ankerberg: Alright, this is the last week, and we’re talking about a subject that’s so fantastic. And Dr. Kaiser is doing such a tremendous job, I’m really sorry this is the last week. We have just scratched a few of the Messianic prophecies that are in the Old Testament, in the Hebrew Scriptures, that point to Jesus. These are all hundreds of years before Christ is on the scene. If you just take the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures were on the newsstands in Alexandria around 247 BC, that means at least 200 years before Christ everything we’ve been talking about was out in public. Now, you’ve got to do something with this evidence. Maybe you’ve missed all the programs. If you have, Dr. Kaiser, just give us a rehash of what you were talking about on Isaiah 53 last week and then let’s start to cruise any place you want to go.
- Kaiser: Well, in Isaiah 53 we were trying to say that there is this fantastic statement that is kind of a banner over the top of the whole thing: “My Servant is going to win.” And we wanted to also say there that while he was rejected in his person and rejected in his message, yet on the other hand God did something very, very beautiful for him, and that is that he saw him through that whole series and was with him in his death and was with him in his resurrection. He did not leave him and abandon him there on the cross; he didn’t abandon him in the grave; but he brought him forth. And so, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one – each and every one of us – to his own way; but the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.” [Isa. 53:6]
- We tried to back that up by pointing to some of the Psalms where indeed he says in Psalm 16, “You will not suffer your Holy One a technical title for the Messiah, the chasid, the Holy One of God] you will not suffer him to see corruption.” [Psa. 16:10] And again in Psalm 2:7, “You are my Son; today, today I’ve begotten you,” and I’ve brought you into a whole new relationship. Or in Psalm 110 where he says there, “The Lord said to me [David] about my Lord: Sit down at my right hand until I make all of your enemies your footstool.” [Psa 110:1] And David says at the end of Psalm 110, this is like drinking water by a cool brook. [Psa. 110:7] He said, “This is real,” I think it’s our expression, “This is cool!” He said, “This is really refreshing.” He said, “I can’t get over it.”
- He must have been having devotions that day in Genesis 14 and saw how Abraham was able, as the man of promise, to take on four other nations from Mesopotamia. And he went all the way up to Dan, beat them, and came back, and Melchizedek, a Canaanite priest-king comes out and says, “Praise the Lord!” He said, “You have done wondrously.” [Gen. 14:18-20] And so there we have the man of promise, in victory, as a small down payment , an “earnest money,” a “Whitman’s Sampler” on the big box of chocolates that’s to come in the final day. This is just a small microcosm of the macrocosmic victory that the Messiah is going to have in the final day. Now, that’s a long summary, but there’s a lot of material there, too, John.
- Ankerberg: Oh, I’ll tell you, it was good stuff! I especially liked that thing in Isaiah 53, I think it’s verse 10, where he’s a “guilt offering.” I think we can’t say enough about that, going back to Leviticus 6 and 7; this must be a perfect lamb, a lamb without blemish, and how this fits Christ who was perfect and died on the cross, etc. Why don’t you say a word about that?
- Kaiser: Isaiah 53:10 says that he has made his soul a guilt offering for sin. The guilt offering was the special offering that really took care of the trespasses and the sins that were done. And they spoke of the necessity, they pointed forward; they themselves were looking for the “big box of chocolates,” the one who would fulfill it in the final day. This was only a sample; this was only an earnest, an engagement ring on the big marriage that was to come in the future. And in this case it was pointing forward to the substitute that would come in the Lord. And so I think that there is a fulfillment of that: God made the Messiah, the Servant, Jesus, to be our guilt offering. It’s quite a point.
- Ankerberg: For our Jewish friends that are listening that missed it last week, why can’t this be the prophet Isaiah? And why can’t this be the nation of Israel that is spoken about in Isaiah 53?
- Kaiser: He says very clearly that, “Look, there is no guile; there is no deceit in the mouth of this Servant.” And that’s precisely, Isaiah said, “Woe is me! I’m an unclean man. I am [of] unclean lips. I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips” [Isa. 6:5]. That’s not Isaiah’s description of himself in Isaiah 53:9]. It’s not Isaiah’s description of the people, his own people Israel. That’s not Isaiah’s description of us either.
- Ankerberg: Zechariah 12:10 hooked up with Isaiah 53 is just dynamite. Why?
- Kaiser: Oh, I think it is, because here you have in Zechariah 12 a beautiful statement of the burden of the Lord as he comes in what I would call the “second coming.” He is now going to come in triumph. Now is a time of peace. Here comes the Messiah that all in the Jewish world are looking for. But the text says, “They will look upon me” – look upon “Eli” – the speaker is God; and he said, “They will look on me,” then he says, “the one they have pierced. And they’ll mourn for him.” “Him” who? The one they look on. “They’ll mourn for him as one mourns for his only son, his only child, and grieve bitterly as one grieves for a firstborn son.” There’s that word “firstborn” which was also used back in Exodus 4:22, “Israel is my firstborn,” and points prophetically toward the Messiah who also will be the firstborn of God. And now they said, “They pierced me… they pierced him… they’ll mourn for him; mourn as one mourns for an only son.”
- My friend, I think there’s no one else that fits that bill than that one who appeared previously in history. If you don’t think there are two comings, what are you going to do with this verse, Zechariah 12:10? You’ve got to see the one who comes in peace, in triumph, in glory, in spectacular authority. The King of kings and Lord of lords. He was pierced. Question: Where did he get pierced? When did he get pierced? I have a suggestion for you: It was back at approximately 30 AD, 30 Christian Era. That’s where it was. That was the Messiah.
- Ankerberg: That’s right. So far, Walter, you’ve given us these clues and many more: He is a male child from the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15). He’ll come from the race of the Jews, specifically from the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He’ll be a great prophet with the authority to teach like Moses. He will be mocked, people will cast lots for his garments while he suffers (from the Psalms). He will be David’s Lord. He will be the child born who is God and will have an everlasting kingdom. He will be wounded, he will be bruised, he will be smitten, he will be spit upon, mocked, killed with thieves, bear the sins of many, be rejected by his own people, pierced for our transgressions, be buried in a rich man’s tomb, and come back to life after his death (Isaiah 53). He will be Jehovah our righteousness. He will be the Messiah.
- You’ve got to tell us all about that one who comes to Jerusalem 483 years after a decree. Where in the world do you find that one?
- Kaiser: Here we go to Daniel 9. Daniel the prophet says, “Listen, Lord, I was carted off into captivity in 606 BC.” And he said, “I was reading in the books,” he’s reading in Jeremiah. This is only 70 years ago this happened and Jeremiah the prophet was writing at that time Scripture. Some people think the canon is quite late, but listen, Daniel’s already having devotions in the book of Jeremiah, and he says, “It’s going to be, according to Jeremiah 25, seventy years. Lord, it looks like time is up. It’s 536! Can’t we go home? What’s the future?” [Dan. 9:1-21] And the Lord says, “Seventy weeks” or “Seventy ‘sevens’” – and we know these are seven periods of years – “are decreed for you and your people.” “I’ll give you the whole future.” And he said, “Sixty-nine of these sevens will take you from the going forth of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, up until the time that Messiah is cut off and the temple and the city are destroyed.” [Dan. 9:24ff]
- Well, that puts it pretty squarely right into the ball park. You say, “When? Look, there are so many Messiahs. The Jewish nation has had just loads of Messiahs.” The former rabbi here said that the Jewish people specialized in Messiahs. They had Bar Kochba and everyone.” Well, indeed they do. But the point is, this is a special one, because Daniel said, according to the prophecy of God, that it was going to be “seven years times sixty-nine.” And you work out that – 483 years – it’ll bring you right smack-dab, right up to the point where the Messiah came into history. And there we are, right in that corridor of 30 to 33 AD in the Common Era, there is where Jesus the Messiah died, according to a prophet who writes this in the 600s BC. He writes about that and calls the shot as to the year. I think that’s pretty good evidence. And that narrows it down so fine. Some think that if these are prophetic years of 360 days, it comes right to the precise day of Good Friday in April of 33 AD.
- Ankerberg: Not only that, but it says in that text that after the Messiah is “cut off” and “killed,” the city will fall. And what happened in 70 AD?
- Kaiser: It sure fell! And that’s part of that whole prophecy and is part of it as well.
- Ankerberg: Let’s talk about another description. He came into Jerusalem on a donkey, according to the text, and we’ll do that after our break. We’ll take a break and come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking about these fantastic statements, prophecies, supernatural prophecies made about Christ. Why are they supernatural? There was one man who was a scientist that took these prophecies, he only took 44 of them, I believe, and he calculated what it would take for them to turn out true by chance only. And the number was so big: one in to more than the number of atoms in the complete universe; which is to say, “It can’t happen!” Okay?
- What we want to see here is, according to the science of probability, which our insurance companies base their statistics on, that kind of science would say, “If these things did come true,” not just 44 but over 456 of them, at least, that can be documented, “If they came true in one person, then that person is special. That does not happen by chance.” Walter, what other areas would you like to go into? We talked about, there is a prophecy that says he will come into Jerusalem. Not only will he come at a specific time, 483 years from the time of Daniel, but the fact is, he said he is going to come into Jerusalem on a donkey. Where do you find that?
- Kaiser: Yeah, exactly, John. In Zechariah 9, we have that as a precise prediction. Here in Zechariah’s prophecy, chapters 9, 10 and 11, which deal with his first coming again, lo and behold he says in 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation; gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt the foal of a donkey.” So here you have a statement that Messiah will come into town. He is juxtaposing this over against Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great looks like a magnificent figure, very, very large. But he is “small shakes” compared to this one who comes. At first, it looks like he is humble; he is gentle; he is on this donkey, a colt the foal of a donkey. And yet he says, “Behold, here he comes! Here comes your King, O Jerusalem! He is coming. He is righteousness, and he also carries salvation.” This is a fantastic statement of the Messiah who is to come. And, of course, this was fulfilled in the triumphant entry that took place on Palm Sunday. And they fulfilled the Psalm, reading Psalm 118, and put this passage together with it.
- Ankerberg: What else comes to your mind?
- Kaiser: I think there is also another great passage that should be put here as well. That he would be sold out for 30 pieces of silver. In Zechariah 11 here, the prophet, having played the role of the shepherd, now turns to the leaders of the nations and he says in Zechariah 11:12, “Give me whatever you think you owe me, for my ministry as the shepherd. I’m playing the role of the good Shepherd who will come.” And you know what they gave him? They gave him 30 pieces of silver. [vs. 13]: “And so the Lord said, ‘Throw it to the potter, this handsome price.’” It’s somewhat ironical, “This very handsome price.” He said, “Throw it to the potter. And so they threw it into the house of the Lord to the potter.” Would you believe it? A price of a slave, that’s what they said. A slave. “That’s what we think your message is worth; that’s what we think the good Shepherd is worth. That’s what we think the Messiah is worth.” Guess what Judas was paid for his dastardly deed? Thirty pieces of silver. Where did he throw it? Into the house of the Lord. You say, “Oh, lucky shot!” I don’t think so. Once again, it’s right on the money, and it’s solid.
- Ankerberg: I’m going to mess you up and try, how about Isaiah 7:14. That’s such a controversial verse. Take a stab at it.
- Kaiser: I think Isaiah 7:14 says that in the whole Davidic line, God is going to keep that line alive. Here are two people up North. There is the king of Syria, from Damascus, and also the King up at Northern Israel. Two of them are saying, “We’re going to take our son and put him, a Tabeel son on the throne.” [Isa. 7:6] “Tabeel” means “good for nothing.” Son of “good for nothing” they’re going to put on the throne. So you say, “Well, what’s the big deal?” Well, because these could be the two Grinches that steal Christmas. If you have these two kings who can pull it off, goodbye Judah, goodbye David, goodbye Christmas, goodbye Easter, goodbye program; no more John Ankerberg Show! It’s all over! There’s nothing left. We’ve just cleaned the whole thing out.
- But God sends His prophet Isaiah and says, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry. Because,” he says, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son…” And he had asked the king Ahaz, “Please, Ahaz, ask God for a sign. Ask him for a miracle in heaven above and on earth beneath.” [vv. 10-11] He piously says, “Oh, my verse for today is, ‘You shouldn’t tempt the Lord God.’” [v. 12] I mean, he wants to be supercilious pious. He is so pious you can’t even touch him. So the prophet says, “Alright, God himself is going to give you a sign. I want you to know the Davidic line is going to continue, and I want you to know, too, that in God’s climactic fulfillment that Son will be born as the seed of the woman.” [v. 14] And so it is an “almah,” a “young woman.” But more than a young woman, “A virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” And so you have here God’s great prophecy of a supernatural birth climaxing the whole thing and taking us right back to Genesis 3:15.
- Ankerberg: But some people say, “Well, Walter, what’s the big deal about it being a sign? Virgins, you know, usually when they get married they do have children. What’s the big deal?”
- Kaiser: Oh, I think the big deal here is that we could have had extinguished the whole Davidic line. And more than that, it is not a birth that is a natural birth. It is God that is now calling the shots and God calling the procedures and the timing, too, as well.
- Ankerberg: Alright, how about, when you put all these things together, talk about the fact of, you know, you take one or two of these prophecies by themselves, but what is the conclusion you come to, the cumulative force of all of these coming together in one person?
- Kaiser: I think the cumulative force is just simply, how can you have so much data that really coheres in one person? I could see one, two, three, “I can save the city for ten of these.” But we’re talking here about hundreds, two, three, four hundred pieces of detail. And when you start getting all them together, and especially you lock it in with dates, too. And you’re locking it in with characteristics. You’re locking it in with special events. You’re locking it in with divine revelation.
- All of a sudden, I think you’ve got to give up. I mean, there is some point where you’ve got to say, “I’m either going to be stubborn, or at least I’m going to be open and responsive.” Please tell me. Who else, how else, could all of this have been fulfilled in one person? And my answer is, there is no one. There is no one.
- And I come back to John’s earlier question: “To whom then shall we compare the living God?” I love that great statement in Isaiah 40:18, 25. And by the way, for those with the name Michael or Michelle, “Mi” asks “who,” and the “ch” is “as” or “like,” and “el” is “God.” And so Michael or Michelle asks the question, “To whom then shall you compare the living God?” I like that! So Isaiah asks the question, “To whom then shall you liken the living God?” And especially the Lord Jesus himself. The answer is, “There is no one!” No one! He is the finest that this earth has ever seen. And his death on the cross and his resurrection was the earth’s finest hour.
- There’s one more. When the Son of man comes, in Daniel 7:14, and he is handed all authority, all dominion and all power, the text says there, “There is great rejoicing” at that point because no one has ever seen anything like this. “Super Sunday” “Super Bowl” is a great weekend, but I’ll tell you, that’s “peanuts” compared to the great day of our Lord Jesus Christ when he comes into town, God’s Messiah.
- Ankerberg: Roll through the things that Jesus actually claimed that we have talked about, in other words, as they hit your mind. I’m talking about that Daniel 7 passage; he quotes that when he’s on trial for his life…
- Kaiser: Yes. We can begin: he himself, this Messiah who is to come, must be born in Bethlehem. He must be from the tribe of Judah. He himself must also be one who is a Son of man. He must be from the seed of the woman. He must be a Semite. He must also be a Hebrew. He must be in the line of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. He must be from David’s house. He must also have a throne and a dynasty and a kingdom. He must also be a Priest and a Prophet and a King. He must be the firstborn. He must be the Branch. He must be the one to whom David is told from God, the Father says to David about “my Lord, sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” He must be a conquering Messiah. He must take all the nations, all authority, all reign, all power belong to him. Some Messiah! Some Lord! Some great Hebrew Scriptures that give us the greatest question we’ve ever been asked, “To whom, to what then, shall we liken this Messiah who has come to earth?”
- Ankerberg: Absolutely! That’s why Peter could say, again, in Acts, “The things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Messiah, his Christ, should suffer, he has thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18).
- Dr. Kaiser, thank you so much for being with us for this series of programs. We appreciate it.