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Bible Prophecy Fulfilled: The Coming of the Messiah‏

The Adoration of the Shepherds, by James Tissot

The Adoration of the Shepherds, by James Tissot

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)

As December moves forward, many Believers in Yeshua begin to think about the miracle of the coming of the Messiah.  But not only Believers.

Whether people want to think about it or not, in some way or another, many are confronted in a variety of ways with the Good News of the coming of the Savior of Mankind.

This is a wonderful time to brush up on Bible prophecy so that we are knowledgeable when sharing the Messiah with our families, friends, the lost and the lonely.  Many Jewish Believers came to faith through these Scriptures.

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   (Isaiah 9:6)

While people today often are greatly opposed to Yeshua (Jesus), when He began His ministry 2,000 years ago in the hills of Galilee, He had something major going for Him: a great many Jewish people were expecting the appearance of the Messiah as prophesied by the Hebrew prophet Daniel.

The angel Gabriel told Daniel:

“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”  (Daniel 9:25)

This verse gives us the key to the timing of the coming of the Messiah, fulfilled by Yeshua when He was born of a virgin (almah in Hebrew, see Isaiah 7:14) and mikvahed (baptized) by His cousin Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist).

Daniel wrote this prophecy and others while in exile in Babylon in the sixth century BC. By studying prophecies already recorded by the Hebrew prophets, Daniel understood that the Jewish captives soon would be allowed to return to the Holy Land.

Just like Daniel, when we study prophecy in the Scriptures, we can learn a great many important facts about the Messiah, such as who the Messiah is, when He would come, the season for His return, and what He will do when He comes again.

A view of the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives

A view of the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives

“On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.”  (Zechariah 14:4)

70 Years of Exile

When 66 or 67 years of Israel’s exile had been accomplished, Daniel was studying the Scriptures and understood that the number of years for Jerusalem’s desolation and the Jewish exile in Babylon were almost completed.

Daniel said he had been studying “books,” most likely the writings of the prophet Jeremiah.  Twice, Jeremiah predicted that the captivity in Babylon and that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years (Jeremiah 25:10–14, 29:10–14).

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill My good promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”  (Jeremiah 29:10–11)

Daniel also might have had access to the writings of Isaiah, which actually identify King Cyrus as the one who would allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:28–45:1).

And we know from the discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder, that Cyrus did free many exiled peoples: “I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings.”  He also restored many of their temples.  This decree included the Jewish People. 

The Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus cylinder, confirms that Cyrus allowed captives in Babylon to return to their native lands, earning him an honored place in Judaism.

The actual decree that Cyrus gave for the Jewish People is recorded in Ezra 1:2–4.

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.  Whoever is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel—he is the God who is in Jerusalem.  And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”

Cyrus likely gave the decree in about 539 BC and work on the Second Temple is thought to have begun in about 537 BC.

In addition, writings in the Prophets and book of Kings specifically describe Israel suffering for their sins and being removed from the Land.  Then through repentance, they were allowed to return (Leviticus 26:40–43, 1 Kings 8:46–53, Jeremiah 3:12–18, Hosea 5:15–6:3)

It is through passages such as these that we learn that only through repentance and confession of their sin will Israel be ready for the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. 

Model of the Second Temple

Model of the Second Temple

70 Sevens and the Work of Messiah—Daniel 9:24–25

In addition to knowing when the exile would end, Daniel was given a countdown for something of far greater significance.

The angel Gabriel told Daniel when the Messiah would come:

“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 Place.”  (Daniel 9:24)

What exactly was the angel Gabriel saying? He was giving Daniel a mathematical prophecy for calculating the appearance of the Messiah.  In “70 sevens of years,” a total of 490 years (70 times seven), the Messiah’s kingdom would be established.

He was saying that a 490-year period had been “determined” or “decreed” for the accomplishment of the restoration of Israel and the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom.

Gabriel told Daniel that six purposes would be accomplished by this coming:

1) The first was to finish transgression;

2) The second was to make an end to sin;

3) The third to atone for wickedness (make reconciliation for iniquity);

4) The fourth to bring everlasting righteousness;

5) The fifth to seal up vision and prophecy; and

6) The sixth to anoint the Most Holy.

When would these 490 years begin?

“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’  It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”  (Daniel 9:25)

Daniel 9:24

Daniel 9:24

Clearly stated—seven sevens plus 62 sevens = 483 Jewish calendar years.

Some 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem has been proclaimed, the Messiah would come.

That means if the Messiah did not appear as prophesied by Daniel 483 years after a decree was issued to rebuild Jerusalem, then Daniel was a false prophet, and his writings have no business being in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible or Old Testament).

But if his prophecy is correct, then who is the Messiah that came 483 years after that decree?

In Jewish law, if a prophecy is not fulfilled, the prophet is a false prophet and is to be stoned.  (Deuteronomy 18:20)

The Presentation of Yeshua in the Temple, by James Tissot

The Presentation of Yeshua in the Temple, by James Tissot

Daniel Prophecies When the Messiah Would Be Killed

We can identify the Messiah by studying other prophecies about Him.

In verse 26, Daniel gives us a startling clue as to how to identify who the Messiah is:

“After the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood.”  (Daniel 9:26)

The Hebrew word translated cut off is יִכָּרֵ֧ת (yikkārêṯ), which means killed. In other words, the Messiah would be killed before the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the sanctuary, the Temple, would be destroyed.

In AD 70, Titus, the son of Roman Emperor Vespasian, led the invasion of Jerusalem that destroyed the Holy Sanctuary.  The Temple was burnt to the ground.  The Romans kept the Western Wall, a remnant of the Temple Mount platform, as a memorial to their victory so that people would not doubt that a magnificent Temple once stood there.

So, the riddle is: Did anybody finish transgression, make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity?  Did this person get cut off before Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in AD 70?

Somebody has to fit this description or Daniel is a false prophet.

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70, by David Roberts

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70, by David Roberts

An End to Sin

In Jewish law, the first three purposes of the 70 sevens—1) to finish transgression; 2) to make an end of sin, and 3) to make reconciliation for iniquity—is fulfilled through atonement, which Leviticus 17:11 says can only be made by blood through a substitutionary offering.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

This was fulfilled when Yeshua was hung on the Roman execution stake (cross). The prophet Isaiah also speaks about the killing of the Messiah:

“He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people He was punished.”  (Isaiah 53:8)

Yeshua fulfilled these prophesies about the death of the Anointed One and the atonement for Israel before the destruction of the Sanctuary and the city in AD 70.

There are three more purposes yet to be fulfilled, which will happen in Daniel’s last Seven.

Crown of Thorns Nails

“Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law by become a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a pole.’”  (Galatians 3:13)

One Last Seven

“And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”  (Daniel 9:27)

Daniel sees beyond the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 to the Last Days, the final seven-year period. He says at the end of verse 26, “To the end there shall be war.  Desolations are decreed.”

We have seen this war and desolation in the case of Israel; however, that period has now come to an end with a return of God’s people to the Land.

This 70th week is also generally viewed as the period of the rise of the anti-Messiah (anti-Christ) who will make peace with Israel for 3 1/2 years.  He will then break the peace treaty, ushering in a Great Tribulation for another 3 1/2 years.

The period will close with the reappearance of the Messiah who returns to establish His kingdom on earth, reigning from Jerusalem.

At this time the last three purposes of His coming will be fulfilled—4) bring everlasting righteousness; 5) seal up vision and prophecy; and 6) anoint the Most Holy.

In summary, Daniel’s prophecy confirms that at the prophesied time, one appeared who fulfilled the description presented by Daniel and also by Isaiah, as one who died a violent death—the suffering servant (Isaiah 53), a kapora or sacrifice for our sins.

Jerusalem Tower of David

Jerusalem

Jewish Interpretation

Many Jews do not interpret these verses in the same way we have explained them.  For instance, Rashi, the famous Bible scholar and interpreter who lived in Spain from 1040 to 1105, explained that the missing week—the 70th week—was actually split between the 63 weeks and the 49 years.

He begins the seven weeks of years plus 3 more years (taken from the 70th week) at the destruction of the first Temple.  He also links it to the “Mashiach Nagid,” or King Cyrus the Great who allowed for the rebuilding of the Temple.

He then says that the 62 weeks (of years) plus the remaining 4 weeks end at the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70.  With this explanation, he makes Cyrus the one who is promised and completely disregards the sacrifice made by Yeshua, who made the final atonement for Israel.

That notwithstanding, at the time of Yeshua’s birth, the Jewish People were not looking back to Cyrus, but eagerly awaiting the appearance of the Messiah.

And the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) also reflects this by recording the following:

  1. Herod was very open to believing that the Promised King Messiah had arrived when the three Magi came to him (Matthew 2)
  2. Simeon was waiting to see Him in the Temple (Luke 2:27)
  3. The prophetess Anna recognized Him when He was presented in the Temple and spoke about Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:38); and
  4. Yochanan sent his disciples to ask Yeshua if He were the Sent One (Matthew 11:2–3).

It is interesting that the same angel Gabriel who announced the prophecy to Daniel also participated in its fulfillment when he announced to Miriam (Mary) that she was to give birth to the Holy One of Israel (Luke 1:26–33).

The Annunciation, by Ivanov Alexander Andreevich

The Annunciation, by Ivanov Alexander Andreevich

Yeshua Fulfills More Prophecies of His Coming

With the birth of Yeshua, the following Biblical prophesies were fulfilled:

Prophecy:  Isaiah 7:14—Isaiah prophesied that a virgin or pure young woman (almah) will give birth to the Promised One.

Fulfilled:  Luke 1:26–31.

Prophecy: Isaiah 9:6—Isaiah prophesied that Messiah Yeshua would come as a baby; Yeshua is described by several names—“Wonderful, Counselor,” “The mighty God,” “The everlasting Father,” “The Prince of Peace.”

Fulfilled:  Luke 2:1–20.

Prophecy:  Numbers 24:17—Balaam predicts that the Messiah will descend from the house of Jacob—“I see him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near.  A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.  He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.”

Fulfilled:  Matthew 1:216.

Chasidic Jewish men reading near the Western (Wailing) Wall

Chasidic Jewish men reading near the Western (Wailing) Wall

Prophecy:  Isaiah 9:7—The Messiah shall be of the house of David.  Yosef [Joseph] was of the line of David, as was Miriam [Mary].)

Fulfilled:  Matthew 1:6; Luke 3:31 (one Scripture tracking decent on Joseph’s side, the other on Mary’s).

Prophecy:  Micah 5:2—Micah prophesied that Yeshua would be born in Bethlehem.

Fulfilled:  Luke 2:4–7.

Prophecy:  Genesis 49:10—He would be a member of the tribe of Judah—“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between His feet, until tribute comes to Him; and to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

Fulfilled:  Matthew 1:2.

Prophecy:  Malachi 3:1—Yeshua would enter the Temple.  This is important because the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, about 40 years after Yeshua’s death.  No one would be able to come to the Temple again.

Fulfilled:  Luke 2:25–27, tells us that Yeshua was brought as an infant to the Temple to be consecrated, and Simeon is there waiting His arrival.  And daily, Yeshua taught at the Temple when He was in Jerusalem.  (Luke 19:47)

The Merchants Chased From the Temple, by James Tissot

The Merchants Chased From the Temple, by James Tissot

Other Prophetic Fulfillment

In addition to the fulfillment of these many Bible prophecies that speak of His coming, Yeshua’s life was a testimony of many fulfilled prophetic Scriptures:

Yeshua would live a sinless life, die on a Roman execution stake, be raised from the dead, ascend into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God.

Prophecies:  Psalm 22:16; Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10–11; Psalm 68:18; Psalm 110:1.

Fulfilled:  1 Peter 2:21–22; Luke 23:33; Acts 2:25–32; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 1:3.

empty-tomb

The empty tomb.

Second Coming of the Messiah

Through Yeshua, we have the assurance of our salvation and the promise of eternal life. And He did not accomplish this just to leave us here alone; He gave us the Comforter:

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you.”  (John 16:7)

In addition to having sent His Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to act as a companion and guide to all Believers, He has promised to return.

But first, Yeshua said we should expect many to come claiming to be the Messiah (Matthew 24:4–5, 11, 23–27).

He also indicates His dramatic, sudden return.

Yeshua says: “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”  (Matthew 24:27)

He then continues: “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”  (Matthew 24:30–31) 

The Departure of Lot and His Family from Sodom, by Peter Paul Rubens

The Departure of Lot and His Family from Sodom, by Peter Paul Rubens

He warns His followers to be vigilant in looking for the signs of His coming, comparing His return to the times of Noah since in Noah’s day everyone went on with their lives oblivious to what was happening and got caught up in the flood. (Matthew 24:37–39)

He also said that the end times will be the same as in the days of Lot when Sodom was destroyed and all the people with it.  (Luke 17:28–30)

He warns us not to be burdened and confused by the cares of this world so that His return comes upon us unawares, adding, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:34–36)

Yeshua also told many parables to help us know the time of His Second Coming:

  1. The parable of the man who was not prepared when the thief broke into his house: (Matthew 24:43–44);
  2. The ten virgins, five of whom had foolishly not prepared their lamp with sufficient oil (truth) for the coming of the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:112); and
  3. The diligent servants who are ready to meet their master (Luke 12:37–38).

Finally Matthew 25:31–46, describes the coming of Yeshua and the angels and the judgment of those nations that come against Jerusalem.

“On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations.  All who try to move it will injure themselves.”  (Zechariah 12:3)

Women's section Western Wall Kotel prayer stones

A woman inserts a written prayer in the crevices of the women’s section of theWestern (Wailing) Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Just like in the days of Yeshua’s birth, when many Jewish people were eagerly anticipating the coming of the Messiah, today we look forward to Yeshua’s return.  Still, most Jewish People think that the Messiah’s coming will be His first.

Just as the first part of Daniel’s prophecy has been fulfilled, so will the 70th week come to pass and the return of the Messiah and the subsequent establishment of His kingdom on earth.

Then the prophecies pointing to Yeshua’s return will be fulfilled:

“On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them.  On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.”  (Zechariah 12:8–9)

We also know that in these last days all Israel will be saved.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.  They will look on Me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”  (Zechariah 12:10)

“All Israel will be saved.”  (Romans 11:26)

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