The Hero of Revelation

The Hero of Revelation

Lesson: 2
The book of Revelation is about Jesus. He is the central figure and hero.
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Jëan Ross: Good evening, friends, and a very warm welcome to "Prophecy Encounter." I'd like to welcome those here in South Florida. Thank you for joining us again for this Bible study experience. But we're looking at some of the most important and fascinating prophecies of the Bible. Tonight in particular we have a very important subject. So we're just delighted to have you here.

And also, for those of you joining us across the country and around the world, we know we have an international audience that's participating in this Bible study, a very warm welcome to you as well. And it's my privilege to introduce our speaker for this series, Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is the president, also the speaker of "Amazing Facts." And when we travel around and do meetings like this, one of the comments that we get quite often with reference to Pastor Doug's teaching is that He has the ability to take some pretty important and complex Bible themes and present it in a practical way that people go, "Oh, yeah, that makes sense." Well, tonight we're going to need that because we're going to be looking at a very important Bible prophecy that sometimes can be a little complicated, but I think he'll do just fine in helping us understand who the Hero of Revelation really is. So join me now as we welcome Pastor Doug Batchelor, speaker for our "Prophecy Encounter" series. Thank you, Pastor Doug.

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Ross. Welcome once again, friends, and we want to welcome those who are watching our broadcast. We know there are people from around the world that are watching the live broadcast. And our presentation tonight dealing with the Hero of Revelation is part of our "Prophecy Encounter" series. This is really a new series.

We call it "Prophecy Encounter" because we're hoping that through the study of prophecy that people will encounter the Hero of Revelation, and I think we all know who that is. You can find it in the first verses. But I like to start with maybe a little amazing fact from history. I love history and I like delving into some of the personalities and the people that became great. During the Civil War there was this one individual that really surprised everybody.

His name was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He was actually from Maine. He was a school teacher, English major, actually majored in rhetoric and different languages, seemed like something of a bookworm. But he had very strong convictions about slavery. And when finally, the Civil War broke out, even though his family was very religious and he maybe was a pacifist by nature, he thought the cause deserves that we lay our lives down for this and he joined the forces.

And because of his education, they quickly promoted him. And next thing he knew, he was involved in the Battle of Gettysburg. Some of the soldiers under him were a little worried. They said, "This guy's always reading. He's a bookworm. He's a lamb." And he seemed so polite and he seemed so articulate. They thought, "What's he going to do on the battlefield?" Well, it turned out in one of the biggest and the bloodiest battles of the civil war, the Battle of Gettysburg, 50,000 people died in 1 day. It's been the bloodiest battle in American History, in any of our wars. The South was trying to take this hill and they were trying to flank around the troops of the North. And Chamberlain knew that he needed to hold that hill at all costs.

And they--for three days the battle raged and the South continued to throw soldiers at that hill, trying to get behind the troops and to defeat them. And they fought, the group from Maine that he was over, they fought until they ran out of ammunition. And finally, he told them, "Fix your bayonets and charge." When they were coming up the hill after them, he told his men to charge back at them with just bayonets. And it so terrified the Southerners that they turned and they ran. They didn't realize they had run out of bullets.

They later called him, instead of "The Lamb," they called him, "The Lion of Little Round Top." Little Round Top was the hill that they were defending. Well, you know, Jesus, when He comes again, He's coming like a lion. When He came the first time, He came like a lamb. But He is the central focus of the entire Bible. Matter of fact, if you read the first words in Revelation, it's not a Revelation of the beast, it's not a Revelation of the antichrist.

People say, "Ah, I want to read about the antichrist in Revelation." Are you aware the word "antichrist" does not appear in the book of Revelation? It's in the letters of John. The book of Revelation is about Jesus. He is the central figure. But not just the book of Revelation, the whole Bible is about Jesus, as you'll discover in our study tonight. First verse, Revelation 1:1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show His servants things which must shortly come to pass."

So the book of Revelation and the things we're going to study in Revelation, Bible tells us way back in the time of Christ they were about to come to pass. So the prophecy at least begins during the time of Christ and carries on until, of course, we're in Heaven, if you read Revelation 21 and 22. So we're going to go through a series of questions. I got a lot of material to cover. You may want to have a pen or a pencil handy because we're going to give you some notes.

We're going to be looking at prophecies in Revelation, in Daniel, and all through the Bible, even starting with Genesis, that show us who Jesus is so we can know that He is the central focus. There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies that provide a number of precise identifying characteristics regarding the Messiah. A lot of people in the world think that Jesus was just one of many religious leaders. You cannot really believe that and be a Christian. Bible says, "There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved." Jesus is not just another religious teacher. God became a man, it's called "the incarnation," in Christ to save us. And we need to know who He is.

The Christian religion is all about Jesus, and you need to know who He is. The whole Bible tells us about that. We're going to delve into some of these. First prophecy is in the book of Genesis, Genesis chapter 3, verse 15. This is after Adam and Eve sinned and God then speaking to Adam and Eve, and because of, the serpent was the medium through which Lucifer spoke, God said: "'and I will put enmity,'" that's where you get the word "enemy." It means "there's animosity, there's friction, there's polar resistance." "Between you and the woman," between the serpent and the woman. That comes up in Revelation so I want you to note that. "Between your seed," the seed of the serpent, "and her seed," the seed or the offspring of the woman.

"The seed of the woman," it's talking about is the Messiah. It goes on to say, "and he," the seed of the woman, "will bruise your head," Christ would bruise the head of the serpent, "and you shall bruise his heel." The progress or the walk of the Christian church has been impeded, slowed, by the work of the devil. There is a battle in this world between good and evil, between the woman and the serpent that carries all the way through. You read in Revelation 12, we don't have to guess who the serpent is, "So that great dragon was cast out, the serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world." How much of the world does he deceive? The whole world. So where did Jesus come from? That's a very important question.

Is He just a man? Was He born like other men? Christ made some pretty bold claims. For one thing, He said in John 6:38: "'For I have come down from Heaven.'" Well, not everybody says that. I mean, if you meet somebody that says, "I've come from Heaven," and the Bible--you know, we talked a little last night about people who claim to be Christ. And there's some, you know, prominent characters that have claimed to be Jesus, but there's also some that are locked up here and there. And I met somebody once that claimed to be Jesus that I'll never forget because I was by myself up in the mountains. I lived in a cave back then. I was a hermit for about a year and a half and I was all by myself. And a hiker came by the cave, and that was not that unusual. I'd see people from time to time. He stayed and he visited for a little bit, and then he said he was Jesus.

And at first, I thought, "Well, I've got some Spanish friends named Jesus. Maybe that's--" He didn't look Spanish. And then he said, "No, I am Christ." Said, "My name is Michael David Harper." Then he said, "That's my earthly name, but I've come from Heaven." Well, I'll tell ya, it's a little spooky when you're by yourself up in the hills and you meet somebody that says, "I'm Jesus, and I have come--" and I wasn't quite sure what to say because, you know, I'd just started reading the Bible and I thought, "Well, if it Jesus, I got a lot of questions. And if it is Jesus, I don't want to show a lack of faith and hurt his feelings." I mean, all kinds of crazy things are going through your head, you know? And I didn't want to make him mad, whether he was Jesus or wasn't Jesus, I didn't. And so I said, "Well, the Bible says that when you come that everybody's going to see you. It'll be like lightning." He says, "Well, that's true," he says, "you know, but I'm coming specially to prepare some other people early." And he had an, like, an answer for everything. He knew the Bible. And he stayed with me for 2 or 3 days and ate all my food so I knew he wasn't Jesus. And he didn't clean up. And I saw him a week or so later, and he actually found an apostle. Some guy was following him around, saying, "This is Jesus." And then I saw Him a few weeks later. We lived on the streets back then when I wasn't up in the cave and he was missing a tooth because he had got into a fight. I felt so much better because I know Jesus has all His teeth. And so, but you know, you meet all kinds of strange people out there.

Well, so, when Jesus said, "I've come down from Heaven," and then He told Pilate in John 18:36: "'My kingdom is not of this world. I am from out of this world." Well, what is He, an extraterrestrial? Where did Jesus come from? He's making some bold claims and so we need to evaluate that.

Number three, did Jesus claim divinity? Did He claim to be God? In a word, yes. And here are some verses that illustrate that. John 8:58: "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'" Now, you might be thinking, "Well, that doesn't mean He was claiming to be God." The Jews who were listening to Him that day believed He was claiming to be God because God said to Moses, "I am that I am." That was a title for God, the self-existent one. They took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy, claiming to be God, and Jesus did not retract that.

And you know, He said, "Before Abraham was," He says, "I preexisted." And then you can read again in John 17:18: "'Therefore My father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I might take it again.'" Well, not too many people lay down their lives and take it again. He says, "No one takes it from Me, I am laying it down and I'm taking it up." And then He goes on and He says in Mark 2:10: "'The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.'" And you can read where it says, "God and God only can forgive sins." And so there's a lot of ways that Jesus explained He had divine prerogatives. And so, yes, Jesus is not just another man. He said He preexisted before He came to this world, had power to forgive sin.

So the fourth question is, how can we evaluate His claims? How do we test to see if this is true? C. S. Lewis, the Christian philosopher said, "You really only have three choices with Jesus." No question that He lived. What year is it right now? I know, I'm just testing. Two thousand seventeen, two thousand seventeen what? The whole dating method that the world uses is based on the birth of Christ. I told you got that off a little bit, but it was ostensibly dated from Christ.

So you can't deny that He lived. History doesn't challenge His existence, that He lived. So, like C. S. Lewis said, "He was either a liar, or He was a lunatic, or He's Lord." Those are really the only three options that we have. So how do we determine? Where do we go to find out? The Bible tells us, and Jesus Himself said in John chapter 5, verse 39: "'Search the Scriptures,'" and then if you think you have eternal life, He said, "These are they that testify of me." Now, when Jesus said that, how much of New Testament was written? None.

And so let me see if I can illustrate something. And I'm glad to see some of you have brought your Bibles Here. I'm going to quickly--oh good, I found it right away. This is your Bible. I've divided it just visually so you get a rough idea. You know, there's some contents and concordance and stuff in the front and the back. But approximately three quarters of the Bible, Old Testament. This is written before Jesus. Matter of fact, the last book, Malachi in the Old Testament, was written about 400 years before Jesus was born.

So there's a nice spread between the two. And then you get to the New Testament, talks about the birth of Jesus Christ. First words in Revelation are: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." First words in the New Testament: "The genealogy of Jesus Christ." So it tells about the coming of the Messiah. The Old Testament foretells when the Savior would come, when God would become a man. And a lot of the Old Testament is talking about Christ.

There are hundreds of prophecies. So we're going to be looking now at a lot of prophecies here that were written hundreds, in some cases more than a thousand years before Christ was born. And then we're going to see Here that exactly what was foretold happened. And this is one reason I think this is not just white pages and black ink. I believe the Bible is a supernatural correspondence with humanity.

And God has done something miraculously to protect this book. So we're going to look in the Bible. Furthermore, Luke 24, verse 27, Jesus, when He was talking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, He said: "He expounded unto them beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all of the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." So Jesus gave a Bible study to these two disciples, and He showed them through all of the Scriptures prior to the New Testament things concerning Himself. And you're going to see that Jesus is all the way through there. A lot of--I've been to churches before where they supply a Bible and all they have is a New Testament.

They say, "well, we're a New Testament church. We don't--that's the old covenant." You can't understand the New Testament without the Old Testament. It's the moon that the woman stands on. Though she is clothed with the sun of the New Testament, it's the foundation. The Old Testament is so important to understand the new. And again, Hebrews 10:7 said: "'Behold, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me to do your will, O God.'" So the whole Bible is telling us about Jesus.

All right, the fifth point that we want to ponder. Does prophecy foretell the Messiah's family tree? And the answer is absolutely, yes. For one thing, God told Abraham He was calling Him from Mesopotamia. He said, "Through your descendants, the Messiah would come." You find that in Genesis 12, verse 3: "'In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed,'" through your descendants, that the Messiah would come through the Hebrew line.

Now, you realize, a Jew and a Hebrew is different. Abraham had more children than just Isaac. And Isaac had more children than just Jacob. And Jacob had more children than just Judah.

The word "Jew" kind of comes from the descendants of Judah, principally, but we often use it to talk about Hebrews in general. But the Messiah would come through the descendants of not only Abraham but Isaac. We read in Genesis 26, verse 4, it says: "'I will give your descendants these lands, and in your seed all the nations of the world would be blessed.'" Because Jesus did not just come for Jews, did He? He came to save everybody. "Whosoever will," the promise is. He told the disciples, "Go to the ends of the earth." And then not only did it come from Abraham through Isaac--see, Abraham also had Ishmael and several other children through Keturah. Isaac also had Esau. But He said the blessing would come through Jacob. And Jacob prophesied--you see the prophecy in Numbers 24:17: "A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter," a scepter's what a king holds, "will rise out of Israel." There would be this king, the King of Kings, that would come. By the way, that's the prophecy, probably, that the wise men in the east were reading when they came and followed the star, this star that said there was a new king that would come.

And then when He was dying, there in Genesis 49, Jacob, later called Israel, he prophesied that of his sons, and he had 12 sons and 1 daughter, the Messiah would then be coming specifically through which one? Judah, right? Y'all with me? You all knew that, didn't you? The Messiah would come through, of the 12 sons of Jacob, He would come through Judah. And He says there in Genesis 49: "The scepter will not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between His feet, until Shiloh come;" that means "The King of peace," "and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be." So it would come through the tribe of Judah. But wait, we're not done yet. Get your credit card out, there's more. Not only from Judah, it keeps going further down. And if you order now, we'll double your offer. They always say that, don't they? Through the descendants of David, "there will come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse," Jesse was the father of David, "and a branch will grow from his roots." So the Messiah would come from the household of David. "And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him."

Well, why does it say, "the Spirit of the Lord"? The very word "Messiah" in the Old Testament means "anointed." The word "Christ," "Christos," it's Greek for "the anointed." You know, when they christen a ship, they splash a bottle of champagne or wine on it and then it's called "a christening." "An anointing" means "to shower something." Jesus was to be showered with the Holy Spirit of God. And they called Him, "The Anointed." That came through the descendants of David.

Now you go to the New Testament and you see was it fulfilled? And you can read in Luke chapter 1, verse 26: "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth," where'd the angel go? I want you to catch that because there's going to be a problem Here in a moment. "To a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of," where? "the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary." Now, this all sounds like a Christmas sermon. You all know this story, right? But both Mary and Joseph were descendants from David. You find the genealogy of Mary going through Her father back to Jesus in Luke, and the genealogy follows Joseph in Matthew. So either way, they were both descendants of David.

And furthermore, it says that Jesus would come through not just the house of David, but the mother would be a virgin. Now, that certainly is unique, right? You read that prophecy in Isaiah chapter 7, verse 14: "'Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they'll call His name Immanuel,'" which means "God with us." Jump to the New Testament. By the way, that's written 700 years before Jesus was born, foretold that the Messiah would be born of a virgin. Now you go to the New Testament and you read in Matthew chapter 1:18, it says that: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after His mother Mary was betrothed," or engaged, "to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child." And of course, we all know about the virgin birth.

What about where He would be born? Does the Bible talk--? So we wouldn't have any doubts about who the Savior of man would be, no doubts about when God became a man, who is it? It wasn't just one of many wise men or prophets through time. It was Jesus. The place of His birth foretold in the book of Micah, about 600 years before Christ. He specifically said, "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, unto you, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one who is to be the ruler in Israel, whose going forth are from old, even from everlasting." So it's another prophecy Here. What does it tell us about Jesus? He's from everlasting. See, Christ didn't just appear when He was born, from everlasting to everlasting.

You know, Revelation, He's referred to as "the Eternal One." He's the "I am” there. He's the one who is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega. So Christ is from everlasting to everlasting. He was eternal. And it says that He'd be born in Bethlehem. Did that happen?

Now, we got a problem. When the angel came to Mary, you Heard me say a minute ago, where was she? Galilee. In what city? Nazareth. I've got a map up Here on the screen now. You're going to see Nazareth, as the crow flies, is about 70 miles away. She's great with child. She's a long way from home. How are we going to get the Messiah born as He's supposed to be born in the city of David, Bethlehem? Well, this is one of the only times in history we need to thank a politician for doing a tax increase. Caesar Augustus, Luke chapter 2, verse 1, issued a decree: "And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And they had to go register for the tax in their own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, there to be registered, to be taxed and registered with His wife Mary, or His espoused wife being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and she laid Him in a manger." And this is, of course, fulfilling that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. When the shepherds saw the angels, where were they? "They were dwelling in those days outside Bethlehem shepherds watching their flocks." Now, you know, it's always been amazing to me.

You know what Bethlehem means? "Beth" means "house." "Bethlehem," it means "house of bread." And Jesus is the bread of life. And after He was born, He was placed in a manger. A manger is a trough for putting grain for the animals. So here you've got the bread of life born in the house of bread placed in a trough for bread. Jesus is the bread of life. "And so she brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for Him in the inn." And again, the angels said, "For unto you is born," they told the shepherds, "in the city of David," Jesus would be a descendant of David born in the town of David and it was all foretold by the prophets, "a Savior who is Christ," the anointed, "the Lord." And when Christ was a baby, eight days old, they bring Him to the temple to be named and circumcised, which was technically the first time He shed blood. "When they called His name Jesus, He will save His people from their sins." "The priest there in the temple, Simon, took Him up in His arms and blessed them. And He said to His mother, 'Behold, this child is destined for the fall and the rising of many in Israel. And for a sign that will be spoken against (yes, a sword will even pierce through your own soul)," foretelling, of course, the sufferings that Jesus would be going through, "that the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed." So even at the very beginning, Mary was given a prophecy to let her know that Jesus was coming not just as a lion, but He would first have to come as a lamb and suffer for the sins of the world.

Well, then, when Christ was still a child, they're living in Bethlehem, Herod the King wanted to exterminate Jesus as a baby. You know, there's three times in the Bible when the devil made an effort try to keep the Savior from coming. You can read about the devil thought maybe that a Savior was coming when the children of Israel were in Egypt. So he wanted all the baby boys to be exterminated. And yet, Moses was miraculously spared. The Savior was spared. And then during the time of queen Jezebel's daughter Athaliah, she killed all of the seed of David. Again, the devil trying to keep the Messiah from coming. But miraculously, Joash was spared.

And then, of course, during the time when Christ was a baby, Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the baby boys once again to try to keep the Savior from coming. And Joseph was warned in a dream to go down to Egypt. And you read in the New Testament that after he received that warning, he said, "he arose, and he took the young child and his mother by night, and he departed for Egypt:" notice what Matthew says, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 'Out of Egypt I have called My son.'" And here he's quoting Hosea. And so even the New Testament writers like Matthew could often see how Jesus was a fulfillment of all these prophecies. They all combined and concentrated and focused in His life. You know, I get excited when I talk about this because there's just no question that Jesus is who He says He was.

All right, and then you can say, "and He came when He was a child. He moved back then after Egypt to Nazareth, and He was subject to His parents that it might be fulfilled that was spoken of by the prophets," another prophecy, "he will be called a Nazarene." Now, there they're talking about when Samson's parents were told that this promised child would be a Nazarene. Several of the types in the Bible, like Samuel and Samson, had the vow of a Nazarite. Typically, Jesus is painted with long hair. And yet, you know, there's a Scripture that says, "It's a shame for a man to have long hair." But the Nazarites were not supposed to cut their hair. And so some have wondered, "Did Jesus' parents have the vow of a Nazarite on Him up until He was baptized?" 'Because a person could have a Nazarite vow for a varying length of time. It wasn't necessarily a lifelong vow. Nazarites could not eat or drink anything from the vine. Jesus obviously drank grape juice. And so He may have just been a Nazarite up until His baptism or followed that vow. We're not sure, but He's typically painted with long hair and that's one of the reasons for that.

But that was foretold. "And then He went down with His parents and He came to Nazareth and He was subject to them." You know, there's all these theories that say, "Well, you know, reason Jesus was so brilliant is because from the time He was born, His parents then took Him and He studied under these wise gurus in India." Or, "He went to Egypt and He studied there." And they've got all these theories about where Jesus got His great knowledge because it says that He was uneducated in Jerusalem. Well, it tells us that He learned the Scriptures right there from His parents at home. He didn't go off and wasn't secretly taught by any, you know, kung fu experts off there somewhere, and then come back and have this great enlightenment. He went to His parents. He lived a normal life for 33, or for the first 30 years until His baptism.

When would He appear? Now, this is going to get really interesting. In a minute we're going to delve into a fascinating prophecy in Daniel. If you look in Daniel chapter 9, you'll see in verse 24--matter of fact, I want to open my Bible and you may want to put a piece of paper there because we're going to continue to come back to this prophecy in Daniel chapter 9. Daniel is praying, let me give you the background for this.

Daniel is praying. God's people are captives in Babylon. He is saying, "We've been here 70 years." Daniel is reading the prophecy of Jeremiah that said after 70 years they would go home. So even Daniel read the prophets. And He's praying, saying, "Lord, we've been Here 70 years. How long, how long will you tolerate Your people? How long till the Savior, the Messiah comes?" While Daniel's praying, the angel Gabriel comes, same one that appears to Mary, and He hasn't aged a bit when he appears to Mary 500 years later. And he gives this prophecy: "'Seventy weeks are determined for your people,'" I'm in Daniel 9:24, "for their holy city, to finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and prophecy," talking about the visions about the coming of the Messiah, "and anoint the Most Holy." Very clear that this is a prophecy that talked about the Most Holy being anointed, 70 weeks.

So what does the 70 weeks represent? Now, in the Bible a day equals a year. First, let's talk about the starting point Here. It tells us that it says, "From the going forth of the commandment," if you read in Daniel chapter 9, verse 25, what's the starting point for this prophecy? "From the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem," Jerusalem had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The Persian king Artaxerxes issued a decree, you can find that in your Bible in Ezra chapter 7, that they could go back. And he also helps subsidize their mission to rebuild the city, to rebuild the temple. And the Bible says that would be the starting point of this 70-week prophecy. "From the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the prince there'll be seven weeks," then he breaks up that 70 weeks into 3 parts, "There'll be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks, then you have your final week," okay?

And so 7 weeks was the time it took them to rebuild the walls and the streets and [inaudible] times and the temple. Then there was 62 more weeks, the Most Holy would be anointed, then during that last week He would confirm the covenant with the people. But in the midst of that last week, He'd make the sacrifice cease. Now, I've said it. I'm going to say it several times because I know this is a lot of information and I want you to have this clear in your mind. First of all, when you're dealing with a large Bible time prophecy like this, there's a pretty safe principle that you apply a day for a year. So when it says, "seventy weeks," how many days are in seventy weeks? Four hundred and ninety, seven days in a week, seventy times seven.

It's interesting, Jesus, when Peter said, "How often shall I forgive my brother?" said, "Seventy times seven." Daniel's praying, "Lord, how long are you going to bear with your people?" He says, "Seventy times seven." He didn't give them another seven years of forgiveness. He gave them 490 years more mercy for them to present the Messiah to the world, which they did at Pentecost. And so He says, "I've appointed you a day for a year." And there's three references there you can see that support that principle. Now, I'm going to put a chart up on the screen and explain this time prophecy. You see, the decree is given 457 BC. Artaxerxes, you can find it in Ezra 7, it's a pretty well-accepted date in ancient history. Several things were happening then so we can peg that date. If you go--you got a total of 490 not days but years because a day is a year in prophecy. But the Messiah's not anointed until a week before that's over, okay? And so 483 after the command is when you would expect to see the Messiah anointed. He begins His ministry. He then confirms the covenant with God's people for the last 7 years. In the midst of that last 7 years, He makes the sacrifice cease. Stay with me.

All right, Jesus was baptized when? You can read in the gospel of John chapter 1:29, He came to John the Baptist and it says: "John saw Jesus coming to Him and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.'" You know, if you read in Luke, it tells us that the year that John was preaching when Jesus was baptized, it talks about Pontius Pilate being in power. You've got Tiberius Caesar. You've got Herod. There's only 1 year in history when these 3 characters, their reigns overlapped, and it was 27 ad. Twenty-seven AD is exactly four hundred and eighty-three years after King Artaxerxes' decree in 457. That's when the Messiah was baptized. What happened at the baptism of Jesus? You can read in Acts chapter--well, you can read, first of all, in Matthew chapter 3. It says: "He came up out of the water. The heavens were open. The Holy Spirit descended. A voice from Heaven said, 'This is My Beloved Son.'" And then you can read in Acts chapter 10, verse 38 where Peter said: "'God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit,'" He was the Anointed, the Christ, "and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." And so Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit exactly 483 years, but now you've got one week left still to 490, right? Now we're going to talk about what happened during the ministry of Jesus. We're parking the prophecy of Daniel. So you all with me? We're going to come back to it. It said that He would confirm the covenant during this week.

Question seven, what did Jesus do during that time? Let's look at the ministry of Christ. And are there prophecies about the ministry of Christ? So I'm putting layers in here, prophecies in prophecies. Isaiah 61:1, first sermon Jesus preached He quotes from this in Nazareth, His home church, He said: "'The Spirit of God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor,'" Christ is the Anointed and He's telling people, "I am the anointed." "He has sent me to Heal the brokenhearted," did Jesus do that? "To proclaim liberty to the captives," people captive by the devil and sin, "and the opening of prison to those who are bound," He came to set the captive free, "and to proclaim liberty to the captives and the great day of the Lord."

And the people that came to hear Jesus preach, you know, spies were sent to arrest Him. And they came back and the leader said, "Where is He? We told you to arrest Him." You know what their answer was? "Never man spoke like this Man." And I can testify to you that was my impression because I grew up believing that Jesus was, in our home, my mom didn't say very nice things about Jesus. Came, like I said, from a Jewish background, and we thought Christians were the problem. My Jewish relatives, they'd say, "Oh, yeah, Jesus was, He was a good man. He was a teacher." And I would ask my grandfather, I'd say, "Now, you realize that He said He was the Messiah? Do you think He told the truth?" "Well, but, but, but--" they'd say, "Oh, yeah, He was a good man. He was a teacher. He was a prophet." Well, He said He was The Son of God. He said He was the only one. He's the only door. And so they used to kinda stumble over that. So I was very antagonist about Jesus.

When I finally started reading the Bible so I could argue with Christians, I was amazed because I had no Bible background. I went to public school. I even actually went to Catholic school. Went to Catholic school Here in Florida, a couple different catholic schools here in Florida. Went to Jewish school in New York City. I'm all mixed up. So I can relate to everybody here. In military school, you had to go to services Sunday.

Well, I didn't know what to do. My mother was Jewish so I'd sometimes go to the Jewish services. My father was Protestant. Sometimes I'd go to the Protestant services, even though my parents were pretty much atheists. And the sometimes they sent me to Catholic school. I'd go to the Catholic services. So, I mean, I just, I kinda got pretty good exposure. Who knew back then the Lord was preparing me for this, right? But I knew nothing about the Bible because they never read the Bible. And so when I finally started reading the Bible for myself, and I'd read where it says, "He that is without sin cast the first stone," I'd heard that expression all my life. I said, "Oh, Jesus said that." "Turn the other cheek." "Oh, Jesus said that." "Go the second mile." And all of these things, I was reading in the Sermon on the Mount, I'm going, "I've been hearing these things all my life. I had no idea that Jesus said them." I said, "Wow, He was really smart." I mean, He just said--He is the most quoted person in History. Nobody ever spoke like this man spoke. Now you look at the prophecies and the events surrounding the cross. Are there some of those in the Old Testament? For one thing, just the week before He was crucified, they call it the "triumphal entry." "Rejoice greatly, O daughter," by the way, this is Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey."

And then you go to the New Testament and then you see the story where Jesus rode into Jerusalem through the golden gate on a donkey, just as had been foretold, with all the people rejoicing. By the way, a little amazing fact I'll throw in. If you go to Jerusalem today, you'll see this picture of what they call the golden gate. There's something odd about that. It's all bricked up. That is the gate that Jesus rode through. You know why it's bricked up? Because when the Muslims took Jerusalem, they knew the Jewish prophecy said in Zechariah the Messiah would ride through this gate. They wanted to prevent that from happening. So I think it was Suleiman the Magnificent, He had it all blocked off. And they put a cemetery in front of it to desecrate the ground to prevent the Jewish Messiah from coming, but they were about 700 years too late.

Are there prophecies about the betrayal of Jesus? Yes, quite a few. Matter of fact, you can read in Psalms, a thousand years before Jesus was born, King David wrote: "Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, he has lifted up his heel against me." After they ate bread together, Judas went out and he betrayed Him. And then again you read in Zechariah, it says, and this is 11, verse 12: "Then I said to them, 'if it is agreeable to you, give me my wages and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver." How much was Jesus sold for? Thirty pieces of silver exactly. And then it goes on to say, "and the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter'--that princely price that they set upon me. So they took the thirty pieces of silver and they threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter."

You know what Judas did with the money when he was overcome with guilt? He went into the house of the Lord. He threw the silver down. They did not know what to do with the money because it was blood money. They used it to by a potter's field to bury strangers in. What precise details were foretold hundreds of years earlier, a thousand years earlier, no, this one, hundreds of years earlier, regarding the betrayal of Christ.

What about the manner of His death? Was that foretold? You realize when some of these prophecies were written, they didn't practice crucifixion. But you look in Psalm 22. Do you know what the first words are in Psalm 22? "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Does that sound familiar? That's what Jesus uttered from the cross. People think, "Did He say that because He was discouraged?" No, Jesus said that because later in that Psalm you find these other predictions. Read in Psalm 22, verse 16: "For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet," describing crucifixion. It's in that same Psalm, that Messianic Passover Psalm, where He says, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" Christ had not lost courage. He was directing them to the Psalm that showed the very thing that was happening that day as He hung upon the cross. It says, "they divided my garments among them, and they cast lots for my clothing." What a precise detail.

And then you read, of course, in the New Testament there, Mark 15:24, at the foot of the cross: "When they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take," gambling there at the foot of the cross. "But when they came to Jesus," it also says, "none of His bones would be broken," in that prophecy in Psalm 22. It says, "When they came to Jesus," after breaking the bones of the thief on the right and the left, "they saw He was already dead, and they did not break His legs." Notice, John goes on. John quotes from the prophecy, "but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out." Talks about Christ, the Messiah, being pierced, "blood and water came out." But they did not break His bones. It says, "for these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, 'Not one of His bones would be broken.'" Even the apostle John says, "I am amazed looking back at these Old Testament prophecies." Because when the apostle John read these things, these prophecies were already hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. You and I are not the first ones to read the Bible.

Now, the New Testament was completed by the apostle John, and there's been no addition since then to Scripture. But they, in Jesus' time, they had a Bible too. They had the Old Testament. "And again another Scripture says, 'They'll look on Him whom they had pierced,'" quoting again that Scripture. Jesus was pierced. His bones were not broken. He was crucified. They gambled for His clothing. Was He the one? Do the prophecies all talk about Jesus?

Now, I told you, don't forget about Daniel. We're going back now to Daniel chapter 9 and I want to take you back to that chart again. We looked at the ministry of the Messiah. We got one week to go. And it says, "After the sixty-two weeks Messiah will be cut off, but not for Himself;" was Jesus cut off? And when a person dies of old age, that's not being cut off, but when they're 30 years old, 33 and 1/2, He died in His prime. He was cut off from the land of the living, but not for Himself. For who? For me, for you. He died for you as though you were the only one who had ever sinned. He loves you that much.

And then it said, "He would confirm the covenant with many for one week." So that last seven years from His baptism until seven years later, He is confirming the covenant with the Jewish people. Three and a half years in person, three and a half years through the apostles until finally, the first Christian martyr, which is Stephen, he is tried by the Jewish supreme court for his faith. They do the same thing to him they did to Jesus. They bring him out of the city. He's falsely accused. And then he is executed and he prays for the forgiveness of those who kill Him, the same thing Jesus did. In the middle of the week, He pauses, He makes the offering and the sacrifice to cease.

Three and a half years after Jesus was baptized, when He dies on the cross, what happened in the temple? You read in Matthew 27, verse 50: "Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split." And the veil of the temple is torn, showing that the purpose for that sanctuary was complete. Jesus said, "Destroy this temple made with hands. In three days I will make one without hands." He spoke of His body, the church. Two things were torn: the temple was torn and the high priest tore His garments. We now have a new priesthood. If you are a believer in Christ, then you are part of that royal priesthood, amen? And we also have a new temple. If you are a believer in Christ, you are a living stone in that building. That's what Paul and Peter say. We are the household of God. Church is not a building. Church is the people.

Now, go back, I want you to see the chart again. And you notice Here, we got from the decree until the 69 weeks are complete, you've got 483 years and 69 weeks, or 483 days and a day is a year. Christ is baptized 27 AD. He confirms the covenant with God's people for another week before the gospel goes to the Gentiles. Three and a half years in person, then He dies and He causes the sacrifice to cease. Then He does another 3 and 1/2 years through those that Heard Him.

And you'll find this is in the book of Hebrews. We'll talk about that in just a moment. When Christ is crucified, "He makes His grave with the wicked, and the rich in His death." That's written by Isaiah chapter 53, verse 9, 700 years before He is born. It foretells what's going to happen there. And it goes on and says, "because He had done no violence, neither was there any deceit in His mouth," it says, "he would not be left in the grave." Psalm 16, verse 10: "You will not leave His soul in Hell." Three days later, He came back. We know that He rose again.

I'm rushing along here. I want to go to this next verse in Hebrews chapter 2, verse 3, where it says that: "How shall we escape," notice this, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord,". 27 AD from His baptism, began to preach for 3 and 1/2 years until He was executed, "and was confirmed to us by those that Heard Him," for 3 and 1/2 years, do you know, the Jews did not go when Christ rose? They did not go to the world yet. He said, "First begin in Jerusalem and Judea." Says, "Do not go, but first to the lost sheep at the house of Israel." The apostles' ministry for the first 3 and 1/2 years was exclusively to the Jewish nation. At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit is poured out, it says, "there were devout Jews dwelling in Jerusalem from every nation." They preached to Jews. In Acts chapter 3, Acts chapter 5, they're all Jews being baptized. It wasn't until Stephen was stoned, it says, "A great persecution arose and the gospel went everywhere." Then Paul is converted following that in the next chapter. Peter then goes to Cornelius and starts to preach to the Gentiles, who he had been calling "unclean." Finally, the gospel began to go to everyone. That was exactly 490 years after, as Daniel had said, that prophecy. Stephen is stoned in 34 AD, 3 and 1/2 years after the cross.

So here you've got that chart. I know I've been rushing. I want to just summarize this for you. It says here--you've got the decree of 457. The baptism of Jesus marks the last week of that prophecy. First 3 and 1/2 years He confirms the covenant. He then causes the sacrifice to cease by His death on the cross. Then He says to the disciples, "As the Father sent me, now you go confirm the covenant with the lost sheep for another 3 and 1/2 years." Stephen is stoned. And He says, "Now the gospel goes to the Gentiles and everybody." "Whosoever will--" this is exactly what God said would happen. There's no question that Jesus was the Messiah that Daniel foretold. And I've even got a quote here from Josephus, the Jewish historian that, to me, it just blows me away. Josephus, Flavius Josephus, was a contemporary of the apostles.

And he wrote this from the time of Christ: "Now, there was about this time a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works, and a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ." This is coming from a Jewish scholar who's not writing in the Bible. It says: "and when Pilate, at the suggestion of principal people among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those that love Him at the first did not forsake Him. For He appeared to them alive again after the third day." So this is not just the Bible, friends. This is history. And even this Jewish historian says, "Yeah, He was the Messiah. He appeared. He rose from the dead." "As the divine prophets had foretold these things and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christian continues with us. And they're not extinct even to this day."

So I want you to consider what we've looked at Here. There are prophecies that tell about the time of His birth, that He'd be born of a virgin. It tells us that the time of baptism, the type of ministry, the events of His betrayal, the manner of His execution, His resurrection, His ascension. This is all foretold in the Old Testament. And the people say, "Well, Pastor Doug, we had a question they didn't read tonight. How do you know the Bible's true and--" Pfft, what evidence will you accept? What evidence will you accept. The book has been supernaturally preserved. Everything it says has come true, and Jesus is the best evidence of all.

You start to put the pieces together, friends, and you can see Jesus is what the whole Bible is talking about, amen? So why did He come? Three quick reasons we're going to review. One, He came as our example. Jesus, He said, "I've given you an example that you should walk as I've walked." Jesus Christ came--and that, by the way, is John chapter 13:15: "'I want you to live as I've lived.'" A Christian is a follower of Christ. He came to show us The Father. It's the second reason He came.

He said, "He who has seen Me has seen The Father." And then finally, He said, "I've come because I want to take your place." He is our substitute. He died as the sacrifice for our sins because He loves us. But there's something that we need to do. We need to accept that sacrifice in our behalf. You know, when Jesus was being tried, Pilate said to Him, "What am I supposed to do with Jesus, who is called the Christ?" Everyone really needs to answer that question. He is the central figure of human history. All of history dated from His birth. You cannot just ignore Jesus. He said, "If you're not with Me, you're against Me." There's no middle ground. There's no Switzerland in this war between good and evil.

Are you with Him? You either accept Him and say, "You are the Lord. I am going to live for You. I'm going to trust You to forgive my sins and to give me a purpose for living," or not. And to say, "I'm going to wait on making that decision," is really to make a decision. And we'd like to encourage people to make that decision now. God has given an incredible gift that we might be forgiven.

I remember reading a story years ago about this, a railway switch keeper in Prussia, over in Europe, where they had this span that crossed a bridge, a railroad track crossed a river and there was a drawbridge. And whenever the train was approaching, it would toot its whistle and he would raise this flag and said, "All clear, keep going." And one day, while he was at his station, waiting for the train, it tooted the whistle and he gave the all clear sign. But that was also the day that he had brought his 4-year-old son with him to work, and he had taken his eyes off his son who had wandered out on the trestle and he saw the train coming. Knowing the speed of the train, seeing how far out on the track his son was, he thought, "What do I do? If I leave the bridge up, the train will go off and all those people will perish in the river. If I don't switch the train off the track, my son's going to perish."

And so he shouted out to his son, "Lay down now, lay down and do not move." And he knew the boy couldn't outrun the train. And the boy just laid down. The bridge went down. The train went across the river, and the man never knew--and the people went by there, waving at the man in the booth. They had no idea that, what, the decision he had just made. After the train passed, he ran out there, expecting maybe to find the mangled remains of his children. His boy had obeyed and he was alive. The whole train went over him. Next day, the King of Prussia gave that man a reward for being willing to sacrifice his son to save all those people. His son did not die.

You've probably heard variations of that story, but it is true that our father gave His son and He did die. And a lot of the world doesn't even know as they go on their merry way that they're alive today because of the grace of God. Because the penalty for sin is death. And why aren't these people all dead? Because Jesus, by His sacrifice, bought the human race time, probation, to make a decision. We've got just this life, one life, to make a decision.

That's why all the prophecies are there, that you might have an encounter with Jesus. And we want to give you, and we want to give you, an opportunity to do that right now. And those of you who are watching, we've got a card. We'd like to just pray for you. And I'd like to encourage you, you can download this card for free online, to just make a decision tonight. And we have ushers here that'll pass out these cards for you that are in our Spring Meadows auditorium.

Have you ever made a decision to accept Jesus? We're going to put some simple questions up there. You can do that tonight and you can have a personal relationship with Jesus. First question is very simply: "I believe that salvation comes only by grace through faith in Jesus." And you'll be getting your cards here, but some of you watching in your different groups and churches, you have these. You can share them with the people attending.

If you believe that salvation only comes through faith through the grace of Jesus, check that mark. Make a decision. It does register in Heaven. The next question: "I want to repent of my sins and surrender my life to Jesus." If you want to be forgiven of your sins, if you want the Lord to change your heart and save you from sin, mark that. You just come as you are and you ask Him.

And we'll be praying together. Perhaps you're someone who once followed Jesus and you've wandered away, and we've got a statement there, "I once followed Christ but I've drifted and I want to recommit my life to Jesus." You know, the Bible says you cannot live for the love of the world, so mark that there. Perhaps you've come, you're a Christian and you just have some special prayer. We will be reading these cards. You can write your prayer requests on the back of your card if you like for those that are local or those who are attending with a group.

Write down your prayer request. Maybe you'd like to know more about what we're studying. More of, "What does it mean to be a Christian? And would someone please study, or do you have some materials you can send to me?" There's also information at the "Prophecy Encounter" website that you can go to. It's very simply prophecyencounter.com. And you'll find out more there.

But the main reason we do these seminars is because we want people to know that the Bible is all about Jesus. When Abraham went up the mountain with Isaac and God said, "Are you willing to give Me your son?" He put the wood on Isaac's back. The cross was placed on Jesus' back. The Father and The Son went to the mountaintop together. Isaac was a willing sacrifice.

Jesus was a willing sacrifice. Abraham was willing to give his son. And that's the type of God who did give His son. But when you read the Bible, you're reading in the story of Joseph and in the story of David and the story of Samuel and Gideon, it's all telling us about Jesus. You're seeing shadows and a tapestry of Christ all through this book because God wants you to know them and know Him and have a personal relationship with His son.

You may feel a struggle going on in your heart right now. That's a battle between your God and your devil. You can make a decision right now to say, "Lord, I want to surrender my life to You." Matter of fact, before we go off the air, would you please let me pray with you? Father in Heaven, I know that people who are listening are faced with that decision, "What will I do with Jesus?" You've shown Your love for us in that You so loved us, You sent Your Son. Help us to make a decision right now to accept that incredible sacrifice, to accept the forgiveness that you offer, and your grace to live a new life, to be your witnesses. We thank you and we pray that in Jesus' Name, amen.

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