The Fullness of Time, Pt. 1

Date: 12/11/2021 
The prophecies in the Bible prove that Jesus is who He said he is.

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Doug Batchelor: One of the most important topics in scripture is the subject of family. From Genesis to Revelation, family is explained and magnified as being both a blessing and a necessity. There is a heavenly family above, the Father, the Son, Holy Spirit and all the angels, and there are families on the earth in every nation, tongue, tribe, and people. And there's also such a thing as a church family, a collection of people coming together for one specific purpose: to worship God. It's that unity in the assembly, which is of particular importance to God. In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul urges us "to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." If you think about it, this is what composes a home, people uniting to form a family, creating a home.

Friends, Jesus is wanting to adopt you. He's inviting you to join His family. He draws everyone unto Him to Calvary with the intention to unite His people on earth and prepare them for that journey to the heavenly home. It's my hope that today's program will bring you closer to Jesus and inspire you with a desire to be part of His family. And don't forget, stay tuned for a very important free offer at the end of this presentation.

Doug: The message today, as you could tell from the scripture reading, is dealing with the fullness of time. And when we think of the fullness of time during this time of year, we're thinking, of course, about Christ's First Coming. But Jesus actually used that phrase twice. Not only does Paul say in Galatians chapter 4, "But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman," speaking of the birth of Christ. But also when Jesus began His ministry, that marked another time in Bible prophecy history. And it says there in Mark chapter 1, verse 15, he began preaching and the first words out of Jesus's mouth were, "The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel."

So we're going to be talking about some of the prophecies in the Bible that prove that Jesus was Who He says He was. You know, there are about 300 Old Testament prophecies that provide a number of precise identifying characteristics regarding the Messiah. And by the way, the word Messiah means "the anointed one." And it also, in Greek, it's Christos, or we call him the Christ. That's why when they christen a ship, and when your parents put suntan lotion on you, they are anointing you, they are christening you. That's what that means. It's the word Messiah. There would be one who would be filled with all the fullness of God. He would be anointed with, filled, saturated with the Holy Spirit when God would come to the world in the form of a man. And that was Jesus. But we're going to show you from the Bible that, that is so. So can't talk about all 300 prophecies, but we're going to take a number of them. And I hope that your faith is strengthened through this presentation.

From Genesis to Revelation, it talks about this battle between three primary characters. You've got the seed of the woman, the Messiah who would come, Christ. You've got the woman, and that's a symbol for the church, the people of God. And you've got the serpent or the dragon. First prophecy in the Bible you find in Genesis chapter 3, verse 15, where God said to Adam and Eve there in the garden, "And I'll put enmity," there'd be this animosity, this opposition, this war, "between you and the woman," the serpent and the woman, "between your seed," that's Babylon and her daughters, the serpent in its seed, "and her seed. And he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel," the heel of the church. That's, you know, when you walk, if you're, I sprained my ankle a little this week and I was limping for a couple of days, hurt the foot, and it affects your walk, and the devil has been biting at the heel of the believers all through history.

But it says in the end, that the seed of the woman would crush the head. If you get your head crushed, that's a lot different than having your foot bit. There would be a mortal wound that would finally be dealt to the serpent. And you trace the prophecies in the Bible, you go to the end of the Bible, and you read in Revelation chapter 9. Sorry, Revelation chapter 12, verse 9, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world," and he tries to destroy the woman and the seed of the woman, as you read in that chapter.

So this battle, the theme of the Bible is consistent. You know, in the first three chapters, you find man in a paradise and he's surrounded with everything good. But then because of the serpent, you have sin that comes in, and all the misery and pain. You get to the last three chapters of the Bible, and you have the serpent destroyed, and then you have the Garden of Eden restored. And once again, man is eating from the tree of life. So the whole Bible is about how to get back to the garden, from the first three chapters to the last three chapters. And the key, of course, is the Messiah. It's the Savior. God would come to earth as our Savior and our substitute. So we're going to ask a number of questions here and let the prophecies answer.

Now, most of the prophecies we're looking at are in the Old Testament. Just want to remind you, you know, we have people at all different levels in their walk with the Lord. So you got the New Testament book of Matthew, the Old Testament. All of this was written before Jesus was born. This talks about the birth of Christ. Three quarters of the Bible is Old Testament. Most of the New Testament was written by people that only read the Old Testament. Did you catch? Talks about Jesus even after the resurrection, or talks about Paul and the apostles. And they're always proving that Jesus was the Christ, pardon me, from the Old Testament. And so, we're going to look at those scriptures today and I think you're going to see why they came to that conclusion.

First of all, where did Jesus come from? He made some pretty bold statements. He says in John 6:36, or 6:38, "For I have come down from heaven." Not only does He say it there, you can read in John 3, verse 13, "No one has ascended into heaven but He that came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." He said he came from a place that is out of this world. You can also read here in John 18, verse 36, "Jesus said, 'My kingdom,'" He told Pilate, "My Kingdom is not of this world."

So, Jesus came from outside of this world, into this world, and you and I will not understand through eternity. We'll have a better idea when we get to the kingdom, how much Jesus condescended to become a human and come to our world. It'd be like you and I deciding to be a worm in a city dump. To go from the glory that He had and the adoration He had, and come down and be treated like He was, it's just incomprehensible. What would bring Him to do that other than the explanation that He loves us.

Did Jesus claim divinity? Now, there have been some people who've been debating this for years, but I don't see how you can read the Bible and deny it. You can read in Mark 2, verse 10, "The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins." And even the Jews knew God and God only can forgive sin. There is one God, Jehovah is our only Savior, and yet Jesus said He is the Savior. The Bible tells us that all the criteria that you would find about God, you find about Jesus. Only God knows the thoughts of men's hearts, yet Jesus always knew what they were thinking. The Bible says you are to worship God only, one of the Ten Commandments. But in Hebrews, it says even the angels worship Him. And when He rose from the dead, He said, "All Hail," and they worshiped Him. And so Jesus fills all the criteria of God.

You can look in John 8:58, Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was," what did He say? "I AM." That is the name that God gave to Moses as the self-existent one. Furthermore, you read in John 10, verse 30 and verse 33, He said, "I and my Father or are one." The leaders listening understood what he was saying. The Jews answered and said, you being a man are making yourself God. Now, if I said that, it would be blasphemy. But if Jesus said it, it's true. If I say that I'm a great basketball player, that's bragging and lying. If Michael Jordan says, I'm just not very good. That's not humility, that's dishonesty. He has every right to say I'm one of the best, because he was, you know what I'm saying? So Jesus is stating a fact. He's not bragging or it's not the visions of grandeur.

Furthermore, read in John 10, verse 17, "Therefore, my Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." How could anyone have power to lay down their life, be dead, and power to take it back up again? Except you are divine.

So how do we evaluate these very big claims? Where do we go? We've got to look at the history that we have, and most accounts about the life of Jesus are in the Bible. Though we will look at one or two that are extra-biblical today. "Search the scriptures, these are they that testify of me." And if you look, for instance, in Luke 24, when He rose from the dead in verse 27, He's walking on the road with two disciples following the Resurrection. They don't know that He's raised, and He says, "O, fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."

Notice He says, "'all that the prophets have spoken.' Beginning at Moses and all of the prophets, He expounded unto them in all of the scriptures the things concerning Himself." That means that the Old Testament is filled from Moses to Malachi with prophecies that talk about Jesus. Doesn't mean every word of the Old Testament is talking about Jesus, but you can find the theme of Jesus, the Messiah, the plan of salvation all through the Old Testament. Hebrews 10, verse 7, "Then I said, behold, I come (In the volume of the book it is written of me,) To do your will, O God." The volume of the book, it is written of Christ, and He was the living expression of the will of God. He lived out every aspect of the will of God in His life.

So, let's begin to track down how do we know that Jesus was the Messiah? Well, the Bible gives us some very specific understanding on the family tree of the Messiah, what people, tribe, and family would the Messiah come from. Way back in Genesis chapter 12, God spoke to Abraham and He said, "In you, all the families of the earth would be blessed." In fact, He repeats this promise to Abraham three different times or slightly different, but He made it very clear that I have called you out of Babylon to the promised land, and through your descendants, the Messiah would come.

But you know, Abraham was not only the father of Isaac and Ishmael from which you get, you know, the whole Arab family. Not every Arab is a Muslim, you know? There are Arab Christians and a person can be born with Jewish blood and become a Muslim. I know of Jews that have become Buddhists. But Islam did start from the descendants of Abraham, but Abraham also had a lot of children with Keturah. So which son was the Messiah going to come through? Well, the Bible spells it out. He said to Isaac, I will give your descendants all these lands and He repeated the promise to Isaac, and in your seed, through your descendants, all the nations would be blessed. The Messiah would come through the descendants of Isaac.

Now, Isaac was a type of Christ. When Isaac went up the mountain with His father, he was a willing sacrifice there in the prime of his life. And he had the wood on his back as Jesus had the cross on His back as He went up Calvary. And the Bible tells us that, in the same way, it looked like Isaac was doomed, but he came down the mountain alive, Jesus, also rose from the dead. So He's a type of Christ, but the Messiah was going to come through Isaac.

Now, Isaac had two sons. What were their names? Jacob and Esau. They were very different, but it tells us which of those two sons that the Messiah would come through. God said to Jacob in Numbers 24, verse 17, "A star shall come out of Jacob, a sceptre shall rise out of Israel." And even the prophecies that were given before their birth to Rebekah, made it clear that the older Esau would serve the younger. That it would be through the younger, Jacob, who took hold of his brother's heel, the one who wrestled with God, his name was Jacob, later changed to Israel, meaning a prince with God, because he wrestled with God and would not let go until he had that blessing. But then Jacob had 12 sons.

So, which one of them is the Messiah going to come through? The Bible is so specific. You read here in Genesis 49, when Jacob was blessing his sons, it said, "The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh come; And unto him shall be the gathering of the people." I always thought it was interesting that Judah was the one of the brothers who suggested they sell Joseph instead of killing him, which was, you know, better, of course. But it was Judas that sold Jesus. But later Judah went through a real conversion, and when he went down to Egypt, he had changed so much, that he told Joseph, he didn't know Joseph was Joseph. He told this Prime Minister, he said, "I will take Benjamin's place. I will be a slave." He was willing to be the great substitute. He had changed.

Well, the Messiah was going to come through the tribe of Judah. Well, Judah had at least three sons, two of his sons died before they were able to procreate. And it tells us that the Messiah was going to come through the clan of David. You read about this in Isaiah 11, verse 1 and 2, "There shall come a rod, a stem from Jesse," the house of Jesse, and Jesse had several sons, but which son? And it said, "A branch shall grow from his roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him." Later, the prophet Nathan comes to David and says that "your son will build me a house that will last forever."

Speaking of the son of David, not only did Solomon build a temple, but the son of David that would build a house that would last forever is Jesus. That's why Jesus said, destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days, I will make one without hands.

So, you notice how the focus keeps getting a little sharper as we're going through these prophecies, who is going to be the Messiah. By the way, I heard somebody did--since there's 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that help identify Jesus. Someone did some math and they said the statistical odds of finding one person that meets the criteria of only eight of these prophecies is, what is the word, a zillion beyond a trillion? What's the next? A google? Google is one of those. Anyway, it's an astronomical number just so far beyond the possibility that it could be coincidence that all of these criteria would line up in one person.

Someone said it's something like taking the state of Texas, covering it with quarters 2 feet deep, and then telling you that there is one quarter out there that has been dipped in gold, go find it. You know how big Texas is? So you cover the state of Texas with quarters 2 feet deep, you got to find that one quarter. It's just the odds are astronomical. So we know Jesus came, of course, through the tribe of David. And let's look at some verses to prove that now from the New Testament.

You read in Luke chapter 1, verse 26 and verse 27, "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth." Where was the angel sent? Nazareth. You know what Nazareth means in Aramaic? It's the word branch, that comes up later for two reasons. "To a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of," who? "The house of David." Not only that, but said he'd be born of a virgin. That's a whole separate prophecy that you find. Look here in the book of Isaiah chapter 7, verse 14, "Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and you will call His name Emmanuel," which is being interpreted God with us. And then you go to the New Testament and we see that that was fulfilled there.

Now the birth, this is Matthew 1:18, the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows, "After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph," that means they were engaged, "before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit." And we heard where the angel said, "The power of the Almighty would come over you." And that's why, you know, Jesus is this supernatural, and that's the correct word, supernatural combination of human and divine. The place of his birth is spelled out in the Bible. You can read the prophecy here in the book of Micah, chapter 5, verse 2, "But you, Bethlehem Ephratah," now, the reason he says Bethlehem Ephratah is there were two places called Bethlehem.

You know, it's like in North America, you got several cities called Farmington, it means Farming Town. There's a couple of Portlands, you got Portland, Maine, you got Portland, Oregon. But, so there was a--the word Bethlehem means house of bread. It was not an uncommon--anywhere that had a big bakery. It might be called a house of bread, but this was the Bethlehem Ephratah, and this is where Rachel died, giving birth to Benjamin. And she was buried there and it was just outside, or not too far from Jerusalem. "But you Bethlehem Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah," it's a little Hamlet, "yet out of you shall come forth to me the one who's the ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from old, even from everlasting."

Now, that prophecy is so clear, it can't be misunderstood. That prophecy is so clear that when the wise men came looking for the one who was born King of the Jews, and Herod got all upset and agitated that there was going to be someone to replace him, I don't know why he was worried about a baby king at that point because he was already a pretty old man, and he had nothing to worry about by the time the baby grew up. He called in the scribes and Pharisees and said, where does the prophecy say that the Messiah would be born? They knew, they said Bethlehem.

So, it was really clear, it's clear from this, was Jesus born in Bethlehem? He was. Now there's a problem, where did the angel come and appear to Mary? Nazareth, remember we just read that? "An angel came to a virgin that was in the city of Galilee called Nazareth." Nazareth is 70 miles north, and she is found to be with child 70 miles north. And 70 miles back then was more than 70 miles today, because 70 miles today, you conquer in an hour. Some of you conquer it in half an hour, depends on how you drive. But back then it was a pretty serious journey.

So, God has to somehow get Mary down to Bethlehem before she gives birth. Enter Octavian Caesar, also known as Augustus Caesar. We've got a month named after him. He was one of the most successful leaders in history. He ruled Rome for about 40 years, and it was during the time of what they call the great "Pax Romana." That means the Roman peace. See when Jesus came, it was ideal in its timing historically, and it was ideal in its location. Why was it ideal in its timing? Because Augustus Caesar, he was the one who really went and stretched the Roman roads farther than ever. It was like the internet, communication--Karen was in Greece a little while ago, and she was telling me about seeing the ancient Roman roads, and I told her, they looked a lot better back then than they do now. And they used to go screaming up and down those roads with chariots, like the Pony Express and they'd change riders and messages went flashing through the Empire. For them, it was lightning speed. And so communications happened very quickly.

Another reason the timing was perfect is the Jews had been scattered all over the Roman Empire, and they were in industries. If you doubt that, read Acts chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit was poured out. Says, "Now devout Jews from out of every nation under heaven came to Jerusalem for Pentecost." So when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the news about Jesus spread, they were converted. They then fanned out from Jerusalem back to their homes and the gospel spread on those Roman roads like lightning. So that Paul said in one generation, the gospel has been preached to every creature under heaven. Of course, that was a little bit of hyperbole. I'm not sure they had made it to, you know, South America and Australia, and some of these places. But the gospel had gone through the known civilized world in one generation.

The other reason it was an ideal location is because the place where Jesus was born, the land of Israel was a land bridge between three great continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. So here Rome owned that territory. Christ was born. The message then went fanning out, it went into North Africa, it was taken down to Ethiopia, it went off into India with Thomas, it went off through Europe with Paul and Peter and the others. So the timing was perfect. So when the Bible says, "In the fullness of time," some people wonder, "Why didn't Jesus come 1,000 years after Adam sinned. Why did he wait 4000 years?"

The ways of the Lord is sometimes a mystery, but there's good reason for it. He waited for the perfect timing. He also waited for conditions to be at their lowest in some respects morally, when people especially needed, a time of darkness, this light shone the brightest. So she went down to Bethlehem, and Luke chapter 2, verse 6, "And so it was, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes," swaddling clothes is strips of cloth, the early Pampers, "and laid him in the manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."

Isn't that something? You've heard it before, but it's still staggering when you think that God Almighty of the cosmos comes to the world in the form of a man, and there's no room for Him, and He comes to His own people that had all the prophecies, and they do not know Him. And it's--the religious leaders totally miss it. And yet it's revealed to a shepherd, and later to some foreign wise men or Magi. He's laid in a manger. A manger is a place where you put grain for the beasts. And I think it's interesting that here in a town called "The House of Bread," the bread of life is put in a vessel for bread. So everything about that is telling us that Jesus is the bread that came down from heaven, amen?

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Doug: The Bible tells us that salvation, of course, emanates from God. So we need to know something about God to rightly understand and embrace salvation. Yet, in the church today, there's a great deal of confusion about the nature of God. The Bible says, God is one God, but is he three persons? Is Jesus also eternal God? Because Jesus is the Son of God, does that mean there was a time when he did not exist or he was brought into existence? Is the Holy Spirit a person, or is he just the force and the energy that God uses to communicate?

You know, I thought this was so important, I really felt led of the Lord to write a book on the subject called "Exploring the Trinity: One God or Three." In this book, we answer those very important questions. We talk about the history of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, as well as the history of the Holy Spirit in the church and how it has been much debated. This is something we really need to understand, because Jesus said eternal life comes from knowing God.

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