Today we begin a new study. There is a reason for this. The face to face study we were doing before the pandemic and social isolation was winding down, and with our online presence we are reaching a far wider audience. Today we begin the study that we would have been beginning in our face to face study. Hopefully restrictions will soon be lifted and we will be able to begin meeting again. When that happens we will continue the online Midweek for those of you unable to attend the face to face sessions.
And now – the new study:
Have you ever said: If only I could see God at work it would be so much easier to believe? Maybe you’ve even looked at the ancient Israelites falling into sin and wondered: How could they do that when God’s working was so plain and evident? Maybe you’ve even thought to yourself: If I had seen that I would have never have doubted, never have strayed.
Let me ask you: What if?
What if God has been at work all of our lives and we’ve missed it?
What if Biblical prophecy was being fulfilled in front of us and we didn’t recognize it?
Is that possible?
Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn asks this:
What if I told you of a mystery so vast that it spans the world and the ages, from ancient times to this very moment . . . a mystery that moves behind and through all human events, directs and turns the paths of leaders, determines the future of nations and empires . . . and of the world itself . . . to bring all things to their appointed end?
He goes on to say:
It is one mystery made up of many mysteries: It is called the Jubilean Mystery.
These mysteries have determined the course of empires and superpowers, kings and presidents.
These ancient mysteries have determined the course of our world so precisely that they
tell us not only what must take place, but when.
They contain ancient words & messages
appointed to be spoken at specific times
even on specific days on which the events
of which they speak are to take place
We could say these are the fingerprints of God
He goes on to ask another question:
What if there was a people brought into existence as a sign, as a witness to the existence of God and a vessel to bring about His purposes?
If there were such a people they would necessarily be different than any other people on the face of the earth.
The fact is: There is such a people. We know them as the nation of Israel.
To understand this we must look at something that happened at the beginning of their identity as a nation. We find this something in the book of Deuteronomy, as they are preparing to enter the Promised land.
Remember the situation:
Moses led a band of former slaves out of the nation of Egypt.
Because of their parents’ disobedience to God, and their refusal to enter the Promised Land when God commanded them to do so (Numbers 13-14) this group of people have been wandering as refugees in the wilderness for 40 years, the time established by God when He dealt with that situation. Now the 40 years have ended and they are ready to enter and establish themselves as a nation in the land that was sworn to Abraham, their ancestor, centuries before.
Moses, their leader will not be going into the Promised Land with them, so in the book of Deuteronomy he attempts to prepare them for life without him. In the 28th chapter of the book he sets before them the love of God and the consequences of both obedience and disobedience. If you get a chance it would be well worth your time to read the entire chapter, but right now let me share some of the pertinent verses with you:
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.
2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8 The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:
16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.
25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.
62 You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God.
63 Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.
64 Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other.
65 Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. (Deuteronomy 28:1-8, 15-20,25, 62-64a,65NIV)
A look at the fulfillment of this prophecy:
First came a partial fulfilling and a warning:
This was known as the Babylonian Captivity.
This was when Nebuchadnezzer conquered Judah and carried off large numbers of people to Babylon. The book of Daniel spans the whole Babylonian Captivity period of 70 years. After 70 years and the Babylonian Empire having fallen to the Persians, God moved the heart of Cyrus, King of the Persians, to allow the Jews to return to their homeland and live in peace. He also encouraged the rebuilding of the temple and supported it financially. It was as if God was saying: You have had your warning. Here is a second chance.
Unfortunately Israel did not heed the warning. They slipped back into sin, were conquered by various nations and by the time of Jesus were under the rule of Rome.
The full fulfillment:
The peace enforced by the Romans was an uneasy peace at best. There were revolts of various intensity both before and after the time of Jesus. A full revolt began in 66 AD. In 70 AD Roman forces captured Jerusalem, and in fulfillment of Jesus prophecy (Matt.24; Mark 13; Luke 19 & 21) destroyed the Temple. In frustration the Romans scattered the Jewish people throughout their empire to prevent them from organizing and rebelling again. Thus began the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy of Deuteronomy 28, a fulfillment that continues to this day. There is scarcely a civilized nation on this earth that does not have a Jewish population.
God has a plan and a purpose for His people. As Moses looked ahead through the years and centuries he also made another prophecy in Deuteronomy chapter 30:
30 “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you,
2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons,
3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you.
4 If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.
5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in 1948 with the restoration of the nation of Israel in her homeland. The fulfillment continues to this day as the nation of Israel thrives, flourishes and becomes what God envisioned it to be, preparing it to play it’s role in the end of days. We have seen a part of this fulfillment with the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Although we see the beginning of the fulfillment of this prophecy in 1948 God was orchestrating events long before that to bring it about. This study will be looking at the Hand of God at work behind the scenes.
To better understand the working and timing of many of these events and fulfillment of prophecy we need to understand a law of ancient Israel called The Law of the Jubilee. That will be the subject of next week’s midweek presentation.