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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Eighty-Sixth (When it Happens)

How are you doing this week? Did you find worldly things in your life that you value? Are they valued above God's Word, or seeking Him? What about for this week's topic? Are you ready for when it happens?

Oh, what is "it" you ask? That's a great question! I was listening to a podcast today and they were talking about John's account of discovering the empty tomb. The discussion centered around the faith to believe and also the different types of individuals you can see in the empty tomb discovery, i.e. the instant believer (Peter), the believer that sees to believe (the other disciple), the believer that hears to believe (Mary), and the skeptic (Thomas) (John 20).

However, what stuck out to me was that these were all individuals that were with Jesus during His ministry. These were individuals to which Jesus was quoting Torah prophecy in reference to Himself. We look back and we can clearly see the connection between Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah and how it was fulfilled in Jesus, however it's clear that even with spending every day with Jesus the message was not fully comprehended by the disciples.

Hearing His parables, Him explaining them, and talking about His death and resurrection was completely lost on them, or at the least confused them to the point of not understanding. I think this is an important point to note and I'll explain why in just a bit. First, I want to point out something that may not be obvious as we look back at history in scripture: they didn't have bibles then. They certainly didn't have biblehub.com to allow rapid searching of scripture!

It's easy to take things for granted as you sit here behind your laptop or phone screen and read a message that was written hundreds, maybe even thousands of miles away that was available in mere seconds after its writing. We can look at that scenario as the world does and make it out to be bigger than it really is or we can simply take it as a blessing and a tool provided by Yehovah to open the door to a greater understanding of His Word.

Now, what exactly do I mean by that? If you look at the world, there is an overwhelming majority that sits back and has what I call a "Babel-like" attitude towards these sort of technological advances. They will say things like mankind is so advanced and capable now compared to before, even suggesting that we have evolved to some degree in a few thousand years. The reason I say "Babel-like" attitude is because they look at it as if there's nothing we can't do because look at all we've developed in such a short amount of time.

Have you thought about the fact that mankind created a contraption that flew a little over a hundred feet in the early 1900s and within about fifty years the first computer was built? Within another ten years the computer shrunk in size enough to be able to fit on a desk? And within another fifty years you've got a pocket sized version that is thousands of times more powerful and includes a miniaturized display? (i.e. the iPhone)

It's easy to look at these accomplishments and claim man is way more advanced than in Jesus' day, however when you truly look at it we have not really changed that much in a couple thousand years. The supposed "experts" in Torah in Jesus' day said there's no way this man is the Son of God. In fact, they conspired to have Him killed for even saying such a thing (Matthew 26:3-4)! Today, we have "experts" that tell us with utmost confidence how and why the universe works the way it does. It's presented as fact, regardless of if the next week a discovery is made that disproves it.

The Pharisees were individuals that spent day in and day out studying the scrolls and debating them. The disciples, on the other hand, were limited to hearing Torah in synagogue. Really, Jesus HAD to go to them because they were not haughty or prideful with their personal, preconceived notions of what the Word said about the coming Savior. Even with being a nearly blank slate in that respect, and Jesus essentially spelling out what was to come for Him, it took seeing the burial linens and empty tomb before they understood. When it happened is when they realized what He was telling them all along.

Honestly, that was actually necessary for Yehovah's plan to successful. If everyone had access to the scrolls back then like we have the ability to read and search scripture today, it's possible they may have embraced Him and never conspired to kill Him. In turn, He never would have been crucified to cleanse us of our sins. It's also possible there would be just as many that failed to see Him as a fulfillment of prophecy.

But what does that mean for us? We can look back and see how they missed the connection Jesus was trying to point them to, but we already done and over, right? How can we apply that to us today?

There are prophecies throughout scripture that have yet to be fulfilled, and I think this lesson can be applied to us in that respect. Whether or not you study these prophecies is immaterial because even if you don't you will likely come across one or more individuals talking about how they figured it all out and "here's the answer." One of the most common ones is, "the antichrist is.... and here's why."

We need to make sure we understand that even if we make a bunch of connections via scripture and are completely convinced of a potential fulfillment of prophecies we must take a "wait and see," method rather than a, "plan your future," method. In other words, don't make life decisions or life plans based on what we may have convinced ourselves (or what other people have tried to convince us) is going to happen. Even being with Jesus in person and Him talking about what was to come the disciples missed it, so what hope do we have in figuring the future out?!

There will be more and more false prophets claiming to be given visions or dreams or interpretations of scripture as Jesus' return draws near. They will be more and more convincing and hard to discern, even. Personally, I believe that is one of the reasons God has given us this season of "discernment development," that includes the revealing of truth in the world and giving us the opportunity to realize what spirit is behind various things in this world. He has given us the ability to take a stand for Him and our beliefs or choose to believe what the world wants us to believe.

In closing, we need to remember that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). As a result, we need to look at ours or other's prophecy predictions for what they are: predictions rather than promises, and live our lives according to Yehovah's will (James 4:13-15). We will not know when or how a prophecy will be fulfilled until...when it happens!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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