Posted by: biblestudyseattle | October 21, 2019

Challenges of the early Christians

We sometimes overlook the challenges the early Christians had in convincing people that Jesus was the Messiah.  It is highly instructive for our time.  “As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,”  Luke 3:15  I’ve never heard a sermon commenting on why the people were in expectation.  It was because of Daniels prophecy, “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.  Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.   And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.”  Daniel 9:24-26

The annointed one here is Jesus.  The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was in 455BC, or thereabouts, so 69 weeks of years is 483 years, which is 29AD.  (Technically 454.75BC to 28.75AD).  Even if we quibble that is was 458BC, it’s still around the time John was baptizing.

But Jesus died.  How are you going to convince anyone that the Messiah who was supposed to conquer the world for good apparently died?  Did he fail his mission?  This was (and is) the stumbling block for the Jews.  Everyone wants a STRONG messiah, not a weak one.  Even now this is the case.  Everyone supposes Jesus will come with thunderbolts and dash the bad guys to pieces.  But first he will come quietly.  As a thief.  “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”  Revelation 16:15  Then, he will privately reveal himself to the Jews.  “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.  And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.  And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.”  Genesis 45:1-3  So it will be in a century or so.  Then, and only later than that does Jesus come in mighty power.  “Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.  For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.  On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.  And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”  Zechariah 14:1-7  This will most likely happen in the days of awe leading up to the great Day of Atonement several centuries from now.  


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