FOCUS: The Bible provides a fascinating look at world history based on the lives of the descendants of Adam, primarily through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God did not sugar-coat His message to mankind. Instead He recorded ‘sin in action’ and ‘the gains of good,’ showcasing the countless flaws of human nature. He challenges us to learn from the past, put what we’ve learned into practice in the present, and understand that He has a plan for the future.
FOUNDATION SCRIPTURE: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 3:8).
(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version 1984, unless otherwise stated.)
PROPHECY CONNECTION #3: Fulfillments in the Future
From the beginning, God has woven prophecy into the tapestry of His Word. Throughout the “middle” of the Bible, representatives of the Lord God have made predictions that have been fulfilled and are historically verifiable. And there are still quite a few that “watchers” are anticipating!
A. In the Garden of Eden, God foretold that “the seed” of Eve would prevail over “the offspring” of Satan (Genesis 3:15) — JESUS, a direct descendant of Eve and Adam, defeated the devil when He conquered death and rose from the grave THREE DAYS after His crucifixion, JUST AS HE FORETOLD (Matthew 12:40).
B. God foretold that ABRAM’s descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15:5) — Abram’s son ISHMAEL, by his wife’s servant Hagar, became the father of twelve sons, ancestors of the modern-day Arab nations (Genesis 17:20; 25:12-18). The Lord God changed Abram’s name to ABRAHAM and promised that his descendants, through his son ISAAC, would inherit “the whole land of Canaan as an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8, 21). The promise was confirmed to Abraham’s grandson JACOB (Genesis 28:13-14), the father of twelve sons who became known as the 12 tribes of ISRAEL — a.k.a. Jacob (Genesis 29:31 – 30:20; 35:18; 32:28).
C. MOSES rescued the descendants of Israel from 430 years of slavery in Egypt — just as God had foretold (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 12:40-42) — and the Lord led them on a journey that lasted 40 years. JOSHUA led them into the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1-5), and God worked through the Israelites to rid the land of people who had chosen to worship other gods, rather than the Lord God of Abraham (a.k.a. Abram).
D. The Lord God gave the Israelites two lists — the first promised BLESSINGS FOR OBEDIENCE (Deuteronomy 28:1-14); the second warned of CURSES FOR DISOBEDIENCE (Deut. 28:15-68). Unfortunately, the descendants of Jacob (a.k.a. ISRAEL) chose to abandon the laws God had given them, so He backed up His warning with disciplinary action: “… THE LORD WILL SCATTER YOU AMONG THE NATIONS, FROM ONE END OF THE EARTH TO THE OTHER.
1. The first diaspora (scattering) came in the latter 700’s B.C., when the Assyrians attacked the northern kingdom of Israel and the Lord God used the Assyrian armies to “remove them from His presence” (2 Kings 17:16-18a). These are commonly called the ” 10 Lost Tribes of Israel.” Only two of the twelve tribes, plus a remnant of each, remained in the Promised Land. They were collectively called “JUDAH” or “Jews.”
2. The second diaspora happened in 586 B.C. when the Lord God used Nebachadnezzar of Babylon to fulfill a prophecy made through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:4), that the Jews would be exiled from the Promised Land for 70 years. The Babylonians destroyed the first temple, built in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount. When the Jews were released from bondage in Babylon (exactly 70 years later), most of them returned to the Promised Land and rebuilt their temple, where they made animal sacrifices to the Lord God to atone for their sin.
3. The third diaspora began in 70 A.D. — after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and witnesses documented His ascension into heaven. The second temple was destroyed just as Jesus had foretold (Matthew 24:1-2) and to this day has not been rebuilt.
There have been other “scatterings” of the Jews throughout world history. But the Lord God promised through His prophet Ezekiel that the descendants of Israel would one day be gathered back into the land that He gave to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob — ISRAEL (Ezekiel 37:14, 21-22; 38:8; 39:27-28) –– IN 1948, after World War 2, ISRAEL WAS ONCE AGAIN RECOGNIZED AS A NATION by a majority of the world. And in the 1967 Six-Day War, they recaptured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, which was later returned to the Arabs.
E. The Lord God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel concerning a future battle — the nations vs. Israel!
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.“ (Ezekiel 38:14-16)
F. The Lord Jesus revealed that one man (and his assistant) will have global authority issued by the devil!
“… The dragon [the devil or Satan (Revelation 20:2)] gave the beast [the global ruler or ‘antichrist’] his power and his throne and great authority.… He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And HE WAS GIVEN AUTHORITY OVER EVERY TRIBE, PEOPLE, LANGUAGE AND NATION. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world…. Then I saw another beast [a.k.a the false prophet (Rev. 19:19-20)] , coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast … he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. HE ALSO FORCED EVERYONE, SMALL AND GREAT, RICH AND POOR, FREE AND SLAVE, TO RECEIVE A MARK ON HIS RIGHT HAND OR ON HIS FOREHEAD SO THAT NO ONE COULD BUY OR SELL UNLESS HE HAD THE MARK …” (Rev. 13:2b-17).
G. The prophet John foretold another battle when demons will gather the kings of the earth to Armageddon:
“… they [‘spirits of demons’] go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty…. Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon“ (Rev. 16:14-16).
John saw heaven opened and a rider on a white horse — KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. The rider [JESUS] and the armies of heaven will strike down the nations. Then the beast, the false prophet, and everyone who accepted the mark (Rev. 13:16-17) will be defeated and destroyed (Rev. 19:11-21).
H. John wrote that Satan will be locked up in “the Abyss” for 1000 years — known as “the Millenium” — and those who were beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and the Word of God, and because they refused to worship the global ruler [‘the beast’] or take the mark required to buy or sell, will come to life and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:1-3).
I. After the Millenium, Satan will be released and once again will gather people for battle against Jerusalem, “the city God loves” … Then fire will come down from heaven and devour them, and the devil, “who deceived them” will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, known as “the second death” (Rev. 20:7-10).
J. JUDGMENT DAY!
[John speaking] “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. THE LAKE OF FIRE IS THE SECOND DEATH. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.“ (Rev. 20:11-15)
WHAT’S THE POINT?
The Lord God has USED PROPHECY TO PROVE over and over again that “HE IS, HE WAS, AND HE IS TO COME ” (Revelation 4:8). He can be trusted to do what He has promised.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
It matters because the destiny of eternal souls is at stake.
THINK ABOUT IT …
Will your name be found written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain?
Jesus said, “I AM the way and the truth and THE LIFE” … “REPENT for the kingdom of heaven is near” … “I AM THE GATE for the sheep; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out [continued free will] and find green pasture” … “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son [JESUS] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 14:6; Matt. 4:17; John 10:9; 3:16-21)