Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. We’re discussing Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come? subtitled: Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ, and today we’re looking at chapters nine and ten. But we’ll see how far we go, Dave.
Over the last few weeks we discussed prophecies that were fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus, His birth, death, and resurrection. Chapter nine is titled “Signs of the Times.” So that brings us up to today, and, Dave, I’ve been told, not having counted them myself, but there are about 500 prophecies yet to be fulfilled, and most of them center around the Second Coming of the Lord. Now, let’s begin with the words of Jesus in Luke 12, beginning with verse 54 . . .
Dave: Now, Tom, let me interrupt. I don’t know how many there are—I rather doubt there are 500, and you didn’t count them and neither did I, but . . .
Tom: Well, Dave, I got them from some really good sources—the guys you hang out with in the prophecy realm.
Dave: All right. Okay. All right. Most prophecy has already been fulfilled. That’s a point we’ve been trying to make. And, all the way through, whether we’re talking about the Second Coming or what, and the fact that most prophecies—and that’s hundreds of them—have already been fulfilled, gives us confidence that the ones yet to be fulfilled will be fulfilled. And the fulfilled prophecies stand as the great proof that God offers that He exists and the Bible is His Word. So, now we can look forward with confidence to the ones that remain to be fulfilled.
Tom: And we have exhortations to do just that. Luke 12, as I said, beginning with verse 54 (this is Jesus speaking): “When you see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites! Ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?”
Dave: Tom, I believe He was speaking specifically of the prophecy in Daniel nine that told the very day that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. Sixty-nine weeks of years from the command to rebuild Jerusalem, which we have talked about this many times, but we can go over it again quickly. We read of that in Nehemiah 2. Nehemiah says: “In the twentieth year of Artaxerxes” . . . [that’s Artaxerxes Longimanus, who ruled from 465 BC to 425 BC] Nehemiah says it was in the twentieth year of his reign, so that’s 445 BC, that he received the authorization and the command from the king, that everybody would cooperate in this, to rebuild Jerusalem (not to be confused with the rebuilding of the Temple, the Temple had already been rebuilt). So, from that day, Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel said to Daniel—you can count (not that Daniel would be there, but those who read Daniel could count it, either looking ahead or looking back now) 483 years—69 weeks of years— from that day, Nisan 1, 445 BC, until the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, exactly as Zechariah said, be hailed by the daughters of Jerusalem, and so forth.
So, I think this is what Christ is saying. “What’s the matter with you guys? It’s all written right there in your law. You are almost to the day—you’ve got just a few days to go, and you don’t even know!” And that’s a problem today, because, of course, we use that prophecy in a different way today. I often say, “How many candidates do you have for Messiah? How many men rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on April 6, 32 AD? And how many rode in on a donkey, they were hailed as the Messiah, four days later they are crucified? Come on! How many candidates do you have?” There ain’t nobody else, all right?
So, Jesus is saying, “You can tell the weather, the signs of the sky,” and so forth. “Don’t you read your own Bible? Don’t you know what the prophets have said? You ought to know—it’s about time—within a few days the Messiah will be riding into Jerusalem.
And, Tom, I say the same thing today to . . . I have many Jewish friends, and I just say, “Look, it’s too late for the Messiah to come the first time! It’s what your own prophets say!” And this is how Paul preached the gospel: he would go into the synagogue, open their scriptures—the only scriptures that there were—the Old Testament prophets. “Look what your prophets said. It’s very clear that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled every one of these in detail. Why don’t you accept Him as the Messiah?”
And, today, Tom, it puzzles me, but Paul said, “Blindness, in part, has happened to Israel until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” So, there is no way anyone can escape this.
Tom: Right. Dave, as we know, we have talked about this on the program before, but the first response of many Jewish people is, “Well, the Messiah is going to bring peace. Jesus didn’t bring peace.” And there is a misunderstanding of their own prophets.
Dave: Mm-hmm. As Jesus said to the two on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24: “’You fools! Why don’t you pay attention to what the prophets have said? Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
So, they say, “Oh, well, the Messiah is supposed to bring peace.” Yeah, but it also says “the Messiah would be cut off out of the land of the living,” Isaiah 53, “for the transgression of my people is He stricken. He made His grave with the wicked, with the rich in His death.”
So, the Messiah was going to die, and King David, in Psalm 22, said they would pierce His hands and His feet—a prophecy of the crucifixion 500 years before it was known. So you can’t just hang your hat on one thing and say, “Oh, but He was going to bring peace.” How do you bring peace and get crucified at the same time?
So it’s very clear from the Old Testament that the Messiah had to come twice—once as the Lamb that would be slain for our sins, and then He will come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to conquer His enemies and reign on the throne of his father David.
So . . . and people today, Tom, as you know, “Kingdom Now”—these people who are claiming that the church has got to take dominion. They’re confused about the kingdom and about the timing as well.
Tom: Dave, in this chapter, chapter 9, which is titled, “The Signs of the Times,” you give two obvious reasons why such prophecies were given. Let me just give you some one-liners related to it, and then you expand on them.
“God hasn’t lost interest,” you say, “in His creatures; nor has He abandoned control of history.” That’s one of the values of prophecy. The other one is that “There’s no doubt as to the identity of the Messiah, whom the Antichrist will try to deceptively pass himself off as.” So, these are really two issues that we don’t think about sometimes.
Dave: Yeah, of course, the Bible gives us the specific means of identifying the Messiah when He comes. As you are saying, that’s one of the benefits of prophecy, one of the purposes of it. Otherwise, how would we know? There have been a lot of people who claim to be the Messiah, a lot of Jewish men who claim to be the Messiah. Bar Kokhba, for example, 130 AD, led a revolt against the Romans. He claimed to be the Messiah. There were numbers before then.
Tom: There was Rebbe—wasn’t Rebbe in the . . . what was that Jewish group in New York?
Dave: Oh, you’re thinking of The Rebbe. The reason they call him the Rebbe—Menachem Schneerson, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson. Yeah, they thought he was the Messiah. They were sure when he died he would be raised from the dead, which didn’t happen. And they built a brownstone structure over there like the one he had in Brooklyn. They built one in Israel for him, as well.
Well, there are probably hundreds who have claimed to be the Messiah. I met a few in India who claimed to be the Messiah. So we have to specifically know how to identify the Messiah, and the Bible leaves no doubt about that. And then, as you mentioned, God hasn’t just left this world, just created us and then gone off on a vacation somewhere! He had a purpose and a plan for us, and the major part of that is to redeem us because we’re sinners, we’re rebels, and He’s going to bring us back into fellowship with Himself, which would only be possible if the penalty was paid, and that’s why the Messiah had to come.
But, Tom, let me mention something else we talked about in there specifically. Jesus said, in John 14, “I will send you another comforter.” He said, “I am going to go away, I will send you another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth,” and so forth. See, there are no prophecies for Muhammad, no prophecies for Buddha, no prophecies for anyone except Jesus—and there are hundreds of specific prophecies for Jesus.
Well, the Muslims don’t want to be left out of this, so they say, “Well, wait a minute! There is a prophecy for Muhammad. Jesus said He was going to send another Comforter, and that’s Muhammad.”
Tom, it’s so absurd! First of all, Jesus said He would send the Comforter from the Father, and the Qur’an, a number of times, denies that Allah is a father, or that he has a son. Okay? Furthermore, Jesus said, “He is with you, and shall be in you.” That’s 550 years before Muhammad was born! And Jesus said the Comforter is already with you, and He is going to be in you.
Furthermore, He sent that Comforter to indwell—that’s when He began to be in the disciples on the day of Pentecost. So, the Bible is foolproof, Tom! I just love the Bible. You cannot escape it! There is no way you can massage this thing around and make it say what God didn’t say.
Tom: Dave, when you talk about the confusion, really delusion, at Christ’s first coming—you know, when Jesus called those . . . really He was talking about the religious group with regard to being hypocrites, but as you said, we could apply that to any group that avoids the clear teaching of Scripture.
You mentioned Muhammad and Confucius and sacred books that lack any kind of prophetic teaching, and so on. Dave, the thought hit me about some of our founding fathers and many who are thought to be Christians, and perhaps they were, in some ways, but some of them were deists. And to explain that theology, they believed that God created the universe, you know, we needed to have a creator. However, once He did that, He just backed away and said, “Okay, you guys can handle it from here.” So, as you know, the Jefferson New Testament, for example, he cut out all the miracles, and it ends with, “. . . and they put Jesus’s body in the grave.
What I am getting at, prophecy is so important, but they could not possibly have had an interest in prophecy, because it deals with God working through history.
Dave: Right, exactly.
Tom: Well, the other aspect of prophecy—and you alluded to it earlier—was that it provides perhaps the most powerful means of convincing unbelievers and introducing them to Jesus, right?
Dave: Tom, it is absolutely one hundred percent foolproof. Nobody can refute it, and Paul proved it. For example, in Acts 9, it says, “He proved from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” Acts:18:28, which I often quote, Apollos: “He mightily convinced the Jews, publicly proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.”
So, nobody can escape that, but just because we can prove that Jesus is the Messiah doesn’t mean that people will then believe. Paul proved it, and they tried to kill him, and eventually they did. Jesus certainly proved it with the miracles that He did. Even when He raised Lazarus from the dead, the Rabbis knew He had raised Lazarus from the dead, and they are going to kill Lazarus, too! Kill Jesus!
So, there is a selfish focus on our own interests. And, Tom, I’ve said it often, and the more I travel around the world and talk with people the more I realize it. There are some people who are willing to embrace the truth, even if it contradicts what they believe. Most people are not. You know the old sign, “Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is made up.”
Okay. So, we can prove it, yes, but that does not mean that everyone will believe. And, Tom, I must say that men are accountable to God, and they will be judged because of this, because all the proof is laid out, and they have rejected Christ. And I think that that is one of the things that will torment the damned throughout eternity—“I didn‘t have to be here! There it was, all the evidence, and I was such a stubborn fool that I refused for my own reasons.” I think, Tom, that would be a horrible realization to haunt a person.
Tom: Yeah, but Dave, I’m not so sure. I mean, we are speculating about this, okay? The reason I say I am not so sure is because to be in heaven means that you want to submit, you want to be with the Lord forever and love Him more than self, but I think hell is made up of selfish people. So, they don’t want what they have, but the other option is to submit, and I just think for eternity—well, anyway, just my own opinion.
Dave: Well, Tom, we can get into hell here, but anyway, no, they will be judged.
Dave: Well, to be judged, you must know what’s wrong. They will be punished. And I believe that the greatest punishment—it’s not some kind of physical torment. It’s moral, it’s spiritual, it’s a realization. . . . I think that these self-centered people will be confronted with the awesome fire of God’s judgment exposing their selfishness. They will now recognize for all eternity the difference between right and wrong, the difference between truth and the lie, and I think that there would be such a torment in their consciences.
Tom: Dave, I absolutely agree. I thought sometimes about [how] we are able to sear our conscience, we’re able to do things. There will be no ability to do that! That’s another thought I had about it. So, they have to live with every thought, word, and deed for all eternity.
Dave: Oh, oh . . . horrible. Horrible!
So, well, Dave, here’s another aspect—two thousand years of no fulfillment. Two thousand years with prophecies, and you know we have seen that even during the Reformation, many leaders of the Reformation decided that some prophecies couldn’t be fulfilled, so they spiritualized them. That’s how we got Replacement Theology. But two thousand years—why should anybody expect His coming soon?
Dave: Well, Tom, a number of reasons. First of all, two thousand years is a long time in our calendar, but after all, it took four thousand years before Christ came, didn’t it? From the time that Adam was created until the coming of the Messiah.
Tom: The prophecy in Genesis:3:15.
Dave: Right. It took four thousand years for that to be fulfilled. So, another two thousand isn’t so many. By our standards it’s a long time, but by God’s standards, compared with eternity, it’s not long at all. Furthermore, there were events that were prophesied that had to fall into place; and our generation, Tom—and again, I don’t think anyone can ignore this or refute it. Well, you may try to ignore it, but you can’t. We have signs on the earth today that nobody ever had. Israel has been brought back into her land. I think of Jeremiah:23:7 and 8. It says: “The day is coming it will no longer be said, Blessed be the Lord who brought His people out of the land of Egypt, but Blessed be the Lord who brought His people back from all the nations where He had scattered them.” They’ve come back to Israel from more than a hundred nations—never happened before in history! Israel is surrounded by enemies that are all against her, united against her—never happened before in history! Zechariah:12:2 said they would—all the neighbors would be in a siege. The land has been divided by the world, UN Resolution 181, November 29, 1947. It’s called the partition of the land. God said, “I am going to punish the nations for dividing my land.” You have the technology—my goodness, GPS—Antichrist can track anybody anywhere. You can’t buy or sell without a number. Who could have imagined that? We have the technology today! We have the weapons. Jesus said, “Except those days are shortened, no flesh would survive.” You don’t wipe out all flesh with bows and arrows, and swords and spears.
On the one hand, Tom, it’s exactly right. Two thousand years, people would say, maybe another two thousand, maybe another ten thousand. No, but we have things in place right now! There is no escaping that fact! Amazing fulfillments of prophecy that didn’t need to be fulfilled for the Rapture but only for the Second Coming. I think we are very, very close!
Tom: Dave, it was Amos, about three thousand years ago, right? Amos . . .
Dave: Not quite.
Tom: About twenty-seven or twenty-eight hundred. My point is that he said that the Jews would be brought back into the land and they would never again be pulled out.
Tom: So, Dave, we’re not going to see, according to the Scriptures, another diaspora, another scattering of the people among the nations—it’s not going to happen again.
Dave: And it can’t go on very long like this, something has to happen. Oh, of course, Ezekiel said the same thing in chapters 35, 36, 37. God said, “I will bless you at the end more than at the beginning.” Jeremiah 31 says, “The city will be rebuilt, and it will never be destroyed again.”
Well, you’ve got so much going on right now, attempting, really, to undo what God has done to take these people out of the land again. Muhammad said, “Every Jew must be killed,” and you know . . . oh, my goodness, we quote the statements by leading Arabs that they are going to annihilate Israel. Something is going to break here, and I think we don’t have much time left.