God’s Promises to Man and the World

Mark introduced Jesus as the One to come by quoting Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1. Matthew 3 and Luke 3 quoted Isaiah correctly. The messenger or the voice in the wilderness was identified with John the Baptist. The One in question was Jesus the Christ or the Messiah. Jesus himself insisted that John the Baptist was Elijah and that he was the last and greatest of the prophets. Mark quoted, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things." "But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it was written about him," (Mk. 9:12-13).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

The people of Israel were afraid to face God and petitioned Moses to ask God to raise up prophets that were fit to speak to God in their behalf. Moses was informed, “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account” (Deut. 18:17-19). There were many that God called and the last one according to Jesus was John the Baptist (Mt. 11:13). Jesus himself was God’s final and last word to mankind; that was what the writer to the Hebrews believed (Heb. 1:1-4).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem with a weapon of war in one hand and a building tool in the other; but the King or Cornerstone of Israel was to come in peace and ride on a donkey: "Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey"(Zech. 9: 9). Before that day, when the Lord would set his feet on the Mount of Olives and living water would flow from Jerusalem, the false shepherds would lead their people into war and destruction. Politics rather than religion would become the prevalent agenda for the people of the Promise (Zech.11-14).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

Daniel's prophecy of betrayal became a sobering reality. The Persians and the Medes fell to Alexander the Great and the Hellenizing of the Middle East began. Alexander’s empire was divided among his four generals. Two of them, Egypt and Syria became Judea’s mortal enemies. Syria was set on Hellenizing Judaism with costly consequences. Treachery began within Judaism with Alcimus who turned against the Hasidim and many were executed. Those who escaped rejoined Judas Maccabee and the civil war continued. It began with the Syrians and ended with the Romans, leaving posterity with the bloodiest memory of Abraham’s seed in history.

God’s Promises to Man and the World

The exiling of the Jews to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar led to a profound change and return to Yahwehism. This was due primarily to the instructions Jeremiah the prophet had sent in a letter. “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, ‘Built houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’ Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says, ‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams they encourage you to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 29:4-9).

God’s Promises to Man and the World

exiles had two apocalyptic prophets of their own, Ezekiel and Daniel. Ezekiel saw the destruction of his beloved homeland and city and along with Daniel was taken to Babylon where he prophesied under the assumed identity as a "son of man" and “the watchman.” His denunciation of Israel's sin and captivity was very graphic and severe and so were his predictions regarding the other nations Babylon had devastated. There is no direct attack on the enemy but the victims saw the enemy in the “windstorm from the north,” the ”cooking pot” and “Gog’ and “Magog.” The Valley of the Dry Bones was an image of the dead left behind by the enemy. In due time the “I Am” will deal with the devastators and restore His Name and Laws among his people. Hereinafter, each individual and not the nation as a whole would be held accountable (Ezek. 18:1-4). Hence, everyone had to repent in order to experience healing and restoration. God himself would bring back a remnant for his namesake (Ezek. 36:22-23), and not even Noah, Daniel or Job could alter Israel's case (Ezek. 14:14). Ezekiel proclaimed a complete and pure restoration of the land, the cities, the temple, the priesthood and the sacrifices. These things took place under Ezra – Nehemiah but did not last. The Romans ended Ezekiel’s predictions. Ultimately, beyond that earthly Israel, was one that God himself would build into a global power. It is a forecast of one like Jesus (Immanuel) who came to announce that God’s reign was at hand (Mk. 1:15).