Have you ever thought about what you would have done? From here it looks so easy! I mean, how could the Jews of Jesus’ time have missed it? They had all the prophecies, like 450 of them, pointing straight to Jesus as the Messiah, right? So, how could they have made such a huge mistake? I mean, not only did they not recognize Jesus as the Messiah; they killed Him for saying so.
We like to look back and feel kind of smug. We would have picked up on the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies right away, right? I did a little research this week to see if I could find out what things might have looked like to the Jews of Jesus’ day, to see if maybe I could figure out what was going on in their minds that made things a bit foggier for them than for us with our 20/20 hindsight. Because I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but Jesus is coming again and I’d really hate to miss Him! Amen?
OK, so why did so many people miss the signs of the first coming of Jesus? Well, one of the reasons seems to be that most of the folks were just living. They were going to work and coming home, raising their kids, going to school, getting married, all that kind of day-to-day stuff that just happens. Well, we don’t have any problems with that, because we’re focused! We know what’s going to happen so we won’t forget to look for it.
Another thing that seems to have confused a lot of people was that there were tons of interpretations of the prophecies, not to mention lots of branch off prophecies from questionable sources. There were even some folks that said that it was all made up and there were no prophecies to interpret! Another puzzle was that there were disagreements about exactly what kind of Messiah they were looking for. Some said He would be a King, some said a prophet and some said a priest…hmmm. Some folks felt the prophecies pointed to an immortal and some said it would be a mortal man. So, who were the Jews looking for—did they know?
Well that’s no problem for us, right? We know exactly who we’re looking for don’t we? Plus, we know exactly how He’s coming. There isn’t any disagreement for people today about how Jesus will come back this time, is there? Not like the Jews who couldn’t agree on how the Messiah would arrive.
And then there were the guys who claimed they were the Messiah, but weren’t. That never happens these days does it? We won’t have any problem at all with that part.
Think about this, what if some new inspiration tells us that we’ve been looking at this thing the all wrong. Would we have the courage to stand out and admit that we had misinterpreted the signs? Or would our pride hold us back—keep us from telling people about the additional truth we had found? I think that was a big problem with the priests, the Sadducees and the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. The Messiah didn’t make the impression they had hoped for and so they held onto their misinterpretations rather than admit the truth.
There was also the issue of political/ religious power. One sect of Judaism quit preaching about the coming Messiah altogether, because they wanted people to believe that the prophecies were pointing to them, as kind of a master race.
Unfortunately, when we compare the Jews of Jesus’ time with ourselves here at the end of time, we see all the same issues that plagued them. We’re distracted by everyday life; we don’t always agree on what the prophecies are telling us; there are lots of prophecies floating around that have nothing to do with the truth (but look pretty convincing); there are folks who say it’s all made up (and can supposedly prove it); there’s the secret rapture, post-pre-mid tribulation theories, the earth will become heaven theories…
HOW DO WE KEEP FROM BEING FOOLED?
Excellent question! Well, I did some more research, in sources I trust more than anonymous internet sites and came up with some helpful information.
First of all, the Bible:
“And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. …And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luk 21:7-11,27-28 KJVR)
Then, I checked out Mrs. White. Of course she has lots of details on what to watch out for and what the deceptions might look like when they come. She also has some practical information about who the most likely to be deceived will be. For example,
“Those who can so easily be led by a false spirit show that they have been following the wrong captain form some time,--so long that they do not discern that they are departing from the faith, or that they are not building upon the true foundation. We need to urge all to put on their spiritual eye-glasses, to have their eyes anointed that they may see clearly and discern the tru pillars of the faith. Then they will know that ‘the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.’” The Southern Watchman/April 5, 1904 “Present Truth”
I love that – “spiritual eye-glasses” – wouldn’t it be great if we could buy those at Wal-Mart?
“So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested. … and the few who are aithful to God’s requirements are the only ones who can ever withstand him,… ” Last Day Events, Chapter 11—“Satan’s Last Day Deceptions” p.170
“The only safe position for any of us to take is to consider ourselves sinners, daily needing divine grace. Mercy through the atoning blood of Christ is our only plea. “…But [Satan] presents before men not the meekness and humily of the Christian religion, but their own good deeds and wonderful impressions. We can meet his specious temptations only with the word of God. Those who have the truth as it is revealed in that holy word, must stand fast on the platform, relying on, ‘It is written.’” The Signs of the Times/Feb.26,1885 “Sanctification—The True and the False”