What do last month’s death of Ariel Sharon, previous Prime Minister of Israel – a sealed note on a revelation to that country’s leading rabbi, Yitzak Kaduri, that was kept for the first anniversary of his own death 8 years earlier – and Gabriel’s prophetic word to Jesus’ mother 2,000 years previously – all have in common?
A Matter of Timing
‘To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck what’s planted…’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
That wisdom would apply not only to the connections between the above three persons but also to today’s blog. Note I didn’t write, ‘to the three persons’ lives’. Of course it does relate to that but, I’d submit, it also applies to their prophetic common denominator!
[Aside: interesting to note the preceding verse 2:26 begins, God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight…]
Days before last Christmas I was struck by one of the main verses always featured in the festivities – something angel Gabriel said to young Mary, as blogged a few weeks ago (here). That post considers the prophetic and creative nature of his words brought direct from The Almighty. It closes by promising to explain the relevance of Gabriel’s prophecy of Jesus’ kingship to a vision received by rabbi Kaduri. Prior to that continuation, I suggested readers may like to read a brief blog on Jewish expectation of a saviour, or messiah.
Good as the promise is and with first paragraphs already drafted, I didn’t get around to finishing it in view of other topical material and home priorities.
In fact, it seems the time just wasn’t right. The unintentional delay opened up a window of opportunity for a confirmation to come along that I was on the right track. It must have been the Lord’s doing – and it’s good to know I wasn’t off-beam or had gone off at a tangent!
Now, in writing about it, I believe He’s pointing me to relevant scriptures and bringing further insights…bring it on Lord! I trust you will bear with my building upon what started out as a brief flash of inspiration – it all hangs together.
[Am reminded this is Jewish year 5774 (The Open Door) and what I’ve described above is like entering that doorway and noticing what’s at hand, then looking all around when past the threshold. Also, on checking this draft I hadn’t thought to write ‘flash’ but now recollect seeing several in the sky just before waking today. The last and brightest flash filled the whole sky and I thought it could be the lightning of Jesus’ return in glory.]
SO, back to what Gabriel said:
After reading out Luke 2 at a carol service I wanted to check the first chapter. There, part of what Gabriel said popped up off my Bible’s page and ‘hit me between the eyes’! And it buzzed in my brain for days, nay weeks, afterwards!
It was one of those ‘aha!’ moments when a scriptural insight strikes like a lightning bolt. Since childhood I’d heard of Jesus Christ as ‘King of the Jews’ many times. But this time a new understanding took me by surprise. More was yet to come about that prophecy recounted in the first part “I am Gabriel, …”. But what set everything off was distinctly different to what I wrote about in there. To recap:
In speaking to Mary, Gabriel told her about conceiving a child and giving him a specific name. And he went on to state what Jesus would become, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end…”.
Suddenly, I realised the phrase underlined above meant Jesus would become the king of all descendants of the ancient Israelites, and the Jews in particular. But far more than that – Jesus has always been King of the Jews.
It hit me hard that in The Almighty’s sight, the crucified saviour of all Jews and Gentiles has been ‘King of Jacob’s descendants’ ever since His life on earth. Although not enthroned, proclaimed, recognised and reigning as such, none of that makes any difference as far as Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (Jesus the Christ) is concerned.
That is, He regards each and every Jew as one of His subjects and loves each of them – from His birth and throughout 2,000 years of rejection, and then to His return to reign and into the future ‘forever’…which is what I’m about to focus upon.
But the people’s leaders didn’t want to acknowledge that fact. They saw the northern rabbi from Galilee of the Gentiles as a dire threat because the populace had watched Him bring dead Lazarus out of his tomb alive, and thus believed in Him and may become followers.
In council with chief priests and Pharisees over how to prevent the Romans quelling the inevitable disturbance, high priest Caiaphas rebuked his fellows, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish”. A negative political stance, it was nevertheless a prophetical utterance. Jesus’ disciple John explains that peculiarity as, and making this the latest ‘whack on the forehead’.:
Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. (Emphasis mine)
[Note: John was known to the high priest and recorded his above presumption about the Romans taking away their temple and nation. Caiaphas warned Pontius Pilate against releasing Jesus and accused him of acting against Caesar. So, the continued reliance on the term ‘King’ by the Jews is key in the decision to crucify Him. See John 11:45-57 and 18-19. Also, let’s not forget the magi came seeking Jesus as ‘King of the Jews’, which disturbed king Herod.]
Gospel accounts state Pilate was reluctant to order Jesus’ execution and then caved in to pressure from Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, who all wanted Him dead. Thus, it’s easy to assume Pilate pacified them in order to avoid disturbances when Jerusalem was packed with pilgrims. However, the fact Herod Agrippa was the Judean monarch, as vassal of the emperor, indicates the Jews’ claim about Jesus, which Jesus did not deny, was similar to a charge of treason.
Therefore, Pilate had the reason for the death sentence affixed to the execution stake, or cross, namely ‘I.N.R.I’, which means ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews’.
In so doing, Pilate unwittingly validated what the angel had declared in a message from the Throne of God. (The second he’d been assigned to deliver and declare with all the creative power of prophecy, as discussed in my earlier post.)
Regrettably, throughout its history the Church has been no better in its treatment of those who refused to recognise Jesus as their real Messiah. Until Emperor Constantine’s reign the Roman church financially supported churches in the Holy Land led by ‘desposyni’; that is, ‘The Lord’s blood-kindred’. However, this brotherly provision ceased after a dispute with Pope Sylvester. Under the new emperor the church in Rome became officially recognised and established with power across the empire.
Son of David
Although Gabriel hadn’t explicitly described Mary’s future child as ‘King of the Jews’, that’s what ‘the throne of his father David’ implies. And reference to Jesus as reigning over ‘the house of Jacob’ means He would be not only king of the tribe of Judah but also of the other eleven tribes descended from Jacob.
David had ruled 1,000 years earlier and unified Judah and the other eleven tribes, or Israel. Collectively they were known as ‘Bene Ya’aqob’, Sons of Jacob, also as ‘Bene Yisrael’ from his new name after having wrestled like a soldier with the Lord, or an angel – Yisrael, or ‘Prince with God’. (See Genesis 32, interlinear)
As a nation-state once again exists in the ancient land God promised to descendants of Abraham then that title of kingship applies to modern Israel too! In other words, Jesus is that nation’s unrecognised and unseen King, but Who is destined to rule and reign in the flesh, as proclaimed by the ancient prophets and himself during His last Passover meal.
Furthermore, as John explains, Caiaphas’ prophecy refers not only to Jesus giving His life for the Jews but also for other people. Also that Jesus would gather together from all over the world, uniting all who believe in God the Father, no matter whether Jew or Gentile.
Is this stupendous prophetic plan of action being fulfilled in our lifetime? That possibility will be considered in part 2…
Update 4 Dec 2014 – that second part remained unwritten but, as in the first section’s header, it was really a ‘matter of time’. What I intended writing has been overtaken by events, as reported on 26th November in Israel Today – see Arabs and Jews unite to agree only solution to Israel-Palestine issue.