The following blog post was originally posted here: In The Fulness of Time…Christmas Sermon #5
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.(Galatians 4:4-5)
The birth of Jesus was a predicted event. Centuries before it occurred it was described as to its place, time and significance. The Prophets anticipated the birth of the one who would come to crush the serpent’s head and remove the primal curse, and announced beforehand the conditions which would prevail at the time of the birth.
Consider one of the earlier prophecies of the Messiah, uttered by Jacob over his son Judah.
Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.(Genesis 49:9-10)
Jacob predicted that Judah would be the Kingly Tribe, but that the sceptre would not depart from Judah’s hand until “Shiloh” come. The sages universally agreed that ‘Shiloh” was a name for the Messiah. The scepter refers to the national power of self-determination, particularly in matters of justice. It is a symbol for capital punishment.
Judah did become the Kingly tribe, in the days of David and Solomon, and retained the Kingship even after the Kingdom was rent in two. Eventually the ten tribes which split away, went into Assyrian captivity, never to be seen again, Leaving Judah and the remnant of Israel. The scepter continued even through the dark days of the Babylonian captivity, and on into the restoration.
The scepter departed around 7 AD, the Romans having taken the ultimate sanction away from Judah, as they did every other province that they ruled. Rome alone would hold the power of life and death. This is the human reason why Jesus was eventually crucified and not stoned to death for blasphemy.
Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.(John 19:31-32)
The scepter had indeed departed from Judah, and to those Jews who had no doubt noticed, it must have seemed like they had been abandoned by God! Where was Shiloh? Little did they realize that “Shiloh” at that time was a young boy learning carpentry in his family home in Nazareth.
An even more precise prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah was uttered by the prophet Daniel. 560 years before the birth of Jesus , the prophet Daniel was given a timing prophecy, which was carefully observed by the Magi centuries later, allowing them to be more aware of the coming of the Jewish Messiah, than the High Priest himself!
How did they know the time was near for the birth of Messiah?
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.(Daniel 9:24-27)
Daniel predicted that the Jews would be given a set period of time, 490 years, to complete their God given task. The way Daniel describes those years is in a series of “weeks” of years.
*from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: … The starting date is the commandment to restore Jerusalem…which occurred on March 14, 445 BC., according to Nehemiah 1 and 2.
* Sixty nine weeks of years commenced– each year consisting of 360 days, thus a total of 483 years, or 173,880 days from the edict of Artaxerxes to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and its walls,
* Shall Messiah the Prince come, and be cut off, but not for himself but for the people… Daniel predicted that the Messiah would come and die for the people at the 483rd year. The Magi calculated correctly when they arrived to see “the King” and to worship Him. The prophecy works out to April 32 AD that Messiah would come and be “Cut off”.
*The Stop Watch is clicked off- The Jewish people have one more “Week” of years to fulfill what is written of them, but the clock has been stopped. In the intermediate period, Daniel predicted that the temple would be destroyed…
Thus Messiah would have to have come between the Gentile decree to halt capitol punishment and strip Judah of her Sovereignty as a nation,(& AD) and the Gentile destruction of the temple(70AD).