I. THE EXAMPLE OF MISSING
THE MESSIAH IN THE PROPHETIC WORD
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
A. The People of Israel Expecting the Coming
of the God-promised Messiah
At the time of Christ’s first coming, the people of Israel were expecting the coming of their God-promised Messiah (Luke 3:15; John 1:19-25, 45-46). Before the Lord Jesus was born, a number of the children of Israel were expecting to meet their Messiah because they came to know, at least partially, the prophecies of the Old Testament, which spoke of God giving His people a Messiah, the Anointed One.
B. Many Missing the Coming of Their Messiah
After Israel was taken over by the Romans, the Israelites were eagerly expecting their Messiah to come and rescue them out of the hands of the Roman imperialists. Yet many of them missed the coming of their Messiah in their time because of Christ’s appearing from Galilee instead of from Bethlehem (John 7:40-42; cf. Matt. 2:1-12, 19-23; Luke 2:39; Matt. 3:13). They did not know the Old Testament so finely or accurately. Some of them knew that according to Micah 5:2 the Messiah would come from the city of David, Bethlehem. But Jesus, the Messiah, was born in Bethlehem in a somewhat hidden way that did not attract people’s attention. Both His mother and her husband were poor. They lived in Galilee, a despised region. When the time came for Christ to be born, the Roman Empire decreed that the first census be taken. All the citizens were required to go to their own country and city. Thus, Mary and Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, their fathers’ city, that the Savior might be born there for the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the place of His birth.
After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had to take Him and flee to Egypt because of the persecution of Herod (Matt. 2:13-18). This was the fulfillment of a prophecy concerning Christ in Hosea 11:1 (cf. Matt. 2:15). After Herod died, they returned to Nazareth, "that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matt. 2:23). Apparently, Jesus came from Nazareth, but actually He was born in Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy in Micah 5:2. The chief priests and the scribes missed His coming, but the magi from the east saw His star and came to worship Him. Also, the elderly Simeon and Anna, who were in real fellowship with God, received the revelation that Mary’s child was the Messiah (Luke 2:25-38), but most of the waiting ones did not recognize Him as God’s Anointed One.
Today we have to learn the lesson of knowing the prophecies in a proper way. We may know them in a general way, but we may not know them so finely or accurately. Today we have the prophetic word made more firm than the prophecies in the Old Testament. I am doing my best to help us know these prophecies in a fine way, not just in a general way.
(The Prophecy of the Four 'Sevens' in the Bible, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)