Bible Questions and Answers: Old Testament
Q: What evidence is there in the portion of scripture known as the "Old Testament" (Tanakh) that God would come in the form of a man to rule the earth?
A: Isaiah 9:6 says, "For unto us (Israel) a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David (In Jerusalem), and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Here we see a child being born in Israel who is actually "God, the everlasting Father", who will rule forever. Of course we know who the child was as John 14:8-9 says, "Philip saith unto him (Jesus), Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father ...."
Notice also where Isaiah 9:6 calls the child that is born "The mighty God". Lest there be any doubt who this is, know that Isaiah 10:20-21 uses the same title saying, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God." Jeremiah 32:18-19 also uses this same title, "Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings ...." Also know that Isaiah 10:21 and Jeremiah 32:18 use the same Hebrew words from which "the mighty God" is translated as does Isaiah 9:6. So this child, "The mighty God" is "the LORD (Jehovah), the Holy One of Israel", "the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts".
Also see where Isaiah 9:6 calls the child "the everlasting Father". Compare this to Isaiah 63:16, "... O LORD (Jehovah), art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting."
Zechariah 14:3-4 says, "Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." So the LORD will come and His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, causing an earthquake. Further down in Zechariah 14:9 we see, "And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one." And in Zechariah 14:16, "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles."
Malachi 3:1 says, "... the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in ...." Note term "his temple". Of course many Bible passages show that the temple belongs to God. For example, Leviticus 26:2 says, "Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD." Ezekiel 37:28, "And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." Jonah 2:7, "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple."
Ezekiel 43:7 says, "... the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places." Note the One with the "holy name" (God) references "the soles of my feet",
Ezekiel 44:1-2 says the LORD, the God of Israel, will enter the temple through a gate. "Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut."
Q: According to the portion of scripture known as the "Old Testament" (Tanakh), do the Jews have to get back into the will of God before they can return to Israel and the Messiah will come and the Kingdom will be set up?
A: No. The scriptures teach that when God is ready to set up the Kingdom, God is the One that will purify and refine Israel and bring them back into His will. It will not be their doing, but His. Furthermore, God will do this after He has brought the people of Israel back to the land of Israel.
Malachi 3:1-4 says, "... the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years." Note that when the Lord comes, He will purify the Levites (the priests). Obviously the Levites were impure, if He must purify them.
Zechariah 13:8-9 says, "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God." Note that this is after Israel will have returned to the land of Israel. And obviously, they must be far from the will of God if two thirds of them will be killed and the remaining third have to be refined by God.
That the context is the day of the LORD (the Tribulation) is clear, especially considering the verses which follow immediately after this passage in Zechariah 14:1-4, "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."
Now let's look at Ezekiel 36. Verses 22-24, "... Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land." So it is not that Israel behaved righteously among the Gentiles and is being rewarded by being brought back to their land. No, God will bring them back in spite of their unrighteousness, not for their sakes, but for His holy name's sake.
Continuing in Ezekiel 36:25-28, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." So God will cleanse Israel and cause them to follow His commandments after He brings them back to the land.
Similarly, God said in Ezekiel 11:17, "I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." Then in Ezekiel 11:19-20 God said, "... I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Those who believe that the people of Israel are going to get back into the will of God and then get to return to the land of Israel have both the source and the sequence wrong. The people will not purify themselves. God will purify them. This purification will take place after they are back in the land of Israel, not before.
Q: What evidence is there in the portion of scripture known as the "Old Testament" (Tanakh) of there being two comings of the Messiah?
A: Two main prophecies about the Messiah in the Tanakh are (1) that the Messiah would be killed (Daniel 9:24-26 and Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12), and (2) that the Messiah will reign on the throne forever (Isaiah 9:6-7 and Daniel 7:13-14). Both cannot be true unless the Messiah comes to earth, is killed, and returns to the earth a second time to reign on the throne for ever.
Isaiah 9:6-7 says, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Here we see that His kingdom will be eternal. He will rule "upon the throne of David" forever.
Likewise Daniel 7:13-14 says, "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
On the other hand, Daniel 9:26 foretold that the Messiah would be killed. "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off ...." This Daniel 9 passage also prophesied when the Messiah would be killed, 483 years after the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem (445 BC, in Nehemiah 2:1-6) and before Jerusalem and the sanctuary (the temple) would be destroyed (by the Romans in 70 AD). Daniel 9:24-26 says, "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: [(7 + 62) * 7 years = 483 years] 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."
Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 tells a lot about how the Messiah would suffer and die for the sins of the people. Look at these phrases in the sequence in which they appear in this passage. "My servant ... shall be exhalted ... visage was so marred ... sprinkle many nations ... wounded for our transgressions ... sheep have gone astray ... laid on him iniquity of us all ... oppressed ... afflicted ... slaughter ... cut off out of the land of the living ... stricken ... he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death ... his soul an offering for sin ... poured out soul unto death ... he bare the sin of many ..."
From these passages, we see that the "Old Testament" (Tanakh) teaches that the Messiah would both be killed and reign on the throne forever. That cannot happen unless the Messiah comes, is killed and returns again, raised from the dead.
Q: Did God promise the saints in the old testament eternal life?
A: Yes. The saints in the old testament were promised that when the Messiah would come to bring in the kingdom, that if they had previously died, they would be resurrected into that kingdom. But not only that, the saints in the old testament were promised eternal life as indicated in the passages below:
Psalms 23:6 "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."
Psalms 37:18 "The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever."
Psalms 37:27-29 "Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever."
Daniel 7:18 "... the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.",
Daniel 12:1-3 "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever."
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