Last night we continued our study of what the bible says about the end times. We took the evening to look at one of the ways the New Testament describes what Jesus was doing and who he was: He is the one who comes to fulfill all the promises God has made, especially the promises contained in the three covenants we’ve been studying. Here are the notes:
1. Jesus is the one the Prophets wrote about:
Last week we saw that God promised to fulfill his covenants in two ways. 1: He would come himself and keep the promises, and 2: He would send a man to keep the promises. The Gospels answer the question which comes from the second strand of prophecy : WHO will be the man God will use to keep these promises? Their answer? Jesus of Nazareth.
John 1:45, 5:46-47
Luke 24:25-27, 44-46
2. Jesus is the one who will fulfills the Covenants with David and Abraham
Jesus is the one who is the descendant of David and of Abraham, who will be the one to bring the fulfillment of the covenants to pass. Therefore—He will rule the children of Israel, in the land of Israel, on David’s throne, in an unending reign. Through that reign, he will bless all nations of the world, and his kingdom will extend over the entire earth and all people. Through his rule, from Jerusalem, he will heal the world and bring everything under the blessing and reign of God.
Luke 1:30-33, 1:46-55, 1:68-79
3. Jesus is the one who fulfills The New Covenant
Jesus is the one who pours out the Holy Spirit. Since he will also rule on David’s throne, he will re-gather Israel. Since He’s Abraham’s son, he will bless all nations. But what we might have missed in the prophets becomes central for Jesus. Sins must be forgiven before any of this can happen. Once he saves his people from their sins, they will be able to enjoy the fulfillment of the other promises.
Summing it up:
How does God solve the world’s problems? With a person—a man named Jesus of Nazareth. He comes to be called “The Christ” since this means: the one God has chosen to fulfill all his promises and be Israel’s king over a kingdom that includes and blesses all people by forgiving all sin and then healing all brokenness. Jesus has the power to do this because he is not only David’s son, but Daivd’s Lord—God the Son himself in human flesh.
1. The only way to gain a deep, clear understanding of Jesus is by seeing the things the scripture says about him. One thing we need to know is that he is specifically described as the one who is keeping God’s promises contained in the covenants. For instance, he’s not just forgiving sins because he’s loving—he’s forgiving sins because that’s what the promise of the New Covenant said he would do, and he’s forgiving sins as the way to fulfill all the covenants of God.
2. If you want to know God, you have to know him through his solution to the issues the world faces: through this particular person, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Abraham, son of David.
Applying all this to the end times:
The point of Jesus’ life was NOT to show THAT God had fulfilled all his promises.
The point of his life was to answer the question of WHO the one would be who WOULD do all the fulfilling.
The message is NOT: “God has fulfilled all his promises by sending Jesus!”
It’s: “God has revealed that Jesus is the one who will fulfill all his promises. And he’s started to fulfill them now!”
Some people make it sound like, since Jesus is the one who fulfills the prophecies, and since he came already, then the prophecies are basically fulfilled. There might be one or two left, like his second coming, but basically, what we saw promised in the Old Testament has already happened.
This means that there’s not much left to expect, except what people call heaven, and whatever life is like then for eternity. Typically this makes people stop thinking about or studying what the scriptures say about the end times.
But this doesn’t take into account the way the scriptures speak of Jesus as being all about keeping the promises of God, specifically, the promises that are contained in the three promise covenants.
What we see as we study is that the Gospels clearly say, “Jesus is the one who fulfills the prophecies!” But we need to see that much of what the covenants promises and the prophecies predicted has not yet happened. It’s just that now we know that it’s Jesus who will do all the fulfilling. And we know how God will keep the first promise, of dealing with sin once and for all.
In other words, the coming of the messiah falls into two stages:
In the first stage, he revealed his identity, dealt with sin once and for all, provided forgiveness, poured out the Spirit, and demonstrated that he was committed to keeping all the promises made in the covenants.
In the second stage, he will fulfill the promises of the three completely.
1. We don’t just trust in what he’s done, but in what he’ll still do. We can know what he will still do by looking at the prophecies and the covenants which are still to be fulfilled. That’s why we study the end times.
2. We can read the Bible and get excited about all the things it promises: amazing things are coming for the earth!
3. We don’t have to let the news freak us out! For those who believe, all bad news is temporary!
4. We never have to lose hope! Whatever hard thing comes in to our life, it can be used by God as part of his good plan for us, and one day everything that troubles us is going to be swept away by the goodness of Jesus’ kingdom as it spreads healing over the whole earth.
Next week we’ll see how his first followers came to see this, and what they were looking forward to in terms of the end of all things.