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Introduction to "Burning Hearts"
The Messiah
In Prophecy

I can predict that we will have a luncheon here January 12 and another one around the second week in February. We've traditionally done so once a month. This group is really into fellowshipping. So I feel reasonably comfortable making that prediction.

I can even predict that Southside High School will win the State Football Championship next fall. They were No. 1 all year long this year. They have a coach who has led his teams to the No. 1 position a number of times. Southside traditionally produces quality players with a drive to win.

But we may not have that luncheon. The weather could prohibit that. Southside may not win the state championship next year. Their star quarterback is graduating and I have no idea if they have another one that good waiting in the wings.

Any man can predict. All you need are some facts from the past and a little bit of experience or intelligence to put those facts into a reasonable premise for the future. But a prediction is not a prophecy. A prophecy is generally detached from the present. It is a truth that cannot be drawn, concluded, or deduced from anything in the past or the present. It must therefore come from an inspired source - the Holy Spirit.

It is generally accepted that Satan was the first to receive the prophecy of the coming Messiah in Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."

All Abraham was told is that all the nations would be blessed through his seed. This promise was very vague. He was not told how that was going to be accomplished or how soon that would occur.

Moses gave another glimpse, or piece of the picture, when he told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 18:15, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear," and in verse 18, God said, "I will ... put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him." Now we know this blessing promised to Abraham would come in the form of a person or prophet.

Some twenty to twenty-five Old Testament writers, over a span of some two thousand years, add to the picture of a coming Messiah. None had ever seen the Messiah. None had a complete picture. Very few of the prophesiers even knew another prophet. The prophets themselves probably often did not understand the words they wrote or spoke from their mouths. At times, perhaps, they were not even aware that their words were a prophecy. Yet, by putting the prophecies all together from the Old Testament, we can get a very distinct picture of the much anticipated Messiah:

  • He would bless all nations.

  • He would have the words of God in His mouth because He would have the Spirit of God upon Him.

  • He would be a king like David from the tribe of Judah.
    (Inferred -- A great, respected, prosperous, self-governing, God-directed nation again. National pride would return.)

  • He would be born in Bethlehem, from a virgin, while other babies were slaughtered.

  • He would be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

  • He would be a Good Shepherd and a Light to the Gentiles.

  • And from Isaiah 61:1-3, He would be sent "to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

  • And numerous other prophecies that paint such a lovely picture that all Jews and others who believed the Old Scriptures would eagerly look forward to that day of this glorious Prophet.

Somehow, they missed or simply chose to overlook prophecies like Isaiah 53:1-10, Psalm 69:21, and Zechariah 12:10, and others which foretold of the Messiah's betrayal, suffering, and death.

The purpose of prophecy was to give hope and prepare the world for the coming of Christ, the Messiah. It prepared the world for Christ's mission and His teachings and how His coming was to affect men directly. Although quite misunderstood generally, the prophecies prepared for the heavenly nature of the coming kingdom. And probably the purpose we understand best of all, the prophecies bear witness to the truths of Christianity and the scheme of redemption.

If you have prepared the lesson for our class today, you know we will be discussing four different New Testament texts in which we will see how Luke, Peter, Phillip and even Jesus Himself used the prophecies of the Old Testament to teach others of God's goodness and saving grace. As we study these Messianic prophecies for the next ten weeks, let's see what purposes they can fulfill in our own lives. Can we use them to prepare for studying the scriptures with our Jewish friends? Yes. Can we use them to prepare for studying with people of the Muslim faith? Yes.

Most of all, my prayer is that this study will build your faith in God's Holy Book and build your love for Him as He reaches out to you, so that, like the two on the road to Emmaus, you can say "wasn't our heart burning" with the excitement of knowing that God is in control and has been since the beginning of time. Knowing that He has been in control since the beginning of time, we can trust the glimpse of our future in the Holy Scriptures - a home in heaven prepared for those who believe and are faithful.

Link to "Burning Hearts" 10-lesson study

Link to Christy Hesslen's
"Burning Hearts" Conclusion

Jeannie Cole

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, Spring 1999

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