A Partial Revelation, Part 2

A second component of this idea of purposely incomplete prophetic revelation is the good wisdom of God in not revealing all of the fine details of His plans to the opposition upfront.  Telling Lucifer and the other fallen angels all of God’s strategic plans ahead of time, within the end-of-time prophetic scriptures contained in the Bible would be counterproductive in the extreme.  This interpretation is consistent with the approach that God has taken with all Bible prophecy.  Some element of hindsight is usually involved in putting all of the prophetic pieces of the puzzle together after-the-fact.  Once the fulfillment of a particular biblical prophecy has been locked into historical place by the occurrence of the actual events themselves in time, then the opportunity for spiritual opposition to fully anticipate the prophecy ahead of time and possibly adversely alter the God-intended outcome has safely passed.

For example, the Psalms 22 prophecies regarding the crucifixion were just vague and obscure enough so that the religious rulers in Jerusalem did not connect them in advance to Jesus of Nazareth, yet precise and specific enough to be clear in hindsight.  Psalms 22:16 reads: “…they pierced my hands and my feet.”  If God had given away more detailed information in this prophecy, such as the shape of a wooden cross, the use of five to seven inch long metal spikes, and the piercing of the hands and feet as a slow and tortuous method of execution causing weakness through blood loss leading eventually to asphyxiation, then everyone would have been forewarned centuries beforehand of the divine intention hidden within this prophecy, through the well-known and widespread practice of Roman crucifixion.

The question can be asked, what would be the motivation for God to give away too much overly specific information in this prophecy?  God would then have had to come up with another means for sacrificial atonement other than the cross of Christ, for mankind’s sins.  Jesus Christ shed His blood while hanging on a wooden cross in sin atonement as the sacrificial Lamb of God after the ancient pattern of the blood atonement given by God to the Levitical priesthood.  Too much information given away in Psalm 22:16 would have tipped-off the religious and civil authorities ahead of time, and spoiled Roman crucifixion as God’s totally unanticipated and unexpected method for Christ’s substitutional atonement.  God reveals just the right amount of information in Psalms 22:16 to accomplish His purposes.  One of the true marvels of Psalm twenty-two is that David heard God’s voice accurately, and got the wording of each of these critical prophecies just right.

Micah 5:2 reads: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”  Hosea 11:1 reads: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”  Isaiah 11:1 reads: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”  The Apostle Matthew included in his gospel that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1), returned to Israel from Egypt as a small child (Matthew 2:15), and grew up in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23).  Matthew obtained this information from only three probable first-hand sources…Mary the mother of Jesus, or Jesus Himself after His resurrection, or James the half-brother of Jesus.

The chief priests and Pharisees prided themselves in knowing the prophetic scriptures pertaining to the Messiah, as witnessed by their indignant response to Nicodemus who had suggested to his colleagues that they give Jesus a fair-minded hearing: “…Art thou also of Galilee?  Search, and look; for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet” (John 7:52).  Yet, all these priests and Pharisees had to do to resolve this question of the birthplace of Jesus was to simply ask Mary the mother of Jesus, or to ask Jesus Himself.  They did not ask this direct question because they had already made up their minds that Jesus was an unsuitable candidate according to their preconceived idea of what the promised Messiah would be like.

Again, these prophecies regarding the origin of Jesus Christ, authenticating His claim to be the Messiah, were just vague and obscure enough so that the religious rulers did not connect them to Jesus of Nazareth, yet precise and specific enough to be crystal clear in hindsight as given to us by Matthew.  God did not foretell through a singular, composite verse in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and come out of Egypt and be called a Nazarene (as Matthew interpreted the prophet Isaiah’s 11:1 verse).  God did not combine these three verses together neatly in one location in the sacred text for the convenience and illumination of the readers.  Thus combined they would have unmistakably pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as the only possible Messiah.  God kept these verses separated in the Old Testament, so as to be purposely obscure to the religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first century, yet crystal clear in hindsight when put together after-the-fact by Matthew.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

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