Prophecies of the two visits
Daniel 9:25-26; Luke 19:41-44
In Luke 19:41-44 we read of Jesus weeping over God’s chosen (Israel), because they did not recognize Jesus as their long awaited Savior. The Messiah was foretold in the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-26 – the prophecy of His coming the first time. Jesus was made known to all, as the Messiah – the long awaited king, upon His arrival at Passover (when He was to be killed). This occurred exactly, to the very day, as recorded here in Daniel 9, over 500 years before Jesus was born, and confirmed by science in writings, dating to 200 years before Jesus was born (the Dead Sea Scrolls). Sir Robert Anderson, in 1894, in his work “The Coming Prince,” calculated the exact number of days in 69 weeks of years (69×7 years—the Hebrew prophets used a day to refer to a year in God’s prophecies—Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6). The number of days as calculated from knowing the date of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25; Neh. 2:1-10, which dates to March 14, 445 B.C. per the decree of Artaxerxes), to the Passover week at which Jesus was killed, including all the leap years, and leap days, etc., totals 173,880 days. This prophecy was fulfilled exactly, to the very day, when Jesus died for us as the Lamb of God on April 6th, 32 A.D. on our modern calendar, which was a Wednesday (not Friday as tradition holds—see the book “Revelation, Apostasy, End Times & This Generation”—The Feasts of Israel).
Jesus, at His “triumphfull entry,” claimed to be the long-awaited king, sitting as a king on a donkey (Zech.9:9), on Saturday (the 10th of the month on the Jewish calendar), the exact day the lambs were selected for the Passover sacrifice (Ex. 12). When Jesus arrived that day, He wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), because, as He said in Luke 19:44; “You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Do you think this was just a coincidence? Note that in Luke 19:37-40, that the song the disciples were singing (Psalm 118), was a reference to the coming King, and the Pharisees wanted Jesus to rebuke His disciples for blasphemy (blasphemy – Jesus claiming to be the Messiah).
Why did Israel not recognize Jesus as the Messiah they were waiting for? To begin with, some did. They sang Hosannas, and waved palm branches. However, those in power did not, and the great majority of the nation followed their leadership, rather than search for the truth themselves. Sound familiar today? History tells us that the people were looking for a Savior who looked like a general, showing up and taking charge with his army and destroying the Romans. They were not looking for a Savior to cover their sins, and provide for them in “His kingdom to come.” Their own Scriptures (the Old Testament we have today), foretold that the Messiah would be “cut off” (Daniel 9:26; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). But, who trusts God’s Word…right? So, the people were closer to their leaders, and the world around them, than they were to God and His Word. Big mistake!
How about us? Will we recognize Jesus when He returns? Again, some will. Most, however, are too busy being involved in the world’s activities. Today, many who claim to be Christian, are too embarrassed to say the name of Jesus in public. Just like the many “so-called” faithful in Israel, when Jesus came the first time, many “so called” Christians today, openly support homosexual activity, adultery, abortion, euthanasia, etc., and when Jesus does arrive, these will be the first harvested, along with all those who deny Him (Matt. 13:30). So, the only difference between the first time Jesus came, 2,000 years ago, to Jerusalem, and the next time Jesus comes (which could be very soon), is that the first time, the only person condemned was Jesus—and He died for us. This time, Jesus tells us that those who aren’t prepared for His coming, will be the first harvested (Matt. 13:30). They are the condemned, and will perish. This is not God’s desire (Psalm 51:16; Deut. 30:15-19). We are all condemned at birth (Eph. 2:1-3; John 3:18), and Jesus actually came the first time not to condemn, but to save (John 3:16-17).
Jesus told us that no one knows the day or hour of His return (Mark 13:32-37), but He did give us signs to watch for.
So, when might the time of Jesus’ return be? Well, Jesus gave us another parable about a tree while He was here. A fig tree in a vineyard, and we find it in Luke 13:6-9. God has already given this tree three years to produce, and will now give this “fig tree” a fixed amount of time to produce fruit — one more year, then He will cut the unfruitful parts out, and cast them into the fire.
So, if we can figure out who, or what, this “fig tree” is, and if we follow its history, then we may know about when Jesus is planning on returning. Who is the “fig tree?” Throughout Scripture, God uses the fig tree as a symbol of the nation of Israel, and God uses the grapevine as the symbol of His people. Hosea 9:10 describes God’s people as grapes, and the leaders of the nation Israel as figs. Joel 1:7 describes the grapevine as the Israelite people laid waste, and the fig as the nation Israel. Joel 2:21-22 says that God will restore the fig tree, and the vine – Israel. Isaiah 5:7 describes the vineyard as the people of Israel. And, in Zechariah 3:10, God tells us that in the kingdom to come, that everyone will be invited to rest with His people, the vine, and His chosen nation (the fig tree). In the very beginning, in Genesis 3, God used a ________ leaf to cover Adam and Eve, to hide their sin, to deal with their disobedience. In other words, God is going to use this fig tree (Israel), to deal with the sins of the world. First God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, and a sacrificial system (the Ten Commandments were given to Israel to show all of us that we can’t do them–and the blood sacrifice showed that a life [blood, Lev. 17:11], must be given to cover our sin). Therefore, we should recognize our need for some greater sacrifice in the future. Israel was to be a nation of priests, and to carry the Word of God to the whole world (Isa. 49:6). Then, Israel (the fig tree), was used to provide for us the Savior of the world. Jesus, God, the Son, left His kingdom, and revealed Himself to us as a human being (born in Israel), for the purpose of dying for us (Phil. 2:5-8; John 1:1-18). Finally, in the end times, God will use the nation of Israel to signify His return. The fig tree, Israel, is destined by God to fulfill His plan.
So, nation Israel has a fixed time to produce fruit, to put their trust in God, in Christ, the Savior. Nation Israel was first officially established as a physical nation with borders and a king (Saul), around 1,020 B.C., and almost 3,000 years later, around 1948, after not having borders to call its own for about 2,500 years, it became official once again. And, in 1967, Israel came into control of Jerusalem. Some speculate that because the traditional understanding of the Hebrew faith, is that “one” year can mean “one thousand” years in prophecy, that the parable of Jesus in Luke 13:6-9, has been fulfilled — that the fig tree would be tended to for 3 years (3,000 years — which has happened–these 3,000 years began in1,020 B.C., and have ended during our generation), and then Israel would be allowed one more year (1,000 years more). This 1,000 extra years is seen by some scholars as the millennium, the 1,000 year period after Jesus returns, when Jesus will give the nation Israel, and the world, a last opportunity to come into a loving relationship with Him — before the absolute final judgment at the end of the millennium (Rev. 20).
What makes this so intriguing is that Jesus also gave us yet another parable about the fig tree (Israel). In Mark 13:28-33, we learn that the generation which sees the fig tree come into leaf (come to life again, come out of it’s dormant period), that “this generation” will see the end times, and Jesus return. And, after Jesus returns, then the millennium will begin. We, (this generation), have, in fact, seen Israel come back to life again. Israel came out of its dormancy. The nation Israel, after 2,500 years without land, became a country once again in 1948. So, it seems that these parables about the trees fit together. Luke 13 could point to our time (around 3,000 years after Israel was established as a physical nation), and Mark 13 could point to our generation (which is also our time).
If we look in Luke 21:29-32, Jesus tells this parable of our generation, and adds a little more information. “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.” Here, Jesus also gives the phrase “and all the trees.” When Israel came out of dormancy and became a nation again with borders in 1948, were there other countries (trees), which were born again as well? Yes, in fact, most of the Arab nations, as well as other nations, came out of being dormant. Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and many others. These were all nations which had lost their independence, and were part of the Byzantium, and Ottoman Empires, for over 1,000 years. And, these all came out of their dormant period at the same time as Israel, and they all became independent countries again.
It is interesting that God picked the fig tree as a reference for Israel, and the clock by which we may understand the return of Jesus and the harvest of all those who love Him. Why a fig tree? The fig tree has two harvests each year. The first (or early harvest), is in spring, and the fruit comes off of the old growth. The next harvest is from new growth, and extends through the summer, and ends in the final harvest when summer ends with the first frost. This is a picture of the resurrections (the harvest of souls). The first resurrection was with Jesus—in the spring, at the Feast of First Fruits (Matt. 27:50-54), and today, the harvest continues, and will be completed when Jesus returns—possibly at the exact time of the final harvest period at the end of summer—at the Feast of Trumpets (see the Feasts of Israel in the book “Revelation, Apostasy, End Times, & This Generation.”
So, very similar to Israel when Jesus came 2.000 years ago, we, today, are living in a period of time when Jesus could very well return during our time – “this generation.” And, just like Israel back then, the world today is going about its business each day, with no regard for their eternal destiny, believing that somehow, someway, someday, God will take care of things.
I wonder at times, how people can read the prophecies of the Bible, and see that they have been scientifically proven accurate, and read the eyewitness testimonies recorded for us, and yet, still deny that Jesus is fully God. We learn that without trusting in Jesus, we will be forever separated from God. But, we also read that God loved us enough, to die in the flesh, so that whoever trusts in Him can be reconciled to Him.
Yes, Jesus wept when He entered Jerusalem, but this next time, the nations of the world will be the one’s weeping (Rev.18:9-20).