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    May 19, 1892

    “Prophecies Concerning the Messiah” The Present Truth 8, 10.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    When the wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He that is born king of the Jews?” The chief priests and scribes of the people, to whom Herod applied to know where Christ should be born, replied promptly, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written by the prophet.” And then they quoted the words which the prophet Micah had spoken more than seven hundred years before: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.1

    The careful reader of the Scriptures knows that Joseph and Mary were residents of Nazareth, yet when the proper time came, a heathen emperor did his part toward the fulfilment of prophecy, by sending forth a decree that brought them to Bethlehem.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.2

    Of the life of Jesus before His baptism, the Scriptures say very little; but the date of His baptism was specified in prophecy nearly six hundred years before it took place. This prophecy is one of the most interesting and important in the Bible, and is well worth study. It was written by the prophet Daniel, to whom it was revealed by the angel Gabriel in the first year of Darius, B.C. 538. Some time before, Daniel had had a vision which he did not fully understand (Daniel 8:27), and in answer to his earnest prayer for light, the angel came to give him skill and understanding. The part of his revelation which pertains to this subject, is found in the following verses:-PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.3

    “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; 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. And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” Daniel 9:25-27.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.4

    The going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, was the seventh year of Artaxerxes, or 457 B.C. See the seventh chapter of Ezra. There had been decrees concerning Jerusalem (See Ezra 1:1-4; 5:1-15), but this is the only one that contemplated the complete restoration of Jerusalem to its former power and glory, and consequently it is the one that must be referred to in the prophecy of Daniel.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.5

    From the date of this decree, until the Messiah, was to be seven weeks, and three-score and two weeks, that is sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three days. Of course this did not mean that the Messiah should come in a little over a year from that time; but the prophecy concerning the days is one in which nations are represented by symbols (see Daniel 8:1-14), and the days must therefore be symbolic. In a prophecy recorded in Ezekiel 4:6, we learn that a prophetic day is a literal year. Therefore Daniel 9:25 is equivalent to the statement that four hundred and eighty-three years from the decree of Artaxerxes (B.C. 457), Messiah the Prince should come.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.6

    “But,” says one, “four hundred and eighty-three years from 457 B.C. would end several years this side of Christ.” That is true, but it is contemplated in the prophecy. The meaning of Messiah is the Anointed. See margin of John 1:41. By comparing a few Scriptures we shall find that His anointing took place at His baptism.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.7

    In Acts 10:37, 38 Peter says of the word which God said unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ:-PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.8

    “That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.”PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.9

    Thus we learn that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost, immediately after which He began His ministry. Now turn to the record in Matthew 3:16, 17, and we find that as Jesus came up out of the water where He had been baptized, the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon him, and the voice of God was heard, saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” So Jesus was formally set apart, before the multitude, for His Divine mission, and very soon afterward we find Him in the synagogue, saying: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.10

    Jesus, therefore, became the Messiah the Anointed One, at His baptism. Before that time the title did not belong to Him. And we shall find that this was just four hundred and eighty-three years after the decree of Artaxerxes to restore Jerusalem.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.11

    The baptism of Jesus occurred when He “began to be about thirty years of age.” Luke 3:23. But it was not in the year 30 A.D., because the Christian era dates from about four years after the birth of Christ. From Luke 1:13, 36, we learn that Jesus was just six months younger than John the Baptist. Now since thirty years was the age when the Jews, who were appointed to the service of the sanctuary, entered upon their work (Numbers 4:30), and since Jesus followed this rule, and was baptized at the age of thirty, we must conclude that John the Baptist began his work as the forerunner of Christ at the same age, or about six months before Jesus was baptized. So if we can take the date of the beginning of John’s work, we shall know the date of the baptism of Jesus. The following scripture gives most explicitly the time when John began his ministry:-PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.12

    “Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judæa, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Luke 3:1-3.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.13

    Tiberius Cæsar began to reign, conjointly with his father in A.D. 12, and his fifteenth year would therefore be A.D. 27. Jesus was baptized in the year A.D. 27. Now let us see if this agrees with what the angel said. Four hundred and eighty-three years from B.C. 457 would reach to the close of A.D. 26, provided we began to reckon from the first day of B.C. 457. But the decree went forth some time in the year 457 B.C. and not on its first day, and consequently there were only four hundred and a fraction of the four hundred eighty-three years, before the Christian era. This would bring us into the year 27 A.D., and that is when, as we have seen, the baptism of Jesus did actually occur. At that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark 1:15. E. J. W.PTUK May 19, 1892, page 152.14

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