feast: The Appointed Time for Israel
Given 30-Sep-15; Sermon #FT15-03B; 39 minutes
Our Creator is a God of purpose and order, maintaining a precise timetable, referred to in scripture as appointed times, revolving around Jesus Christ, including His birth, ministry, sacrificial death, resurrection, and His return as King of Kings. In Leviticus 23, God's festivals are called appointed times. One appointed time for ancient Israel was the fulfillment of the 70 Weeks prophecy of Daniel, when Cyrus released the captives and commissioned Nehemiah and Zerubbabel to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which had been desolate for the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity. The 70 weeks prophecy can be divided into three distinct periods: seven weeks, sixty two weeks, and one week (with each week standing for one year). Each period has significant meaning. The first period commences with the written decree from Cyrus to release the captives, commanding that Jerusalem be rebuilt. In 490 BC, exactly 49 years after Cyrus had given the decree (in 539BC), Nehemiah set things in order. The writing of Malachi commenced in 409 BC, prophesying the coming of Elijah the prophet to prepare the way of the Messiah, and preventing the earth from being destroyed by a curse. Jesus Christ identified John the Baptist as coming in the spirit and power of Elijah. Malachi was written 62 prophetic weeks (or 429 years) before the coming of John the Baptist, preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah will put away rebellion, will pour out God's Holy Spirit on all kinds of flesh, atone for iniquity, setting all sin aside, reconciling people to the father, bring forth perpetual righteousness through God's Holy Law, and seal up the prophetic vision, restoring the city of Jerusalem, anointing a Holy Place.
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