I love when I am studying and come across those "wow" moments. Verses I have read before, but maybe I was at a different time in my life when they didn't impact me quite the same.
So yesterday I was studying for my Sunday morning Bible class. We are studying some of the names of Jesus -- and this week is "Messiah." I was reading from the prophet Daniel. I must confess: I am fairly skeptical as I read men's interpretations of prophecy, because it seems that the majority are biased toward premillinialism.
Anyway, Daniel has a couple of prophecies that are so clear. The first is his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream about a statue. Daniel explains that the different parts of the statue represent coming kingdoms -- historically accurate. During the last kingdom, the feet of iron and clay, Daniel says (2: 44) "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed." This points to the time of the Roman Empire.
Later, in chapter 9, Daniel prophesies that from the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until "the Anointed One" will be "seventy sevens" (that's 490 years). The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given by King Artexerxes in 444 BC. No wonder the Jewish people were so anxious for the coming of Messiah in the 1st century! They knew what the prophet had said. Even the Magi had figured it out. The High Priest under Herod the Great had proclaimed the imminent arrival of Messiah -- so Herod had him put to death. Herod killed his three sons -- in fear that one of them might be Messiah.
Yes, Jesus came right on schedule -- fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel made over 500 years earlier. The Jews were anticipating His coming. They asked John the Baptist, "Are you the Messiah?" Yet, when God's Chosen One walked among them -- they missed Him. They wanted to hold out for what they thought would be better.
Isn't God incredible!