The first time Yeshua (Jesus) came to earth, He gave Himself as a sacrifice for sin. When He returns, He will come at the head of a mighty army, the conquering King who will fight against and destroy evil.
Our Lord fulfilled more than 300 Old Testament prophecies. He also fulfilled prophecies like this one, from the Babylonian Talmud. According to the story, a Rabbi met the Prophet Elijah, and asked him, "When will the Messiah come?"
"Go and ask him yourself," Elijah replied. "Where is he sitting?" the Rabbi asked.
"At the entrance [or the gates of the city]," came the reply. "And by what sign may I recognize him?" "He is sitting among the poor lepers."
Like most of the prophecies I list at the end of this article, this one pictures the Messiah as the suffering servant who is rejected and mistreated for the sake of His people.
There are so many other ways Yeshua fits this description. He could have been born in a palace. Instead, he came into the world in a barn, surrounded by smelly animals. He could have been surrounded by servants who were there to respond to every whim. Instead, He said, "Foxes have holes and the birds of air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head" (Luke 9:58).
He could have called down thousands of angels to fight for Him when He was arrested, but chose instead to humbly submit Himself to those who wanted to take His life (Matthew 26:50-54). Author Josh McDowell calculated the odds of Jesus fulfilling only eight of the Messianic prophecies as 1 out of 1017 (a one followed by 17 zeros).
To put this into perspective, it's like covering the entire state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep, marking one of them and having a blind-folded person pick the marked one, at random, the very first time he tries. One mathematician figured out that the odds of one man fulfilling 60 of these prophecies would be one out of ten to the 895th power.
When I first came to saving faith in Yeshua (Jesus), I was amazed to see how His life reflected the history of Israel. More accurately, I was amazed to see how the history of Israel reflected the life of Messiah. I learned that looking at the history of Israel is like looking into a reflection of Yeshua Himself. I see His life mirrored in the seven Festivals of the Hebrew calendar-these are holy days to the Israelites.
Paul tells us in Colossians 2:16-17 that each of these special days were appointed by God to reveal the Messiah to the world as part of God's great plan for His creation: Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
It amazes me to think that every year, millions of Jews all over the world celebrate these holy days that point so clearly to Yeshua (Jesus), and yet they don't understand the real significance of what they're doing. For some, the light is coming on, as my brethren are exposed to the truths found in their own Torah and their hearts and lives are flooded with joy! For this, I am so grateful.
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