I don’t know about you, but I really want to be ready for the Messiah’s coming. We live in heady days as far as prophecy is concerned. Every day there is some new event or some new happening that perfectly points to the soon coming of Messiah ben David.
Are you ready?
Luke, in his telling of the ‘Christmas story,’ provides us with a number of very difficult verses if we scrutinize them according to the normal Christian narrative. In part one we considered the blamelessness of Zacharias and Elizabeth and in part two we considered the Kingdom the Messiah is to reign over. In this part we will consider what it takes to be prepared for the Messiah.
What do you think it takes to be ready for the Messiah? What have you been taught? Is it an internal attitude and thought process? Say, faith? Or, is it an external working? Action? Or, is it both?
In spelling out the role of John (the baptizer), Luke says,
Luke 1:16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Have you ever wondered what John’s message was? If you say ‘repentance,’ then you are right, but do you know what that meant?
Repentance, from the Hebrew word, שׁוּב (shub), means to ‘turn to’ or to ‘return.’ The big question is, what were they to turn to, or return to? Of course, the Torah: THE Standard of Righteousness that existed in Genesis and even before the foundations of the world.
How can we be sure? The difficult verses we are considering point us to Malachi 4!
4 “[d]Remember the law [Torah] of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 He will [e]restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a [f]curse.”
Notice the bolded words. These are exactly what the angel relates to Zacharias about his soon to be born son, John. The angel is not lifting verses from context and Zacharias knew the rest of the passage! Turning to the Lord meant keeping the Torah of Moses, even the statutes and ordinances!
The angel said, “…the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Disobedient to what? And what is the attitude of righteousness? Torah!!
Which brings us back to the question, do you want to be ready for the coming of the Messiah?
Did you know that the passage quoted, though applied to John (the baptizer), is actually written to the generation at the end of days!! Read the larger context of Malachi 4 and all the ‘Day of the Lord’ passages for a clear perspective on who this prophetic passage is actually written to! And, it calls for the hearer to,
4 “[d]Remember the law [Torah] of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.
But that should make total sense because Isaiah warns us that “Yehovah (The Lord) will judgment by fire and sword on all flesh who eat mice, swine and other detestable things.” He further declares that Yehovah will appoint Levitical priests and that we’ll celebrate the Sabbath and New Moon Festivals! Zechariah tells us that the Feast of Booths will be kept in the Millennium.
Contrary to the clear evidence of what we will be doing the future, some might consider John’s message to be a “Jewish” dealing with the “Jewish” laws, yadda, yadda.. And, i suspect you consider yourself a ‘New covenant’ believer, right? Well, let’s read the New Covenant,
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law [Torah] within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
While there are multiple interesting points to make here, the applicable one is that New Covenant believers should have the Torah written on their hearts and that is the guidance system or programming for everything they do.
Just as our Father was using John to turn hearts back to the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and to the ways of the Father (Torah) before the Advent of the Messiah, He is again doing this today!! Millions of people across the planet have been drawn, as if by a giant magnet, out of church doctrines and into the Torah as the proper rule of faith and practice. Millions and millions keep the Sabbath, eat clean and celebrate the feast of the Lord… Just like Yeshua did!
The way to prepare for the Messiah is no different today than it was then…. Heed John’s message! Turn back to the fathers and learn Moses…