Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Jewish" prophecies and the Middle East in the Christian's Gospel?

One of the key concepts that Jesus preached about during his time was the kingdom of God. Several theologians and scholars have discussed this idea (Aslan, 2013; Chilton, 2000). Yet, this concept has been missing in today's version of most of Christianity's gospel (see previous related blog post discussing a bible study on the concept). Interestingly, I discovered this recent reading that summarizes this:
Within a very short period after the Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 31, a violent controversy arose concerning whether the gospel to be proclaimed was the gospel of Christ—Jesus’ own gospel that he proclaimed and taught, or a gospel about Christ. Jesus had come as a messenger bearing a message from God about the kingdom of God. That message was his gospel. But soon many were ignoring Jesus’ gospel—the kingdom of God—and preaching merely that Jesus was the Christ, preaching about the messenger, ignoring his message or gospel. That is still continuing today. (Pack, 2012, p. 10)
Jesus's teachings about the kingdom of God was informed by the Jewish prophets. According to Chilton (2000), Jesus based his identity and mission on the prophets. In his biography of Jesus, where Chilton tries to reconstruct the life of the historical Jesus, Chilton (2000) suggests that Jesus applied prophetic visions from Daniel to understanding self.
In the wilderness he began to use a vision from the book of Daniel, an angel beside the Throne of God called in Aramaic "one like a person", who brought him close to his Abba in the divine court of heaven. This "one like a person" was shortly to emerge as the anchor of Jesus' visions and of the visionary discipline he taught his followers. (p.132)
As such, Chilton's words seem to be supported by Pack (2012) who states that the "New Testament Church" or the movement that Jesus founded is built directly upon the Jewish prophets and prophecies. According to Pack:
Did you realize that the New Testament Church is built directly on top of the prophets? I never heard this in Sunday school or in the church of my youth. Ephesians 2:19-20 says, “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone.” There it is—the Church stands directly on a foundation that includes the prophets! What is written in the
prophets is instruction to God’s New Testament Church! (p. 23)
Considering these things, it is very essential that Bible believing Christians not just focus on New Testament scriptures. For frankly, in the time of Jesus, the New Testament wasn't even written. The foundation of the teachings of Jesus and his disciples were the Jewish prophets. But not to take my word for it, check out the following testimonies from New Testament passages:

Luke 24:27 (New International Version)And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Or 2 Peter 1: 19-21 (New Living Translation)
19Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 20Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
And the majority of these "Jewish" prophets made forecasts of the future of no other region than the region of the Middle East (not America or anywhere else in the West). As such, as Pack (2012) mentions, the "[e]vents in the Middle East carry far greater significance than most even begin to understand" (p. 24). Yes, the Middle East is the centre of many Jewish prophecies, including the ones about the kingdom of God that Jesus preached.

This said, Western Bible believing Christians and Jews (who believe in the same prophetic sources), should be intently watching what's happening in Egypt, Libya, Syria and all the places of the so-called Arab spring. For one thing is certain is that all these places are mentioned in the prophecies of the so-called "Old Testament". The very gospel of the kingdom that Jesus told his disciples to teach is based on Middle-East events and territories.


Aslan, R. (2013). Zealot: The life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. New York: Random House.

Chilton, B. (2000). Rabbi Jesus: An intimate biography. New York: Doubleday.

Pack, D. C. (2012). Bible authority: Can it be proven. The Restored Church of God: St. Catharines, ON. Retrieved from

No comments: