A Voice in the
"After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst!" (vs28)
Two things can be observed about Jesus: 1) that Jesus is all-knowing, and 2) that Jesus' life on this earth at His first advent fulfilled Scripture. And in that, Scripture being fulfilled, proves God's nature as knowing and "declaring the end from the beginning". (Is46:10) Fulfilled prophecy proves the Scriptures to be God's Word, and thus, the very nature and character of God; His very essence.
One of the primary characteristics of God we observed in the "Who is God?" series from Isaiah was God's 'timelessness'. He fully encompasses all time and eternity. Eternity encompasses past, present and future. The nature of God's existence, thus His life, is "eternal". Thus, the life He gives when one is "born from above" (Jn3:3) of the Holy Spirit (Jn3:8, Rom8:9), is "-ETERNAL- life". (Jn3:16, 1Jn5:13, etc)
Toward the beginning of this series we observed how Jesus "saw" Nathanael sitting "under the fig tree" even though Nathanael was yet some distance away and they hadn't yet met; and observing Jesus' knowing of him, Nathanael then confesses, "You are the Son of God!" (Jn1:48-49) How many times did Jesus do non-normal things when threatened, because He knew that "His hour had not yet come" (7:30, 8:20) As the Jews are seeking to kill Him, He purposely sets His face towards Jerusalem, and tells the disciples the nature of His up-coming crucifixion. (Mk10:32-34) And then, in the upper room Jesus "knew that His hour had come.." (13:1) He also -knew- that He had "come from God" (13:3) As He is about to be taken into custody, He was "knowing all things coming upon Him.." (18:4) And so, even on the cross, He knew "all things" (vs28) and acts in accordance. And once He has risen from the dead, "...beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Lk24:27)
Jesus was continually claiming to be the I AM. His 'knowing' of all things was certainly one proof of the validity of that claim. But as far as people's perceptions were concerned, He was just one man. One refutation given by some to discredit Jesus' authenticity as -being- God, was the notion that, well: Anybody could study the Scriptures diligently, and then choreograph his own life to make sure he did certain right things at the right times to 'fulfill' those prophecies.
But... such a person first must be born and come to an age of understanding to be able to study and even devise such a plot.
Scripture said that Christ would be 'born' of a virgin. The Jews were continually asking Jesus for a "sign" to prove His authenticity. (Jn2:18, 6:30) In their Scriptures it had been prophesied, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel." (Is7:14)
How did Jesus fulfill this?
Mary was with child "..from the Holy Spirit" (Mt1:18) at the time of the proclamation of the angel Gabriel (Lk1:31,35) And contrary to the taunts of the unbelievers who suggest that Jesus was a 'hippy' of illegitimate birth, as He was also taunted by the Jews (Jn8:41), it says very specifically that Joseph "..did not know (have sexual relations with) her [Mary] till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS." (Mt1:25)
When the wise men came seeking Jesus, it was fulfilled prophecy that led them to Bethlehem (Mt2:5-11) fulfilling (Mic5:2)
When Herod went on a rampage to try to kill Jesus, and they fled to Egypt (Mt2:13-15) it fulfilled "..I called My Son out of Egypt." (Hos11:1)
As mothers were wailing as Herod was killing all the babies (Mt2:16-18) it fulfilled "...Thus says Jehovah: A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are not." (Jer31:15)
And when they moved back from Egypt and settled in Nazareth it apparently fulfilled some other prophetic proclamations that Israel knew about, that aren't in our written Scriptures, "He shall be called a Nazarene". (Mt2:23)
Just a note here about this last item: Some skeptics scoff at what they think is a discrepancy, that something in the N.T. should speak of a prophetic utterance that can't be found in our O.T. Let us not forget that not everything every prophet ever uttered actually was included in the written Scriptures. Jer36:32 speaks of Baruch scribing at Jeremiah's mouth a new scroll to replace the one King Jehoiakim burned in the fire, and it says, "And many words like them were added to them." And yet, those 'added' words are not recorded for us in Jeremiah. When Peter preached, it says "..And with many other words he testified and exhorted them.." (Ac2:40) but only a synopsis is recorded for our benefit. John closes his gospel by saying, "And there were also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." (21:25) And also says, "And truly Jesus did many other signs before His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (20:30-31) So... just because this prophecy about Jesus being a "Nazarene" isn't found in the O.T., do not discount the Scriptures. If one considers how many large libraries contain millions of documents of human history, and consider that the Scriptures are contained in just one (1) book, is it not going to be obvious that there is much history that is not included. But God has seen to it that we do have enough to know Him, and to be saved. Perhaps God left this little puzzle for the purpose of some to "..see, but..not perceive"? (Is6:9) as was the case in Jesus' day (Mt13:14, Mk4:12, Ac28:26), and still is today!
But notice that all these prophecies about Jesus were fulfilled before He was even of an age to -do- anything about them. They were done -to- Him in conception, and during infancy, "...before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good..." (Is7:16)
So then: in this passage we have several prophecies fulfilled. The soldiers casting lots for Jesus' clothing (vs24) fulfilling (Ps22:18) When they gave Him the vinegar (vs29) it fulfilled (Ps69:21) When Jesus gave His life by saying, "Into your hands I commit My spirit" (Lk23:46) it fulfilled (Ps31:5) When the soldiers did not break His legs (vs33) it fulfilled: "He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken." (Ps34:20) ...which also fulfilled centuries of Jewish observance in Passover and the sacrifices. The Passover lamb was not to have any of its bones broken. (Ex12:46) Jesus WAS the fulfillment of Passover, "...as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1Pet1:19) Our REDEMPTION!! And when the soldier pierced His side (vs34) it fulfilled Zech12:10. And the very nature of His crucifixion, something which was done for only a historically relatively 'short' period of time by the Roman empire, thus also prophesying the historical period of time when it all would be done, being 'nailed' to the cross... "they have pierced My hands and My feet." (Ps22:16)
Again, for the skeptics who would suggest that Jesus "choreographed" His own death as a 'man', look at the above-listed things and proclaim to us how many of those things, like at His birth, were done -to- Him, and separate from Him. And also, how many were done -after- His death.
You see: God "sent" His Son (1Jn4:10), and proved that it was, indeed, His "beloved Son" (Mt3:17), by proclaiming (declaring) centuries before the fact, and fulfilling every detail.
Thus, if all those past prophecies were fulfilled to-the-letter, we can also have confidence that God's future prophecies will also be fulfilled, just as given: we can be assured that He will also fulfill His promise to come and "receive" us to Himself (Jn14:3)
Today, more than at any other time, the false prophets and messiahs are proclaiming that there will be "NO RAPTURE". And even the fact that there would be such a false doctrine in these days was prophesied: "...knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming?" (2Pt3:3-4)
There is another prophecy that has been observed for quite a few years, the "wicked servant" saying in his heart, "My master delays his coming..." (Mt24:48) We have seen that in the so-called 'post-trib' doctrine. But as all their predicted dates have come and gone, and as the various ones they have confidently affirmed to be -the- antichrist have pittered away into obscurity, and they have been proven to be -false- prophets, now they are saying that there will be NO RAPTURE.
But when they proclaim such things, they blatantly refute Jesus' very direct promise, that He is preparing a place for us, and He says, "I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (Jn14:3)
And this even is further described in detail, that the "dead in Christ" will first rise from the dead. Being "in Christ" indicates that they are the "Church", the disciples that were first called "Christians in Antioch". (Ac11:26) That's not the O.T. saints who were raised when Jesus was raised (Mt27:52); nor is it the martyr-saints of the seven-year period of Daniel's prophesied 70th week who refuse the beast's "mark". (Rev20:4-5) It is the "dead in Christ"; Christians; the Church; those who have died during the period of time this article is being written. They will "rise first". (1Th4:16)
What happens to these when they rise? We are not told what sort of timeframe is involved, but we are told that they will rise, and "then" the Believers who are alive at that time when they rise, will be "..caught up together at the same time with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1Th4:17) This is the event, being CAUGHT UP, that has received the expression "rapture"; because by definition, that's what "rapture" means.
These that were alive and caught up... they obviously, then, DO NOT DIE, do they. Just like Enoch and Elijah who were caught up to God without death, so too will Church-age Christians be caught up, without death. Is there any other passage that speaks of this? "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1Cor15:51-52)
Yes, the ones who claim there is NO RAPTURE scoff at this passage: 'Where does it talk about the rapture???' they scoff. But to a person with their spiritual eyes open, are not the two passages speaking of the same thing? In the one it speaks of the dead rising first, and the live ones joining them. The other starts by saying, We're not all going to die (That's what "sleep" means); -and- the dead will also be raised.
There are sooo many past fulfilled prophecies that could be mentioned, not to mention all the things that are going on 'now' with Israel, the middle east, and other world power alignments; all... preparing for the final events prophesied, just as prophesied. But since this series is the Gospel of John, this should be enough for now.
Jesus promised to come to "receive" us (Believers) to Himself. How can we know that He will keep His Word? Well, all the prophecies that were given about -Him- (Jesus) were fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled everything the Father sent Him to do. (Jn8:29, 17:4) If that is so, then there is no reason to doubt that He will also fulfill what He has promised for the future; the past validates and assures the future.
And the Scriptures further-explain 'how' it is going to happen: in a resurrection and rapture. Jesus promised it (Jn11:25-26, 14:3), the apostle Paul defined it (1Th4:16-17, 1Cor15:51+) In past validation of future promises: Jesus promised that after three days He would rise from the dead (Mt27:63, Mk8:31), which He did as the angels proclaimed, "He is not here, but is risen!" (Lk24:6) and was seen by witnesses (1Cor15:5+)
So, how can there be any question about Jesus coming for the Church with a resurrection and rapture? There is none! It -MUST- be so....
The -faithful- Church that has "kept the Word" of Christ will be 'kept' from the time of judgment, which as prophesied, is also -SURELY- coming "upon the whole world" (Rev3:10) The promise is that we (who are Believers) have not been appointed to wrath (1Th5:9)
"...that the Scriptures might be fulfilled..."