Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9-10
I'm continuing my series on Biblical prophecy. If you missed last week's post, you can either scroll down on the main page to find it, or click on "Articles of Christianity" at the top of the main page. To recap my reasons for doing this, Prophecy is most often ignored in modern day churches, yet it is so important for a number of reasons. One, the fulfillment of countless prophecies in the Bible prove that God exists and that He knows the past from the future. Another reason is that we can learn what is to come by studying prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled. And thirdly and most importantly, many people come to know the Lord when they realize through prophecy that He exists and He loves them.
Last week, I talked about the Ezekiel 36-37 prophecies about Israel becoming a nation after 1800 years. Today, I'm going to list two very important prophecies that I think are pretty interesting. I hope you enjoy them and they get you to thinking!
The rebuilding of the city of Jericho
You may remember from reading the Old Testament that the first city the Israelites conquered after they entered the promised land of Israel (After Moses led them out of Egypt where they'd been slaves for 400 years) was Jericho.
Even if you're not familiar with the Bible, it's a famous story you've no doubt heard. The God we serve is an incredible God in so many ways, but in this instance, He's just plain interesting and surprising. He never does things as you would expect. When He told Joshua to conquer the city of Jericho, what were His instructions? To march around the city for 6 days with the priests in the front of the line with 7 trumpets and the Ark of the Covenant, and then on the 7th day, to march around the city 7 times and then the priests blow the trumpets and the people shout and the walls of the city will fall outward. Oh, sure. That's what I would have suggested.
Most scholars agree that the book of Joshua was written around 1380 B.C. Joshua was a very Godly man who heard from the Lord regularly. This is what he said after Jericho was destroyed.
Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” Joshua 6:26
Now, he's a mere man, so we must assume that he got this information from God.
Here's the fulfillment
King Ahab in 1 Kings 16:34 ordered a man named Hiel to rebuild Jericho. When Hiel laid the foundation, his oldest son Abiram died. Then when he set up the city gates, his youngest son Segub died.
Most scholars place the writing of 1 Kings at around 560 and 540 B.C and the writer to be Jeremiah. Did Jeremiah know about the prophecy against the person who rebuilt Jericho ? Possibly, but unless he killed Hiel's sons just to fulfill it, he couldn't have made it come true. If not, why even mention it?
Another interesting note about Jericho is that when archeologists excavated it, they found that the walls had fallen outward. That's a very very odd thing to happen. Usually when a city is attacked, it's walls would fall inward as the enemy army advanced. Just saying...
The Eastern Gate of Jerusalem will be shut until Jesus' second coming.
Then He brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary which faces toward the east, but it was shut. And the Lord said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the Lord God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut. Ezekiel 44:1-2
The Eastern gate is one of 11 gates surrounding the Temple mount in Jerusalem. It is also called The Golden Gate. The very interesting thing is that Jesus entered Jerusalem through this gate which faces the Mount of Olives. (Note that Ezekiel was told that God Himself would enter through that gate)
The gate itself, along with all of the Temple Mount area was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD, but the Ottomon Turks rebuilt the city and the walls and gate in the 6th century. But here it gets really interesting. In the year 1541, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I sealed the Eastern Gate. Historians disagree as to why he did this, but legend abound that, learning of the prophecies which predicted the Messiah’s entrance through the Eastern Gate, Suleiman tried his best to make sure it wouldn’t happen during his reign. And just in case a sealed entrance didn’t thwart the Messiah’s coming, Muslims built a cemetery directly in front of the gate – conventional wisdom being that a Jewish Holy man would never defile himself by walking through a Muslim cemetery
The Eastern gate is presently considered by the Arabs to be their exclusive property. It is sealed up and blocked off, thus fulfilling the prophecy in Ezekiel to the letter. However one day, the Messiah will land on the Mount of Olives, with all His saints, and walk down to and right through the Eastern Gate and into the Temple area! I can't wait!
Pretty cool, eh?