the cheek with a rod. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:1-2 NIV)
He would be nailed up to die, with the executioners dividing his clothing: "the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." (Ps. 22:16-18 KJV)
Besides foretelling Jerusalem's role in the Bible's end times scenario, the prophet Zechariah also foretold several additional details concerning the Messiah's life and death:
He would be humble and would present himself to Jerusalem by arriving seated on a donkey: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zech. 9:9 KJV)
He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, which would be thrown into the temple and used to buy the potter's field: "And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. " (Zech. 11:12-13 KJV)
So, the promised Messiah would be descended from the house of David, yet would somehow also be the son of God. He would be born in Bethlehem, the child of a virgin, would preach in Galillee, would arrive in Jerusalem seated on a donkey, but would be rejected, beaten, stripped, and nailed up to die like a criminal. His betrayer would be paid thirty pieces of silver. He would rise again, immortal, and would be accepted and glorified by non-Jewish peoples around the world.
Jesus of Nazareth fit every detail of the prophetic discription, but only a small minority of the Jewish people accepted him as their promised Messiah. These Jews who rejoiced at the "gospel," or message of good
news, formed the nucleus of congregations meeting to share encouragement. As predicted, Gentiles too accepted the message, and they soon outnumbered the Messianic Jewish believers. Unable to read Hebrew, most of these Gentile believers heard or read the message in the then universal Greek language and referred to themselves as followers of "Christ." It was in such a mixed congregation of Jewish and Gentile converts in Antioch that the disciples were first called "Christians." (Acts 11:26)
Chapter 10 False Alarms, False Prophets and Identifying the Antichrist
Anybody who writes a book on this subject is in danger of being compared to Aesop's fables' proverbial 'boy who cried wolf.' "Wolf! Wolf!" he shouted, to draw attention to himself or to add some excitement to his life. People reacted just as he hoped they would. But then, on a different occasion when a wolf actually did appear on the scene, and he was in real danger, everyone assumed he was just 'crying wolf' again falsely. And no one came to his aid.
Similarly, there have been so many false alarms concerning the imminent return of Christ, that most people laugh or shrug off any suggestion that the prophesied event will soon take place. And, when it comes to the matter of people "crying wolf" about the return of Christ, no one can be more painfully aware of it than I am. I have spent the past twenty years researching and writing about that very thing.
In the Preface of this book I cite discussions of such false alarms in my books "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses Subject by Subject" (1996, Baker Book House) and "Mormonism: Changes, Contradictions and Errors" (by John R. Farkas and David A. Reed, 1995, Baker Book House), but a dozen other books that I authored or co-authored also deal with failed