If a prophecy is not drawing us to Jesus,
and terminating with Him, it is false!
I am pretty sure the internet is devoid of commentary on prophecy, so I’d better throw in a dash of red-hot, mind-blowing prophetic power to blow your minds.
Are you willing to do a little trekking with me through the Bible? Our reward will be a stronger faith, a greater appreciation for God’s salvation come to us in Jesus.
…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Do we need any clearer statement about the point of prophecy? Away with endless speculations and craziness! If a prophecy is not drawing us to Jesus, and terminating with Him, it is false.
Manoah and his wife lived about 1,200 years before Jesus was born.
The book of Judges was written at least 1,000 years before Jesus was born. Yet Jesus is standing so tall in chapter 13 you’d think you’d opened a children’s pop-up book. He’s just there, in all His pre-incarnate divine greatness. He is appearing here to solidify our faith in Him, and to claim His place as the central focus of the Bible. Let’s have a look.
Judges 13 (click the link and follow my summary of the narrative) – Manoah and his bride are living their little Hebrew lives in northern Israel. Nothing special about them… until the Angel of Yahweh drops her a visit in the field one day.
Yeah, the Bible is just like that. People are busy doing this and that – just like you and me – and God is just suddenly standing there in their path, telling them how it’s going to be from now on. He’s got the authority to “drop in” on us however He pleases, if you catch my drift.
Anyways, you’re maybe noticing that it says “Angel” of Yahweh – not “Son of God,” or “pre-incarnate Messiah.” True that – but let’s get out our Messiah-scope and look closer.
This “angel” (which means ‘messenger’) appears to Manoah’s wife, and tells her that she’s going to have a baby (no more barren womb). That baby will be Samson, the physically powerful judge of Israel and hammer of the Philistines. That aside, Mrs. Manoah goes home and tells her hubby all about it. Our first point of focus is how she describes the angel (messenger):
A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name… (Judges 13:6 ESV)
She’s not sure what His nature is, because she calls Him a “man,” yet describes Him as extra-ordinary, as “very awesome” (indeed!). Who is He? Just an angel? Well, Manoah is gung-ho to meet Him, so he prays to God that the man would appear again – and He again appears to the woman alone. Mrs. Manoah runs to get her husband, and they approach Him together… and Manoah asks Him
Are you the man who spoke to this woman? (v. 11)
And the angel-man replies… and get this:
Hmm… OK – and so they discuss the birth and life of Samson, which is the purpose the angel-man has appeared to them in the first place. Yet something curious happens after their conversation about Samson, and it is a dead giveaway to the identity of this angel-man. Look:
Manoah said to the angel of the Yahweh, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” (v. 15)
Standard Middle-Eastern hospitality, but the response is not normal:
“If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to Yahweh.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of Yahweh.) (v. 16)
This would be very poor behavior for someone to refuse such a kind, hospitable offer – Manoah is trying to show Him honor. This person/angel-man had to have been someone very mighty and important to have declined this invitation, and Manoah immediately picks up on this, and so he asks
“What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?”
We here in the West don’t understand the gravity of a question like this. In the culture they were in, and in many cultures like it today, to ask a stranger their name was to basically ask them to entrust themselves to you, and even to submit to you as an equal… but this angel-man was no equal to Manoah. No, He was much more than the man and his wife – and His reply gives it all away:
And the angel of Yahweh said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is Wonderful?”
“No, Manoah, I will not tell you My Name. I am above you in stature, and My Name is not for you to know.”
He is the Supreme! But look closer with me, and notice what the angel-man calls Himself:
Any other time an angel (when he is no more than a created angel) appears in the Bible, he has no problem revealing his name. But our Angel here in Judges 13 gives only a description of His Name. He is the only Wonderful one, and by now you should be thinking of Isaiah 9:6-7, written at least 300 years after Judges was written, where a very special advent prophecy is given:
6 For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of Yahweh of hosts will perform this. (NKJV)
The Hebrew word for “Wonderful” is the exact same one in both passages! It’s Jesus in Judges 13, appearing 1,200+ years before His incarnation in the womb of the virgin. Once He has answered Manoah with His title-name “Wonderful,” something else happens in order to clinch His identity for us:
19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to Yahweh, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of Yahweh went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.
21 The angel of Yahweh appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Yahweh22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”
Now Manoah knew whom he had seen – Whom he had come face to face with, and Whom it was that he had dared ask a name. It had been God Himself, appearing in the form of an angel- man, giving prophecy to Samson’s parents, and exerting His divine right to veil His true identity.
For us, we look back on this unfolding of Christ Jesus through the Old Testament, and how in His advent He fulfilled these pictures and appearances of Himself. Yet there is a Day still future, when He will appear again, to judge the living and the dead. All will know His Name in that Day, some with joy and relief, many with fear and hopelessness.
The main point of these things is that He, our God and Creator, has entered into His own creation – into our human history, and has spoken with us. He even became like us and was born of a woman, sinless, and laid down His life as a sacrifice for the world of human sin. He rose from the dead, victorious over the grave, and He ascended into heaven where He is seated at the right hand of His Father, also God. He has sent His Holy Spirit into the world, who is also God, and who points us all back to Jesus – to have faith and trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins, and repentance from sin in His Name… His Wonderful Name. Repent of your sins, and recognize His sovereign power as your Creator and Judge, and the One who came into the world to forgive sinners, making them right in God’s sight.
Manoah saw Him, His disciples saw Him, and you will see Him. May you believe His truth and rejoice at His second coming…
He is the Messiah of promise, the Messenger of God, and God the Son. He is the pinnacle of the Bible, and the reason for all things that exist. He is worthy to be trusted, loved, and exalted.
Comments welcomed at Justin’s blog.
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Thanks for reading,
Justin is a Bible teacher at Grace Life Church of Avon, NY, and is currently a student at Northeastern Seminary in the Master of Theology program. His goal is to attain a PhD in Biblical Theology so he can teach for his career at the seminary level, and ultimately hopes to work in the international mission field equipping pastors for their local ministries. Justin is happily married to Danielle since July 2011, and they love to travel, hike, and experience as much of the outdoors as possible. He lives in New York state and has traveled to almost all of the United States (currently 46 out of 50). At the present time he publishes at least two blogs. Both are worthy of your attention. Interpreting the Cosmos and Citizen of New Jerusalem.