1st Coming - Understand Prophecy - Yamartino
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Chapter 54 of  60

Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (joh 1:45) (54:6) see

Here we see a reference to two things: (1) someone finding Jesus, and (2) a reference to the sacred scripture referring to Him. One might assume from this verse of John that the two are related - that it was the scripture that caused Philip to recognize Christ. If we consider carefully the words of John, however, we see that there is really no evidence to support this initial impression. Such an impression must come from us making assumptions (54:7)

If it is through the scriptures that Philip came to believe, then what is the scripture? and what did he hear or see through which he witnessed its fulfillment? Neither John, nor any other book in the New Testament provides answers to these questions. For us to allow ourselves to think that Philip was led by scripture to believe in Christ, we would have to assume certain things that simply are not in scripture (54:8)

How Philip actually did find Christ is found in the scriptures. John states: (54:9)

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. (joh 1:43) (54:10) see

It seems that it was Christ who found Philip, and not Philip who found Christ. Given this knowledge, however, there are still questions that must be answered: Why did Philip follow Him? How did he attain to the gift of faith? What made him know Who it was who addressed him? Was it scripture? Was it Christ's love? Was it His divine authority? What was it that touched the mind and heart of Philip? This, John does not say (54:11)

One might say that there may be other evidence that would suggest, not directly, but possibly indirectly, that Philip was led to Christ through the scriptures. Did the other early believers influence Philip? Might not they have reasoned with Philip? Can we find, if we look closely into the scriptures, something to suggest this? I certainly cannot (54:12)

John does mention in this context certain other disciples that were led to believe in Christ. He gives a trail of how the message that Jesus was the Christ was transmitted to His followers. Here is what his words reveal: Some were told that He was the Christ by those who already believed. But how had the first believers come to believe? Those who already believed had been told that Jesus was the Christ by John who referred to Jesus as the "Lamb of God" (joh 1:36). Well, how did John know that Jesus was the Christ? He had a vision in which he "saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him" (joh 1:32). And how did he know that this signified that Jesus was He that was to come after him? He was told by God that "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." (joh 1:33) (54:13) see

Although John's words do not give us a clue as to how Philip came to believe in Christ, we do know from them that Philip must have been familiar with the prophecies of Moses, and that he believed that Jesus was the One Whom Moses referred to. Having attained to this belief, having found the Object of the scriptures, the way was then opened for Philip to understand all the scriptures referring to Him. It would be reasonable to assume that from then on, Philip's approach to understanding the Messianic Prophecies would not be one of interpreting them and looking for their fulfillment, but rather would be simply to understand how they were fulfilled in Jesus. This approach to the understanding of prophecy, I submit, is the one intended by God (54:14)

When I began this chapter, I had a vague feeling that there were actually many such instances in the New Testament in which prophecies were referred to in a way that could be viewed as implying that they were the cause of people believing in Christ. Upon study of the New Testament, however, it became clear that this initial vague feeling was not correct. A careful look at the New Testament reveals the startling fact that there are not hundreds, not even dozens, but only two other instances, besides the one mentioned above, in which it appears that prophecies may have led people to find and believe in the Christ (54:15)

Of course, you do not need to take my word on this matter. I encourage you to read through the entire the New Testament and search for yourself. To do justice to the subject, it must be considered as a whole. And when and if you do make such a search through the New Testament, I ask you to consider, were the people led to Him by prophecy, or were they led by His humility, His majesty, by His healing powers, by His words and example, by dreams, by visions, or angels (54:16)

Following are the two other instances in the New Testament that at first may seem to indicate that scriptures led to belief in Christ: (54:17)

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