The fullness of time
What depth of meaning there is in the simple statement: “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son” (Galatians 4:4).
His birth had to occur before the sceptre departed from Judah, his death, after.
His birthplace was determined by a Roman decree, his death and its method of execution, by the Roman occupation of Israel. He had come before the temple was destroyed and with it the genealogical records.
The “fullness of time” has passed.
No one else can meet the Messianic criteria laid down by the Hebrew prophets. That simple phrase, however, carries a much deeper meaning than we have seen above. If the timing of his birth causes us to marvel, the timing of Christ’s death is even more precise and full of meaning. Daniel prophesied the very day of his death.
Through the writing of Jeremiah, Daniel learned that the Babylonian captivity would last 70 years (Daniel 9:2). God had commanded that each seven years the Hebrew slaves should be set free, debtor forgiven and the land given a one-year Sabbath of rest (Exodus 21:2, Leviticus 25:2-4).
For 490 years, Israel had disobeyed this precept. As judgment, Jews became slaves of Babylon while their land rested the 70 years of Sabbaths it had been denied.
These 70 weeks (490 years) were to be counted, “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” That crucial date is given to us in scripture.
Nehemiah tells us that it was “in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the King” (Nehemiah 2:1) that he received the authorization to rebuild Jerusalem.
When the day of the month was not given, the first day was intended. There were several Artaxerxes, but only one Longinus who ruled more than 20 years from 465-425 B.C. Thus we have the key date from which this incredible prophesy was to be calculated, Nisan 1, 445 B.C.
At the end of 69 of these “weeks” (seven times 69 equals 483 years) “Messiah the Prince” would be known to Israel (Daniel 9:25) and then be cut off (slain), but not for himself, (Daniel 5:26) counting 483 years of 360 days each taken from the Hebrew and Babylonian calendar.
A total of 173,880 days from Nisan 1,445 B.C. brings us to Sunday April 6, 32 A.D. on that very day, now celebrated as Palm Sunday. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey and was hailed as Messiah the Prince (Zechariah 9:9 was fulfilled at the same time.)
There is, however, an even deeper meaning to the phrase, “In the fullness of time” April 6, 32 A.D. was on the Hebrew Calendar, Nisan 10. On that day the Passover lamb was taken from the flock and placed under observation for four days to make certain that it was “without blemish.”
During that same four days, Jesus Christ, whom John the Baptist had hailed as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (St. John 1:29). On the 14th of Nisan, “The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it (The Passover Lamb) in the evening (between 3 and 6 p.m.) Exodus 12:6. It was during that precise time period that Jesus died on the cross.
It’s fascinating to see how God uses man against him to fulfill his word. The rabbis had determined not to arrest Jesus during Passover, “lest there be an uproar of the people,” (Mark 14:2) yet that was when he had to die. Judas was not only used of Satan but also of God. Even the “thirty pieces of silver” he bargained for, that fulfilled prophecy (Zechariah 11:12-13).
As Peter would declare in his Pentecostal sermon.
“Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:22). We must remember Jesus rose on the third day, from then until he arose again he was seen of at least 500 at one time (1st Corinthians 15:6-7).
The Apostle Paul preaching to the Corinthians church in 1st Corinthians 15 said, “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you which also ye have received and where in ye stand. By which also ye are saved if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. And that he was buried, and the he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once,” (1st Corinthians 15:1-6).
The Gospel that Paul preached is read in Acts 19:1-6, the same gospel the Apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-39).
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The next verse, 39, says, “For the Promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Have you received your gift yet?