But 2 Timothy 1:12 says”…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” It’s not a matter of knowing HOW the prophecies will be fulfilled, but by knowing the One who has promised to fulfill them. We can have unwavering confident assurance because of the One in whom we put our trust!
What a beautiful pairing of the Scriptures today that lead us to a rapturous conclusion! Beginning in Deuteronomy 26, we may be all too hasty to skip over the first couple of phrases to get to the rest of the chapter, but we would be remiss to do so. The fifth word of the chapter is vital to our understanding of God’s character. The word “when” might not appear to be all that important, especially in light of all the instructions they are about to be given, but it is fundamental to the entire context of God’s work. You will notice that, in spite of all the difficulties that Israel faced in getting to the promised land, all the adversaries, the lack of food and water, the defeats, the rebellion against God, the murmuring, and all of the other “hiccups” along the way, there is no mention of the word “if.”
He doesn’t say “If you reach the promised land…,” He says, “And it shall be, when thou art come into the land…” It was a certain promise of God that had not yet been fulfilled, but they had biblical hope that it would be fulfilled. Hope is not the wishful desire that we often think of, but the confident assurance that something WILL happen. That’s the confidence that is used here. It’s such a foregone conclusion that God will keep his promise that there is not even a consideration of any alternative!
Similarly, Psalm 118:8, 9 remind us of the surety that we have in our God: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” Can men hurt us? Certainly, they can! But because of the confidence in God’s eternal promises, verse 6 says that even the harm that man can do is nothing to be feared. He doesn’t say “I will not fear because man cannot do anything to me.” He says “I don’t have any fear about the things that man can do to me.” (paraphrase mine)
So what is that eternal hope that we have? What is the eternal hope that the Old Testament gives us? It can’t be Christ because He is in the New Testament, right? The Tanakh, or the yearly reading in the Jewish synagogues, contained Isaiah 53 for centuries as a prophecy about the Messiah. It is a precisely worded description of exactly who the Messiah would be so that the Jews would not miss him. In fact, between Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, 12, Zechariah, and other prophets, there is so much information about the Messiah that one would have to believe that the Jews would certainly know Him when He came. But Isaiah 53 says that he would be despised and rejected. And He was. But that does not mean that God’s promise went unfulfilled. In fact, that very rejection PROVES that God’s promise WAS fulfilled. It leads to a confident expectation of the fulfillment of the rest of God’s promises!
So where would we find this fulfillment in the New Testament? Matthew 1! He was of the house of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6), born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), before the fall of the second temple (Daniel 9:26). Depending on how you count them (if multiple passages say the same thing is it counted as a separate fulfillment?) there are over 400 passages that are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Imagine playing 20 questions, but having over 400 questions to narrow down the field to the correct answer. It would be hard NOT to win! And yet, even with all those clues pointing to a singular Individual, many today still don’t see the fulfilled promises of God.