It is folly to give prophecy the greater weight and one’s primary attention as was demonstrated by the nation of Israel. In their holy writings were numerous prophecies pointing to or describing a coming savior. These matters were often talked about and were integral to their worship. In fact, their scribes offered many explanations of the prophecies and asserted their interpretations and expectations as forcefully as they did the Law itself. Yet when the savior arrived, the scribes and leaders, along with the vast majority of the Jews, failed to perceive him. Why? Because they put more weight on their prophetic interpretations and their ‘traditions’ than on the plain teachings of Moses. (Matthew 15:3-9)
Had they paid more attention to the plain teachings of Moses, they would have been more receptive to Jesus and his good news. Moses was an organizer who instructed the nation on a better way of living so that they would qualify to be that light bearing nation through whom all nations would bless themselves. (Genesis 22:18) But their scribes and teachers added to Moses’ words their own opinions and interpretations. They went beyond what Moses provided and taught those additions as commands from God. These added matters became their ‘traditions’ that formulated their expectations and colored their understanding of prophecy.
Had they kept their promise to strictly obey the words given by Moses, and paid less attention to the commands of men, they would have recognized Jesus as the foretold one, if not by the manner of his arrival, then certainly by the things he said and did throughout his ministry. But their minds had been blinded by their ‘traditions.’ They could not see past their expectations.
In particular, they expected a warrior savior who would set up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem on the throne of David, decimate the Romans and subject all peoples to the Jewish nation. They were expecting to be exalted and all their enemies to be destroyed. But when the savior came proclaiming love, mercy and reconciliation with God, the savior and his message were rejected. Instead of salvation, those who were expecting an earthly kingdom were destroyed along with their temple in 70 C.E. They must have been stunned that it was their city that was destroyed, not that of their enemies!
Why is Christianity determined to repeat the errors of first century Judiasm? Why is Christianity fashioning itself after a failed and rejected people? Why is it that Christianity refuses to discern and accept our Lord as a Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), not a warmonger? And why does Christianity continue to seek the kingdom of God on earth, rather than the will of God on earth, as Jesus taught? (Matthew 6:9-10) These are matters for serious consideration for if we do not learn the lessons of the past, we are destined to repeat them!