Ask your Jewish friends why they don’t believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah and you’re bound to hear what seems like a pretty logical objection. It goes like this: the prophets predicted the Messiah would bring global peace, and Jesus didn’t do that; therefore, He can’t be the Messiah.
Hey, “Time Out!” And I mean that literally. Anyone who rejects the Messianic claims of Jesus on those grounds clearly doesn’t yet see that the Messianic prophecies contain several “Time Outs” — passages that predict things related to both the first and second advents of the Messiah. And because these passages do not give time frames, most just assume that everything in the passage happens at the same time. But even the prophets themselves did not foresee the period of time in which we currently live, the gap between Christ’s substitutionary death and His glorious return, as the Apostle Peter makes clear in 1 Peter 1:10-12. In fact, in Luke 24:21-26, the risen Lord rebukes some of His disciples for forgetting that He had to suffer before He could reign.
Open your Bible to Psalm 118, a Messianic psalm relating specifically to the day the Messiah would present Himself to Jerusalem. Read verse 22 and consider when those things happened. The Christ was rejected at His First Advent, but He will not become the Chief Cornerstone of the nation of Israel until His Second Advent. You’ll see the same thing in Isaiah 9:6 — the Child was born 2,000 years ago, but the world’s government will not be upon His shoulders until He returns to set up His kingdom. See if you can determine where the “Time Out” is in the following passages: Daniel 9:26-27, Hosea 3:4-5, Micah 5:2-4, and Zechariah 9:9-10.
Were these holy prophets of God really unaware that events they predicted in the same breath would be separated by twenty centuries? They had to be, because the Apostle Paul repeatedly calls the interval between the Lord’s First and Second Comings a “mystery” that was kept hidden or secret until it was revealed to him (Rom. 16:25, Eph. 3:1-6, Col. 1:25-27). In fact, it appears even the angel Gabriel didn’t know about it — check out Luke 1:31-33.
Now, you might wonder if this is a valid way of understanding these passages. I mean, can we really apply half of a verse to the past and the other half to the future? Well, Paul tells us we must rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim. 2:15), and it was the Lord Jesus Himself Who showed us how to do it. In Luke 4:18-21, He said the passage He had just read from Isaiah was fulfilled that day. However, He stopped reading right in the middle of a sentence! Why? Because the Lord knew that what we see as a little comma in Isa. 61:2 is actually a gap of time that has now lasted almost two millennia. Since the rest of that verse describes the future Tribulation and His glorious return, He didn’t read it because it was not fulfilled that day. Quite obviously, our Saviour foresaw the “Time Out.”
Finally, speaking of “Time Out,” why has the LORD held Christ’s earthly kingdom in abeyance until this very day? Because the leaders of the children of Israel, in the ultimate act of bad behavior, rejected their own King. What do you do with your children when they misbehave? Put them in “Time Out.”