Yesterday’s post, The Messiah Is God, described how God designed ahead of time a human identity He would use to walk among us. This design was revealed over several thousand years of human history and recorded in the Scriptures which were written before Jesus’ birth. This identity described how Messiah would live on earth (His sufferings) but also how He would reign in heaven after His resurrection (His glories).
Only after God had lived through the sufferings of Messiah, did He focus the attention of his followers on the glories of Messiah. Those glories would bring in the kingdom of heaven, the day of the Lord, the new heavens and new earth, and incorporate all those events usually called the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Once the glories were completed at the end of the apostolic generation (which could also be called the New Testament age), God was free to remove the veil and reveal that He Himself had been Messiah. It is a wondrous thought that enters the human heart – the realization that Jesus Christ was none other than God Himself in the flesh.
Because Messiah was an identity that God assumed for a period of time in order to accomplish His purposes, and because He has now revealed that He Himself was Messiah, there would be no reason for Him to assume human form again. Therefore, the hopes of those who expect to see a Second Coming of Jesus in the flesh will continue to go unfulfilled. They should have listened to Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 5:16 that while “we did know Christ in the flesh, we know Him thus no longer.” (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again)
Just as it was not possible for the prophecies of Messiah to be fully understood apart from the resurrection, so it is not possible to understand the fullness and finality of Christ’s work apart from acknowledging that He was, and is, God. The whole thrust of Jesus’ work through His apostles was to convert believing Jews and Gentiles from a fleshly orientation in the Law of Moses to a spiritual orientation. To bring back Jesus in the flesh would run entirely counter to this thrust.
“God is spirit,” Jesus told the woman at the well in Sychar, “and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” He came into a world where people focused myopically on earthly things with a goal to shift their gaze heavenward. It is high time we took His words seriously, stop looking for flesh, and start worshiping in spirit and truth the one and only God, our Messiah.
God doesn’t want a relationship with you in the flesh. He wants one in the spirit, because that is far more intimate. In the flesh, He could be close to you – but still always outside you. In the spirit, He can dwell inside you. Thus, He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20).
For more on this subject, see: