1 Chronicles 4:10 – The Prayer of Jabez

1 Chronicles 4:10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

The prayer of Jabez should make us think of Christ.  The only impediment to this meditation, of course, would be the request of protection from harm or pain.  However, when you consider that Christ suffered briefly in comparison to the eternal redemption He is, and always will be, enjoying, it does rather seem like the pain mothers experience bringing new life into the world:

John 16:21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.

Jesus is thus our Jabez, whose “borders” have been infinitely enlarged – both geographically and chronologically.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Post-Church Age

We live in the post-church age.  What was the church age?  That which we see in the New Testament.

What could be greater than the church?  The kingdom of God.

Those who seek and find the kingdom of God are the true church of God and they have no human leaders.  Jesus Christ is their Leader, and they have need of no other.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Kings 11:17

2 Kings 11:17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they would be the LORD’S people, also between the king and the people.

Paul said that he ministered the gospel “as a priest” (Romans 15:16).  A true priest does what Jehoida the priest did, as described in this verse.  That is, he connects the people of God to their King.  The priest does not try to become the leader of the people of God.  Rather, He points his fellow citizens to the Leader.

This is just what the priest Samuel did at the inception of Israel’s monarchy.  He anointed the king for the sake of the people.  So we should anoint Jesus with our words that He might be the king of the people.  We have no need of popes or pastors in this the post-apostolic age.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Adonijah and Solomon

In 1 Kings 1 we see a pattern involving Adonijah and Solomon that reminds us of 1) the man of lawlessness prophesied to rise in the latter days of the New Testament church, and 2) the shepherds who try to lord it over God’s flock in our day.

First, the apostles made clear that in the last days, “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) or “antichrist” (1 John 2:18) would appear.   The “man of lawlessness” title refers to an outward profession of spirituality but an inward condition of death (Matthew 7:22-23).  The “antichrist” title refers to  the actual opposing of Christ – in the same way that the Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Christ and sought themselves to sit in the seat of Moses (Matthew 23:2).  Only there wouldn’t be one of them – there would be many of them.  This is why the apostle John wrote:

1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.

And this is just as Paul himself had said things would go when he was giving his farewell exhortation to to the leaders of the church in Ephesus:

Acts 20:29 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
Acts 20:30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

For this reason the apostle Peter wrote to church leaders as follows:

1 Peter 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,
1 Peter 5:2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;
1 Peter 5:3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Peter didn’t want any of the elders lording it over people as we certainly never saw the apostles lording it over people.  Peter did not worry about successors for the elders because the Lord Himself was soon coming.

This brings us to the second point: the leaders of today’s organized church.  They are seeking to take Christ’s place as shepherd of the flock.  There is, however, only one shepherd of the flock in this the eternal age.

Therefore, watch how Adonijah seeks to acquire the glory that is due the king alone.  Solomon is the true king; Adonijah is a usurper.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

2 Samuel 22:3-4

2 Samuel 23:3 …
‘He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,
2 Samuel 23:4 Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.’

Is this not “the strong man” who “rejoices to run his course,” the one of whom David spoke?  Yes:

Psalm 19:4 …
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Psalm 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.

And is this not “the sun” of whom Malachi spoke?  Yes.

Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…

In the book of Revelation the apostle John puts an exclamation point on the idea:

Revelation 1:16 … His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

Of course, by the time of the book of Revelation, we had actually seen His face.  Therefore, it was a point worth emphasizing!

This “sun” is truly “the light of the world.”

His name is Jesus.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 18:2-3

2 Samuel 18:2 David sent the people out, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.”
2 Samuel 18:3 But the people said, “You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.”

The people knew that David was the one whom the enemy wanted; their own lives were inconsequential in the light of his.  Therefore, they rightly sought to guard their king at all costs.

For this reason, David’s descendant – the heir to his throne and the Messiah of Israel – said this to Pontius Pilate:

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Jesus was bringing in a new covenant, wherein He would reign from heaven and not earth.  This is why David was protected but Jesus was sacrificed.  Once sacrificed, Jesus was raised from the dead, never to die again and therefore never to be at risk from enemies again.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

He Answered Their Prayers Because They Trusted in Him

1 Chronicles 5:20 They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him.

What a felicitous promise for prayer!

How simple a construct!

Let us aspire to so live that these words be spoken of us before we leave this earth.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

From Judah Comes the Leader

In the first book of Chronicles we find these two verses [emphasis added, here and throughout]:

1 Chronicles 5:2 Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph),

1 Chronicles 28:4 “Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.

This idea of Judah being the leader goes back to the prophecy of Jacob:

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

And thus Jesus relied upon this prophecy from His earthly ancestor when He pointed out to the Samaritan woman that it was from His side of the house of Israel and not hers that Messiah would come:

John 4:22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

The term “Jew” is, of course, derived from the name “Judah.”

The book of Revelation adds its own emphasis to this unique role for Judah:

Revelation 5:5 and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

Thus from one end of the Bible (Genesis) to the other (Revelation), the promise of salvation and thus of Messiah is through Judah.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Day of the Church Versus the Day of the Lord

The day of Israel gave way to the day of church.  That is, when Jesus was raised from the dead, He called to Himself all of the true sons of Israel.  The faithful of Israel became the faithful of the church, and we read about them in the New Testament.

However, the day of the church quickly gave way to the day of the Lord, for the New Testament’s vibrant pulse is the expectation of the coming of the Lord in that generation.  Indeed, Christ came in the kingdom of God and thus ushered in the eternal day of the Lord.

Of course, we live in that day.  Let us therefore stop focusing attention on church and focus it instead on the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Deuteronomy 34:9

Deuteronomy 34:9 Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Numbers 13:16 tells us that the name Joshua was given by Moses to Hoshea the son of Nun.  This anticipated the naming the Messiah, for in Matthew 1:21 an angel of the Lord instructed the carpenter to name Mary’s child Joshua – the Greek form of which is Jesus.

Thus, Deuteronomy 34:9 foreshadowed Messiah who would be filled with wisdom like no other.  Moses “laid his hands on” Messiah through the Law, for the Messiah heeded all the Law of Moses.  All the true sons of Israel listened to Jesus; false sons of Israel persecuted Him.

Jesus is the greater Joshua.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

At the Heart of the Miracle of the Fishes and Loaves

At the heart of the miracle of the fishes and loaves – that is, when Jesus fed the multitudes with what little food He and His disciples had – was generosity.  Jesus was living according to this verse from Isaiah:

Isaiah 58:7 …to divide your bread with the hungry…

That is, the basis upon which God dramatically increased the food supply was the generosity of Jesus to share all that He had with others.

Surely we should be as struck by Jesus’ generosity as we are by God’s miracle.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

We Read the Old Testament Through Christ

Apart from Christ, the Old Testament has no meaning for us and holds no interest for us.  It is an ancient book written for ancient Jews.  What makes it relevant to us is that Jesus of Nazareth was an ancient Jew and He reinterpreted it such as way that we could see it testifying of Him.  That’s what makes the Old Testament relevant to us.

The ancient Israelites heard God’s voice directly.  It so frightened them that they begged Moses to be the go-between:  that is, Moses would listen to God and then tell the Israelites what God had said.  Likewise, Jesus brings to us the words of the Old Testament.  If we cannot understand a passage through Him, we are not interested in hearing it – and this is as it should be.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

God Spoke to Moses

That God spoke to Moses was something about which Jesus, His apostles, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Samaritans, and therefore practically all of the Jews agreed.

Jesus’ Jewish opponents disagreed with Him about many things, but they did not disagree with Him that God revealed great truths through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – the Law of Moses.

Thus Jesus and of the kinsmen who rejected Him agreed that the Law of Moses was the word of God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Revelation 19:10

Revelation 19:10 …For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The prophets who wrote the Old Testament testified of Messiah who would come.  The apostles who wrote the New Testament testified of Messiah who came.  Both testaments testify of Christ and both are thus imbued with the spirit of prophecy.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 64:8

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Christians confess that Jesus is Lord.  Why then are they not willing to call Him “Father” as well, as this prophecy of Isaiah does?

Jesus was not revealed as the Father in the New Testament and that is why He is not revealed in those terms there.  Isaiah, however, prophesied that the Messiah would be “the Eternal Father”:

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us,
a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.

It all happened in due time.  Specifically, Jesus became the Father once again at the coming of the kingdom (see Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?).  If we’re willing to call Him the “Prince of Peace” should we not also be willing to call Him “Eternal Father”?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 53:7

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.

These words could have been written by the apostles who witnessed Jesus being falsely accused at His trial before the Jewish and Gentile rulers.  However, they weren’t.  They were written centuries before His crucifixion by Isaiah the prophet.  Such is the glory of God.  He tells us in advance what is going to happen and yet we still so seldom see it coming.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 42:22

Isaiah 42:22 But this is a people plundered and despoiled;
All of them are trapped in caves,
Or are hidden away in prisons;
They have become a prey with none to deliver them,
And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”

Who would go on God’s behalf to demand that the dead be given back to Him?  Who could make such a demand?  Only Jesus our Lord.  He said to God’s enemies, “Give them back!”  And they did!

As Paul said:

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

And thus the dead were raised at the Second Coming of Christ (see chapters 7 and 8 of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 22:21

Isaiah 22:21 And I will clothe him with your tunic
And tie your sash securely about him.
I will entrust him with your authority,
And he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

These words of Isaiah are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ who, through the plan and power of the Father, became “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.”  As Isaiah said in Isaiah 9:6, an “eternal father!”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jeremiah 50:5

Jeremiah 50:5 “They will ask for the way to Zion, turning their faces in its direction; they will come that they may join themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.

Jeremiah is here prophesying of New Testament times, when the Jesus of Nazareth – the promised Messiah of Israel – came to do the great work of God.  For this reason, it says in the New Testament [emphasis added, here and in the verses following]:

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

In the following chapter of Hebrews this new covenant was called the “eternal covenant,” making even more clear to us the connection with Jeremiah 50:5:

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,

As for being “joined to the Lord,” Paul uses this language in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 6:17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Let us therefore rejoice over the fulfillment of what God spoke through His prophet Jeremiah!  And let us glory that this covenant has not been forgotten, just as Jeremiah said!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Chronicles 29:23-25

1 Chronicles 29:23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father; and he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him.
1 Chronicles 29:24 All the officials, the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David pledged allegiance to King Solomon.
1 Chronicles 29:25 The LORD highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him royal majesty which had not been on any king before him in Israel.

Much like what we saw in this post on 1 Kings 1:47, these verses foreshadow what God would do through Christ.  This is the great transfer of saints from the Father to the Son, which is chronicled in the New Testament.  The mighty men of David became the mighty men of Solomon.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Kings 10:24

1 Kings 10:24 All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.

Jesus said, “Something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).  Therefore we can see this verse from 1 Kings foreshadowing what the apostle John wrote:

John 12:19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”

And people are still going after Him today – almost two thousand years after His enemies thought they had Him nailed.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Kings 1:47

1 Kings 1:47 “Moreover, the king’s servants came to bless our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make the name of Solomon better than your name and his throne greater than your throne!’…

We know that Solomon is a type of Christ.  This knowledge helps us to see that the relationship of David and Solomon is a type of the relationship between God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is, as David was a man of war and Solomon a man of peace, so God the Father helped Israel in its wars but Jesus would never take up the sword.  Also, as David planned the construction of the temple but Solomon was the one who built it, so God the Father planned the salvation of humanity but Jesus was the one who executed it.  Thus the wish of the servants that Solomon would have a greater name than David has application to God and Christ as well.

What loving father does not want his son to outdo him?  How much more than did God want the name of Christ to be above every name (Philippians 2:9-11).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God

Often in the New Testament, we see Jesus referred to as the Christ (i.e. the Messiah) and the Son of God in the same breath.  These two titles were prominently paired in Psalm 2 where verse 2 speaks of God’s “Anointed” (or Christ or Messiah, since all have the same meaning) and verse 7 has God calling Him “My Son.”  These paired titles were also alluded to in 2 Samuel 7 when Nathan prophesied to David of his royal descendant – a descendant to whom God Himself promised to be “a father.”  For this reason, “the Christ” and “the Son of God” titles are easily and often coupled when speaking of this special descendant of David. Here are some obvious examples [emphasis added]:

Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 26:63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Luke 4:41 Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.

John 11:27 She *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us–by me and Silvanus and Timothy–was not yes and no, but is yes in Him.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Ephesians 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

2 John 1:3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

The promise of an Anointed king for Israel who would also be the Son of God was well known among the Jewish people.  What was not so well known was the startling greatness to which these titles pointed.  Only in the wake of Jesus having come and having been raised from the dead have we begun to see the glorious and profound meanings God has invested in these terms.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Titles for Jesus Used in the Gospel of Matthew

Here are the primary names or titles ascribed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew:

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Son of God

Matthew Presents Jesus as the King of the Jews

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Son of David

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Messiah (Christ)

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Son of Man

Matthew Presents Jesus as Lord

These names had been prophesied in the Old Testament, but no one was sure what they all meant nor how they related to each other.  In Jesus of Nazareth, however, all the puzzle pieces fit together.  Jesus suffered as a man that He might be glorified as God.  For more on this, see The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ – His Suffering and Glory.

Other names were applied to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, including Teacher and Rabbi.  The names listed above, however, are the most notable ones – and all of them have prophetic significance (which means, among others things, an Old Testament background).

Of course, the most common way that Matthew refers to Jesus is as, simply, “Jesus.”  Over 170 times, Matthew speaks of Jesus.  “Jesus did this; Jesus did that.”  “Jesus said this; Jesus said that.”  Matthew does not normally say, “The Messiah did this,” or “The Son of God did that.”  Those titles are usually employed when someone Matthew is quoting is speaking to or about Jesus.

You may recall that “Jesus” was the name given to Mary’s first child by an angel of the Lord (Matthew 1:21).  “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew name “Joshua.”  Therefore, a Jewish contemporary of Jesus would probably see His connection with Moses even more quickly than we would.

There’s a lot in a name.  Especially when it comes to someone so true to His name.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Matthew Presents Jesus as Lord

In the 1st Century, the term “Lord” could be used in a wide variety of ways.  It could simply be a way of showing respect to a social superior (akin to saying, “Sir”) or it could be a way of referencing God Almighty.  We need to keep this elasticity of application in mind as we consider that “Lord” was the most common form of direct address that people used with Jesus.

Occasionally in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus referred to Himself as Lord*.  You find that in these verses:

Matthew 7:21-22

Matthew 12:8

Matthew 24:42

Matthew 25:11, 37, 44

Here are those occasions where others address Jesus as Lord:

Matthew 8:2, 6, 8, 21, 25

Matthew 9:28

Matthew 14:28, 30

Matthew 15:22, 27

Matthew 16:22

Matthew 17:4, 15

Matthew 18:21

Matthew 20:30, 31, 33

Matthew 22:43, 44, 45

Matthew 26:22

Of course, once Jesus was raised from the dead, the title “Lord” took on much greater significance.

*The verses where Jesus refers to Himself as Lord all look ahead to the point after the resurrection when He would receive heavenly glories.  He certainly did not go around seeking for people to treat him as that kind of Lord while He was on earth.  On the contrary, He came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Son of Man

In Matthew’s Gospel, as in the other Gospels, Jesus seldom referred to Himself as the Son of God or the Son of David or the Messiah (the Christ).  He did, however, often refer to Himself as “the Son of Man,” especially as his crucifixion approached and he was looking beyond it to the glories he would experience in heaven.

By contrast, those who listened to Jesus seemed puzzled by this self-description.  Nevertheless, his disciples came to understand that this was the third-person way he spoke of himself.  For when Peter gave his famous answer “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” it was to the question from Jesus, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

Here are the many occasions in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man:

Matthew 8:20

Matthew 9:6

Matthew 10:23

Matthew 11:19

Matthew 12:8, 32, 40

Matthew 13:37, 41

Matthew 16:13, 28

Matthew 17:9, 12, 22

Matthew 18:11

Matthew 19:28

Matthew 20:18, 28

Matthew 24:27, 30, 37, 39, 44

Matthew 25:31

Matthew 26:2

Matthew 26:24, 45, 64

The expression “son of man” often appears in the Old Testament as simply a synonym for a human being.  It also appears notably in Psalm 8, in Ezekiel as the way God addressed Ezekiel, and then, grandly, in Daniel 7:13-14 as “one like a son of man” receives “an everlasting kingdom” from “the Ancient of Days.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Messiah (Christ)

The terms “Messiah” (of Hebrew origin) and “Christ” (of Greek origin) mean the same thing: “the Anointed One,” which refers to the great royal descendant that God had promised to King David.  (I will use the term “Messiah” throughout the rest of this post, but I could have just as easily used “Christ.”  Therefore, you may mentally substitute one for the other as you read through.) Here then are verses from the Gospel according to Matthew wherein the term “Messiah” is mentioned:

Matthew 1:1, 16, 17, 18  (Matthew identifies Jesus as the Messiah)

Matthew 2:4  (King Herod asks the religious leaders where the Messiah was to be born.)

Matthew 11:2  (Matthew writes of John the Baptist hearing about “the works of Christ,” meaning the miracles that Jesus was performing.)

Matthew 16:16  (Peter famously confesses to Jesus, “You are the Messiah.”)

Matthew 16:20  (Jesus instructs his disciples not to reveal his messianic identity, which was not to be proclaimed until he had been raised from the dead.)

Matthew 22:42  (Jesus confronts the Pharisees with their inability to explain how David could refer to the Messiah as Lord, since the Messiah would be a descendant of David.  The explanation, of course, would come soon enough in Jesus’ resurrection.)

 Matthew 23:10  (Jesus tells his disciples not to be called leaders for that role is reserved for the Messiah.)

Matthew 24:5, 23, 24  (Jesus warns his disciples that false messiahs will appear as the movement in his name grows.)

Matthew 26:63  (At Jesus’ trial, the high priest asks him if he is the Messiah.)

Matthew 26:68  (Mockers sarcastically call Jesus the Messiah.)

Matthew 27:21-22  (Pontius Pilate asks the Jewish crowd whether they want him to release Barabbas or “Jesus who is called Messiah.”)

Again, “Messiah” and “Christ” are interchangeable words.  Their meaning is identical.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Son of David

Matthew’s Gospel makes clear that Jesus was widely regarded by his contemporaries as a descendant of King David, and by his followers as the special descendant of David called Messiah (or Christ).

Here are the verses in which Matthew makes these kind of references:

Matthew 1:1  (Matthew himself calls Jesus “the son of David.”)

Matthew 1:2-16  (Matthew gives a genealogy of Jesus through Joseph which identifies David as being his ancestor; Luke 3 contains Jesus’ genealogy through Mary.)

Matthew 1:20  (An angel of the Lord addresses Jesus’ earthly father Joseph as a “son of David.”)

Matthew 9:27  (Two blind men follow Jesus and cry out for mercy from the “Son of David.”)

Matthew 12:23  (The crowds watching Jesus’ miraculous healing powers at work ask themselves if he can be “the Son of David,” meaning “Can he be the Messiah?”)

Matthew 15:22  (A Canaanite woman asks for help for her demon-possessed daughter from the “Son of David.”)

Matthew 20:30-31  (As Jesus passes by, two blind men sitting by the side of the road cry out repeatedly, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us.”)

Matthew 21:9, 15 (As Jesus enters Jerusalem, he is greeted with shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!”)

Matthew 22:42  (Jesus points out to the Pharisees that their belief in Psalm 110:1 as a messianic prophecy presents them with a riddle they cannot solve.  The answer was, of course, his own resurrection from the dead to the right hand of God which would make him both the “son” and the “Lord” of the one who wrote the prophecy:  David.)

God had promised to David a descendant who would have a far greater kingdom than David did.  David expanded on this idea in Psalm 2.  One of the points of Matthew’s Gospel is that Jesus of Nazareth was what God had in mind when the Holy Spirit originally inspired those prophecies.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Matthew Presents Jesus as the King of the Jews

All four gospels describe how the term “King of the Jews” was used at the time of Jesus’ cruficixion, and even printed on a sign at the head of his cross. The Messiah (i.e. the Christ) was King David’s descendant, slated to become an even greater king of Israel than David had been.  The Jewish authoritites convicted Jesus because they believed that his claim to be the Messiah was false; the Roman authorities crucified him because any claimant to the title of Jewish king would be a threat to existing Roman order (Rome was backing the Jewish king named Herod).  Thus to call Jesus “the king of the Jews” was arouse sentiments of both Jews and Romans.

What distinguishes the Gospel of Matthew in this regard is that he brings up the use of the term “King of the Jews” at the beginning of Jesus’ life, and he is the only gospel writer to have done so.

According to Matthew 2:1-2, “magi from the east” arrived in Jerusalem asking “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”   This ultimately led to King Herod slaughtering any infants that might fit that description in and around Bethlehem, the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah.

Clearly, Jesus was the king of the Jews God had promised (2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 2).  That he was labeled so on his cross by those who put him there is the greatest irony of history.  Thus, Matthew brings to light that Jesus was born the King of the Jews and He died the King of the Jews.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Matthew Presents Jesus as the Son of God

The Gospel of Matthew addresses many issues appreciated by those familiar with the Hebrew Bible (i.e. the Old Testament).

For one thing, Matthew finds occasions throughout his book to refer to Jesus as the Son of God.  This term had significance for Jews because of its specific use in their Scriptures.  Specifically, 2 Samuel 7:14 (where God says to David about his future descendant “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me”) and Psalm 2:6-7 (where that descendant, the Messiah, was installed as king of God’s people with the declaration from God to him: “You are My Son”).

Thus 21st-century man hears the expression “Son of God” without always appreciating how Matthew and his readers thought of those words.  Modern man has been conditioned by two thousand years of church theology.  Try to listen to the words as the writer intended them – a writer who knew nothing of the two thousand years of church tradition that would follow him.

Here there are the verses where you can find reference to Jesus being called the Son of God:

Matthew 3:16-17  (Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist and a voice out of the heaven says “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased!”)

Matthew 4:3, 6  (Satan challenges the heavenly statement:  “If You are the Son of God…”)

Matthew 8:29  (Demons address Jesus as “Son of God.”)

Matthew 14:33 (After seeing Jesus calm the storm that had threatened them, Jesus’ disciples exclaimed, “You are certainly God’s Son!”)

Matthew 16:16  (Peter makes his famous confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”)

Matthew 17:5  (On the Mount of Transfiguration, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”)

Matthew 26:63  (The high priest at Jesus’ trial asks Him point blank, “I adjure You by the living God, that you tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”)

Matthew 27:40, 43  (As He is hanging on the cross, mockers call Him “the Son of God” with sarcasm and ridicule.)

Matthew 27:54  (As Jesus is dying on the cross, a Roman soldier says “Truly this was the Son of God!”  It’s not likely that he appreciated the Jewish meaning of the term.  Rather, he probably was using the term of the hour to acknowledge that, yes, there was something altogether unique and godly about this man.)

The identity of Jesus as the Son of God was by no means the only theme Matthew gave his readers.  It was, however, and signficant one.  And only in the resurrection of the Christ could humanity begin to appreciate just how signficant the term was yet to become.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Christ Was Prophesied in Mystery but Revealed in Glory

In the closing to his letter to the believers in Rome (Romans 16:25-27), the apostle Paul wrote that God’s Messiah had been prophesied in mysterious fashion only to be finally revealed in Jesus of Nazareth.  That is, the promises about God’s Son, which had been enigmatic when given, were made clear when fulfilled.

We do not find in the Old Testament prophecies that read like this:  “There will be a son of a carpenter named Jesus who will do miracles, be rejected by the chief priests of Israel and crucified Pontius Pilate and the Romans, and then raised from the dead on the third day.”  The prophets did not prophesy in this way.  Rather, the prophets’ words were like puzzle pieces – a gigantic riddle – whose answer only became apparent once the prophecies were fulfilled.

For a specific example, see Divergent Old Testament Prophecies Converge in Jesus of Nazareth

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 63:9

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the angel of His presence saved them;
In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them,
And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

In His crucifixion and death, Jesus was certainly afflicted as we are – and more so than most.  The “angel of His presence” also refers to Jesus.  He came as a man and was raised as an angel, yet He is more than a a man and more than an angel.  In His love and mercy He redeems us and lifts us from death.  In fact, He lifts us to heaven!

See Jesus in this verse, for truly the Old Testament is about Him (The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 59:16

Isaiah 59:16 And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him.

Jesus of Nazareth was God’s “own arm.”  That is, God came to earth as a man in order to redeem all humanity.  There was “no one to intercede” for Him, so He interceded for Himself!  What a great and wonderful God!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Ezekiel 37:24

Ezekiel 37:24 “My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them.

Do you recognize Jesus of Nazareth being prophesied in this verse?  Read John 10 and see how Jesus describes Himself as this shepherd.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Ezekiel 21:27

Ezekiel 21:27 ‘A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I will make it. This also will be no more until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.’

“Until He comes,” is a reference to Messiah.  This prophecy of Ezekiel is reminiscent of Jacob’s prophecy of Messiah found in Genesis [emphasis added]:

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

It also reminds us of what the woman at the well in Sychar said to Jesus about the Messiah, not knowing it was the person to whom she was speaking:

John 4:25 The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”

So much was Messiah referred to as “the One who comes” that John the Baptist asked Jesus if He was “the Coming One”  (the NASB of Matthew 11:3 translates the expression as “the Expected One” but in the margin you’ll see that the literal rendering is “the Coming One”).

The prophecy of Ezekiel above also links with this one from Daniel:

Daniel 7:13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.

Everything in the plan of God was looking forward to when He comes.  Well…He has come!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Hosea 3:5

Hosea 3:5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

Hosea is prophesying in this verse.  He is prophesying of Messiah.  Messiah was David their king.  That is, Messiah was the great descendant of David promised by God.  By His resurrection from the dead and seating at God’s right hand, He became the Lord as well.  Jesus of Nazareth is that Messiah.  It is Jesus who this verse has in view.  That is, God, through His Holy Spirit, inspired Hosea to write these words hundreds of years before Jesus was born to Mary.  This is the way of God: to promise…and then to perform, for He is faithful.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jeremiah 30:9

Jeremiah 30:9 ‘But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

This is the kind of verse which Paul, Apollos, and others would have used to convince fellow Jews that the crucifixion and resurection of the Galilean Jesus was in fact an outworking of the predetermined plan of God (Acts 2:23; 17:2-3; 18:28).  Jesus was “David” because He was a descendant of David according to the flesh.  Being the “son of God” according to Psalm 2 (Acts 13:33), Jesus was the king of Israel (John 1:49).  That He was “raised up” is, of course, the prophecy of His resurrection from the dead.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jeremiah 23:6

Jeremiah 23:6 “In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The LORD our righteousness.’

This verse continues the theme begun in Jeremiah 23:5 – that is, the theme of Messiah.  Thus the “His days” are “Messiah’s days.”  And we know that the Lord Jesus is our righteousness because He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Jeremiah 23:5

Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.

Jesus of Nazareth was a descendant of David, and thus heir to the messianic promises (primarily to Abraham and his descendant David).  Jesus is “the righteous Branch” and was, of course, “raised up” from the dead three days after being crucified.  He is the king of the kingdom of God, which came on time late in the 1st Century (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).

The King of the kingdom of God “acts wisely and does justice and righteousness” throughout His realm.  Blessed be His name!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zechariah 14:9

Zechariah 14:9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.

Who is the Lord who would be “king over all the earth?”  Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth, Son of David.  He is “the only one,” and “His name is the only one.”

This is the kingdom of God:  the lordship of Christ.  Do not allow yourself to be misled from the simplicity of it.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

The kingdom of God has come, and Jesus is its king!  His is the name above every other name (Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 9:23

2 Chronicles 9:23 And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.

Should we not seek the presence of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, for whom the great King Solomon is but a type?  If the Queen of Sheba traveled hundreds of miles to hear the wisdom of Solomon shouldn’t be be willing to travel a few feet to pray and seek His face?

After all, Solomon had great wisdom but “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

2 Chronicles 9:22

2 Chronicles 9:22 So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.

Jesus was the greater “King Solomon” who became greater than all who were before Him.  The “riches” He had were His inheritance in the saints and the wisdom He had was the wisdom of God.  He is “the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 7:11

2 Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned on doing in the house of the LORD and in his palace.

Solomon being a type of Christ, this verse prophesies that Jesus would complete the promise of the new heavens and new earth, which would provide a home for the resurrected dead.  As Jesus Himself said, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).  And as Isaiah said:

Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

This was completed in the coming of the kingdom of God (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).  Thus, Jesus finished what He started.  He kept His promise.  The dead now rise to heaven (Everyone Is Going to Heaven).  “Solomon” thus finished “the house of the Lord and His palace.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 2:11

2 Chronicles 2:11 Then Huram, king of Tyre, answered in a letter sent to Solomon: “Because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them.”

We know that Solomon, being the son of David, is a type of Christ.  The name Solomon means “peace” and Jesus is, of course, “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  In this verse it is prophesied that Jesus was made king over God’s people because God loves His people.  That is, Jesus was not made king for Jesus’ sake.  Nor was He made king for God’s sake.  Rather Jesus was made king for the people’s sake.

Obedience doesn’t do anything to improve God status.  It does, however, improve our status.  Therefore, we should always be thankful for the kingdom of God.  It was instituted for our sake, not His.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Esther 10:3

Esther 10:3 For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.

Like Esther 9:4, this verse foreshadows the Messiah.  In the New Testament, Jesus Christ was second only to God the Father.  He was great among those who were Jews at heart (Romans 2:28-29).  He sought the good of His people, who were God’s people.  He truly spoke for the welfare of His whole nation.

Ponder this verse and let the Spirit of God refresh your heart with thoughts of Christ.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Esther 9:4

Esther 9:4 Indeed, Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces; for the man Mordecai became greater and greater.

Mordecai is a type of Christ.  Christ was great in the house of God, performing more miracles than anyone before Him  – so many that the apostle John said that they couldn’t all be written down.  Jesus’ fame spread throughout all Israel, then throughout the whole Mediterranean basin, and then throughout the whole world.  He became greater and greater – so much so that Isaiah could say of Him:

Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace…

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 21:8

Psalm 21:8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;
Your right hand will find out those who hate you.

Jesus of Nazareth was God’s “right hand man.”  And Jesus certainly found out God’s enemies – by personal experience!  That is, those who hated God in their hearts took it out on Jesus.

Jesus Christ has been a polarizing figure from the beginning.  He was then; He still is now.  Those who truly love God, love Jesus.  And those who despise God, despise Jesus.

Note that the people who hated Jesus did not think that they hated God.  They just did not know their own hearts.  Otherwise, they would not have crucified Him.

Jesus of Nazareth is a proxy for God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Stop Making Idols Out of Relics

2 Kings 18:4 [Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.

It seems God’s people are forever holding on to relics from God’s past activities and making present-day idols of them – thus causing themselves to miss God’s current activities.  This passage from 2 Kings is an example of just such behavior.  The original incident to which it refers can be found in Numbers 21:7-9.

The most common relic that people are worshiping today is church.  Whether it’s the church as a building or as an institution or as a social structure with human leadership, in all cases it is idolatry.  God is just as dishonored by this idolatry as He was by the Israelites’ worship of a bronze serpent that had been preserved beyond its useful life.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The “Lost” Book

2 Kings 22:8-20 tells the story of how the “lost” book was “found.”  It begins this way:

 2 Kings 22:8 Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it.

The book was the Law of Moses which the nation had been forgetting.  And because Israel had been forgetting Moses’ Law, it was experiencing all the curses promised to the nation if they forsook it.  Thus, finding the book meant finding an explanation for why the nation was in the sorry state that it was in.

Similarly, the Bible is largely a “lost” book to Christendom today.  Denominational and ideological dogmas have taken the place of reading and studying the words of God’s prophets and apostles.  As a result, the word of God is made to be of no effect.  It’s tragic.

Read the pages of Scripture and let the Holy Spirit who inspired it bring you understanding that you might repent and live according to it.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Scarlet Thread

There is a “scarlet thread” running from one end of the Bible to the other.  It is the blood that has flowed to bring the truth to us in modernity.

All the prophets who were slain for their faith – from Abel to Zechariah – testify to us about the truth of God.  Then, in New Testament times, Jesus Himself suffered death by crucifixion.  And post-biblical tradition tells us that only one of the twelve apostles lived to a natural death, all the rest being martyred, and usually in some particularly cruel fashion.

This scarlet thread bears witnesses to the veracity of those prophets and apostles – and of the Savior Himself.

Let us never read the Bible without an appreciation for the price that was paid to bring it to us.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Exodus 33:21-23

Exodus 33:21 Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;
Exodus 33:22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.
Exodus 33:23 “Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”

When God walked the earth as Jesus of Nazareth, He did not reveal Himself to be God.  He lived with all the limitations of a human being.  Humanity was protected during that time.  Only after He had passed this way were we able to realize that God had truly been among us.  “Immanuel” was far more intimate that we had ever thought our hoped.

Matthew 1:23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Numbers 20:16

Numbers 20:16 ‘But when we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt…

This verse foreshadows the deliverance God gave us through Jesus Christ.  That is, He sent His messenger Jesus before us.  This Jesus died for our sins and then was raised from the dead to the right hand of God.  From there He brought all humanity to Himself.  As Paul wrote, quoting the 68th psalm:

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES…

Or as the prophet Micah put it:

Micah 2:13 “The breaker goes up before them;
They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
So their king goes on before them,
And the LORD at their head.”

Of course, the messenger God “sent” was God Himself, becoming a man and then becoming a resurrected man – that is, an angel (see Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; and Luke 20:36).  If God could become a man, it should not seem strange that He could also become an angel – especially on the way to His being restored to His place as God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Is Jesus a False Prophet?

Is Jesus a false prophet?  Perish the thought!  It’s an entirely repugnant thought.

Why then do I raise such a thought?  Because those who deny the fulfillment of Jesus’ promises of a coming kingdom are inadvertently begging for Him to be labeled false.  Remember that Moses said:

Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Therefore, if Jesus’ words about the imminent coming of the kingdom of God in the 1st Century A.D. are today deemed to be wrong, then Jesus is, in effect, being labeled a prophet whose prophecy did not come true.

Yet His prophecy did come true!  Jesus Christ did come again – just exactly as He had promised.  Many people simply misunderstood His promise.  They expected Him to come in earthly or worldly glory, but Jesus had already turned down that kind of glory when He was tempted by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4, Luke 4).  No, Jesus was promising to come in heavenly glory.  How could He have made this more clear?  He kept calling it “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” – not “the kingdom of man” or “the kingdom of flesh.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Miracles of Jesus Were Greater than the Miracles of Moses

The signs performed by God through Jesus were greater than the signs performed by God through Moses for the reason that the ministry of Jesus was greater than the ministry of Moses.

Moses’ ministry was great.  There’s no denying, or even downplaying, that.  However, the ministry of Jesus – the second Moses – was greater.

Moses said, “God shall raise up a prophet like me from among your brethren” (Deuteronomy 18:15).  For this reason we can call Jesus “the second Moses.”

Moses was a steward over God’s house but Jesus is the heir over God’s house.

Moreover, Moses tended a house but Jesus built a house.

God gave more miracles through Jesus in order to testify that His work was even more important than the work of Moses.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Deuteronomy 31:14

Deuteronomy 31:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.

As with Deuteronomy 31:3, this verse foreshadows Jesus Christ.

It parallels the vision of Daniel 7:13-14 wherein the Son of Man comes up to the Ancient of Days to receive a kingdom.

All this foreshadows the handing over of the kingdom from Father to Son, as referenced by Jesus in many places including Matthew 11:27 and John 5:22-23.

Of course, we know that this Father became the Son so that He might become the Father once again (Isaiah 9:6), just as a tree gives a seed so that the seed may become a tree:

John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

As it is for us, so it was with God.  Blessed be His glorious name!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Deuteronomy 31:3

Deuteronomy 31:3 “…Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the LORD has spoken.

These words from Moses foreshadow Joshua of Nazareth, who would one day come to Israel.  As Moses had said more explicitly earlier in Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

As this Joshua of Nazareth Himself said to the religious leaders of His day who challenged Him:

John 5:45 “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope.
John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
John 5:47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Thus His name (“Jesus” being the Greek form, “Joshua” being the Hebrew form) was given to Him by the angel before He was born:

Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus…

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Leviticus 22:32-33

Leviticus 22:32 “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the LORD who sanctifies you,
Leviticus 22:33 who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God; I am the LORD.”

This passage of Scripture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ who draws our hearts out of the world (symbolized by Egypt) to Himself as Lord above (Romans 10:9).

As promised in the Gospel of John:

John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

In the world we have tribulation, but in Him we have peace (John 16:33).  He is the Lord our God!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Deuteronomy 32:18

Deuteronomy 32:18 “You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

O Christian, have you neglected the Rock who begot you – Jesus Christ our Lord?  For through Him you were spiritually begotten (1 Peter 1:3, 23).

Have you forgotten the God who gave you birth – that same Jesus Christ our Lord?  For through the pains of His labor you were born to eternal life.

Therefore, return to Him, just as Isaiah pleaded:

Isaiah 31:6 Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected…

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Exodus 32:1

Exodus 32:1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

Sinful human nature does not like to wait for God.  It becomes impatient and seeks its own way.  The godly wait patiently for the Lord to do what He has promised.

This verse foreshadows what would happen when some perceived that the Lord had tarried regarding His Second Coming.  They forced explanations and developed false doctrines.  Most significantly, they put themselves in the place of Jesus just as the Pharisees had put themselves in the place of Moses.

As a result, the institutional church today values the traditions of its elders more than the word of the Lord through His apostles.  See Mark 7:1-13 for a foreshadowing of this situation.

If you really want to know what happened regarding the Lord’s promise to come again, see Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

What God Did Through Christ He Had Promised Long Before Through the Prophets

What God did through Jesus Christ, He had promised long beforehand.  Consider how Paul refers to this fact in the opening of his letter to Titus:

Titus 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
Titus 1:3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,
Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

This is the way of God – to announce His intentions to His prophets.  This is so that His prophets might proclaim His intentions – that is, His promises – to His people.  Those promises would be written down, and then once they were fulfilled, all the generations that followed could glorify God for His faithfulness to His word.

Blessed be God, who revealed to His prophets what He was going to do.  As Amos said:

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret counsel
To His servants the prophets.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Keep Learning About the Inheritance

We should seek forever to understand all the inheritance that the Lord left us.  Twice Paul mentioned it in his letter to the church at Colossae:

Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

This inheritance was left to us by Jesus of Nazareth, and the Scriptures give its details.  Therefore, search out the Scriptures that we might know all that we are in Christ. His inheritance is exceeding abundantly beyond all that we could ask or even think to ask.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Apostles Did Not Think They Needed a New Book

Read the apostles’ extant writings (what we call the New Testament) and see that they never expressed any concern about a lack of documentation for their message.  That is, they had no need of the New Testament.  Of course, we do need it because it’s the means by which we can know what the apostles thought and taught.  They themselves, however, knew what they thought and taught. And they knew much more about those things than we can reconstruct from the 27 documents we call the New Testament.

The set of documents that mattered most to the apostles was what we call the Old Testament.  That was the collection of writings from Moses and the prophets that foretold all the things about Jesus that the apostles themselves witnessed.  In the pages of the Old Testament, the apostles found everything they needed to back up their claim that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

Just knowing this should enrich our study of both testaments.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Inheritance Jesus Left Us

Consider these two verses from Acts which speak of the inheritance made available for those who belong to Jesus Christ:

Acts 20:32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Untold riches reside in the inheritance left us by Jesus Christ.  These are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and understanding.  They include the precious promises of God which make provision for all things required in a godly life.

Why are people buying lottery tickets for a prize that they probably won’t win, and which, even if they did win it, would only provide material goods, when they could be reaching into an inheritance that is surely theirs and provides for all things necessary for this life and the next?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Documentation for Jesus’ Resurrection Was Written Long Before It Occurred

Consider these two representative passage from the book of Acts.  The first quotes the words of Paul as he stood trial before King Agrippa.  The second describes what happened when Paul arrived in Rome.

Acts 26:22 “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;
Acts 26:23 that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

Acts 28:23 When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.

Note that in both cases, all the documentation necessary to persuade the open-minded Jews about the resurrection of Jesus was found in the ancient Scriptures of Israel.

Paul and the rest of the apostles weren’t quoting New Testament documents when they preached the gospel.  They were quoting Old Testament documents.  God had declared long ahead of time what He was going to do!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Specific Instances of the Great Transfer

A few days ago I posted about The Great Transfer.  This was the handing off of all things – most notably the saints – from the Father to the Son.  Here are a couple of examples:

Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

Lydia’s heart already belonged to God.  That’s how God could open it to respond to the things spoken by Paul about the Son.  In this way, Lydia was transferred – handed over, bequeathed – from the Father to the Son.  The Son “inherited” Lydia from the Father.

Acts 18:9 And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;
Acts 18:10 for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”
Acts 18:11 And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

In this case, many saints were involved.  The city referenced was Corinth.  There were people in Corinth who genuinely feared the one true God, but it was the preaching of Paul that would reveal them.  That is, when Paul preached Jesus, those whose hearts truly belonged to God would believe him.  And thus the Son received that which had been the Father’s in Corinth.

Lastly, consider Paul’s preaching in Pisidian Antioch:

Acts 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

The truly God-fearing Gentiles had been appointed to eternal life and their hearing of the preaching about Jesus was the catalyst to bring it to them.

By many such “hand-off’s” from the Father to the Son was this “Great Transfer” accomplished in New Testament times.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

How Can Shame Be Honorable?

Shame can be honorable when it’s shame incurred as a result of obedience to the Lord.  Thus to be shamed before men can be glorifying to the Lord.  Consider how happy it made the disciples to suffer shame in this way:

Acts 5:41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Of course, the memory of our Lord suffering the shame of crucifixion was fresh in their minds.

Jesus turned the other cheek.  He did not return insult for insult.  He was quiet as a lamb led to slaughter.  In this, He glorified God who had taught Him to act this way in the face of such provocation. Thus Jesus glorified God by bearing up under unjust suffering.

Therefore, when shame in the eyes of men is incurred as the result of doing what is right in the sight of God, then shame is honorable.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

From the Branch Come the Branches

One of the well-known references to Messiah in Old Testament prophecy regards “the Branch.”  For example,

Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.

And Jeremiah is not the only prophet to use this term:

Zechariah 6:12 “Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD.

Isaiah chimes in as well:

Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.

Nor are these the only occasions where these three prophets used this messianic title.

Therefore, when Jesus comes along in John 15 describing how His disciples are branches, it would have been a mind-stretching moment for that room full of Jews.  All their lives they had heard about the coming of God’s Branch.  And here before them, the one they have been following for three years, the one they had come to believe was, in fact, that Branch, was telling them that through Him they would all be branches!  It surely must have staggered their imaginations – but then there were so many things Christ did and said that staggered their imaginations.  No wonder He said to them that night:

John 16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Should we be surprised that the Branch begets branches?  Not if we know that in this creation, everything reproduces after its own kind – just as it says in Genesis.  And even the apostle Paul said that Christ was “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Great Transfer

The New Testament documents the great transfer from God the Father to His Son Jesus Christ of His wealth in the saints.  As Jesus said in John’s Gospel:

John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

The true worshippers of God – whether among Jews or among God-fearing Gentiles – were known only to heaven.  On earth, they couldn’t be sorted out that easily.  However, with the resurrection of Christ from the dead and His ascension into heaven, there began a great transfer from Israel of all those true believers to the church of the Lord Jesus.

The true saints had been hidden but the building of the church revealed them.

Another way of saying it is that the building of the church was the purification of Israel.  As it says in Titus:

Titus 2:14 …to purify for Himself a people for His own possession…

The transfer of the saints from Israel to the church was, however, transitional and therefore temporary.  For the the consummation of the transfer was when, at the end of the New Testament age, the saints were transferred from the church to the kingdom of God.  Reading through the New Testament, you can see how the apostles were preparing the saints for that ultimate transfer.

The New Testament tells how all that was the Father’s became the Son’s.  This is why it can be called “the great transfer.”

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

How Jesus and the Scriptures Prophesied the Resurrection

Here’s an instance where Jesus prophesied His resurrection:

John 2:18 The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?”
John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
John 2:20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
John 2:21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
John 2:22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

Jesus was promising His resurrection in the same cryptic way that the Old Testament had.  For example, consider this from Psalms:

Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.

Or this one from Moses:

Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

Or even this one from Psalm 2, Isaiah 55, and Psalm 16 – all framed by the book of Acts:

Acts 13:32 “And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers,
Acts 13:33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’
Acts 13:34 “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’
Acts 13:35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.’

The promises of Messiah’s resurrection were thus made in riddle-like fashion.  Christ is thus “the mystery of God” revealed.

The two things to notice in the passage from John at the top of this post are 1) that, like the Old Testament, the New Testament prophesied Christ’s resurrection in cryptic terms, and 2) Jesus spoke like the prophets of old.  He adopted their language and thought as they thought.  After all, he was himself a prophet.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

John the Baptist Was Not Interested in Fancy Titles

Consider this brief narrative about John the Baptist:

John 1:19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
John 1:20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
John 1:21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
John 1:22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
John 1:23 He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

John the Baptist was not interested in making a name for himself.  He was willing to be regarded as just “a voice in the wilderness.”  His interest was not in himself but in the one he was preaching.  Thus he was to say of Christ:

John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.

May we similarly not be interested in a name for ourselves.  Let us be intent only on enhancing the stature of His name.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

John the Baptist – A Man Who Forsook Privilege

Both of John’s parents were of priestly descent (Luke 1:5).  Thus, John was entitled to minister as a priest in Jerusalem’s great temple.  Yet he forsook that privilege to minister instead in the wilderness.  In this regard, he followed in the path of his priestly predecessor Moses (Psalm 99:6) who forsook the privilege of being called the son of Pharoah’s daughter in order to be counted with the people of God (Hebrews 11:24-26).

In this regard, John was also following the pattern of Jesus Himself as outlined in Philippians 1:5-8.  That is, John did not demand to be treated as his privilege deserved, but rather he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the call of God to serve.

Moses, John the Baptist, and Jesus – let us follow the path they have laid down for us.  It is the path of humility – the path of seeking not our rights but rather our responsibilities.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Every Word of God Is Tested

Proverbs 30:5 says that “every word of God is tested.”

We certainly can see the first words of God to humanity tested in Genesis 3 when the serpent says to Eve, “Indeed, has God said…?”

Jesus states it as a principle in His telling of the parable of the sower (Matthew 13; Mark 4; Luke 8) when He says, “The sower went out to sow the word of God” and “immediately Satan comes to take away the word which has been sown.”

There is no word that God is going to speak that Satan is not going to challenge.  Therefore, when you hear the word of God, be prepared to hold it fast lest it be taken from you.

Jesus heard at the very beginning of His ministry that He was “the Son of God” (see Matthew 3:17) but Satan came immediately to take it away (see just a few verses later when Satan says to Him “If you are the Son of God [do such-and-such to prove it]…”).  Of course, this identity was tested throughout the course of His ministry.  It was affirmed at His death by a Roman centurion, of all people (Matthew 27:54).  Of course, it was affirmed most importantly and definitively by God Himself through His resurrection from the dead (“who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” – Romans 1:4).

Therefore, do not be surprised when the word of God that you hear is tested (1 Peter 4:12).  It is the way things work in this world.  More specifically, it is your faith in that word that is being tested.

Yes, the word of God is always going to be tested, but those who hold it fast come to know just how certain it is.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Gospels Were Written in Anticipation of the Coming Kingdom

The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – were originally called “The Memoirs of the Apostles.”  (This phrase comes from Justin Martyr writing in the mid-2nd Century A.D.)  When you read the four Gospels, it’s obvious that they are written for believing communities – that is, those gatherings of believers in Christ that had sprung up all around the Mediterranean world in the mid to late 1st Century as a result of the preaching of the apostles.

The Gospels were not written to or for skeptics.  They were not written for those who had no familiarity with the story of Christ.  Even the Gospel of John, which is the only Gospel which states that it seeks to elicit faith (John 20:30-31), lays out its case for an open-minded reader – not a hostile one.  It is easier to imagine its initial use to be for a new generation of believers rather than to convince the surrounding skeptical culture.

The Gospels seek to reinforce faith, especially in light of the coming of the kingdom of God.  It appears that the Gospels were written late, not early, in the lives of the apostles.  Reading the book of Acts, and the letters that follow it, it’s clear that the apostles’ mission was one of preaching and not publishing.  In fact, the production of the Gospels seems tied to the apostolic mortality rate and the need to preserve the witness of Christ’s life.  In other words, if the apostles were not being persecuted and killed to the point of extinction, it’s possible they might not have written gospels.

You can especially see the impending kingdom, and the judgment that would come with it, looming in the narrative that Matthew provides.  It’s not just the story of Jesus being recounted, but being recounted in a way that emphasizes preparation for the coming crucible through which the kingdom of God would be birthed.

Imagine being a 1st-century believer who is hearing Matthew’s Gospel being read in the congregation.  Listen to the teaching of Jesus, knowing that Matthew is preparing you for the judgment that Jesus said would come.  Think about the wheat being separated from the chaff, the sheep being separated from the goats.  Know that you want to respond to Jesus and His teaching so that you will be found among the wheat and found among the sheep.

You will gain more from the Gospel of Matthew – and all the Gospels – when you read them from this perspective.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jesus Believed in the Practicality and Power of the Scripture

Matthew 4 indicates just how practical Jesus was about the Scripture.  After He had fasted for 40 days, He was tempted by Satan.  In response to the temptation, Jesus quoted Scripture.  And even when Satan pulled a Scripture out of context to tempt Jesus to do something foolish, Jesus retorted with another Scripture.

Watch who or what someone trusts when their back is against the wall.  That’s who they really trust.  Jesus trusted God through the Scriptures He had given.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Hosea 12:13

Hosea 12:13 But by a prophet the LORD brought Israel from Egypt,
And by a prophet he was kept.

Historically, this verse describes how God used Moses and the line of prophets which followed him.

Prophetically, the verse describes how Jesus the Messiah brings us out from sin and continues keeping us from it.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Hosea 1:11

Hosea 1:11 And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together,
And they will appoint for themselves one leader,
And they will go up from the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel.

This scripture is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, for He is the one leader of the united people of God.

Jesus declared Himself to be this one leader:

Matthew 23:10 “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

There is no reason for us to be confused about who it is we are to follow.  It’s Jesus.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Jeremiah 30:21

Jeremiah 30:21 ‘Their leader shall be one of them,
And their ruler shall come forth from their midst;
And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me;
For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares the LORD.

Here is another prophecy of Messiah, for God indeed became one of us in Jesus of Nazareth.

We did not have the nerve as sinners, but as a sinless man, Jesus had the courage to go before God on our behalf.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 63:16

Isaiah 63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us
And Israel does not recognize us.
You, O LORD, are our Father,
Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

The Lord Jesus is our Father.  Isaiah was prophesying that  this would be the case.  Earlier, Isaiah had  prophesied that He would be the “eternal Father” in this passage:

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Thus, our Lord is our Father.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 63:9

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction He was afflicted…

Yes, in all our affliction Jesus Christ was afflicted, just as He was tempted in all things as we are, except without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus Christ doesn’t just know what it’s like to live a human life, He knows what it’s like to love as a human when there’s no longer any human reason to do so.  Thus He loved even as the nails were being driven into His hands.

In all our affliction, He was afflicted; and in all our salvation, He was saved:  Micah 2:13.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 57:15

Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Do you recognize that the prophet Isaiah is speaking these words on behalf of the exalted Jesus?

Yes, through His resurrection, Jesus is “the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is holy.”  He dwells in that high and holy place but “also with the contrite and lowly of spirit.”  He once walked through this valley of the shadow of death Himself.  He knows the difficulties of the path.

Let this Lord Jesus revive your spirit…that you might be raised up to a lofty place as He was.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Proverbs 22:4

Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.

During His time on earth, Jesus walked in humility and the fear of God.  As His reward, He was raised from the dead to the right hand of God – the greatest place of honor to which a human being – or any being, for that matter – could be raised.  Further, He received as His inheritance the entirety of creation – for He was “appointed heir of all things,” as it says in Hebrews 1:2.  (You couldn’t ask for more riches than that, could you?)  And He was given, to replace the life He lost on earth, an “indestructible life,” as it says in Hebrews 7:16.

Thus “riches, honor, and life” came in abundance in heaven to the One who walked in humility and fear of the Lord on earth.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Proverbs 17:2

Proverbs 17:2 A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully,
And will share in the inheritance among brothers.

When God came to earth as the Son of God, He did not take to Himself all the prerogatives of a son.  Rather, he took to Himself all the responsibilities of a servant, and thus showed us the way of godliness – which is humility.  Thus Paul would write of Him:

Philippians 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Philippians 2:6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
Philippians 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Philippians  2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore, let us humble ourselves in this life that we might be exalted in the next.  For if we exalt ourselves in this life we shall surely be humbled in the next.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Proverbs 12:26

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.

God came to earth and donned human flesh that He might become “a guide to His neighbors.”  Thus, Jesus Christ is “the righteous” – and this is confirmed explicitly in 1 John 2:1.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Ecclesiastes 8:14

Ecclesiastes 8:14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

Thus the wise preacher foretold the day when Jesus of Nazareth would be crucified while Pontius Pilate, King Herod, the Pharisees, and Sadducees were all able to eat at their own tables and sleep in their own beds that night.

This is the futile way things can look “under the sun.”  And this is why we must always look beyond the sun for meaning and purpose.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Apostles Were Not Trying to Be Original

The apostles of Jesus Christ were not trying to be original with their teaching.  They were loyal Jews who were merely trying to relate the understanding of the Scriptures given to them by their fellow loyal Jew – Jesus – in the wake of His resurrection from the dead.

Jesus explained to His apostles that everything that happened to Him was part of a predetermined plan of God documented in what we call the Old Testament.  The documentation of this plan was “coded” to be sure – but was there, and there in abundance.  By “coded” I simply mean that prophecies about Messiah were in riddle-like fashion, only making sense once the answer was revealed.  The answer began with the resurrection of the Messiah.

Throughout the New Testament we find vocabulary drawn from the pages of the Old Testament.  This is because the apostles weren’t teaching the New Testament – they were teaching the Old Testament, just the way Jesus had taught it to them, and just the way that the Holy Spirit was further revealing it to them.

Therefore, the best way to understand the teachings of the New Testament is to look for their roots in the Old Testament.  Conversely, the worst way to attempt to understand the New Testament is to ignore the Old Testament.  Don’t look for originality in the New Testament; look for repetition and the elevation of teaching already present in the Old Testament.  (By “elevation” I mean the transition from law to grace, from flesh to spirit, from an earthly orientation to a heavenly orientation that Jesus brought.)

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

What Great Faith the Ancients Had!

Faith is believing in the goodness of God.  The less evidence you have to work with, the greater the faith.  That is, a person who has loads of evidence for the goodness of God requires little faith to believe in the goodness of God.  The person who has far less evidence for the goodness of God exercises far more faith to reach the same conviction that God is good.

Consider then how great was the faith of Old Testament worthies when compared to us.  Abraham, Moses, David, and the others did not get to see the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ before they were called upon to believe.  As Jesus said:

Matthew 13:17 “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Let us therefore not be weak in faith but imitate the great faith of those who came before us:

Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.

Most of all, let us imitate the faith of Jesus.  For remember that when He prayed for salvation from death and delivered Himself to the cross, no one before had ever been raised from the dead in the way that He was anticipating.  No one had ever been raised without a mediator to call him forth on God’s behalf.  No one had ever been raised from the dead never to die again.  What Jesus was believing would happen was something that, while promised Him in the Scripture, had never before been experienced or witnessed by any other human being.  How could one body contain that much faith!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Ancients Hoped for Resurrection

Even a man as ancient as Job hoped for a resurrection:

Job 14:14 “If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my struggle I will wait
Until my change comes.

Job 19:25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

There are such hints of resurrection hope scattered throughout the Old Testament.  They were so strong that there was a widespread hope in a resurrection of the dead in 1st-century Judea – at least among the Pharisees (Acts 23:6-8).  Yet none of these hints were so strong that people knew exactly what form this resurrection would take, or exactly when and how it would take place.

If you haven’t read them already, you might want to read these three chapters of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven to gain an appreciation of how Jesus clarified the expectation for those who had the hope of resurrection:

Chapter  6 – Coloring Death With Hope

Chapter  7 – The First Resurrection

Chapter  8 – The Resurrection of the Rest of the Dead

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Job 19:25

Job 19:25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

Job is here prophesying of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the redeemer of humanity, who took His stand on the earth in the 1st Century A.D.  He was raised from the dead and lives forevermore as the one and only King of the kingdom of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Job 2:3

Job 2:3 The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”

Jesus of Nazareth was a servant of the Lord.  There was no one like Him on the earth.  He was blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.  In all His suffering, He held fast his integrity.  Truly, He was ruined without cause for no sin was found in Him.  Thus Job is a type of Jesus Christ.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Beware the Co-opting of God’s Words

Just because someone is quoting the Bible does not mean that he is faithfully representing God.  For as long as we’ve had the Scriptures, its words have been conscripted for man-made religion (Colossians 2:23) and the philosophies of men (Colossians 2:8).

In such cases, the treasures of God’s house have been hauled off into another’s temple:

2 Chronicles 36:7 Nebuchadnezzar also brought some of the articles of the house of the LORD to Babylon and put them in his temple at Babylon.

Therefore, the citation of a Bible verse is not enough.  There must be the spirit of Jesus in the quotation – else the words have been ripped from their context.  Even the Old Testament is all about Him.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

2 Chronicles 17:12

2 Chronicles 17:12 So Jehoshaphat grew greater and greater, and he built fortresses and store cities in Judah.

Jehoshaphat is a type of Christ.  The “fortresses and store cities” we see Christ building in New Testament days included the churches at Corinth, Rome, and Philippi.  Indeed, they were all places where those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness might come and be fed by the Manna sent from heaven – Christ Jesus Himself.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

2 Chronicles 6:8-9

2 Chronicles 6:8 “But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.
2 Chronicles 6:9 ‘Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son who will be born to you, he shall build the house for My name.’

It was not God the Father who built the eternal house for the name of God, for He was a God of bloodshed, but it was God the Son who built the everlasting house of the name of God that we call the kingdom of God.  The Son was of peace and shed no blood.

There was no evil in the Father just as there was no evil in the Son.  They are the same, for the Father became the Son.  But the Father was forced to worked through the hardness of men’s hearts in  the evil age ruled by Satan.  In the new age, Satan has been cut out of the loop – and for this reason Jesus never had to take up the sword as David did.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

2 Chronicles 2:1

2 Chronicles 2:1 Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself.

This Scripture was fulfilled in New Testament days, during which we see the “greater Solomon” (i.e. Jesus) building a house for the name of the Lord.  As it says in Hebrews:

Hebrews 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

The New Testament church, which became the kingdom of God once it was purified, was the house Jesus built for the name of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 1:2

2 Chronicles 1:2 Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds and to the judges and to every leader in all Israel, the heads of the fathers’ households.

We see this verse fulfilled in the book of Acts.  For there, Jesus – “the greater Solomon” – spoke to spiritual Israel and all the leaders thereof (i.e. apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

2 Chronicles 1:1

2 Chronicles 1:1 Now Solomon the son of David established himself securely over his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him and exalted him greatly.

Jesus was the son of David who was “greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31).  This greater descendant of David has been established securely over the kingdom of God.  He is exalted greatly – above every name in every age (Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:21).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

1 Chronicles 28:4

1 Chronicles 28:4 “Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.

Can you see how Jesus is foreseen in this verse?  He Himself stood in that same hereditary line.  It was Judah to Jesse to David to Jesus.  This is why we find genealogies in the Bible.  It mattered to whom the promises were given.

In Genesis, it was specified that Messiah would come from the line of Judah:

Genesis 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

And as David was a descendant of Judah, 2 Samuel 7:12-13 further specified that Messiah would be a descendant of David’s which would, ipso facto, make Him a descendant of Judah’s as well:

2 Samuel 7:12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.
2 Samuel 7:13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Thus we can easily picture Jesus coming of age and speaking to God in the same way that David did in 1 Chronicles 28:4.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Chronicles 23:1

1 Chronicles 23:1 Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.

And when God the Father became the Ancient of Days He turned over the kingdom to the Son of Man:

Daniel 7:13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
Daniel 7:14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.

Know therefore that the transition from David to Solomon foreshadows the transition from God to Son.  For this reason the Son is called “the heir of all things” in Hebrews 1:2.  If He is heir of “all things” then there is no thing for which He is not heir.  All that had been the Father’s became the Son’s at the coming of the kingdom.

All devotion that we would give God should be directed to the Son.  This is what God asks.  This is what He has commanded.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

1 Chronicles 22:17

1 Chronicles 22:17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon…

This verse foreshadows the direction God the Father gave his servants to follow Jesus:

Mark 9:7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”

For just as all things were handed from the Father to Jesus, so all things had been handed over to Solomon by his father David:

Matthew 11:27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father…

Thus in 1 Chronicles 22:17, David is a type of God the Father and Solomon is a type of the Son of God.  Thus Solomon’s name means “peace” and Jesus “is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.