The Five Witnesses to the Truth of Jesus the Messiah

Introduction

 

At the time of Jesus, the ruling Jews did not believe who He was. Even though He proved to them by many facts and fulfilled prophecies, they nevertheless accused Him of blasphemy as they said He was making Himself out to equal with God (John 5:18). They had a validating procedure in place within the Mosaic Law to determine truth, but unfortunately did not rely on it to certify that He is the Messiah:

Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Benjamin Robert Haydon Cir 1814-1820

John 5:31–47

 

31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words (KJV)?

 

The Jews were given certain methodologies within the Mosaic Law to validate truth. Our legal system is based in a large part on the Mosaic Law.

Pediment on the United States Supreme Court with Moses in the center

There are two basic rules of evidence for which a particular event can be validated. If it can be recreated, such as a scientific experiment we use the results of the experiment. For historical events that cannot be recreated credibleeyewitnessesare used. This is also stated in the Mosaic Law:

 

Numbers 35:30

 

30Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die (KJV).

 

In any case of homicide there needed to be witnesses to the act in order for guilt to be established, and one witness alone was not enough:

 

Deuteronomy 17:6-7

 

6At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.7The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So, thou shalt put the evil away from among you (KJV).

 

Deuteronomy 19:15 

15One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established (KJV).

 

Moses laid down the principle that more than one witness was necessary to convict a man of a crime. This principle was to act as a safeguard against a false witness who might bring an untruthful charge against a fellow Israelite because of a quarrel, or out of some other impure motive. To insure against a capricious execution, two or three independent witnesses were required. One witness was inadequate because if he lied no one would be able to prove or disprove it. The witnesses were to be the first in the execution of justice. So, if their testimony was later proved false, they in effect would have committed murder and would be liable to execution.

 

The Lord Jesus using the same concept of validating truth through multiple witnesses as the method for eliminating unrepentant sinners from the Church:

 

Matthew 18: 15-17

 

15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican (KJV).

 

The Lord had just spoken about offenses in Matthew 18:7-14, and starting in verse 15 He talked about what should be done when known sin occurs. When a brother sins against another, the two of them should discuss the matter. If the matter can be settled at that level, there is no need for it to go any further. But if the sinning brother refuses to listen … two or three witnesses should be taken along for a clear testimony. This was in keeping with Old Testament precedents, as in Deuteronomy 19:15. If the sinning brother still failed to recognize his error, the situation should be told before the entire church. The disciples probably would have understood Jesus to mean the matter should be brought before the Jewish assembly. After the establishment of the church, on the day of Pentecost, these words would have had greater meaning for them. One who refuses to acknowledge his sin is then to be treated as an outsider, such as a pagan or a tax collector. So, the Jews were well aware of the method using witnesses to verify truth. Jesus begins this next session of Scripture with five (5) independent validations of Himself as God the Messiah.

 

The First One is confirming the Work of God the Father in Himself

 

For Jesus seeks to do God’s will during His earthly ministry and does not testify of Himself by Himself. This of course would be circular reasoning, and from a logic standpoint it would be an invalid argument.

 

John 5:30-47

 

 30I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

 31If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true (KJV).

 

Some would have us believe that you cannot logically use the Bible to validate the Bible. For example, under this line of reasoning one could not logically use one section such as the Old Testament to validate the New Testament. The distinction is that the Bible is not one book. It is a collection of 66 individual books written by 40+ authors over a 1600-year period. It is sewn together in one binding. He asserts that the quality of His judgment on mankind is just because He does it based upon God’s will. God’s will, the Jews knew, was holy and just. So He is attesting to the validation of what He says as believable since He is saying what God has said all along to them through the Old Testament and the Mosaic Law.

The Second One is the Witness of John the Baptist

Baptism of Christ by Guido Reni, Cir. 1622-23

John was prophesied as the forerunner of The Christ (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). The Jews knew that a person was coming who would introduce the Messiah when He appeared. They asked John if he was the Christ. John said that he was not the Christ, but that he was the one who was the forerunner. (John 1:15, 23):

 

John 5:33–35

 

 33Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light (KJV).

 

The Third One is the Testimony of His Miracles

 

Feeding of the Five Thousand by Ambrosius Fracken the Elder

Jesus then goes on to present a third witness to validate His testimony of being The Christ. He asked them to see the works that He does (John 10:38; Hebrews 2:4):

 

John 5:36

 

36But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me (KJV).

 

He performed the miracles of healing; and of raising the dead which he alludes to here. He was also the greatest teacher that has ever been on the planet. The Jews did not understand how He knew so much as they considered Him as being “uneducated”.

 

The Fourth One is Jesus declaring that God’s Doctrine is independent of Man.

Artist Unknown from David + Jonathan, inc. http://ubdavid.org/bible/bible.html

In John 7:16-17 Jesus states that God’s doctrine that He teaches is not His alone as a human. If He were simply a man, He would seek His own glory, not God’s. This validation is enhanced in John 5:37-38 where Jesus says that God’s doctrine does not abide in the Jews:

 

John 5:37–38

 

 37And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not (KJV).

 

They do not know Him personally. If they knew God, they would have realized that God sent Jesus to preach the doctrine of God, and not the doctrine of man. They did not understand this, nor did they want to understand. They did not believe the prophets before Him and they would not believe Him as God. (Matthew 23:31; Luke 11:47; I Thessalonians 2:15).

 

The Fifth One is Jesus asking them to Confirm His claims from Scripture.

He says that Scriptures tell of Him coming and giving them eternal life. He states that they will not turn to Him to get eternal life. He tells them that they will listen to others but not Him. This is because they do not love God and do not know God’s voice. They were claiming to trust in Moses and the Mosaic Law, but Jesus countered that with an admonition that Moses accuses them through the Mosaic Law. Finally, Jesus tells them that Moses spoke of Him in the first five books of the Bible. Here Jesus affirms the validity of those books and who the author is.

 

The Pharisees had devoted their life to studying the Scriptures. Not so much as to what the fundamental plain message was but looking for the minutia and esoteric. Early Church theologian Origen taught that there were three levels of Scripture elucidation:

 

    • The plain message from the text.
    • The application.
    • The hidden message between the lines.

 

This is what the Jews were doing. They were looking for the obscure, which is called letterism. They paid so much attention to the details, they missed the central message of the text:

 

John 5:39–47

 

39 Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words (KJV)?

 

It is interesting that Jesus was declaring to them that in their adherence to group acceptance (v.37), they missed Him and His message. Instead of seeking God and what would bring Glory to Him, they continued to seek acceptance from their peers. This is the same as “group think.” Moses wrote of Christ in Genesis 3:15; Numbers 21:9; 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:15-18. Since they did not believe in Him, they could not possibly believe in Moses either, and their claim to follow the Law was unsubstantiated.

 

Conclusion

 

We too have these five proofs, and we also have Christ’s validation of the Old Testament as truth.

  1. Jesus pointed to “the scriptures.” The only sacred writings that the Jews possessed that foretold the coming of the Messiah were the books of the Old Testament. Here, Jesus validates them as Scripture. He also cited the Old Testament as a true and reliable source of history.
  2. Jesus cites the very first sentence in the Old Testament (Mark 13:19; Revelation 3:14). Jesus confirmed that He created all things (Colossians 1:15-16). The word“beginning” in Revelation 3:14 refers to the active cause or prime source of the creation.
  3. He acknowledged that Adam and Eve were created (Matthew 19:4; Genesis 1:27; 5:2)
  4. Jesus mentioned Adam and Eve’s son Abel in Matthew 23:35. Jesus not only confirmed Abel’s existence, but He referred to his righteousness as well. Also discussed in this verse is the murder of Zechariah, son of Barachias (or Berechiah, as the New King James Version renders it). Undoubtedly, this refers to the prophet of the Old Testament, whose father was Berechiah (Zechariah 1:1).
  5. Jesus cited Noah’s ark and the Flood in Matthew 24:37-39. He also mentioned the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Luke 17:28-29, 32. Jesus gave personal testimony of the Flood! He corroborated its history, alluded to its causes and reiterated the universal death—except for Noah and his family—that occurred. He also validated the veracity of the Old Testament’s account of Sodom and Gomorrah as recorded in Genesis 19.
  6. Jesus attested to Abraham’s existence. John 8:37. He also recognized Abraham’s son and grandson—Isaac and Jacob in Matthew 8:11.
  7. He referenced the Prophet Moses in John 5:46-47. Jesus was speaking to Jews who wanted to kill Him (verses 16, 18), and He rebuked them because they did not believe what Moses prophesied about Him in the Old Testament Scriptures.
  8. Jesus verified that King David lived in Matthew 12:3. He identified King Solomon Matthew 12: 42. These scriptures prove that Jesus Christ believed and accepted the testimony of the Old Testament as absolutely authoritative! He is the God of the Old Testament and saw all the events chronicled in its writings (1 Corinthians 10:1-4; John 8:58; Exodus 3:14).
  9. The Apostle Paul tells us about the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 3:15-16. Writings are considered Scripture if they are inspired by God or, more correctly, “God-breathed.” When Paul wrote, the only “scriptures” in existence were the books of the Old Testament. The New Testament was not completed. Paul taught that all Scripture is to be used to establish doctrine, correct false beliefs or errant behavior, and instruct and train in righteousness!
  10. Isaiah did prophesy concerning God’s Word in Isaiah 40:8. This was repeated in the New Testa­ment in 1 Peter 1:25. Jesus prophesied regarding His words in Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; and Luke 21:33.

The New Testament refers to the Old Testament about 250 times. We cannot accept the New Testament without recognizing the authority of the Old. The two do not contradict, rather they complete each other. The Bible is one complete book. Remember that Jesus Christ—God in the flesh—was also the God and Spokesman of the Old Testament, although it was the Father who directed what Jesus spoke (John 14:10). And God promised in both the Old and New Testaments that His words would be preserved. That is a divine, unbreakable promise of a God who cannot fail.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

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CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ALL CELESTIAL BEINGS

Hebrews 1:10-2:8

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit, on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (KJV)?

The Creator Has Laid the Foundation of the Earth

Hebrews 1:10

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands (KJV):

The text now continues to describe the creator and His handiwork expressed in Psalm 102:25-27. The Jewish person to whom our text was written would know the Psalms. The Psalms though affirm the creation account in Genesis. Only God can create. Mankind is not able to do this. He can manage, rearrange and form. He cannot create matter out of nothing ex nihlo. This is the Latin meaning for “out of nothing.” In the beginning is a direct reference to the creation of the physical property of time. When we ponder the concept of time we find it impossible to arrive at a suitable definition. Time is not uniform: It is a physical property that varies with mass, acceleration and gravity, among other things. Particle physicists insist that we exist in more dimensions than we are aware of. These are all products of the time domain.  What is important to understand is that time had a beginning is in existence now, is changing its properties, and will have an end. These are concepts the human cannot fully understand. Consider our awareness spectrum while we are in these bodies. We are aware of events transpiring at the present. We can remember the past. We cannot predict the future because we cannot see it. Now God who lives outside of time (not where there is a lot of time) knows the future. In fact, one might say “God Remembers Tomorrow!” Such is the unique characteristic of time and the limitation of knowing it that God has placed upon us.

The unity of the three components of our existence, time, matter and space are all independent and coterminous with the whole. The universe is not part time, matter and space. It is rather all space, time and matter.

Clearly God has given us multiple characteristics of what we cannot see. Nachmonides a Jewish rabbi from Spain in the 13th century taught that there are ten dimensions. Four are knowable such as the three spatial (height, width & depth) as well as time. The other six are “curled” into the four we are able to detect while in our bodies. We will see them all when we are released from these bodies at death when the angels come for us (Luke 16:22) or if the Lord comes for us first (I Thessalonians 4:14-17).

The use of the Hebrew word to create, Bara in Genesis 1:1 means that at some point God spoke the creation into being. God alone is infinite and omnipotent. God is the Creator who came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who the Bible says created all things (John 1). God also created the heavens. The heavens here refer to space. So, the beginning of time was then followed by the space of the universe. Our entire universe only consists of three components. They are space, time and matter. The Hebrew word shamayin is that used of the space component of the basic space-time-mass universe. This is followed by the Hebrew word erets, which is translated as earth but primarily refers to matter. Matter of course is anything that has weight and takes up space. At the time that matter was created there were no bodies in the heavens. They were created on the fourth day of the creation account in Genesis one. On the fourth day of creation God made the stars in the heavens.

Genesis 1: 14-18

14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: 15and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, 18and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good (ASV, 1901).

One of the reasons for making the stars in the heavens was for a sign. A sign signifies or represents something. One dictionary defines a sign as:

An object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the presence or occurrence of something else

Signs therefore, are meant to lead one to something else. The sign itself is not the end meaning. It is the method employed to direct our attention to something else. In the stars God is the direct object the signs point to. We should realize that His entire creation which theologians call “general revelation,” speak to Him and coming from Him. In fact, God charges all mankind to know Him through the ‘signs” He has provided.

Romans 1: 20

20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse (KJV):

The heavenly bodies are the handiwork of God. God is trying to tell us things about Himself through the stars in the heavens. The heavens declare His creative output.

Psalm 19: 1-6

1The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork.2Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language; Their voice is not heard. 4Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And, rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heavens, And, his circuit unto the ends of it; And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof (ASV, 1901). 

This psalm of David announces that the heavens declare the glory (splendor) of God’s handiwork. Verse one is a summary statement: the majestic Creation is evidence of the even more majestic Creator-God. The heavens continually (every day and every night) display the fact that there is a Creator. Even though Creation does not speak audibly as humans do its message goes out for all the earth to witness. The message from nature about the glory of God reaches all nations, and is equally intelligible to them all. It is a universal language.

The Creation is Temporary While God is Eternal

Hebrews 1:11-12

 11 they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail (KJV).

The Son is exalted above all.

Here Paul again quotes Psalm 102:25–27. He states six concepts from the Psalm.

  1. Jesus is superior in His basic existence.
  2. He is the Creator of the universe.
  3. The Son is sovereign over the changes in the universe.
  4. The Son is the unchangeable Lord in the midst of a changing universe.
  5. The Son is eternal.
  6. Jesus the Creator is eternal, the universe will someday be discarded like an old piece of cloth. In the words of Revelation 6:14: You will roll them up. In 2 Peter 3:10, the universe is destined to be dissolved. So, while He is eternal, the universe is temporary and a large portion of the matter will be destroyed (dissolved) in the Great Tribulation.

Our universe is comprised of only three components. They are matter, space and time. Since the Fall each of these are gradually dissolving due to entropy (gradual decay) that entered the creation. Peter is teaching that God is not bound by the time domain like we are.

The day of the Lord will hit the unbeliever with the suddenness and unexpectedness of a thief in the night. During the Great Tribulation, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. The Old Testament passages to this statement are from Isaiah 3:13 and 34:4. Each of these Isaiah passages mention the same occurrence. Jesus spoke of these same things in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:29). While the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the earth will be burned up by the judgments of the Great Tribulation. Many of these are fiery judgments. For example, in the Trumpet Judgments of Revelation 8–9, the first, second, third, and sixth Trumpet Judgments are judgments of fire. In the Bowl Judgments of Revelation 16, the fourth Bowl Judgment is a judgment of fire. During the Great Tribulation, there will be a burning of the earth. In fact, somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the earth’s surface will be destroyed during the Great Tribulation. In this case, Peter is not dealing with the total destruction of the globe by fire; he is referring to the surface of the earth. Contrary to the evolutionists claims, the earth is not eternal. This is the destruction of the matter spoken of by the Hebrews 11:11 passage.

Time has been decaying since the Fall after creation. Einstein came close in his quest to understand the basic fundamentals of energy in the universe. His general theory affirmed that there is no distinction between time and space. He saw time as bending, having a velocity and decaying. Time is not uniform: It is a physical property that varies with mass, acceleration, gravity, and light among other things. The speed of light similarly has been slowing down over the centuries since the Fall.

 

 

The velocity of light has been measured 164 times by 16 different methodologies over the last several hundred years. The net result of all these measurements is that light is slowing down over time. So, we can infer that if light has been slowing down for the last several centuries, then it must have been slowing down since the origin of time. For example, using the same regression as observed by the physicists we can surmise that light was 10-30% faster during the time Christ was on the earth (Cir. A.D. 33). We can then believe that light was 2 times faster during the time of Solomon (Cir. 900 B.C.)  If we go back further with the same regression to the time of Abraham (Cir. 2350 B.C.) light could have been 4 times faster than now. Using the same regression and understanding the decay caused by the “Fall” light could well have been 10 Million times as fast at the time of the creation and therefore light was able to be so fast as to travel almost instantaneous at creation so as to be at the origin (stars) and the earth almost at once.

Space also has properties which God controls. This Hebrew word rakeeah means to spread out or stretch. Some other places in Scripture where this same expression is used are

  1. Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens.
  2. Psalm 104:2 The heavens are stretched out like a tent curtain.
  3. Isaiah 40: 22 God stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
  4. Jeremiah 10: 12 The Lord has stretched out the heavens.
  5. Zechariah 12:1 God stretched out the heavens.

These usages of the Hebrew word for stretch (rakeeah) are not quaint poetic hyperbole or exaggerations. They mean to express the properties of the heavens that we cannot see or fully understand. Space is not an empty vacuum. We have difficulty defining space and understanding the concept of the property of space. Scripture gives us some insight as to some of its properties.

  1. Space can be torn (Isaiah 64: 1);
  2. It can be worn out like a garment (Psalm 102: 25),
  3. It can be shaken (Hebrews 12:26; Haggai 2:6; Isaiah 13:13).
  4. It can be burnt up (II Peter 3:12).
  5. It can be split apart like a scroll (Revelation 6:14);
  6. It can be rolled up like a mantle (Hebrews 1:12) or scroll (Isaiah 34: 4).

So just like a garment space can be rolled up, folded and put away. But, God exists outside of time. We have a tendency to call this eternity. In the first verse in the Bible we are told that God existed before the beginning or to say it another way before the beginning of time began. In fact, the apostle Paul writing to Timothy stated the same thing in:

II Timothy 1: 9a

9For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time (NLT)

We need to realize that the New Testament affirms one component of Genesis 1: 1 by stating that God acted before time began. God was in existence before any creation efforts were put forth. It has often been pointed out that coming to an understanding of the early chapters of Genesis and believing them makes the rest of the Bible easy to understand and believe. These early verses demonstrate the degree of control over all things that God has and exercises. Paul is affirming these things with verse 12 when he says, “but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” All things are in a state of decay until the Lord returns and establishes His Kingdom on this earth. At that time, the earth will receive a renovation. The speed of light will increase seven-fold (Isaiah 30:26), which will be a major factor in the renovation of the earth. In fact, with the light speeding up time will also change. One observation the Scripture gives us to affirm that is the longevity of the human during the Messianic Kingdom.

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

The Land will be well watered, produce abundant food and have a major (Seven-fold) increase in light. All physical infirmities will be healed. The speed of light has been significantly faster closer to the creation than it is now. This will be the reason for an increase in life longevity in the Millennium. Again, God says:

Isaiah 65: 20

20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed (ASV, 1901).

The Angels are Servants

Hebrews 1:13-14

13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit, on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (KJV)?

This is a quote from Psalm 110:1 which the Jewish people of the first century considering the claims of Christ and those who being born again entered the Church knew well. Essentially, angels function as priestly messengers especially for them who shall be heirs of salvation.

Their activities can be summarized as that of:

  1. The worship of God (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8)
  2. As messengers of God (Daniel 9:22; Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9; Revelation 1:1)
  3. As soldiers in spiritual combat (Daniel 10:13f; Revelation 12:7)
  4. As ministers to God’s people (Hebrews 1:14)

In their service to God, they are seen as attendants around His throne, waiting to serve Him and do His bidding (Psalm 103:20; Isaiah 6:1f; Job 1:6; 2:1; Revelation. 5:11; 8:1f), as worshippers in praise of Him (Isaiah 6:3; Psalm 148:1-2; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:12), as observers who rejoice over what He does (Job 38:6-7; Luke 2:12-13; 15:10), as soldiers in battle with Satan (Revelation 12:7), and as instruments of His judgments (Revelation 7:1; 8:2). In relation to the nation of Israel, Michael, the archangel, functions as their guardian (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9). In relation to other nations, they watch over rulers and nations (Daniel 4:17) and seek to influence their human leaders (Daniel 10:21; 11:1). In the Tribulation, they will be the agents God uses to pour out His judgments (Revelation 8-9 and 16).

With the plan of God centering in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, they naturally perform many services for the Savior.

They predicted His birth (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26-28), and then announced his birth (Luke 2:8-15). An angel warned Joseph to take Mary and the baby Jesus and flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15), and an angel directed the family to return to Israel after Herod died (Matthew 2:19-21).

In relation to His suffering, angels ministered to Him after His temptation (Matthew 4:11), in His stress in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43), and Jesus said He could have called a legion of angels who stood ready to come to His defense if He so desired (Matthew 26:53).

 

In relation to His resurrection, an angel rolled away the stone from the tomb (Matthew 28:1-2), angels announced His resurrection to the women on that Resurrection morning (Matthew 5-6; Luke 24:5-7), and angels were present at His ascension and gave instruction to the disciples (Acts 1:10-11).

In relation to His coming again, the voice of the archangel will be heard at the translation of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:16), they will accompany Him in His glorious return to earth (Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7) and they will separate the wheat from the tares at Christ’s second coming (Matthew 13:39-40).

In Relation to the Church: Hebrews 1:14 describes their ministry as “ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.” In this, however, Scripture points to a number of specific ministries: they bring answers to prayer (Acts 12:5-10), they help in bringing people to the Savior (Acts 8:26; 10:3), they may encourage in times of danger (Acts 27:23-24), and they care for God’s people at the time of death (Luke 16:22).

In all of these activities in which the celestial beings engage, Jesus the Creator is Superior……

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Someday All Israel Will be Saved

All Israel will Be Saved

Romans 11:25-26

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (KJV): 

Their Salvation Will Come After The Great Tribulation

All Nations Will Come Against Jerusalem

 

Zechariah 12:1-8 actually describes a battle that is the fifth of eight stages that comprise the Campaign of Armageddon. This takes place in the future and begins with the sixth bowl judgment during the middle of The Great Tribulation (Revelation 16:12-16).

Jerusalem Will be a Cup of Reeling

Zechariah 12:1-3

1 The burden of the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. Thus saith Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him: 2behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. 3And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it (ASV, 1901).

 

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

God begins this oracle by stating that this particular message that is about to be delivered is heavy, or a “burden” (in Hebrew massa). That is, it is important and burdensome to be given, and to be heard. It is not pleasant but must be heeded in the same seriousness in which it was given. This is the second such massa in this book. The first encompassed chapter 9:1 through chapter 11:17. The first one graphically depicted Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and the rise of the worthless shepherd, which will be the Antichrist. His rise to power must precede Israel’s deliverance. God will use him to plunge the Nation Israel into its most severe time of testing foreseen by the prophet Jeremiah as the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” (Jeremiah 30:5-7). The prophet Daniel was given a revelation regarding this time as well; he recorded, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). Daniel finished this verse by stating that the Jews will be delivered. Read more

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Jesus Claims to be The Messiah

Jesus Reveals His True Nature and Mission to an Inferior Samaritan Woman

The Samaritan Woman at the Well by Annibale Carracci Cir 1560-1609

The Samaritan Woman at the Well by Annibale Carracci Cir 1560-1609

Some of the Bible’s and the Lord Jesus’ detractors say that He never claimed to be the Christ. Well He did and revealed himself to a lowly Samaritan woman not to the arrogant religious authorities of His day.

John 4:1-4

1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 And he must needs go through Samaria (KJV).

The Lord Jesus needed to go through Samaria on His way back to Galilee. He had previously told His disciples not to go the way of the Gentiles or to enter into any city of the Samaritans. (Matthew 10:5) His first mission on earth was to present Himself to the National Israel. (Matthew 10:6; 15:24) He wanted Israel to have the first chance at the gospel and He did not want the disciples time diluted with trying to reach the Gentiles along with the Jews. Even now the gospel is to go to the Jews first then the Gentiles. (Romans 1:16; 2:10) The Lord did not create foreign missions and domestic missions. He simply said “go to the Jew first and then the Gentiles.”

When the Israelites divided into two kingdoms, because of the civil war after the death of King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was established in the northern section of the Promised Land, in accordance with the lands allotted to the ten tribes in that area.

Shechem was the original capital, until Jeroboam moved it to Tirzah. Later, in approximately 880 B.C., Omri, the sixth king of Israel, established the capital at Samaria, a new town built on a hilltop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northwest of Shechem.

“Samaria” came to be used interchangeably for both the city, and the region. After the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom in 722 B.C., the region then known as Samaria was reduced in size. The Assyrians in their conquest raped women and repopulated the area with other people groups causing the next generation to become half-breeds. This group of Samaritans worshipped Jehovah the same as the Jews and followed the Torah. Because of their arrogance the Jews would not talk or deal with the Samaritans in any way except to sell to them.

By the time of Jesus Christ, Samaria was bounded by Galilee to the north, The Mediterranean Sea to the west, Judea to the south (in which Jerusalem was located), and the Jordan River to the east. Today, it is in the so-called “West Bank” area.

Map of Samaria from Daily Bible study. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/samaria.htm

Map of Samaria from Daily Bible study. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/samaria.htm

John 4:5-6

5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour (KJV).

Picture the Lord in His humanity resting by this special and providential well. He makes an opportunity to begin to reach the Samaritans with His message about who He actually is. He waited for a fallen poor woman whose story He knew well. This is one example of His divine grace reaching out to sinners with compassion. The greater the sin in our lives the greater then is the value of the forgiveness, which He offers. Only God can truly forgive sins. (Luke 5:21) For it is to Him that all sin is directed, whether we realize it or not. (II Samuel 2:13)

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Jacob van Oost cir 1668

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Jacob van Oost cir 1668

Samaritan woman

John 4:7-9

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans (KJV).

She realized that He was Jewish and astonished at the same time that He would have anything to do with her. He simply asks her for some water. It was just she and He alone. He realizes that she is ignorant and exhibits much patience with her in His desire to reach her with the truth of who He is. This is a much different way He treats her than He does with the Jewish religious rulers. For them, he had little patience and heaped upon them much condemnation. (Matthew 23) They should have known better. She was an innocent bystander so to speak on religious matters.

John 4:10-13

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again (KJV).

Now she is perplexed. Jesus begins to bring up water that she is not aware of, for she is thinking of actual water. But Jesus is speaking of a much greater water that that. He is speaking of the Holy Spirit, which is known as the water. (John 7:37-38) Jesus is always answering a different question than what was asked. In this instance Jesus is telling the woman that the water He brings will not quench thirst but would provide eternal satisfaction.

John 4:14-15

14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw (KJV). 

She was probably still thinking of actual water and not realizing the spiritual lesson He is teaching her. Never thirsting is a description of the fulfillment that saving grace knowledge of Christ brings to a human being. It provides purpose to our lives and gives us certainty of life eternal and allows us to endure the hopelessness that many on this earth are saddled with. This Christ satisfies the inner longing that each person on this earth has for significance and inner peace. Many try to find it through money, sex, intoxicants, work etc. But until we accept Christ and are filled with His Spirit we are continually longing for something that we can’t quite define.

John 4:16-19

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet (KJV).

 Jesus now enters a phase of the conversation where He is going to uncover her sin. This is a self-realization that one must make. We are sinners by our very nature. When the Jews came to the Tabernacle and the Temple the very first step in that ancient worship process was the brazen altar. This was where the sacrifice took place. They were required to offer sacrifice to God so as to admit their sin and receive the temporary atonement. The same is true today. We must admit our sins in front of God to Him alone so we can draw close to Him.

John 4:20

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (KJV).

The new worship is going to be introduced in the next verse. She was thinking He was going to tell her that the Temple in Jerusalem was where she should worship. The Samaritans worshipped on Mt Gerizim. She was pointing to that mountain as the place where their fathers had worshipped. This was the mountain where Sanballat had built a temple that was eventually destroyed by John Hyrcanus in 129 B.C. Sanballat was one of the chief opponents of Nehemiah when he was building the walls of Jerusalem and carrying out his reforms among the Jews. “Sanballat,” is connected with the Assyrian “Sinballidh,” and means, “Sin has vivified.” He was called also “the Horonite,” and was associated with Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arabian (Nehemiah 2:19, 4: 7). But his home was at Samaria. When the Jews threw off the yoke of the Greeks under John Hyrcanus that temple was destroyed.

John 4:21-24

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (KJV).

Jesus now begins to tell her of the dawning of the Christian era. Now we have no need for a Temple. Our bodies are now the holy Temple. This is where the Spirit takes up residence after a person accepts Christ and becomes “saved.” He is telling her that she will not have to worship the Father on any mountain or in Jerusalem. This only pertains to “true” worshippers. That is, those that love God and have accepted His salvation that He offers through Christ alone (John 14:6) Since God is spirit we worship Him in spirit too. We don’t have to go to some particular location to worship God. Anywhere will do so to speak.

Salvation comes through the Jews. It was given at the time of the Abrahamic Covenant. This is one of the unconditional covenants that God made with Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant promised a seed, land, and blessings. The three major promises of this covenant were personal promises to Abraham, national promises to Israel and universal promises to all the people of the earth. God promised that He would bless him and make him a blessing to others, to make his name great, to give him many descendants, to make him the father of a multitude of nations, to give him the land of Canaan for always and to bless them that blessed Abraham and to curse them that cursed him. (Genesis 12; 13; 15 & 17) God also made national promises concerning Israel. They are: to make a great nation of his descendants; to give land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates to his descendants forever; and to give the Abrahamic covenant to his descendants for ever. Finally, God made universal covenants to Abraham that would affect everybody on the earth; it would affect all families of the earth who would be blessed. This promise is intended to be applicable to Israel regarding the blessing and cursing effects. Parts of the covenant have already been fulfilled. For example God did bless him with wealth. His name is great and Israel is a great nation. The blessings to all have been given to all through the oracles of God they received and they brought forth the Messiah. The promise of the land has not been completely fulfilled yet. His descendants are in the land but, in unbelief and do not have the boundaries set forth in Scripture as of yet.

Appearance of the Messiah by Alexandr Ivanov Cir.1806-1858

Appearance of the Messiah by Alexandr Ivanov Cir.1806-1858

John 4:25-26

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he (KJV).

Jesus answers her about this Messiah that she knew was coming. The Jewish writings were rife with a God-Man that would appear on the planet some day and remove all of Israel’s problems. In Hebrew the word for this God-man is Mashiach which Anglicized is Messiah. It is the same as the Greek Christos or Christ.  Jesus tells her that He is the long awaited Jewish Messiah.

Some of the prophetic writings about Him are in the Old Testament, which is the Jewish Bible at the time of Christ. They have been fulfilled in Jesus just as He told this Samaritan woman.

Some OT Messianic Prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment:

  1. Born in Bethlehem:                 Micah 5:2 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:1
  2. The Son of God:                     Psalm 2:7 Fulfilled in John 3:16-17
  3. Of the tribe of Judah:              Genesis 49:10 Fulfilled in Hebrews 7:14
  4. Of a virgin:                              Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-22
  5. A prophet like Moses:           Deuteronomy 18:15 Fulfilled in John 7:15-17
  6. The King of Israel:                  Zechariah 9:9 Fulfilled in John 12:12-15
  7. Rejected:                                 Isaiah 53:3 Fulfilled in John 1:11
  8. Beaten:                                    Micah 5:1 Fulfilled in Mark 15:19
  9. Silent:                                      Isaiah 53:7 Fulfilled in Matt 27:12-14
  10. Betrayed:                                Psalm 41:9 Fulfilled in Mark 14:17-20’
  11. Tried and condemned:             Isa 53:8 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:1-2
  12. Crucified:                                Psalm 22:16 Fulfilled in John 19:17-18
  13. His garments divided:             Psalm 22:18 Fulfilled in John 19:23-24
  14. Given vinegar and gall:            Psalm 69:21 Fulfilled in John 19:31-36
  15. His bones not broken:             Exodus 12:46 Fulfilled John 19:31-36
  16. He is our sacrifice:                  Isaiah 53:5-6 Fulfilled in 1 Peter 2:24-25
  17. And raised from death:           Psalm 16:10 Fulfilled in Luke 24:1-7, 47

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

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The Sons of Israel Receive Blessings

The Assembly

 

jacob Blessing His 12 sons by Harry Anderson

jacob Blessing His 12 sons by Harry Anderson

Genesis 49: 1-2

Jacob assembled his sons together as he lay on his deathbed to confer upon each of them their prophetic futures. He, being driven by God’s Spirit, would speak to each of them, and this was not going to be any ordinary conversation. The order in which he presents their individual prophecies is different than the order of the list of the twelve sons that was given in Genesis 30-31. The term “Latter Days” makes reference to an end time period for each of the twelve tribes. The term “Latter Days” is found thirteen times in the Old Testament (Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30, 31:29; Isaiah 2:2; Jeremiah 23:20, 30:24, 48:47, 49:39; Ezekiel 38:16; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1;Daniel 10:14). The prophesied outcome of each tribe will have its final fulfillment in the Messianic Kingdom, which will follow the Great Tribulation. This prophecy that Jacob gave here is similar to the one Moses gave in Deuteronomy 33. It is used here in reference to the full measure, or completion of their near and far distant prophetic future. Rabbinic tradition tells us that Jacob wanted to tell them when the Messiah would come. They write that just as suddenly as Jacob started to prophecy, the Shekinah Glory left him so he did not have the deity expressing Himself through him and he altered the prophecies. Scripture does not support the rabbinic teachings. What they show us is that the Jews did expect their Messiah and knew His prophetic appearance was given in these prophecies that Jacob gave to his sons. Read more

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