Sunday, April 18, 2010

Theology Part 2

Before exploring many of the teachings in the New Testament concerning Jesus, I would first like to examine numerous passages in the Old Testament that speak both of God's role as our only Savior, and the prophecies of the Messiah that not only testified of His humanity, but of His eternal deity as God the Son.

God the Son in the Old Testament:
• A plurality of Gods? When God made man, He said, “Let Us make man...” Genesis 1:26. When He cast man out of Eden He said, “the man has become like one of Us...” Genesis 3:22. When the people committed idolatry in Babel God said, Come, let Us go down...” Genesis 11:7. When God was selecting a messenger to bring His word to Israel He asked, “who will go for Us?” Isaiah 6:8. When God is speaking through Isaiah the prophet He states, “I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord God and His Spirit has sent Me.” Isaiah 48:16. The singular use of “has” is in the original Hebrew. Who is speaking? Who is being sent, and who is doing the sending? Is God being sent and doing the sending? Even in the mighty passage of Deuteronomy which declares, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” the name of “God” in this passage, Elohim, is plural. The verse literally reads, “The Lord our Gods, the Lord is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4. When the pagan gods are mentioned in Scripture, the Hebrew word used is Elohim, to describe a plurality of deities. Yet this singular God, Yahweh, is described by Moses as Gods!

• Genesis 3:15, the Seed of the woman. The Seed of the woman foretells a virgin birth. To state that the Seed would come from a woman, without a man's involvement (sexual union) is the first mention of the virgin birth of Christ. He would be born of the Holy Spirit, and born free of the curse of sin. Christ would come in the flesh, John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14.

• Genesis 49:10, Jesus would descend from the tribe of Judah. Here He is referred to as Shiloh. He will be the true ruler and lawgiver that Israel has been waiting for.

• Deuteronomy 18:15-19, a Prophet like Moses. Not only will the Christ be ruler, but a prophet. Moses foretells of Jesus' ministry to Israel, how the Father gives the Son words to speak, and how the Father will call to account those who fail to heed Him, John 8:38, 47, 50.

• 2nd Samuel 7:12-16, Jesus would descend from King David. Though Solomon is in the immediate vision here, the fact that God speaks of an eternal kingdom and authority vested in one whom He calls “His son,” God is looking ahead to the days of the incarnation, and Christ's eventual rule.

• Psalm 110:1, a conversation within the Godhead. The Father says to the Son, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” One Lord speaks to another Lord in this verse. Jesus quotes this passage to the religious rulers of His day in an effort to make them see that the Christ was more than simply the son of David, Matthew 22:41-45.

• Isaiah 6:5, the prophet had just encountered God in the temple. He testifies, “My eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” The seraphim that surrounded the Lord sang songs of praise to Him. John attributes this miraculous encounter between God and the prophet to Jesus, John 12:37-41. John said that when Isaiah saw God, the Lord of hosts in the temple, he saw Jesus Christ! It was Christ's glory that made Isaiah terrified. Christ is the visible manifestation of the glory of God; the fullness of deity abides in Him, John 1:14, 18; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15; 2:9; Hebrews 1:3.

• Isaiah 7:14, God-with-us. The prophecy was given concerning the virgin-born Child who was to come, fulfilled in Jesus, Matthew 1:23. Jesus Christ was indeed born a man.

• Isaiah 9:6, further revelation of the Child. The prophet rejoices, saying, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name (notice this passage still addresses the human child) will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Verse 7 tells us that His government has no end, and that He will succeed His human ancestor David to the throne which was promised to Him (see 2nd Samuel 7:12-16; Genesis 49:10; Psalm 2.) This human Child is also “Mighty God and Everlasting Father.” He is Christ, the God-man, the mystery of the incarnation; God was manifested in the flesh, 1st Timothy 3:16. The Word became flesh, John 1:14. Also see Philippians 2:5-8.

• Ezekiel 21:27, He whose right it is. God foretold in Ezekiel's day that the crown would be stripped from Judah, and would not be restored until one came whose right it was to have all rule and authority. Christ had the right to rule over Israel as a man since He was, born after the flesh, the Son of David. Christ likewise had authority to rule over Israel because He was their covenant God, Jehovah.

• Ezekiel 34:11-16, God the Shepherd. “Thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself (note the double assurance 'I' and 'Myself') will search for My sheep and seek them out...I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick.” See John 10:7-18; 25-30; Matthew 18:11-14.

• Micah 5:2, the Ruler in Israel. Christ's place of birth is foretold by the prophet. He will be ruler in Israel, but more than that, this man who is born in Bethlehem and comes forth to reign has come forth from of old, from everlasting, or eternity; See John 8:58. The Messiah was from everlasting, a being of endless life that apparently had no beginning, nor will have an ending. All things were created by, through, and for Christ, visible or invisible, Colossians 1:16. Though all things were made through Him, He was not a created being, John 1:3. The universe was made through Christ, and He upholds all things by the word of His power, Hebrews 1:2-3. This is so because He is the image or person of God, 2nd Corinthians 4:4, John 14:7-9.

• Zechariah 14:1, 3-5, the Day of the Lord. This “Day” implies the seven-year Tribulation period, as well as the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ from David's throne in Israel. Verse 1 tells us that the Day of the Lord is approaching. Skipping to verses 3-5 we read, “Then the Lord will go forth and that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives...thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with You.” Contrast this with the awesome passage in Revelation: “Now I (John) saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war...He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses,” Revelation 19:11, 13-14. Simply coincidence? Compare these passages with Isaiah 63:1-6, 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-10, and Jude 1:14-15.

• Malachi 4:2, the Sun of Righteousness. While Christ is the healing balm for His people, the same Sun that brings healing and comfort shall scorch the ungodly with judgment, as described in verse 1, referring to the Day of the Lord. Since God has reserved the authority to execute judgment on men (Deuteronomy 32:35-36; Hebrews 10:31) then simple logic concludes that for Christ to execute judgment He must be God, John 5:22, 27. Christ will do nothing apart from the Father, but the Father yielded all authority to the Son.

We will continue in the next installment of "Theology."

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"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2nd Timothy 3:16.

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All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.